Wednesday, December 31, 2014

American Forces End Active Combat Operations in Afghanistan

           United States forces are successfully completing the active combat operations phase of the Afghan War, but both that war and American involvement in it will continue.

            American forces and their Afghan allies, together with a broad international coalition, removed the Taliban, who had controlled most of Afghanistan, from power in 2001, thereby denying al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, and other Islamist terrorists the safe harbor the Islamist Taliban had provided.  U.S. troops have trained Afghan troops and continued to help them fight the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other Islamists to prevent the Taliban from returning to power in Afghanistan and turning it once again into a safe haven for Islamist terrorists.

            A residual American force will remain until the end of 2016, unlike after President Barack Obama withdrew American forces from Iraq after failing to obtain a status of forces agreement, which allowed Islamists to conquer vast swaths of Iraq and establish a quasi-state.  Other coalition partners are also remaining in Afghanistan until they complete a phased withdrawal.

            American involvement in the war in Afghanistan is still ongoing.  As the Afghan civil war is a battle subsumed by the War on Terrorism, U.S. drone strikes against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist terrorists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Theater of operations will continue.  American forces will continue to be involved directly or indirectly in the Afghan civil war.  In addition to training and providing other support to the Afghan government, American troops would back-up Afghan forces, if necessary, and, as always, defend themselves from any attacks by the enemy, just as they did recently in Iraq.

            The U.S. goal must be to prevent the Taliban from regaining control of Afghanistan and providing a safe haven for terrorists like al-Qaeda or other Islamists again.  Strategic decisions on the timetable of any withdrawal of the remaining American forces should be determined by professional military leaders, based upon the conditions in theater, not Obama’s political considerations.  The schedule of withdrawal, if any, ought not to be announced to the enemy in advance, lest it wait out the withdrawal of U.S. forces to attack the Afghan government, as in Iraq.  The strategy of the Islamists has obviously been to kill enough American soldiers to wear down public support for the war to force political leaders to withdraw military forces prematurely—a strategy that cannot be allowed to succeed.  

           American servicemen have accomplished their mission and have made the American people and all the people of the world safer, for which we must express our praise and gratitude.  May the U.S. and its allies have the fortitude and courage to see through victory to the end in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism.   

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Presidential Elections in Tunisia Consummate Representative Government Based on Liberty

           Tunisia has conducted its first presidential election under its new constitution, after successfully conducting parliamentary elections earlier this year.  An official from the dictatorship that was overthrown in 2011 was elected over the Interim President, who was supported by the Islamist Party that had won interim elections, but whose government collapsed earlier this year because of ineffectiveness. 

Tunisians had elected moderates to form a government in parliamentary elections in October under a new constitution approved in January.  The Islamists respected the process and gave up power, as the Interim President, who has called for peace and respect for the democratic process, is expected to do.  The incoming President had invoked Tunisia’s founder, Habib Bourguiba, a moderate who had good relations with the United States.  He has offered to be considerate of the opposition’s concerns and to promote political reconciliation among Tunisians.  

Tunisia is the birthplace of the Arab Spring, the popular protests for more freedom and representative government throughout the Arab world.  The presidential elections and transition of power mark the consummation of Tunisia’s transition to representative government based upon liberty.  See also my posts, from January of this year, New Tunisian Constitution Is a Model of Liberty, and Elections in Ukraine and Tunisia Restore Liberty, from October,  I congratulate the people of Tunisia and wish them the blessings of liberty and peace.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The United States Imposes Additional Sanctions on Venezuelan Dictatorship Officials for Human Rights Abuses

           United States President Barack Obama yesterday signed into law a bipartisan bill approved by the Congress imposing asset freezes and travel restrictions on individual officials of the Venezuelan dictatorship who were responsible for abusing human rights in its recent crackdown on political dissent, such as suppressing peaceful anti-government protests and making political prisoners of opposition figures for exercising their freedom to engage in legitimate political activity.

            Venezuela’s socialist regime has compiled a poor human rights record, according to the leading international human rights organizations and is rated as “Not Free” by Freedom House, the leading organization that rates states around the world on their levels of freedom.  Venezuela is an ally of various anti-American tyrannical regimes and state sponsors of terrorism, including Iran, North Korea, Cuba and RussiaVenezuela aids the Marxist narco-terrorist rebels in Colombia, allows pro-Iranian Islamist terrorist organizations access to its banks and supports Cuba, which is designated by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism that harbors and provides financial support to various terrorists, including some of the Colombian terrorists.  Venezuela’s dictatorship spreads socialism and anti-Americanism throughout Latin America

           I have posted several times over the years to call attention to the lack of liberty in Venezuela, its support of terrorism and its hostile foreign policy.  The additional sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Venezuela’s regime are helpful, but more must be done for freedom.  I again call for the designation of Venezuela’s dictatorship as a state sponsor of terrorism and for further measures to promote liberty and representative government for the Venezuelan people.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

The United States Department of State’s Designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and Freedom House’s Listing of Cuba as “Not Free”

The United States Department of State’s Listing of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
Cuba’s Communist Castro dictatorship has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1982:  In its designation from 2013, the latest year available, the State Department cites Cuba as long having provided safe haven to terrorists, including from ETA (the Socialist Basque separatists) and the FARC (Marxist narco-terrorists of Colombia).  The State Department also notes that Cuba harbors and provides economic support to fugitives from the U.S. 

Freedom House’s Listing of Cuba as “Not Free”
Freedom House, the leading organization in the world that ranks states around the world on levels of freedom lists Cuba as “Not Free,” with a 6.5 ranking out of 7, the lowest possible score, for 2013, the latest year available:

Freedom House observes that Cuba is a “one-party system, in which the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) controls all government and most civil institutions.”  The system is dominated by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro.  As Freedom House explains, “All political organizing outside the PCC is illegal.  Political dissent, whether spoken or written, is a punishable offense, and dissidents are systematically harassed, detained, physically assaulted, and frequently sentenced to years of imprisonment for seemingly minor infractions.”  The Castro dictatorship held over 100 Cubans by the end of 2013 as political prisoners after its most recent crackdown on dissent, according to Freedom House. 

News media in Cuba is “owned and controlled by the state” while “the independent press is considered illegal.”  Internet access is limited and heavily censored, according to Freedom House’s ranking.  Freedom House notes restrictions on religious and academic freedom and a lack of freedom of assembly or even association in terms of political parties, independent associations or even labor unions, as workers may not even bargain collectively, let alone strike.  The judiciary is not independent of the state and racial discrimination against blacks continues to be practiced unofficially by elements of the regime, according to the freedom-ranking organization.  “Freedom of movement and the right to chose one’s residence and place of employment are restricted,” particularly for those who wish to work abroad, Freedom House observes.

The continued lack of economic freedom, despite minimal economic liberalization by the regime, is also noted by Freedom House.  For example, Freedom House found a lack of “expansion of the private sector beyond survival-oriented microenterprises.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Update on the 2014 Congressional Elections: Republicans Win an Additional House Seat

           After a recount, a Republican was certified as elected to the United States of Representatives from Arizona over the Democratic incumbent, giving the GOP a total of 247 seats in the lower chamber of the incoming Congress, their largest majority since 1933.  Republicans gained a net of 13 members in their caucus in the House.  The Democrats will hold only 188 seats.

United States President Barack Obama Legitimizes, Rewards and Props Up the Cuban Castro Communist Dictatorship

           The Cuban Communist dictatorship of Fidel and Raul Castro has been legitimatized and will be propped up by United States President Barack Obama after policy changes Obama announced yesterday after a deal to free an American who was imprisoned by Cuba in exchanged for three Cuban spies.

            The Obama Administration secretly negotiated with terrorists to secure the release of the American.  The Cuban Communist regime is listed by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.  Cuba harbors Puerto Rican terrorists.  An additional reason Cuba should be listed as a terrorism sponsor is that it aids Venezuela’s Marxist anti-American dictatorship, which, in turn, aids Marxist narco-terrorist rebels in Colombia.  Indeed, Cuba is a part of the Axis of Rogues, through which Venezuela, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria and other terrorist-sponsoring regimes states operate against the interests of the U.S. and the free world.  Obama  seeks to remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of states that sponsor terrorism, despite a lack of change in Cuban policy, as required by U.S. law.

            The American who was released was an aid worker who was a subcontractor of the United States Agency for International Development, a federal agency, providing computers to Jewish Cubans in order for them to obtain Internet access, as a way to avoid the censorship of the totalitarian Cuban regime.  The Cuban Communists arrested and convicted him of trumped up charges of espionage.  In the deal with the Obama Administration, the aid worker was released by Cuba on “humanitarian grounds.”  Dictatorships typically release political prisoners or hostages on such grounds as to appear magnanimous instead of ever admitting the confinement was unjustified or appearing to have released the prisoner out of weakness.  Prisoners are used as bargaining chips by dictators.  By exchanging the innocent aid worker for Cuban spies, the Obama Administration tacitly implies the aid worker’s deeds were the equivalent of those of the spies, one of whom was convicted of murder charges because he tipped off the Cuban dictatorship about the plans of a Cuban-American dissident organization’s flights to drop leaflets in Cuba; their plane was shot down over international waters by the Cuban Communists, killing four American citizens.  Thus, by rewarding Cuba’s dictatorship for imprisoning an innocent American, the trading of a hostage for spies incentivizes dictatorships around the world to kidnap more Americans for the release of agents of their regimes or to extract concessions from the U.S.

            Obama announced the easing of financial and travel restrictions on Cuba, despite having dubious legal authority.  These moves will prop up the Cuban economy at its weakest point and, therefore, the Castro regime that promised “Socialist paradise,” but, like every other Communist state, has left its people impoverished while the Party leaders enjoy wealth.  The Communist dictatorship has blamed the embargo for its economic failures.

            Obama also announced the normalization of relations with Cuba through diplomatic recognition of the Castro dictatorship as the legitimate government of Cuba and by seeking to end the American embargo on the Cuban socialist state. The Castros seized power in a revolution in 1959 against a dictatorship under the pretense of liberating Cuba and of not making it into a Marxist-Leninist state.  Instead, they established a brutal Communist dictatorship with a human rights record worse than the regime they replaced.  The Castro regime has slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent Cubans, tortured and imprisoned countless others and keeps 11 million people in bondage.  In addition to legitimatizing the Castro regime through its negotiations, the Obama Administration’s normalization of relations with Cuba grants the Communist dictatorship diplomatic recognition as the legitimate government of Cuba, which provides a public relations bonanza for the tyrannical regime, as well as undermines the morale of freedom-loving Cuban dissidents.  The totalitarian Castro regime has made no structural liberalization to allow any freedoms or opposition political parties or free and fair elections whatsoever in exchange for the concessions from the Obama Administration.  Obama’s Cuban policy change is part of a pattern in his negotiation with anti-American terrorist dictatorships.  As I have posted previously, he similarly granted concessions to Iran before the Iranian regime has given up its nuclear weapons program.

            Obama declared the longstanding American policy toward Cuba as “outdated,” but the only thing outdated is the historical anachronism of the Communist Castro regime, as people around the world have rejected Communism.  The argument that the embargo “has not worked” and that trade and other concessions will expose the Cuban people to other ideas and increase their demand for liberty ignores the fact that the rest of the world’s policy of trading with Cuban for many years has not worked in the least to liberalize politically the Communist dictatorship, just as trade by the U.S. and many foreign states with Communist China and Vietnam have not liberalized those two tyrannical regimes politically to any degree.  Moreover, the American policy on Cuba is not only intended to be efficacious in weakening the Castro regime, but in making a clear moral and political stand against tyranny and in support of the Cuban people’s aspirations for liberty.  In this respect, the old American policy has clearly worked and the new policy of the Obama Administration has demonstrably failed. 

           The Castro regime has long been admired by the Left for its anti-American vitriol and its unabashed socialism.  The Leftists and certain selfish business interests often dismiss Cuban-American dissidents as a kind of biased special interest that is preventing normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba through their political influence.  However, the Cuban-Americans are victims and witnesses to the tyranny of the Castro regime.  

           Much of the world would like to turn a blind eye to Castros’ tyranny of the Cuban people, and to excuse its worldly ulterior motivations, but the United States of America must never forget the eleven million oppressed people ninety miles from its shores.  I call upon Congress to block the end of the embargo and the funding of diplomatic relations with the Castro Communist dictatorship.  Cuba libre!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Conservative Analysis of the United States Federal Spending Authorizations

           United States President Barack Obama signed into law the bill approved by the lame duck Congress that authorizes federal spending for about $1.1 trillion.  The House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans while the Senate is controlled by Obama’s fellow liberal Democrats.  Most federal spending is authorized by the law through the end of September, except for the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only until the end of February because of objections by conservative Republican Congressmen to Obama’s border control policy changes.  

           All federal spending authority would have terminated by the end of the year.  The legislation mostly leaves the status quo unchanged, and thus funds Obama’s federalization of health insurance (“Obamacare”) and other policies, but with several additional minor conservative victories, some of which were particularly upsetting to the Left. 

The spending authorizations continue the budget sequestration cuts that have reduced federal spending by tens of billions of dollars.  The U.S. has been spending at a pace of a trillion dollars a year since the GOP won the 2010 Congressional Elections and subsequently regained control of the House, but the pace would have been even higher without Republicans in Congress forcing Obama to compromise and cut spending.  The authorizations do not rely on any tax increases, while a separate bill also signed into law by the President extends several business and personal tax breaks that would have expired. 

The new Congress, both chambers of which will be led by Republicans, will be sworn in to office in January and have the opportunity to propose more spending restraint for the rest of the budget year and other conservative reforms within the legislation that authorizes spending.  In addition, the Congress may make use of the legislative option of spending rescissions. 

The authorizations relax a number of environmental, health and banking regulations.  On the environment, the law bars federal money to force the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs while prohibiting the listing on the Endangered Species list of an animal that would have created an impediment to industry.  In regard to health, the regulations that would have reduced the salt content of the federal funding of school lunches were weakened.  Banking regulations were eased by not requiring separate accounts for reserves for certain types of derivatives, which were a small percentage of those regulated under the onerous Sarbanes-Oxley regulation.  The authorizations also bar federal money for marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia and increase certain contribution limits for political donors.

The defense authorization requires equal treatment of victims of any past or future act of violence in the American homeland that is inspired by certain foreign terrorist organizations eligible for Purple Hearts or veterans benefits for servicemen and Medals of Freedom for civilian federal government employees with the victims of any similar acts committed abroad.  The intent was to include the acts of violent jihad on the military recruitment center in Arkansas that killed one American soldier and the Ft. Hood Massacre in Texas that killed U.S. 13 soldiers and civilian contractors, both of which occurred in 2009.  See my post last post on this subject in September of 2013, Now Is the Time for Congress to Declare the Ft. Hood Shooting an Act of War, In it, I cite my earlier posts about the Obama Administration’s failure to identify the enemy in the War on Terrorism as Islamists and the Arkansas and Ft. Hood attacks on the American homeland in particular as acts of violent jihad and thus battles of that war and the unequal treatment of the victims of violent jihad in the American homeland, even though the enemy has made the entire world, including the American homeland, its battlefield.  It is disappointing that Obama had to be forced to sign the provision through the defense authorization bill.  Conservatives should call upon the Administration to carry out the provision and award the medals and grant the benefits to the victims.

Another provision of the defense spending law authorizes the sale by the U.S. of lethal arms to the government of Ukraine.  The Obama Administration has only been providing the Ukrainian military non-lethal materiel in the face of invasion by Russia, a superpower.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pro-Westerners Win Parliamentary Elections in Moldova

           Like Ukrainians, Moldovans recently chose pro-Western parties over pro-Russian ones in parliamentary elections.  Moldova had ratified a trade deal several months ago with the European Union that Russia opposed, preferring Moldova remain in the Russian orbit. 

           The former Soviet Republic of Moldova has been concerned about the Russian Federation’s irredentism towards Transnistria, a breakaway Russian-speaking region, like Eastern Ukraine that Russia invaded, part of which (Crimea) it annexed.   

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Republicans Sweep the Congressional Runoff Elections in Louisiana

           Republican Congressional candidates for United States Senate and member of the House of Representatives were all elected in runoff elections in Louisiana today. 

           The Republican Party adds two Representatives to its caucus in the House, for a total of 246, while the pickup of a seat in the upper chamber gives the GOP a total of 54.  The Democrats have 189 in the House and 46 in the Senate, respectively.  Including the results from the Louisiana runoffs, Republicans gained a net of 12 House and 9 Senate seats in the 2014 General Election.  With the defeat of Louisiana’s incumbent Democratic Senator, no member of the party of Andrew Jackson holds any statewide federal or state office in the deep South.  Republicans also control every state legislative chamber.  The region was once known as the “Solid South” for its support of the Democratic Party.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Obama Administration’s Increases its Reward for Irresponsible Borrowers

           The Obama Administration is extending an unfair program to help those borrowers who were dishonest about their creditworthiness for obtaining a mortgage or who got in over their heads by purchasing homes far larger than they could afford to maintain.  

           The Administration is doubling the amount of the mortgage principle reduction for borrowers at risk of foreclosure for failure to pay their mortgages from $5,000 to $10,000. The welfare program is funded at the expense of taxpayers who were responsible and yet who lost value in their homes as a result of the mortgage defaults that burst the housing bubble, which exacerbated significantly the recession and caused the Panic of 2008.  Such policies thus reward irresponsibility while punishing responsibility with taxation.  Furthermore, there has been no federal aid for responsible homeowners to make up for the loss of their home equity. 

            See also my post from April of 2012, on a related story in which I expound on the issue of federal aid for mortgage holders in greater detail, Outrageous Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Rewards Irresponsible Homeowners,  In it, I also explain the complicity of liberal federal policies in causing the problem by promoting lending to irresponsible borrowers in the first place. 

           It was outrage over the Obama Administration welfare program for irresponsible homeowners that it is now extending that sparked the tea party movement in 2009.  I hope that outrage over the Administration’s reward for irresponsible borrowers will renew the movement for fiscal responsibility.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving; Sixth Anniversary of My Blog/Blogger Visit Report

           Happy Thanksgiving!  Among my blessings for which I am thanking God are for the sixth anniversary of this blog today and for you who visit it.  Thank you. 

            I thought it would be interesting to share a few overall statistics.  I have now posted over 650 times.  This calendar year is the first that the number of posts did not decline from the previous year.  In fact, with this post, I have already posted more than in any year since 2011.  There are now 14 public Followers of my blog.  A total of 19 visitors have posted 52 comments on 45 different blog posts.  More than a dozen visitors have posted links to my blog on other websites, sometimes more than once or to more than one site each.               

            Blogger visit report
                        Although the data Blogger tracks from visitors is less specific than that of StatCounter, the blog host nonetheless provides useful information.  The overwhelming number of visits that StatCounter tracks are also tracked by Blogger, but the latter tracks far more visits than StatCounter, especially from foreign states.  Blogger detects visits either from the American States in general or from specific foreign states to specific webpages, including from those who do not allow such tracking to be detected by other trackers, like StatCounter.  It is difficult to discern how many of the visits detected by the blog host and not by StatCounter are by humans and not automatically generated by computers, unless Blogger reports the specific words searched or someone informs me privately of having visited, but it detects visits nearly every day and, at some point or another, to every post, as well as many to the blog homepage. 

           Please continue to visit periodically to read the latest news and my unique analysis.  Again, thank you for visiting, commenting or posting pages from my blog to other websites.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

American Concern about the Islamic State’s Capture of Iraq’s Chemical WMDs

The “Islamic State” has reportedly used chlorine gas against Kurdish militia in Syria and in Iraq, against Iraqi troops and Kurdish militia.  The United States is sending chemical weapons detection equipment and protection gear to the Iraqi and Kurdish governments, as well as to a Sunni tribe.  The U.S. is reportedly concerned not only about the Islamist terrorists’ use of chlorine, but its capture of the former Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein’s main known stockpile of chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that it failed to destroy, in violation of both its 1991 cease-fire and United Nations resolutions, which the Americans fear the “Islamic State” could use. 

The American concern further validates the belief that the weapons are not too “degraded” to pose a threat.  However, as I have posted, as recently as earlier this month, the Iraqi WMDs continued to wound both American and Iraqi soldiers for many years after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003.

Foreign Digest: China, Russia, Iran

           Both Communist China and Russia have been more militarily aggressive recently.  China has begun a new assertive tactic in the disputed Spratly Islands by dredging a coral reef next to one of the islands it occupies in order to build a landing strip and a harbor.  The Chinese strategy is to intimidate the other claimants to the South China Sea islands: the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

            The Russian Federation has negotiated an agreement with the breakaway pro-Russian puppet government of Abkhazia, a region of Georgia to place Abkhazian military forces under Russian command.  The deal is the possible first step toward Russia’s annexation of Abkhazia.  A pro-Russian puppet government also rules the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.

           Meanwhile, Iran succeeded in dragging out its nuclear talks with the United States and the other Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, for another seven months.  The terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime is developing a nuclear program that will enable it to produce a nuclear weapon.  The talks are intended to get the Islamic Republic to drop its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.  In the meantime, Iran’s frozen assets will continue to be returned to it.  Combined with the previous easing of economic sanctions that would be difficult to re-impose, the Iranian economy is recovering and there is less leverage on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Update on the Exposure of American Troops to Iraq’s Chemical WMDs

           The New York Times reported last week that around 600 American soldiers were exposed to Iraq’s chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003.  The liberal paper had reported last month that around a dozen and a half soldiers were injured by the exposure to poison gas, nerve gas or blister agents. 

It is unclear to what degree the exposure had led to any short- or long-term health problems, but the larger number underscores the magnitude of Iraq’s chemical WMD arsenal and the reported injuries to the soldiers and concerns about the exposure to the larger number of soldiers further demonstrates how Iraq’s chemical WMDs were not “degraded,” as critics of the Liberation of Iraq continue to claim. 

See also my posts from last month, Thousands More Chemical WMDs Have Been Found in Iraq, Wounding Soldiers, and Follow-Up to the Finding of More Chemical WMDs in Iraq,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Conservative Analysis of the 2014 Pennsylvania General Election

           The Republican wave in the 2014 General Elections extended to Pennsylvania, despite the loss of the incumbent Republican Governor.  

           Keystone State Republicans added to their majorities in both houses of the General Assembly.  The GOP will now hold a 30-20 majority in the Senate, with the gain of three seats, and enjoy a 119-84 edge in the House, its largest since 1958, with the pickup of eight seats.  Taxes, the federalization of health insurance (“Obamacare”) and energy (particularly the State’s natural gas and coal industries) were among the concerns of voters in elected Republicans who were conservative or at least campaigned on conservative issues.  Pennsylvanians opted for divided government as a check on the tax and spend policies of the incoming liberal Democratic Governor, whose election reflected more of a personal rejection of the Republican incumbent than a triumph of liberalism. 

Republicans maintained their 13-5 edge in Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation, including the retention of an open seat in a competitive district.  The same issues in the federal elections were of concern to the voters as elsewhere across the Union.  Voters rejected the liberal Democratic arguments in favor of conservative candidates.              

Conservative Analysis of the 2014 General Election

           Now that the final contests are being determined, it is possible to analyze comprehensively the 2014 General Election.  The results were a dramatic wave for Republicans and especially for conservatives for both federal and state offices.

            The most significant outcome of the General Election was for the United States Senate, where Republicans gained 8 seats to win their first majority in the upper chamber of Congress in eight years.  They will have at least 53 Senators in their caucus, pending a run-off election in Louisiana.  Three incumbent Democrats were defeated, while no incumbent Republicans lost, nor did the GOP lose any open seat it held.

Republicans also added a net of 12 members to their caucus in the House of Representatives, giving them their largest majority since before the Great Depression, 244-189, pending the outcome of two runoff elections in Louisiana in GOP-leaning districts.  Republicans had held a 232-202 majority, as there were two vacancies, two of which had been held by Republicans, the other by a Democrat.  They had won control of the lower chamber in the 2010 mid-term Congressional elections. 

            The federalization of health insurance, also known as “Obamacare,” fiscal policy, terrorism and energy were issues of most concern to voters.  The electorate rejected the liberal Democrats’ main campaign plank on contraception and abortion, while the voters did not find the Democrats’ promises to increase the minimum wage sufficiently appealing.  The numerous scandals and perceived incompetence of the Obama Administration also weighed on Democratic candidates.  These midterm elections were widely viewed as a referendum on President Barack Obama’s performance.  He will now have to govern with both houses of Congress controlled by the loyal opposition.   

            The Republican wave extended to state elections.  The GOP gained a net of two Governors, giving them a 31-18 edge, the most Governors for either party in 17 years, and set records in state legislative contests.  Republicans gained nine legislative bodies, giving the party 67, which is three more than the previous record of 64.  The Democrats control 31, as Nebraska has a unicameral legislature and the Republicans also gained a tie with the Democrats in the West Virginia Senate.  Republicans now hold the office of governor and the majority of both houses of the state legislature in 23 States, while the liberal Democrats can count only seven States in their column, down from their previous total of 13.  The net gain of more than 250 state legislators gives the Republicans over 4,001 across the Union, breaking the previous record set in 1928.

            The Republicans successes for various federal and state offices in West Virginia, Arkansas, Nevada and New Mexico were particularly historic, but the geographic scope of the party’s victories was broad.  The GOP not only held onto many of the offices it had picked up in the 2010 General Election in various regions, but achieved gains that were not confined to their strongholds in the South, the Plains and the Mountain West.  Indeed, Republicans gained in the Midwest and even in the Northeast and Pacific coast, in addition to their strongholds.  In the Midwest, Republicans knocked the incumbent liberal Democratic Governor in Obama’s home state of Illinois out of the gubernatorial mansion and picked up a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa, while gaining U.S. House seats in both States.  Six of the upper Midwestern States will now be led by Republican Governors.  In the Northeast, Republicans were elected Governors in Massachusetts and Maryland.  The GOP also gained five U.S. House seats in that Democratic regional stronghold, including two pickups in New England, where they had no U.S. Representatives, and three in New York, while gaining the majority in the Senate of that State and also regaining control of Maine’s Senate, which they had picked up in 2010, but lost in 2012.  The voters of Washington State elected Republicans to the majority of their state Senate.  In addition, Republicans increased their ranks of state legislators in many States, including even Democratic-dominated California and Pennsylvania, despite losing the office of governor in the Keystone State.

           Of various referenda of particular interest to conservatives, a referendum to increase pro-life regulations was approved in Tennessee, while voters in Massachusetts voted No to a ballot question to increase gasoline taxes, and Nevadans rejected a referendum to raise taxes for education spending.  A ballot question to permit people to obtain drivers’ licenses who had no proof of legal residence was rejected by Oregonians.     

           The election hardly reflected an anti-incumbent sentiment, as only a handful of Republican officeholders were not reelected in any federal or state gubernatorial elections, only a more anti-Democratic sentiment.  The voters elected or reelected Republican candidates who were conservative or at least campaigned on conservative issues.     

Monday, November 3, 2014

Conservatives Votes Are Critically Needed in the 2014 General Election

           The 2014 General Election is critically important for the cause of liberty and for conservatism, as there are elections across the American Union for significant federal and state offices.

           In the federal elections, seats in both houses of Congress are at stake.  Elections are being held for every seat in the United States House of Representatives, while a third of the seats of the Senate are on the ballot.  Republicans are expected to add to their lead in the House and also gain seats in the Senate and possibly even wrest control of the upper chamber of Congress from the liberal Democrats for the first time in eight years. 

These midterm elections are seen as a referendum on liberal Democratic President Barack Obama’s policies, such as the federalization of health insurance, also known as “Obamacare,” his massive deficit spending that failed to stimulate the economy and increased the federal debt dramatically, his weakness in matters of defense and foreign policy and numerous examples of bureaucratic incompetence and scandals that have characterized his second term even more than the first.  His policies are usually supported by liberal Democratic congressional candidates, in contrast to the conservative policies of Republican candidates who favor fiscal responsibility, smaller government, lower taxes, and a robust defense and foreign policy.

Most States are simultaneously conducting gubernatorial elections, as well as state legislative elections.  As in the Congressional elections, there are many conservative candidates worthy of consideration seeking election, often against liberal opponents in these important state elections.  In addition to typical state concerns, federal policies and the constitutional principle of federalism are issues in these gubernatorial contests, such as whether or not to acquiesce to certain liberal federal policies the Obama Administration has been trying to force States to adopt, such as Obamacare or Common Core.

In some States and municipalities, there are also either statewide or local referenda on the ballot, many of which are of interest to conservatives. 

In Pennsylvania in particular, there is an especially critical race for governor, with conservative Republican reform Governor Tom Corbett seeking reelection against a leftist Democratic candidate tied to former liberal Democratic Governor Ed Rendell and to Obama.  Republicans are expected to keep their relatively large lead in the state House of Representatives, but their narrow control of the state Senate is in jeopardy.  Every seat in the lower chamber is on the ballot and half of the seats of the upper chamber. 

Conservatives across the United States must not miss the opportunity to vote in the General Election for better federal and state government.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Pro-Life Record

           In my last post, I enumerated the numerous reforms and improvements of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican.  In a post last month, I cited the leftist planks of the platform of his liberal Democratic opponent, including his pro-abortion on demand planks. 

            The focus on this post is to emphasize Corbett’s record of support for the right to life, including two significant acts.  One was his signing into law a bill to regulate abortion clinics in the same manner as medical service providers for health and safety procedures.  The law was necessary after the discovery of the Philadelphia “House of Horrors” abortion clinic that had not undergone any health inspection by the state.

            Another pro-life act by Corbett was his signing of a bill into law that barred taxpayer money to be spent on abortion on demand through the federalization of health insurance, “Obamacare.” 

           Corbett supports various pro-life legislative proposals, in sharp contrast with his opponent. Governors not only sign legislation, but appoint and direct administrators to carry out their executive authority and appoint judges to fill judicial vacancies and even United States Senators to fill temporary vacancies in Pennsylvania’s two Senate seats.  Therefore, a gubernatorial candidate’s position on the right to life is critically important to protecting this most basic liberty.  

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Record of Reforms and Improvements

           Tom Corbett, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Governor, together with his administration and the General Assembly that is controlled by his fellow Republicans, have established a record of numerous conservative reforms and improvements to the Keystone State.  I have posted many of these examples over the last four years, but have included several examples for the first time in any post in this more comprehensive list.

Fiscal and Economic Improvements
Corbett balanced the Commonwealth’s budget by cutting wasteful spending without raising taxes, despite a $4 billion deficit left over from the previous liberal Democratic Administration.  In fact, he cut business taxes, especially for small businesses.  An additional tax cut eliminated the estate tax for family farms or other small businesses.  The improved fiscal condition and tax cuts have helped reduce Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dramatically from over 8% to around five and a half percent since Corbett took office, with the creation of 185,000 new jobs.

Education reforms
            Corbett balanced the budget without cutting education, as the Commonwealth has set a record in the amount it funds public education, despite the end after Corbett took office of the temporary boost from Obama stimulus money that had been appropriated for education by the previous Governor.  Corbett also established scholarships for school choice for students in failing schools, supported good charter schools, prohibited 5-year contracts for school Superintendents and limited the amounts of their termination buyouts, increased openness and transparency in regard to Superintendents’ performance ratings and required school districts considering hiring teachers to be notified of child abuse allegations made against those candidates.  He eliminated some of the worst aspects of Common Core, such as “national” tests, imposing statewide curriculum and reading lists and data mining that would have violated students’ privacy, while avoiding Common Core’s potential reduction in academic rigor.

Legislative and Election Reform
One of Corbett’s budget cuts was also a legislative reform: the elimination of legislators’ “walking around money” they were permitted to use to give out state taxpayers money at their discretion.  At Corbett’s direction, Pennsylvania joined the interstate vote consortium to screen out voters registered in more than one state.   

Welfare and Unemployment Compensation Reform
            Corbett required drug testing for drug felons receiving welfare benefits, more co-payments for certain services, a reduction of some reimbursement rates and established an asset test.  The Corbett Administration cracked down on welfare recipients fraudulently receiving benefits in additional states by cross-checking other states’ welfare rolls with Pennsylvania’s.  Corbett also reformed unemployment compensation, which saved the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars, while paying off Pennsylvania’s debt to the federal government.

Environmental Improvement
            Corbett implemented reasonable regulation of the state’s natural gas industry and imposed “impact fees” for pollution mitigation, emergency response and road improvements.  Gas drilling has led to an increase in well-paying jobs and state corporate income taxes, as well as tax revenues for municipalities and earnings for landowners and economic development.  The impact fees alone have generated over $200 million a year for the Commonwealth.

Legal Reforms
            Liberty was expanded by Corbett by establishing the Castle Doctrine, which guarantees the right of Pennsylvanians to use deadly force to defend themselves wherever they are legally allowed to be and signing reciprocity agreements with other States for concealed carry permits.  He implemented tort reform by establishing proportional liability.  The former career prosecutor and Attorney General even implemented prison reform to reduce wasteful spending, such as reducing incarceration of non-violent offenders for technical probation violations for minimal matters.

Health and Safety Improvements
Corbett reduced drug abuse by banning synthetic “bath salts” and eliminating “doctor shopping,” the practice of obtaining prescription drugs from more than one doctor simultaneously, by establishing a statewide drug database.  He also banned texting while driving and improved state safety regulations for students’ concussions.

Transportation Improvements
            A major transportation program was approved by Corbett to fix roads and deficient bridges to eliminate bridge weight restrictions that forced longer routes for trucking goods, as well as increased funds for mass transit, airports and ports.  The improvements were funded by lifting a 1981 cap on gasoline taxes, which essentially adjusts the user fee for inflation while sparing motorists and consumers the increased costs associated with poor roads and bridges. 

Standing up for Federalism 
           In addition to his resistance to the federal imposition of Common Core, Corbett upheld the constitutional principle of federalism by successfully opposed the expansion of Medicaid under the federalization of health insurance, “Obamacare,” which would have cost the Commonwealth many millions of dollars.  Corbett successfully negotiated the Obama Administration’s approval of his Healthy Pennsylvania plan, which includes subsidies for the purchase of private insurance instead of expanding Medicaid, which more and more doctors refuse to accept. The plan includes some co-payments, but with voluntary incentives to reduce those payments for better health practices and for obtaining employment.     

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Signs Bills into Law to End Doctor Shopping and “Passing the Trash”

           Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a number of particularly significant bills into law, among various legislation approved recently by the Republican-majority state legislature in its last session before the General Election on Tuesday.

            The first law signed by Governor Corbett eliminates “doctor shopping,” the practice of people who abuse prescription drugs by obtaining such drugs from more than one doctor willing to prescribe them simultaneously, by establishing a statewide drug prescription database.  The bipartisan legislation was cited as necessary especially to reduce addiction to cocaine and heroin, to which prescription drug abusers often are attracted, which has caused a spate of overdose deaths this year.

           The second law Corbett signed closes the legal loophole that allows teachers charged with child abuse who are fired by a school district from being hired by other school districts without any disclosure to their new employers of the abuse allegations, a practice known as “passing the trash.”  After the reform legislation was originally met with some resistance from the teachers’ union, the union changed its stance and the bill was approved by the General Assembly without opposition.

Report on Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. James Cawley’s Speech in Reading for Tom Corbett

           Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor James Cawley gave the keynote speech at the Berks County Republican Committee fall dinner in Reading last night, which I attended.  Cawley spoke in favor of re-elected Governor Tom Corbett and himself, as well as the numerous conservative Republican federal and state legislative candidates in attendance, including United States Representative Joe Pitts, in whose district the dinner was held.

            Cawley noted the turnaround of Pennsylvania’s budget and economy from a $4 billion deficit to three straight balanced budgets, and from an over 8% unemployment rate to one around five and a half percent with the creation of 185,000 new jobs.  He noted how Corbett kept his promises to balance the Commonwealth’s budget without raising taxes.  Cawley refuted the myth that Corbett cut education funding by pointing out that despite the end of the temporary boost of Obama stimulus money shortly after the Governor took office, Pennsylvania spends a record amount on its public schools.  He also noted that even though the state’s natural gas industry does not pay a severance tax, it already pays more state corporate taxes than in other states, in addition to impact fees Corbett imposed. 

            Cawley warned the voters not to return to the old tax and spend policies of Democratic Governor Ed Rendell by voting for their liberal Democratic opponent, who had served as the tax collector for the Rendell Administration and who supports U.S. President Barack Obama’s anti-Pennsylvania policies, such as Obamacare and killing the state’s coal industry.  Other than a few basic biographic facts, Cawley observed how little is known about their liberal Democratic opponent, except that he will not reveal his true intentions, such as the specifics about his plan to raise taxes and spend billions of dollars.  

           The audience was optimistic that at this critical political crossroads Pennsylvania voters will not go back to those policies, but will continue with the fiscally responsible policies and reforms of the Corbett-Cawley Administration.

Elections in Ukraine and Tunisia Restore Liberty

           Ukrainians voted earlier this week in parliamentary elections for pro-Western members, who won a majority, in Ukraine’s first popular elections after the overthrow of its oppressive, corrupt pro-Russian government and subsequent invasion by the Russian Federation.  The new President had already been several months ago.  The transitional government ratified a trade deal with the European Union.  The rejection of such a deal by the previous government in favor of one with Russia touched off the protests that lead to its ouster.  The new Government is expected to continue to support an opening with the West, while opposing pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine with Russian support, while trying to improve relations with the Russian Federation as much as possible.  Russian and Ukraine recently reached a deal on natural gas, for example.

            In the first elections in Tunisia since the “Arab Spring” that began there led to the overthrow of the state’s longtime dictator, Tunisians voted earlier this week for members of parliament under a new constitution that guarantees liberty.  Islamist parties lost to secular parties that are expected to form a government that will continue Tunisia’s fight against Islamist terrorists. 

           The free and fair elections in Ukraine and Tunisia exhibited the return to representative government, beyond the good results.  Congratulations to the people of Ukraine and Tunisia.  May you enjoy and ever safeguard your liberty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cinfici Is Appointed to the Reading Planning Commission

           My nomination by Mayor Vaughn Spencer of the City of Reading to fill a vacancy on the five-seat Planning Commission was approved by City Council Monday by a vote of 7-0. The Mayor and all members of the Council are Democrats. The term lasts until April 1, 2016.     

           I thank the Mayor and Council for their confidence and am honored to serve the City of Reading.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Conservative Analysis of the Violent Jihadist Attacks in Canada

           I extend my sympathy and support to all Canadians for the deaths of two of their countrymen in two separate incidents this week in which two soldiers were murdered by Canadian Islamists in Canada.

            These acts of treason were acts of violent jihad (Islamic holy war), but not acts of terrorism.  As I have posted repeatedly, terrorism is a strategy of illegitimate warfare that targets innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace to give into the demands of the terrorists.  These acts targeted soldiers, not civilians. 

Although these jihadists have been described as “lone wolves,” like their fellow American jihadists who beheaded a co-worker in Oklahoma or attacked policemen in New York, these individuals may not have conspired with anyone else and acted alone in carrying out their attacks, but were certainly converted to militant Islam by those who believe it the duty of all Muslims to kill infidels who refuse to submit.  Even if some of these individual jihadists have a degree of mental illness, they are nonetheless vulnerable pray for Islamists.  As in the United States, many violent jihadists, such as the two Canadians, were converted to Islamism while incarcerated.

The acts of violent jihad in Canada were not in retaliation for Canada’s support of the international coalition against the “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq, as these jihadists both had been inclined toward militancy for a long time before Canada joined the coalition – or even before the U.S. started to lead it.  The “Islamic State” provided a convenient excuse for those who believe it their religious duty to kill by encouraging such attacks against coalition partners.  In other words, these individuals’ violent jihad has been co-opted by terrorism, but the violent jihad is the root of the evil.  Canada was a soft target because of its lesser security precautions and a belief on the part of some Canadians that they would never be targeted, especially by fellow Canadian citizens.  

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a strong statement against being intimidated by such acts and reiterating his continued support for fighting the “Islamic State,” as indeed, the attacks validated Canadian the Government’s concern that the enemy was Islamicizing Canadian citizens domestically and even training those who volunteered to join the fight in the Levant and return to threaten Canada, which is why it was among the foreign states denying passports to those who would travel abroad to join the terrorist army and was monitoring suspected domestic Islamists. 

I am confident that Canada will strengthen its security measures and will remain a steadfast ally in the War on Terrorism, as it has been.  May God keep Canada glorious and free.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tom Wolf’s Leftist Platform: Tax and Spend; Promote Abortion and Gun Control; and Limit Coal and Gas

           As if being anti-coal and natural gas, pro-abortion (including public funding of abortion on demand) and anti-right to keep and bear arms were not out of step enough with Pennsylvanians, Democratic gubernatorial nominee would also be a liberal tax and spender to a massive degree should he be elected Pennsylvania Governor and implement his left-wing platform.

            Here are some of the known planks of Tom Wolf’s leftist platform:

           Raise taxes on those earning above around $70,000 a year by approximately 188% 

           Dramatically increase spending by billions of dollars

           Undo welfare reform by eliminating the asset test for determining eligibility for welfare benefits

           Ignore the state’s worsening multi-billion dollar pension crisis

           Maintain the Commonwealth’s wholesale and retail monopoly on alcohol and continue to prohibit Pennsylvanians from purchasing alcohol out of state

           Impose a moratorium on further natural gas development and impose an additional tax on the natural gas drilling companies, in addition to the high corporate state taxes they already pay

           Support the Obama Administration’s anti-coal policies

           Expand Medicaid under the federalization of health insurance “Obamacare,” which could cost the     Commonwealth millions of dollars and expand a program that is already broken, including funding abortion on demand with taxpayer dollars

           Eliminate reasonable restrictions on abortion

           Redefine marriage to recognize legally homosexual unions

           Require facilities to include “gender” neutral bathrooms

           Require public schools to include “gender identity” and sexual orientation in their curriculum

           Not eliminate real estate taxes

           Eliminate charter schools 

           Implement numerous unreasonable restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, such as requiring background checks for the transfer of a gun from one family member to another, banning the possession of certain sporting guns, opposing reciprocity agreements with other states for concealed carry permits and giving municipalities the power to restrict even further the right to keep and bear arms.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Debunking Myths about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett: Education, Pensions, Natural Gas and Taxes

Corbett did not cut education funding
            Pennsylvania received a temporary boost from Obama economic stimulus money in 2009 that Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, appropriated into the basic education subsidy for the Commonwealth’s school districts.  The districts were warned the money was only temporary.  As a school director at the time, I warned my district not to use the money for long-term items, such as hiring permanent staff, for example.  Some districts budgeted accordingly, but many did not.  The end of the stimulus money was not a cut, but simply an expected return to previous levels.  School district spending has risen sharply over the years and is now at its highest level ever under the Corbett Administration, although it is worth noting student performance levels do not necessarily correspond to spending levels.  Despite the end of the stimulus and the pension crisis in Pennsylvania, school districts across the Commonwealth hold combined budgetary reserves of several billion dollars. 
The claim that the Commonwealth’s subsidization of the teachers’ pension fund does not count toward the budget is a related myth.  The teachers’ pension fund has counted toward the education budget for the last four decades.  School real estate taxes have risen primarily because of Pennsylvania’s pension crisis.    

Corbett did not under-fund pensions
            Several factors have combined to produce Pennsylvania’s pension crisis before Corbett took office in 2011.  First, benefits were raised in 2001.  The Commonwealth subsequently reduced funding a number of times over the years during previous administrations.  In addition, the fund was depleted by stock market losses after the Panic of 2008. 

Natural gas companies do pay taxes to Pennsylvania
            The comparison of Pennsylvania to other states that impose natural gas extraction fees on gas drilling companies does not account for a key difference: Pennsylvania, which taxes both corporate income and assets, has the highest corporate tax burden in the United States.  Like companies in every other industry, natural gas companies pay corporate taxes.  On top of corporate taxes, the natural gas industry also pays an impact fee to counties and municipalities for road repair, emergency response needs, environmental remediation and other related costs.  These impact fees amount to over $200 million a year.

Corbett did not raise taxes
           Corbett kept his promise not to raise taxes to balance the Commonwealth’s budget, despite a four billion-dollar shortfall leftover from the previous administration.  He also did not raise tax rates.  In fact, Corbett cut taxes, including various business taxes, such as restarting the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax and exempting small family-owned businesses from estate taxes.  Corbett did lift an arbitrary cap on gasoline taxes, which are a user fee that periodically must be raised to keep up with inflation, in order to fund an urgent major transportation bill approved by the Republican majority legislature to repair roads, bridges and make other transportation improves.  Without adjusting gas taxes, Pennsylvanians would have had to continue to pay more for every good that was shipped by truck because of longer routes that were necessitated by poor roads and bridges, upon which weight restrictions had been imposed because of structural deficiency.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Follow-Up on the Finding of More Chemical WMDs in Iraq

           In my last post, I noted the reported discovery of thousands of chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq that had been retained by the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, in violation of United Nations resolutions that required him to destroy the weapons.  Reportedly, the weapons remained dangerous and even potentially lethal for many years after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003, even wounding American and Iraq soldiers.  Some of the opponents of the war have been misinterpreting the evidence that proves Iraq did have WMDs and did pose a threat either to use them itself or give them to terrorists.  

These chemical WMDs and were among those known about by UN inspectors that Iraq was required to destroy, both under the 1991 ceasefire that ended the Liberation of Kuwait and UN resolutions.  Some of them had been left at a staging area or had been transferred there, where they were supposed to be destroyed by Baathist regime.  Despite the threat of war over its retention of such weapons, as well as the chemicals used to make them, such as sarin and nerve gas, Iraq failed to destroy them.  The presence of some of these weapons at the staging area is not conclusive evidence that Hussein’s regime ever intended to destroy them.  Opponents of the war believed either that Iraq had destroyed the weapons or the United States had when the Clinton Administration bombed Iraq to degrade its WMD program or they believed the duplicitous Saddam Hussein’s claims that the weapons had been destroyed.  The critics held firm to this belief without any convincing evidence of the destruction of the weapons, such as the destroyed weapons themselves, or at least videotape or photographs of the destruction of the weapons or the destroyed weapons. 

Similarly, some of the opponents of the Liberation of Iraq dismiss the significance of the threat from these chemical WMDs, including those not found at the staging area, by describing them as having been “abandoned” by the Iraq regime.  That the chemical WMDs were buried instead of destroyed does not necessarily signify an intention to abandon them, but reasonably suggests an intention to reuse them at a later time, such as after UN sanctions on Iraq had been lifted.  A related argument of war critics and apologists for the Baathist regime is that the chemical WMDs were unknown to Iraq because it had lost track of them, despite the threat of war over its failure to destroy these WMDs and the overthrow of the regime.  However, it is unlikely that a totalitarian regime could possibly lose track of such a valuable state asset.  Such regimes are defined by their total control and are notorious for keeping meticulous records.  At best, it could be theorized that the chemical WMDs, which were artillery shells filled with prohibited chemicals, were deliberately mixed in with conventional shells, which, in a sense, validates the observation by the Duelfer Report that Hussein’s Iraqi regime was in some ways “more dangerous” than previously thought.

Liberal and other opponents of the Liberation of Iraq accused the Bush Administration and other supporters of the war of changing their rationale for the war, but it is the critics who have changed their rationale.  First, they opposed the war beforehand, citing, among other things, the threat from Iraq’s known chemical weapons of mass destruction.  Then, after large stockpiles of WMDs were not immediately found, they claimed the weapons were non-existent – an argument they would continue to make, despite the repeated discovery of WMDs, or at least of minimal threat.  Next, after some chemical WMDs were discovered early in the war in improvised explosive devices set by insurgents, they cited these WMDs as a “new threat” to American and coalition soldiers, as if to blame the Bush Administration for allowing the weapons to escape the implicitly preferred control of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime.  In 2006, when the discovery of a tally of over 500 chemical WMDs and counting was announced by the United States, the critics dismissed the weapons as too “degraded” to be a threat, even though they had cited them as a threat in 2003, which is when it mattered whether or not they had remained a threat.  Now, after admitted that the weapons wounded American and Iraqi soldiers for several years after 2006, and thus remained a threat, they are back to regarding these old weapons as a continued threat if they would be mishandled or fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists, instead of remaining in the control of Hussein. 

The fact that Iraq’s chemical WMDs were often hidden and the totalitarian nature of the “Republic of Fear” explain the difficulty in finding them sooner and also exposes another logical contradiction in the arguments of the opponents of the war.  The critics claimed mistakes by the intelligence services in exaggerating or even misleading about Iraq’s WMDs, but apparently these critics had supreme confidence in the same intelligence agencies’ effort to find WMDs that were hidden across a territory the size of California.  If these critics were consistent, they would have criticized the failure of the intelligence agencies to find the WMDs, or at least to find more of them sooner, instead of jumping to the conclusion that because the intelligence agencies they criticized as incompetent could not find the WMDs, the WMDs must not exist.

As I noted in my last post, the Liberation of Iraq was abundantly justified because of the Baathist Hussein regime’s history of aggression and terrorism that made it a threat even without possessing WMDs.  Iraq signaled its intent to continue hostilities both by violating the 1991 cease-fire by shooting at American and Coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones and by refusing to destroy its WMDs, like a convicted felon who refused to allow an inspection of his home to verify whether or not he had guns.  Iraq’s refusal, which was also a violation of UN resolutions, allowed it to continue to intimidate its neighbors.  The Baathist also regime harbored and financed terrorists who targeted and killed Americans and had attempted the assassination of former United States President George H.W. Bush.  All of these acts were sufficient alone to justify war, but made war a compelling choice when taken collectively, as they ought to have been.   

An active Iraqi WMDs was never necessary as a justification of war, but the Hussein regime’s retention of its WMDs after the end of sanctions was, in fact, an additional specific justification cited by the U.S. and only added to the urgency to act, especially after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.  The U.S. was concerned that Iraq’s retention of its WMDs suggested its intent to restart its WMD program after the lifting of sanctions.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thousands More Lethal Chemical WMDs Have Been Found in Iraq, Wounding Soldiers

           The liberal New York Times reports that 5,000 chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDS) have been found so far in Iraq – a figure that is ten-fold the number previously reported by the United States in 2006 – and that this number was known beforehand but not previously publicly disclosed.  The true number of Iraqi WMDs may never be known because of improper documentation and disposal methods in battlefield conditions that disincentivized proper reporting, according to the Times report.

The Times further reports that – contrary to critics of the Liberation of Iraq who had dismissed the lethality of Iraq’s chemical WMDs that had been discovered – these chemical munitions remained dangerous to the point of being lethal and even wounded several American soldiers from 2004 to as late as 2008 and also Iraqi soldiers as recently as 2010.  The soldiers were wounded through exposure to nerve or blister agents from artillery shells with chemical warheads, according to the report, and mishandled during their removal and destruction.  These chemical WMDs were either set up by insurgents, knowingly or not, as improvised explosive devices that targeted American and allied troops, or were scattered among stockpiles of conventional munitions, the Times reports.

The Times report exposes the necessity of providing proper care to soldiers wounded by Iraq’s chemical weapons because they had not received appropriate care, as well as to award them Purple Hearts for being wounded in action. 

These chemical weapons were among the stockpile Iraq’s Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein had either never disclosed or never convincingly proved it had destroyed, as it had been required to do under United Nations resolutions.   Despite the claim of the Times in its report that the Administration of U.S. President George W. Bush justified the Liberation of Iraq because of its insistence of an active Iraqi WMD production program, the concern that Iraq had retained a stockpile of WMDs was sufficient to justify war, apart from the reason that its WMDs were of concern in the first place, which was Iraq’s history of military aggression and state sponsorship of terrorism.  The report proves not only that Iraq was, indeed, a threat because of its WMDs, but that American and allied forces were successful in eliminating far more WMDs than previously known.  Alas, the Times report suggests that more Iraqi chemical WMDs may get into the hands of the “Islamic State,” which had already captured Iraq’s chemical weapons storage facility.

For more on the justifications for the Liberation of Iraq, including its chemical WMDs, see two comprehensive website compilations of links.  The first was posted in July of 2010 by a commenter, “Free Stinker,” on a discussion forum entitled “The Invasion of Iraq – Still the Right Thing To Do” on the Newsbusters website, which includes links to U.N., U.S. government and mostly liberal news media reports about Iraq’s use and retention of prohibited WMDs and chemicals and their discovery after the Liberation of Iraq, its overall WMD program, as well as Iraq’s possession of banned missiles, history of serial aggression, extensive sponsorship of terrorism and attempted assassination of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush:  An additional justification cited by the forum commentator was Iraq’s violation of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Liberation of Kuwait.  I note Iraq’s cease-fire violations especially in the three years from the year 2000, the last year of the Clinton Administration, through the beginning of the Bush Administration until the Liberation of Iraq in 2003.  Violating the cease-fire signified Iraq’s intention to continue hostilities, for Hussein considered “The Mother of All Battles” never to have ended.  Indeed, Iraq was at war with the United States and its coalition partners from 1991-2003, long before George W. Bush became President, which was one reason Clinton had made it American policy to overthrow Hussein.  The second compilation appears on the “That’s Right I Said It” blog of U.S. Navy veteran Joe Kidd:, which particularly includes links to U.N. and U.S. documents and reports from a wide spectrum of the media about the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein’s retention of prohibited WMDs and chemicals the discovery of them and related materiel over several years, and Iraq’s overall WMD program, including October of 2010 reports about the WikiLeaks publication of secret U.S. documents that describe the finding of WMDs in Iraq. 

Both compilations include reports of Iraq’s violations of the arms embargo and intent to restart its WMD development program after obtaining the lifting of sanctions.