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.


Jon Campbell, in the Saturday, April 7th Elmira Star-Gazette, writing about the Democrat takeover of the New York State Senate, said:

On paper, a Democrat-led Senate would clear the way for a variety of progressive-favored policies and issues to take hold in New York, given that Cuomo is a Democrat and the party dominates the Assembly.

Cuomo and legislative Democrats, for example, have called for a variety of voting reforms, including allowing early voting that would clear the way for voters to cast their ballot prior to Election Day.

Democrats have also pushed for measures that would install federal abortion rights in state law and allow college-tuition aid to go to those without legal immigration status — measures staunchly opposed by the GOP.

But a Democrat-led Senate wouldn’t automatically mean those issues would pass.

If Democrats hold only 32 votes, they would have to stay completely unified for the measures to pass.

That’s not a given, especially considering Felder leans conservative on many issues.”

The link to Mr. Campbell’s article appears below.


With all due respect to Mr. CampbelI, I think this article requires a translation from Democrat to plain-spoken, common-sense, experience-based English, as follows.

With the State government now firmly in Democrat hands, New Yorkers (especially upstaters) beware. Tax increases, regulations and reductions in your freedoms will follow. Your Second Amendment Rights are in serious jeopardy. In spite of their denials, Democrats don’t believe in the 2nd Amendment and will confiscate every gun as soon as they’re able.

The upstate economy has been in a depression for generations. Democrats will assure its continued decline. Why? Because they love sky-high taxes, voracious regulatory-state agencies and the dependency this creates.

Democrats have added a high minimum wage and family medical leave to the enormous burden already borne by upstate businesses and by extension, the economy. No other state in the northeast is so hobbled. The Democrats don’t care who will win the competition for jobs between the states, as long as they remain in power.

Democrats will make voter fraud easier with early voting. They’ll continue to issue driver’s licenses and ID cards to illegal aliens so they can vote early and often, because illegals are more likely to vote for Democrats.

Dems will keep the gifts coming to illegals, sending them to State Universities for free, while New Yorkers must pay.

Because Democrats care more about people here illegally than about our own citizens.

No Constitutional right is more important to Democrats than abortion. They value it above free speech, freedom of religion, the right to self-defense and private property rights. Therefore, they will enshrine the right to abortion in the NYS Constitution.

Mr. Campbell’s article is informative and plays it straight. But Dem-speak requires a conservative translator to make plain what the Dems really mean.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.



Street fights are nasty events with no rules except one: win. And so it is in the fight to keep our Second Amendment rights. A prime example is the dustup between Fox news host Laura Ingraham and gun control advocate David Hogg. First let’s call him what he is, an advocate, labeled as such by the NY Times. I am not calling him a victim, a child, an adolescent, traumatized or a survivor. While some or all may be true, they do not accurately describe Hogg and his fellow gun-control advocates from Parkland. In a political fight, accurate labeling is essential. You must define your opponent to put him in clear focus.

Laura Ingraham tweeted the following about Hogg:

David Hogg Rejected by Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given the acceptance rates.)”

The tweet is snarky and deserves a reply, but Hogg promptly ran to the The New York Times, which is reliably left-wing and anti-gun, and said,

I’m not going to stoop to her level and go after her on a personal level, I’m going to go after her advertisers.”

Hogg’s response was to try to destroy and silence Ingraham, and by extension all of us. He tweeted a list of Ingraham’s sponsors and asked his Twitter followers to pick three and boycott them.

Later on in the NY Times piece Hogg is quoted: “we can show that if you continue to bully the students that survived a mass murder, there’s going to be consequences.”

Here’s the bait and switch, from movement leader to child-victim. Criticize a child and trauma survivor and you are heartless bully. But who asked for the boycott to intimidate and silence Ingraham?

The Times said, commenting on Hogg’s reply “In response, Mr. Hogg, who has rapidly become a prominent advocate for gun control policies, called on Ms. Ingraham’s advertisers to boycott her show.”


Who made Hogg a “prominent advocate for gun control policies”? The media did. The NY Times and CNN did.

Those of us who love our Constitution and our liberties didn’t ask for a fight with Hogg and his fellow political activists, but the fight is here. He may play the victim but he is an actor, and so are his friends. They have entered the arena. You can’t be both fighter and fragile victim. They chose to fight and as such their ideas, character and motives are subject to examination, criticism and rebuke. Let the battle begin.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.


The Santa Claus principle, which dominates both parties in Washington, says that if politicians spend voters’ money, voters will elect them in perpetuity. They take your money, then give it back in some program or other, and you’re supposed to be grateful. The recent budget deal, the 2018 Omnibus made between big-spending Republicans and bigger-spending Democrats, has killed any pretense at limited government, for now.

Democrats are the original Santas, but at least they’re honest about their love for big spending. They brag about how much they’re doing for us (really, it’s to us). Republicans are ever a pale imitation. Republicans always campaign to reduce spending and shrink government, but when they get to Washington they spend, piling up enormous debt for the rest of us.

The $ 1.3 trillion omnibus is 2,232 pages long. It was impossible to read, let alone understand, in the time allotted. When Democrats offered huge bills with little time to read them, we rightly complained. Now Republicans are doing it. Here’s what some of what was was funded:

$12 million for Lebanese scholarships.

$20 million for Middle East scholarships.

$12 million to fund the Vietnamese military.

$3.5 million for Laotian nutrition.

$15 million in developmental assistance for China, our main military and economic rival.

With one stroke, Republicans managed to depress their base, make a Republican President look weak, and put their majority in peril. Brilliant.

One reason why this bill is such a budget-buster is that Democrats insisted on discretionary spending increases before they would fund modernization and pay raises for our military.

Tom Reed correctly voted against this spending free-for-all, a courageous decision to be sure in the face of what had to be enormous political pressure.

Why does this matter? The Republican Party is supposed to stand for individual freedom and its essential component—limited government, in direct opposition to Democrats. Big spending and limited government are mutually exclusive. You can’t have both. With the Republican surrender on omnibus, we now have two big-government parties.

Limited government is important because as government grows, it requires more of your money. According to the Tax Freedom Foundation, we now work until almost May to pay our taxes each year. Citizens have a limited lifespan, and money taxed from us means less time to enrich our lives, and those of our children and grandchildren. That is precisely why this is such a bad deal. What’s to be done?

Former Governor Al Smith said, “Nobody shoots Santa Claus.” For now, people love big spenders. Politics is always downstream from culture. And until more of us demand smaller and more limited government, we’ll get free spending Santas and rotten sellout deals like the 2018 Omnibus.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.