BIASED BEYOND BELIEF

Every conservative knows the news media is biased, leaning left while simulating fairness. But the Elmira Star-Gazette dropped all pretense at objectivity in the Friday (11-23-18) edition. The front page headline stated, “Candidates with strong voices can launch political careers even while losing an election.” The non-sequitur pointed readers to an article touting the failed candidacy of three Democrats, headlined “In politics, losing just might be a winning proposition.” Only in Lefty Mediaville does losing mean winning. Can you imagine a similar headline and story written about defeated Republicans?

But the leftward rush continued, with Joseph Spector’s article headlined, “Trump travel ban impacting New York.” The link is below.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.lowhud.com/amp/2058081102

This article was an editorial disguised as news, claiming that New York State refugees and their families are being hurt by the Trump travel ban. Never a mention that the countries that Trump banned are the terrorist havens of Libya,

Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and the thugocracies of North Korea and Venezuela.

Every expert quoted in the article is from a left-leaning pro-illegal-immigration organization. This is an old media trick: stack the sources to make the story fit your narrative. In this case: Trump bad, immigration good. Another trick is to quote people who claim to be put upon, thus garnering sympathy for the cause and antipathy for the policymaker (usually a Republican.)

Heavens! Did you know the number of refugees coming to New York (mostly to upstate cities) dropped from 5,026 in 2016 to 1,218 in 2017? And that this has created a “vacuum for groups that seek to help refugees relocate from their native countries”? Translation: the pro-immigration groups Spector quoted are hurting.

According to Spector, the travel ban is very bad for upstate. He stated, “The drop has been felt predominantly upstate, where most refugees settled because of a lower cost of living and a well-developed social services structure to help them acclimate.” More on this later.

Native New Yorkers have been fleeing the state for decades, and all we heard from upstate newspapers and editorial boards was the sound of crickets. But let the refugee flow drop and it’s a crisis. Apparently, native New Yorkers are expendable, but refugees are vital.

Hassett also said, “The data’s very clear: refugees and immigrants are a positive economic force.” Really? Doesn’t that depends on the refugee’s skills and education? There is general agreement among immigration economists that low-income, less-educated refugees are a net drain on the economy, while highly educated, highly skilled refugees are a net plus. The Spector article implies every refugee is a net plus. But Specter said that refugees relocate upstate because of the social safety net. Why would those economic dynamos need social services from upstate taxpayers?

What we need is a sane immigration and asylum policy. We also need an honest media. If they want to be advocates, they should at least admit it.

WRITER’S NOTE: I asked the Star-Gazette for comment before I posted this article, but they chose not to reply to my request. Remember who the media are. They ask us for comment, we can’t ask them. They judge us. We can’t judge them. A quote that is variously attributed goes, “never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” But times have changed thanks to the internet. We can expose every bit of their institutional bias and naked advocacy and post it on blogs just like this for all to see. Thanks for reading my blog. I welcome your comments.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

A LOST WAR

Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in his 1964 State of the Union address, saying, “This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” Johnson wanted to “break the cycle of poverty” and “make taxpayers out of tax-eaters.” In the 54 years since war was declared, we have spent over 22 trillion dollars on anti-poverty programs, three times the cost of all the wars America has ever fought. And yet, the poverty rate remains unchanged. This is sadly true in cities across upstate New York. Unfortunately for those trapped in poverty, progressive solutions remain the go-to for elected officials and journalists alike.

An article by Jeff Platsky appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette on September 13th 2018. The link appears below.

https://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/2018/09/13/upstate-ny-ny-metro-areas-have-highest-childhood-poverty-rates/1276754002/

Platsky cites the American Community Survey, which finds that three upstate cities are in the top 25 in the nation in child poverty and overall poverty.

Rochester has 56.4% of its children living in poverty, third worst in the nation, and 32.3% of its people in poverty, 12th worst nationally.

In Syracuse, 47.4% of children live in poverty, 10th worst, and 32.4 % overall are below the poverty line, 9th worst.

Buffalo has 43.6% of its children living in poverty, 17th worst in the nation, and 29.6% of its citizens in poverty, 24th worst nationally.

These numbers ought to set off alarm bells across New York State, hearings in the NYS Senate and Assembly, heated questions to the Governor and other Democrat leaders, and scathing editorials from Buffalo to Albany. But there’s been nary a peep. Why?

For his part, Platsky interviews the 14-term Assemblyman and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D), who says these numbers should be a call to action for New York. Morelle blames uneven job growth, industrial loss and the old standby, “structural racism.”

These cities have been decaying for as long as Morelle has been in the Assembly. Morelle is the second highest ranking Democrat in the Assembly. He helps set the legislative agenda. Democrats run the Assembly and, notably, all these cities. Rochester has had Democrat mayors since 1970. Syracuse had Democrat mayors from 1970 to 2017; an independent now runs the city. As for Buffalo, it has been run by Democrats since 1966. Democrats occupy every statewide office and have done so for 12 years.

Several things are apparent. The war on poverty is an abject failure. The promise was to end poverty, but poverty is alive and well. The progressive idea that big government can solve individual and family problems should be put to rest once and for all. Yet it lives. Why? And why do people who live in continual poverty keep voting for the same people?

Platsky never asks Morelle about government policy on the state or federal level. This allows Morelle to answer as a bystander and not a policy maker. Platsky’s article reads like: “One day poverty happened – who knows how or why?” Here are some questions he should have asked: Mr. Morelle, you’ve been in the New York State Assembly for 28 years, several as Majority Leader. Are you in part responsible for this? Mr. Morelle, is the 54-year-old war on poverty a failure? You said structural racism was in part responsible. Could you define that term and tell us exactly who is discriminating against the residents of Rochester, Buffalo et. al.? Mr. Morelle, your party has been in charge of the state and these cities. Does the Democrat party bear any responsibility for the poverty in upstate cities?

The press never questions the effectiveness of progressive policies and never asks Democrats about those failures. Therefore, the unfortunate residents of these cities never hear a critique of the policies that keep them in poverty.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

NOT SO FASCIST

The alt-right recently held Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington, DC. Naturally the press turned out in droves, far outnumbering the twenty racists and other assorted nutters they were sent to cover. Why would the press bother covering a culturally and numerically irrelevant fringe group?

In school, we learned that political philosophy/ideology can be thought of as Left (progressives) or Right (conservatives), and that going too far to the left yields communism, while going too far to the right leads to fascism. But does this make any sense? For the purposes of this article I will continue to use the terms left and right, but it’s more accurate to think about it as less and more; big government versus smaller, limited government. The extreme of conservatism is not fascism. It’s anarchy. Extremes of the left yield both fascism and communism, which require a big, all-powerful government.

American conservatives believe in the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Foremost is the “self-evident truth” that we are born with our rights. Government can’t give you the rights you already have at birth, but it can take them away. If you believe your rights come from God or nature, you’ve failed Fascist 101, because fascists don’t believe people have any rights that government doesn’t give them.

The Declaration says government must be answerable to the people, and exists to protect our individual rights: “To secure these rights Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Fascists force people to bow to the government. Conservatives strongly support people’s right to own property. For fascists, property ownership is a privilege granted at the whim of government. Conservatives favor government closer to the people, because people know and have access to government officials and can therefore influence policy. Fascists believe in an all-powerful central government. What if government fails to secure our rights? The Declaration says, “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends (our rights), it is the Right of the people to alter it or to abolish it.” This ultimate power is ours. For conservatives this is an article of faith; for fascists, a mortal sin. The contrast could not be clearer.

The philosophical roots of conservatism begin with John Locke, the Enlightenment and the concept of Natural Law, which formed the basis of the Declaration and our Constitution. According to Natural Law, we’re all born free and equal with inherent rights, and we are able to understand things through reason. Georges Sorel, one of the foundational philosophers of fascism (as well as socialism and communism), believed in myth over reason and violence as a means of change. Contrast this with Jefferson’s appeal to reason in the Declaration: “To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world” and “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

The cultural project to convince Americans that a tiny nudge is all it takes to turn conservatives into goose-stepping Brownshirts began in the early 1920’s. Progressives of the day invested considerable hope in Woodrow Wilson, America’s 28th President. By the end of Wilson’s second term, optimism gave way to bitter disappointment because Wilson was unpopular, having left the country exhausted from war and mired in a deep depression. In the early 1920’s intellectual elites (academics, writers, and artists) did what elites always do: they blamed average Americans for Wilson’s unpopularity, especially people from small towns, who were called ill-educated, unsophisticated, dumb and therefore vulnerable to the siren song of fascism. The modern version of this is Hillary’s description of Trump supporters as deplorable and irredeemable.

Consider also the aspect of personality. Conservatives are seen as conventional, conformist and respectful of authority, traits that some ascribe to fascists. The idea that inside every Rotarian lurks a potential fascist is deeply rooted in the progressive psyche. Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” written in 1935, is about the fascist takeover of our government. It is reissued every time a Republican is in the White House. The New York Times re-reviewed It Can’t Happen Here in January of 2017 (the timing was not coincidental) with the headline, “the novel that predicted Trump.”

The idea that every conservative is a potential Hitler frightens progressives to death. As crazy as it sounds, they believe it. That’s one reason why they have no qualms in smearing us with the vile epithet of “fascist.”

Which side is closer to fascism, left or right? Hitler was a socialist. The name Nazi stands for National Socialist German Workers Party. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was named after leftist Mexican President Benito Juarez. Mussolini was a socialist who said “Everything within the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state.” Now consider what the patron saint of progressivism, FDR, proposed in his 1944 State of the Union Address. “Necessitous men are not free men,” FDR said, and went on to propose a second bill of rights that guaranteed not only health care as a right but “good health,” “a decent home” and a good-paying job, all provided by the government. Obama echoed this in 2001 when he said that the Constitution says what the government can’t do to you, but does not say what the government must do on your behalf (everything? Whatever Obama thinks government should do?) This has been an ongoing project of the left since FDR’s second bill of rights speech. If something is a right, then government must provide it. The government produces nothing, of course, and so it must seize it by force, and then proceed to regulate it, run it, and redistribute it. FDR and Obama echo Mussolini, “everything inside the state.” The party platforms of both the Italian and German fascists are a lot closer to FDR and Obama than to anything ever proposed by a conservative.

Back to the original question. Why did a host of reporters turn out to cover a handful of crazies in Charlottesville? Most reporters are progressives who believe the left-right model. They share the utterly irrational fear that every conservative is just itching to channel his inner Hitler, and just needs the right leader to come along (Trump anyone?). To be associated with fascism is to be branded as a hate-filled kook, and guarantees a big headline.

And once you’ve implied that conservatives are a part of the fascist family tree, you never have to consider or, heaven forbid, debate a conservative idea.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.