Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year; Blog Notes

           I wish you all a Happy New Year!  May you have a good year in every way. 

May there be more peace, freedom and prosperity in the world and May God bless America and Pennsylvania particularly.     

My last post was my 750th.  With this post, I have now posted more times this year than in 2013.  As always, thank you for visiting.  Please continue to visit periodically.  

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Partially Vetoes Another Balanced Budget that Did Not Raise Taxes

           Liberal Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf used a line-item veto on key portions of the $30+ billion 2105 balanced budget that did not raise taxes which was approved with bipartisan support by the Republican-majority General Assembly. 

In addition to vetoing other spending, including for the Legislature and other punitive spending cuts, Wolf vetoed education spending, thus making the only cuts to education in the 2015 budget process.  He claims that the budget represented a cut to education funding, but there was an overall net increase of hundreds of millions of dollars in the Commonwealth’s budget, on top of already-record spending levels for education.  Liberals like Wolf call any spending level that is less than desired, even if it is an inflation-adjusted increase over the previous year, a “cut.”

Billions of dollars could be freed up for education or other spending or to reduce taxes if Wolf and the Legislature could agree to significant public employee pension reform.  A compromise they reached earlier in the process would have made only modest progress toward that goal. 

            By signing the rest of the budget, Wolf was able to free up funds for counties, municipalities and school districts, as well as for state-contracted social service entities.  However, funds for Medicaid and corrections were among the line items that were vetoed.  As I have posted, he could have exercised a line-item veto several months ago on the budget approved by the June 30 end-of-the-fiscal-year deadline in order to avoid the crisis the budget impasse has caused, or signed a stopgap budget into law, but he wanted to put pressure on the Republican legislative majority to give into his demands to raise taxes to fund his spending spree. 

Wolf’s recent blaming of the House of Representatives for the impasse after the Senate had approved a compromise budget was a tacit acknowledgement that he had been the culprit heretofore.  His exercise of the line-item veto, signing of the rest of the budget and freeing up of certain funds even more clearly proves that he was responsible for the crisis.  With less of a crisis atmosphere, now the Chief Executive and the Legislators can better work out a more fiscally-responsible compromise.  

The Legislature should continue to approve spending cuts to pay for any further increases for education, instead of increasing the already-high burden of taxation born by citizens and businesses in Pennsylvania.  In particular, they should enact significant pension reform without underfunding the Commonwealth’s pension obligations.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 Message

           I wish you all a Merry Christmas! 

Even more than before, I am thinking especially this year of our Christian brothers in the Holy Land who are being violently persecuted for their faith and driven to flee en masse from their native lands.  May we pray and do what good deeds we can for their sake.  

May God bless them and all of you.      

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Environmental Benefits of Warmer Weather

           The Eastern United States has been experiencing a milder meteorological winter than usual, with many record-breaking higher highs and lows.  Ever-fluctuating global temperatures, which had risen to some degree the previous few decades for a variety of reasons that are not all fully understood, have been stable for nearly two decades. 

Therefore, with temperatures having reached a plateau, only a slight increase from the twenty-year mean is likely to produce broken records, as records have only been kept since the late Nineteenth Century, at most, which is an insignificant length of geologic time. 

            Regardless, the warmer weather has demonstrated how higher temperatures benefit the environment, as warming necessitates less energy usage for heating.  Because of lower demand for energy, less drilling or mining for fossil fuels is necessary, which, in turn, saves more energy and also causes less environmental contamination or disruption, and less energy is required to refine or transport fuel.  What is even more significant is the decreased burning of fossil fuels, which, in turn, leads to less production of so-called “greenhouse gases” that are theorized to be responsible for global warming, such as carbon dioxide, thereby creating a positive feedback loop.  In addition, with rain instead of snowfall, less environmentally-damaging salt is put on roads.  

           At times in geologic history, the earth’s climate swings have been dramatic, as the planet has been either mostly glaciated or almost not glaciated at all, with tropical climates even in the arctic.  The earth is currently in another relative interglacial period of its most current Ice Age.  It is reasonable to expect at some point over the next tens of thousands of years yet another disastrous period of extreme glaciation, in which case some off-setting global warming would be welcome.  

           Indeed, modest global warming would be beneficial for life, as sea-life would flourish over a larger area and although there would be even less land, much of the remaining land would be more vegetated and inhabitable by wildlife and more arable than it is currently.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Update on the Pennsylvania Budget: the Legislature Passes a Balanced Budget with no Tax Increases

           The Republican-led Pennsylvania General Assembly approved by nearly a two-thirds majority a balanced budget for the 2015 fiscal year that began July 1 that does not raise taxes.  The bill received bipartisan support.  It is now up to liberal Democratic Governor Tom Wolf to sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.

            The budget impasse—the longest in Pennsylvania in 45 years—was created by Wolf’s vetoes of previous balanced budget bills that did not raise taxes, including a stop-gap measure, as he demanded dramatically more spending and taxes.  He even opted not to exercise his line-item veto authority to remove the provisions he opposed and sign into law the majority of the bills he favored.  Wolf, the most liberal Governor in the American Union, refused to release funds to schools or contracted public service agencies or to pay certain vendors or employees in order to create a crisis to try to exert political pressure on legislators to give into his demands. 

            The measure approved by the legislature authorizes $30.3 billion in spending by the Commonwealth, which is less than Wolf demanded, but is nonetheless a 3.7 increase, including $300 million more for schools than in the 2014 budget, which were already receiving a record amount. 

The plan lacks any much-needed pension reform for public employees or alcohol privatization, both of which were priorities for conservative Republican legislators.  All House Democrats had voted yesterday against a pension reform compromise that had been agreed to by Wolf and the Senate in exchange for more taxing and spending because the minority caucus in the lower chamber opposed shifting any future employees into even a less-costly hybrid plan, while a majority of the GOP caucus opposed the measure because it would have led to inadequate savings and underfunded the state pension plans without producing any savings for the current fiscal year.  Because Wolf and the legislature could not agree on adequate pension reforms that could be supported by a majority of the House, a majority of neither chamber of the legislature could support a tax increase to fund Wolf’s proposed spending spree.  Pension reform would be among the ways for the Commonwealth to reduce wasteful spending to avoid future tax increases or even to reduce taxes, as Pennsylvania already has one of the higher burdens for personal and business taxes.  Alcohol privatization would increase state revenue through the sales of licensing and the collection of more taxes from sales with better consumer convenience, selection and pricing.

            After agreeing to the Senate compromise, Wolf blamed the crisis he created on the House for not giving into his demands and concurring with the Senate.  But now that both legislative chambers have approved a balanced budget that significantly increases education spending, despite a decrease in student performance over the last few decades as state spending on education has skyrocketed, he would be solely responsible yet again for extending the budget impasse. 

It is time Wolf recognizes that Pennsylvanians neither need nor want to pay more in taxes for wasteful spending.  Conservatives in the General Assembly have held the line against tax increases.  With the support of conservative private citizens, may these legislators continue to stand firm for fiscal responsibility while continuing to work for adequate public pension reform and alcohol privatization.  

Note: I am among the state employees who have not received compensation for their public service because of Wolf’s budget crisis.  Although it is claimed and reported that state employees have been receiving their pay, I have not received any checks since June for one of the two commissions I hold, as the Administration reclassified us employees commissioned for certain additional services earlier this year as “vendors.”  

Follow-Up on the Continued Victimization of Cinfici by “Obamacare”

           In my last post, I calculated an inflation rate of over 124% for my health insurance premiums since the inception of the federalization of health insurance, known as “Obamacare.”  However, that figure was calculated over a two-year (24-month) period.  For the inflation rate during only the 17 months since the inception, I have calculated the figure to be 303%!

            I note there were significantly fewer choices in plans this year, especially in Pennsylvania.  Although the lack of selection made the choice easier, it meant there was less competition and thus more cost for consumers.  Plans were cancelled the first year because they were not exactly compliant with the federalization of health insurance, despite the promises that people could keep the plans they liked, while many plans were cancelled this year because of the increased losses from Obamacare to insurance companies, as dramatically more Americans than the Administration expected have opted either for Medicaid or not to obtain health insurance.  

           The Obama Administration has continued to extend the mid-December deadline to obtain a new health insurance plan in order to avoid any monthly gaps in coverage by the start of the year because there were tens of millions of Americans, including many of us for the second year in a row, scrambling to replace their current plans that were cancelled because of Obamacare.  

           In short, among other problems, Obamacare has led to increased costs, less choice and more inconvenience for the many Americans who had been satisfied with their previous health insurance plans.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Continued Victimization of Cinfici by “Obamacare”

For the second year in a row, my health insurance plan, like that of millions of other Americans, was discontinued because of the federalization of health insurance, known as “Obamacare,” inconveniencing me into again having to find another plan by a deadline on relatively short notice. 

See my post from May of last year, The Victimization of Cinfici by Obamacare,, in which I note the dramatic increase in both my premium and deductible for relatively little advantage.  

I also experienced this year how non-user-friendly the federal website for shopping for health insurance is, as it repeatedly led me in circles, among other problems, such as its inability to allow the visitor to go back to certain previous pages.  The site had infamously crashed at its inception and caused other problems, but the media has not reported any ongoing problems. 

The premium of the new health insurance plan is 25.85% higher than the old one, meaning that my premium has increased 175.67% in only 17 months, which represents an annualized inflation rate of 124.43%.  The pre-Obamacare plan I had until mid-2014 did not cover as many unnecessary items as are required under Obamacare, and I had the option to exchange a higher deductible for a lower premium, which I am not permitted today.  The increases in the premium are greater than the value of more covered preventative care benefits.  I would not have chosen such an expensive plan, as lower premiums would have made any necessary care more affordable and I did not need to be incentivized by a paternalistic federal government to seek preventative care.  Like my current plan, my previous plan was cancelled, even though I was satisfied with it and liberal Democratic President Barack Obama had promised that people could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them.

Obama’s quasi-socialist federalization of health insurance is a thinly-veiled form of wealth redistribution, even apart from the massive increase in subsidization through Medicaid, as the increases in premiums on the middle class and wealthy are paying for those who are poor, and those who take care of their health are forced to subsidize those who do not adequately take care of themselves, instead of being rewarded with lower premiums for being less of a risk.  There are numerous other problems associated with Obamacare, such as higher costs for the federal and state governments, a tax on medical devices, less choice for patients of healthcare providers and other interference in the doctor-patient relationship and the providing of care.  

Conservatives should continue to work for the total repeal of Obamacare and the elimination of the federal restriction on interstate purchases of health insurance, as well as for federal and state tort form.  In addition, federal and state tax policies should encourage the complete separation of health insurance from employment, by at least taxing employer-provided health insurance as income, which would eliminate the current unfairness for those who purchase their own insurance; such changes would make many patients appreciate better the costs of health care and thus to incentivize them in a non-paternalistic way to be healthier by avoiding unhealthy lifestyles and seeking preventative care and to make more fiscally-responsible decisions by avoiding unnecessary healthcare spending.  

Pennsylvania Liberal Democratic Governor Tom Wolf Proposes a $1.2 Billion Tax Increase

          Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, the most liberal state chief executive in the United States, has proposed a tax increase of $1.2 billion to balance the budget and pay for his spending spree, which is an even larger tax increase than the one rejected by the General Assembly last month.  See my post from then: Proposed Pennsylvania State Budget Tax Increase:

            The Commonwealth’s 2015 budget is nearly six months late, after Wolf had vetoed a balanced budget approved by the Republican-led legislature that did not raise taxes and then he even vetoed a stop-gap bill.  He also opted not to exercise his line-item veto authority and sign the rest of the budget into law.  The late budget has created a crisis for Pennsylvania’s counties, municipalities and school districts that are dependent on state money.

            The Senate recently approved Wolf’s latest proposed budget, despite the lack of any specific plan on how to levy the tax increase, whether by income, sales or excise taxes.  Much of the budget and companion bills were passed with little legislative or public review, a process now taking place in the House of Representatives while under pressure from the Wolf Administration to end the crisis immediately.  The Administration now blames the House for the crisis, which is a tacit acknowledgement that he was the culprit for the first five-plus months.

Wolf’s proposed budget raises spending by hundreds of millions of dollars more than his previous budget proposal, including for more pork.  In exchange for the tax and spending increases, in addition to the modest, but critical pension reforms outlined in the previous proposed budget, there would be minimal privatization and liberalization of the alcohol market. 

However, there are some technical pension problems that would cause the state’s pension funds to be underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars and a lack of an otherwise legally-required actual note.  Also, the Commonwealth would retain its wholesale alcohol monopoly, which means all alcohol must continue to be purchased from the Commonwealth while most of its retail monopoly would remain, as no state stores would be sold or privately licensed.  Only those few supermarkets with in-house dining areas that currently may sell non-takeout alcohol would be permitted to sell up to four bottles of wine to go, which means the total state monopoly on the takeout retail of liquor would remain, in addition to numerous other restrictions on the sale of wine and beer.  Pennsylvanians would continue to purchase alcohol across state lines, where there is more convenience and selection, as Pennsylvania would lose millions in revenue to bootlegging. 

There would be more than sufficient savings to balance the budget without any economically-harmful tax increase if there were adequate pension reform and a complete end to the state wholesale and retail monopoly on alcohol, as well as the elimination of pork and corporate welfare, both in terms of spending and special tax breaks.  Conservatives in the House were willing to accept some new spending above inflation and population growth for education, but are unwilling to raise taxes, especially without adequate pension reform and more alcohol privatization. 

Conservatives should continue to insist on a fiscally-responsible balanced budget that reduces spending and does not raise taxes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Democratic Opposition Wins a Supermajority in the Venezuelan Congressional Elections

The people of Venezuela have demonstrated a new way to end dictatorship by electing a supermajority of democratic opposition candidates to the national assembly.  The Socialists had won every election in Venezuela in 17 years and had entrenched themselves in power by increasing authoritarianism and handing out benefits to poor voters to win their support. 

The results are a stunning blow to the left, as Venezuela was the heart of the socialist revolution in Latin America.

The Socialist regime had announced after midnight Eastern Standard Time that the opposition had gained a majority of seats, with several results still uncertain, and the dictatorial President conceded defeat and renounced his implied threat of violence if the opposition won.  By the opposition’s count, they have won at least two-thirds of the congressional seats.  Venezuela has been plagued by a severe economic crisis and a high rate of violent crime.  Even when the oil-rich state benefited from high energy prices, there had been chronic power outages in the “Socialist Paradise.”  Oppression and corruption were additional concerns of Venezuelans that helped produce the opposition victory.

With its supermajority, the opposition not only can override the dictator’s vetoes of legislation, but can fire the vice president and ministers, as well as constitutional and other high court judges and appoint judges in their place, which is crucial because the regime controls the courts.  It can also enact constitutional reforms and place referenda on the ballot, as well as recall or impeach the President. 

As I have posted frequently, Venezuela’s anti-American Socialist regime has exported revolution, thwarted drug control efforts by the United States, given support to Colombia’s Marxist narco-terrorists and other terrorists, and, as a member of what I call the “Axis of Rogues,” even allied itself with Iran and other rogue states.  Despite their democratic election to power, the Socialists had curtailed the freedom of the press and assembly, destroyed the independence of the judiciary, and jailed political opponents on trumped-up charges and prevented many of them from standing for election.  Violence and intimidation were tools of the regime and its supporters to maintain their grip on power.

The opposition had to face the threat of death (and one of them was, in fact, murdered at a rally) to campaign for election and the people, too, had to brave intimidation from the regime in order to cast their ballots for their candidates of choice.  Although there is some concern the regime will try to entrench itself further in power in the next few weeks before the incoming congressmen take office, the opposition is confident it can undo such efforts.   

In addition to addressing Venezuela’s terrible problems and beginning to substitute free-market reforms for socialism, among the priorities of the incoming congressional majority are freeing political prisoners and cutting off subsidies for Communist Cuba and Marxist-led Nicaragua.  As a result of the elections, the incoming pro-American conservative President of Argentina, whose election victory late last month was a harbinger of the beginning of the end of Venezuela’s socialist revolution, has now dropped his efforts to exclude Venezuela from a regional body because of its authoritarianism.  

The win by the Venezuelan opposition guarantees that one of the three branches of government will act as a check on the others, and thus the long-suffering people of Venezuela will be able, at least to some degree, to enjoy liberty.  May Venezuela soon enjoy peace and freedom and may the incoming congressional majority be successful in improving the lives of Venezuelans.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Analysis of the 2015 General Election for Reading School Director

           Although I was not successful in the General Election for one of the five seats for a four-year term for Reading School Director, I would like to thank the nearly 2,300 people who voted for me and all those who supported my candidacy in any way.

            Now that all the votes have been counted, I can analyze the results.  I was pleased that I received more votes this time than I did in the 2009 or 2011 General Elections.  I was among the top five for the five seats on the ballot in five precincts, including most of the largest ones, which includes my own, and tied for fifth place another large one.  I was within the top five overall in the 17th Ward, which is the largest ward and is also my own ward.  I am especially proud that I was most successful in those neighborhoods where I was most known or had campaigned the most intensely.

            Despite a Democratic voter registration advantage over Republicans of 5:1 and despite a relatively large Democratic turnout for the mayoral race and despite being heavily outspent with money that came from outside the Reading School District, the ratio of the vote totals for the candidates who were elected over mine was only 2:1.  Democrats were encouraged by their party to vote push the straight Democratic button in the voting machines or check the straight Democratic box on the paper ballots.  Unlike in the Democratic Primary, when voters were selective of individuals, most of the voters who voted for my opponents voted for all of them, which proves that most Democrats did, in fact, vote straight party.  In addition to Republicans, then, I must have won the votes of at least several hundred Democrats, as well as non-partisan and third-party voters. 

Indeed, I enjoyed tremendous bipartisan support throughout this year’s campaign, for which I am most grateful.  As I noted in my post from May of this year, Analysis of the 2015 Primary Election for Reading School Director,, I came within 64 votes out of thousands cast of winning the Democratic nomination, while finishing in first place on the Republican ballot.  I have proven again that a conservative candidate who champions good, honest government and with a record of reform can appeal to a broad spectrum of voters even in an urban district.

            My campaign was not in vain.  In addition to helping to set the record straight about my previous service on the Reading School Board, I helped prevent the current Board from increasing taxes and educated the incumbent and incoming School Directors on their proper role. 

I shall be observing closely whether or not the new School Board begins to become more open and transparent, to do its job of following the law and Board policy, and to fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers.  

Again, thank you to everyone for your support.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Recent Commonwealth of Pennsylvania News

           The sales tax increase proposed by Pennsylvania’s Liberal Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe that I posted about earlier this month as part of a proposed deal to balance the Commonwealth’s 2016 budget has been turned down by the negotiators for the Republican-majority General Assembly because of opposition from the public, including from this blog, and fellow conservative legislators.  

           See also my post from March of 2013, The Pennsylvania Houses Passes Liquor Privatization,  The new fiscal year began July 1 without a budget, meaning the Commonwealth lacks sufficient authority to spend money, as Wolfe vetoed a balanced budget approved by the legislature that did not raise taxes and later even vetoed a stopgap measure to continue funding at current levels, which has caused a fiscal crisis for the state, as well as for counties, school districts and municipalities.  The legislators had already declined Wolfes proposed income tax increase and imposition of an additional tax on the natural gas industry.  He did partially accept their key proposal for pension reform.  Negotiations continue to reach a budget deal.   

            Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Senate voted 24-24 for the elimination of school real estate taxes, with liberal Democratic Lieutenant Governor Michael Stack casting a tie-breaking vote against the bill.  The vote was the closest the Senate has ever come to the total elimination of the onerous taxes.  The revenue-neutral bipartisan measure would have exchanged school real estate taxes for higher sales and income taxes.  Unlike the proposed budget, however, it would not have resulted in a net tax increase for the average homeowner.

            Wolfe signed into law a bill approved by the GOP-led legislature along mostly party lines that eliminates the exemption from prosecution for harassment, stalking and the like for labor union members during labor disputes.  

           The state House of Representatives again has passed a bill to end the Commonwealth’s wholesale and retail monopoly on alcohol, but Wolfe still supports the state’s socialist system and its Prohibition vestiges that were intended to keep the purchase of alcohol as difficult as possible, even though privatization would help balance this year’s budget with the sale of licenses, as well as future budgets through license renewals and the continued collection of taxes on wine and liquor, which would likely increase if privatization results in better selection and thus less revenue loss to border states, which turns many thousands of otherwise law-abiding Pennsylvanians, sometimes unwittingly, into bootleggers.  Privatization would also end the Commonwealth’s conflict of interest in selling alcohol while regaling its use.

Seventh Anniversary of My Blog; Blog Visit Report

           Friday was the seventh anniversary of my blog.  Thank you for visiting.

            Blogger has tracked an average of several hundred pageviews each month over the last year, with a significant increase over last year, especially since March, despite the fact that I posted fewer times than last year.  Although the blog hosts’ tracking service is not as specific as StatCounter’s, and does not always capture every pageview that the latter does, it does capture a much higher net number of pageviews because it tracks those who use blocking programs, unlike StatCounter.  As I have posted before, I suspect more people are using such programs than before.  Although Blogger captures only more general information than StatCounter, I can see the entry website and sometimes even see the queries searched, which allows me to deduce that the visits are not necessarily spam, but are from real people.  On both trackers, unlike before, most of the queries are encrypted. 

I can theorize that at least some of the increase in traffic since March was because of my political campaign, which was also especially noticeable in the General Election from StatCounter’s tracking, but I can see from Blogger that all posts were visited, some of them dozens of times, with the most hits for posts not related to the campaign.  In addition, like StatCounter also tracks, several of the older posts continue to be visited.  

As always, I especially appreciate those who follow my blog, visit repeatedly, post my blog posts to other websites or comment.  I also appreciate the compliments I receive offline.  Please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions and please continue to visit.  Again, thank you.   

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanks be to God; Happy Thanksgiving!

           Let us Americans thank God for the blessings of liberty we enjoy, in accordance with the purpose of this federal holiday of publicly giving Him thanks that was established by President George Washington, for our liberty depends on acknowledging God as the source of our freedom.

            As always, I am thankful to God for all those who have helped to prevent any major terrorist or other militant attack on the American homeland.  May God continue to bless America and to keep her safe, free and bounteous!  

           I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trends in Recent Elections in Major Foreign States

           I had posted a few years ago that I had observed a rightward trend in elections in major states around the world over the last several years.  There have since been exceptions in France, Chile and, most recently, Canada.  In the meantime, the center-right gained a governing majority in the Parliament of the United Kingdom (see my post from May of this year, Conservatives Win the Majority in the British Parliamentary Elections,  and, most recently, the right was victorious in Poland

Today, the center-right won the presidential election in Argentina, ending twelve years of leftist rule.  Argentina’s significant fiscal and economic troubles were a major factor.  The victory for the conservative candidate ends a leftward trend in elections Latin America, especially in South America, where every Latin state, except Colombia and Paraguay, is ruled by center-left to far-left parties.   

In the European Union states that have been at the center of the debt crisis, the left has made gains over the last two years in being able to govern, but not by gaining a majority of parliamentary seats and thus having to partner with the right in coalitions.  Greek voters had given a plurality that was far short of a majority to a leftist party that was only able to form a government in coalition with a rightwing party.  After the leftist Greek Government gave in to European demands for austerity and various reforms, some on the far-left of that party resigned from it, which left its successor Government somewhat less leftist; it has continued its austerity policies, with the support of the center-right opposition.  As I have posted over the last few years, Italy has shifted from a center-right Government to a Government led by a center-left party that had won a plurality, but it only can govern in coalition with a center-right party.  As a result, the Italian Government has cut taxes and adopted various other fiscal and economic reforms, some of which have also been supported by the main center-right opposition party.  Voters in the Portuguese parliamentary elections gave a plurality a few weeks ago to the ruling center-right party that had continued austerity policies, but the party was unable to form a majority through a coalition; the minority Government was short-lived.  The anti-austerity left may soon take power, but only by promising to continue Portugal’s debt obligations.

            I had posted in June in my post, Islamists Lose their Majority in the Turkish Parliamentary Elections, that in the Turkish parliamentary elections, secular parties polled more votes than the ruling moderately-Islamist party, but they were unable to form a government, leaving the ruling party to continue to govern. 

            Turkey has been an example I have posted about of the trend toward authoritarianism in representative states, which is most noticeable in Russia and certain other former Soviet Republics and Communist states, as well as in Latin America, led by Venezuela, whose Socialist dictatorship has encouraged the election of leftists in Latin America and is responsible for the leftward trend I mentioned above.  As in Latin America, various elected leaders and other dictators in Africa have attempted to have constitutions amended in order to remain in power beyond their term limits.  Meanwhile, Thailand has yet to schedule elections and return to representative government after the military seized power after a lengthy impasse between the sharply-divided political parties that made it ungovernable and unstable. 

In contrast, as I have posted, Ukraine and Tunisia (see my post from October of 2014, Elections in Ukraine and Tunisia Restore Liberty,  and from January of 2015, Foreign Updates: Cuba, Ukraine, Tunisia and France, have transitioned to representative government, as has Burma (see my post from earlier this month), where the latest news about the Burmese parliamentary elections is that the democratic opposition won a majority of seats and will be able to name the President.  Meanwhile, Nepal has adopted a constitution that guarantees liberty and representative government (see my post from September of this year, Foreign Digest: Serbia, Nepal and Russia,  

In short, while the rightward trend in elections in major states may not be as noticeable as before, conservative candidates and parties remain competitive generally, even where they are in opposition, and have been able at least to join in coalition governments, while leftist candidates and parties usually have difficulty winning majorities of the vote where they are not currently in power or in being able to govern on their own.  It is hoped that the results of the Argentine presidential elections are a harbinger of a reversal of the leftward trend in Latin America.  Although Latin America has been an example of the rise of authoritarianism by leftist democratically-elected governments, there have been some significant gains by parties around the world that support freedom and representative government.  May they inspire the return to liberty in those leftist or Islamist states where elected leaders have gradually denied their people more and more freedoms.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Proposed Pennsylvania State Budget Tax Increase

           The proposed budget compromise between Pennsylvania’s liberal Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe and the majority Republican General Assembly would increase taxes significantly.  Although the proposal avoids the Governor’s income tax increase and an extra tax on natural gas extraction, it includes an increase in the sales tax that will not entirely offset school district real estate taxes. 

            The sales tax paid by every resident and business, as well as visitor, who purchases anything in Pennsylvania would increase from 6% to 7.25%, and even more in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, under the proposed budget, to offset school real estate taxes, but the gambling money that currently provides relatively modest real estate tax relief for Pennsylvania landowners would be diverted to the general fund for Wolfe’s spending spree, resulting in an overall increase of over $600 million in taxes, which means a net average increase of nearly $200 per homeowner.  Businesses would lose revenue to neighboring states, as Pennsylvania’s sales tax would be higher than theirs.  In fact, the Keystone State’s sales tax would be the second highest in the American Union.  And there would still be no required referenda to allow school district boards of directors to raise real estate taxes above inflation and enrollment growth levels. 

I know from experience as a School Director that there is much room for improvement in how Districts spend taxpayer money and collect revenue.  I also know that although Wolfe proposes to increase spending for schools dramatically, even though they are already at their highest levels, that there is no correspondence between spending and results in terms of learning, as measured by standard tests and other measures.  In fact, test scores have decreased, despite a dramatic increase of state spending on education over the last four decades.

            The fiscal year ended June 30 without a budget because Wolfe vetoed a balanced budget approved by the state legislature that did not raise taxes.  He even vetoed a stop-gap measure.

            The proposed budget includes some significant pension reform for the first time, as new state employees would be required to contribute a small portion of their income into 401(K) type plans, in addition to defined benefit plans.  Even this modest change would save billions of dollars over decades.  The Governor also proposes to lease to a private entity the management of the state wine and spirit stores, but the Commonwealth would retain its wholesale and retail monopoly and will still suffer from a conflict of interest by promoting the sale of alcohol while regulating its use.  Pennsylvania’s complex Prohibition-era restrictions on the sale of alcohol would continue, as many ordinary Pennsylvanians would continue to cross state lines to purchase alcohol and risk prosecution for bootlegging for bringing it home.  The proposed budget lacks other significant cost-savings such as eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful spending, such as corporate welfare, or special-interest tax breaks that could have been used to avoid a tax increase.

            Although there are some positives in the proposed budget, the tax increase is fiscally irresponsible, as it will have potentially harmful economic affects, especially during this time of only weak economic growth.  County, municipal and especially school district real estate taxes penalize property improvements while incentivizing blight, lower real estate values, reach a point of diminishing return in terms of collections and are anti-business.  They turn every homeowner into a tenant of the state with the constant threat of having to sell one’s home in order to pay the taxes.  At a time when Pennsylvanians of both political parties have been demanding meaningful real estate tax relief, if not the total elimination of school real estate taxes, through a revenue-neutral tax shift to higher sales or income taxes, it is shocking that a significant net tax increase would even be considered seriously. 

           Pennsylvanians must oppose the unnecessary proposed net tax increase and insist on better fiscal responsibility and more controls on how local School Districts manage taxpayer money.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Clarification about France as “America’s” Oldest Ally

United States President Barack Obama referred to France as “our oldest ally.”  This statement is true only if the time before the U.S. is counted, going back to the declaration of independence of the several American states.  In other words, France may be “America’s” oldest ally, but not the oldest ally of the “United States.” 

As the President of the United States, Obama can only speak for the U.S. when using the word “our.”  Presidents cannot speak on behalf of the several States, even collectively, apart from their federal union, the “United States.”

In fact, France is the oldest enemy of the U.S., as the two fought the “Quasi War” on the high seas from the late Eighteenth to the early Nineteenth Century, which was the first foreign war in U.S. history.  In addition, some French forces resisted the Anglo-American liberation of North Africa from the Axis Powers in 1942 during the Second World War.  By the reasoning of isolationists, then, the U.S. and France, “have been fighting” for centuries.  Of course, their reasoning is faulty, as the U.S. and France have been allies since before the Axis collaborators, who did not represent the majority of French or the legitimate allied French government, disgraced themselves.  The point is that Franco-American relations have been complex and have changed over time.  

Americans will always be grateful for French aid during the American Revolution, but the French have only recently been acting like good allies in the War on Terrorism.  May they continue to act like allies, as it is in both their and our best interest.

Thoughts on the Terrorist Attacks on Paris

Unlike many other attacks labeled “terrorism,” the attacks in Paris, because they targeted innocent civilians to intimidate the populace, meet the definition of acts of terrorism committed as part of violent Islamic jihad (holy war).

Eyewitnesses and the media tend to describe the scenes of such attacks as “like” a “battlefield” or a “war zone.”  They are not “like” battlefields or war zones; they are battlefields and war zones, as the militant Islamist enemy has made the entire world its battlefield.

The perpetrators call themselves the “Islamic State (IS)” not the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)” or the “Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL),” with the acronym of the former pronounced like as a word like the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess.  They do not claim only the Levant, but the entire world.  As I have posted repeatedly in regard to Islamism in general, if the enemy cannot be identified properly, it cannot be defeated. 

The attacks on Paris were not in retaliation for any recent events, as they had been planned for a long period.  In fact, they are not retaliation for anything; it is what violent jihadists do because it is their belief that they must kill “infidels” who do not submit and to intimidate others into submission.  They use policy goals as an excuse or for propaganda, such as intimidating France into dropping its anti-Islamic State campaign in Iraq and SyriaFrance was chosen as a target also because of its history as a “Crusader state” and Paris was chosen particularly, not only because it is the French capital and largest city, but because it is a symbol of decadence.  Modern France has long been a target of militant Islam, first with bombings on French soil during the Algerian War, then in the 1980s-1990s, when there was a waive of Islamist terrorist attacks.  Of course, the terrorists attacked where they did in the first place because the venues were targets of opportunity.  It is disturbing that they even managed to detonate a bomb at the gate of a venue attended by the President of the French Republic.

As I posted before, there is a legitimate concern about terrorist infiltration among migrants coming into Europe, but the main concern is the “foreign fighters,” who are citizens of foreign states outside of the Middle East who go to there for training in acts of terrorism or guerilla warfare, who then return to their native lands to carry out acts of violent jihad.  As was the case in the Paris attacks, at least one of the terrorists was French-born, whether or not he was a foreign fighter.  Regardless, the European Union’s abandonment of border controls between European states, is proven, yet again, to be folly.

The current American sympathy and solidarity with France is right, but one cannot help but recall how the French have repeatedly made themselves obstacles to U.S. counterterrorism efforts.  After a deadly Libyan terrorist attack against Americans in Germany in 1986, the U.S. sought French permission to overfly the territory of the Republic of France to carry out a retaliatory raid against Libya, but our “ally” France declined, which forced a risky detour of thousands of miles and resulted in less fuel to conduct adequate operations.  Then, in 2003, after France had voted for a unanimously-approved resolution in the United Nations Security Council that found Iraq in “material” violation of UN resolutions and calling for “serious consequences,” which was diplomatic language for military strikes, France’s Gaullist government worked tirelessly to oppose American use of force to overthrow a terrorist-sponsoring regime that had harbored and financed terrorists who had targeted and killed Americans.  Indeed, the French government announced that the center of its foreign policy was not to oppose global Islamist terrorism, but to oppose the U.S. as the sole leader of the free world!

Indeed, an essential reason the terrorists chose to attack France in the first place is because of the French not-entirely-deserved reputation as cowards, which the Islamists regard as proof of the absence of divine favor or at least of a lack of faith and as a weakness to be exploited, just as the attacks on the train in Madrid in 2004 successfully resulted in the election of a liberal government that promised to remove its troops from the fight against Islamists in Iraq.  As I have noted repeatedly, France has been a strong ally—lately—in the War on Terrorism, particularly in regard to al Qaeda in Mali and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  It is hoped that the resolve of the current French government and the French people will not weaken, but will only strengthen to eliminate the threat to Christianity, Western Civilization and liberty from militant Islamism.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Democratic Opposition Wins the Burmese Parliamentary Elections

In Burma’s first free and fair parliamentary elections since 1990, the democratic opposition defeated the civilian transition government that was backed by the former military junta, which had ruled for the last five years since the last elections were boycotted by the opposition for lack of freedom. 

Unlike in 1990, however, the ruling party has conceded the results.  Although the military is constitutionally guaranteed a large segment of seats in the Burmese Parliament, the dictatorial military junta will not rule Burma, directly or indirectly, for the first time since 1962.  The ruling party it supports, which won only a minority of seats, will be in the opposition.  The concession of the election results by the ruling party sets up a transition toward representative government.  The Parliament will nominate three candidates for President; the two unsuccessful nominees will become vice presidents.  Although beloved opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party had won the nullified 1990 elections, is prohibited by law from serving as President, she will nevertheless exercise leadership over her party and country.  Much international pressure had been exerted on the Burmese dictatorship over the last several years to loosen its grip on power and allow basic freedoms and fair elections.

Liberty and representative government were the main platform of the opposition.  Minority rights will be a concern for Burma’s many ethnic groups, especially its ostracized Muslim minority.  

I congratulate the people of Burma and wish them success in enjoying the fruits of liberty.  May they govern themselves, including all of the minorities who dwell within Burmese borders, well and peacefully.  May Burma serve as an example of how international economic sanctions and moral suasion can liberate people in even the lands where they have been repressed the longest.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Reading Eagle Publishes “Community Leader” Cinfici’s Advice for the New Reading Mayor

           The Reading Eagle today published a story in which it solicited advice from community leaders for the newly-elected Mayor of Reading.  The story included eight “community leaders,” including two City residents, one Democrat and one Republican.  I represented the Reading Republican City Committee. 

            I strove to provide advice beyond what the mayor-elect has already stated or what I thought would typically be mentioned by others and focused on points of concern from a resident’s perspective that reflected conservative and Republican common-sense principles in an urban environment.  The new mayor is a Democrat, as Democrats outnumber Republicans in Reading by a 5:1 margin.

           Here is the link to the story, in which the Eagle took four one-sentence pieces of advice from each of the community leaders and compiled them into categories to establish a consensus:  

           Here is a link to the story, which was not in the printed edition, that includes all of the advice, verbatim, from each community leader:  

Conservative Analysis of the 2015 General Elections across the United States

           In my last post, I analyzed the General Election in Pennsylvania, which was mostly favorable to Democrats and to liberals.  Across the United States, however, the election results were generally opposite. 

            In the most important contest, a Republican was elected Governor of Kentucky.  He campaigned in part on the theme of protecting conscience exceptions for those with religious or moral objections to same-sex unions, including county clerks who object to recognizing “marriages” of homosexuals.

            In Mississippi, Republicans gained one Senate and 5 House seats.  Democrats were triumphant in New Jersey, however, as they gained four House seats.  In Virginia, Republicans lost one House seat, but held onto the GOP margin in the Senate, despite a campaign by its liberal Democratic Governor to gain the majority of the Senate for Democrats, based on his platform for Medicaid expansion and other issues, as well as an effort by prominent opponents of the right to keep and bear arms.

            Even in liberal San Francisco, voters chose not to reelect the Sheriff who had been outspokenly in favor of his city’s policy of sanctuary for illegal aliens. 

            In referenda of interest to conservatives, voters were favorable to conservative positions.  Voters in Houston, Texas rejected a referendum to give more rights for homosexuals and transsexuals/transvestites over concerns about access to public facilities by those who claim to identify themselves as members of the opposite sex.  Ohioans turned down a referendum to allow medical and recreational use of marijuana. 

           There were relatively few races and major referenda on the ballot this year.  Little can be discerned from results that produced such few changes across the U.S., as in Pennsylvania, other than how conservative principles, if presented well and if that message is heard by the electorate, remain convincing to many voters.  

Conservative Analysis of the 2015 Pennsylvania General Election

The results were mostly favorable to Democrats in Pennsylvania’s General Election.  There were many countywide races, including for judge, as well as magisterial district judge, municipal, school board and constable offices on the ballot in the last local elections before the 2016 federal and state elections.  Despite being of the most direct affect on people, these “off-year” elections tend to generate the least interest in terms of voter turnout, as voters are already looking ahead to the presidential campaign especially. 

Democrats swept the five appellate court contests, which included an unprecedented three Supreme Court seats, as well as one each for Superior and Commonwealth Courts.  The turnout of Democrats for the uncompetitive mayoral race in Philadelphia, where Democrats dominate, was enough to give their party the edge statewide.  Democrats will now have the majority on the Commonwealth’s highest court.  Republicans retain the majority on the other two appellate courts. 

The major consolation for Keystone State Republicans was the GOP victory in a state Senate special election in Western Pennsylvania.  Amidst the state’s budget crisis between the Republican majority state legislature and liberal Democratic Governor, Republicans added to their ranks in the upper house of the General Assembly, giving them a 31-19 majority.

On balance, county results did not produce many changes, with Democrats gaining a few County Commissions and other countywide offices and Republicans picking up some, as well, particularly in the west.  Republicans tend to have the advantage in courthouses across the Keystone State.  The new Republican in the minority of the County Commission of Philadelphia suburban Montgomery County will be a conservative, the first time one will hold that post in an area where the Republicans tend to be more moderate and labor union-influenced. 

Locally, there were no changes or surprises in Berks County, as all incumbent countywide candidates won.  Republicans retain most countywide offices.  Two pro-life Democrats and a Republican were elected Judges of the Court of Common Pleas.  As with Philadelphia, the turnout of Democrats for the mayor’s race in Reading was enough not only for the Democrat to win in the city where their party dominates, but for Democrats to win the special election for City Council President and all the seats for School Director, as even the Republican on the Democratic ballot won and the Democrats on the GOP ballot lost. I was not among the candidates elected.  I shall provide more analysis on the election for Reading School Director soon.  

Democratic voters statewide and locally were urged to push the button to vote straight Democrat instead of selecting their individual preferences.  Even the important statewide judicial races tend to be more about party registration and fundraising and campaigning than about qualifications or message.  The various scandals around the state and locally involving all Democrats have not cost their party at the ballot boxyet.  The state Senate special election suggests Pennsylvanians do not want the legislature to give into the Governor’s demands to raise income and natural gas extraction taxes. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The 2015 Pennsylvania General Election

           The General Election in Pennsylvania this year is critically important, as there are a record number of seats for state Supreme Court open, as well as numerous county, municipal and school director offices on the ballot.  There are the most offices on the ballot this year than at any point over the four-year cycle. 

There are many conservative candidates committed to liberty and good government that is fiscally responsible seeking election to these offices. 

Along with the three seats for the Commonwealth’s highest appellate court, are also one each for Superior and Commonwealth Courts.  These appellate courts affect the citizens in important ways in matters of criminal, civil and family law, as well as constitutional matters.  The balance between the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as between liberals and conservatives, is at stake, just a few years before the courts will be tasked with judging federal and state legislative districts.  It is essential to elect judges who are qualified, impartial, and who love the law and are respectful of the state Constitution, and especially those who would not overstep their role in judging by legislating from the bench. 

There are also county Court of Common pleas judges on the ballot, or up for retention, as well as the magisterial district judges and constables to elect.  Also at the county level, voters will be electing candidates for county commission and “row offices.

The local down-ballot races in this “municipal” election are important because county and municipal government affect people in innumerable ways, such as police and other first response services, codes, roads, zoning, planning, libraries, parks and recreation, etc.  School districts provide education, but are larger real estate taxing bodies than county and municipal governments, sometimes even combined.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am on the ballot in my school district, Reading, seeking this non-paying office because, like other conservative candidates, I recognize how significant it is to the students and taxpayers of the District.

Not only do the elected officials who hold these offices affect people more directly than statewide or federal officeholders, but because the electorate is smaller – and fewer people vote in such “off-year” elections – that one’s vote counts for more than in statewide or federal elections.  An additional motivation for conservatives to vote to elect conservative candidates to county and local offices is to allow them to gain experience for future higher offices, as usually those who hold higher office have started at the local and county levels.  

I urge my fellow conservatives across Pennsylvania to take the time to learn about the candidates for each of the offices on the General Election ballot and to make plans now to vote on Tuesday, November 3.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cinfici Appears in a Voters Guide for Reading School Director for the General Election

           The Reading Eagle has published its Voters Guide for Reading School Director for General Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, which includes me.

           Here is the link to the guide:  A Spanish version will also be available.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The United States Successfully Defends the Freedom of the Seas against China’s Claims in the Spratlys

The United States today sent a Navy ship in a freedom of navigation exercise into Communist China’s claimed 12 nautical-mile territory  around one of the disputed Spratly Islands claimed by China.  The American warship was not impeded by the Chinese, thereby defending the freedom of the seas.   

I had posted last month, Update: China’s Expanding Claims of the Spratly Islands Inhibits Freedom of the Seas,  In it, I had urged the Obama Administration to conduct a freedom of navigation exercise, which would not necessarily provoke any hostile incident.  I explained that not only has China been asserting its claims to all of the Spratlys, against all the claims of the numerous other Asian states which each claim some of the islands, and expanding the Chinese-occupied islands exponentially by reclaiming thousands of acres from the sea, but also, through its economic exclusionary zone, to all of the South China Sea.  The area is rich in fish and oil.  It is significant that the freedom of navigation exercise undertaken by the U.S. was not only within the claimed economic exclusionary zone, but even within the waters claimed by the Chinese as sovereign territory.

The Americans have thus defended the interests of the world for travel and commerce by defending the freedom of the seas.  Without fear of Chinese intimidation, the U.S. must continue to conduct such freedom of navigation operations from time to time.

Friday, October 16, 2015

American Troop Commitments to Allies, Afghanistan and Cameroon

United States President Barack Obama’s Administration announced yesterday that it will maintain a larger force of American troops in Afghanistan in 2016 and even extend their mission into 2017 to help the Afghan government to continue to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists, together with the U.S.-led coalition. 

            This strategic decision reflects the learning of the lesson of withdrawing prematurely from Iraq at the end of 2013, which allowed al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, which split off into the “Islamic State” to seize large swathes of Iraqi territory.  The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan continues to train Afghan troops while providing various levels of support in this critical battleground in the War on Terrorism to prevent the Taliban from returning to power to provide a safe haven to their al-Qaeda allies.  Al-Qaeda originated the September 11, 2001 Attacks on the U.S. from Afghanistan.

            Also, President Obama declared yesterday that the U.S. has sent a small contingent of non-combat armed military personnel to Cameroon to provide intelligence and other support to help that ally in the fight against al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Nigeria, Boko Haram. 

           It is vitally important as the U.S. continues to fight the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria that the mortal threat from al-Qaeda not be ignored.  It is also mutually beneficial to support strong allies like Afghanistan and Cameroon against our common enemies.  

Kenneth D. Taylor, In Memoriam

           Kenneth (Ken) D. Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador to Iran who secretly harbored American diplomats from capture during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, died yesterday at the age of 81.

            Taylor was born in Calgary, Canada in 1934 and graduated from the University of Toronto and received an MBA from Berkley University.  Prime Minister Joe Clark, a conservative, appointed Taylor Ambassador to Iran in 1977. 

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iranians seized the United States Embassy and Consulate and took most of the staff hostage, with the acquiescence of the Islamist regime.  A group of six American diplomats eluded capture and were eventually taken in by Taylor.  Some of them stayed with him and some at another Canadian diplomatic residence.  For three months, the intrepid Canadian Ambassador and his staff kept the presence of the Americans secret while tirelessly working with American intelligence personnel to devise an escape.  After Taylor persuaded the Canadian Parliament in an extraordinary secret session to issue fake passports to the American diplomats, their escape from Iran was executed successfully in January of 1980.   

For his efforts, U.S. President Jimmy Carter awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal that year.  Taylor also received numerous awards and citations from Canada.    

            Iran and Canada severed diplomatic relations after the rescue.  Taylor was then named Consul-General to New York City by Clark.  After the completion of his diplomatic service, he returned to his alma mater as a Chancellor and later went into business.  He settled in New York City, becoming an American citizen.  

           The Canadian government’s assistance to the Americans, led by Taylor, stands as a great example of the enduring friendship between Canada and the United States.  May that friendship, personified by Ken Taylor, continue to endure, and may God keep Canada glorious and free and may God bless America!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cinfici Wins another Reading School Director Candidate Forum

           I participated Monday in the Reading School District Board of Directors Candidate forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and broadcast on Berks Community Television.  As always, one may visit BCTVs website at to check the schedule for rebroadcasts or even to order a video of the forum. 

           See also the Reading Eagle story about it here:

           Despite being outnumbered five to one by the other candidates, who are running together as a ticket, I held my own, with several of the other candidates often agreeing with me.  Three different times there was division among the candidates, with at least one of them backing me up with critical facts.  

           We fielded a wide variety of questions.  I was able to hit all my major campaign themes of experience (as the only candidate for School Director with more than two years experience), making the Administration more accountable and increasing openness and transparency for more honest, effective and efficient government, including ending pay-to-play for no-bid contracts.  My inclusion of special education, among my priorities of safety and security and fiscal responsibility, was the only time this critical issue was mentioned by any candidate in the forum.

           I was especially glad to field a question from the only homeviewer about what we thought of allowing students to conduct course evaluations, just as they do in college.  I responded that I had initiated such a program that the School District Administration had actually implemented at Reading High School for a time and would pursue restoring it.  The program is not for teacher evaluation, but for self-improvement, and is part of customer feedback in regard to the course, materials and activities, as the District is there to serve its students.  My other major motivation for it is to provide students another opportunity to practice writing skills.

           I thank the LWV and BCTV for sponsoring and broadcasting the forum.  Finally, I would be remiss not thank the late Edmund Doherty, who for many years put these candidates fora together to help make voters more informed about their candidates.       

Friday, October 2, 2015

The United States House Votes to Require Iran to Pay Judgments for Victims of Terrorism as a Condition for the Nuclear Deal to Take Effect

The United States House of Representatives has passed legislation with bipartisan support that would block the nuclear weapons deal reached between Iran and other world powers, including the U.S., from taking effect until Iran pays court judgments won against it by American victims of terrorism and other acts of violent jihad that were sponsored by the Iranian dictatorial regime. 

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan of (R-Pennsylvania), who represents part of Berks County, the county in which I reside.  A companion piece of legislation is sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, of Pennsylvania

Iran owes victims $43.5 billion, after having paid out only $2.5 in judgments won against it since the 1980s for numerous acts of terrorism and other criminal acts that killed hundreds of Americans and injured many more.  The deal obligates the U.S. to unfreeze over $100 billion of Iranian assets.  None of the Islamic Republic’s assets would be seized, according to its terms.  Although the deal was about nuclear weapons, it lifts certain economic sanctions that were imposed on Iran for its sponsorship of terrorism.  Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  I have mentioned in recent posts the concern that Iran would use its unfrozen assets to fund even more terrorism.  

President Barack Obama, a liberal Democrat who signed the nuclear deal negotiated by his Administration, has threatened to veto the bill to require the Iranian regime to pay the judgments it owes to the victims of terrorism.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

William Cinfici for Reading School Director News

           I recently participated in a candidates forum for Reading School Director.  Here is the link to the Reading Eagle article about it:  One correction is that I did not say the current Board is doing well, but that they are doing some things well, such as continuing reforms the previous Board, on which I served, had started, but others not.

           Several social media links about my candidacy were set up today: