The same old story

Proving once again that elections mean something, Delegate Mike McDermott pointed out the voting record of his upcoming opponent, Senator Jim Mathias. Mathias supported the state’s Capital Budget of $1.17 billion as well as a $300 million transfer from the General Fund, leading McDermott to predict a property tax increase to cover the difference.

McDermott went on to note:

There are many good projects in the Capital Budget but, quite frankly, voting for the Capital Budget is irresponsible with this state’s economy. Making your grandchildren pay for their parents’ playground is immoral. You’re using a credit card with your kid’s name on it.

(Mathias’s) vote goes to support extremist liberal groups like CASA de Maryland who receive funding for their illegal alien advocacy at the expense of Eastern Shore families struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. This must stop!

In 2010, Jim Mathias lost both Wicomico and Somerset counties to Republican Michael James, but prevailed by enough in Worcester County to win election by just 640 votes – in percentage terms, it was 1.4%. The bulk of that damage came from absentee and provisional votes, probably swayed by Jim’s insistence he was the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Okay, that may be a little over-the-top, but as I wrote at the time he sent out a lot of mailings insisting he was conservative. (I debunked them, too.)

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Michael James would have been a rock-ribbed conservative in the Maryland General Assembly, but I’m very sure Mike McDermott would be a far better steward of our tax dollars. After all, I have his voting record over 4 years in the House of Delegates to back that assertion up.

Yet Mathias has a number of built-in advantages which need to be overcome: he’s very personable and quite popular as a former Ocean City mayor, plus he has a boatload of campaign money available to spend – lots of it came from across the Bay, too. Starting in late summer I’m sure the good citizens of District 38 will get the full-color mailers telling us Jim’s fighting for us in Annapolis, even though his true voting record on this is spotty at best. Given the Democrats’ 35-12 advantage in the Senate, they can afford to have Jim side with the Republicans once in awhile.

But what if it begins to appear that the GOP may win several seats in the Maryland Senate? For many years, District 38 was ably represented by Lowell Stoltzfus, who decided to retire despite the fact he could have kept the seat for years to come because he was popular and his conservative voting record fit the district. The only reason Mathias even ran for the Senate was because Lowell decided to call it a career. I happen to think that, when the chips are down for Annapolis Democrats, Jim Mathias will be right there to save their bacon at the expense of the needs of his district. This budget vote stands as proof, and underscores the importance of bringing this seat back to the GOP column where it belongs.

To conclude, I found it apt to remind people of how I reported something Mike McDermott said four years ago:

(Mike) thought it was funny to hear liberals talk about conservative values. “Don’t tolerate that nonsense,” he said.

Because 641 too many in District 38 bought the line Jim Mathias handed them, we’ve tolerated nonsense the last four years. It’s time for that to stop.

Odds and ends number 62

While this is a Halloween day edition, hopefully you consider this a treat and Sandy hasn’t played any trick on my power which extends past today. (It didn’t.)

Did you know that the media has succeeded in demonizing the TEA Party to a point where it has the most negative connotation among political phrases? This according to Rasmussen, who claims a full 44% have been brainwashed into believing that being a TEA Party candidate is detrimental.

I take it as a badge of honor myself. Now if you’re considered liberal or moderate, that’s not good in my eyes.

Nor is this good – assuming it’s true, of course. I rarely take what this guy says at face value:

We’ve out-registered Republicans in every battleground state for the past THREE months.

Right now, we’ve got a total of more than 14,000,000 registered Democrats in battleground states like Florida and Nevada — that means we have a 2,400,000-person lead over Republicans where it matters the most.

And when it comes to voting early in battleground states, we’re in the lead in important states like Iowa and Ohio — and ahead in ballot requests in Nevada.

In Ohio, all public polling shows that the President has a double-digit lead among those who have voted. And nearly two-thirds of all voter registrations in the state in 2012 were in counties that President Obama won in 2008.

In Iowa, we lead in vote-by-mail ballots cast, in-person early voting, total voting, and total ballots requested. We also lead by a wider margin than we did at this point in 2008 in both ballots requested and cast. (All emphasis in original.)

Of course, that’s all subjective: registering voters doesn’t always translate to votes. This Politico story by Adrian Gray points out that Democrat turnout in Ohio’s early voting is down 220,000 compared to 2008 while the GOP is up 30,000. If that’s true, not all of these voters Obama is registering are going into his column. One could even speculate that Obama wants these early votes because people are changing their minds late and moving to Romney.

Meanwhile, one group is helpfully reminding non-citizens that for them, voting is illegal and could carry a severe penalty. Some will call it voter suppression and intimidation, but the law is the law. As Help Save Maryland notes:

While a few Maryland jurisdictions allow non-citizens to vote in their local elections, in general, non-citizens who vote in Maryland federal and state elections may be subject to fines, imprisonment and/or deportation.  Even registering to vote, or encouraging other non-citizens to register to vote, is a serious crime in Maryland, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

The problem has been made worse by Maryland’s past history of giving drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. And organizations, such as CASA de Maryland, which provide services to illegal aliens, have posted notices in Spanish outside their facilities about helping people register to vote.

Another reason English should be our official language.

Someone else who is working against the grain assessed his two opponents succinctly after a recent debate:

(In this radio debate) both Senator Cardin and Rob Sobhani reaffirmed their commitments to a ‘government first’ economic recovery plan. While Senator Cardin believes this can be accomplished through increased taxes and increased government spending, Mr. Sobhani continues to campaign disingenuously by attempting to sway Marylanders for their votes with pie in the sky campaign promises that the Washington Post is calling ‘half-baked’. This is what we have come to expect from typical Washington insiders.

I am the only candidate making an ironclad promise to the citizens of our great state not to raise your taxes and to get the government out of your way, allowing our economy to return to growth and prosperity.

And the message seems to be working for Dan Bongino, as he continues to outraise his opponents combined. It’s unfortunate that their local debate was a casualty of Hurricane Sandy because I wanted to ask Sobhani about the concept of privatizing profit while socializing risk – if he can get $5.5 billion in investment, why not do it now?

A message that press guru Jim Pettit (the spokesperson for Change Maryland) has gotten out to a wider audience was recently featured on National Review Online. He writes about the Genuine Progress Indicator that Martin O’Malley is trying to foist on Maryland in lieu of actual job creation and true economic advancement. I spoke about it more on this post.

It’s telling to me that as O’Malley’s national profile increases, so does the reach of Change Maryland and, by extension, Pettit and Larry Hogan. Being a thorn in O’Malley’s side is obviously a popular gig.

So hopefully you’re in the process of recovering from Sandy if it affected you. Sorry I had to put up some seriously scary items on Halloween, but we could face an even scarier future one week from now if the current regime remains in place.

Illegal alien Question 4 debated at Salisbury University

On Wednesday night, sliced in among the debate spin on the local news, you may have seen a few sound bites spliced out of the debate held by PACE at Salisbury University. The topic: in-state tuition for illegal aliens – and yes, “illegal aliens” is the correct legal term.

Moderator Fran Kane of PACE was flanked by four participants, two taking the side for Question 4 and two against. Both sides had a Delegate and an expert, with the pro-Question 4 side featuring Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez of Montgomery County and Kim Propeack of illegal alien advocates CASA de Maryland. The pair against Question 4 were Delegate Pat McDonough of Baltimore County and Bob Dane of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

McDonough drew the opening statement for his side, making the case the debate is about another dream: the American dream. While Pat stated he was “firmly and vigorously pro-immigration,” he stated the case based on two principles: the rule of law and economic justice. Regarding the latter, “you will hear a lot of emotional and compassionate arguments” in favor of the law, but warned “you cannot govern a great nation on emotionalism.”

Bob Dane explained the purpose of FAIR, making the brash statement that “we don’t give a damn about business and their addiction to cheap immigrant labor.” The question before us, though, was one of whether to respect the rule of law or bend it to allow lawbreaking. “Being an illegal alien in Maryland is a pretty good proposition,” said Dane.

Speaking for the pro-illegal side, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez called the ballot language (which was projected on a screen beside the participants) a “wonderful summary,” claiming “there’s a lot of misinformation out there.” The bill is similar to one vetoed by then-Governor Ehrlich in 2003, Gutierrez continued, and the law applies to those here “through no fault of their own” who graduated from a Maryland high school and enrolled in community college. Moreover, those taking advantage had to have parents who filed their taxes (she started to say “paid” but caught herself) and promised to apply for permanent residency afterward.

Propeack added that the out-of-state tuition was three times the expense, which had to be paid entirely out of pocket because illegals were ineligible for aid. “We can talk about the rule of law,” Propeack countered, “but this law is broken.” Kim went on to emphasize the “diversity of support” the law had; everyone from CASA de Maryland (a “worker justice organization,” as she described it) to the unions which supported the Maryland DREAM Act “without exception.” Even 25 high schools around the state filled with what Kim referred to as “DREAMers” were supporting the ballot issue as well as a row seated within the audience.

At this point, the questions solicited from the audience were asked. It was a little muddled because Kane chose to combine a lot of specific questions into ones which were more broad.

The first question was actually covered in an opening statement, as it asked about financial aid. Gutierrez repeated that illegals weren’t eligible for aid, while Propeack added that those in Guatemala don’t have an in-state option like a Maryland college.

On the other hand, McDonough posited that the discount, which adds up to about $40,000 per student, “doesn’t come out of thin air.” The illegals displaced American students, and if 1,000 students took advantage it would cost the state $40 million per year.

This actually segued well with the next question about economic impact, where Dane asserted if we pass the DREAM Act, it’s only a matter of time before we end up in the same boat as California. It’s an “incentive for more illegal immigration,” Dane said.

Delegate Gutierrez countered that “education is our best investment” and that these students would have an opportunity to become professionals. The illegal population pays $52 million in taxes annually, added Propeack.

When asked about the Obama amnesty, Gutierrez called it an “incredible benefit.” 1.7 million can take advantage of the executive order, with 30,000 of those in Maryland. But there was no legal obligation to become a citizen, countered Dane. Instead, the DREAM Act excuses parents from their responsibility and “one amnesty benefit fuels another round of illegal immigration,” said the FAIR representative.

McDonough also remarked on the subject, reminding the audience that there was no pathway to citizenship yet established for these students.

Propeack responded by saying the impact in California, a state where the DREAM Act is already in effect, has been “very, very small.”

“This is not an immigration bill, it is an education bill,” she added.

In that same vein, answering the next question, Kim asserted that the community colleges could accommodate the students; in fact, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges is the bill’s “strongest supporter.”

Yet Dane claimed that 10 years of illegal immigration in Maryland had seen $32 billion sent away to the various homelands claimed by these workers. And with 30,000 potential students affected by the bill, Dane called it a “falsity that (community colleges) are open enrollment schools.” If they are underfunded it affects access. Moreover, “there has to be a higher principle,” said Bob.

Someone asked why it was important to be a citizen. McDonough said “the most important thing to an American is citizenship.” His fellow Delegate Gutierrez made the more emotional appeal – an immigrant herself, she told us “I would not be here as a citizen under the current laws…now we’ve closed the door.” Propeack made the statement that the law had “nothing to do with status, but the value of education.”

Finally, they were asked whether the state law would violate federal law. Propeack said the issue has been litigated and doesn’t violate federal law. But Dane disagreed, calling the Obama executive order “illegitimate, unconstitutional, and a breach of the separation of powers…the most corrupt use of a social policy.” We allow more immigration than any other country, Dane added. McDonough restated his belief that America needs to reform our immigration policy.

There was a question I had regarding how the veterans were added to the bill. Pat McDonough said that portion was actually introduced as a standalone bill, with the measure then “filled with feelgood stuff that doesn’t really matter.” That’s what I figured.

Each participant made a closing statement.

“The law will win or lose, depending on how you vote,” said Bob Dane. “The glue that holds us together…is the law.” Bob went on to say that “Maryland is heading in the wrong direction,” and concluded “the DREAM Act is an amnesty benefit…parents should not be absolved of lawbreaking.”

“You can’t be like the President and circumvent the law,” said Delegate McDonough. “There are a lot of emotional arguments…you must look at the facts” and not the “Pinocchio language” of the bill. “This is not a Disneyland for illegal aliens,” said Pat.

Delegate Gutierrez repeated her claim that “this bill does not violate any laws.” It showed the pendulum was swinging away from a “strong anti-immigrant climate.” Fairness and tolerance was “intrinsic” in the bill, said Gutierrez.

In her final remarks, Propeack quoted the president of the University of Maryland who stated “the American dream belongs to all of us, or none of us.”

The participants posed for a picture afterward. No, we did not have President Obama.

As predicted by McDonough, the side in favor of Question 4 mainly stuck to an emotional appeal, forgetting that these students will cost taxpayers real money the state doesn’t have. It’s true that we need to reform immigration laws, but this is not the direction immigration law should do as it rewards lawbreakers while putting those who did things the correct way at a disadvantage.

I thought this table of literature for support was interesting as well.

I tried to get a photo of the red bumper stickers up close, but my attempts wouldn’t come out. The reason these were fascinating was the authority line, telling me the stickers were paid for out of Delegate Gutierrez’s campaign funds.

Of course, the next question which will be considered at Salisbury University also depends greatly on emotional appeal for passage.

That forum promises to bring a full house, one likely filled with every local LGBT activist that can show up.

The Maryland Model (part one)

Over the holidays I did a little bit of light reading, and while I was doing so it occurred to me that the General Assembly session is sneaking up on us rather quickly. In 2011 that session set the scene for what turned out to be one of our side’s rare successes in Maryland, the petition drive to bring the in-state tuition law for illegal aliens to referendum later this year. It appears that will be on the ballot since CASA de Maryland and other pro-illegal groups are dropping the challenge to the petition signatures and narrowing their focus to whether the referendum itself is legal while simultaneously fundraising to sustain the law at the ballot box.

That fundraising: $10 million. What that means: carpet-bombing the media with images of poor, purportedly law-abiding and successful immigrant families being denied a chance at the American Dream due to racist TEA Partiers who hate all those who look different than they do. Don’t believe me? Just watch.

And this nicely leads me into my main points of this post, which will be the first of a multipart series on what I’m calling the Maryland Model. You see, part of my reading over the holidays was this RedState article on what is called the Colorado Model, which led me to read the original post on this strategy from the Weekly Standard back in 2008. Read those articles (I’ll wait for you) then take a look at how the CASA de Maryland folks are fighting the will of the people here in the Free State.

While they have seven pieces to the puzzle in the RedState article, I’ve consolidated these to what I can call the 4 M’s: money, message, media, and mobilization.

Continue reading “The Maryland Model (part one)”

Petition drive hits six figures

Thanks to a number of hard-working and concerned Marylanders, the petition drive to overturn SB167 and deny illegal immigrants in-state tuition crossed the 100,000 signature barrier yesterday. With over 60,000 turned in by the initial May 31 deadline and around 47,000 ruled valid, bill supporters like CASA de Maryland, the ACLU, and other advocates for illegal immigrants will likely need a court ruling or some travesty of justice to prevent the referendum from occurring in November, 2012.

Maryland taxpayers already earned a one-month reprieve from the bill because the referendum had a chance of being held based on signatures already collected.

Still, there’s a long way to go in defeating this ill-considered bill. Look for a protracted court battle over the prefilled forms (which could eventually enable many more laws to go to referendum if a challenge to this method is denied) and sometime next year I’m sure we’ll get the push polling to make it appear public sentiment is against the bill. It’s most likely that supporters of overturning the bill at the ballot box will be outspent many times over by proponents during next year’s campaign season, and the fight will bring national interest.

This may be more than a sidebar to next year’s Presidential election, and liberals don’t like it when their authority is challenged. They tend to forget the people are supposed to have the power, not the government.

Odds and ends number 31

Once again I have a lot of little items that deserve a little bit of comment, so here goes.

Delegate Pat McDonough is at it again. The 2012 Congressional candidate has prefiled a bill called the Toll Fairness Act. It has three goals:

  • Declare a moratorium on all toll increases.
  • Mandate a General Assembly vote and Governor’s signature on all toll increases, for accountability.
  • Prohibit transfers to non-transportation accounts. Delegate McDonough claims almost $800 million has been “stolen” from transportation accounts over the last eight years.

While it’s doubtful such a bill will muster the votes to get out of the Democratic-controlled committee it will be assigned to, the fact that we have this measure prefiled shows that people can be good and angry about the situation. We will see on July 14, when a hearing on the toll increases will be held in Ocean City.

Speaking of the peoples’ voice, the petition drive to overturn SB167 through referendum may well be successful. But CASA de Maryland was granted a request to make copies of the petitions; a move Delegate Michael Smigiel of the Upper Shore found shocking.

Delegate Smigiel made a point which I wanted to amplify. It’s bad enough that a group who’s dead-set against the referendum will be allowed to take possession of these petitions, if only for a brief time. Luckily the potential for mischief is lessened since that cat was let out of the bag.

But I think back to the controversy over Proposition 8 in California (to overturn same-sex marriage) and what happened to those who contributed to that effort financially – a number of them were harassed by pro-gay marriage supporters, with threats to both boycott their businesses and harm them physically. Could pro-illegal groups and supporters use the petition information to do the same in Maryland? They’re playing for keeps; unfortunately for them a goodly number of people about these parts are armed and don’t much like harassment. Hopefully the folks at the ACLU and CASA de Maryland will keep this in mind.

Meanwhile, those who support the petition and wish to make sure the count is done fairly aren’t allowed into the process. A Board of Elections worth its salt would tell the state to go pound sand on that (since it’s simply a policy memorandum and not law.)

And that’s not all from the state of Maryland. Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum discusses the new “green” graduation requirement. There’s no time for teaching critical thinking or even the three R’s, but they have time to push that “smart growth” bullshit on our kids? Since the requirement appears to be only in public schools (for now) I guess I don’t have to deprogram my girlfriend’s daughter – yet – since she attends a private school.

I also learned a new word regarding this new environmentalism. In a press release from the Competitive Enterprise Institute announcing the formation of the Resourceful Earth website, a quote from Myron Ebell, the Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment, caught my eye. Said Ebell, “unfortunately, many major corporations are being greenmailed into supporting these assaults on jobs and prosperity.” ‘Greenmailed,’ indeed. Do you think oil companies really want to spend millions to deal with environmental groups advocating for polar bears or caribou rather than job creation and maintaining our lifestyle? They probably add a nickel per gallon to the price.

Still, pump prices have been on the decline of late. That fact makes the timing of the decision to draw 30 million barrels down from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve very curious. Granted, there will still be nearly 700 million barrels remaining in our coffers, but there was no emergency situation to merit the release. Strife in Libya is no worse than unrest in Nigeria, another major oil-producing nation, back in 2009.

Reaction has been severe from some quarters, and seems to be the correct perception of the situation. Americans for Limited Government, for example, claims savings will be meager and short-lived:

If one is generous and assumes yesterday’s $4 drop was solely because of Obama and International Energy Agency, at best it will save consumers $.10 a gallon for gasoline.  That works out to about $1.50 per fill up, or $6 for the month the additional gasoline is available.

In other words, Obama has jeopardized national security by drawing down the strategic reserves to, at best, save consumers about $1.50 per fill up when this ‘flood’ of new gasoline hits the market.  To call this irresponsible would be an understatement.

And the real experts at the American Petroleum Institute were equally underwhelmed:

The release makes little sense for American markets. Crude and gasoline inventories are above average, and crude and gasoline prices have been trending down for weeks, despite the loss of Libyan oil, which markets have already adjusted to. The SPR was intended to be used for supply emergencies. There is no supply emergency. We don’t know what impacts this might have on markets long term. But we could and should be taking steps that would increase our own production by 2 million barrels a day or more for decades, which is possible if the government would grant much greater access to America’s ample oil and natural gas reserves. This would do vastly more to help consumers, increase energy security, create jobs and deliver more revenue to our government. It’s action that would truly strengthen our energy future, not a temporary gesture that has no lasting benefits.

30 million barrels is about what our nation consumes in a day-and-a-half. 60 million barrels (the total IEA release) is well under what the world consumes in a day.

Here’s the problem I see with this release. We have a President who doesn’t mind $4 per gallon gasoline, as long as the increase is relatively steady. He also has backtracked from allowing additional oil exploration thanks to a rare but ill-timed drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you assume the oil which was placed in the SPR was purchased at a relatively low market price, well, we have to make that up sometime. And if you believe their line about supplies tightening up thanks to a civil war in Libya it would be my guess that oil will be more expensive. We just added 60 million barrels to future worldwide demand, and that will likely drive prices up a little bit.

In short, this is a shell game (no pun intended) to make people believe we’re doing something about a problem better solved with more oil extraction. For example, approving one pipeline would eventually make up for about half of what the world normally gets from Libya on a daily basis. Needless to say, I don’t buy the ‘peak oil’ theory. (Thanks to Jane Van Ryan of API for the pipeline info.)

And one final item. Over the last few weeks I had a PSA for the Move America Forward Troopathon which was broadcast over the internet last Thursday. They now have their tally in and were pleased to report they raised $507,843 from their efforts – exceeding their $500,000 goal.

It wasn’t as much as previous Troopathons raised, but then again we have fewer troops in that theater. Considering that being pro-military isn’t as much in vogue as it used to be I think that total is pretty good and reflects a nation that remains in a giving mood for our men in uniform.

Wow, that did a nice job of cleaning out my e-mail box. Look for more interesting stuff to come.