Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Meet Donald Trump, American Patriot

Obama Pledges to Cripple Economy

from Investor's Business Daily
Energy: At a "Three Amigos" summit in Ottawa this week, President Obama and the leaders of Canada and Mexico will pledge that in less than a decade, half of North America's energy will come from "clean" sources. The administration calls it "ambitious." We call it "ludicrous."

Since the U.S. accounts for three-quarters of the total energy produced by these three countries, the responsibility of living up to any such agreement would fall most heavily on the U.S. So is there a reasonable chance that the U.S. could achieve such a goal?

Let's look at some of the relevant facts.

According to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration, "clean energy" -- nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, etc. -- makes up less than one-fifth of U.S. energy production.

Nuclear accounts for a little more than 8%, biomass just over 4%, solar and wind 3%, hydroelectric a bit more than 2%.

So the only way to get there would be to dramatically increase one or all of these sources in nine years.

But environmentalists don't particularly like hydroelectricity, since it involves damming up rivers. In fact, they've successfully pushed to have many existing hydroelectric dams torn down. Unless this outlook suddenly changes, hydropower's share of energy isn't going to budge. In fact, the EIA expects it to be flat for the next 40 years.

How about nuclear? Even if the government decided to go whole hog for nuclear, it wouldn't make any difference over the next decade. The permitting, construction and approval process alone would take more than nine years. And that's assuming environmentalists don't oppose such a plant every step of the way.

Nuclear industry officials say they expect just five new reactors to enter service by 2020, and some of that supply will just replace plants that are aging out of service. The youngest nuclear power plant in the United States — Tennessee's Watts Bar 1 — is 20 years old.

As a result, the EIA forecasts that nuclear-powered energy production will be roughly the same in 2025 as it is today.

So that pretty much leaves wind, solar and biomass. But production levels from these sources would have to increase something like 470% in nine years for clean energy to account for half of the nation's energy production.

Then, of course, there's the question of whether our neighbors to the north and south would live up to any promise they make this year.

Is Mexico really going to strap on a clean energy millstone to its still-developing and always-struggling economy? And while Canada's leftist leader, Justin Trudeau, might think it's cool to set such goals, it's not clear Canadians will agree to suffer for his current obsession.

For a guy who is desperately fishing around for something to claim as a legacy, President Obama's running around making promises that he knows will never be kept is an odd way to go about things.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit - Impacts to Wednesday's Three Amigos Summit?

from Bloomberg
The shadow of Brexit and rising protectionist sentiment loom large as U.S. President Barack Obama meets his North American counterparts to bolster the world’s largest trading bloc.

Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto hold the so-called Three Amigos summit Wednesday in Ottawa, with fallout from the U.K.’s vote last week to leave the European Union raising pressure to show confidence in their own alliance. The countries will vow to produce more clean power and cut methane emissions while strengthening economic ties.

Risks to North America are palpable, as Brexit roils global financial markets and anti-trade rhetoric ramps up in the U.S. presidential campaign. The meeting -- Obama’s last, and Trudeau’s first -- comes amid opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership and disputes over visas, lumber, and beef. Yet all three countries see the summit as an opportunity to double down on easing trade barriers.

“This is a moment for North America to say we stand united, we stand together,” Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau’s trade minister, told Bloomberg TV Canada’s Pamela Ritchie on Monday. “And as a continent, we have a partnership that believes in the importance of building bridges rather than building walls.”

All three countries have signed but not yet ratified the 12-nation TPP. The deal faces hurdles in Congress and is opposed by presumptive U.S. presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with the latter vowing to “rip up” the North America Free-Trade Agreement and other pacts.

Increased ‘Uneasiness’

Republicans, whose support is critical, are wary of getting out of step with the rank and file, having lost high-profile party figures in populist revolts. Brexit will only increase “uneasiness” toward trade, according to former Republican Congressman Vin Weber, now a partner at lobbying firm Mercury LLC. “What happened in Britain and what’s going on in American presidential politics absolutely has an effect: It makes everybody more nervous,” he said.

Wednesday’s summit is the first since 2014. Last year’s was postponed by Trudeau’s predecessor Stephen Harper in part because of tensions over the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama rejected after the new Canadian prime minister took office. This year’s meeting will “focus on creating jobs, strengthening North American communities, and building a clean growth economy,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“Certainly Brexit will be on the agenda,” said Mark Feierstein, the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for western-hemisphere affairs. “It’ll be evident to Americans and people beyond that when North America speaks and acts as a single unit, it’s really for the good of our citizens and people around the world.”

Environment, Immigration

The countries will pledge to produce half their electricity through non-carbon-emitting sources by 2025. That “aggressive goal” will require “ambitious” measures, according to senior Obama adviser Brian Deese. Mexico is also joining a pledge made in March to cut methane emissions.

This week’s talks come amid a dispute over a visa restrictions Canada placed on Mexicans to stem asylum claims. Trudeau, who took power last November, campaigned on “immediately” dropping the requirement, yet it remains in place.

“There’s a lot of confusion in Mexico, hurt feelings and disenchantment with Canada over this issue,” said Laura Macdonald, a professor of political science at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

Canada, meanwhile, has pushed Mexico to expand market access for beef exports. Trudeau and Pena Nieto are expected to address both issues in a bilateral meeting Tuesday.

U.S. Protectionism

The Brexit vote was “a very big shock” for the three leaders, whose economies under Nafta collectively exceed that of the EU, according to John Kirton, director of the University of Toronto’s G-7 Research Group. As a result, the trio is under more pressure to display unity and declare “globalization is good for us and we still deeply believe it and are reaping the rewards as we speak,” Kirton said.

Polls show a wave of opposition to trade agreements. Americans, by a margin of 65 percent to 22 percent, say they want more restrictions on international trade, according to a Bloomberg poll in March. The same poll found Americans believe Nafta is a trade deal gone awry that has done more harm than good.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama said the Brexit vote could influence the evolution of American opinion, in the same way the era of Margaret Thatcher preceded President Ronald Reagan’s election. “The failed European Union experiment, and Great Britain’s rejection of it, must serve as a wake-up call for all of us in America,” Sessions said in a statement.

Deals in Limbo

The 12 TPP nations have until February 2018 to ratify the pact. Chances of the U.S. doing so this year were slipping even before the Brexit vote, according to Alec Phillips, a Washington-based economist with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “Our expectation was already reasonably low that it would happen,” he said.

Trudeau, who describes himself as “extremely pro-trade,” has the parliamentary majority to approve the deal though he hasn’t yet taken a clear position. Mexico has already submitted TPP to its Senate for review and expects a vote later this year.

Canada has instead focused on its trade pact with the EU, which it still hopes to ratify under the Brexit cloud. Canada made changes to the pact this year and Freeland said Brexit will hasten the push -- a view not shared by Harper’s former foreign minister.

“The EU trade deal is not helped by what happened,” John Baird said in a Bloomberg TV interview last week. “There’s growing anti-globalization sentiment, there’s anger at elites. This is the big unknown the British people have thrown at all of Europe.”

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Patriot Alert!

From the Dagger and Harford Campaign for Liberty:
Our next Harford Campaign for Liberty Meeting will be held:

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
7pm – 9pm
Harford Vineyard and Winery
1311 Jarrettsville Rd
Forest Hill, MD 21050

Eric Daxon of Protect Our Children will explain the new Obama school transgender mandate.

What will the mandate mean for our Harford County Schools, and what has the Board of Education said about the mandate?

Mr. Daxon will tell us his concerns for the new mandate, and the repercussions it may have on transgender and non-transgender students. He’ll also go over what you can do if you want to get involved in the discussion.

Then, County Coordinator Christina Trotta will speak on the current situation in Venezuela, and how this oil-rich nation became poverty-stricken within two decades.

The crisis in Venezuela goes uncovered by the mainstream media as a whole. But in an election season where the term “Democratic Socialism” has been bandied about, this South American nation serves as a warning against governments given extreme power.

This is a photo-packed presentation that will remind you of why we fight for liberty.


Your own comments and news during Open Mic – Share what’s going on!

Wine Tasting, wines by the glass or bottle, and light refreshments.

Share the Facebook Event and invite your friends to join us for a interesting and informative two hours!

For Liberty,

Christina Trotta
Harford County Coordinator
Maryland Campaign for Liberty

Friday, June 24, 2016

Britain Chooses Liberty

from Frontpagemag
Yesterday the British people stood up for their freedom. Today the world is a different place.

Celebrities and politicians swarmed television studios to plead with voters to stay in the EU. Anyone who wanted to leave was a fascist. Economists warned of total collapse if Britain left the European Union. Alarmist broadcasts threatened that every family would lose thousands of pounds a year if Brexit won.

Even Obama came out to warn Brits of the economic consequences of leaving behind the EU.

Every propaganda gimmick was rolled out. Brexit was dismissed, mocked and ridiculed. It was for lunatics and madmen. Anyone who voted to leave the benevolent bosom of the European Union was an ignorant xenophobe who had no place in the modern world. And that turned out to be most of Britain.

While Londonistan, that post-British city of high financial stakes and low Muslim mobs, voted by a landslide to remain, a decisive majority of the English voted to wave goodbye to the EU. 67% of Tower Hamlets, the Islamic stronghold, voted to stay in the EU. But to no avail. The will of the people prevailed.

And the people did not want migrant rape mobs in their streets and Muslim massacres in their pubs. They were tired of Afghani migrants living in posh homes with their four wives while they worked hard and sick of seeing their daughters passed around by “Asian” cabbies from Pakistan in ways utterly indistinguishable from the ISIS slave trade while the police looked the other way so as not to appear racist. And, most of all, they were sick of the entire Eurocratic establishment that let it all happen.

British voters chose freedom. They decided to reclaim their destiny and their nation from the likes of Count Herman Von Rompuy, the former President of the European Council, selected at an “informal” meeting who has opposed direct elections for his job and insisted that, “the word of the future is union.”

When Nigel Farage of UKIP told Count Von Rompuy that “I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don't know you, we don't want you and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better,” he was fined for it by the Bureau of the European Parliament after refusing to apologize. But now it’s Farage and the Independence Party who have had the last laugh.

The majority of British people didn’t want Count Von Rompuy and his million-dollar pension, or Donald Tusk, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and the rest of the monkeys squatting on Britain’s back.

Count Von Rompuy has lost his British provinces. And the British people have their nation back.

The word of the future isn’t “union.” It’s “freedom.” A process has begun that will not end in Britain. It will spread around the world liberating nations from multinational institutions.

During Obama’s first year in office, Count Von Rompuy grandly declared that “2009 is also the first year of global governance.” Like many such predictions, it proved to be dangerously wrong. And now it may just well be that 2016 will be the first year of the decline and fall of global governance.

An anti-establishment wind is blowing through the creaky house of global government. The peoples of the free world have seen how the choking mass of multilateral institutions failed them economically and politically. Global government is an expensive and totalitarian proposition that silences free speech and funnels rapists from Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan to the streets of European cities and American towns. It’s a boon for professional consultants, certain financial insiders and politicians who can hop around unelected offices and retire with vast unearned pensions while their constituents are told to work another decade. But global government is misery and malaise for everyone else.

The campaign to stay in the EU relied on fear and alarmism, on claims of bigotry and disdain for the working class voters who fought and won the right to decide their own destiny. But the campaign for independence asked Britons to believe in their own potential when unchained from the Eurocratic bureaucracy. And now Brexit will become a model for liberation campaigns across Europe.

And it will not end there.

Brexit showed that it is possible for a great nation to defy its leaders and its establishment thinkers to throw off its multinational chains. And while the European Union is one of the biggest prisons forged by global government, it is far from the only one. America and Britain are sleeping giants covered in the cold iron links of multinational organizations that limit their strength and their potential.

It is time to break those chains.

Americans who want to cut their ties with the United Nations have found Brexit inspiring. Leaving the UK was once also seen as a ridiculous idea at the margins that could never be taken seriously. Serious politicians refused to listen to it. Serious thinkers refused to discuss it. And then it gathered speed.

There is growing opposition even among Democrats to treaties like the TPP. Trump has challenged NAFTA. Americans across the political spectrum are suspicious of economic treaties and organizations. Support for Brexit came from Labour areas in the UK. Support for Trump’s challenge to multinational treaties and alliances could very well come from unexpected places, like Bernie Sanders backers.

Brexit has shown us the weakness of the multinational establishment. Its vast bureaucratic power rests on using the media to suppress political dissent. When the media’s special pleading fails to stop the democratic process, it is more helpless than any dictator when the outraged mob pours into his palace.

What was true of Britain, is also true of America. Our elites are just as impotent. The power they have illegally seized is defended zealously by a media palace guard that spends every minute of every day lecturing, hectoring and messaging Americans. But when no one listens to the media, then the men and women who run our lives, who feed off us like a colony of parasitic insects, are helpless.

Their power is purely persuasive. When we stop listening, then we are free.

That is the lesson of Brexit. It is the future.

The future is not a vast behemoth of global government that swallows up nations and individuals, that reduces democratic elections to a joke and eliminates freedom of speech, but the individual. The elites have gambled everything on big government, big media and big data. But all of those lost to Brexit.

They lost to Brexit in the UK. They can lose in the US too. And they will lose.

The power of the establishment is illusory. Like the naked emperor, it depends on no one challenging it. The harder it is challenged, the harder it will fall. Brexit was an impossible dream. Then it was reality.

Our impossible dreams, the policies that conservatives are told by the establishment are not even worth talking about, can be just as real as Brexit.

If we are willing to fight for them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Democrats Face Expulsion from House?

The House of Representatives—in the same manner as the United States Senate—is expressly authorized within the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 5, clause 2) to discipline or “punish” its own Members. This authority of the House to discipline a Member for “disorderly Behaviour” is in addition to any criminal or civil liability that a Member of the House may incur for particular misconduct, and is used not merely to punish an individual Member, but to protect the institutional integrity of the House of Representatives, its proceedings, and its reputation. The House may discipline its Members without the necessity of Senate concurrence. The most common forms of discipline in the House are now “expulsion,” “censure,” or “reprimand”; although the House may also discipline its Members in other ways, including fine or monetary restitution, loss of seniority, and suspension or loss of certain privileges. In addition to such sanctions imposed by the full House of Representatives, the standing committee in the House which deals with ethics and official conduct matters, the House Committee on Ethics—formerly called the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct—is authorized by House Rules to issue a formal “Letter of Reproval” for misconduct which does not rise to the level of consideration or sanction by the entire House of Representatives. Additionally, the Committee on Ethics has also expressed its disapproval of certain conduct in informal letters and communications to Members.
CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress: "Expulsion, Censure, Reprimand, and Fine: Legislative Discipline in the House of Representatives"

Why Not?

from the Washington Examiner
Republicans moved early Thursday morning to adjourn the House ahead of schedule for the July 4 recess after Democrats refused to end their takeover of the chamber, and threatened to prevent the House from doing any work through Friday or even beyond.

It appeared to be the only move left for the GOP after Democrats indicated they would continue to protest loudly on the House floor until the GOP allowed a vote on two gun bills. Republicans gave no indication Wednesday that they were open to votes on the bills suggested by Democrats.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Salaried Bourgeoisie Pretend to Progress...

...but a 'Surplus Wage' will never be the non-castrated equivalent of "Business Ownership"

from the New York Times
Remote? That’s No Way to Describe This Work

Back in 2007, during a weekly check-in, my wife’s manager delivered some unexpected good news: “You don’t have to be in the office to do this job,” she said. “You could work from wherever you want.” A fast six months later, we left hot, crowded Austin, Tex., and moved into an apartment on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Me., with a commanding view of Casco Bay only steps away.

My wife managed a geographically dispersed web services team, and I worked as a researcher at a think tank in Washington. The separate rooms where we worked seemed like extensions of offices elsewhere, not places in our house. I had to laugh when I overheard our new downstairs neighbors refer to us as trust funders because they never saw us leave the house to go to work.

We did not know many people and accepted any invitation we received, which is how we ended up at a barbecue, given for a candidate for governor, in a suburban backyard. That was when I fully realized that I belonged to a nascent class of worker that no one knew much about.

The candidate raising campaign funds was a hard-working lawyer who seemed genuinely well meaning, but no one had told him that his economic platform of protecting manufacturing jobs and Maine’s traditional industries wasn’t going to fly with an audience of health care professionals, programmers, web designers and researchers. With plates of potato salad in our hands, we muttered to each other that this guy didn’t have a place in his platform for people like us, many of whom worked for employers in other states. Our checkbooks stayed in our pockets.

I became convinced that workers like us needed to form a community, so I reached out to a local nonprofit, Creative Portland, which, among other activities, sponsors networking events for entrepreneurs, artists and other creative types. The staff members there said they were meeting and hearing about more and more people who had moved to Portland but were keeping their jobs in Boston, New York and Washington. Creative Portland wanted to find a way to support these types of workers.

But first, what to call these workers? We were dissatisfied with the choices currently available.

One term given to people who work at home is “remote worker.” Early on, my wife wondered why such a headquarters-centric label was being used, given that her company had multiple offices in different states and employees who lived in a variety of locations.

“Telecommuter,” another frequent label, has such a dial-up-era feel. With people now communicating not only by email but also via Skype, Slack and other channels, it hardly encompasses the capabilities that workers now have in the home.

Another term is “virtual work,” as if the work is somehow less tangible than what people do in traditional offices. But the work that we do is just as exhilarating and boring as any other sort of work.

So why use adjectives suggesting that employees are less available, less capable or less real — in fact, just plain lesser? Yes, my wife and I work differently from someone who commutes to a headquarters, but we make just as much of a contribution.

It was at the first face-to-face meeting my wife and I had with Creative Portland representatives (we had been communicating by Facebook) that a new label came to me: We “work in place.”

This phrase builds off other well-known phrases, like “shelter in place” or “aging in place,” which everybody understands as “doing whatever you’re doing, where you are.” It’s worker-centric, not office-centric. Less literally, it refers to work undertaken according to where you are in your life: caring for aging parents, raising a young family, supporting a partner, healing after an illness. In all the circumstances, the work is work. You don’t have to qualify it. It doesn’t diminish the work or the person doing it.

The collaboration with Creative Portland has resulted in a new nonprofit effort, Work in Place. There’s an economic research project underway with the University of Southern Maine, some panel discussions and networking events, as well as planning for a national summit on how to harness the changes that work in place will bring to organizations, families, cities and regions.

As an example of the changes that are needed, consider a 2013 economic productivity report for Maine. The report is based on calculations that don’t include workers whose employers are based in other states. Say that I want to persuade my state legislators (or candidates for governor) that the state should shift its economic development policy from recruiting companies through tax incentives (which often end up as a net loss for the state) to recruiting households like mine. We bring talent and income; we pay taxes; we want to contribute to our communities. Yet there’s little data to make the argument that we have a sizable economic impact worth encouraging.

My wife and I still work out of our home in South Portland; I’m a writer and she’s a digital strategist for a software company. A time will come when our children — a kindergartner and a new baby — will ask us for career advice. We hope to be able to say something optimistic and realistic: “You can be whatever you want, and you can work wherever you want.”
...just so long as it is for someone else.

from The American Interest
The New York Times Shows Why the Blue Model Is Doomed

The New York Times has an upbeat article about the growing numbers of workers in America who have it all: jobs they love, careers that inspire them, and the freedom to work “in place”—which is to say, at home. An excerpt:
Back in 2007, during a weekly check-in, my wife’s manager delivered some unexpected good news: “You don’t have to be in the office to do this job,” she said. “You could work from wherever you want.” A fast six months later, we left hot, crowded Austin, Tex., and moved into an apartment on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Me., with a commanding view of Casco Bay only steps away.
This is told as a fantastic story of human empowerment and social transformation, which it is. More and more of us are escaping the tyranny of location; thanks to the telecom revolution we can work where we want and when we want.

The rise of telecommuting will lead to better, richer lives. Families will be stronger. The environment will benefit from less commuting. All good.

But it also represents the death of the political philosophy and economic system that the Times is otherwise prepared to defend to the last: the blue social model.
If this revolution continues—and it will—fewer and fewer people will be stuck in big, high tax, over-regulated cities. While some will still choose to live there, many, especially those raising children, will not.

In the long run, people who live and work the way that the subject of the Times article does will simply not support the cumbersome procedures and institutions of the bureaucratic state as we know it.

The butterfly of an information society is struggling to escape from the industrial age cocoon. The future is not the “return” of manufacturing jobs but the development of new, more human-centered and more rewarding kinds of work.

To make this possible we have to stop thinking that defending the blue model status quo is somehow “progressive.” We also have to think about how society can work better for people whose jobs still have to be done the old fashioned way—showing up and grinding it out. We can’t all phone it in as system design engineers living in Portland. More and more of us will be—and that’s a good thing—but there’s a lot of work to be done.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

If Ted Cruz Wants to Take the Republican Party & Populist Mantle post-Trump, He'd Better Get Off the Pot!

Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday that he was still “assessing” whether or not to vote for Donald Trump in November.

“Like many other voters, I’m watching, listening, and assessing what he says and what he does. And I think that’s what millions of voters are doing,” the Texas Republican said in a brief interview with an NBC reporter.

Cruz was pressed: “What about you?”

“I’m giving it time, watching and assessing,” Cruz replied.
.@tedcruz says he’s still “assessing” whether to vote for Trump

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 7, 2016
When asked if he was planning something unexpected for this summer’s Cleveland convention, Cruz said there would be “no surprise." But he alluded to plans aimed at influencing the party platform so that it represents traditional conservative principles.

“I think the platform should reflect those principles and I’m going to continue defending principles that defend America,” he said.

Cruz’s comments came as prominent members of the GOP distanced themselves from controversial remarks Trump has made about US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that Trump’s comments represented the "textbook definition" of racism, and Sen. Mark Kirk retracted his support for the billionaire.

A Tribute to Paul Ryan, House Speaker

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Protecting Marylander's from Pop Tarts?

...or just straight up liberal gun phobia?
from the Washington Times
A Maryland judge has upheld the suspension of a second-grader who chewed his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and pretended to shoot classmates.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Ronald A. Silkworth ruled this week that the school system could reasonably consider that the boy’s actions in March 2013 were disruptive and that a suspension was appropriate, due to the boy’s past behavioral issues, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Josh Welch, then 7 years old, suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Park Elementary School suspended him for two days after he nibbled his pastry into what administrators said resembled a gun and exclaimed: “Look, I made a gun!”

The story swept national news and Josh quickly became an icon among gun rights activists. The National Rifle Association even awarded him with a lifetime membership.

It also inspired Florida lawmakers to pass a bill in 2014 limiting zero-tolerance practices at schools, including punishment for “brandishing partially consumed pastry,” or other food items, to simulate a weapon, the Post reported.

Josh’s father, William “B.J.” Welch, told the Post that he will still seek to clear his son’s record.

“It’s a mark on his record for something that doesn’t need to be there,” Mr. Welch said. “There’s just a lot of unknowns, and I don’t want something that could potentially debilitate his future.”

Judge Silkworth’s decision upheld an earlier ruling that supported the two-day suspension from the Maryland State Board of Education. Anne Arundel County school officials welcomed the ruling.

“We have believed from the outset that the actions of the school staff were not only appropriate and consistent with Board of Education policies and school system regulations, but in the best interests of all students,” said Bob Mosier, a school system spokesman, the Post reported. “It is unfortunate that the character of those staff members has been called into question throughout this long process, but we are grateful that Judge Silkworth reaffirmed the validity of their actions.”

Monday, June 13, 2016

Intolerance of Hate...

Does Hating the Haters Make ANY Sense?

From the Dagger and the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), today issued the following statement on the mass shooting this weekend in Orlando, Florida:

“This is a national tragedy. I join Maryland and the nation in offering my deepest condolences, prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the families, loved ones and communities of those killed in this senseless act of violence and hate in Orlando, Florida. My deepest thanks to the first responders who arrived on the scene and the law enforcement officials.

“The facts will come out. Until then, we must stand together in strength and unity to support all people touched by this tragic event.

“Most importantly, we must continue to share this message with the American people — that America’s strength lies in its diversity. We are #StrongerTogether.

“This terrible attack is rightly called a hate crime. No hate crime can be tolerated against any community, ever. All of us must stand together in denouncing prejudice and violence directed at any group. I join the LGBT community and my Muslim friends in speaking out against hate in any form.

“Americans deserve to know their neighborhoods are safe and free from intolerance and discrimination. As we grieve with the families of the victims and struggle to cope with the latest tragedy, we should also lift up our voices in a unified call for peace.”
Intolerance of hate sounds awfully like a hatred of haters and hate. It certainly isn't "love" or "ambiguity" towards hate.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Clueless Seek to Direct the Future of the Republican Party

Romney Searches for the Same Ditch He Ran the Party Into in 2012...

from Politico
PARK CITY, Utah — Mitt Romney laid into the large and rambunctious group of 2016 Republican candidates here on Saturday, arguing that they deserved a share of blame for the rise of Donald Trump.

During a question-and-answer session with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer before around 250 Republican donors gathered here for the Romney-hosted Experts and Enthusiasts summit, the former Massachusetts governor said this year’s group of primary candidates misplayed their hand. By spending months attacking each other and ignoring Trump, he argued, they made a severe tactical error that allowed Trump — who Romney has criticized as a "con man" and a "fraud" — to escape unharmed.

Their biggest failure was attacking each other and not the frontrunner,” Romney said. “Just politically, I thought that move was not right for them.”

Romney reserved particular scorn for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who Romney endorsed late in the primary process. The Texas senator, he pointed out, spent extensive time during the campaign praising Trump. He also said Ohio Gov. John Kasich had divided the anti-Trump vote by remaining in the race long after it had become clear he didn’t have a realistic pathway to the nomination — a message he said had relayed personally to the Ohio governor. And Romney chided Right to Rise, the $100 million-plus Jeb Bush super PAC that spent heavily to tear down Bush rivals other than Trump.

“I thought it was an extremely large mistake on their part,” he said of Right to Rise.

Romney, though, credited Trump with waging a politically savvy primary campaign. “He played it extremely well,” he said, noting that the New York businessman had tapped into a deep vein of voter frustration. “It was a very effective strategy.”

As he has on previous occasions, Romney warned that a Trump presidency could have disastrous repercussions for the country. But on Saturday, the former governor showed emotion. In explaining why he’d decided to come out so forcefully against the party’s presumptive nominee — and at a time when many GOP leaders are urging unity — Romney appeared to tear up.

Many of the things Trump says, such as his criticism of a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage, just couldn’t go unanswered, Romney said. “Seeing this just breaks your heart."

Going forward, Romney said he didn’t intend to regularly insert himself into the campaign. But he would speak out if Trump said something he disagreed with.

When Blitzer pressed Romney on his future plans, he revealed that he once thought that, had a candidate such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, or Bush won the White House, he could have held an administration role. With Trump and Hillary Clinton as the nominees, he joked that a cabinet post was now unlikely.

But he hinted that there’s a role he’s anxious to embrace: that of a former GOP leader who will help to rebuild his party following an historically divisive election.

“I do believe, after November, I’m going to be involved in articulating what the Republican Party stands for.”
Romney certainly understands what his Republican party stands for... losing. You can be certain of one thing come November, that Romney will be completely incapable of articulating his own personal responsibility for the outcome.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Your Votes Don't Matter, California... AP Crowns Hillary Hours Before the Polls Open in California

from the Washington Post
LOS ANGELES — Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the Associated Press, emerging from a long and bruising primary season to become the first woman to lead a major party in the race for the White House.

A bitter nomination battle that Clinton was once expected to win in a walk ended abruptly late Monday as she claimed exactly the number of delegates needed to secure victory in her contest against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, according the AP’s latest tally.

Clinton was widely expected — even inside her own campaign — to clinch the nomination Tuesday, when California, New Jersey and four other states are scheduled to vote. But according to the AP, Clinton continued to pick up commitments from superdelegates over the weekend, and on Monday, those gains effectively guaranteed her the nomination.

With that milestone, the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state has ended more than two centuries of national history in which only men have been the standard-bearers for the major political parties. She also overcame her crushing loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, as well as a political environment this year that favored outsiders at the expense of her establishment credentials. And she became the first spouse of a former president to win the presidential nomination.

“My supporters are passionate. They are committed. They have voted for me in great numbers across the country for many reasons,” Clinton said Monday on the campaign trail in California. “But among the reasons is their belief that having a woman president would make a great statement — a historic statement — about what kind of country we are, what we stand for. It’s really emotional.”

Now, Clinton will turn fully to face Republican Donald Trump in the November general election, a pivot that unofficially began last week with a withering speech on foreign policy in which she shredded Trump’s qualifications and temperament. Those attacks have continued this past weekend at appearances up and down California and have been received with unprecedented enthusiasm by her supporters.

Clinton has faced an unexpectedly strong and increasingly contentious challenge from Sanders, and there is the possibility that the senator will keep battling her even now that she has effectively sewn up the nomination. Indeed, on Monday, Sanders issued this statement: “It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgement, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.”

That perspective won’t stop Clinton from celebrating the milestone Tuesday, when she had planned to claim the nomination.

Tuesday marks the exact anniversary of the day eight years ago when Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination to then-Sen. Obama. She famously promised then that a woman would someday win the White House. And she took credit for leaving “about 18 million cracks” in the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” of all during her first effort at it.

The president could endorse Clinton as soon as this week, not waiting for the Democratic convention in July, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The president will decide for himself when to endorse, but “we may have a better sense of where the race is headed” after Tuesday’s voting, Earnest said.

An Obama endorsement would be a significant boost to Clinton as she seeks to unify Democrats after the difficult primaries. It would send a strong message to Sanders and his supporters that they should coalesce around Clinton, something Sanders has indicated he is far from ready to do.

“We’ll be talking about all of that in the next days, and I look forward to that,” Clinton said when asked what role Obama might play in her campaign. “Obviously, I’m excited about having the president’s support, because I have said throughout this campaign, I was honored to serve in the president’s Cabinet.”

Monday’s news may have stepped on Clinton’s plans to celebrate more fully on Tuesday. Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, offered this statement with the AP’s announcement: “This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday, with millions of people heading to the polls, and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote. We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates.”

Among other unintended consequences, campaign advisers said they fear that an early call could depress turnout in states voting Tuesday, imperiling their hopes to stave off a Sanders victory, particularly in California.

“We think it’s important to give the voters their say and not to cut off this process at this point,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said during an interview on MSNBC. “I hope this is an inspiration for people all across California, in New Jersey, in North Dakota, in South Dakota, in Montana in New Mexico to go to the polls tomorrow and have your voice be heard, have your vote be counted.”

Although Clinton was widely expected to clinch the nomination before the polls close in California, she has been campaigning furiously there in recent days, in part to deny Sanders a victory on a night when she and her campaign want no doubt to remain about her nomination.

The two candidates remained locked in an exceedingly tight contest in California, with several polls within the margin of error. Clinton has been buoyed, how­ever, by a speech last week in San Diego in which she slammed Trump like never before, calling him temperamentally unfit and ill prepared to assume the presidency.

Although Clinton has increasingly appeared to be campaigning more against Trump than Sanders, the success of her speech — and its reverberations on the campaign trail in California over the weekend — may help her against Sanders on Tuesday, too.

Even Clinton’s most ardent backers say the speech revealed a new candidate, one who seemed less cautious and more willing to push boundaries.

“It was almost like Hillary Clinton was finally being herself,” said Brigitte Hunley, 46, a Clinton volunteer in Solano County. “It was almost like she’s really getting into her own groove. It’s the real Hillary coming out.

“Being herself is so appealing,” Hunley added.

At times deadpan and at other times incredulous, Clinton delivered a cutting 35-minute assault on Trump on Thursday that read like a greatest hits of his most controversial comments.

It was a clear sign of how Clinton plans to defeat Trump — and overcome her own weaknesses, which include lingering questions about her judgment and trustworthiness and the fact that a majority of Americans say they don’t like her.

The business mogul has responded with a barrage of attacks on Twitter and in television interviews.

“Crooked Hillary Clinton has not held a news conference in more than 7 months,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Her record is so bad she is unable to answer tough questions!”

She took eight questions from reporters Monday.

On the campaign trail, Clinton has regularly reprised some of her favorite lines from the speech with more than a little glee.

“I didn’t make these comments up; I just repeated the ones he’s made,” Clinton said while campaigning Sunday. “I just read chapter and verse.”

Aside from California and New Jersey, Democrats are holding primaries Tuesday in New Mexico, Montana and South Dakota and caucuses in North Dakota. Republicans are holding primaries in all those states except North Dakota, but their contests are largely symbolic because Trump has secured the delegate majority he needs to claim the nomination at his party’s convention next month. Now the Democrats’ contests have less meaning, as well.

Sanders plans to take stock of his campaign at his home in Burlington, Vt., after Tuesday’s primaries.

“Let’s assess where we are after tomorrow before we make statements based on speculation,” Sanders said at a news conference in Emeryville, Calif., when asked whether he is willing to endorse Clinton in the coming weeks.

Clinton picked up more delegates in contests in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands over the weekend and leads the senator among both pledged delegates, those earned in voting contests, and superdelegates, the party leaders and elected officials who are free to support the candidate of their choice at the national convention.

It was superdelegates that put her over the top to gain the 2,383 needed to secure the nomination, according to the AP.

Sanders has argued that Clinton won’t have a lock because superdelegates don’t actually vote until the convention and could change their minds.

The AP said that the superdelegates for Clinton in its tally have told the news organization that they “unequivocally” support her.

Clinton’s superdelegate total has increased by 24 delegates since Sunday, according to the AP count, while Sanders’s support has scarcely budged.

The movement in Clinton’s direction underscores the vast challenge Sanders will have in flipping delegates to his side — a strategy he says he will pursue in hopes of capturing the nomination at the convention.

Speaking to reporters at a Hilton Garden Inn in a conference room overlooking the glimmering San Francisco Bay, San­ders insisted that he could still win over some superdelegates in the coming days.

“We are in private conversations,” Sanders said of his efforts to court party leaders and officials. “We’ve seen a little bit of movement,” he added, though he acknowledged that his latest super­delegate pickups number fewer than a half-dozen.

He dismissed the suggestion by a reporter that he could be a “spoiler” if he remains in the race — and he also had a tense exchange separately in which he insisted that his refusal to quit was not “sexist.”

Monday’s news — and Tuesday’s primaries — will factor heavily in the reception Sanders receives in coming weeks as he tries to make the case to superdelegates that he would be a stronger nominee than Clinton.

Obama spoke by phone Sunday with Sanders, according to two people familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private call. It was unclear whether Obama nudged Sanders to end his campaign.

Sanders is banking on a stellar performance in California, the most populous state in the nation, to bolster his argument that scores of superdelegates should switch allegiance from Clinton to him between now and the Democratic convention in late July.

It’s a strategy that most political observers consider a long shot, to say the least.

Sanders has already effectively ceded New Jersey — the second-biggest prize on Tuesday — to Clinton. Without a sweeping victory in California, he may not have much of a case left to make.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Former Maryland Democratic leader backs Kathy Szeliga for US Senate

from the Baltimore Sun
R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., a Democrat and former speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, endorsed the Republican nominee for Maryland's open Senate seat on Monday, saying he is angered by the increase in the national debt.

The Kent County man, who stepped down from politics in 1993, said in a statement that he will support Republican state lawmaker Kathy Szeliga for the seat, rather than Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

Mitchell declined an interview request made through the Szeliga campaign. He did not respond to a message left at his home.

"I am supporting Kathy Szeliga for U.S. Senate because we need to shake things up in Washington," Mitchell, 80, said in the statement. "Since her opponent was first elected to Congress, our national debt has tripled. Tripled. With that kind of track record, it is obvious Maryland needs to change its representation in Washington."

Van Hollen has served as the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee since 2010, but his capacity to address the national debt from that perch is, to say the least, limited. It is not clear whether Mitchell also blames other Democratic leaders in Washington for the debt, such as President Barack Obama, or just Van Hollen.

Van Hollen's campaign responded with a statement noting that Mitchell worked as a state lobbyist for Baltimore Gas & Electric -- a job he took shortly after leaving the state house.

"If Delegate Szeliga wants to talk about helping working families, she shouldn't team up with someone who led the anti-consumer lobbying effort for the energy industry in Annapolis for years," Van Hollen spokeswoman Bridgett Frey said in a statement. "Once again, Delegate Szeliga is putting corporate special interests first."

Szeliga, of Baltimore County, and Van Hollen, of Montgomery County, are running for the Senate seat that will be left open by the retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Libertarian Arvin Vohra and Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers are also running.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Make America GREAT Again. Return to Constitutional Principles

U.S. Tarrifs
from Wikipedia
Tariffs in United States history have played important roles in trade policy, political debates and the nation's economic history. The main goal of the tariff was money to pay the federal budget. Controversy arose over whether manufacturing interests were favored and consumer interests hurt by high tariffs. The 1st United States Congress, wanting a straightforward tax that was not too onerous and easy to collect, passed the Tariff Act of 1789. Treasury agents collected the tariff before goods could be landed, and what became the Coast Guard prevented smuggling. Tariffs were the largest (approaching 95% at times) source of federal revenue until the Federal income tax began after 1913. For well over a century the federal government was largely financed by tariffs averaging about 20% on foreign imports. There are no tariffs for imports or shipments from other states. Since the 1940s, foreign trade policies have focused more on reciprocal tariffs and low tariff rates rather than using tariffs as a significant source of Federal tax revenue. The goal of using higher tariffs to promote industrialization was urged by the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and after him the Whig Party. They generally failed because Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democrats said the tariff should be only high enough to pay the government's bills; otherwise, it would hurt the consumers. The Republicans, however, made high tariffs the centerpiece of their economic policy beginning in 1861, and as late as 1930. Since 1930, tariffs have not been a major political issue.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hogan Appoints Getty to Court of Appeals

from the Baltimore Sun
Gov. Larry Hogan appointed his top legislative lobbyist to the state's highest court Wednesday.

The Republican governor elevated Joseph M. Getty, his chief legislative officer and a former Republican state senator, to a vacant post on the seven-member Court of Appeals.

His appointment is effective immediately, but subject to confirmation by the state Senate, which won't meet until next year's General Assembly session.

Getty, 64, was one of five people the Maryland Judicial Nominating Commission recommended to fill the job.

"Joe is a devoted public servant who has spent his entire career and a good portion of his life in service to his community and to our state," Hogan said in a statement. "His unquestionable integrity, deep legal expertise, and devotion to the people of Maryland make him an excellent fit for the state's highest court."

If Getty is confirmed, he will join Judge Robert N. McDonald as the court's only judges who were appointed without previous bench experience.

Steve Klepper, editor of the Maryland Appellate Blog, said Getty's appointment is unusual by Maryland standards, but not necessarily by those of other states.

"The background is quite compatible with how governors across the country have filled vacancies on their supreme courts," Klepper said. "I think there are plenty of people who will be happy to see that there's multiple tracks to make it to the Maryland Court of Appeals."

Hogan also announced the appointment of Judge Donald Beachley of Washington County and Judge Melanie Shaw Geter of Prince George's County to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's second-highest court.

The Senate has final say over the appointments. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller declined through a spokesman to comment.

Getty will replace former Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, who retired April 14 after 15 years on the court. Like Getty, she was not a judge before her appointment. She was a U.S. attorney from 1993 until 2001.

"It is a great honor for me to be appointed to the court and to have the faith and confidence of Governor Hogan in my abilities to serve Marylanders in that capacity," Getty told The Baltimore Sun.

An Olney native, he has a solo law practice on Main Street in Manchester, a town near the Pennsylvania border with a population of less than 5,000. He earned a law degree from the University of Maryland in 1996 and joined the bar at the age of 44.

Getty joined the Hogan administration in 2015 after serving in the Senate. He was a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, the panel that will decide his nomination.

He served in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 2003. He worked for the campaign of the state's preceding Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich, and later served as Ehrlich's top legislative lobbyist.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a Democrat, said Getty "has always been a fair-minded individual and serious about the work he understands — in the legislature and in life."

Howard S. Chasanow, who retired from the Court of Appeals in 1999, said it's not necessary to have previous judicial experience before joining the Court of Appeals, but it is useful.

"He's going to have to be an awfully quick study," Chasanow said. "If he's bright and hardworking and diligent, he can do the job."

Court of Appeals judges are responsible for deciding which cases to hear, listening to arguments and then researching and writing decisions. The court publishes about 200 rulings a year. Nearly half of those are in attorney discipline cases.

Its decisions set legal precedent in the state, with potentially far-reaching consequences for how disputes get settled and how crimes are prosecuted across the state.

The court ruled last month that the police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray could be forced to testify against one another.

Other recent decisions paved the way for the release of hundreds of inmates, and required that people charged with crimes be offered a lawyer for their bail hearings.

Irma S. Raker, who retired from the court in 2008, said an appellate judge must be able to work closely with others.

"Communication, respect for other people's opinion, knowing how to negotiate, knowing how to compromise, knowing how to listen is very, very important," she said.

Raker said she thought Getty was a good choice because he'll bring a different perspective to the court.

"There's no cookie cutter model for what will make a good state Supreme Court judge," she said.

Getty is not the first chief legislative officer to be appointed to the Court of Appeals.

A sitting judge resigned in protest when Gov. Marvin Mandel appointed John C. Eldridge, his chief legislative officer, to the court in 1974.

The judge, Wilson K. Barnes Sr., called the move "a political appointment of a real crony." He then ran unsuccessfully against Mandel in the Democratic primary for governor.

Eldridge, who retired in 2003, said Barnes' resignation had as much to do with internal court politics and Barnes' relationship with Mandel as it did with any qualms Barnes might have had about his qualifications.

Barnes died in 1997.

"I believe some variety in background with the different judges is a good thing for an appellate court, because no lawyer could have done everything," Eldridge said.

Hogan's predecessor, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, appointed his chief lobbyist to a judgeship, though it was not to a high-ranking court. O'Malley appointed Judge Stacy A. Mayer to the District Court for Baltimore County in 2013.

In 2012, O'Malley appointed McDonald to the Court of Appeals, making him the panel's second jurist who had not previously been a judge. McDonald had worked for two decades writing legal opinions for the Maryland attorney general's office.

Two sitting judges were among the four other people recommended for the Court of Appeals job by the nonpartisan Judicial Nominating Commission.

The candidate pool included Getty, Beachley, Court of Special Appeals Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff, Baltimore trial lawyer Andrew David Levy, and Frederick County real estate and environmental lawyer Thomas E. Lynch III.

Before becoming a lawyer, Getty earned a graduate degree in American civilization and worked in historic preservation. He was executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County from 1987 to 1994.

He's also a veteran of Maryland Republican politics, working as a strategist on state races, leading the Carroll County campaign for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and serving on that county's central committee.

He's a father of six and a grandfather.