Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alexander Haig, Rest in Peace

General Alexander Haig, adviser to three Republican United States Presidents and Secretary of State, died today at the age of 85. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, he rose to the rank of four-star General, serving as Supreme NATO Commander. Haig was highly decorated for his bravery in Vietnam.

As White House Chief of Staff under President Richard M. Nixon, Haig took on administrative duties while Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Haig helped prepare the president’s defense, but when it became apparent that the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives would impeach Nixon and the Democratically-controlled Senate would likely convict him, Haig advised the President to resign. He continued in the same office under President Gerald R. Ford, advising him to pardon his predecessor in order to end the “long national nightmare,” as Ford referred to the Watergate scandal. The courageous decision was the right one, but it cost Ford politically; he lost one of the closest presidential elections in American history in 1976.

Haig served as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1982. The liberal media most remembers Haig’s attempt to reassure the American people after the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. While the president was in surgery for a near-fatal gunshot wound, Vice President George H.W. Bush was incommunicado aboard an airplane returning from Texas. Secretary Haig declared that he was in charge at the White House. Although the liberal media ridiculed the statement as arrogant and falsely portrayed it as an attempted coup d’etat because the Democratic Speaker of the House was next in line under the Presidential Succession Act, followed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary Haig meant that he was administratively filling the gap until the Vice President landed, which was an important message to convey to the Soviets and any other enemies who might have been tempted to exploit the opportunity. Contrary to the liberal media, what Secretary Haig was most remembered for as Secretary of State was his shuttle diplomacy between Argentina and the United Kingdom after the former invaded the British-ruled Falkland Islands, which Argentina claimed as its territory. Although Secretary Haig’s efforts were unsuccessful in averting war, they were a testimony to American efforts to resolve the crisis peacefully, which gave the U.S. the diplomatic cover to support its ally, the U.K.

After completing his public service, Haig unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 1988. He was a political commentator for many years.

Alexander Haig, a Pennsylvanian and graduate of St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, was a patriot who devoted his life to serving the United States of America. May he rest in peace.

The Attack on the Federal Facility in Austin, Texas Was Not Terrorism

Terrorism is the targeting of innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace into adopting the policies supported by the terrorists. The attack on the federal office building in Austin, Texas was not an act of terrorism for several reasons.

First, the attack targeted a federal facility, not innocent civilians. Therefore, there was no effort made to terrorize innocent civilians in order to intimidate them into adopting the perpetrator’s policies. Terrorists seek to terrorize the populace by targeting it for attacks. An attack on a federal facility, although a militant act or an act of treason, is not intended to terrorize those who are not targeted. The anti-government perpetrator apparently targeted a facility that housed an office of the Internal Revenue Service, with whom he was in dispute.

Second, the suicidal act was committed by a lone operative. Because the deceased perpetrator no longer represents a threat to commit any further violent acts, he cannot terrorize anyone in order to intimidate them into adopting his policies. His intent was to cause damage or bloodshed to a federal facility, not to terrorize anyone, as a dead man can no longer intimidate anyone.

Third, the perpetrator may have been suffering from mental illness, which was suggested by his act of arson of his own home immediately prior to the attack and the conspiracy-theorist anti-government anti-Catholic screed he published on the Internet, in addition to his suicidal attack.

Some commentators have likened the attack in Austin to the attack of the federal office building in Oklahoma City in 1995 by anti-government militants in order to label this latest attack “terrorism.” The earlier attack, which was committed with the understanding that it could have been a suicidal attack, was not an act of terrorism for similar reasons: the Oklahoma City attack was committed by a perpetrator with some degree of mental illness who targeted a federal facility, not innocent civilians, out of revenge for federal policies, not in order to intimidate the populace into changing policies.

As I have noted in earlier posts where I define terrorism, it is critically important in order to defeat terrorism that all politically-motivated violence not be called “terrorism,” lest the word become diluted. Reserving the word terrorism only for those acts that meet its definition underscores the particular evil of terrorism and prevents the terrorists and their sympathizers from labeling legitimate military methods used to defeat terrorism as acts of terrorism themselves.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eliminate the Presidents' Day Holiday

The federal holiday known as “Presidents' Day” should be eliminated and replaced with Washington's Birthday. The holiday, which is also a state holiday in Pennsylvania and other states, replaced Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday. As a result, the holiday now apparently commemorates all presidents, instead of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in particular.

Moreover, as the name of the holiday suggests, Washington's Birthday was supposed to honor the Father of our Country for all of his contributions, including as a general during the American Revolution, as a Founding Father, and for other contributions he made after he retired from the presidency, in addition to his presidency. Thus, not only is Washington's greatness as president diminished by including him with all of the other presidents, but also his greatness as the indispensible man of the American Revolution is overlooked by focusing exclusively on his presidency. See also my posts Presidents' Day vs. Washington's Birthday and George Washington, the Great.

Although there is a federal and state holiday called “Columbus Day,” named after Christopher Columbus, that day commemorates his Discovery of America on the Monday closest to October 12, the date of the Discovery, not the birthday of the Discoverer. Therefore, only Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is currently commemorated with a federal holiday for his birthday. King successfully used arguments based upon the American Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution to advance the cause of equality, yet neither the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, nor the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, are honored with holidays for their birthdays, for example. Although the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated with a holiday, Constitution Day is not.

School tests, public surveys and sometimes voting results all suggest an ignorance about the United States among the American people. Reforming the federal holidays by restoring Washington's Birthday to its rightful place on the American calendar would educate Americans better about their independence and the founding of their Union.

Iraq's Chemical Ali Executed

Recently, infamous war criminal Ali Hassan al-Majid was executed by the Iraqi government for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Known as “Chemical Ali,” for his use of chemical weapons against Kurdish Iraqis, the Iraqi was hanged for crimes committed against them in the late 1980s. Ali had been sentenced to death after an Iraqi trial.

Ali was captured after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003. Like his cousin, Saddam Hussein, Chemical Ali and many other war criminals from Hussein's Baathist regime have finally been brought to justice because of the war.

The main purpose of the Liberation of Iraq was to remove a terrorist-sponsoring regime with a history of aggression from power, but enforcing United Nations resolutions, liberating the Iraqi people from oppression and providing them an opportunity for self-determination, and bringing war criminals to justice were other justifications cited by United States President George W. Bush. An additional benefit of the war has been the defeat of al-Qaeda and other Jihadist forces that came to Iraq to resist the American-lead Coalition of the Willing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Charles Wilson, in Memoriam

Former United States Representative Charles Wilson (Democrat, Texas) died at the age of 76. He was known for his efforts to gain American aid for the Afghan resistance during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Wilson was successful in securing the aid during the Administration of President Ronald Reagan, especially the critically important shoulder-fired Stinger missiles that helped the Afghan Mujaheddin down many a Soviet helicopter. The Soviets' loss in Afghanistan contributed to their defeat in the Cold War. Wilson served in Congress from 1973-1997.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ten-Month Blog Hit Report

Thank you for your patronage of my blog. Last month, there were nearly 200 visits to my blog, bringing the total since April 2, 2009 to nearly 1,370. Even though I had been posting for over four months before I installed the counter, over half of my total posts have been visited, not including those whose visit to my blog started on its homepage. I am also especially pleased at how many have been visited considering that about a tenth of my posts are blog reports or other personal notes.

As always, I define a visit as a hit at least one hour after the individual’s last hit and do not count my own visits.

Two significant milestones were passed last month: 1) over a thousand people have visited my blog in the 10 months I have been tracking visits, and 2) those whose visit did not begin on my blog's homepage have visited over a thousand times.

The Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization continues as the most popular post, with over 280 hits, followed by The Economy, Deficit and Debt at George W. Bush’s inauguration, with nearly 170. The most visits from the United States have come from California, other than Pennsylvania. Visitors outside the U.S. have come from 57 foreign states and Hong Kong, with the most still coming from Malaysia.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please visit my blog a few times a week. Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conservative Analysis of the Public Disapproval of Obama and Congressional Democrats

Candidate Barak Obama promised change during the 2008 presidential campaign, which reflected public disapproval of President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans. Obama’s rhetoric at times hinted that he intended more than a change in personality, style and a few policies, however; he intended radical transformation. Despite concerns about Obama’s association with radical leftists, a slight majority of voters demanded the replacement in office of the Party they rejected and Obama was elected president.

Public opinion polls, Tea Party protests, the expressions of opposition at congressional town hall meetings, and electoral results suggest that the American public disapproves of some of Obama’s major policies, particularly his massive spending and corresponding increase in federal power, taxpayer funding of abortion and softness on terrorism.

Obama and other Democrats criticized Bush for deficits, but he and the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership have dramatically increased in federal spending, which has increased the deficit and added to the debt. Little of the spending has been economically stimulative in nature, while much of it is in the form of pork or political payoffs. Obama and his allies have attempted to credit their deficit spending for the economic recovery, even though the natural business cycle and previous federal action are more responsible. But their contention that the stimulus caused the recovery undermines their argument that all of the hundred of billions of dollars in additional spending that has been approved is still necessary. Their insistence that deficit spending is good for the economy also undermines their argument that Bush was wrong for deficit spending. The true motive of Obama and his Congressional Democratic allies to use the deficits as an excuse to raise taxes is being exposed. They have proposed little in spending cuts.

The American people are rightly concerned about the increased borrowing, taxing and spending by the Obama Administration and Congressional liberal Democrats. The pork and political favoritism for special interests, political allies or politicians makes Obama appear to be the same or even worse than a stereotypical politician. The public is frightened by the significant increase in federal control over sectors of the economy that Obama feels comfortable in accepting, despite his lack of significant business experience. The American people had applauded when Democrat Bill Clinton declared “the era of big government is over,” but those on the radical left, like Obama and the liberal Democratic leadership, apparently did not agree with them. Obama’s focus on his proposal to take over federal health insurance made him appear less focused on the economy than the public prefers.

Obama’s early pessimism about the economy harmed it, while his threats to raise taxes create more uncertainty, which discourages investment – actions which make him appear to the public either as a fool or a radical. Instead of trying to federalize health insurance, he should have focused on bank reform.

The lack of transparency for congressional legislation, despite Obama’s promises as a candidate, makes the public even more distrustful of the massive bills Congress approves that Congressmen have not even read and the backroom deals for special interests at the expense of the public. By allowing the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership to draft bills instead of submitting proposals himself, Obama he appears to be part of the political culture of Washington, D.C. the American people oppose. His lack of leadership on legislation also has the effect of confusing and frightening the public as to what exactly the Democrats in the executive and legislative branches are proposing. In short, Obama has given the impression that he is part of the politics of spending money in order to win votes or to help friends while raising taxes to punish enemies – a culture Americans hoped would end with his presidency.

One area of spending a majority of Americans oppose in particular is public funding of abortion, which Obama made possible the first week of his presidency when he signed an executive order allowing public money to be given to nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion abroad. His proposed federalization of health insurance would fund domestic abortions with taxpayer dollars.

Obama’s strategy of blaming Bush for all that is bad economically and fiscally is a strategy that is becoming less effective with the public, which expects the 44th president increasingly to take responsibility for that which he controls, especially given that he has more power over the economy than any previous president.

Obama’s model of bipartisanship is to propose that Congress consider approving actions the Republican Congressional minority finds totally unacceptable because they have either been proven ineffective or are radical, then to blame the Republicans for being partisan for not agreeing with him. Meanwhile, Obama fails to focus on those areas where they could find common ground, preferring an all-or-nothing approach. He expresses little appreciation for the times they do support him more than his own party does, such as on his troop surge for Afghanistan.

A major concern for the American public is Obama’s perceived softness on terrorism. The change they wanted Obama to make from Bush’s security policies was to reform them reasonably, not to weaken them unnecessarily. He is making even some critics of Bush long for the safety and security the Bush Administration’s successful resolve against terrorism made them feel.

The drop in United States President Barak Obama’s popularity and the unpopularity of the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership has not only aided the conservative opposition to liberal legislation, as I discuss in my last post, but caused the people to be more open to conservative ideas. Several Republican candidates campaigning on conservative platforms for major offices have been rewarded already with election victories for offices formerly held by liberal Democrats. As conservatives continue to express common-sense ideas, with which a majority of Americans agree, and stand for better upholding their principles of smaller government than they did when they were last in power, American voters will increasingly look to them for leadership.