The Corning Leader ran a guest editorial (June 24th 2018) from former Hornell mayor and Steuben County Democrat Chairman Shawn Hogan entitled “Silent No More.” It’s a factless screed against President Trump, full of the usual Democrat talking points: he’s a racist, he’s incompetent, yadda yadda. The article begged the question: as a former party chairman and mayor, when was Hogan ever silent? The answer is: when Democrats were in charge.
Hogan is verrry worried about our democracy; putting on his best “bipartisan” face, he writes, “This is not about Republican and Democrats, this is about the survival of our Democracy.” Oh, really? Think back to March 2010, when Democrat Eric Massa resigned from Congress, a special election was needed to find his replacement and Republican newcomer Tom Reed was the favorite. Obamacare was being debated in Congress and Democrats, then as now, ran New York State. Democrat Governor Patterson delayed calling a special election while Democrat county chairmen (including Hogan, Steuben County’s Chairman) “vetted” candidates. The time between Massa’s resignation and the special election set a state record that may never be broken for the longest time to a special election. When Obamacare was voted on, Democrats made sure we were unrepresented in Congress. Why? Because Tom Reed would have voted against Obamacare, and the Democrats couldn’t risk another “no” vote. Denying people representation is a direct threat to our democracy, and Hogan went along with it and never said a word, the people of Steuben, Chemung and Schuyler Counties be damned.
To sell Obamacare, President Obama served up the now-familiar lies to the American people: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” It wasn’t true, and anyone who read the plan knew it, but Obama said it some 30 times. Millions were kicked off health care plans they liked, and lost their doctors too. Hogan was silent, and never said a word about Obama’s whoppers on a subject as personal and important to the people as their health care.
Obama said immediately following his election that “We are days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Hogan never raised a peep. He never questioned why Obama wanted to remake a country he claims to love.
Hogan never complained about the Democrat-sponsored tax, regulate and spend policies out of Albany that are killing Upstate. I don’t recall him “breaking his silence” about the massive population losses upstate, nor about the Cuomo corruption trial over the Buffalo billion.
Hogan reserves his very selective outrage for Republicans only.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.
Progressives usually blame the country (us) for their failures. And so it is with a new report from the Brookings Institute (a left-leaning think tank) on urban racial income inequality.
The author, Alan Berube, details racial income inequality (RII) in the nation’s 100 largest cities from 2014 to 2016.
New York has its share of RII. On May 20, the Elmira Star-Gazette’s headline blared: “A startling racial income gap in Monroe County.”
According to the Brookings report, whites make twice as much as blacks in Monroe county. Onondaga county is the seventh worst county in the nation, while Kings County (Brooklyn) is 18th worst. Two New York cities made the RII top ten, New York (7th) and Buffalo (10th).
Politicians predictably reached into their bag of politically correct cliches. Rochester mayor Lovely Warren said: “The data in this report confirms what we’ve known for a long time – that there is a lack of equality in our work force.” (What exactly does that mean?)
Naturally, there’s a program to address the issue, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Its director, Leonard Brock, says the program is focused on institutional racism, stating, “We could give people jobs all day, but that doesn’t necessarily mitigate some of the structural challenges that create inequality.” (Wait – a $25-per-hour job wouldn’t help?)
The lack of imagination, critical thinking and common sense on the part of politicians and the press are, to borrow a phrase, “startling.” Every city in the top ten is governed by Democrats. The study covered a period when Democrat Barak Obama had been President for six years. Cuomo, a Democrat, had been Governor for four years. Cuomo said he wanted New York to be “the progressive leader” of all states. Every statewide office in New York is held by Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in New York by 2:1.
Psychologists call it externalization, which means fixing responsibility outside yourself. In the minds of progressives, their policies never lead to bad outcomes; it’s racism, sexism or some kind of “ism”, which means it’s your fault – you, the citizen, with no power to make policy, simply going about your business each day. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren acts like an innocent bystander. Her party, her political philosophy and her decisions as mayor are in no way culpable.
Where’s the press skepticism of Democrats in power? Where are the editorials asking why their policies haven’t worked? The press never asks such questions of them.
African-Americans vote 90% Democrat. Progressives build straw-men to deflect from their incompetence and keep minorities voting for them. This is the progressive Houdini trick: to slip the shackles of responsibility and point the finger of blame away from them and at the rest of us.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D
The new NRA President, Oliver North, said this on the most recent school shooting in Texas:
“The problem that we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease, and the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence.”
“Nearly all of these perpetrators are male, and they’re young teenagers in most cases, and they’ve come through a culture where violence is commonplace. All we need to do is turn on a TV, go to a movie. If you look at what has happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten. Now, I am certainly not a doctor; I’m a Marine. But I can see those kinds of things happening.”
I have a lot of respect for North, but he stepped all over what should have been his message. Guns, especially semi-automatics, have been available for more than 100 years, but there were no mass shootings in schools until quite recently. North is absolutely right about the culture of violence in our country. Look at the graphically portrayed shootings, stabbings and explosions all across our media – blood and guts in sickening detail. Instead of hammering home a clear message of cultural decay and depravity, North handed the left a gift by mentioning Ritalin as a possible cause of school violence. The first step to cure a problem is admitting you have one and Col. North did as much when he said, “I’m certainly not a doctor, I’m a Marine.” Now, I’m not a Marine but I am a doctor. Psychiatric drugs like Ritalin, Prozac et. al., do not cause people to grab a gun and start shooting. The drugs are often prescribed for troubled people, some of whom have been mass shooters, to treat anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and a number of different psychiatric problems. The overwhelming majority of people on such medications are law-abiding.
North made a classic correlation error, which is mistaking things which are associated (found in common) for causes. For example, sick people are often found in doctors’ offices. Does this mean that doctors cause sickness? No. Sick people go to the doctor to relieve their suffering; the doctor does not cause their suffering.
North unwittingly conformed to the stereotype the left sets up for us as ignorant, stupid, insensitive and anti-science. Predictably, the left had a field day with North’s comments.
Usually, the left makes things up to attack us. In this case, Col. North gave them a talking point with an unforced error, while obscuring a valid issue about cultural depravity and violence.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a nail in the coffin is an event leading to inevitable failure. Upstate New York is in a generations-long decline which was already underway 56 years ago, when President Kennedy noted it in his 1962 speech to the New York Economic Club.
Governor Cuomo has said he wants to revive the upstate economy. However, he has driven three nails into the coffin of Upstate: paid family medical leave, the $15 hourly minimum wage, and the ban on shale gas development. All three are popular progressive policies and job-killers.
Only New York, New Jersey and California have paid family medical leave, a policy guaranteed to inhibit business development. How do employers fill the position vacated for the 12 weeks that the “benefit” allows? They must pay both the employee and the replacement. New York’s benefits are the most generous in the nation, a huge expense, not to mention the red tape.
Businesses will quite naturally choose more hospitable states that are cheaper and less regulated. The minimum wage is $7.25 in Pennsylvania, $8.60 in New Jersey and $10.50 in Vermont. No state bordering New York has a minimum wage anywhere near $15.
Cuomo’s ban on gas development robbed our neighbors of their right to the natural gas under their land. In almost any other state, landowners enjoy that right, profit by it, and thereby enrich the community as a whole. Gas development would have been like a jolt of electricity to the flagging Southern Tier economy. The gas industry was going to invest billions in upstate, mostly here in the beleaguered Southern Tier. In states where gas development is allowed, people prosper. The national average median income is $50,502, while the average gas industry job pays $71,220.
The effect of Cuomo’s policies is continued decline. According to a recent Department of Labor report, for the year ending in March 2018 (Cuomo’s been in office since 2011), Elmira had a 1.2 % decline in private sector employment, the worst in the state. Binghamton had zero job growth.
In the competition between states for people, New York is the loser. Upstate lost another 3,596 people in the year ending in July 2017. Since the last census in 2010, upstate has lost 61,688 people. Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler and Tioga counties saw population declines of 4%, 1%, 3.5% and 5.6% respectively.
If Cuomo’s policies were effective, people would be arriving, not leaving.
If the states are laboratories of democracy, then progressive policies in New York have failed.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.
According to Merriam Webster, tolerance is defined as “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” With this in mind, please have a look at an excellent video from Prager University called “Do you have any Republican friends?” The young interviewer asks this simple question to people in the very heart of New York City. The answers are disturbing but sadly, not surprising. Here’s the link.
Clearly, these people have had no contact with conservatives. They have heard only one side of the national argument, and it isn’t ours. They think we’re racist and intolerant. Based on what? They have no idea how we think or see the world, and worse, they’re incurious, having no desire to know us, what we think, or why we think it.
The woman who said Republicans are always telling people no, telling them what to do, and won’t let people live their lives obviously has it 180 degrees wrong. We’re not the regulators, the Democrats are – and I’ll bet she votes Democrat. What blows me away is that she lives in the most regulated, highest-tax locale in the country, dominated by Democrats, and yet she doesn’t seem to notice or care. But what is most disturbing is the contempt for our side.
Preceding contempt is dripping arrogance. In the stark absence of any real substantive knowledge, these people know that they are right, and that they are better. We are left with the label of bigot – the worst blight of all. When people see their political opponents through a lens of contempt, dehumanization follows, and that is a very dangerous turn indeed.
Watch the video and decide for yourself. But I advise caution. Let’s remain hopeful but realistic. Let’s not be like the people in this video. Try not judge the whole by this very sad sample.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.
What is American exceptionalism? It means that we’re the exception, unique in the world, because our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, says our rights come from God or nature and predate any government. With one brilliant stroke, the Founders made Americans the freest people on earth because no government can grant us rights we already have – but of course government can take them away.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution, our right to self-defense, also marks us as an exception in the world. Few countries trust their citizens with guns. Progressives (Democrats) take a dim view of the 2nd Amendment – they don’t like it and would get rid of it if they could. They say the Founders meant for the 2nd Amendment to apply only to “well regulated militias.” This belief makes it logical for progressives to “well regulate” our guns away from us.
When there’s a crime, Progressives always blame the gun. Next step: take the gun. When Democrats say they support the Second Amendment, that they’re hunters and they own guns, don’t believe them. They vote for gun-grabbers like Schumer and Pelosi.
The Second Amendment is an individual right. The Declaration and the Constitution were based on natural law. They acknowledged timeless principles and our basic humanity. The right to self-defense is obviously and deeply fixed in human nature – the will to survive and to protect those we love. The Second Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights, whose purpose was to guarantee individual rights.
That the 2nd Amendment is an individual right has been made plain by the brilliant Joyce Lee Malcolm. A link to an article about her follows.
Malcolm’s research demonstrates that an individual right to self-defense originated in England in the 1600’s. The Founders relied on this tradition when they wrote the Constitution.
Follow my logic here. This country was founded on individual rights in the Declaration, which informed the Bill of Rights, designed to protect our individual rights. Therefore, the Second Amendment is an individual right. What other conclusion is possible?
We must remain ever-vigilant to protect every one of the precious rights given to us by our Founders.
Michael A. Morrongiello Ph. D.