By Fr. George Welzbacher
November 15, 2009
On November the ninth, 1989, twenty years ago this past Monday, the Berlin Wall fell, tom down by exultant crowds from East and West Berlin who were exploiting a decision of which the public, minute by minute, was growing more and mort aware. This was the decision by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Empire's paramount ruler and among Soviet leaders a uniquely decent man, not to use force to crush the rallies that were spreading like wildfire throughout Eastern Europe in a spontaneous demand for freedom. Though the decisions that converged to bring about this seismic change were many, ranking high among them was President Reagan's determination, on June the twelfth, 1987, very much to the horror of our State Department's timid souls, to fling. down a challenge to the Soviet Empire as he stood in front of this hideous wall that served as a symbol and irrefutable proof of Eastern Europe's enslavement.
Mr. Reagan's challenge would resound throughout the world (and would breathe new life and vigor into the forces of resistance working deep within Eastern Europe). It was simple and direct. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Re-enforced by Mr. Reagan's massive rearming of America and in particular by his commitment to a high-tech program of anti-missile defense whose capitalization would far exceed what the Soviet economy could match, Mr. Reagan's stirring challenge became the charter for an aggressive pro-democracy propaganda campaign waged over the airwaves of Radio Free Europe, abetted discreetly by financial support transmitted to pro-democracy forces inside Eastern Europe (like Poland's Solidarity movement).
And as Mr. Gorbachev has himself assured us, even more powerful than Mr. Reagan's words in their galvanizing impact on the morale of the Polish people were Pope John Paul's apostolic visits to that staunchly Catholic nation, with his inspiring call to confidence in the ultimate victory of those who choose to stand with Christ and to "obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29).
If only America's current administration would show a comparable enthusiasm in offering ideological and financial support to the multitudes of Iranians who repeatedly and audaciously have taken to the streets of their country's cities to denounce Ahmahdinejab and his fanatical Islamist masters, who for far too long have held a great country by the throat! By way of encouragement to these mass rallies of Iranian patriots who detest the mullahs and who are in fact our best friends in the Muslim world our government has offered the sound of one hand clapping. Mr. Obama has stated officially: "We do not interfere in Iran's internal affairs." A great opportunity is being allowed to slip by. And when, perhaps sooner than we think, the fanatic mullahs whom we are so eager to appease add the BOMB to their arsenal- what then?
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Pro-Life Americans were greatly encouraged by the news of a surprising victory achieved last Saturday night, November the seventh, in the House of Representatives. Led by Michigan's Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, 63 pro-Life Democrats and all but one of the House's Republican contingent joined forces to carry an amendment to the House's Health Care bill that explicitly prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.
Here is a detailed account of this important pro-Life victory from the Wall Street Journal for November the tenth.
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The Man Who Made Peolsi Cry 'Uncle'
From The Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2009
By William McGurn
Not many folks in Washington have made Nancy Pelosi cry "uncle."
Bart Stupak is one of the few. For months, the Michigan Democrat has been threatening to bring down any health-care bill unless the House was given the opportunity to vote to extend the ban on taxpayer dollars for abortion to the new federal programs being created. On Saturday night, Mrs. Pelosi caved and Mr. Stupak prevailed.
The result is one of the few, real up-or down votes we ever get on abortion-and the only part of the health-care mess that shows any bipartisan consensus. In the end, 63 Democrats and Mr. Stupakjoined all but one Republican on an amendment that does two things: prohibits federal funds for an abortion or for abortion coverage; allows (notwithstanding pro-choice propaganda) private insurers to offer abortion coverage so long as tax dollars are not involved.
"Mr. Stupak and I have not always agreed on things," Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, told me. "But I conimend him for his effort here. His willingness to dig in the way he did was admirable."
What makes this interesting is that Mr. Stupak is no Blue Dog. Though some Blue Dogs joined him, the Stupak amendment in fact offers a striking contrast between the success of pro-life Democrats and the persistent faiture of Blue Dogs. The pro-lifers came together, held their line, and got their way; the Blue Dogs never seem able to coalesce, and generally have been picked off individually.
Not that the press ever noticed. Up until almost literally the 11th hour Mr. Stupak's push for a vote was treated as a side-show. Nor was President Barack Obama ever called to answer for his flatly contradictory public statements on the place of abortion (the term is "reproductive health care") in any health-care reform.
Mr. Stupak has just changed all that. On Sunday, the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, sent out an action alert asking supporters to tell Mr. Obama to "make good" on his promise to put reproductive health care [a.ka. abortion] at the center of [his] health care reform plan." She should know: She was standing next to Candidate-Obama in 2007 when he declared that "reproductive care [abortion] is essential care, it is basic care, so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose."
Unfortunately for Ms. Richards, during his recent appearance before a joint session of Congress, Mr. Obama promised something different. "No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions."
Notwithstanding the president's promise, page 110 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services [the notoriously pro- abortion Kathleen Sebelius] to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run plan. All Mrs. Pelosi's preferred "compromises" left this undisturbed, using what in effect would be a money-laundering scheme to cloak the reality of a federal agency paying for abortion.
But Mr. Stupak stood firm, and Mrs. Pelosi realized something would have to give if she wanted to get a health-care bill passed. So she gave Mr. Stupak his vote-and his victory....
The Stupak alliance of Democrats was a broad one, from liberals like Minnesota's Jim Oberstar to conservatives like Mississippi's Gene Taylor.....
As it is, Democrats now have to make some decisions that may anger their Planned Parenthood wing. The fight itself will be interesting, judging from a claim by Diana DeGette (D., Col.) in yesterday's Washington Post that 40 Democrats will vote against a final bill unless the amendment is stripped out. Of course, if it is stripped out, that will put even more pressure on those 64 Democrats who voted for the amendment.
"We won because [theDemocrats] need us," says Mr.Stupak. "If they are going to summarily dismiss us by taking the pen to that language there will be hel lto pay. I don't say that as a threat, but if they double-cross us, there will be 64 people who won't vote with them the next time they need us-and that could be the FINAL version of this bill.."