Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peering Behind the Anti-Bullying Agenda...

Two topics determine today's liberal tolerant attitude towards others: the respect of otherness, openness towards it, and the obsessive fear of harassment. The other is OK insofar as his presence is not intrusive, insofar as the other is not really other. Tolerance coincides with its opposite: my duty to be tolerant towards the other effectively means that I should not get too close to him, not to intrude into his/her space - in short, that I should respect his/her intolerance towards my over-proximity. This is what is more and more emerging as the central 'human right' in late-capitalist society: the right not to be harassed, i.e., to be kept at a safe distance from the others.
-Slavoj Zizek, "How to Read Lacan"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Patriot Alert!

From the Harford County Dagger and Harford Campaign for Liberty:
Most Americans are still unaware of Agenda 21 and its partner in crime, ICLEI. This shouldn’t be surprising as both organizations operate in stealth mode, knowing that the enlightened would resist their goals with vigor. Luckily, a handful of activists, most notable, Carroll County Commissioner, Richard Rothschild, have dragged these undercover menaces into the light of day. The RNC, Maryland Republican Committee, and the Harford Republican Central Committee have all adopted resolutions of condemnation. When will Harford County follow?

Let me offer some background. Agenda 21, also known as Agenda for the 21st Century or Sustainable Development is the 1992 soft treaty signed at the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It boasts 179 signatures, including that of President George Herbert Walker Bush. What are the terms of the treaty? Well, it’s a 200-page, 40 chapter document so a simple summary is anything but. However, in a nutshell

“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” http://www.sustainabledevelopment@un.org

That’s right. This treaty will be implemented by those acting in concert with the UN and will affect just about everything. Are you beginning to get an idea of the scope of this global power grab?

Agenda 21 is alive and well in Harford County thanks to our membership in an organization called ICLEI. ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) has since changed its name to Local Governments for Sustainability. This attempt to throw the hounds off the trail does nothing to change the fact that it is an international coalition, affiliated with the UN that exists to implement Local Agenda 21.

In an attempt to cloak the Agenda 21 monster, the claim is made that the treaty was never ratified and therefore has no teeth. Wrong!! Once in office, President Clinton put together the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. The task was to implement the sustainability goals set forth in Agenda 21. They took their charge seriously and and for the last 20 years the word “sustainable” and its various permutations have slithered into the accepted vernacular. Along with the word came the policies, sample legislative guidelines, restrictions, and regulations designed to bring the liberties we enjoy to an eventual end. But don’t take my word for it. In the words of Maurice Strong, UN Secretary General of the 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21 mastermind:

“It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” – Maurice Strong essay A Journey Down a Generation

“The Earth Summit will play an important role in reforming and strengthening the United Nations as the centerpiece of the emerging system of democratic global governance.” – Maurice Strong quoted in the September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine.

“Our concepts of ballot-box democracy may need to be modified to produce strong governments capable of making difficult decisions, particularly in terms of safeguarding the global environment ….” Facing Down Armageddon: Environment at a Crossroads,” – essay by Maurice Strong in World Policy Journal, Summer, 2009

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and work-place air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” – Maurice Strong, opening speech at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit

Maurice Strong; Canadian oil billionaire, player in the oil for food scandal, current resident of Communist China and self proclaimed socialist seems to think that the UN and not our “ballot box democracy” needs to run the show. For the last three decades he and others have perverted a legitimate concern for the environment into a radical environmental nightmare. Their tools have been the useful and earnest dupes they employ under the guise of saving the planet. The next generation of indoctrinated dupes is poised to take up the cause thanks to state mandated environmental curricula such as we have in Maryland.

Sustainable development is defined by this group as “… development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This would be reasonable if care for Mother Earth really was the priority. But we know that many have adapted the universal concern for environmental stewardship to their own ends.

“We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” Timothy Wirth, former President UN Foundation, former US Senator

So it’s more about economics, wealth redistribution, cap and trade, and eminent domain. For the guys at the top, concern for the environment is just the means to an end.

Maryland is steeped in environmental policy structured around faulty claims and emotionalism. Our current situation predates Governor O’Malley’s war on rural counties. Wasn’t it Governor Glendenning that gave us “Smart Growth”? Or was it?

“In the case of the U.S., our local authorities are engaged in planning processes consistent with LA21 (Local Agenda 21) but there is little interest in using the LA21 brand. Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizen militias and some members of Congress… (They) would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So, we call our processes something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth.” J. Gary Lawrence, Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at the University of Washington, Member President’s Council on Sustainable Development

As you can see, the “Smart Growth” that we’ve come to know and love comes directly from policies created and promoted at the UN. Note how confidently he states that local officials have already bought in. He’s right!

So what do we do? We begin this battle in our own back yard by requesting that the County Executive release us from our association with ICLEI. You can sign a petition at http://www.harfordliberty.org that makes that request. Once you’ve done that please educate yourself further.





Don’t be a dupe.

Not convinced? Try reading this.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Maryland Plans to spend ~4% More in 2014

from the Washington Post
Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a $37 billion spending plan mostly along party lines Friday, with Republicans and Democrats sparring over whether the plan had set aside enough money to cushion the blow from looming federal cuts known as sequestration.

The plan now goes to the Senate. Although lawmakers there have signaled that they intend to tack on some changes to the way the state funds its pension system, they largely agree with the spending plan.

With less than a month remaining in the legislative session, that means the budget still largely resembles the $37.3 billion plan proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in January. It relies on projected economic growth of about 4 percent and higher revenue from an income tax hike approved last year on six-figure earners to fund a handful of new and long-standing priorities championed by O’Malley (D).

Chief among those priorities is education. The plan continues record funding for public schools, with total state support accounting for $6 billion of Maryland’s $15.8 billion general fund. Higher education would receive an additional $1.3 billion, keeping Maryland on a four-year path of limiting annual tuition increases to 3 percent at state colleges and universities.

The governor’s plan also assumes nearly $350 million in new federal spending in Maryland under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to begin implementing an expansion of Medicaid coverage. In all, total Medicaid spending in the state would exceed $7 billion in the budget year beginning in July — a leading factor in an overall spending increase of 3.5 percent.

Among the new items in the budget: Maryland would give its more than 70,000 state employees 3 percent raises and fund merit bonuses for the first time since 2009. The state would also begin to restore money for an array of grant programs that were curtailed during the downturn. Police would receive money for training, and municipalities would see a bump in road funds. The House, however, cut an O’Malley proposal to divvy out millions in “innovation” grants to state agencies and local governments to rethink how to deliver services to residents.

On sequestration, the House agreed with O’Malley’s proposal to increase the state’s rainy day reserve by more than 15 percent, to $920 million. The House also increased the state’s ending year balance to about $200 million.

All told, Maryland would in theory have more than $1.1 billion at its disposal, though even in the depths of the recession, that state never touched its rainy day reserve to help preserve its top bond rating on Wall Street.

Federal cuts to Maryland programs could approach $200 million, according to state estimates. But the state could also lose income tax revenue from thousands of jobs that may be lost in the area and from more than 46,000 defense industry employees in the state who face furloughs that could cut 20 percent of their pay.

Republicans said the governor’s budget didn’t adequately account for ripple effects in the economy from sequestration.

Democrats praised the plan — and projections that spending and revenue would remain mostly in balance for the next five years, saying it showed that O’Malley and the legislature had prudently charted a course through the recession.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What "Green" Energy Subsidies Buy Maryland Rate Payers...

from the Baltimore Sun
A deal environmentalists thought had been worked out to stop mostly out-of-state paper mills from cashing in on Maryland's renewable energy law by burning so-called "black liquor" has come unglued. The state's only paper plant in Allegany County has backtracked on a pledge not to oppose the move in return for being allowed to keep collecting from the state's utility customers for another five years.

The New Page mill in Luke and several others out of state have reaped millions of dollarsfrom Maryland ratepayers over the past eight years by taking advantage of an obscure provision in the "renewable portfolio standard" law, passed in 2004 to reduce the state's reliance on climate-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

Under the law, Maryland's electricity suppliers must increase the amount of power generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022. They can either produce it themselves, or buy "renewable energy credits" from facilities generating power from a variety of specified sources, including wind, solar, geothermal and poultry manure. The state's electricity buyers pay for those credits through slightly higher rates.

But the law also recognizes as renewable fuel wood scraps and a tarry substance known as "black liquor," a carbon-rich byproduct of the paper pulping process. As a result, the New Page mill and others in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio get subsidies for what is a traditional industry practice of generating power for their plants by burning their waste products.

Though many if not most lawmakers thought the law was targeted at boosting new wind and solar projects, the lion's share of the subsidies paid out by ratepayers have gone to paper mills - most of them out of state, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. Paper mills collectively received $3.8 million in 2011, 45 percent of the credits cashed in that year, according to state figures, compared to 14 percent for wind and 1 percent for solar.

The Luke mill only collected about $350,000 in 2011, but the plant's owner, New Page, has recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and advocates for changing the law said they were willing to make allowances for Maryland's only mill if it wouldn't fight legislation in Annapolis to curtail the black liquor and wood waste benefits.

So a tentative deal was struck. The bill's chief sponsors, Del. John Olszewski Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, and Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Montgomery County Democrat, said they'd offer an amendment that would essentially grandfather the Maryland mill and one other, so they could continue to receive marketable renewable energy credits for their longstanding practice. Richard Wattro, the mill's manager wrote the lawmakers saying the company "does not intend to oppose" the bill. But he qualified that by saying the mill's neutrality was dependent on a final review of the legislation.

Just days before a Senate hearing on the legislation, Wattro informed the lawmakers that New Page had decided to oppose the change after all. In doing so, it sided with the owners of out-of-state paper mills getting credits, as well as with the paper industry's trade association. Spokespeople for the American Forest and Paper Association and the out-of-state mills argued that cutting out the supply of renewable energy credits that the paper mills sell could drive up their price, ultimately costing Maryland ratepayers more. A Maryland Energy Administration official testified that was not the case, while proponents noted that other states limit or do not permit such renewable energy credits for paper mills that burn their waste.

Wattro, who's been manager of the Luke mill for 32 years, told lawmakers the income the mill derives from renewable credits are needed and will "create a financial hardship" for a facility employing 880 people that is struggling amid a general decline in paper usage. He complained that the company had been in the state for more than 125 years but was being cut out for not being a new source of renewable energy. He declined to explain the company's switch, other than to say the bill could hurt New Page as a corporation, even though it doesn't have any other mills cashing in on Maryland's law.

Garagiola was so miffed by the mill's change of position that he told the facility's manager at the Senate hearing that he was disinclined to offer any amendment now to grandfather the Luke mill.

"They have been pressured by the paper industry outside of Maryland to walk away from a good compromise and a good-faith promise they made to the legislators of Maryland," said Mike Tidwell, head of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which pushed for the change and negotiated the deal with Luke.

"It’s very possible the industry will wind up causing harm to that paper mill," said Tidwell. "That’s part of the tragedy," he added. "These outside interests have forced the Luke paper mill to put their own workers at risk."
Notice that the reporter for this article FAILED to fill a mathematical gap... he said, "Paper mills collectively received $3.8 million in 2011, 45 percent of the credits cashed in that year, according to state figures, compared to 14 percent for wind and 1 percent for solar." (45+14+1) only equals 60 percent. So where does the OTHER 40 percent of subsidy money go? If I had to guess... it would have to be TRASH Incinerators. Just so Marylander's know, 85% of Maryland's "Green" subsidies go to the DIRTIEST POLLUTOR'S POSSIBLE. Thank you, Governor O'Malley! Thank you, "protectors" of the Environment! *cough* *COUGH*

Friday, March 8, 2013

More Wind Skepticism

From Del. Pat McDonough and the Harford County Dagger:
This story may be hard to believe, but the Governor wants to construct 40 wind turbines that are 80 stories high (think: Baltimore’s tallest building) and 20 miles out in the ocean. This has never been done before. The cost of this green pork scheme is currently calculated to be $2 billion. That estimate is very shallow compared to the eventual real costs. Of course, the usual ATM machines, meaning the people of Maryland, will be mandated to pay for these monstrosities through another new surcharge. The surcharge will be about $2 per month for consumers and unlimited for the business community. “I will purchase a free crab cake for every rate payer in the State if this project costs $2 billion or less, stated Delegate Pat McDonough.

The economics of wind power is scary at best. Currently, private financing is not available because the bankers, who actually know how to count, believe these projects are super-risky. The federal government has been offering subsidies to keep this rocky industry afloat. We all know that the federal government is broke and the subsidies are on shaky ground. When the subsidies and the whole financial system collapse, will Governor O’Malley, once again, be stalking the abused ATM machines known as the taxpayers?

Wind farm developers have been rapidly retreating from the business. The smart ones are getting out early. The Governor’s Wind Energy Act of 2013 passed by a vote of 83 to 50 in the House of Delegates. Del. McDonough offered an amendment that would mandate that all construction materials and assets be purchased in the USA. Even with a tough job market, the Maryland legislators voted against this amendment.

Many environmentalists who support solar, geothermal, nuclear and natural gas are troubled because so many resources are being directed at wind turbines which are not economically viable and produce limited energy.

Let us be optimistic and predict that the Governor’s massive ocean wind farm will be constructed. Two goals will be accomplished by this unlikely success story. Number one, the 40 giant towers will produce enough power to light up 61,000 homes. That is less than 0.1%. There are 2.1 million homes in the State of Maryland and a nuclear power plant will light up 400,000 to 500,000 homes.

The second real goal of this folly is that Governor O’Malley can travel across the country as a presidential candidate and proclaim that he is the nation’s environmental leader and the King of Wind.

Delegate Pat McDonough

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Governor Punishes Harford County... Again!

from the Harford County Dagger
The following letter was sent from Harford County Executive David R. Craig to Governor Martin O’Malley. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication.
Governor O’Malley,

In looking at the proposed state budget and aid to local governments for FY 2014, and as I begin to craft my budget here in Harford County, I have concerns regarding the state aid projection for our public school system. Based on the projected aid for FY 2014, the state allocation for our public school system will be over $4 million less than the state aid disbursal the previous year. Harford County’s reduction is the largest of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.

I understand that the reasons why our state aid is falling next year are due to the fact that enrollment has fallen by 341 students, and because although our county’s “wealth” as determined by the state has declined, it has declined less than most other counties. As for the other factors used to calculate state aid to schools (Geographic Cost of Education Index, Guaranteed Tax Base funding, and Supplemental Grants), Harford County receives none of this funding.

It is not my intention to suggest that the wealth formula is flawed or that the factors that determine the state’s allocation of education aid are imperfect. Rather, I am respectfully and sincerely asking that Harford County be held harmless and not be given less than we were the year before.

In the past when Harford County has had falling enrollment, I have always exceeded the Maintenance of Effort level in allocating the county’s portion of public schools funding, and I have never given less to the Board of Education than I gave the previous year. As a former teacher and school administrator, I believe that doing so sends the wrong message to our educators, our students, our parents, and our citizens.

I know that we both share the view that K-12 education is the foundation of a thriving and prosperous society. Our schools in Maryland are some of the best in the nation because even in tough times we chose to invest in our schools with the understanding that a quality education is the foundation for success later in life.

I respectfully ask that Harford County’s children be held harmless by restoring the state’s allocation to the Board of Education to this year’s level. I would appreciate the chance to meet with you on this matter, and I look forward to the opportunity.

David R. Craig

Friday, March 1, 2013

County Government Picks New Lord & Master for Harford Countians to Subsidize

from the Harford County Dagger
This month, the President of the County Council introduced a new resolution at the request of our County Executive, David Craig. It is Resolution 3-14, an Economic Opportunity Fund Loan for Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., and can be found at the Harford County Council website under ‘Current Bills and Resolutions.’ This of course is not the first government loan to a private corporation this county has seen. In 2012 alone the County Council approved 3% interest county loans to Bizerba Label Solutions and BAFS, Inc. for $100,000 and $200,000, respectively. We’ve also seen a $100,000 Workforce Training Grant issued to Smith’s Detection, and Council approval on $23 million in Tax Increment Financing to the James Run Developers. We could probably fill hours of debate on the merits or hazards of these types of public-private partnerships and if the jobs created are worthwhile enough to warrant thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. However, in the Kohl’s Resolution, Harford County will be deciding upon their first ever ‘conditional loan’, and setting a dangerous precedent for the future of Harford County business.

A conditional loan is a low-interest loan issued which accrues interest on the principal borrowed, but does not require monthly payments from the company borrowing the money and is often forgiven at the end of the specified term. In the case of the resolution introduced February 12th, Kohl’s is being offered a $400,000 conditional loan from the state of Maryland and a $100,000 conditional loan from Harford County in exchange for locating a new e-commerce distribution center in Edgewood and creating a minimum of 550 jobs at the site. The Harford County Office of Economic Development has asked that Kohl’s fill at least half of those jobs with Harford County residents, but that is not a condition needed to receive the monies offered. In fact, in the proposal letter sent to Kohl’s on March 30, 2011 Kohl’s is assured that the county has “established a ‘job access/reverse commute’ bus service from Baltimore City’ that will be available for every warehouse shift.

Also included in the ‘goodie bag’ of incentives offered to Kohl’s were the property tax credits and job creation credits that come with buying property in a Maryland Enterprise Zone. In December 2011 Harford County had already granted the Enterprise Zone designation to Kohl’s, which is estimated to save the company $2.3 million in County taxes and $650,000 in state taxes over the next ten years. The job creation tax credit adds another $893,000 in state tax credits. The Office of Economic Development has already given the company a $50,000 grant with which to train its new employees. Kohl’s also benefits from the superior infrastructure of our state roads, and from being strategically located near BWI and the port of Baltimore. Why the need then to give away another $500,000? Will this company seriously consider uprooting a $90 million dollar center if they don’t get a positive vote from the county?

We are fortunate that our state and local governments cannot operate as the federal government does, with a mounting deficit and no budget in place. But that does not mean the Maryland legislature or county officials should hand out grants and giveaway loans to every company considering a move to Maryland. When we begin to consistently operate in this manner we see increasing bond debt, suspicious backroom deals and companies calling the shots. Furthermore, we do not lose companies to Delaware and Virginia because they give out bigger goodie bags of incentives; we lose companies like Bechtel Corp and tech firm Acentia because our neighboring states have far more advantageous corporate and personal tax rates. Financial tricks like TIFs and conditional loans are not the answer to bringing new business into the state.

Our County Council will hold their public hearing for Resolution 4-13 on March 12, 2013. Please call or email your Council Representative as soon as possible, and tell him or her to vote NO on this resolution. If you can, make plans to attend the hearing at 7pm, and speak your mind. This is a half million dollars of our hard-earned money. Tell your elected official you want your hard-earned money to go toward roads, schools and county buildings, not a department store. We need to stick to responsible fiscal policies if we want Harford County to continue to grow and thrive.

The County Council offices are at (410) 638-3343. Please call or email today. For more information on fiscal responsibility and how to advocate for it locally, visit www.harfordliberty.org.

Christina Trotta

Steering Committee Member
Harford Campaign for Liberty