CHANGE TO WIN

Running for office as a Republican is needlessly difficult. It’s a system that is crying out for reform.

Just to get on the ballot, Republican candidates must go through the “petition process,” getting petitions from the Board of Elections and getting them signed by not less than 3% of registered Republicans in the district in which they’re running. To accomplish this, the candidate and members of the Republican Committee, all good people and volunteers, go door to door to obtain the required signatures. A Republican candidate for Corning Town Council, for example, will need about 70 signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Gathering signatures may sound simple. It is not. Citizens can be reluctant, even defensive, when asked to sign a document they’ve never seen before. They ask, “What is this? Why do you need my signature? What for? Why are you bothering me with this?” Lengthy explanations are necessary.

Finally, the completed petitions are submitted to the Board of Elections, and only then does the candidate get on the ballot. At this point, the committee members are done, and it is up to the candidate to campaign in the fall election. No one can blame the committee people for feeling they have done enough.

Republicans front-load all their volunteer time and energy into signing petitions. It’s hard to imagine a greater misallocation of people’s effort.

In contrast, the Democrat Committee in the Town of Corning does not circulate petitions to put their candidates on the November ballot. They caucus and select a candidate. I’ve never met a Democrat who is burning to circulate a petition or is angry because they did not sign one. They don’t waste their volunteers’ efforts months before the general election. Democrats focus on the contest that matters—THE ELECTION! In 2017, Democrat Committee members in the Town campaigned alongside the candidate and helped elect a Democrat in a largely Republican district.

I rarely agree with Democrats on anything, but they have us on this one. New York is a deep blue state that gets bluer by the day. As of now, Democrats enjoy at least a 2:1 advantage over us in voter registration. Doesn’t it make sense to put our energy into the November election?

We are, incidentally, discouraging good Republicans from running for office.

We need to abandon petitions and go to a caucus system. We need to change the role of a committee person from late winter signature-gatherer to fall campaigner. Republican Committee members could concentrate on knocking on doors, distributing literature and lawn signs, stuffing envelopes – in short, doing what is necessary to win an election. The focus of committee members should not be on getting signatures in March, but on helping candidates win in November.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph.D.

NO PRINCIPLES!

Democrats have no principles. A bold statement, to be sure, but I can back it up. Just watch Governor Cuomo twisting himself into a logical pretzel over SALT (state and local taxes.) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as the Trump tax cuts, passed in December of 2017, limiting the amount of state and local taxes deductible on federal income tax returns to $10,000. This effects only wealthy taxpayers. Who else has deductions of state and local taxes of $10,000 or more?

Cuomo and his Democrat buddies run New York. They have held every statewide office since 2007 and enjoy a 2:1 advantage in voter registration. Democrats are always trying to increase taxes on the “rich.” They have demonized the rich

since FDR – he called them “princes of privilege” and “economic royalists.” Now Democrats call them greedy, selfish and so on. This is as dumb as it is cynical. So when the Republicans limited the SALT deduction, effectively raising taxes on the wealthy, you would think Democrats would be rubbing their hands in glee. But no, they were angry. They blamed Trump and his Republican colleagues for raising taxes on the wealthy – which wouldn’t be possible if Cuomo and company hadn’t raised them to begin with.

The following may be too sensible for most Democrats to grasp, but state and local taxes are the responsibility of the states and localities. What Cuomo is angry about is that his high taxes are no longer subsidized by other states with lower taxes. Cuomo and his cronies are now exposed, they have to own the effects of their “tax the rich” policies, and he is not happy.

New York is now facing a shortfall in projected revenue of $3.2 billion, the direct result of wealthy New Yorkers leaving the state. Cuomo calls this “serious as a heart attack.” The top 1% of New York’s highest earners pay 46% of all taxes. Maybe Democrats should now love the rich; 46% of all taxes sounds like the rich are “paying their fair share.” A reporter asked if the state should yet again raise taxes on the rich.” Cuomo said, “Tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. We did! Now, God forbid the rich leave.” When average New Yorkers leave the state, as they have been, Cuomo is unfazed. We’ve lost 1.9 million people between 2005 to 2016, well before the SALT limitations took effect. First Cuomo blamed the weather for the New York exodus, now he blames Republicans.

Democrats (progressives) love taxes and regulations and hate incentives, which is what is needed. In the competition between the states for jobs, taxpayers wealthy and not, New York is the loser. Cuomo never mentioned the things that would bring people back to the state, a meaty tax cut and a corresponding reduction in New York state’s bloated government.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

HEALTHCARE FACTS

In full disclosure, I’m a psychologist in a busy private practice which is in its 28th year. So I know a bit about health care from the inside, including health insurance. This is a view that few if any politicians have.

Ever since Obamacare was passed, I’ve noticed two things. One, every patient I’ve seen with Obamacare insurance has had gargantuan deductibles, usually in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000. This means that the patient must pay for everything up to that number before insurance kicks in. From a practical point of view, they have no coverage. This illustrates the great lie of government health care, which is the promise of coverage with no access to a doctor.

If that wasn’t bad enough, try the next one on for size. Every spring, to comply with the ACA (Obamacare), I’m asked to turn over the “complete medical record” of a selected few patients for audit. When I tell them I must first ask my patients, they invariably say that the patients have already signed a consent, and that I must surrender the records NOW! Consider for a moment the deeply personal things patients confide in a therapist. My response is, has been, and ever will be: No, I must first talk to my patient and I’ll get back to you. When I call the patients to tell them of this demand, they are uniformly horrified and outraged. But, not to worry: a consent given can be revoked. And every patient I contacted has revoked their consent.

Healthcare should always be between doctor and patient, a bond of trust. I work for the patient, and my primary interest is his well-being and health. This is the way health care has been and should always be. Your doctor should never be an agent of social change or social justice (the government.)

Progressives say that eliminating insurance companies and having one centralized source for claims will save money. As of now, every healthcare professional already submits claims on one form (HCFA 1500), uses standardized codes for billing, and submits claims online. We may realize savings from not having to call for permission for various medical procedures, but that pre-supposes the single-payer (the government) will always says yes. I have my doubts about this. In the end, it’s not much of a saving.

To keep health care between doctor and patient, we must reject single-payer.

Michael Morrongiello, Ph. D.

PUNDIT NIGHT REMARKS

I was pleased to once again participate in Dr. Stephen Coleman’s political pundit night January 31st 2019. I agree with Dr. Coleman’s efforts to get us talking to each other.

Dr. C. posed the question: Donald Trump, Impeach or Reelect? For now, there are no grounds for impeachment, so my answer is a resounding no on impeachment, and a loud and resounding yes on reelect.

But only if you care about border control, health care, energy policy, national defense and the economy. In other words, everything.

But hold on a minute. The Speaker of the House, Democrat leader and 3rd in line of succession to the Presidency said, “What does Putin (the Russian dictator) have on the President?”

If true—impeach him right now! What are you waiting for? If being in thrall to a foreign power doesn’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” I don’t know what does.

But first you’d better have hard data. Proof. Otherwise, Pelosi’s comments are nothing less than reckless, destructive and dangerous.

If you want a lying immigration policy, elect a Democrat. Of course, the same could be said for health care, but that is a topic for another day.

Why lying? As you may know, immigration is a federal responsibility.

But Democrats—who love centralized federal authority—-willfully break the law to bring us sanctuary cities and states.

There are 500 sanctuary cities and 3 declared sanctuary states. One is undeclared, and that is New York state. Every one is a giant neon sign saying—

BREAK THE LAW—CRASH OUR BORDER—OVERSTAY YOUR VISA!

Not one prominent Democrat has condemned this and defended federal law, specifically and the rule of law generally.

Given this, why should we believe that Democrats want to control the border?

The evidence is overwhelming that we need a border barrier.

According to the FBI, from 2003 to 2009, illegals committed 25,064

murders in our country.

As of 2014, a DOJ study found that 33% of all federal inmates are illegals.

That same study found that fully 13% of all crimes were committed by

illegals. How many are in state prisons?

The US sentencing commission found that 75% of those convicted of federal

drug offenses were illegals.

According to the US. Border Patrol, apprehensions between ports of entry

are up 81%.

They have stopped 53 groups of 100 or more since October of 2018.

If this wasn’t alarming enough, on January 17th of this year, USBP

seized 705 pounds of cocaine.

Central and South America have corrupt governments, gang violence, and drug cartels.

Mexico has had 250,000 murders since 2006, in a country with a population

of 126 million.

Venezuela is on the verge of collapse, which could result in 8 million refugees.

El Salvador is dominated by gangs.

Mexico is a Narco-State.

One Mexican state attorney general pled guilty to drug trafficking, while

a state governor took bribes to let the cartels operate.

We need a border barrier, and Trump is the man to give it to us.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

STONE ROGER

To those on Facebook giddy with Roger Stone’s arrest:

Roger Stone was arrested in the predawn hours by 25-plus heavily armed FBI agents. There is nothing statists love more than a show of force by big government against their political enemies.

What a shocking lack of compassion and proportion. Stone’s life and that of his family are probably ruined. The message, don’t work for the Trump 2020 campaign or this can happen to you.

I know you’ll justify Stone’s arrest. Anything is permissible to get Trump. Laverenty Beria said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

Meanwhile, we still have no border barrier. Recently, the US Border Patrol seized 705 pounds of cocaine at the US-Mexico border. How many lives would that coke have ruined? And how much more cocaine and other drugs are even now poring across our border? In a US DOJ study in 2014, 17% of drug trafficking offenses and a staggering 33% of federal sentences were meted out to illegals. But never mind that, and the thousands murdered by illegal aliens in our country. Do the Snoopy dance over the arrest of that grave threat to our republic, 66-year -old gadfly Roger Stone. Last question: Who will play Robespierre and Madam Defarge in your grotesque little drama?

I wrote this (above) and posted it on Facebook in response to several posts about Roger Stone’s arrest. They were vicious and gleeful, happy the FBI stuck a gun in his face and led him off in handcuffs. Indifferent that his deaf wife was upstairs while heavily armed federal agents were raiding her home in the predawn hours. She couldn’t hear the agents’ shouted orders. The potential for a tragic accident was off the charts. The bilious comments could be summed up thusly: Stone was associated with Trump-GET EM! Now we’re one step closer to Trump-GET EM! In the rarefied air of Washington DC politics, Stone is a nobody. I’ve seen him on TV. The man is a goofy and shameless self-promoter. If I see him on the tube, I immediately switch channels. Watching Stone is time that I can’t ever get back in my life. Who could take this guy seriously?

The brutal posts reflect a growing mob mentality, whether they’re disrupting town halls or interrupting conservative speakers. It is angry, devoid of reason, and more importantly, absent empathy – a dangerous turn, and all over political differences. By their silence, their political leadership encourages it. I made the French Revolution reference because that mob-driven event descended into murderous depravity. The philosophical underpinnings of the French Revolution are the same as those underlying Naziism, Communism and yes, Progressivism. If you’re a conservative, remember what you are conserving: no less than the ideals of the American Revolution and that document that is the theology of our nation, the Declaration of Independence.

Don’t let the statists (Progressives) arrogance, meanness and bully tactics get you down. Remember what Churchill said after the battle of Dunkirk, “We shall never surrender.”

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

IMMIGRATION FOLLIES

I’m a conservative. I support President Trump’s courageous stance for a

border wall because I want to bring illegal immigration to a dead stop. But first, the current climate forces me to issue a disclaimer: I hate no one.

I don’t care if legal immigrants – I repeat, legal – are brown, black, yellow, blue or polka-dot, so long as they are loyal to the country, believe in its institutions and traditions and can support themselves. I love legal immigrants and I happen to be the son of legal immigrants. So why the disclaimer? Because if you give voice to the belief that we should have some control over who enters our country, name-calling will swiftly follow: you’ll be called a bigot, racist, xenophobe, or Nazi. The left has so successfully poisoned the well of public discourse that anything that differs from their orthodoxy – open borders, sanctuary cities and states – must be the product of a crazed white supremacist. I am no such thing.

I oppose illegal immigration because most illegals are low-skilled and quickly become a burden on US taxpayers. In addition, those who break the law to get here are more likely to commit crimes here. According to a GAO study, illegals in state and federal prisons cost us $1.6 billion annually. According to the US Department of Justice, in 2014, 33% of all Federal prison sentences were meted out to illegals, and illegals were responsible for 13% of all US crime. The FBI found that illegals committed 25,064 murders between 2003 and 2009.

The left always distorts the language to meet their ends, and immigration is a prime example. So let’s do some linguistic repair. There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. An immigrant is someone who is here lawfully. Someone who is here illegally is an illegal alien. According to Merriam Webster’s definition, illegal means contrary to or forbidden by law, while alien is defined as someone belonging to a foreign country. There is no such thing as an undocumented immigrant. An immigrant without documentation is here unlawfully, and is therefore an illegal alien.

In 1986 the Simpson-Mazzoli bill gave a pathway to citizenship (amnesty) to 2.7 million illegals while promising an end to “illegal immigration.” But the enforcement never came. This is what conservatives fear: amnesty first with no enforcement. It’s long past time we got enforcement with a barrier to make it stick.

Canada has a merit-based immigration system. Proposed immigrants must score 67 of a possible 100 points to gain lawful admission to the country. Points are awarded based on education, job skills, language skills (proficiency in English and French), age, and having a job. If the applicant does not get 67 points they don’t get in. What happens to illegal border crossers in Canada? Liberal Member of Parliament and special adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Randy Boissonnault, said, “..our country has been built on, and will continue to be built on immigration…but if you cross the border illegally, you will be breaking the law. You will be apprehended. And after that, you will be in detention.” Canada, with their point system and strict border enforcement, doesn’t sound racist – it sounds like President Trump.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, most border crossers are now families and unaccompanied children. They do this to skirt our laws. They know they will be released into the country with a court date that most will never keep.

Speaker Pelosi says a real wall is immoral, but a virtual wall is not. A virtual wall will allow the Border Patrol to watch people break into our country, but won’t stop them. A solid barrier will.

President Trump and half the Republican party support building a border barrier to protect the American people. In 2006, Democrats were for it. The Secure Fences Act passed with large bipartisan majorities: 283 votes in the house and 80 in the Senate. Some of those Senators are still there: Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, Debbie Stabenow and Sharrod Brown. Senator Schumer once said, “illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.” Hillary Clinton, while running for President in 2015, said, “I voted numerous times when I was a Senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in…” She has now changed her stance. The first responsibility of any government is the protection of its citizens. In this, Democrats have failed, along with many

Republicans.

Democrats say they want border enforcement. But at the same time, we have 500 so-called sanctuary cities and three declared sanctuary states run by Democrats. Each of these stands in contravention to federal law, thereby giving refuge to law-breakers and encouraging more lawlessness. Meanwhile, not one Washington Democrat has stood up for the rule of law by publicly criticizing the so-called sanctuaries. How can we take these people seriously? The only way Democrats will agree to border security is if it is attached to an amnesty. And why is that? Ask yourself, who benefits? And the answer will emerge in sharp relief. They want voters and the power to control the country for generations.

Canada has a sensible immigration policy which is supported by most Canadians. They guard their borders. They enforce their immigration laws and they admit qualified applicants into their country. It sounds like Canadian leaders love their country and their citizens enough to protect them.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

LET THE DEBATE BEGIN

Vigorous debate among citizens is central to a functioning republic. The meaning of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution should be the subject of just such a debate.

The 14th has been thought to grant citizenship to anyone born on US soil except for the children of diplomats. This has been called “birthright citizenship.” But was this what the authors intended?

The 14th Amendment is one of three constitutional amendments from the Reconstruction Era which followed our Civil War, a conflict fought to preserve the Union and end slavery. Those Confederate states that seceded from the Union were defeated hostile powers under military occupation.

Taken together the 13th, 14th and 15th are often referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. The 13th abolished slavery. The 14th was meant to insure the rights of newly freed slaves (freedmen), including their offspring. The 15th granted the freedmen the right to vote.

The 14th Amendment reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States….” It passed Congress in 1866 and was finally ratified by all the states in 1868.

Supporters of “birthright citizenship” focus only on the first part of the 14th “All persons born or naturalized in the United States…” and they ignore the second part, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof..” Legal scholars argue over the meaning of the various clauses and which ones are legally controlling. Supporters of “birthright citizenship” ignore the era in which it was created and what its authors said in the debate leading up the 14th ratification.

The 14th Amendment was written to protect the rights of the freedmen. During that time many thought that blacks were not persons entitled to rights. Roger Taney, Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1836 to 1864 had said, “They (blacks) have no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The Confederacy may have been conquered and occupied, but they were and would remain defiant. A mere law passed by Congress and signed by the President could be reversed by a future Congress. Therefore a Constitutional Amendment was required to guarantee the freedman’s rights. So concerned were the 14th Amendment’s authors that they were prepared to deny Congressional representation to Confederate states that failed to obey it.

Senator John Howard (R) of Michigan, one of the amendment’s authors, stated, “(The Amendment) will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to families of ambassadors or foreign ministers…”

The 14th Amendment couldn’t possibly apply to illegal aliens. At the time of its ratification the concept of illegal aliens did not exist. How could a category of people who did not exist at the time fall under its protection? The 14th specifically mentions states: “…no state..shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.” The authors referenced the states to protect the freedmen in those states defeated by Union forces and, at the time, under Reconstruction.

Why is this important now? There are between 12 and 22 million illegal aliens now in the US. Any woman here illegally who has a child gives birth to a new US citizen, thereby anchoring (hence the term anchor baby) that mother and likely her immediate family here in the U.S.

Our immigration policy has been a failure punctuated by inaction, moral preening and meaningless talking points. We the People have had nothing to do with the immigration mess made by our political class. They have turned a blind eye to people illegally crossing our border and overstaying their visas. Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime—we are all victims. Instead of enforcing existing law the ruling class passed the absurd “Diversity Visa Lottery,” thereby reducing what should be a privilege to a garish game of chance. It is long past time our political leaders listened to us. Citizenship in the freest and most prosperous country on earth is a precious gift and should not be granted because of breaking our laws or cynically skirting them. We citizens should decide who gets to join us in the privilege of calling ourselves Americans. Let the debate begin.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.