Friday, April 10, 2015

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, the League of the South, the MPPI and one of its (former?) directors, Larry Hogan

In an earlier post, I referred to the Maryland Public Policy Institute as composed of not a few “crackpots.” Maryland's own Governor has been on the MPPI Board of Directors, which suggests we have a closer look at, yes, the "crackpots" who have been given op-ed space in the Baltimore Sun:

Let's begin with Thomas J. DiLorenzo, with a former allegiance to the League of the South (see below). DiLorenzo is (0r was) an economics professor at Loyola University Maryland and is (or was) also on the MPPI Academic Advisory Board. Professor DiLorenzo is the co-author with James T. Bennett of a book entitled: CancerScam. Amazon’s own review of this book states (emphasis added):

“According to James T. Bennett and Thomas J. DiLorenzo, authors of Cancerscam, smoking can be good for society, if not for the smoker. Consider all the money the government could save, for instance, on social security if millions of people die young from smoking-related illnesses. Much of Bennett and DiLorenzo's book is taken up with their argument that the government's campaign against smoking is intrusive and unwarranted. They liken smoking to other hazardous choices such as skydiving or skateboarding and point out that there is no national campaign to educate practitioners of these activities. They then launch into an attack on the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, which they accuse of diverting funds into an antismoking program run by a left-wing public interest organization. Cigarette manufacturers and major stockholders in tobacco companies will love this book; those who deal with the medical, social, and personal fall-out from smoking, on the other hand, will find little to agree with here.”

A favorable review in the Wall Street Journal (excerpt conveniently posted at Amazon) states:

"The biggest Washington scandals often involve taxpayer money earmarked for causes no one could object to, such as cancer research. That immunity from criticism often means that taxpayers see their money diverted to politics and puffery, with few tangible results. CancerScam is the first effort—and a brave one—to expose this outrage."

Neither of these reviews mentions that DiLorenzo billed the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company $30,000 for his part in writing the book. The funds were passed through the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. [See Source below].

This may not make DiLorenzo out to be a crackpot - just a Ph.D. for sale. But there is, sadly, more:

DiLorenzo is (or was) a researcher for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which is a spin-off from the Heritage Foundation. DiLorenzo often speaks at Mises Institute events defending the “Jeffersonian” secessionist tradition.

DiLorenzo’s preferred term for the American Civil War is “War to Prevent Southern Independence.”

DiLorenzo has written extensively in support of the Southern states right to secede, here is an example:

“If the war was over the central government's "right" to destroy the right of secession, which both Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress insisted, then the South was in the right, according to both Rothbard and Acton. One need not defend or glorify the Confederacy in order to arrive at such a conclusion.”

DiLorenzo has spoken at events sponsored by the League of the South, but subsequently has walked back his association with this hate group’s agenda by stating he does not formally endorse their program, forgetting that in 2005 DiLorenzo did endorse the League, stating that it "advocates peace and prosperity in the tradition of a George Washington or a Thomas Jefferson."

DiLorenzo has written a book entitled: Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe - in which he attacks a cabal of mostly unidentified historians for ignoring “facts” about Lincoln that DiLorenzo claims to have either unearthed or given, at long last, their proper weight.

Publisher’s Weekly, in a review posted at Amazon, called DiLorenzo’s Lincoln book “a laughable screed” and concluded: “at the root of the author's loathing of Lincoln is an ideological commitment to states' sovereignty.”

All of this got Mr. DiLorenzo into the Baltimore Sun as a credible opinionator.

What probably got DiLorenzo a position with the MPPI is his view that “healthcare freedom” won’t be restored until “some states begin seceding from the new American fascialistic state.”

Anyone want to defend this crackpot? or the Baltimore Sun for giving him a megaphone? or the Maryland Public Policy Institute for including him among their roster of academics?


DiLorenzo billed tabacco company for writing CabcerScam: “Thomas DiLorenzo” entry at

DiLorlezo as a Mises Institute speaker: See his profile at the Mises Institute.

On DiLorenzo’s description of the American Civil War as the “War to Prevent Southern Independence” as well as his statements in support of secession: An Abolitionist Defends the South.

On DiLorenzo’s endorsement of the League of the South: The Dreaded 'S' Word

On DiLorenzo’s appeal for states to secede so as to avoid the Affordable Care Act: American HealthCare Fascialism

On DiLorenzo published in the Baltimore Sun, see 2010 Sun op-ed - Writers Don’t Understand How Markets Work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Todd Huff, the discredited Baltimore County councilman for my district three, has discarded all pretence that he actually ever represented any constituents.

Defeated in  the GOP primary, one-term Todd is now pushing a bill whose text he will not make public but which he says (Baltimore Sun, Oct 21 2014) "has been an important issue to me for the past four years."

And here, we thought the important issue for Todd was keeping hold of a county vehicle for his drunk driving escapades.

What is this "important issue" that lame-duck Todd is huffing about?

It's a bill which Todd Huff has now withdrawn but declared he will reintroduce, which would "by right" permit certain commercial activities on Baltimore County farmland.

By right? Oh yes, that means, without further approval under existing Baltimore County rules and regs. 

Wanna host a motorcycle rally out in a field someplace? No prob. Just do it. Never mind traffic or noise or your neighbor's privacy or security or any other public safety issues. Just do it!!

Thanks, Todd, Been good to know you. Not. 

Let's be sure the rest of the County Council knows the difference between farming operations and "celebratory events" that would undermine forty years of smart growth in Baltimore County. 

To help along the campaign to retire this secret proposal along with its sponsor, here is a letter reprinted from the Oct 21 2014 Baltimore Sun, which ought to be circulated to every member of the Baltimore Council:

Farm bill is bad for Baltimore County
Your recent article on the Baltimore County agricultural tourism bill unfairly describes battle lines being drawn between farmers on one side and local land preservationists on the other (“County bill sparks debate over tourism on farms,” Oct. 14). This is an inaccurate oversimplification. 

Farmers are the leading land preservationists representing the majority of landowners by far who have placed their property in permanent preservation. Everyone in Baltimore County’s rural 3rd District, farmers and community groups alike, wants to see farming continue to be economically viable. The community as a whole is open to the idea of agricultural tourism, and they said as much at the County Council work session. It is the wording and construction of this particular piece of legislation that has everyone rightly alarmed. 

Councilman Todd Huff, who remains in office for only six more weeks, has had this bill prepared behind closed doors and is pulling out all stops to rush it through. As written, the bill essentially converts all of the resource conservation zones into business zones. I agree with the assessment of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz that the bill conflicts with county efforts to protect rural land from commercial development. As such, it is bad public policy, not just for Baltimore County but also for everyone in the Baltimore region who benefits from the cleaner air and water made possible by the presently protected resource zones.
Both candidates who would replace Mr. Huff after his term expires say they are ready to take up the issue as soon as the new council is seated. Wth a willing future councilman and a supportive community, this fatally flawed bill should be resoundingly voted down.

Sharon D. Bailey
The writer is president of the Prettyboy Watershed Alliance.


Baltimore Sun October 21, 2014 article (p. 2):

"Baltimore County buys rural acres from megachurch" which contained this snippet:
[. . .] "In other business, the council delayed action on a bill that would have made it easier for farmers to engage in moneymaking activities such as hayrides and corn mazes.
Councilman Todd Huff, a Lutherville Republican who grew up on a farm in Sparks, withdrew his agritourism bill and introduced a new version in a procedural move to keep the legislation alive as the council nears the end of its four-year term.
The bill had been scheduled for a vote Monday and faced possible defeat.
Huff’s bill would have allowed farm owners to operate the extra farm-related activities “by right,” without requiring approval from the county. It would also have allowed farmers to apply to host up to a dozen “celebratory events,” such as weddings, per year.
Farmers supported the bill, but it came under heavy criticism from citizens planning groups, which said activities would draw traffic and noise to rural communities. Kamenetz had threatened to veto the bill.
Huff said the new version would eliminate the provision for celebratory events, but a draft was not available at Monday’s council meeting. It could be voted on at the council’s Nov. 17 meeting.
Huff, who was defeated in the Republican primary, said he hopes he can get the bill passed before he leaves office. “This has been an important issue to me for the past four years,” he said.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


When a member of the family ‘comes out’ . . .
Sunday, October 12, 2014
12:30 to 3:00 PM
St. Matthew Church hall
5401 Loch Raven Boulevard, Baltimore, 21239
When a kid comes out at home . . .
On Oct 12th come and hear people tell their stories.
Hear parents, adult children and a pastoral counselor talk about
‘coming out’ at home
Come and Listen to people you may know  
There will be time for Q & A - Refreshments will be served

For more information:
or contact LEAD: website -

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Today, I received a call from the "Firefighters Charitable Foundation."

A quick check at the Charity Navigator
website shows Firefighters Charitable Foundation gets a score of only 28.49 out of a possible 100.

Here is the problem:
only a fraction of the money raised
by the Firefighters Charitable Foundation 
goes to any charitable purpose
Charity Navigator reports that "fund raising expenses" chew up 87.7% of the money raised; administrative expenses get 5.2% more.

This leaves only 7% for actual charitable purposes.

Steer clear of the Firefighters Charitable Foundation. 

Give your money locally to the firefighters in your community.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ray Rice's Many Mistakes

Today at a news conference, Ravens running back Ray Rice will list his many mistakes, including things like this:
  • Back in the third grade I pushed a second-grader down on the playground.
  • Once, driving home, I was daydreaming and almost pulled into a neighbor’s driveway.
  • I did not know that lots of elevators have working cameras on them.
  • Couple years ago, I fumbled away the football.
  • Last year, I cold-cocked a woman in an elevator, knocking her unconscious.
  • One time in a restaurant I ordered something just to try it and I didn’t like it.
  • Last year or maybe the year before, I dropped a pass from Joe, which would have advanced our position eight or ten yards or so.
  • One time I did not lace up my shoe right and it came undone on second and four and I slipped down without advancing the ball.
  • One time, I dragged a woman off an elevator after knocking her unconscious.
  • On the sideline once, I picked up my helmet and was about to put it on but it was not my helmet.
  • One time I forgot to bring my ticket to the dry cleaners and they had to look through all their tickets to find my stuff.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Along the Rio Grande, Riding Shotgun with Racists

Couple weeks ago, Frederick County, Maryland, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins announced he was going on a “border tour” to get a “first hand look” at the refugees from Central America - many of them unaccompanied children - who have been crossing from Mexico into the US by the thousands in recent weeks.

Now the gullible sheriff is back home in Maryland, offering interviews and soon, we surmise, he will be heading to D.C to share around his new knowledge.

According to the Associated Press, Sheriff Jenkins’  “fact finding mission” was being sponsored by a group known for fact-free screeds against immigrants:  the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Too bad Sheriff Jenkins does not pick his sponsors better than this.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, FAIR was founded by John Tanton, a prominent figure in our contemporary nativist, i.e., Tea Party movement.

John Tanton carries a lot of weight with the Tea Party crowd and for good reason. He has complained long and loud about a supposed “Latin Onslaught” heading into the United States. In his own crude words, Tanton frets about the Hispanic birth rate in the US, which compares unfavorably, Tanton says, to the birth rate of White Americans.

According to John Tanton, here’s the problem:
“those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!”
Apart from the blatant racism espoused by its founder John Tanton, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that FAIR:

“has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes”
“has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans”
“has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation” (That would be the Pioneer Fund, which according to the New York Times, has promoted theories affirming the genetic superiority of whites.”) (Sourced below.)
The Southern Poverty Law Center adds that FAIR:
“has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups.”

“has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest”
Now that he’s back home, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, MD needs to answer a couple questions:

Sheriff Jenkins, are you in agreement with the FAIR nonsense about immigrants or did you merely want free airfare to the Rio Grande?

Sheriff Jenkins, did you take vacation days for your FAIR junket to Texas or did you bill all this as official, salary-based anti-immigrant “fact finding” to the taxpayers of Frederick County?


Frederick County, MD Sheriff Joins Border Tour

Thursday, July 3, 2014

There is no 911 the Immigrant Kids Can Call. That is Why They Come to the US

Comment in Response to Ross Douthat's NYTimes Oped about thousands of unaccompanied kids from Central America, entering the US from Mexico:

To Ross Douthat:

You are cruelly clueless about what is driving kids and young people to rush north. Believe it or not, the USA is not seen as a paradise that millions of people want to sneak into. The young people of Central America are running for their lives.

Like the 14 year old interviewed on Aljazera, who said he was taken out of school by a gang member (they have the run of the school), who insisted that he join up. He told his grandmother about this and she said, 'if you join, another gang or the police will kill you. At least if you go the the US, no one will kill you.' 

Or the other young adolescent, who said, a gang grabbed her and told her to give them her mother's cell phone number in the states, so they could extort money, pretending she had been kidnapped, but if the child did not give up the number, she really would be kidnapped.

It is incredible to me that you are so absurdly misinformed about Central America and the dynamics of the northern migration. It is as if you have just dropped in from another planet, coming here on a mission of obfuscation and deceit.

Ross, don't you get this: there are no police to be called who will respond and no other authorities who can protect these kids from gangs that the USA actually created in El Salvador. 

Ross, have you never heard this? Have you never read a word about this? Or, more tragically for your readers, you know this but have decided not to let actual facts influence what you write?

Ross, have you never looked into how El Salvador is divided by a truce (not a clean victory) after a bloody civil war, and that the country is divided still?

Ross, have you not discovered that the US added to the civil war problem in El Salvador a generation ago by propping up one side so the truce, and no clear victory, could be engineered in the first place? 

Ross, have you never informed yourself about how the USA, more than a docade ago, began to deport gang members back "home" to El Salvador, a country these kids were born in but had no memory of or prospects for survival in, apart from the gang affiliations they brought with them?

Ross, is it possible, you know nothing about any of this? Is it possible, Ross, it is wilful ignorance, which enables you to say: the unaccompanied minor refugee phenomenon is only  a matter of better US security at the southern security? 

Ross, are you really that badly informed? 

Ross, are you unable to find out how favorably the current Administration stacks up to previous one on the question of robustness of its border security program? Isn't this fact relevant to your insistence that the current surge of unaccompanied kids into the US is merely a question of border security?

A Salvadoran friend of mine, age 19, was murdered in El Salvador in 2012. A bunch of kids with one or two adults in the mix grabbed him, held him down and dropped an enormous stone on his head, then stripped his headless body and left him where his mother would find him. The boy's uncle was a cop, who began to ask around. Well, the cop-uncle is now in the US, having fled to avoid threats directed against him and probably against his own children.

Don't you get it? There is no 911 you can call, Ross. There is nothing.

What the hell would you do, Ross, if you or your children were threatened with death if you did not pay the extortion demanded by a 15 year old, whom you did not even know, but who could tell you the route your daughter took to and from school? 

Ross, would you just stay put, and let yourself be killed? Let your kids be killed?

Ross, permit me to make a suggestion: 

please inform yourself before you settle comfortably into a further round of smug, fact-free pontificating about a region of the world you are deliberately clueless about - free also, I might add, from the slightest practical suggestion about what to do with the kids who make it into the US.