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!”
Posts tagged ‘Andy Harris’
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!
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!
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!!
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!
This was my response to the StarDem article, regarding the League of Women Voters candidates’ forum, held at Chesapeake College, on Sunday, October 21, 2012. Three candidates appeared: Muir Boda (Libertarian), Dr. John LaFerla (Democrat), and Michael Calpino (unaffiliated, but sounding like another Libertarian). Wait…isn’t there a Republican candidate in this race? Yes…Andy Harris, the incumbent, was conspicuously absent, refusing to debate what he referred to as “write-in candidates.”
First, it is a telling commentary that Harris has refused to publicly face off with those running for the same office. His lame excuse is that he still considers Rosen as his opponent, since her name is technically on the ballot. This attitude shows exactly the kind of personality Harris possesses…one of diversion, issue avoidance and lies.
The truth is that the State Democratic Party (along with all the Counties in the 1st District), voted to replace Rosen with Dr. LaFerla, naming him as the official Democratic candidate. Harris’ refusal to face the public and his opponents is another attempt at his failure to accept responsibility for his poor performance while in office. He has one of the worst environmental records, both, while in the State Senate, and now as Representative. He should be ashamed of himself.
Dr. LaFerla deserves kudos for his dedication and integrity, stepping in to become the Democratic write-in candidate, even though his campaign is in an uphill battle this late in the race. Add to that, Harris’ refusal to let the voters hear the truth, plus the almost impossible odds to raise substantial funds this late and you can understand why Dr. LaFerla is a longshot. All the more reason why it is important for the voters to come out and write-in his name.
Harris is more interested in “telling” people what to do, rather than “listening” to what the people say. He has lied outright on many occasions, twisting facts, ignoring the truth and using people’s fears to gain votes. He has argued that “the government is attacking our freedoms.” Tell us, Mr. Harris, what freedoms have you voted to take away? FDR referred to the “freedom from want”, which translates into not going hungry, not being homeless and even, receiving basic medical care. These are all ideas you’ve voted against, as well as defunding assistance to the chronically ill and long-term care patients. It sadly sounds like the Nazis of the 1930s, who sought to divest German society of “the undesirables.” Where did this philosophy, the foundation of your tenure in Congress, originate? They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
As far as Boda and Calpino are concerned, neither one has a real understanding of history, freedom or what Americans need right now. Theirs is a campaign of ideologies, not a campaign geared towards helping people in the 1st District.
Calpino’s statement, “We got along fine without the EPA until the ’70s”, would be laughable, if it wasn’t such a serious misstatement of history. The truth, for those of us who weren’t around in the ’50s & ’60s, is that we were NOT getting “along fine”, as Calpino says. Our water and air had become polluted to the point that children were dying, emphysema and other lung-related diseases, including cancer, were rising at record levels, and big corporations had free rein over the environment, to destroy as needed…for progress and profit! Many people forget that the EPA was started and supported by a Republican administration…Richard Nixon. BTW…the same President who said that he wanted to see Congress pass a National Health Insurance bill.
Boda’s statements are also laughable, especially his belief that all is well with the world since his employer, Walmart, pays men and women the same for equal work. Somehow, Boda has conveniently forgotten that Walmart was the target of several major lawsuits, alleging pay discrimination. He also ignores scores of studies that have shown the pay disparity that exists between men and women in America. His, “everything-would-be-fine-if-government-just-stayed-out-of-it attitude, is simplistic at best and an outright lie, at worst.
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!
Harris’ replies to questions and his statements at the Town Hall Meeting, in Chestertown, last week, are so mind-boggling, that I don’t know where to start! Let me just cover a couple of plainly obvious flaws in his responses:
1) He supports Ryan’s Budget Proposal…this will mean that Medicare and Social Security will be cut and phased out. Ryan’s proposal wants private companies (banks and investment banks) to manage retirement funds…sure, let’s give the fox the rest of the keys to the chicken coop.
2) Harris lied about his and his cohorts’ obstruction of Congressional work. The fact is that this is the least productive Congress…EVER…by at least 40% over the next least productive one. All thanks to him and his TP obstructionist buddies.
3) Harris and his GOP Tea Partiers love to name bills so that they sound good, but are really destructive. For instance, Harris voted for the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011″ – sounds pretty good – what it does is strip all authority and funding from the EPA and gives that authority to the States, who have, for the most part, shown a reluctance to regulate their own polluting industries. 42 years of fighting for a cleaner environment would have gone down the drain if the Senate & WH were held by the GOP. Luckily, the Senate refused to approve this bill.
4) Interesting that all of Harris’ charts and graphs provide no sources for where the figures come from, which I believe are the fantasy graphs made by him and his staff, without support from any reliable source.
5) Amazingly, Harris’ idea of important legislation was HB 4367, regarding ATM signage. Forget jobs, forget health care, forget education…we need to get those ATM signs fixed!! I think Andy has finally gone over the deep end!
6) Finally, his analysis of why he refuses to “compromise” is not only mind-boggling, but it shows his very limited understanding of the legislative process and how to work with others. Compromise is not a black/white issue…to use his example, instead of limiting yourself to a “I want North, you want South, therefore, no compromise”, he could say, “How about we go North for a while, then go South for a while?…or, let’s go North, then South, together!” This approach would demand an attempt at leadership, something Harris lacks…as well as compassion, which he seems to have left in the operating room.
It’s time for Andy to give up his government salary and go back to putting people to sleep…it seems that he’s very good at that!
Here is the link to the StarDem article: http://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/article_a51d3a20-d476-11e1-bbef-0019bb2963f4.html
I never bought into Oliver Stone’s version of the Kennedy assassination; I disagreed with those who thought Bush was involved in ordering the 9/11 disaster, and I never gave a second thought to those who believed the US moon landing was staged in New Mexico. However, I have come to a startling realization: wealthy corporatists want to destroy the Middle Class in America!
I used to think it was unlikely that corporations wanted to hurt their consumers…after all, who would buy their products? Sadly, my ‘aha’ moment came after researching jobs outsourcing and its impact on corporate profits. I was shocked at the rate of increased profits from China, India and Latin American countries, fueling the next generation of growth, all supported by Andy Harris and other Tea Party faithful. Profits, coming from overseas sales, made by overseas factories, employing overseas workers!
From the June 2011, US News & World Report, “…about 40 percent of profit for firms listed in the S&P 500 stock index (are) now coming from overseas. These same corporations “keep certain profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes on them.”
According to the US News article, here’s a breakdown of foreign profits from just 5 of America’s largest corporations: Exxon-Mobil, 45%; GE, 54%; IBM, 64%; Dow, 67%; Intel, 85%. Any wonder why the US corporate community cares little about the American worker…the majority of the American Middle Class?
When the American Middle Class is finally diminished to the point that they are willing to accept jobs for any wage offered, the corporations will have accomplished their goal. Who will fight for the American worker, when Unions are no more, destroyed by elected officials who are supported by wealthy corporations?
When there is a “rich class” and a “poor class”, guess who will wield the power in our country? As they have done for the past 30 years, the wealthy corporations will continue to whittle away at Middle Class wealth and power, until there will be little or nothing left. The power shift is close to completion, and it is being accomplished on all levels, including legislative (State & Federal levels), regulations (State & Federal levels) and Court decisions (State & Federal levels). The Court cases have been one of the best avenues for significant change, where the Citizens United and related decisions have given corporations the same “rights” as persons, something that would have been unheard of before the Robert’s Court. Nothing in the Constitution gives personhood to corporations!
I recall a quote I used to laugh about: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you!” It’s not funny any more! It is elected officials, like Andy Harris, who is helping to convince the Middle Class voter that outsourcing jobs and giving corporations tax breaks and more power, is in their best interests!
By Roger Burt, PhD