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 ‘Tea Party’ Category
Rep. Andy Harris (see http://harris.house.gov/) loves to state a position (usually involving the word “NO”, and then stick to it, no matter what the ramifications. As a Tea Party and wealthy corporatist Favorite Son, he merely does what he is told by the puppet masters who control his campaign contribution purse-strings. The health care issue is no different for him today, than it was three years ago, when he promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), come hell or high water.
Even after decrying the required wait for his own health coverage to take effect in Congress, he turned a blind eye to the plight of those who have no health coverage at all…not just for 30 days, but for their entire lives. Back then, he was upset because there was a standard waiting period from the time he was sworn in, until the effective date of the Congressional health plan. Meanwhile, this is an ordinary course of events for Americans, on a daily basis. If you move from one company to another, you might have to wait 30, 60 or 90 days before coverage takes effect.
While looking out for his own health coverage, Harris’ ongoing repeal efforts would deny the following benefits to families and businesses in the 1st district:
- Improving coverage for 498,000 residents with health insurance, by ending the worst of insurance company abuses such as eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions and annual and lifetime coverage limits.
- Allowing 50,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
- Strengthening Medicare for 119,000 beneficiaries, including reducing the cost of prescription drugs and eliminating waste fraud and abuse.
- Giving tax credits and other help to up to 126,000 families and 17,900 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
- Guaranteeing that 8,500 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
- Extending coverage to 19,000 uninsured residents.
- Protecting 1,100 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
- Providing millions of dollars in new funding for 47 community health centers.
- Saving hospitals and other health care providers by $29 million annually, by reducing the cost of uncompensated care.
It’s about time Harris stops playing politics with the health and welfare of the residents of the 1st district. It’s time, as a doctor who supposedly subscribes to the Hippocratic Oath and promise to “First, do no harm”, to start acting like it. People’s lives hang in the balance and they should not be considered fodder for his political rallies, soundbites and distorted charts that he is famous for. It’s time to put PEOPLE OVER POLITICS!
Judy Davis, an activist from Worcester County, MD, is involved with important issues in our state. She recently participated in the Marylanders Against Gun Violence rally, in Annapolis, MD and is a participant in the Emerge program, which trains women around the country to take more active roles in leadership positions in their communities.
It would be hard to ignore the working poor, while living in a seasonal beach town, as I do. Although many unskilled jobs are filled with visiting foreign-exchange students, “locals” hold about half of those positions. These “locals”, some of who are lifelong residents, live in the area year-round and find that they’re without work when the businesses close for the season. The fortunate ones are able to receive a modest unemployment check, twice a month. Renting in our area is expensive and lodging is only available in the off-season. Those that choose to remain in a year-round room/apartment, pay much higher rent than a comparable living space, elsewhere.
During a recent conversation I had with two local business owners, I heard claims that people are living off “the system”, wanting “hand-outs”, and “those people” are not properly planning for emergencies or their retirement. When I asked how anyone, especially those of advanced years, could pay for living expenses at wages of $7.25 hour, there was no response.
Our society’s perception of the working poor has deteriorated, from one of providing an honest day’s work, to one of expecting entitlements and being shiftless. According to Charlie White (Think Reality: Wealth Inequality in America), 15.1% of the U.S. population (approximately 47 million people) lives below the Poverty Line. An average worker needs to work one month to equal one hour of income that an average CEO earns. That equates to about 160 hours to 1 hour. Some figures have shown that to be as high as 400 hours to 1 hour!
The working poor have no discretionary income. If they are lucky enough to own a vehicle and a tire goes flat, the choice is between buying groceries to feed their family or purchasing another used tire. Trying to save money for deposits on utilities, medical emergencies, gasoline, school supplies, clothes or other basic needs, is impossible, as there isn’t enough money to cover everything. Many parents go without, in order to provide the very minimum subsistence for their children.
The frustration of “just scraping by” impacts a person’s self-worth, causing a cyclical, downward spiral, which is difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. Don’t forget who also suffers, aside from the parents: Approximately 19% of children in my county live below the Poverty Line (One Maryland: The Plight of Maryland Distressed Jurisdictions).
Rather than blaming the working poor for their situation, how about giving a “hand-up” to help people have their basic needs met, especially where they are desperately trying? In my county, over 25% of female-headed households make just $14,900 per year. Most of our lives would look very different if we suddenly became unemployed, developed significant health issues, needed elderly care or had another traumatic event crossing our paths. Instead of criticizing and demeaning people who are dependent on some form of assistance, in order to survive, their critics should be saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I!”
The following is a video that clearly explains wealth distribution in America, including how Americans think it is, how they think it should be, and finally, the reality of the way it really is. It will open your eyes and may, in fact, surprise even the most conservative among you!
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!
Andy Harris begins the New Year by continuing his lies and misrepresentation of the facts! Instead of voting for the “fiscal cliff” legislation, he prefers that taxes on his cronies (i.e., rich doctors, along with the likes of the Koch brothers, Romney and the other wealthiest Americans) stay at one of the lowest rates they’ve been in 80 years! Remember the ’50s & ’60s, when the US was growing into the economic superpower that it became? Top tax rates were at some of the highest…90%…and so-called “job creators” didn’t blink an eye at the chance to start a business! When I was starting my businesses, the tax rate was not as important as whether I felt the business was a good one and I could make a profit.
The truth be told, it was Harris and his cronies that created the “fiscal cliff” during the debt-ceiling debacle last summer; he and his Tea Party cronies refused to raise the debt-ceiling for monies that were ALREADY allocated by Congress, NOT for new spending, which was another lie that he liked to bandy about! So, they forced the plan to raise taxes on the Middle Class and the “sequester”, thinking that the GOP would take the White House and the Senate in the 2012 election. What he failed to realize is that the majority of Americans could see through his and the other GOP candidates’ lies and 19th-century ideas…and they were SOUNDLY rejected!
Instead of standing up and representing the people of the 1st District, Harris continues into 2013, catering to the rich, those who contribute to his campaigns, who are mostly from out-of-state, and ignoring the needs of the people who deserve his attention, including the farmers on the Eastern Shore! Oh, yeah, did I mention that he refused to support the 2012 Farm Bill? If saner minds hadn’t prevailed, we could be paying $6 or $7 for a gallon of milk!! Way to go, Dr. No!!
I have confidence that intelligent, compassionate people and yes, even entrepreneurs such as myself, across the country, will choose the only real choice there is in this election…another term for the President! The only alternative is to go back to the same failed policies of the Bush/Cheney administration, which led our country into its current dilemma. As President Clinton said the other night…no one, not him or any predecessor, could have done any better than President Obama has done…we were on the brink of destruction and the President saved us from going over the edge, which would have made the Great Recession, the Great Depression, Part Deux!
A report yesterday, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), puts the blame for the Federal deficit squarely on the shoulders of George Bush. Why do you think the GOTP didn’t mention his name once during their Convention? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the Bush tax cuts, combined to form the basis for the deficit, through 2019. Common sense will tell you that you don’t cut revenues (Bush tax cuts) while fighting wars on 2 fronts! Who thinks that made sense?
People like Andy Harris need to be sent a message…stop the obstruction…sit down and do the job you signed up for…negotiate, compromise and GET THE WORK DONE! Being an ideologue will not create jobs…being reasonable will!
By Roger Burt, PhD
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!
Everyone leaves a legacy. When you die, you’re remembered for how you tried to make a better world for your children and grandchildren. In the case of Congressman Andy Harris, his legacy will be one of “lies, misleading distortions and half-truths”, resulting in a less safe & healthy world, for women, children and the chronically ill.
The Republican playbook in 2012 includes taking credit for other people’s work. Romney has taken “a lot of credit” for the auto industry recovery. “Bogus” is the nicest word I can muster on that claim. Not to be outdone, Harris sent a Press Release last Friday, claiming credit for keeping the USPS from closing facilities or offices. Can anyone tell me what Harris did? Anyone familiar with this issue, including 100s of postal workers on the Eastern Shore, know it was Sens. Mikulski and Cardin that led the fight. Mikulski even sent letters to Harris, seeking his support to save these jobs, without even a response! Chalk one up for “lies.”
Polls show how most women feel about the lack of Republican support on issues from health insurance to equal pay for equal work. Harris and his extremist cohorts have failed to support women’s issues. Of course, it should be different when it comes to violence against women, right? Wrong! Last month, Harris and the right-wing radicals refused to extend the Violence Against Women Act, which has reduced domestic violence by 58% since 1994. Last week, Harris, in an attempt to fool women everywhere, voted for a gutted version. The purpose was to muddy the waters, and by confusing people, to appear to care about women. What is it about the treatment of women in the 1800s that is so appealing to Harris? Here’s one for the “misleading distortions” column.
Now, for ”Half-truths.” Truth: Harris talks big on “making America energy independent.” But the “lie” asks: Why do we sell America’s oil and natural gas abroad? Why hasn’t Harris ever supported research into alternative energy sources that could reduce costs of traditional energy? Why is he so intent on supporting “fracking?” The answers all involve PROFIT and CONTRIBUTORS. Harris’ CONTRIBUTORS want bigger PROFITS! “Fracking” is being suspended by other
countries and across the US, because of health and pollution dangers. Will it create jobs here on the Eastern Shore? No. But, Harris gets lots of money from the Koch brothers and other out-of-state supporters in the oil industry. Harris has even voted to take away all powers of the EPA to control “greenhouse gas emissions” which affect our health and the environment. Pollution of the 1900s, here we come…again!
These are just a few issues that affect Harris’ legacy. Ask yourself: Is this a legacy I would be proud to leave my children and grandchildren? I sure wouldn’t.