Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sir Roger Moore, R.I.P.

Many of you, my fantastic readers, remember Sir Roger Moore
as one of the actors who played James Bond in the movies of
that franchise; a few of you may remember Moore as The Saint
in that British television series which also aired on our side of
"The Pond". Still others might remember him for other roles in
movies and television shows here and in Britain. A fantastic
actor, a suave and smooth gentleman, a spokesman for UNICEF,
a grand wit, and a loving husband and father, Sir Roger Moore
passed away after a bout with cancer on May 23 at the age of 89.

The star in seven Bond films, Moore was behooved to assist
UNICEF when he saw first hand the shocking poverty in India
when he was there filming his sixth Bond film "Octopussy".
He joined friend and fellow actor Audrey Hepburn in this
endeavor, as they became the faces for the organization. Moore
also was an avid skiier; he skiied with his family as well as
with his friends liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith
and conservative publisher, author, sailor, and harpsichordist
William F. Buckley, founder and publisher of National Review,
the renown magazine of conservative politics and thought.
While Moore enjoyed the company of a wide variety of
celebrities, he was a conservative throughout his long and
storied life. Although he loved his native Great Britain, he
moved to Monaco to escape his beloved country's confiscatory
tax rates. He gave to charities in addition to doing publicity
for them, but didn't care to be coerced into supporting a large
and unwieldly welfare state. And in the role of British Secret
Agent 007 he was internationally popular with the world's
conservatives, soundly defeating communists (this was, after
all, during the latter years of the Cold War) and anyone
allied with them in the Bond storylines.

Moore's conservatism reached into day-to-day life away from the
film set as well, having been a strong advocate for teaching
children manners, kindness, and consideration for others, once
stating that doing so would result in the children teaching other
adults by their mannerly ways. He was not merely a model
of a quintessential English gentleman, but a sterling example of
a conservative in both public and private life. Rest in Peace,
Sir Roger; your death may have left us shaken, but your legacy
stirs us to emulate you with the example you set for a beautiful life.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Political Correctness In the Courtroom

Political correctness, the invention of the radical Left for
the purpose of censoring speech and actions by anyone on
the Right, including putting pressure on to self-censor oneself
so as to avoid balefully disapproving reactions, has
wormed it way into many areas of our society --- all levels
of government, education, entertainment, even the military
--- and now has made its way into our courts.

For the entire history of our country U.S. law has guarded
jury verdicts from being overturned due to bias or juror
misconduct. Late last winter, before the late Justice Antonin
Scalia's Supreme Court seat was filled with the appointment
and confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch, a temporary liberal
Supreme Court majority has scuttled this protection with the
creation of an exception for racial bias, never mind that it did
not supply a clearly defined means of identifying bias with a
limiting principle to guard against political mischief to
accompany this exception.

Just recently, after a Colorado jury convicted a Mexican
defendant in a sexual harassment case, two jurors signed
affidavits stating that a retried police officer also serving
on the jury made racially hostile remarks during deliberations.
The juror in question was reported to have stated that
"nine times out of ten Mexican men were guilty of being
aggressive toward women and young girls," as well as having
made other statements of a similar nature. The defendant's counsel
tried to get the conviction overturned based on racial animus
but the trial judge denied the request.

Now, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a trial by an impartial
jury, and our legal system has many protections against juror
bias and misconduct, including screening potential jurors for
bias in voir dire, a French term meaning "to see, to speak"
applied to the process of determining the qualifications of a
prospective juror to serve on a jury in a trial. Furthermore,
the judge and counsel for both the plaintiff and the defendant
can discipline a juror for any and all misconduct, including
speaking or acting in a biased manner. Additionally, the other
eleven jurors can monitor for such behavior and report any

So the Court overturned these protective guidelines in a 5-3
majority opinion in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, claiming that
racial bias is so common that if left unaddressed, "systemic
injury to the administration of justice" would occur. And with
this declaration a new racial standard was also declared, one
for overturning jury verdicts that was rejected by Colorado
and has no basis to be found in the Constitution. Conservative
justice Samuel Alito wrote in dissent "Although the Court tries
to limit the degree of intrusion, it is doubtful that there are
principled grounds for preventing the expansion of today's

The ruling is a frightening move toward infecting juries with
political standards based on left-wing dogma on race, gender,
gender orientation, and class. Both Congress and the President
should utilize the System of Checks and Balances which the three
branches of our federal government have to police each other's
actions with an eye to upholding and preserving our constitutional
rule of law to make the Supreme Court rethink this perilous flight
of progressive fancy.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Can America Escape the Debt Spider's Web?

The national debt of the United States, as of this posting,
is at $19.9 trillion, with no letup in sight. Although, thank
heaven, Barack Obama is no longer in the White House,
the debt is still soaring, powered by long-standing unfunded
mandates and unrestrained federal spending going back to
before President Obama's fiscal profligacy (although, it must
be noted, Obama had increased the debt to record levels,
going so far as to accumulate more debt than has all of
his presidential predecessors combined!). The question
now is, what will our current president Donald Trump
do about the spending, and what will the Federal Reserve
do concerning money supply management?

George Melloan, a former deputy editor of the Wall Street
Journal page, and no stranger to economic matters, blamed
the latest round of debt on the easy credit that came about by
the Fed's zero-rate targets in the wake of the 2008 crash.
While the Fed was not entirely responsible for this state
of affairs, through its "quantitative easing" (basically running
the printing presses at full blast turning out lots of newly
created dollars) had an effect by adding an additional
$3.5 trillion in demand for Treasury bills and for the besieged
Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-issued mortgage-backed
securities, which was a part of the housing bubble popping
that touched off the Great Recession of 2008. With cheap
credit, almost free in cost, Washington nearly doubled the
debt in the subsequent seven years. The annual federal budget
deficit still hovers between $500 billion and $1 trillion,
this too with no significant reversal in sight.

In an attempt to avoid runaway inflation, the Fed arranged
for banks to put approximately $2 trillion into their reserve
accounts at the central bank, paying the banks a pittance for
interest (currently 0.5%) in exchange. This maneuver has kept
the excess reserves from overloading the economy via
cheap loans.

As for foreign investors buying and holding U.S. debt, demand
for our debt has slacked off. China was the biggest purchaser
of American debt, but their foreign currency reserves are declining
as business in their country slows, and capital flees for safer
locales. Total dollar holdings by central banks in other countries
have decreased to around $2.8 trillion at present from $3 trillion
in 2013.

A credit cycle when both lenders and borrowers considerably slow
their interactions is what we may be seeing happen now. This
development portends a downward turn in the business cycle,
and will also put the current bull market in stocks in jeopardy.

More direct bond buying --- another method of quantitative easing
--- would increase the debt load with alacrity. The flip side of this
coin shows that selling from the central bank's portfolio will send
interest rates soaring by causing the debt supply to exceed demand.

And President Trump cannot do much about this situation. But he
could worsen this situation by threatening trade wars against
America's largest trading partners; he already has one such trade
war going with Canada. If Trump blocks our industries' ability to
earn dollars, he will hamper our ability to climb out of our debt
swamp. The past decade of government and Fed fiscal insanity is
certainly not his fault, but he shouldn't do anything which could
make things more painful, lest he get the blame, and nasty electoral
repercussions could happen in 2020.


Monday, July 10, 2017

A Note for My Followers on the Tea Party Community's Website

To my friends who follow me on the Tea Party Community website,
I want to inform you that in recent weeks I have encountered some
technical problems that have prevented me from accessing the site,
so I couldn't always inform you of my latest postings on this blog. I've
no idea if it is the computer system at this one local library whose
computers your favorite Peasant uses, or if it is a web-wide problem.
So this is why I haven't always been able to inform you of my
latest offerings during this time.

I still haven't any idea what is causing this difficulty, so I am
letting you know that you can still follow The Peasant by looking
for my posting announcements on Twitter (@markeminor5)
and on Facebook (Mark Minor). For those of you who are not
on either of these social media sites, try entering "Peasant With
A Pitchfork" (minus the quotation marks) into your favorite search
engines and your browsers to see if you can access the TPC site
and with it my page. You can still access this blog if you click
on my notices of my past offerings on Twitter and Facebook,
and you'll be taken to the notices of whatever I recently posted.
If you can reach me via the Tea Party Community page, then
maybe the problem has been either cleared up or it has eased up
for a little while. The latter has sometimes occurred, though it has
so far never been a lasting condition.

I do apologize for this nuisance, and hope it will soon be permanently
rectified. I shall keep you posted. Thank you for your understanding
and your ongoing readership!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

My, How Times (and Attitudes) Change

Your favorite Peasant recently came across an excerpt from
a U.S. Senate floor speech given by Sen. Elizabeth Warren
(D-MA) on November 13, 2013, regarding Republicans
implementing the filibuster in opposition to then-President
Obama's nominees to federal district and appellate court seats.
Gee, isn't it funny how the Dem's mind changes on certain things
when the White House changes hands! These are the words
of Senator Warren, published in The Wall Street Journal 
in that newspaper's April 1-2, 2017 weekend edition:

"We need to call out these filibusters for what they are ---
naked attempts to nullify the results of the elections of the last
presidential election, to force us to govern as though President
Obama had not won the 2012 election ... If Republicans
continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no
reason other than to nullify the President's constitutional
authority, then Senators not only have the right ... but ...
a duty to change the filibuster rules.

"We cannot turn our back on the Constitution. We cannot
abdicate our oath of office. We have a responsibility to protect
and defend our democracy, and that includes protecting the
neutrality of our courts and preserving the constitutional
power of the President to nominate highly qualified people
to court vacancies."

Contrast these words to how Senator Warren and her fellow
Democrats in the Senate behaved when new President
Donald Trump began choosing nominees for court
vacancies, most notably the U.S. Supreme Court seat
vacated with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Happily, the Republican senators were able to stop
their filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch, who has the
most impressive qualifications and overall legal background
for being a Supreme Court justice since the late Judge
Robert Bork (remember him, and what the Democrats did
to both his nomination and his reputation?). So where was
Senator Warren's outrage when her fellow senate Democrats
did the same thing in an attempt to derail Judge Gorsuch?
For one thing, the Massachusetts senator worked and voted
with her colleagues on her side of the aisle to so derail
Trump's SCOTUS pick!

So much for Senator Warren's concern for the Constitution,
its provisions for the POTUS, our democracy (note to the
Senator: our government is not a democracy but a constitu-
tional republic. Check it out!), and the neutrality of our courts.
And it seems that she pays no mind to the results of the 2016
election either.

In closing, have a look at the way that the Republicans have
voted regarding the acceptance or rejection of President
Obama's nominees to the Supreme Court. Just for kicks,
go back to their votes on President Bill Clinton's choices.
They were more accommodating to these Democrat
presidents and their SCOTUS picks than their Democrat
counterparts have been to President Trump and his choice
of Judge Gorsuch, and going back, their votes on the picks
of both President Bushes and President Ronald Reagan.
The Republicans acknowledged the will of the electorate
in electing Democrat presidents and seeing them nominate
their people much more than have the Democrats in
considering the people favored by Republican presidents.
The Republicans focused on the education, the philosophies,
and the experience of the Democrat nominees; the Democrats
focused on the fact that the GOP presidents' choices were just
that --- the GOP presidents' choices for our top court, and the hell
with the results of the last presidential election, which clearly
demonstrated which direction the people wanted to go in,
giving the Dems conniptions.

Gee, isn't it funny?