THIS IS A GUEST POST BY LAWRENCE LAFERLA, BROTHER OF 1st CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, DR. JOHN LAFERLA, REPONDING TO CONSERVATIVE EASTERN SHORE BLOGGER, MIKE SWARTZ, WRITING ON “MONOBLOGUE.”
Right-wing blog supports so-called “patriot” groups
Blogger Michael Swartz appears to deny that Andy Harris has in fact endorsed gun extremists who advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. But the second-term, “tea” congressman actually has endorsed gun extremists who do advocate the violent overthrow of our freely elected government. In an open society such as ours, that’s close to treason. It’s simply a fact that Andy Harris supports gun extremists who can be fairly characterized as part of the “Timothy McVeigh wing of the Republican party.” It’s a fact that Andy addressed their right-wing gun rally. They talked of praying with guns in their hands and described our twice-elected president as a “dictator.” Andy gave them his blessing. It’s not unfair to point out that Andy Harris pals around with anti-government extremists.
It’s funny how right-wingers project. Who’s more “despotic,” the president or Congressman Harris? Evidence points toward the latter. Here you see Andy Harris preventing cameras from recording his fracking hearing (as if Andy’s big energy owners actually owned not just the congressman but our entire House of Representatives). Talk about despotism!
Okay, back to the topic of sensible gun policy. I can’t claim to know exactly (as of this writing) what my brother John LaFerla’s position is on gun ownership. (It’s too late in the evening to phone him, and it isn’t stated anywhere on the campaign site.) But we can safely presume that it’s in line with the mainstream. Protect property? Yes. Hunting? Yes. Fight despotic Royal Army? Sure. Overthrow our freely-elected U.S. government? Hell no — are you insane?
That was not in any way part of the intent of the drafters of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that were adopted in 1789, nor is any right of domestic insurrection to be found in the literal wording of the Amendment. Furthermore, the “militia” that were referred to in the Amendment were supposed to be like juries, with participation from all citizens, not just gun enthusiasts. How do we know? If you have any doubts about this, read the entirety of this excellent exposition on the Second Amendment. And the “well regulated” part means public oversight. You don’t get to proclaim yourself a militia any more than you can proclaim yourself a general or a judge. True citizens militia would have rolling public conscription, like with juries, and would follow state and federal regulations enacted by duly elected public servants. You don’t just form your own little army and make your own rules. When our big army crushes your little army you’re going to cry about “tyranny.” But most Americans won’t call that tyranny. We’ll call it justice.
If you form a right-wing militia, who are you protecting? All of us? Akhil Reed Amar gets it right. Your militia doesn’t necessarily represent my interests as a citizen. You’re just a gun club. Nothing intrinsically patriotic about your gun collection. Nothing at all. And having a gun doesn’t put you in charge of the populace. It doesn’t make you more of an authority than any unarmed citizen. Might doesn’t make right. We have democratic processes in our government of, for and by the people.
Our current President, that thoughtful, decent, moderate, public servant, whom we elected twice with strong national majorities, speaks the truth when he notes that “the government’s us!”
Archive for the ‘Right-wing’ Category
To those pro-gun advocates who think that more concealed weapons will reduce crime, please stop embarrassing yourselves and do some research. I’m going to help you along, by providing some studies by very prestigious researchers in the US. I found these while debating a gentleman who thought that John Lott, Jr’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, was so correct and unimpeachable. Interestingly, John Lott, Jr. has a PhD in economics, not social science or other research specialty, and was employed by the American Enterprise Institute, a far-right, conservative think-tank.
Mr. Lott and his methodologies have been highly ridiculed and debunked by prestigious researchers around the country, including the following studies:
- Most of these studies contend that there seems to be little or no effect on crime from the passage of license-to-carry laws. Some, such as Donohue’s 2003 study, find a temporary increase in aggravated assaults.
- Rutgers sociology professor Ted Goertzel stated that “Lott’s massive data set was simply unsuitable for his task”, and that he “compar[ed] trends in Idaho and West Virginia and Mississippi with trends in Washington, D.C. and New York City” without proper statistical controls.
- Goertzel also points out that econometric methods (such as the Lott & Mustard RTC study or the Levitt & Donohue abortion study) are susceptible to misuse and can even become junk science.
- Ian Ayres, Yale Law School, and John Donohue, Stanford Law School, “Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis,” Stanford Law Review, 2003. This study found a temporary increase in aggravated assaults.
- Jens Ludwig, Georgetown University, “Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data”, International Review of Law and Economics, 1998.
- Dan Black and Daniel Nagin, “Do ‘Right-to-Carry’ Laws Deter Violent Crime?” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 209–213 (January 1998).
- Mark Duggan, University of Chicago, “More Guns, More Crime,” National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. W7967, October 2000, later published in Journal of Political Economy.
- Tomislav V. Kovandzic and Thomas B. Marvell, “Right-To-Carry Concealed Firearms and Violent Crime: Crime Control Through Gun Decontrol?” Criminology and Public Policy 2, (2003) pp. 363–396.
- John J. Donahue III, Stanford Law School, ‘The Final Bullet in the Body of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis’, Criminology and Public Policy, 2003.
- John Donohue and Ian Ayres. “More Guns, Less Crime Fails Again: The Latest Evidence from 1977–2006″ Econ Journal Watch 6.2 (2009): 218-238.
These are just a few of the many studies that oppose the Lott junk science approach to research.
In response to the dispute surrounding missing data that Lott referred to, in regard to a study he said he had performed in 1996, Lott created and used “Mary Rosh” as a sock puppet, to defend his own works on Usenet and elsewhere. After investigative work by blogger Julian Sanchez, Lott admitted to use of the “Mary Rosh” persona. Sanchez also pointed out that Lott, posing as “Mary Rosh”, not only praised his own academic writing, but also called himself “the best professor I ever had”.
Many commentators and academics accused Lott of violating academic integrity, noting that he praised himself while posing as one of his former students, and that “Mary Rosh” was used to post a favorable review of More Guns, Less Crime on Amazon.com. Lott has claimed that the “Mary Rosh” review was written by his son and wife. ”I probably shouldn’t have done it—I know I shouldn’t have done it—but it’s hard to think of any big advantage I got except to be able to comment fictitiously,” Lott told the Washington Post in 2003.
We have all heard Rep. Andy Harris recite how much he cares about the people on the Eastern Shore. Harris is from Baltimore County, but a large part of his Congressional District is on this side of “the Bridge.” (See http://harris.house.gov/)
With huge out-of-state support, by right-wing extremists, Harris was able to defeat Frank Kratovil and Wayne Gilchrest, representatives who lived and worked here on the Delmarva Peninsula, and who represented our best interests. On the other hand, we now have a representative who is from Baltimore and contrary to his rhetoric, cares little for Eastern Shore people or the Bay.
You don’t need to take my word for it; let’s look at his record. While in the Maryland State Senate, Harris had one of the worst environmental records, and his lack of interest in helping to save our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, was well-known.
His position hasn’t changed. In fact, if Harris gets his way, instead of wind turbines off the shore of Ocean City, there will be oil rigs.
Yes, just as in the Gulf of Mexico, we will be creating an environmental disaster, just waiting to happen. Can we imagine the devastation even a small spill would cause to the beaches and resort areas along Maryland and Delaware shores? Such a catastrophe will make Hurricane Sandy seem like a non-event.
Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, which he referred to as an “historic storm”, what was Harris’ response to the record flooding and damages in Crisfield, Smith Island, Marion, Fairmount, Deal Island, Ocean Pines and Princess Anne? He, again, turned aside the interests of the Eastern Shore, and instead, voted “No” on the Sandy Relief bill. Even worse, he voted on a doomed bill that would provide $17 billion in aid, but only if it was offset by cuts elsewhere, something that had never been required in catastrophic emergencies like this. He knew it wouldn’t pass, but he and his Tea Party allies pointed to it, saying, “We tried!”
Farmers here on the Eastern Shore, also found out the truth about Harris, when he voted “No” on the extension of the Farm Bill (actually, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012), even though it had come out of the GOP-led Agriculture Committee.
Women, too, were brushed aside by his “No” vote on the Violence Against Women Act. Even though VAWA has been proven beneficial and effective, reducing violence by 50% – 67%, since its passage in 1994. What was Harris’ excuse for his “No” vote? He released statement said, the bill didn’t contain a “conscience provision” for “religious organizations that want to help prostitutes but don’t want to tell them about abortion.“ So, instead, he is content with 1,200 women killed and 2 million injured, in domestic violence, annually. According to the CDC, 25% of all US women are subjects of some domestic abuse.
As I said, the record speaks for itself. Of course, I don’t have room to report all of Harris’ “No” votes, from education to jobs, Medicare to veteran benefits. Stay tuned, because I will be exposing Harris’ record from now until 2014, showing why he is no friend of the Eastern Shore or America. We deserve better than a puppet to out-of-state puppet masters, interested more in profits than people. Shouldn’t it be People Over Politics? That’s what I was taught, anyway!
Well, I never thought that I would see the day when a US Representative, even a Tea Party loon, like Andy “Dr. No” Harris, would seek to violate his oath of office and incite people to overthrow the US government! On Saturday, February 16th, at Harris’ “Town Hall Meeting On Guns and Violence”, in Ocean City, MD, that’s exactly what happened!
In a room of 200 or so, with about 15-20 supporters of stricter regulations, and the rest, a mix of passive to outright raging gun supporters, Harris stood up and said that “…examples exist to support the idea that the people have a right to rise up and overthrow a tyrannical government!” His outrageous comment was in response to a statement I had made, that “there is nothing in the Constitution that gives anyone the right to overthrow the government.” He then proceeded to support his statement with the example of “Athen’s Rebellion”, where, in 1946 Athens, Tennessee, several hundred GIs, broke into the National Guard Armory, stole weapons, then attacked the local Sheriff’s Office and County Jail.
Suffice it to say, that the prevailing political machine that had dominated Athens and the surrounding towns for many years, certainly were acting illegally, by counting ballots in private, without the ability of opponents to oversee them. The GIs, after having returned from WWII, fighting for Democracy, were not going to let the local political bosses deny them of the very rights they had been fighting and dying for. The Sheriff, under the thumb of the Mayor, a boss tweed type, if ever there was one, had been threatening people throughout that election day, harassing voters and poll judges alike. A Deputy even shot one black voter who had tried to vote “the wrong way!”
Needless to say, tempers were hot. By evening, several hundred GIs and their supporters, armed with rifles and some home-made explosives, assaulted the County Jail, where the Sheriff and Mayor had ended up, after absconding with the ballot boxes. Before the boxes were opened, the GIs attacked and eventually used the explosives to blow open the doors, at which time, the Sheriff and his men surrendered. The GIs went in, took control of the ballot boxes and removed them to a safe location, where the ballots were counted, in public view! The vote was, without a doubt, in favor of the GI candidates who were running for Mayor, Sheriff and other City and County positions.
Now, we can certainly look back on this event and say, “The GIs were right to do what they did.” In fact, no one who participated in the action was ever prosecuted! But, we also have to ask, “Is this really how we want to run our Democracy?” If so, then what will keep the “bosses” from getting more people and more guns next time, to take the ballot boxes back? By approving of this kind of action, we are supporting anarchy, pure and simple. Forget the rule of law and 200+ years of legal precedents. ”Mob rule” will control.
This is what Harris was advocating and giving a nod to last Saturday! Anarchy! Overthrow of the government! The ones with the guns make the rules!
My own belief is that Congressman Harris should be censured by his House colleagues, at the very least. This type of behavior, especially in light of the recent mass killings, as well as comments by the gun advocates at the meeting, who predicted that “blood will be spilled” with any new regulations that become law, is unacceptable from our elected officials. By advocating and supporting these kinds of illegal activities, he is violating his oath, to uphold the Constitution and the law. If not prosecuted or censured, he should surely be shown the EXIT door on election day, 2014!
It is a sad day for the Eastern Shore, to have a liar and a sham, like Andy Harris, be re-elected. I was so hoping that this, my first post after the election, could call for a coming together of the “right” and “left.” But, upon hearing Harris’ comments after his win, I am more committed than ever to replace him as our Representative.
He lives in a ‘bizarro’ world, claiming to have “reached out” to Democrats, when we know that he has voted against any proposals put forth by House Democrats or the White House. His approach has even earned him the nickname, “Dr No”, because that has become his standard vote and position! And, according to his post-election comments, he will continue to live by his moniker and obstruct any progress in the House.
I am not whining about Harris’ win; the former Democratic candidate, Wendy Rosen, certainly didn’t help, by resigning a week after the deadline to remove her name from the ballot. As such, Dr. John LaFerla could only run as the Democratic write-in candidate. I am just astonished by the failure of the commonsense Eastern Shore voter to see through the disguise and insincerity of Harris’ campaign. He is definitely a “RINO” (Representative In Name Only)!
When Harris holds himself out as a “great communicator”, saying that he is bringing both parties to the table, it just doesn’t fit with his history and performance, whether in the State Senate or in Congress. In fact, Harris has been a major roadblock to both, the Maryland delegation and the House, where there have been multiple efforts by the Democratic leadership and the White House, to repair the economic mess perpetrated by the previous administration.
Harris lies when he talks about helping farmers, since he has voted against the Farm Bill, introduced by his own Party! Without its passage, our farmers will be hurt financially. He has voted against education, medicare, social security, job creation, health care and protecting our air and water, or the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, only 4 bills were introduced (and passed) by Harris in his 2 years as Congressman. They dealt with reducing the tariffs on foreign-made men’s and women’s shoes! While millions of Americans were still unemployed and suffering, Andy embraced a foot fetish!
Aside from the sound bites and clichés he has come to rely on, Harris cannot point to any real action on his part, to help our district or its residents. He has failed to spur job creation, being more interested in expanding ‘fracking’ even though it has been shown to be destructive and dangerous, than he is in cooperating on solving our “Fiscal Cliff.”
He is a pawn of his corporate campaign contributors, mostly from out-of-state, and the sooner 1st district voters open their eyes, the sooner we will get a Representative who truly represents our interests. Until then, “Dr. No” will continue to be the obstructionist and do-nothing elected official, that he has been since his days in the Maryland Senate!
The following is a post that is circulating in the online LTE sections of small-town papers around the State. It appears to be from a “local” writer, but I think it is clearly a piece of Bongino
campaign literature. I have responded to it online and added my response in the Comments section.
There is an old saying which states “liberal policies care about the poor in theory- it’s the real poor they have a problem with”. Having spent many years in poverty as a child, I am intimately familiar with the pain of hunger and the burning desire for a better tomorrow. I will not be lectured by elites about their intentionally cryptic notions of “fairness”. It is my personal relationship with a past filled with painful memories of waking up hungry and the realization that it wasn’t just a bad dream that motivates me to confront an ideology that has imprisoned generations in an endless state of poverty. This sentence, imposed by decades of bureaucratic mismanagement, is marketed to the disadvantaged among us as a “gift” from self-anointed political philanthropists.
I refuse to accept the misguided notion, blindly propagated by institutional elites, that the political party best representing the interests of struggling lower income communities is the liberal wing of the Democratic party. When I analyze the issues I encounter most on the campaign trail, the economy and healthcare, I am deeply troubled by the quality issues in our prize city of Baltimore.
The Baltimore economy has been struggling to attract new businesses for decades. An exodus of tens of thousands of its citizens has not helped, as those leaving have taken their intellectual capital with them. A litany of new taxes and a “bureaucracy first, people second” approach to governing has led to an environment where the remaining citizens are viewed simply as tools to support the bureaucracy rather than the inverse. A well written op-ed piece by Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters in the Wall Street Journal on this very subject uses this stunning statistic which sums up the utter failure of Baltimore’s reliance on liberal economic ideology, “in 1950, the city’s median income was 7% above the national average. Today it is 22% below it.”
To add to the economic absurdity, the Mayor of Baltimore has now raised the “temporary” bottle tax, as if the chimerical dreams of a flourishing economy and streams of tax revenue were simply being subdued by the tax rate and not the underlying economic principles. We as Republicans must walk proudly into these communities, as I regularly do, and profess our ideas for growth, which are blind to socioeconomic class. I refuse to accept that a proud city, with infrastructure, public transit, access to the northeast corridor, a world class port and proximity to another major metropolitan area (Washington D.C.), should be relegated to a second class economy. I will not stand idle, while the good citizens of this great city are subjected to another minute of this “ignore the results” ideology.
With thousands of struggling lower income citizens utilizing Medicaid as a primary means of seeking access to healthcare, and ever increasing enrollment into the program, one would think, absent the facts, that the program serves the poor well. With their numerous speeches about “fairness” and “equality” it is easy to see why so many are misled. However, when we look again at the actual results of their “generosity” with our money, the story changes dramatically. An oft quoted University of Virginia study has shed light on the results on this program. The statistic that should ring alarm bells reads, a Medicaid recipient is 97% more likely to die after surgery than a person with private insurance. Wait, it gets much worse, a Medicaid recipient is 13% more likely to die after surgery than a person with no insurance at all. In what dictionary does this suffice as a definition of “help”?
With this piece I ask, rather I implore those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale; please vote for change in 2012. Please allow us a shot at repairing decades of damage to your economy, your education system and your access to quality healthcare. Vote for change and hold us accountable. The worst possible outcome would be more of the same and you have a subsequent election to change it back if dissatisfied. Please stop going on blind dates in the voting booth. I will not stop sounding the siren and will fight for every vote in every Maryland community. And for those who continue to tell me I am wasting my time I ask you, “what are you doing to fight for those who need us most?”
Dan Bongino is the Republican nominee for United States Senate in Maryland
(This is in response to a blog post, made by my high school friend, Donna Scuderi, at: http://donnascuderi77.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/irony-and-the-r-word/)
This is a touching piece and I sincerely appreciate and understand the sentiments expressed. You should, rightfully, be proud of your Dad, for he was teaching you something that many in his generation failed to do or were ambiguous about with their children. Luckily, I had parents in the same league, and growing up, in and out of hospitals, I got to meet, firsthand, lots of AAs who worked there, mostly in janitorial positions. There all impressed me with their understanding and caring for me and the other kids, who were usually in beds, wheelchairs or casts of one kind or another.
Fast-forward (if I can steal a phrase) 50 years and what do we find? Because of the failure or ambiguity passed on by some parents, there is still racism, bigotry and hatred in our society. There is little difference in the vitriol, but there does seem to be a difference between the outright racism of our growing up years and the racism of today. Today, there is very little direct reference to the “N” word. Those political strategists looking to harness the “energy and passion” of those who hate, have reframed the issue to attack by making references to “class warfare” being perpetrated by AAs and their ideological companions. The sad fact is that those who might otherwise disagree and who would abhor the outright racism of the ’50s, are accepting of the “class warfare” moniker. The strategists are being rewarded by those who have been duped into believing that “class warfare” was initiated by the left.
The truth is that “class warfare” has ALWAYS been initiated by those in positions of power and wealth, as a defense against those in servitude who demand equality, opportunity and respect. After all, who would come out and say they are against equality, opportunity and respect? Especially if they profess to be of a superior moral fiber?
In its most current incarnation, “class warfare” erupted on the scene, concurrent with the election of President Reagan, a man who was convinced that if the wealthy and powerful were given more wealth and more power, it would eventually “trickle down” to the masses. Unfortunately, it took too many, too long, to admit that when the wealthy and powerful were given more wealth and power, they simply became even wealthier and more powerful.
Economic growth isn’t one-sided and it is certainly not top-down. Growth comes from a combination of the “top” meeting the “demand” of the “masses”, meaning that without the people with the means to purchase, there can be no growth. The people with the means (the Middle Class) have been losing ground over the past 30 years, both in power and in wealth, with real income and savings going down, not up, as it has been heading for those who are already wealthy and powerful.
Step in, the strategists, who see the poor and former Middle Class (after the economic meltdown) as the supporters of “class warfare”. Because of social and economic realities, the percentage of poor in this country are black and Hispanic. Hence, racism rears its ugly head and is now cast in economic terms; much more palatable and easy to publish, than straight out screaming of the “N” word. Sadly, even those who were properly taught and who sincerely believed they were saved from being the racists of our generation, have succumbed to the “class warfare” tag, allowing themselves to be cast as the modern-day bigot, even though they may not be.
I don’t believe that either of our Dads would be happy with the current state of affairs. Even the true Conservatives of the ’50s and ’60s (the Goldwater’s and Nixon’s) would not want to be seen with the likes of most Tea Party members today. I dare say, even the Great Communicator, President Reagan, must be restless in his grave, “seeing” what has happened as a result of his failed “trickle-down” theory and the economic imbalance it has caused.
by Roger Burt, PhD
Yesterday Andy Harris held his “town halls” in Easton and Worcester. ‘Samo-samo.’ Remember, he schedules these meetings at inconvenient times for most people (this one was 2:30-3:30pm). The Tidewater Inn in Easton experienced nothing new from Harris, or “Dr No”, as his opponents refer to him. He opened with a presentation consistent with the Tea Party wing of the Republican party line. Total yawn!
Walker is the right-wing hero-du-jour. Spinners argue the Right is emboldened because he survived. Attacks on worker rights, cuts in education, tax cuts and restricted voting, will now spread even more rapidly across the country.
I foresee more compromise. Walker barely survived the backlash caused by his lies and radical actions. He lost the Senate! He experienced a brutal recall, with a drop in popularity.
Of course, the Tea Party and Koch Brothers look-a-likes are waving a victory flag. But Walker’s, Kasich’s and Scott’s bloody noses will remain sore.
Where does that leave the President? Exit polls showed President Obama will take Wisconsin. It seems that many voters objected to the recall itself, not because they endorsed Walker’s radical policies.
Elected officials face important choices: Will the Middle Class and poor continue to pay for the catastrophe caused by 32 years of failed right-wing lies? Will America continue cutting education, health care, infrastructure, retirement security, clean water and air? Will we continue to approve CEO multimillion-dollar bonuses for jobs sent abroad, breaking unions, fudging books and lying to meet quarterly profit margins?
The alternative is to rebuild our country, with historically fairer taxes. To empower workers with fair wages, based on their productivity that creates huge profits.
Wisconsin is a warning to the President and progressives, who will need to work harder, stretch more, educate and reach out more, to counter the increased power of big money. “Big Money” out-spent their opponents 7 to 1! “Big money” demands a big reaction.
Are voters okay with “Big Money” taking over our future? It reminds me of the scene in Star Trek: First Contact, when, after going back in time, just prior to first contact between Earth and Vulcan, the Borg Queen is about to stop it from happening. Her words are startlingly appropriate: “Watch your future’s end!”