Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
November 25, 2014
7 pm – 9 pm
Knights of Columbus Hall
23 Newport Drive
Forest Hill, MD. 21050
On November 4th voters openly rejected the trends of the last several years!
Friends, we have an opportunity for a new beginning.
Our statement “Reclaim the Republic. Restore the Constitution” is more than just a slogan.
Now the hard work begins in earnest.
Let’s start with the Rain Tax.
An uneven law Mandated by unelected government bureaucrats
Based on questionable science
Unlikely to have a meaningful impact
Financial burden on the taxpaying middle class
How did this happen?
Join us as Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild discusses tried and true techniques for David to use against Goliath. It worked in Carroll County and it can work for us in Harford too.
Commissioner Rothschild lead the Carroll County effort to de-fang SB 281 (The Gun Grab), The Rain Tax, and has been a stalwart defender of property rights. Let’s bring his style of public service to Harford County.
Plus – Dave Pridgeon will discuss the recent election and its impact on the liberty movement.
AND – OPEN MIC
Be Part of the Conversation!
Come and celebrate our victories and help us plan for the next round!
Children Welcome – Separate Room in Back
Visit our website http://www.harfordliberty.org
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
President Obama will announce Thursday that he will use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to several individuals who have been briefed on the decision. Obama will travel to Las Vegas on the heels of that announcement to rally support for his initiative on Friday.
Congress will receive official details on the move Thursday, according to a senior Democratic Party official.
Even before final confirmation of the president’s plans, outside advocates began readying events to promote the administration’s immigration policy.
“We hear there will be a prime time Thursday evening announcement (to preview) and full unveiling in Vegas on Friday,” immigration advocate Dawn Le wrote in an email to other activists, which was later inadvertently sent to a group of reporters Wednesday morning. “Can folks begin to work and plan watch parties for Thursday and/or Friday? Unclear whether Thursday night content will be what is "celebratory", but Friday will be where we need a lot of energy guaranteed.”
Obama launched his push for immigration reform in January 2013 in Las Vegas, outlining a plan that would allow many of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship.
The president's decision to speak at the city's Del Sol High School highlights the administration's intensified push to convince Latinos that the Democratic Party is committed to addressing the dilemma of millions of undocumented immigrants. The president is preparing to use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of these individuals, as well as to broaden visa programs for highly-skilled technology workers and perhaps also stiffen security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Federal policy often tilts the playing field, picks winners and losers, and rewards well-connected insiders, contributing to the public perception that the ‘game’ is rigged and harming economic growth. AEI scholars have identified a few policy changes that lawmakers can pursue if they want to combat cronyism and corporate welfare.Doesn't go nearly far enough, if you ask me. It's ALL cosmetics to protect the corporate interest.
Policymakers in both major US political parties have increasingly condemned “crony capitalism” and “corporate welfare.” Many House and Senate candidates in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 election cycles gained considerable support by promising to combat policies that favor narrow interests at the expense of the broader public interest.
There is plenty of debate as to what counts as corporate welfare and crony capitalism, and there is no consensus definition for either of these words. But they are real phenomena: much federal policy tilts the playing field, picks winners and losers, and rewards well-connected insiders. This contributes to the public perception that the “game” is rigged and harms economic growth and innovation.
Scholars at the American Enterprise Institute have identified a few policy changes lawmakers can pursue if they want to combat cronyism and corporate welfare. There are dozens of programs, policies, and tax provisions beyond those mentioned here that could count as crony capitalism or corporate welfare. The ones here are just a start.
AEI does not take institutional positions on these issues, and often AEI scholars disagree. Each of these items represents the views of individual scholars.
Repeal Obamacare’s Insurer Bailout (“Risk Corridors”), or Make It Budget Neutral. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) distorts the marketplace by promising open-ended subsidization of insurer losses from policies sold on the law’s federal and state exchanges. Insurers are taking more risk and cutting their premiums to gain market share because they know the federal government will pick up the tab if they experience large losses. The effect of this policy is to force taxpayers to provide a backdoor subsidy of insurance companies. Eliminating this subsidy would push insurers toward more realistic pricing of their products, AEI Visiting Scholar James Capretta argues.
AEI Resident Fellow Thomas Miller says Congress could leave the risk corridors in place but protect taxpayers by making them budget neutral.
End the Individual Mandate. The individual mandate forces people to buy a product from a private industry even if they do not want to buy it. This is the epitome of corporate welfare, Miller argues. Miller suggests Congress should repeal the individual mandate and provide other incentives for individuals to remain covered, such as protections against rate hikes or exclusions for changes in health status for anyone who maintains continuous insurance coverage.
Take Away States’ Exclusion Authority. Under the ACA, states can bar otherwise qualified and licensed insurers from offering policies on the exchanges. This authority allows states to protect incumbent providers and stifle competition. Capretta believes it should be eliminated.
End Guaranteed Payments, and Reform the Doctor Cartel. Various health laws provide unwarranted market protections for some suppliers of services. Among them are required payment rates by Medicaid programs for so-called Federally Qualified Health Centers and indirect and direct subsidization of a limited number of hospitals and medical schools through Medicare. Medicare and Medicaid law could be scrubbed for other unjustified distortions of the marketplace, Capretta argues.
Joseph Antos, AEI’s Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, suggests that Congress could increase the supply of doctors by adopting a national compact recognizing doctors’ medical credentials wherever they were issued and allowing them to practice across state lines.
End the Ethanol Mandate and Ethanol Tax Breaks. The ethanol mandate (Renewable Fuel Standard) picks winners and losers in the fuel market. It is likely to drive up prices for drivers, ranchers, and grocery shoppers. It seems to add to contamination of water, too.
Congress could fix these problems by killing the mandate, argues AEI Resident Scholar Ben Zycher. Congress should also end the cellulosic biofuel producer tax credit, the alternative fuel mixture tax credit, the alternative fuel infrastructure tax credit, and the special depreciation allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property.
End Renewable Energy Subsidies. Congress has created many programs to subsidize alternative sources of electricity, such as wind and solar. Although Congress should insure it does not block innovative technologies, “green energy” subsidies distort the market, waste taxpayer dollars, and benefit the companies selling a product at a price higher than market forces would support. Congress could alleviate these harms, Zycher argues, by refusing to resuscitate the production tax credit, ending all government loans and loan guarantees for renewable energy. To aid innovation in this regard, Congress could explore opportunities to support basic research on renewable-energy technologies that are not patentable.
End Oil Subsidies. Oil production suffers from federal restrictions, but that alone does not justify federal subsidies for oil. Congress could create a level playing field in energy by killing both the enhanced oil recovery tax credit and the marginal well production tax credit, Zycher suggests.
Also, foreign oil exploration may receive a tax benefit because foreign royalties are often treated as foreign corporate income tax, thus making them eligible for a tax credit instead of a deduction. Zycher suggests Congress could fix this loophole. (At the same time, oil producers face a risk that producers of ethanol and renewables do not: the possible imposition of price controls, whether explicit or implicit, during a future international supply disruption, increasing prices sharply. These subsidies might serve as a rough offset for this problem.)
Make Corporate Taxes Simpler, Lower, and More Neutral. The corporate tax system generates a small fraction of the total share of federal revenues yet disproportionately harms the US economy. The cause is twofold: the high 35 percent federal corporate statutory rate and the myriad of special preferences that litter the corporate tax code. AEI Resident Fellow Alex Brill argues that tax simplification, tax neutrality, fewer corporate tax preferences, and a lower corporate tax rate are sound strategies for encouraging growth.
Reform the Research and Development Tax Credit. The Section 41 Research and Experimentation Tax Credit (the R&D tax credit) was established in 1981 to incentivize private-sector research and development. That is arguably a laudable goal, and a feasible one. But the current R&D tax credit, argues AEI Resident Scholar Stan Veuger, is designed quite poorly — largely because it came into being as a temporary measure. Now, it effectively subsidizes some firms’ R&D at 25 percent while taxing other firms’ R&D at almost 25 percent. Congress could eliminate this unfairness by scrapping the current credit and, if it wants to encourage R&D, crafting a new one from scratch.
Abolish or Rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have forced a systemic industry-wide loosening of underwriting standards, which was the major cause of the US financial crisis, argues Edward Pinto, codirector of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk. Pinto says Congress could protect the housing market from future instability by abolishing the bailed-out government-sponsored enterprises and pulling the government out of at least 80 percent of the housing finance market. If Congress decides to provide favorable financing terms for low-income borrowers, it can do so in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner, in contrast to doing it through Fannie and Freddie.
AEI Resident Fellow Alex Pollock agrees that Fannie and Freddie are prime examples of cronyism. Through these GSEs, a complex web of politicians and their constituents, investors, the housing industry, securities firms, and recipients of off-budget affordable housing subsidies all benefit from the economic rents created by organizations that run on the taxpayers’ credit with little or no capital and excessive leverage. Even after taxpayers bailed out Fannie and Freddie, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act did not address these problems.
Fannie and Freddie reform bills have grown long and complex, but Pollock’s recommendation is not complex: simply treat Fannie and Freddie exactly the same as all big banks. That means imposing the same capital requirements, the same requirement to pay the government for its support of their debt, the same designation as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI), the same tax treatment, and the same prudential and consumer protection regulation. This would take away Fannie and Freddie’s unique privileges and make them as private as every other big bank. Fannie and Freddie should thus become only two of many competitors, instead of the utterly dominant duopolists they have been.
Shrink the Moat of Regulations That Protects Big Banks from Competition. Excessive regulation is often the most effective crony capitalism. After Congress passed Dodd-Frank in 2010, JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon said that regulation was good for his bank because it builds a “bigger moat” against competition. He noted that the heavy regulation in the act was a negative for JPMorgan Chase, but not as much as it was for smaller banks that have to bear relatively higher regulatory costs to compete on a level playing field. Peter Wallison, codirector of AEI’s program on financial policy studies, suggests Congress open banking up to more competition by repealing regulations that give large incumbent banks advantages over smaller ones.
Kill Dodd-Frank’s Too-Big-to-Fail Designation. Dodd-Frank established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), made up of all the federal financial regulators, and gave it the authority to designate nonbank financial firms such as insurance companies as SIFIs. There are no known standards for designation, but the law says that the FSOC should designate those firms whose “material distress” could cause “instability” in the US financial system.
That is simply another way of saying that these firm are “too big to fail.” Thus, Robert Benmosche, then-chairman of AIG, said his firm’s SIFI designation was great news, thinking of it as a “seal of approval” from the government. The SIFI designation undoubtedly imposes costs on the regulated, but it also may act as a moat, protecting the big guys from competition.
If large companies begin to take this attitude, there will be many more designations. That would be fine with the government, which wants more power, and with the large financial companies that want the government’s seal of approval, but this would create in every financial industry — including insurance, securities, and asset management — the same problems the government has created in banking.
Large companies regulated by the Fed because they are considered too big to fail will get favorable treatment from creditors because these firms will be seen as protected by the government, warns Wallison. Competition in all these industries will suffer. Before the FSOC does further harm to competition, Congress should repeal its authority to designate large financial firms as SIFIs.
Kill the Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is the official export credit agency of the United States. It finances the exports of American companies through taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, among other means. It is the very definition of corporate welfare, argues AEI Resident Scholar Michael Strain. US taxpayers should not be on the hook so that large US companies have an easier time finding foreign customers for their products. The distortions Ex-Im creates raise costs for nonsubsidized businesses.
Congress could end these distortions and cronyism by winding down Ex-Im, Strain adds. Instead of a full reauthorization of the agency this year, Congress could pass a sunset bill for the agency, setting a date certain for the agency’s termination, prohibiting Ex-Im from offering new credits, and limiting the agency’s activity to management of deals already authorized. “If you oppose corporate welfare and crony capitalism,” Strain says, “you should welcome this outcome.”
Abolish the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a federal agency that subsidizes US companies with taxpayer-backed financing when they set up business overseas. It places taxpayers at risk and creates inefficiencies by steering capital toward politically favored activities. It is private profit built on public risk. Congress could wind down OPIC by barring all new deals and giving the Department of Commerce authority to administer all outstanding deals previously approved.
Repeal the Jones Act. A century-old shipping law known as the Jones Act is an outdated and harmful protectionist policy, argues AEI Scholar Mark Perry. The 1920 Jones Act requires that any shipment of goods from one US port to another be transported only on US-flagged vessels built in the US, owned by US citizens, and operated by a crew of US citizens. In other words, this is pure protectionism for the domestic shipping industry, which has not had to face any lower-cost foreign competition for almost 100 years. This drastically increases costs for American businesses and consumers.
Especially in a new era of energy abundance in America, the Jones Act is an unnecessary relic of the past, Perry argues. A change in policy that would allow foreign-flagged tankers to transport light sweet crude oil from Gulf of Mexico ports in Texas and Louisiana to East Coast refineries for one-third the current cost of Jones Act vessels would save millions of dollars in transportation expenses for US oil companies and would lower energy costs for American consumers.
The next logical step, Perry says, would be to lift the outdated ban on US crude oil exports and allow market forces to allocate America’s abundant energy resources.
End the Sugar Program. The US sugar program ensures consumers pay, on average, an additional $3 billion a year for the sugar they use. The benefit goes to a relatively small number of sugar beet and sugar cane producers.
Although the cost of the US sugar program to the average American household is only about $25 a year, the benefits to sugar processors and sugar beet and cane farmers is substantial. Through price supports and import restrictions, the US sugar program increases the prices of those beets by several dollars per ton.
The biggest victims of the program are businesses that use sugar. The food processing industry, for instance, has been severely hampered with respect to its competitiveness with processed food imports and in key export markets, with employment losses estimated in the tens of thousands of jobs.
Congress could end these distortions, argues AEI Visiting Scholar Vincent Smith, and save consumers money by winding down the sugar program over the next two years.
Reform or Abolish the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Every year, as the US Government Accountability Office has reported, a substantial number of wealthy farmers and land owners receive individual crop insurance premium subsidies in excess — and, in many cases, well in excess — of $100,000. The owners of some very large farms are given taxpayer-funded annual premium subsidies of more than $1 million.
Although large farmers benefit along with the financial institutions that issue the subsidized insurance, the federal crop insurance program is a disaster from a broader social-welfare perspective, argues Smith. Not only does the program transfer taxpayer funds to wealthy farmers and landowners, but it also encourages economic waste: for example, farmers who purchase the heavily subsidized crop insurance products use fewer inputs that reduce their risk of crop loss.
Moreover, partly because of provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill, the federal crop insurance program is anything but transparent with respect to who receives the subsidies and in what amounts. At the very least, Congress should enhance transparency in the crop insurance program, Smith argues. Ideally, Congress should stop subsidizing crop insurance altogether.
Many more policies could qualify as corporate welfare or crony capitalism. These are just a few that AEI scholars identified as particularly distorting, unneeded, or easy to remedy.
Fighting crony capitalism and corporate welfare today mostly involves repealing old policies. Going forward, the best way to avoid such special-interest favors is to apply a test of neutrality to future policies: Is Congress choosing one company, industry, or technology instead of leaving the choice to market actors?
Monday, November 17, 2014
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Mitch McConnell is the Shutdown Clown in the Establishment’s growing circus of Clowns—all performing under a “big tent.”
Merely one day after being elected to the Senate, McConnell relentlessly declared, and was dutifully recorded to say, “We’re not going to be shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt.” McConnell spoke these exact words in his very first news conference. The Leftists in the room recognized what was really occurring.
McConnell, made up as the “stupid” clown of the circus, was understood to have just stepped in a pail of horse droppings, and unable to extricate himself. When McConnell reiterated his hilarious dedication to unilateral surrender, “let me be perfectly clear…” the Leftists were hard-pressed to contain either their laughter or scorn. A few in the back of the media event giggled riotously, astonished faces reflecting McConnell’s astonishing proclamation.
“How can this guy stand up and say stuff like this?” the ABC reporter likely asked the reporter for MSNBC.
“I can’t imagine; it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone disarm themselves so utterly and boorishly too. Thank God he’s not one of ours!”
The reporters look at each other, laugh explosively again, and the ABC reporter declares, “and thank God he’s so stupid!”
McConnell Clown plays to an unseen audience, lapping the approval he senses from the darkness, while everyone else under the big tent laughs hysterically.
How else might we imagine it when the Majority Leader of the Senate declares, loudly, incessantly, from Day One, he intends to unilaterally deprive the Senate of any effective action on anything?
The McConnell Clown plays to an unseen audience, lapping the approval he senses from the darkness, while everyone else under the big tent laughs hysterically. McConnell’s reluctant subordinate clowns do not laugh. These are the sad clowns.
What data support McConnell’s unilateral disarmament? What data support McConnell’s castration of an entire political Party? On Day One? How is it that McConnell and Company (cronies, corporatists) seem dedicated to political suicide and rhetorical catastrophe? How is it that McConnell speaks from what appear to be the Left’s own talking points, couching his statements within the model of the opposition?
For example, how is it that McConnell’s top aides could allow him to say things like “we” won’t shut down the government? Why does McConnell play right into the polemical hands of the Left—and reliably? Seriously, how can his handlers allow this? How inane must these people be?
At first glance, the data suggest Republican Leadership should be wary of any outcome inviting government shutdown.
The Shutdown, and the whole panoply of legislation crowding about it, the “Continuing Resolution,” the “Sequester,” the “Fiscal Cliff, was found to cause a substantial drop in approval for the Republican Party, at the time holding a majority in the House. Remarkably, polls at the time showed that Americans blamed the Republicans more for the shutdown than Obama by a margin of 22 points (53 percent to 31 percent—NBC/WSJ poll, Fall, 2013). But, only a year later, in November, Republicans enjoyed a landslide election (lukewarm but even so), hardly evidence the electorate was troubled overmuch by the Shutdown. To thinking people, this would seem to affirm the strategy of hitting fast and hard politically, as early as possible, as far away as possible from the next election. Accordingly, the McConnell Clown should have bellowed, “We’re going to do our jobs and protect the American people, whether Obama decides to cause a Government Shutdown or not!”
It was not to be and likely will not be.
Instead we are treated to mumble-mouthed, gargling, gurgling, blathering idiots who fail not only to articulate Conservative principles but also fail to articulate any principles, or really to articulate at all.
The Republican Party’s leaders perform no better than matriculants of a clown school, McConnell chief among them. But to most of us they bring no mirth. Instead, they engender a despair born of surviving one Establishment Clown after another, since 1988, and with no relief in sight.
Send out the clowns.
Friday, November 14, 2014
President Barack Obama issued a memorandum Thursday protects federal contractors hired to address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa against lawsuits for importing Ebola into the United States.Presidential War Powers can be used to provide Humaniatrian Aid now? Who knew?
The president’s directive gives the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) the authority to indemnify companies from lawsuits related to “contracts performed in Africa in support of USAID's response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa where the contractor, its employees, or subcontractors will have significant exposure to Ebola.”
“This authority may be exercised solely for the purpose of holding harmless and indemnifying contractors with respect to claims, losses, or damage arising out of or resulting from exposure, in the course of performance of the contracts, to Ebola,” the memorandum explained.
CNSNews.com emailed USAID to ask if the president’s directive also protects these companies from claims made by a U.S. citizen who contracts Ebola from an employee who brings the disease back from West Africa after working under a government contract.
An unnamed spokesperson for the agency responded: “Yes. The indemnification applies only to the extent that the claim, loss, or damage arises out of or results from exposure to Ebola in the course of performance of a contract and exceeds applicable insurance coverage.”
In other words, if a Company A employee contracts Ebola while working in West Africa, brings the disease back to the United States, is not quarantined and ends up infecting members of the general public, Company A is protected from any damages arising from lawsuits by these secondary victims.
According to the USAID spokesperson, employees of these contracted companies "provide essential services, including medical and non-medical management of Ebola patients."
In his memorandum, Obama justified his actions by citing Public Law 85-804, which allows the president to give any federal agency or department connected to national security the authority to enter into, amend or modify contracts with private companies in order to “facilitate the national defense.”
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Cards Cast / Registered Voters/ %
19,980 / 42,560 / 46.95%
Anne Arundel County
171,694 / 349,313 / 49.15%
132,740 / 373,169 / 35.57%
254,696 / 521,130 / 48.87%
31,832 / 59,976 / 53.07%
9,001 / 18,533 / 48.57%
62,621 / 112,946 / 55.44%
26,152 / 61,990 / 42.19%
45,869 / 100,449 / 45.66%
10,062 / 20,466 / 49.16%
77,505 / 150,895 / 51.36%
8,922 / 19,292 / 46.25%
88,871 / 164,780 / 53.93%
101,948 / 195,440 / 52.16%
7,496 / 12,724 / 58.91%
246,978 / 634,659 / 38.92%
Prince George's County
207,131 / 544,677 / 38.03%
Queen Anne's County
18,912 / 33,173 / 57.01%
St. Mary's County
31,457 / 64,510 / 48.76%
6,372 / 12,999 / 49.02%
14,552 / 25,663 / 56.70%
37,519 / 90,097 / 41.64%
24,811 / 56,694 / 43.76%
18,254 / 35,699 / 51.13%
1,655,375 / 3,701,834 / 44.72%
General Membership Meeting
November 5, 2014
Meeting called to order at 7:03pm by President Ann Helton.
Pledge of Allegiance
A motion to approve minutes of the October 1 meeting was made by Joe Smith, seconded by Pam Dahmer. The motion was approved unanimously.
Treasurer’s Report (George Harrison)
Account: $8,084.49. There is no money in the PAC account, as it was spent during the campaign.
A motion to approve the Treasurer’s report was made by Wendy Sawyer, seconded by Bob Greene. The motion was approved unanimously.
Tom Myers mentioned that the Central Committee will meet on Tuesday, November 25th at the Southern Precinct of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in Edgewood.
The Main Street Dems will meet on Monday, November 10th at Bellissimos in Bel Air.
No report from the African-American Democratic Club.
No reports from Young Dems.
Recognition of 2014 Candidates
Cassandra Beverley, Board of Education, District B; Candidate for House of Delegates, District 34B
Art Kaff, Member and Candidate; Board of Education, District E
Bridget Kelly, Candidate for State Senate, District 35
Joe Smith, Candidate for Harford County Council, District F
Steve Trostle, Candidate for State’s Attorney
Manley Calhoun, Representative for Mary Ann Lisanti, Councilwoman and Delegate-Elect
Ina Taylor, Treasurer for the Campaign of Sheriff Jesse Bane.
For the program, Treasurer George Harrison gave the autopsy for the Democrats in the previous night’s election. The reason the Democrats were not successful this year in Harford County was that voter turnout was lower than it was in 2010. Mr. Harrison acknowledged that four major points led to a Hogan victory on Election night. His four points were (1) the failure of the Brown campaign to acknowledge the jurisdiction outside of Baltimore City and County, the DC Counties and Howard County, (2) Larry Hogan framed a message and told it over and over again, (3) Hogan kept hammering Brown with the so-called “failures” of the O’Malley administration, and (4) the Brown campaign had no presence in Harford County.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:17pm.
Thomas C. Myers, Secretary
Monday, November 10, 2014
During the 1997–1998 academic year, Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003–06 he was a key architect of Massachusetts' healthcare reform. In 2006 he became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare magazine. During the 2008 election he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama presidential campaigns. In 2009–10 he served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
Sunday, November 9, 2014
WASHINGTON — As most Republicans were taking a victory lap the morning after the elections, a group of conservatives huddled anxiously in a conference room not far from Capitol Hill and agreed that now is the time for confrontation, not compromise and conciliation.
Despite Republicans’ ascension to Senate control and an expanded House majority, many conservatives from the party’s activist wing fear that congressional leaders are already being too timid with President Obama.
They do not want to hear that government shutdowns are off the table or that repealing the Affordable Care Act is impossible — two things Republican leaders have said in recent days.
“If the new Republican leadership in the Senate is only talking about what they can’t do, that’s going to be very demoralizing,” said Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group that convenes a regular gathering called Groundswell. Any sense of triumph at its meeting last week was fleeting.
“I think the members of the leadership need to decide what they’re willing to shut down the government over,” Mr. Fitton said.
Establishment Republicans, who had vowed to thwart the Tea Party, succeeded in electing new lawmakers who are, for the most part, less rebellious. And when the new Congress convenes in January, the Republican leaders who will take the reins will be mainly in the mold of conservatives who have tried to keep the Tea Party in check.
But they have not crushed the movement’s spirit.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
On Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) showed disdain for conservatives who object to massive amnesty legislation that he wants a GOP-led Congress to enact. To Corker, those who oppose amnesty because they care about the rule of law, American workers, and sovereignty and secure borders are nothing but "demagogues."Fight Crime, Just Empty the Jails!
“I get really frustrated with people on my side of the aisle who say that anything you do on immigration is amnesty,” Corker reportedly said on Thursday. “I saw it play out in these congressional races, where people were actually trying to solve the problem, and the only word people used was amnesty.”
Corker, who was behind the sham amendment to give cover to Republicans voting for the Senate's massive "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill, said he hopes that "we don’t let demagogues prevail, and that we finally deal with this issue and put it behind us."
Corker took issue with opponents of the Senate's "Gang of Eight" bill who pointed out that giving a pathway to citizenship to all of the country's illegal immigrants amounted to "amnesty." Corker reportedly "stressed that under the bill it would have taken 15 years to go through the process of gaining legal status, and that it also would have denied federal benefits to anybody in the country illegally for 10 years."
“I don’t know, is that amnesty?” he scoffed. “Or is amnesty what we’re doing right now?”
Corker also reportedly said President Barack Obama has also "undermined any real attempt to solve this immigration issue because of what he’s done by executive order."
Friday, November 7, 2014
According to "multiple GOP sources," the National Journal reports, a new Republican proposal circulating in the House sets forth that "any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker -- that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during the closed-door leadership elections in November -- would be severely punished. Specially, sources say, any dissenters would be "stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress."
"Severely punished"? "Dissenters" will be "stripped"? This sounds less like a U.S. Congress than an old Soviet Politburo with a hint of gulag. Which means the fight isn't over. Victory at the polls can and will be stolen unless you tell your new Republican representative two things to get off to a good term: Stop amnesty and the GOP establishment both.
From the Harford County Democratic Central Committee:
The Democratic Party of Harford County is governed by the Harford County Democratic Central Committee, a panel made of five women and five men elected to a four-year term during the Gubernatorial Primary election. Central Committees serve several party functions, most notably efforts such as voter registration, candidate recruitment and support, and promotion of our candidates and elected officials and party platform.
There is currently a male vacancy on the committee. Any male resident of Harford County that is a registered Democrat age 18 or older is welcome to apply. To apply please send a resume to include any political experience and a letter of introduction by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to 2116 Glen Cove Road, Darlington, MD, 21034.
Applications must be received by Friday, November 21st. The vacancy will be filled at the November regular meeting of the Harford County Democratic Central Committee on Tuesday evening, November 25th, 7:00pm at the Sheriff’s Office Southern Precinct in Edgewood. Applicants are requested to attend the meeting if possible, and will be seated immediately upon appointment.
For further information or questions, please visit www.harforddemocrats.org, email email@example.com, or call 443-360-5322.
From Mary-Dulany James:
In the wake of election day, I want to thank everyone who came out to the polls and supported me yesterday, as well as everyone who has helped me along the way. It has been a long journey that started 16 years ago when I first became a member of the House of Delegates, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the citizens of Harford and Cecil Counties as long as I did.
I am proud of my tenure in Annapolis and my record as an independent voice that cared about families and small businesses. Regardless of party, when I disagreed with legislation, such as the raising of taxes or the failure to fully address mental health in the context of gun safety, I voted against it. As I have said all along, what matters most is a good education for our children and a strong economy to create good-paying jobs and solid careers. These are the issues that I fought for when I first joined the House of Delegates, and they are issues that are still important today. I am proud to have helped make Maryland’s schools the best in the nation, to have expanded the access and affordability of higher education by bringing Towson University to Harford Community College, and to have created an authority to make Maryland a hub for 21st century jobs and technology. I believe these accomplishments will have a positive impact on our community for years to come.
I also want to congratulate Bob Cassilly and wish him well as our next Senator. This election should serve as a wake up call to certain Democratic leaders from outside Harford County that they must stop trying take Maryland to the extreme left and furthering the divide between the parties. Maryland has a long history of being a middle temperament State where people from all over come together to make Maryland a better place. The post-election political landscape shows a palpable frustration with the prior administration’s lack of focus on the needs of the middle class and its shift from the centrist views and goals that for hundreds of years have made our State one of the greatest in the union.
As my father often said, political ideology and partisan politics are a hindrance to effective government, and the focus should be on a return to commonsense main street values and goals. This thought was something I brought with me to the House of Delegates, and I am honored to have served as your representative for the last 16 years. Say although I won’t be in Annapolis this term as your legislator, I have a deep connection to this area and plan to continue working within our local communities to help make Harford County a better place. Finally, I want to thank Councilman Dion Guthrie and Sheriff Jesse Bane for their years of service, honorably and effectively rendered, and congratulate Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, who is ready and capable to continue building on many of my initiatives and carry on our shared belief that helping families and small businesses is our top priority.
Although Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Shawn Quinn received just 1.4 percent of the vote Tuesday, it was enough to retain ballot access for the Maryland Libertarian Party in 2016.
The party became the first non-establishment party in the state since 1970 to retain a spot on the ballot for the next election.
According to Maryland election law, if a political party doesn't have at least 1 percent of the registered voters in the state at the end of the year, its top-of-the-ticket statewide candidate must receive at least 1 percent of the votes. Or it must collect 10,000 signatures from registered Maryland voters to become a recognized party again.
The last time a non-establishment gubernatorial candidate received at least 1 percent was in 1970, when American Party candidate Robert Merkle Woods, Sr., got 1.97 percent of the vote.
No minor party candidate secured a spot on the ballot for governor between 1970 and 2002, when Libertarian Spear Lancaster got on the ballot.
Brian Johnston, chair of the Maryland Libertarian Party, attributes Quinn's showing at the polls Tuesday to more Marylanders seeing flaws in the war on drugs, specifically marijuana. Quinn pledged, if elected, to sign into law a bill that would end the prohibition of marijuana in the state.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
The race for Maryland governor was not supposed to be this close.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown crushed his Democratic primary competitors and told supporters that the general election would be “a little bit of a molehill” in comparison. In a state with more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans, a poll in the spring showed Brown 18 points ahead among registered voters in a theoretical matchup with Larry Hogan, the eventual Republican nominee.
But Brown has struggled to combat Hogan’s relentless criticism of tax increases enacted by his boss, Gov. Martin O’Malley. While Hogan, an Anne Arundel County businessman, promises to boost Maryland’s anemic economy and bring new jobs to the state, Brown has been slow to offer a compelling vision of what he would do differently from O’Malley, whose approval rating has plummeted.
Hogan’s folksy manner and we-can-do-better message has resonated with some Democrats and independents, especially white men, and is stirring excitement among Republicans. As the polls grew tighter this fall, showing Brown with only a single-digit lead over Hogan, national groups pumped money into the race, and top political figures lent their support. The Cook Political Report on Friday declared the race a “toss up,” with Brown retaining a slight advantage, while Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Web site still shows Brown as the strong favorite.
If he wins, Brown will be Maryland’s first African American governor and only the third elected in the nation. His campaign is in the final days of a massive and expensive outreach operation, making a special effort to mobilize African American voters, a key Democratic voting bloc.
A Washington Post poll last month showed Brown had strong support in the black community, but he fell short compared with other Democrats in recent elections, including O’Malley in 2006 and President Obama. Many black voters talk worriedly about jobs and how their children will make ends meet. And with Obama twice elected, some say choosing a black governor seems somehow less urgent.
Still, Brown’s likelihood of winning, especially by a convincing margin, depends in large part on how many black voters go to the polls, said Thomas F. Schaller, a political science professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“It’s about as vital,” Schaller said, “as blood is to the circulatory system.”
In 2002, the only African American candidate for a statewide office in Maryland was a Republican — a fact that angered many black lawmakers, including Brown, at the time a state delegate from Prince George’s County.
“I think the Democratic Party is failing African Americans here,” he said.
Turnout for black voters fell that year, and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. — whose running mate, Michael Steele, is African American — became Maryland’s first Republican governor in more than 30 years.
It was a sobering moment for Maryland’s Democratic power brokers. Four years later, O’Malley picked Brown as his running mate.
The son of a Jamaican father and a Swiss mother, Brown told an interviewer after the 2006 election that “I wake up every morning and I look in the mirror, and I see an African American man whose life has been shaped in large part by race.”
But while he says both he and his parents encountered racism on Long Island, where he grew up, he declines to discuss it, saying those experiences are nothing special. He rarely brings up race on the campaign trail, if at all.
Still, Brown can’t escape the historic nature of this race in Maryland, which has a greater percentage of African American residents than any state outside the Deep South.
The Maryland Democratic Party blanketed black neighborhoods last month with hundreds of thousands of campaign pamphlets that recall some of the nation’s most painful civil rights battles and tell voters: “It’s our turn to take an important step in the journey.”
Each Sunday, Brown visits predominantly black churches. At Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington one week, the Rev. Grainger Browning Jr. listed things Brown has done for the community and reminded his congregation of the importance of voting.
“Our foremothers and forefathers died for that right,” Browning said. “Don’t spit on their graves.”
After the service, Brown stood at an exit and told churchgoer after churchgoer: “I need you.”
Hogan, too, is competing for African Americans votes, much more so than previous GOP nominees.
“Our ticket is pretty diverse,” Hogan said. “My running mate and his family are black. My wife and my three daughters are Asian. . . . People look at us and say, ‘This doesn’t look like a typical Republican campaign.’ ”
Hogan grew up in Prince George’s, where his father — a former congressman — served as county executive. He has made frequent campaign stops there, addressing a mostly black audience at Bowie State University and greeting commuters at the Branch Avenue Metro station.
Over Labor Day weekend, Hogan hosted a picnic in Baltimore. After eating hot dogs and playing cornhole, he walked past check-cashing places and boarded-up rowhouses and stopped to talk with workers at small businesses and residents sitting on front porches.
“The response we got was: ‘No one ever comes to visit us. We’ve never seen any politician here,’ ” Hogan said. “What I heard over and over from them was jobs and taxes. . . . Our same message that resonates in the suburbs and in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore was reaching these folks in the toughest part of inner-city Baltimore.”
Hogan has a television ad featuring K. Kandie Leach, an African American who says that until now, she has never voted for a Republican.
“Families are struggling right now, and I don’t feel that Brown can make the change,” Leach says. “What makes things crazy is when you keep voting in the same party and there is no change. Actually, they call it insanity.”
Sealing the deal
Hogan is at a major disadvantage compared with Brown in terms of money and party organization. He chose to participate in the state’s public financing system, which limited how much his campaign could spend. He has benefited, though, from an influx of spending by the Republican Governors Association and the Maryland Republican Party, and multiple visits by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is coming back to the state to rally voters Sunday night.
Brown has his own VIP list of all-star campaigners, starting with Obama, who came to Upper Marlboro two weeks ago. Several thousand people, nearly all of them African American, waited for hours to see the president. Most seemed much less enthusiastic about hearing from Brown.
Near the bottom of some bleachers sat Helene Johnson, 52, who is contemplating not voting this year. She is not happy about the casino that will open soon at National Harbor, a result of legislation passed under O’Malley’s watch. And, she said, she is not sure what Brown stands for.
“What exactly is his path?” said Johnson, an adjunct professor who lives in Fort Washington. “I just haven’t heard what he’s really behind.”
Del. Curtis S. Anderson, a Democrat from Baltimore and an African American who supports Brown, said he is surprised that Brown’s candidacy has not stirred more excitement.
“I thought it would take off at some point, and people would realize this is an important moment in Maryland history — but that hasn’t really happened,” Anderson said. “I don’t think the Brown campaign gave us enough of Brown before they went negative. A lot of us wanted to see more about why we should go out and vote, and less about why the other guy is not a good choice.”
Stella M. Rouse, a politics professor at the University of Maryland, said race was a much bigger factor in the 2006 election of Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, the only black governor now in office.
“The dynamics have changed a good bit,” Rouse said, noting that Patrick (D) began his tenure before Obama’s election. “We’re having an election in Maryland without race being this huge deal.”
At the Obama rally, retired school bus driver Daphne Bowie, 72, said she identifies with Brown. “It’s not color but a mixture of things. I think it’s an understanding of the struggle,” said Bowie, who was once the only woman of color on her bus lot.
When Bowie graduated from high school, she found a job. Her children did the same. But she said today’s graduates don’t fit in the labor market. “Somewhere, the ball was dropped,” she said. “We need someone who will get black people together and make them feel as though they are being listened to.”
On Thursday, Brown attended another rally in Prince George’s, this time with former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton. At the front of the line were two African American sisters from Randallstown.
“We had an African American president, and now Maryland’s going to have a chance to have an African American governor,” said Angela Manning, 51.
Her older sister, Sandra Manning, 55, added: “We will be able to look back and say that we were part of this.”
Down to the wire
Brown has built a complex and well-funded network of field staffers and volunteers tasked with finding voters and getting them to the polls. On Election Day alone, the campaign will have people scheduled for a total of 4,000 shifts of knocking on doors, making phone calls and ensuring that Democrats vote, said campaign manager Justin Schall.
The campaign is especially targeting “drop-off voters” — those who always vote for president but skip off-year elections.
Asked about the Cook rating on Saturday after a rally in Waldorf, Brown said he has felt an “increasing sense of enthusiasm around the fundamental message and the choice this election presents.”
“I’m confident,” he said. “I’m not complacent.”
With less money to spend, Republican turnout operations in Maryland have traditionally been less sophisticated. Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky said the campaign has “an army of volunteers” working phone banks through the campaign’s regional offices. But he said turnout efforts also include Hogan and running mate Boyd Rutherford meeting voters face to face, “encouraging our base and reaching out to, and doing a lot of listening in, communities that have been overlooked by Republicans and completely taken for granted by Democrats.”
On Saturday, Brown’s campaign dispatched 1,500 volunteers and staffers to make calls and leave fliers on the doors of registered Democrats who at least occasionally vote. O’Malley rallied some of them as they picked up materials and fueled up on doughnuts at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. He also gave his take on the latest polls and projections.
“My gut tells me it’s likely 2 or 3,” O’Malley said of the number of percentage points by which he thinks Brown will win. “Sometimes your gut becomes informed by being through these a few times.”
Later, as O’Malley stirred cream into a cup of coffee, he asked Dels. Craig J. Zucker and Eric G. Luedtke, Democrats who represent the area, what they were hearing on the ground.
“I’m a little nervous,” the governor said.
Scott Clement, Hamil R. Harris and Arelis R. Hernández contributed to this report.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Three years ago, five newly elected commissioners in Carroll County, Maryland set precedent by taking a bold stand against Agenda 21 in this dark blue state. They abolished the county “Office of Sustainability” and began extricating Agenda 21 planning concepts from the county master plan. They were also the first governmental organization to revoke membership in the U.N.’s International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) – the vehicle through which Agenda 21 is injected into local planning without our knowledge or consent. The commissioners’ leadership set an example that many local governments ultimately followed. In 2011, ICLEI boasted 600 U.S. local governments as members. Today there are 450, a decline of 25%. Nine states have now considered or enacted laws against Agenda 21. Once an obscure issue, it is now widely recognized for the Trojan Horse it is.
The board accomplished many firsts, some of which made national news. Following passage of Maryland’s unconstitutional gun laws, Commissioner Richard Rothschild proposed to make Carroll the first-ever Second Amendment sanctuary county. He reasoned that if Governor O’Malley could break both federal and state law to make Maryland an illegal alien sanctuary state, then Carroll County could take a constitutional action to protect the Second Amendment. Commissioner Robin Frazier argued early on for tax cuts and got them through. Frazier was also the commissioner who refused to stop invoking Jesus’s name in pre-session prayers, despite threats of arrest. Her story made national news and was featured on Fox’s Megyn Kelly Show. Carroll was one of many counties that benefited from the Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway, which affirmed the unfettered right to opening legislative meetings with prayer.
This is precisely the kind of leadership we need. But all was not as it seemed. Commissioners Rothschild and Frazier were the only voices on the five-member board who consistently favored spending restraint, cutting taxes, reducing government, supporting education choice, protecting property rights, and freedom. They were almost always the innovators. The power of their arguments often won the day despite the fact that Commissioner Haven Shoemaker and Board President Doug Howard soon revealed themselves to be RINOs. They would fight Rothschild and Frazier tooth and nail, but when public opinion went against them, as it frequently did, they took up the cause and claimed credit. The last commissioner, Dave Roush, was moderately conservative but usually took the least controversial vote.
Doug Howard, Secret Democrat?
In 2012, Howard started a group called “Carroll 2030,” a sweeping planning agenda for the county straight out of Agenda 21. It is Howard’s private group – his own idea – but frequently viewed as a county initiative, and inexplicably hosted on the government website. While their 2013 meetings are listed on the website, these were not open meetings, the public was not welcome to attend, and the participants were all handpicked by Doug Howard.
A belated statement of purpose, posted in August 2014, professes to invite the public to participate, but a December 2012 letter made clear that Howard had already accomplished the “visioning” before the “visioning” meetings even began (emphasis added):We will begin the [January] meeting by doing some visioning exercises in order to ensure that we are capturing ideas from the leadership team Commissioner Howard named to develop a vision for Carroll 2030.“Visioning” includes the following priorities: more public transportation, low-income “affordable” housing, “diversity,” high speed internet, public transportation, and public educational opportunities – all at little or no cost. And everyone will be paid a “fair” wage. Who could object? But who will pay for it all?
The plan implies open-ended spending and a heavy centralization of power. Carroll 2030 also hints at moving to an executive form of government. Howard likely envisions himself in the county executive slot. County, municipal, and state government employees, the superintendent of schools, and business and non-profit leaders have been working on Carroll 2030 behind closed doors for two years, with no input or authority from the rest of the board or everyday citizens.
This is a classic leftist tactic. Investing this much time and energy in an idea – any idea – gives that idea an irresistible momentum. County government has whole departments whose job it is to develop such plans. They are paid healthy full-time salaries to do so. Howard’s Carroll 2030 circumvents these legitimate processes entirely. By having a carefully constructed, ready-made plan, Carroll 2030 will be a fait accompli.
But that vote must await the November election. The current board would never approve it.
In 2013, Howard and Shoemaker began to act as though the county were theirs. Without notifying the board, they held town hall meetings in each district to discuss, primarily, the education budget, raising unfounded fears of school closings and putting out misleading information on education spending. They received accolades from the left-wing Baltimore Sun for doing this. When Frazier learned about these meetings, she wanted to participate, but they attempted to bar her and Rothschild from attending.
When they tried this tactic again in 2014, Frazier and Rothschild forced them to allow other commissioners to participate. The haughty press release announcing the next meeting stated that Howard and Shoemaker “are also willing to accommodate the commissioner representing the district in which the meeting will be held… to make a brief presentation if they would like.”
The 2014 election revealed the true agenda. Howard vigorously opposed the re-election of Rothschild and Frazier, siding with all four union-supported GOP primary candidates. Frazier’s opponent, Steve Wantz, is a Carroll 2030 participant. Wantz’s only endorsements are unions and the left-wing Carroll County Times, whereas Frazier was endorsed by many prominent conservative Marylanders, like Ellen Sauerbrey and Maryland’s lone GOP congressman, Andy Harris. Dennis Frazier, who beat Dave Roush, is an active Carroll County teacher and will have serious conflicts of interest if he becomes commissioner, as he must vote or recuse himself on education issues. But if he does this, he will be robbing his district’s citizens of equal representation. He is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Teachers’ unions used the school system to send out candidate endorsements. School Superintendent Stephen Guthrie – another Carroll 2030 participant – used the parental notification system to broadcast misleading information about the education budget. Guthrie is a lifelong Democrat who switched to vote GOP in this year’s primary. In an e-mail, the unions exhorted all Democrats to do the same thing:We are also encouraging registered Democrats to switch parties to vote in the primary for our County Commissioners. All of our recommended candidates are registered as Republicans. You can only vote for these candidates in the primary if you’re a registered Republican. Listed below is the link to change your party affiliation. After the primary you can switch back to the Democratic Party.The government union-backed Republicans are all compromised. Even the FOP-backed GOP candidate for sheriff, Jim DeWees, has problems. He ran Carroll County's Child Abuse and Sexual Assault team until reassigned under a cloud by the state’s attorney. Under DeWees’s leadership, overtime expenses went from an average of $2,300 per year to $30,000, with half going to one investigator; DeWees’ signature was often forged on overtime authorization forms; 71% of cases were turned in late; confessions were coerced from juvenile suspects; and the National Children’s Alliance refused to recertify the unit following multiple discrepancies. Then State’s Attorney Jerry F. Barnes took DeWees off the job, saying “there was nothing that was running correctly… I tried to rectify the problem [over 18 months], but it only got worse.”
With floods of money, much of which came from outside the county, all of the government union-backed Republicans won except Rothschild’s opponent. The Maryland State Teachers Association bragged about its victories on its website: “Educator-recommended Republican candidates also scored significant victories for local offices yesterday, including recommended candidates winning in four out of five Carroll County commissioner races (Steve Wantz, Richard Weaver, Dennis Frazier, and Doug Howard)…” These commissioners were heralded alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown and a host of union-backed democratic legislators.
Not surprisingly, Howard, Wantz, and the others are for increasing education spending, even though enrollments in Carroll County are declining and the Board of Education has enjoyed a surplus. They also favor new school construction. The sheriff would like to see Carroll replace the sheriff’s office with a police force. Wantz wants to abolish the volunteer fire department and erect a fully staffed professional one. After all, these are union men, bought and paid for.
Do these candidates really look like Republicans?
Wise Republicans are voting for the Democrat candidate for sheriff, Vince Pacelli, as the better option! Howard’s primary opponent, Cathey Allison, secured 40 percent of the vote, despite Howard’s clear advantages as a union-backed incumbent. Allison is now running a write-in campaign, as is Robin Frazier. Both felt duty-bound to at least try to prevent unions from taking over the county. Most voters seem unaware that this is happening.
Starting in 2012, Howard set the stage, agitating over the education budget and organizing his 2030 group. He has now aligned his power base for the coming four years by getting his union-backed friends elected.
Carroll County thought it was getting sorely needed new leadership four years ago. It turns out that they got a local community organizer instead. Obama would be proud
Carroll 2030 may not be illegal, but it is duplicitous at best. Before his election, Howard was executive director of Carroll Area Transit System (CATS). Records show that he remained as registered agent for CATS until 2012, a clear conflict of interest if he materially participated in the business.
In September of this year, Commissioner Howard, a Catholic with six children, announced he was separating from his wife and seeking divorce, according to his campaign website. In May, Howard hired Crystal Winebrenner, a former CATS employee, as “paraprofessional” to work for him 25 hours/week at $16/hour, with the contract set to terminate on November 30. This stirred quite some ill will, because Howard had earlier fired Commissioner Frazier’s “paraprofessional” in a secret meeting that neither she nor Commissioner Rothschild knew about. Candidate Howard had also pledged not to hire an assistant, but he immediately did so upon election. This was now number two.
Winebrenner was transferred to the Department of Citizen Services on August 1 and was terminated in September for undisclosed reasons. It was rumored she was in a relationship with Howard. Winebrenner accompanied Howard to the three-day Maryland Association of Counties August conference in Ocean City, and the pair raised eyebrows when they hit all the nightspots frequented by MACO participants. Winebrenner lives in Hanover, PA. In October, Howard opened a Facebook page announcing his new business in Hanover, “Start Up Hanover.” Coincidence?
It pains me to write about this, but as Ross Perot once famously said, “[i]f a man’s own wife cannot trust him, how can the American people?” Howard’s approach to leadership appears to be of the same dubious nature.