Friday, August 31, 2012

Conservative Analysis of the 2012 Republican National Convention

            Although the Republican National Convention this year nominated a candidate for President of the United States who was the most moderate of the field in the primary elections, Mitt Romney, the former successful businessman, savior of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Governor of Massachusetts, is campaigning as a conservative and selected a conservative as his running mate, seven-term Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was nominated for Vice President. 

Ryan, whose career I have followed since his first successful election campaign in 1998, is a protégé of the late Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY), author of the tax cuts of President Ronald Reagan that helped spark a 25-year period of economic prosperity – the most stable in American history.  He is the leading Republican expert on fiscal and economic matters in the House of Representatives. 

The installation of a national debt clock and a clock displaying the debt increase during the convention was politically shrewd.  It was appropriate to acknowledge Hurricane Isaac and the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.  The speeches focused mostly on fiscal and economic matters, although defense, foreign policy, trade, immigration, energy, abortion, gay marriage, labor, education, and threats to liberty were among the issues raised repeatedly.  A common theme ran through the speeches: the humble origins of the speakers or their parents or grandparents.  Although the speeches focused on the challenges facing the U.S., such as the debt, the poor economy, and Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, the speakers demonstrated a Reaganesque optimism based upon their faith in America.  Many of the speakers are rising conservative stars.  

Not only were the speeches generally conservative, but the remarkable platform approved by the GOP Convention reflected conservative principles (  The platform was much more comprehensive than the speeches, yet relatively succinct. 

The Republican Party appeared largely united behind the Romney-Ryan ticket and increasingly enthusiastic about it and its chances of victory.  It is also determined to defeat President Barak Obama and elect more conservative Republicans to Congress before it is too late and the U.S. goes off the “fiscal cliff” like Greece and other European countries.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Governor Corbett Abolishes Pennsylvania's Death Tax for Family Farmers

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a bill into law to eliminate the Commonwealth’s onerous inheritance tax for those who inherit their family’s farm.  The bill was approved by both houses of the majority Republican General Assembly. 

Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax had been reduced from 6% to 4.5% for lineal descendents under fellow Republican Governor Tom Ridge, but the phase-out of the “death tax” was halted under Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, who initiated a tax and spending spree.  The inheritance tax rate for siblings is 12% and for other heirs, the Commonwealth taxes inheritance at 15%!  What makes Pennsylvania’s rate especially burdensome is the lack of any exemption, meaning that the tax begins to apply from the first dollar inherited, unlike federal taxes or those of other states that only tax inheritance above a large threshold.  Now, those inheriting family farms will no longer pay any inheritance tax.

The owners of small family farms are often wealthy in land, but poor in cash. Thus, the death tax was significantly responsible for the large decrease in the number of family farms in Pennsylvania, as families had to sell all or parts of the family farm either to larger corporations or to real estate developers in order to pay the inheritance tax.  The loss of farmland and other open space has contributed to urban sprawl, with its resultant adverse effects on the environment, as well as a decrease in the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce. 

The movement in the Keystone State to preserve open space had helped to reduce the effect of the tax, while an increase in demand for locally-grown produce has led to a rise in the number of farmers’ markets that are making farming a more worthwhile enterprise.  Thus, the actions of the Legislature and Governor will not only improve Pennsylvania’s economy, but preserve its environment and quality of life.  It should also be noted that Pennsylvania farmers and other landowners in parts of the Commonwealth have been aided by royalties from natural gas drilling. 

There are many other businesses that, like farms, require land by their nature in order to produce goods or services.  Pennsylvania’s death tax thereby continues to burden many citizens who inherit their family enterprises, especially small businesses that have a relatively large amount of land, but not enough cash to pay the inheritance tax in order to keep the business in the family. 

Furthermore, the death tax, which taxes the inheritance of money that was mostly already taxed during the lifetime of the person who earned it, continues to burden all Pennsylvanians.  I call upon the General Assembly to continue to phase out the Commonwealth’s death tax.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recent Attacks Were Not Domestic Terrorism

The shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin and the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. were labeled by law enforcement authorities as acts of “domestic terrorism.”  However, neither attack met the definition of terrorism: the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace into giving into the demands of the terrorists.

I have posted several times about the importance of not broadening the definition of terrorism, which dilutes its evil and have stated clearly which acts constitute terrorism and which do not.

The attack at the Sikh temple was an act of hatred with the intent to kill, not to terrorize others beyond the immediate targets.  At worst, it was an act of genocide -- a grave evil, but not the same thing as terrorism.  The motive of the shooter, who was killed in the attack, was unlikely to terrorize the general populace because it was targeted at a particular group or at least at those not within his ethnic group and because he acted alone.  He might have expected or even intended to be killed in the attack.  Acting alone in a one-time attack cannot possibly terrorize anyone after the completion of the attack, once there is no longer the ability to carry out further attacks.

The second target, the Family Research Council, was apparently selected for a political motivation.  The general populace was not the target, but the individuals at the organization, in this case a conservative advocacy organization, with whom the shooter disagreed.  The general populace is not terrorized by an attack on a particular political target.

When law enforcement refers to a crime as “domestic terrorism,” it means an attack that is based upon political, religious or ethnic motivations, as opposed to the usual motivations of crime.  To them, it makes little difference whether or not such an attack meets the definition of terrorism.  Their jargon, as reported in the media, however, does not necessarily define the crime for everyone else.

I take this opportunity to express sympathy for the victims of these attacks and their families and to laud the heroism of those who ended them.

Update on the Pennsylvania Voter ID Law: A Judge Denies an Injunction

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robin Simpson denied a preliminary injunction against the state’s new voter identification law.  He ruled that the law reasonably addresses a concern of the legislature, is not required to address a problem that already exists, does not impose a new qualification to vote and is not intended to deny any individuals the privilege to vote.  Judge Simpson also noted the provisions of the law to allow voters to obtain a valid photographic identification free of charge, the Commonwealth’s plans to educate the public about the new requirement and the provisions of the law that permit voters to cast absentee ballots or provisional ballots coupled with signing an affidavit, as well as something the opponents of the law failed to consider: the ability of voters to seek judicial relief. 

Judge Simpson found that at most the law might burden only a few people, which would not justify overturning the law that addresses a reasonable concern of the legislature to protect the integrity of the ballot and does not burden the overwhelming majority of citizens, while the various provisions of the law could afford voters sufficient protection for their franchise.  In denying the injunction, the Judge did not rule out the possibility that a voter could prevail on the merits of his claim to have been disenfranchised if such an event occurs, but the high standard necessary to set aside the implementation of the law could not possibly have been made at this point.  The opponents of the law are likely to appeal, but are unlikely to prevail, which would require at least a two thirds vote of the six members of the State Supreme Court, meaning that the law is likely to be implemented in time for the 2012 General Election.

See also my post from earlier this month, in which I made some of the same legal arguments accepted by Judge Simpson, a Republican for whom I campaigned for nomination and election, while arguing that there is a voter fraud problem in Pennsylvania: and my post announcing the signing of the voter ID bill into law by Governor Tom Corbett from March of 2013:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nellie Gray, Rest in Peace

The foundress of the annual March for Life, Nellie J. Gray, passed away today at the age of 88 in Massachusetts, where she resided.

Gray served as a corporal in the Army during Word War II, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and served in the United States federal government for nearly three decades, first in the Department of State, then the Department of Labor.  Meanwhile, she earned a law degree and later argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Through the help of a Priest Gray met, she converted to Catholicism. 

After the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions of 1973, Gray organized the first March for Life on January 22, 1974 on the anniversary of those infamous rulings, which became an annual event drawing hundred of thousands of attendees from across the U.S.  She served as the mistress of ceremonies at every March.  Other events are held across America on the day.  The effort is even mirrored by pro-life movements around the world.  The March for Life and the annual report on abortion Gray produced calls attention to the evil of abortion and the harm it causes both to babies and their parents and highlights respect for life from conception until natural death and human liberty.  Priests for Life leader Father Frank Pavone has announced that the 2013 March for Life will be dedicated in Gray’s honor.

Gray recognized the similarity of the evil of fascism and the Holocaust she fought during the Second World War and the evil of tens of millions of abortions committed in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade.  In both cases, she fulfilled her duty to use her God-given talents to do good, thereby serving as an inspiration to all.

May Nellie Gray’s example continue to inspire all Americans to respect the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with which our Creator endows all of us, born and pre-born.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Update on the Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

Liberals are arguing that because there have been no prosecutions of election fraud, there must not have been any fraud.   The liberals argue a priori that Pennsylvania’s voter identification requirement thus solves a problem that does not exist.  However, there is no legal requirement in the first place that a problem must already exist before legislators address it. 

Indeed, it would be unreasonable to wait for a problem to occur in order to prevent it, like waiting for terrorists to attack instead of neutralizing the threat beforehand.  The voter ID law reasonably address that problem. 

In attempting to minimize voter fraud and other irregularities strictly through the quantification of successful prosecutions, liberals contradict their claims in other cases.  For example, they claim that because most cases of the sexual abuse of minors by legal adults are unreported, the problem is significantly worse than the number of successful prosecutions suggests.  Thus, it appears that in regard to voter fraud, liberals are simply close-minded to the possibility of its existence.

But proof of election fraud does, in fact, exist.  Liberals should have learned their lesson of the truth of the legal maxim that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”  Just as liberals were proven wrong about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the United States reported in 2006 that it had found several hundred artillery shells topped with chemical warheads in Iraq, among other prohibited materiel, that had been suspected by United Nations inspectors as never having been destroyed by the Baathist Iraqi regime, liberals are again being proven wrong about voter fraud in Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the Union, where there have been several hundred prosecutions for election fraud, often involving elected officials.

            I had already cited an example of voter fraud in Pennsylvania in my March of 2012 post, Corbett Signs the Voter ID Requirement into Pennsylvania Law, I was among the candidates on the ballot in the 2000 General Election who were victimized by voter fraud.  For example, in a number of voting precincts in Muhlenberg Township, which was dominated by a Democratic “Gang” that was later removed from power after its leader pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, voters were fraudulently impersonated by unknown individuals.  After one such incident of impersonation, when a Judge of Elections in one of the precincts questioned a second individual who attempted to impersonate another voter, the impersonator ran out of the polling place!  Therefore, even though there was no fraud prosecution, there was at least one successful voter fraud and a second attempt to commit fraud in just one precinct alone.  That precinct was the only one in the Township that was majority Republican with a Republican Judge of Elections, meaning that there was no safeguard against Democratic fraud in the other precincts.  As I noted in the earlier post, this example is just one of many of various voter irregularities in Democratic strongholds of which I have observed or heard reports of over the years, such as in the City of Reading, both in terms of fraud or other irregularities.  Efforts are made whenever possible to report them to election authorities or encourage witnesses to report them.

Furthermore, a recent investigative report ( by an election official in Philadelphia County highlighted the problem of voter fraud and related election irregularities.  Even though the report was based only on spot-checking, it nevertheless details numerous examples of voter impersonation, voting by individuals in more than one precinct, voting by non-citizens or others ineligible to vote, more votes cast in precincts than voters who officially voted and various other irregularities.  In short, serious voting irregularities, whether constituting fraud or not, are committed in Pennsylvania in Democratic-dominated areas, of a kind that would be reduced by the requirement of voters to provide photographic identification.  Indeed, liberals mislead by focusing on the term “election” or “voter fraud,” which is legally defined as a crime, while ignoring the more common irregularities of allowing ineligible people to vote when the criminal intent to commit “fraud” is absent. 

Philadelphia County is the same place where armed members of the New Black Panthers engaged in voter intimidation during the 2008 General Election.  The liberal Obama Administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder opted not to prosecute them for voter intimidation, while liberals play the race card by accusing proponents of voter identification of voter intimidation, especially of blacks – a convenient argument that allows Democrats to continue to commit election fraud, especially in Philadelphia, with impunity. 

The liberals’ argument against the voter identification requirement would be worse than saying that a crackdown on bank robbery would represent the taking away of the right to bank.  It would be even worse than saying that cracking down on bank robbery is itself the crime of bank robbery (like saying “the cure is the disease”) because exercising the privilege to vote, as the means to hold government accountable and thereby to safeguard liberty, is more basic to freedom than even the right to bank.