Monday, May 27, 2013

This Memorial Day, Let Us Honor the Dead by Winning the War

           As we Americans remember our war dead this Memorial Day, it is an appropriate time to reflect on United States President Barack Obama’s recent comments signaling an end to the War on Terrorism.  His advancement of a strategy to withdraw from the battlefield is premature.

Liberals and isolationists deride the global fight against Islamist terrorists as an “endless war.”  They should direct their complaints to the terrorist enemy, instead of to their victims.  As the long as the enemy remains at war with us, then we will remain at war, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  Indeed, militant Muslims have engaged in a fourteen-century-long war against the world under the motto of “submission or death.”  Jihad (holy war), which may include violence, is a core part of Islamic belief.  Both Islamists and Communists are committed to advancing their causes by any means necessary, as the recent Boston Marathon Bombings and the killing of a British soldier in London by jihadis or the slayings in India by the Maoist Naxalites remind us. 

The war may be reduced – as it all but has been – to a minor war, or perhaps even to a temporary lull, but it can never end.  At best, we may be able to deter terrorism by Islamists or Communists as a strategy, but not violent jihad.  We surely will not be able to deter either, however, if we give into such violence by pulling back from the fight because the enemy objects to our policies or methods and kills or maims for the sake of intimidating us into giving into their demands.  The enemy is counting on our preference for peace and life and or weariness over the loss of blood and treasure.  We are still winning the war, but the enemy has a strategy to win by tiring us of the attrition abroad and lulling us into complaisance at home.  We must not fail our duty to preserve life or liberty.

We must recall not only those who gave their lives in service to their country in past struggles for liberty, but especially those martyred in the current war, not only out of gratitude, but, as was said nearly one hundred fifty years ago in a small burial field in Pennsylvania by an earlier American Commander in Chief, with a resolve that these dead “shall not have died in vain.”

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 21 is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania.

There are contests across the Commonwealth’s 67 counties for Common Pleas Court and Magisterial District judge, various other important county offices, constables, municipal offices and school boards.  These offices affect people directly in countless ways. 

One’s vote counts for more the smaller the number of fellow voters who are casting ballots.  Some of these primary contests will essentially determine the ultimate outcome of the election, as only one party has candidates on the ballot or it is possible that some candidates could one both party’s nominations in those races that permit cross-filing, namely for judges and school directors.  Regardless, because of the dominant two-party system, nearly all of the candidates who are elected in the General Election were candidates who were nominated in the Primary Election by one of the two major parties.

Many conservatives, or at least those who share many of our conservative beliefs, are on the ballot.  It is critically important to vote for them now.

            My fellow Pennsylvania conservatives, I urge you to find your polling place and make plans to vote.

Cal Thomas Addresses the Berks County GOP

Cal Thomas, one of the most widely syndicated and read columnists in the United States, spoke at the Spring Dinner of the Berks County Republican Committee, in which I was in attendance.

            The conservative columnist noted the cloud of scandal currently overhanging the Obama Administration.  Although Thomas was encouraged that the liberal media was finally holding President Barack Obama accountable, he noted that the problems facing the United States went far beyond the scandals.  Accordingly, the main part of Thomas’ speech was his advice to fellow conservatives on how to turn the direction of the country around by winning more elections, pass more of their policies and improve their country.

            One way was to differentiate better our beliefs on the free market. Thomas provided a simple explanation for the difference between liberals and conservatives on wealth.  Whereas liberals believe that wealth is like a pie and if one has a larger piece, then the rest have a smaller one, he wants to give everyone the recipe to make their own pies.  Thomas, cited Calvin Coolidge, who observed that it is not possible to make the poor wealthier by making the wealthy poorer.  Now, however, government policies subsidize the poor, which only incentivizes them to remain in poverty. 

            The popular columnist and author of his recently-published fourth book feels alienated by a world that is in moral decline, part of which he attributed to liberal indoctrination through the public schools.  Thomas noted that traditional values are based upon common sense, are time-tested and that they work.  He urged conservatives to promote them. 

Thomas encouraged methods to teach people basic skills on obtaining and maintaining employment, for example.  He encouraged conservatives to get minorities to share their success stories.  Successful minorities should be promoted, both as examples, and as candidates for political office.

Indeed, we conservatives should promote virtue and traditional values, both by word and deed.  

Conservative Commentary on the Murder Conviction of Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

           A Philadelphia jury has convicted Abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell of murder and other charges because of his shocking practices at his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic in West Philadelphia

Even though nine of the twelve jurors were pro-abortion, they convicted Gosnell of three counts of first-degree murder and infanticide in the deaths of three infants that were born alive after botched abortions, as well as numerous counts of violating Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act of 1990 that prohibits abortions after 24 weeks gestation and violating its requirement of counseling and a 24-hour waiting period.  He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the case of a woman who died in his care because of his grossly negligent procedures, as it was difficult to prove malice in order to convict him of third-degree murder.  In all, Gosnell was convicted of over 200 counts.  Gosnell struck a plea deal after the verdict to avoid the death penalty and accepting a life sentence.  Several other workers at the clinic had either pleaded guilty to murder or other charges or were also convicted.  Gosnell also faces federal drug charges for various alleged violations in regard to prescription drugs.

Gosnell’s defense claimed the babies were not born alive, but this argument was inconsistent with the fact that he snipped their spines.  The jury concluded that the babies were, in fact, born alive.

Although there were many other babies allegedly killed after having been born alive, at least there was justice rendered for three of the cases that were the most egregious and provable beyond a reasonable doubt.

Pro-abortion Governor Tom Ridge had implemented a policy of not inspecting abortion clinics annually like any other medical facility within Pennsylvania out of concern that following the regulations would make it too financially burdensome for such clinics to operate.  In other words, it was pro-abortion politics that created the Gosnell monster.  Governor Ed Rendell continued the policy.  After the discovery of Gosenell’s “House of Horrors” abortion clinic in 2011, the Republican-led General Assembly passed a bill to required inspections of abortion clinics by the Commonwealth’s Department of Health, which was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican. 

The Gosnell case exposed the fact that many abortion clinics are located in the inner city, particularly in predominately black neighborhoods, such as West Philadelphia.  Abortionists prey on blacks, other minorities and the poor while claiming they are providing them “health-care services.”  The targeting of these groups has been a practice of the lucrative abortion industry since the founding of Planned Parenthood by Margaret Sanger, who was a devotee of the then-popular Social Darwinist belief in eugenics, which prescribed the elimination through abortion, contraception and sterilization of what its proponents regarded as those people who were inferior.  Even those most of his victims were black, Gosnell’s defense nevertheless claimed he was targeted for prosecution by racist prosecutors because he was black.

The case also exposed the fine line between abortion and infanticide, particularly for late-term abortions.  Whereas the same practice a moment before is protected by federal case law as a “fundamental” constitutional right, in the next moment it is murder under state law.  The dilation and extraction method, known as “partial-birth abortion,” which was banned by the federal government under President George W. Bush, particularly blurred the line, as the baby’s body was extracted while leaving the head in the birth canal specifically in order to circumvent the charge of infanticide.  Moreover, some abortion advocates have denied the personhood not only for embryos, fetuses and partially-born babies, but even for children born alive.  They have called for the legalization of infanticide for up to two years after birth. 

The gruesome practices in the Gosnell abortion clinic that were allowed to continue unregulated, the targeting of certain groups for abortion, and the exposure of the barbarism of the practice of all abortions, especially late-term abortions on babies who would be viable outside the womb, underscore that this case is not strictly a matter of a rogue abortionist, but strikes at the core of what abortion really is.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Blog and Personal Notes: 500th Post, Cinfici Is Sworn in as Reading School Director

           The last post to this blog was my 500th since it was launched in November of 2008.  Thank you for visiting my blog and making its successful.  Please continue to visit periodically and feel free to post comments.

           I am sorry that I have not posted as frequently lately.  Once again, it is a busy time of the year for local politics, which is one of the reasons I have not posted as frequently of late as I would like.

           On May 8, I was sworn in as Reading School Director.  My term lasts until early December.

           I am pleased that Lepanto, by G.K. Chesterton, edited by Dale Ahlquist, of which I wrote a chapter entitled The Aftermath,” continues to sell well after ten years.  A link to the book appears on the left-hand column of my blog.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Giulio Andreotti, Rest in Peace

           Seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, the most enduring political figure of post-war Italian politics, died at his home in Rome yesterday at the age of 94. 

            Born in Rome in 1919, Andreotti studied law in the Eternal City and joined the Italian Catholic University Federation during the Fascist dictatorship, later becoming the leader of the group that produced several future leaders of the Party of Christian Democracy and premiers of Italy.

           After the war, Andreotti was elected to the Italian provisional parliament in 1946.  He became the assistant to Italy’s first republican leader, Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, the founder of the Christian Democratic Party.  Andreotti began serving in high party posts in the Gasperi governments of the Italian Republic, from 1947 to 1954.

            Meanwhile, Andreotti was elected to the newly-formed lower house of the Italian Parliament in 1948, the Chamber of Deputies, serving until 1991, when he was appointed to the upper chamber as a life Senator, an office in which he served until his death.  While in Parliament as a Christian Democrat, he served in numerous Cabinets, beginning in 1954, as Minister of the Interior, Finance, Treasury, Defense and Foreign Affairs, often in more than one stint and under successive governments.  Andreotti was Prime Minister of Italy from 1972-1973, 1976-1979 and 1989-1992, leading seven executives.

           The Christian Democrats, like Andreotti, were centrist, with some right and left-wing elements within their ranks.  The principal accomplishment of the Christian Democracy was, through its formation of various coalition governments in the multi-party Italian parliamentary Republic, to keep both the Fascists and Italian Communist Party out of power.  The latter was for decades supported by the Soviet Union and was the largest Communist Party in the free world.  The takeover of a major Western state by Soviet-backed Communists would have been disastrous for the United States and its Western allies.  The Christian Democrats maintained friendly relations with the U.S. and supported Italian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

           The Christian Democrats held leadership until 1994, when the party was dissolved, except from 1981-1987, when it was a junior member of successive coalition governments, some of which included Andreotti as a minister.  During their long time in power, Italy’s economy prospered from its post-war ruins into one of the largest in the world.  
          As the dominant figure within the Christian Democracy, these accomplishments are partly to the credit of Andreotti.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

European Digest: Iceland, the European Monetary Union, the United Kingdom

            Iceland’s main center-right party won the most votes in the Icelandic parliamentary elections, although not nearly enough to govern alone and with a smaller vote total than in the last election when it lost power.  The results nevertheless mean the return to power for the Independence Party that had governed the Scandinavian island state since its independence until four years ago.  As elsewhere in Europe, the debt crisis has created political turmoil in Iceland.

European Monetary Union
            The Cypriot Parliament approved the plan by the European Monetary Union to reduce its debt, which was required in order for Cyprus to receive bailout funds.  Greece is continuing austerity by laying off 15,000 civil servants while France and even the Netherlands are recording budget deficits amidst a poor economy across the Eurozone and much of the rest of Europe.

United Kingdom
            The local elections in England reflected popular sentiment against the two coalition parties, the center-right Conservatives and the far-left Liberal Democrats.  Both parties, especially the latter, lost to the center-left Labour and the euroseceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).  UKIP’s showing was the strongest, with over 26% of the vote, suggesting it could possibly wins some seats in Parliament.  The results will encourage the Conservatives to push more forcefully for their proposed referendum on whether to remain in the European Union.  The UK belongs to the EU, but not to the European Monetary Union.  The British have been in favor of returning some sovereignty from the EU.  Immigration and welfare were other issues in the elections amidst the weak economy.  The Tories will now be under increased pressure to do more on these issues and to improve the British economy, lest they lose more ground to UKIP.