Sunday, March 31, 2013

Come Support Greg Kline at the Montgomery County GOP Candidates Forum This Thursday

Come out and support the Greg Kline for Maryland GOP Chairmancampaign this Thursday night in Kensington.

The Montgomery County Republican Party will be hosting a candidates forum for all candidates this Thursday, April 4th, from 6:30-8:30 pm. The forum will take place at Savannah's, 10700 Connecticut Avenue in Kensington.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit mcgop.com. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP to dwight@mocogop.org or katja.bullock@gmail.com to arrange for a parking pass.

Can't make the forum but want to ask a question of the candidates? You can still send in your question for consideration! Send your questions to questions@mdgop.com!


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Newtown and the Ever-increasing Audiences for the Myths of Mental Illness


 
--Richard E. Vatz

     “The December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. – and other recent high-profile attacks involving shooters with mental illnesses – have renewed public focus on mental health and started a national conversation about the role of school psychologists and social workers in students’ lives.  This year, several bills were introduced in Congress addressing a shortage of mental-health professionals in schools.”  T. Rees Shapiro, “Fairfax schoolpsychologists stretched thin,” The Washington Post, March 30, 2013

 

     If my friend Thomas Szasz, who died last year, were alive today and read about all of the references to “mental illnesses” and “mental health” as a way to lessen the number of mass killings, he would say, “Am I surprised?  No, of course not.  This is a way to pretend that evil does not motivate such atrocities and a way for politicians to act as if they have discovered a way to stop them.”

 

     As Dr. Szasz wrote tirelessly in scores of books and thousands of articles,, “mental illness” is a metaphor: its prolific usage is a verbal way to throw up our hands and bewail the fact that the human condition includes violence, and there will always be violent people, while claiming that there is a way to prevent the made-up “disease” that causes it.

 

     The Sandy Hook murderer, 20 year-old Adam Lanza, viewed killing as a contest, wherein he wanted to kill more people or commit a more memorable crime than Anders Breivik in Norway, who killed 77 people in a shooting and bomb attack in Norway two years ago, and/or Seung-Hui Cho, mass murderer at Virginia Tech.

     Throughout our society immediate calls for gun control and more expensive control of the “mentally ill” abounded and abound. 

     What is mental illness?  There are hundreds of categories of “mental disorders,” categories, incidentally, that do not include mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.  Perhaps due to guilt – how Freudian – the nation’s psychiatrists implicitly admit that mental problems are not products of mental illnesses, since, as Szasz always argued, the mind is not an organ.

 

      Anyone can be diagnosed with mental illness if he or she goes to the right psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. 

     Ah, yes, you say, but diagnoses of “severe mental illnesses” are different.  Indeed, they are, and they may include more anti-social or self-destructive behavior, but such diagnoses will not help society identify the relatively tiny number of people who will and who will not commit mass murderers.

     Ah, yes, you say, but schizophrenia is a real diagnosable disease and many mass murderers are schizophrenic.  Indeed the even tinier number of people labeled as “schizophrenia” may actually include some – but not all – people who have somatic brain disease, but you could research schizophrenia until the end of time and not be able to predict who would commit a mass murder, and, moreover, people like Adam Lanza would strike no one as schizophrenic until he committed the murderous acts he committed.

     Want to hold 1,000,000 in preventive detention?  You could do that, but even though you are violating our Constitutional rights, there is no reason to believe you could stop the periodic mass murderer.

     Newtown was horrible beyond words, and there may be some ways to lessen the likelihood and expanse of some atrocities, say, by increasing security at schools.  But you claim a pandemic of “mental illness” and frighten people out of their wits (Wit Absence Disorder), and it won’t provide you anything but an expensive way to try to control people’s behavior that simply won’t work to prevent mass murder.

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Professor Vatz has written on psychiatric persuasion for decades and is the author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion” (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013)


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Greg Kline's Response Regarding Maryland's Representative on the RNC Rules Committee

Read below Greg Kline's statement regarding the kerfuffle regarding Maryland's representative on the RNC  Rules Committee....


* * * * *

As you have seen with the release today from Interim State Party Chairman Diana Waterman, Louis Pope has formally replaced Nicolee Ambrose as Maryland's representative on the RNC Rules Committee. In Mrs. Waterman's own words, she notes that she chose to replace Ms. Ambrose with Mr. Pope on February 28th after Ms. Ambrose's letter of appointment had been received by the RNC on February 19th.
 
This decision and the subsequent explanation from Mrs. Waterman once again goes to show that the Interim Chair lacks the temperament to lead the party through the difficult challenges we face. It once again goes to show the extraordinary need for transformational leadership that works not to divide the party, but to bring the party together. And as my first act as Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, I will reappoint Nicolee Ambrose as Maryland's Representative on the RNC Rules Committee.
 
As chairman, I would bring a style of leadership that is more inclusive and more transparent to our state party and advocate for such leadership on the national level. As chairman, I would also view criticism as an opportunity to improve and to dialogue and not react to it as a personal attack.
 
I ask for your support to lead all of our party. 
 
Conservatively,
 
Gregory M. Kline


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Diana Waterman's Continuing Truthiness Problems


Interim MDGOP Chair, Diana Waterman released another misleading statement this afternoon regarding her to remove National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose from the RNC Standing Committee on Rules.

In an email to central committee members Waterman writes

I wanted to share an update on the situation I wrote to you about concerning the RNC Standing Rules Committee. While those who are issuing their criticisms may continue, the fact is, as confirmed by the RNC, that the committee membership was not considered set or seated until after the March 1st deadline and even beyond that deadline a state's RNC representatives may caucus and nominate a new member.  I am attaching an email issued today by the RNC that clearly states there was no procedural issue with Louis Pope's re-appointment.   We caucused Thursday by email to clarify the nomination of Louis Pope to remain on the Rules Committee.


What Waterman thinks is an acquittal is in fact an indictment.

The email she refers to, written by RNC Counsel John L. Ryder, states in part:

The RNC Counsel’s office has received conflicting letters with respect to the Maryland delegation’s appointment to the RNC Standing Committee. While we were first notified on February 19th that Nicolee Ambrose was designated as Maryland’s appointee, on February 28th, we were subsequently notified of the delegation’s rescission of her appointment and its appointing of Louis Pope to the committee.








Ryder’s email refutes Waterman's March 25th email to central committee members, in which she wrote "Nicolee was never on the Rules Committee so the discussion that somehow I removed her is incorrect."

Furthermore, there is nothing in Ryder’s email that affirms Waterman’s claim that Ambrose’s appointment was “not considered set or seated until after the March 1st deadline.”

Waterman’s claim that her replacement of Ambrose with Pope was procedurally correct is responding to an argument no one made.  In fact, it reinforces the fact that she removed Ambrose from the committee.

And it bears repeating that this was a conscientious decision by Waterman to follow through with Pope's controversial tenure on the RNC rules committee. Pope's participation in the rules changes at the Tampa Convention led to the alienation of a large faction of Republican activists, a problem Ambrose had pledged to fix.

By appointing Pope, Waterman sends a clear signal that she is either unaware of the ramifications of Pope's continuing participation on the Rules Committee, or that she simply does not care.

Either way, it was a ham handed political move that demonstrates her unsuitability as Chairman. At the very least, the MDGOP needs a Chairman who exhibits a modicum of political savvy.


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Red Maryland Radio 3-28-13

A special Red Maryland Radio with guest hosts Mark Newgent and Jackie Welfonder.



More on the race for MDGOP chair. Greg and Brian called in to discuss.
Barbra Mikulski, Monsanto and GMO crops.
O'Malley's gas tax took another step closer to passage.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vast Majority of Delegates Who Voted For Gas Tax Also Raided $868 Million From Transportation Trust Fund


Ninety-six percent of members of the Maryland House of Delegates, who voted for Governor Martin O’Malley’s 87 percent gas tax hike, also approved hundreds of millions in un-repaid Highway User Fund raids over the last several years.

An analysis of roll call votes (see spread sheet below) for the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) for 2009, 2010, and 2011 reveals that Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly removed $868 million in highway user revenues from the Transportation Trust Fund.  Keep in mind that during this period, Maryland received $771 million in federal stimulus funds for transportation infrastructure.  However, none of the money went to its intended purpose because of these raids.

The data shows that 76 percent of sitting delegates who voted yes on the gas tax increase also voted for all three fund raids totaling $868 million.  Eight delegates who voted for only one fund raid (2011) were not members of legislature for the other two raids.  Two delegates were excused from the 2009 vote, but voted for the other two raids totaling $564 million.  Three delegates, Nina Harper, Darren Swain, and Alonzo Washington were not members of the House of Delegates until this year.

During floor debate on the gas tax Del. Frank Turner, (D-Howard County) argued in favor of the bill citing poor road bridge maintenance in Maryland and collapses in other states.  However, Turner voted twice to shift $564 million in transportation revenue to the general fund.

The Senate is expected vote on the measure soon as the legislative session ends in less than two weeks. 

Analysis of the Senate BRFA roll call votes shows 79 percent of current Senators voted for at least one raid of highway user funds, and 67 percent voted for all three raids for the full $868 million.  Three senators voted for the 2009 and 2010 raids when they were members of the House of Delegates.  Two senators, Bill Ferguson and Ron Young, were not elected to the Senate until 2010. However both men voted to raid $187 million in Highway User Funds.

It appears that the only reason these Maryland legislators did not vote to raid the Transportation Trust Fund is because they weren’t present to cast a vote to do so. 

UPDATE
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee approved O'Malley's gas tax.
Nine senators voted for the tax. Ed Kasemeyer, Nathaniel McFadden, Ulysses Currie, Verna Jones-Rodwell, Nancy King, Richard Madaleno, Roger Manno, Doug Peters and James Robey.  All nine senators also voted to raid $868 million in transportation funds.

UPDATE II
Spreadsheet updated with roll call of final senate vote approving gas tax



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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Diana Waterman's Truthiness Problem


Yesterday Interim Chair of the Maryland Republican Party, Diana Waterman, sent an email to state central committee members responding to various stories questioning the logic of recent decisions she made regarding the postponement of a Pathfinders event, and the removal of Nicolee Ambrose from the RNC Standing Committee on Rules. 

Richard Cross, in a must read post addressed the Ferguson/Pathfinder issue and calls into question the veracity of Waterman’s claims.

Waterman appears to have a truthiness problem on the Ambrose issue as well.

Here is Waterman’s statement regarding Ambrose.

Over the weekend, there was some internet discussion concerning the Maryland representative on the RNC Standing Rules Committee. The three RNC members are supposed to caucus and choose which one of them will serve on the RNC Rules Committee. Both Louis and Nicolee requested to hold the Maryland seat on the Rules Committee.
 Before he resigned, Alex chose to sign Nicolee’s application for the Rules Committee (it takes two out of the three RNC members to make a majority on the form). He (Alex) told me he signed her form because Louis had the Northeast Chair position and she had nothing (on the RNC).  Alex also told me that as the form was not due until March 1st, according to what he was told by the RNC legal department, that we could submit a second form if I thought that Louis should remain on the committee. (Nicolee was never on the Rules Committee so the discussion that somehow I removed her is incorrect.) [emphasis mine] 
Louis has served on this committee for 8 years, he is the Senior member of our delegation, was re-elected with 83% of the vote last year, was re-elected unanimously (and unopposed) as the RNC Vice Chair of the Northeast Region, and is well-respected and well-known on the RNC – I did not see any reason to remove him from this committee as Maryland’s representative.
 I did reach out to Nicolee to talk with her but she did not get back to me before the March 1st deadline. I thought that Louis’ experience and relationships with other RNC members made him a better choice for this committee. I knew that this decision was not going to be popular with some people – obviously, the politically expedient choice would have been to do nothing. But I made the decision knowing the potential cost because I thought it was the right decision for the Party locally and nationally.
 I do believe Nicolee has a great future at the RNC and in our State and will enthusiastically support her for any other committee nationally and hope that she will take a lead role in our State and nationally, especially in the areas of grassroots organization, outreach, communications, and technology where she excels.

Except this letter and email response (hat tip Purple Elephant Politics) refutes her contention. 





The email trail we have clearly shows that the RNC acknowledged the signed FAX letter from Mooney and Ambrose placing her on the Rules Committee.  RNC legal counsel responded, “…we did receive the Fax and everything is in order.” 



Diana’s claim that Nicolee was  “never on the rules committee” is hogwash. 

This leaves us with the same question Richard Cross asked over the weekend.  

Was Louis Pope—whose only notable accomplishment was presiding over Michael Steele cronies burning through $600,000 of RNC donors’ money on a swanky ocean front mansion—the type of experienced leader she had in mind for serving on the Rules Committee?

Let's set aside the truthiness issue for a moment and stipulate for the sake of argument that everything she claims is true.  Waterman’s removal of Ambrose is still dispositive proof of the case against her continuing as chair of the party. 

If Waterman’s claims were true then there are only two possibilities at play here, both of which bespeak of a person unfit to lead a political party.

The first possibility is that she cannot see the political currents flowing both in Maryland and national Republican politics.  As Dan Bongino put it, there is a battle between the libertarian/conservative grassroots wing and the establishment moderates for the soul of the party.  The Ins vs. the Outs.  This battle hit a flashpoint at the RNC Convention in Tampa where the RNC adopted rules, supported by Pope, which greatly diminished the influence of grassroots activists, in favor of a more centralized system.  This system concentrated power with insiders and party mandarins.  Nicolee Ambrose, helped lead the fight to undo that wrong, and forced the RNC to revisit that decision at its upcoming spring meeting.   That Waterman could not foresee the political ramifications of alienating the grassroots by such a move is evidence enough that she lacks the ability to lead the party.  After all this wouldn’t be the first time Waterman insulted the party’s grassroots activists.

The other possibility is that she is more astute than the first scenario allows.  Waterman made the move anyway—despite the damage she had to have known it would cause—just to screw Ambrose, who defeated her close ally, former party chair Audrey Scott, in a hotly contested race for National Committeewoman last May.  See Red Maryland’s extensive files on Clan Scott here.

Clueless or devious? Take your pick. Either way, they are not qualities one wants in a party leader.


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Center Maryland: The O'Malley News Network

Over the years we've documented how Center Maryland, the site that bills its offerings as "News straight down the middle" is nothing more than a lobbying firm masquerading as a legitimate news outlet.  Center Maryland is a creature of Kearney O'Doherty Public Affairs, run by two cronies of Governor O'Malley, Steve Kearney and Damian O'Doherty.

Kearney O'Doherty Public Affairs does not disclose its clients so we have no way of knowing if this "news" site Center Maryland is shilling for a paid client.

Among other things, Marylanders can thank Kearney and O'Doherty for Maryland's speed camera scam, the billion dollar State Center boondoggle, and giant tax breaks for casino moguls, while taxes on working families went up.

In short they are the vampire squid of Maryland politics.  They feed off the sucking of ever more dollars  from the pockets of taxpayers to the maw of a rapacious state government and the Democratic special interests that control it.

And shortly you will be able to thank KO/Center Maryland for an 87 percent gas tax hike.  The House of Delegates passed O'Malley's gas tax last week.  The Senate takes up the measure this week.

Center Maryland's principals are leading the coalition and campaign for O'Malley's gas tax hike.


The group, known as Broad Stripes/Bright Stars, has helped pay for ads on the Web sites of both The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. And it has coordinated phone calls to lawmakers weighing a bill sponsored by O’Malley to boost funding for road and mass transit projects, according to organizers.
“We’re mobilizing primarily Democratic voters across this state,” said Steve Kearney, a former O’Malley communications director involved in the effort, who now heads a private public affairs firm. “Legislators need to know there’s support out there.”
O’Malley’s plan, which was tweaked this week by a House committee, relies heavily on a new sales tax on gasoline. It is projected to yield $3.4 billion over five years, including new borrowing.
The full House is scheduled to begin debate on the bill late Wednesday afternoon. The Senate is expected to consider the bill next week if it passes the House.
Martin G. Knott Jr., the chairman of Broad Stripes/Bright Stars, was a member of O’Malley’s transition team following his 2006 election. Since then, Knott, a businessman, has been appointed by O’Malley to a couple of state panels. Most recently, he was named chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board.
Knott said that Broad Stripes/Bright Stars was launched last year with the aim of helping support several issues that will move the state forward. Transportation is the first issue the group has tackled. Knott said members of the group are acting as private citizens.
A recent fundraising solicitation sent out by the group, obtained by The Post, says that “all monies will be directed into voter engagement about the once-in-a-generation opportunity to get Maryland moving again.”
Interested parties were directed to send checks to Martin Lauer Associates, the fundraising firm long used by O’Malley.

Of course, Center Maryland has its role to play in this charade.  Today, site that gives you "News straight down the middle," features a video with O'Doherty and lobbyist Lisa Harris-Jones interviewing Acting Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Leif Dormsjo. Dormsjo shilled for O'Malley's gas tax plan.

However, this "news site" did not disclose to viewers that it's founders are actively campaigning for the legislation being discussed.

For all intents and purposes Center Maryland is the O'Malley News Channel, run by the folks who get paid to help Democratic special interests raid your wallet.






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32 for $2.3 Billion

Change Maryland has updated it's list of taxes and fees enacted by Governor O'Malley's.

Since taking office O'Malley has implemented 32 tax and fee increases, removing $2.3 billion annually from the pockets of Marylanders.

"This will not be a slide in the Governor's power point presentations," said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. "We're finding yet again, it's time to pull the curtain back on this Administration.  Elected officials and bureaucrats don't want their tax, fee and toll increases to be public and understandable, so we did it for them in the interest of promoting fiscal responsibility and transparency." 

The Change Maryland analysis includes the  special session of 2007, in which O'Malley enacted the largest tax increase in Maryland history. In 2009 and 2010 O'Malley made Marylanders pay more to fish, hunt and drive a car, including implementing a crony capitalist speed camera system.

All told, O'Malley's the taxes and fees enacted in his first term removed a cumulative $3.6 billion from the state's economy, according to a Department of Legislative Services report (pp. 36-37). 


2011 saw O'Malley enact $90 million extra in fees to pay for using tunnels, bridges and toll roads.  


In 2012,  O'Malley taxed Marylanders raised additional levies to buy alcohol, obtain a birth certificate, a death certificate, a contractor's license, a license plate, to stay in a hospital and use indoor plumbing. In addition to that O'Malley found a way to tax the rain in the form of a storm water management fee, which will costing Marylanders over $300 million annually.


O'Malley wasn't done in yet 2012. In special session O'Malley assaulted Marylanders by  creating new tax brackets for those making just $100,000.  In a special session later that summer, O'Malley gave casino moguls a tax break as part of his plan to expand gambling.






Full Disclosure I assisted Change Maryland in preparation of this list.





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