Translation

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.

https://www.stargazette.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/04/06/what-control-ny-senate-means/493142002/

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 FIGHT

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.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/business/media/laura-ingraham-david-hogg.html

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.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT, ANYONE?

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.

 

A Response to the local Democrat Party

THE LOCAL DEMOCRAT PARTY WROTE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR THAT RAN IN SUNDAY’S CORNING LEADER.  IT WAS FILLED WITH THE USUAL BROMIDES, HALF-TRUTHS AND CLICHES.  HERE IS MY RESPONSE.

The left uses cliches and half-truths to attack lawful gun owners. The term “common-sense gun safety laws” is a meaningless focus-group-tested phrase. The oft-repeated proposal to ban all assault rifles has already been tried; an assault weapons ban was in place from 1994 to 2004, with no decrease in the murder rate. They want to ban all semi-automatic weapons, which have been around since the early 1900’s. Semi-auto means one trigger pull, one shot, putting the law-abiding on par with crooks.

Why were there no school shootings until Columbine? The left’s default position is to blame the gun, which misses the point. Why do we have more mass murderers in our society than we had in, say, 1920, when semi-autos were widely available? We need to explore that question. But the left always resorts to rules, regulations and punishment. They think we’ll become better people if they just regulate us a little more. Blaming the gun is a stealth assault on our freedom.

They say that politicians who take money from the NRA are taking “blood money.” NRA money comes from millions of NRA members who obey the law, love our Constitution and want to protect ourselves and our families. Republicans take money from the NRA like Democrats take money from Planned Parenthood. In the left’s lexicon the NRA has blood on its hands, but Planned Parenthood is the body count champ. The tiny bodies at their door number in the millions.

What about the leaky Federal Instacheck system? The Virginia Tech shooter passed the FBI background check even after a judge ruled him dangerous and mandated him to treatment. The Parkland school shooter’s dangerous behavior was ignored by the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff.

The government the left loves is too incompetent or too indifferent to protect you but that same political left doesn’t want you to protect yourself.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

VICTIMIZED

The left loves to use victims to score political points. A recent case in point: the survivors of the Parkland school shooting, who are everywhere on the mainstream news media. They are being re-victimized in a sick and twisted scam.

The news media grants victims expert status and moral authority, making them unassailable. To differ with the victims’ ideas is to be heartless and cruel, denying their suffering. The aim is to stop debate by shaming conservatives into silence.

Trotting out victims as spokesmen is a trick liberals have used for years. James Brady, President Reagan’s press secretary, was ignored and criticized by the left and the news media (same thing) until he was shot and became a spokesman for gun control. Thereafter he was lauded. Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, became an overnight media sensation when she began to criticize President Bush, a Republican, for the Iraq war.

Victims always speak for the left against Republicans and Conservatives. This is always amplified, if not initiated, by the leftist operatives that are the news media.

The most recent example is the CNN article titled Four Reasons the NRA Should Fear the Parkland Student Survivors. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/21us/parkland-shooting-youth-social-change/index.html

The article is absurd, but let’s take a look at one of its points: kids lead and adults follow. Really? Churchill, Washington, Lincoln and Gandhi were grownups. Can you think of one adolescent who led a major political movement? This is a piece of propaganda that would make Goebbels blush. High school students don’t have the education, life experience or wisdom to be leaders. Of course, if the Parkville students were pro-Second Amendment, you’d never hear a word about them.

The same people who accuse conservatives of being anti-science ignore the neuroscience research on the adolescent brain. The teen brain is still developing. The amygdala, which is responsible for immediate emotional reactions, is developed in teens, which explains why teens are impulsive and emotionally over-reactive, but the frontal cortex, which enables us to think and make prudent decisions, is not. The frontal cortex is not fully developed until well into adulthood.

The left must always be victims. Therefore, NRA must be portrayed as a rich, all-powerful bully. In reality, according to OpenSecrets.org, the NRA are pikers compared to public employees’ unions. In the 2016 elections the NRA’s campaign contributions totaled a little over a million dollars, given mostly to Republicans. Meanwhile, the SEIU gave over $39 million and the NEA gave over $29 million to Democrats. Who’s the little guy now?

The Marjory Stoneman students have been victimized three times: first by the shooter, second by the government that failed them at every level, and third by the political left, which is exploiting their grief, pain and suffering.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

FIX IT NOW!

FIX IT NOW!

After the horrific school shooting in Florida, Democrats and their allies in the media rushed to exploit the grief of children, blaming gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA). This tragedy was not caused by the millions of people who legally own guns for self-defense, nor was it caused by the NRA. But one cause is glaringly obvious: the background check system is full of holes.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was established in a 1993 law that forbids certain people from buying a gun: those convicted of a felony, addicted to drugs, or with a history of domestic violence or involuntary commitment to a mental institution. Gun buyers must pass the background check before lawfully buying a gun, but any computer database is only as good as the information put into it. The system has been in place since 1998 with the support of the NRA. Gun owners and the NRA have complained about the gaps in NICS for years, to no avail.

The monster who killed nine churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015 passed NICS because the FBI failed to discover that he had confessed to drug possession, which would have disqualified him.

The Virginia Tech killer passed two NICS background checks, even though a judge had found him to be a danger to himself and others. He was ordered by the court to get treatment, but his name wasn’t entered in the NICS database.

Prior to Nicholas Cruz killing 17 in Florida, sheriff’s deputies visited his home 39 times to quell domestic disputes. Cruz reportedly had a history of mental health problems, and school officials sounded the alarm about him for years. The FBI was warned about him, as were Broward County deputies, but they did nothing. He should, at the very least, have been unable to buy a gun.

In 2010, 80,000 prospective gun buyers were caught lying to the FBI to illegally buy a firearm, yet only 44 were prosecuted. This is a felony punishable by five years’ imprisonment and fines. Why hasn’t the DOJ cracked down on this? In addition, seven million felons have been left off the NICS database, and 38 states submit less than 80% of their felony convictions to the FBI.

Meanwhile, more that two million mental health records are missing from NICS. States have been slow to provide records, as have the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Defense.

The gun didn’t do it. Nor did the NRA. Mass murderers have free reign because the government that Democrats swear will protect us fails on every level, starting with the NICS. Its shortcomings have existed for as long as Chuck Schumer has been in office. Why haven’t our lawmakers insisted it be fixed?

There are many lessons to be learned here. First, Democrats will use any tragedy, and its victims, for political gain. Second, you can’t trust the government to protect you. The same people who seek to disarm us, powerful lawmakers like Schumer and Pelosi, have done nothing to fix the deeply flawed Instacheck system in the past twenty years. Think of that. They’re too incompetent or too indifferent to protect you, but they don’t want you to protect yourself.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

MONOPOLY

MONOPOLY

We used to think that concentrated monopoly power was bad for business, bad for competition and really bad for consumers. The point of monopolies is to eliminate all competition and to fix prices, maximizing profit for the monopoly owners. Merriam Webster defines a monopoly as “exclusive ownership through legal privilege…exclusive possession or control…a commodity controlled by one party.” To prevent monopolistic practices like price-fixing and restraint of trade we passed several antitrust laws, the first of which was the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Its aim was to promote competition, leading to lower prices, better products and services and greater consumer choice, keeping free markets free. Having a monopoly and making a handsome profit was fine, as long as businesses did it by besting their competition.

Now cast your mind to health care, and change the word profit to power. Instead of the filthy-rich monopoly man lighting his big cigars with $50 bills, you have politicians greedy for power and seeking to acquire even more – the power to decide who suffers and who is healed, all to make us beholden to them. This is the essence of so-called single-payer health care. Make no mistake, power is what politicians crave, and they wield it with the same casual ease that we give to changing our socks.

If enacted, single-payer would be the single biggest monopolistic concentration of power in the history of the United States. In its many iterations, single-payer health care is authoritarian (directed from a central authority) and is the very definition of a monopoly (total control over the vast array of products and services that make up health care.) Consider that any single-payer system must control the manufacture of prostheses, drugs, imaging devices, doctors, hospitals and, of course, prices.

Bernie Sanders, the avowed socialist from Vermont, has a plan which outlaws all private insurance – it’s BernieCare or nothing. He wants the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a “national health budget.” But what happens when a surgical procedure for a painful condition nudges just over the “national health budget?” Oops, sorry – no care for you, madam, and no relief for your pain.

Bernie says we spend too much on health care. Canada spends less per person, he says. But Canadians wait 10 weeks for a referral to a gynecologist, 38 weeks for any kind of joint surgery and 47 weeks for neurosurgery. Why do Canadians wait in pain? Because their government tells them they must.

There is more bad news from the fantasyland that is single-payer health care. The Veterans Administration has been hiring doctors who have had their licenses revoked by their state licensing boards. This is the reality of any government-run system: you don’t get the best, you get who they give you, competent or not.

A review of the NHS (the National Health Service, UK’s government agency in charge of health care) found that NHS cannot meet the growing demands for services. It has gotten so bad that the NHS has been paying people with spare bedrooms to take post-surgical patients into their homes to ease the overcrowding in NHS hospitals.

A recent UK Independent headline blared, “NHS extends suspension of all non-urgent care as doctors warn of winter crisis.” As a result, the NHS “deferred” 55,000 operations. An operation deferred means suffering continued.

The whole point of antitrust legislation outlawing monopolies was to promote competition and provide better service to consumers. A monopoly made by building a better mousetrap comes about through competition and is earned. Single-payer would fall upon us by the exercise of raw political power and the unshakeable belief by elites that they are smarter and more compassionate than we are. It doesn’t matter who has the monopoly, concentrated power is a bad thing.

Monopoly is a game. People pretend to be landowners or railroad barons. A government health care monopoly is no game. Senator John Sherman, author of the law that bears his name, said, “If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and the sale of any necessaries of life.” The title of the autocrat does not matter: Your Highness, Senator, Secretary or Madam President. Because single-payer is a tyranny disguised as compassion. And we, as a free people, deserve better.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

 

ZERO GROWTH TAX CUTS

ZERO GROWTH TAX CUT

I’ll bet you didn’t know that some New Yorkers are getting a tax cut, which was actually passed a year ago. But it’s not like the economy super-charging tax cuts passed by the Republican Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Upstate New York’s decades-long trend of out-migration (first in the nation) won’t change. The upstate economy will not reverse its decades-long decline. The budget for 2017 included the biggest (delayed) personal income tax cut since the 1990’s, which should be a cause for celebration, but sadly isn’t. Tax cuts are supposed to unleash buoyant optimism, what economists call Animal Spirits, the breath that awakens the human mind to limitless potential and possibility. New Yorkers aren’t talking about these tax cuts because the cuts are puny, and they take seven years fully phase in. Those who designed the cuts in this way are economic illiterates.

Here are the details. If you make between $42,750 and $321,050 your taxes will decrease a tiny fraction – .12% per year from 2018 to 2025, where the tax rate finally lands at 5.5%. But only if your income falls in that range. No other brackets see a cut. The least affluent and the most affluent New Yorkers remain strangled by the highest taxes in the nation. With their earned money captured by the rapacious New York State government, they have less to invest, save and spend as they see fit.

Freedom is a finite thing: either you have it or you don’t. When it comes to your money, New York State is in charge. When your money is controlled by the government, it will not generate growth, prosperity and jobs. After all, who is best able to decide how, what and where to spend your money, a distant government bureaucrat in Albany or you yourself? I’ll go with you every time.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

Who’s Pillaging You?

Governor Cuomo is very angry at Republicans in Washington for cutting taxes on most Americans but limiting the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) to a mere $10,000. He ranted to Alysyn Camerota on CNN: “What the Senate was saying was because we have no senators from the blue states, we don’t care, so let’s pillage the blue to give to the red.” Oh really? Our two Senators from deeply blue New York are both Democrats and like Cuomo, they love high taxes and big government. Democrats own New York state. They have a 2:1 advantage in voter registration. They’ve held every statewide office for 11 years.

Our taxes are 27% higher than the national average, and the highest in the nation. We have high cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes, gasoline taxes, natural gas taxes, electricity taxes, home heating oil taxes, you name it. We have onerous state mandates imposed on upstate by Albany that drive our property taxes through the roof. In Steuben County 90% of our county taxes go to pay for these mandates. In Chemung County it’s 100%. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s true, and it’s crippling us here in upstate New York. Not surprisingly, we are near or at the bottom of measures of personal freedom and business climate. Who proposed these taxes and who voted for them? Democrats like Cuomo, who’s been in office since 2011.

Cuomo crows about his puny middle-class tax cuts, a 1.35% reduction phased in over 7 years to cushion the blow – to whom? The government? Meanwhile, the latest census data peal like a funeral bell for New York. In 2017 New York led the nation in lost population- 190,000 people left. Since 2010 we have lost a million people, another first in the nation. In 2011, 1.3 people left for every one person who moved in. In 2016, the awful trend accelerated to 1.6 leaving for every one who moved in. We’re also aging. Our under-18 population fell 3.9% from 2016 to 2017. All of this well before the tax reform passed by Congressional Republicans.

Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” This is Cuomo’s dilemma. Instead of lowering taxes, he’s scheming to change them to payroll taxes or sham charitable contributions to grab all of your money that he can.

Here’s a suggestion for Cuomo: why not allow taxpayers to deduct their property, sales and other state taxes on our state income tax returns. If Cuomo truly reveres the SALT deduction, he should get right on board. Meanwhile, maybe he could stop whining about a situation that he and his party created in the first place.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

Reply to Mr. F.

Every attack by a progressive is an opportunity to persuade with facts and logic. Recently, I wrote an article about the House and Senate tax cut plans. I posted it on my Facebook page and on my blogsite. The Elmira Star-Gazette ran it on Sunday, December the 9th. It drew a rebuttal from Michael Fitzgerald, a writer from the Finger Lakes Times, who commented: “Quoting Calvin Coolidge-considering what happened in the year following his presidency (1929) is a poor choice to support any argument in favor of a poorly drafted, almost incomprehensible tax bill passed by the House and Senate. Perhaps use Herbert Hoover instead.”

Fitzgerald implies that the Coolidge tax cuts led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed, which is untrue. First, tax cuts do not lead to depressions. After taking office following President Harding’s death in 1923, Coolidge (like Harding) cut taxes throughout his term of five years. Mr. Fitzgerald implies that suddenly, Coolidge cut taxes and the Great Depression fell on us like an avalanche a year after he left office. If tax cuts were responsible for the Great Depression, then why didn’t the Kennedy tax cuts in the 1960’s and the Reagan cuts of the 1980’s cause depressions? They did not. They led to wide and deep prosperity, just like the Coolidge tax cuts of the 1920’s.

To Mr. Fitzgerald’s second point, “perhaps use Herbert Hoover instead,” I would never use Hoover, because his policies were essentially FDR’s.

Hoover raised taxes, raised tariffs and increased government spending. Hoover-Roosevelt policies failed to pull us out of a recession and turned it into The Great Depression. The Harding-Coolidge administration cured the depression of 1920, which was as deep and painful as the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s treasury Henry Morganthau testified before Congress on May 5th 1939. The New Deal was in its’ 7th year. Morganthau said:

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started And an enormous debt to boot!”

Why do Progressives attack when Republicans cut taxes? First, every religion has a creation myth. And so it is with Progressives and the Democrat Party: it’s that Roosevelt’s policies worked, and that a few so-called smart people can grow the economy by spending taxpayer dollars. But the myth must be preserved, because it burnishes the concept of central planning. Second, it must really annoy the Democrat Party that someone other than them can be Santa Claus. Al Smith, a Democrat stalwart of the 1920’s, said of FDR, “no one shoots Santa Claus,” referring to FDR’s plan, and that of every Democrat since: buy votes with taxpayer dollars. Only they can be Santa. But this betrays something deeper and more sinister. They believe they own all that we earn, and they “give” us what they think we need. Tax cuts at the margins create growth, and this puts to the lie all that they believe.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.