Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Archive for the ‘Chesapeake Bay’ Category

Harris Has Let The Eastern Shore Down…Again!

We have all heard Rep. Andy Harris recite how much he cares about the people on the Eastern Shore.  Harris is from Baltimore County, but a large part of his Congressional District is on this side of “the Bridge.” (See http://harris.house.gov/)

Harris defeated Kratovil with support by Koch brothers and Club for Growth

Harris defeated Kratovil with support by Koch brothers and Club for Growth

With huge out-of-state support, by right-wing extremists, Harris was able to defeat Frank Kratovil and Wayne Gilchrest, representatives who lived and worked here on the Delmarva Peninsula, and who represented our best interests.  On the other hand, we now have a representative who is from Baltimore and contrary to his rhetoric, cares little for Eastern Shore people or the Bay.

You don’t need to take my word for it; let’s look at his record.  While in the Maryland State Senate, Harris had one of the worst environmental records, and his lack of interest in helping to save our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, was well-known.

His position hasn’t changed.  In fact, if Harris gets his way, instead of wind turbines off the shore of Ocean City, there will be oil rigs.

Oil Rig On Fire In Gulf. Is Ocean City Next?

Oil Rig On Fire In Gulf. Is Ocean City Next?

Yes, just as in the Gulf of Mexico, we will be creating an environmental disaster, just waiting to happen.  Can we imagine the devastation even a small spill would cause to the beaches and resort areas along Maryland and Delaware shores?  Such a catastrophe will make Hurricane Sandy seem like a non-event.

Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, which he referred to as an “historic storm”, what was Harris’ response to the record flooding and damages in Crisfield, Smith Island, Marion, Fairmount, Deal Island, Ocean Pines and Princess Anne? He, again, turned aside the interests of the Eastern Shore, and instead, voted “No” on the Sandy Relief bill. Even worse, he voted on a doomed bill that would provide $17 billion in aid, but only if it was offset by cuts elsewhere, something that had never been required in catastrophic emergencies like this. He knew it wouldn’t pass, but he and his Tea Party allies pointed to it, saying, “We tried!”

Farmers here on the Eastern Shore, also found out the truth about Harris, when he voted “No” on the extension of the Farm Bill (actually, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012), even though it had come out of the GOP-led Agriculture Committee.

Harris cons 1st Dist Farmers, while voting 'NO' on Farm Bill

Harris cons 1st Dist Farmers, while voting ‘NO’ on Farm Bill 

Harris cons Women while voting 'NO' on VAWA

Harris cons Women while voting ‘NO’ on VAWA

Women, too, were brushed aside by his “No” vote on the Violence Against Women Act. Even though VAWA has been proven beneficial and effective, reducing violence by 50% – 67%, since its passage in 1994. What was Harris’ excuse for his “No” vote?  He released statement said, the bill didn’t contain a “conscience provision” for “religious organizations that want to help prostitutes but don’t want to tell them about abortion.“  So, instead, he is content with 1,200 women killed and 2 million injured, in domestic violence, annually.  According to the CDC, 25% of all US women are subjects of some domestic abuse.

As I said, the record speaks for itself. Of course, I don’t have room to report all of Harris’ “No” votes, from education to jobs, Medicare to veteran benefits. Stay tuned, because I will be exposing Harris’ record from now until 2014, showing why he is no friend of the Eastern Shore or America.  We deserve better than a puppet to out-of-state puppet masters, interested more in profits than people.  Shouldn’t it be People Over Politics? That’s what I was taught, anyway!

 

Sad Day for the Eastern Shore!

It is a sad day for the Eastern Shore, to have a liar and a sham, like Andy Harris, be re-elected.  I was so hoping that this, my first post after the election, could call for a coming together of the “right” and “left.”  But, upon hearing Harris’ comments after his win, I am more committed than ever to replace him as our Representative.

Andy “Bizarro” Harris

He lives in a ‘bizarro’ world, claiming to have “reached out” to Democrats, when we know that he has voted against any proposals put forth by House Democrats or the White House.  His approach has even earned him the nickname, “Dr No”, because that has become his standard vote and position! And, according to his post-election comments, he will continue to live by his moniker and obstruct any progress in the House.

I am not whining about Harris’ win; the former Democratic candidate, Wendy Rosen, certainly didn’t help, by resigning a week after the deadline to remove her name from the ballot.  As such, Dr. John LaFerla could only run as the Democratic write-in candidate. I am just astonished by the failure of the commonsense Eastern Shore voter to see through the disguise and insincerity of Harris’ campaign. He is definitely a “RINO” (Representative In Name Only)!

When Harris holds himself out as a “great communicator”, saying that he is bringing both parties to the table, it just doesn’t fit with his history and performance, whether in the State Senate or in Congress.  In fact, Harris has been a major roadblock to both, the Maryland delegation and the House, where there have been multiple efforts by the Democratic leadership and the White House, to repair the economic mess perpetrated by the previous administration.

Harris lies when he talks about helping farmers, since he has voted against the Farm Bill, introduced by his own Party! Without its passage, our farmers will be hurt financially. He has voted against education, medicare, social security, job creation, health care and protecting our air and water, or the Chesapeake Bay.  In fact, only 4 bills were introduced (and passed) by Harris in his 2 years as Congressman. They dealt with reducing the tariffs on foreign-made men’s and women’s shoes! While millions of Americans were still unemployed and suffering, Andy embraced a foot fetish!

“Dr. No” – Doing nothing for the Eastern Shore!

Aside from the sound bites and clichés he has come to rely on, Harris cannot point to any real action on his part, to help our district or its residents.  He has failed to spur job creation, being more interested in expanding ‘fracking’ even though it has been shown to be destructive and dangerous, than he is in cooperating on solving our “Fiscal Cliff.”

He is a pawn of his corporate campaign contributors, mostly from out-of-state, and the sooner 1st district voters open their eyes, the sooner we will get a Representative who truly represents our interests. Until then, “Dr. No” will continue to be the obstructionist and do-nothing elected official, that he has been since his days in the Maryland Senate!

Andy’s Chestertown Farce

“Dr. No..no..no…no…no!” Not a leader…a puppet of Koch, Rove and the Tea Party extremists!

Harris’ replies to questions and his statements at the Town Hall Meeting, in Chestertown, last week, are so mind-boggling, that I don’t know where to start! Let me just cover a couple of plainly obvious flaws in his responses:

1) He supports Ryan’s Budget Proposal…this will mean that Medicare and Social Security will be cut and phased out. Ryan’s proposal wants private companies (banks and investment banks) to manage retirement funds…sure, let’s give the fox the rest of the keys to the chicken coop.

2) Harris lied about his and his cohorts’ obstruction of Congressional work. The fact is that this is the least productive Congress…EVER…by at least 40% over the next least productive one. All thanks to him and his obstructionist buddies.

3) Harris loves to name bills so that they sound good, but are really destructive. For instance, Harris voted for the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011″ – sounds pretty good – what it does is strip all authority and funding from the EPA and gives that authority to the States, who have, for the most part, shown a reluctance to regulate their own polluting industries. 42 years of fighting for a cleaner environment would have gone down the drain if the Senate & WH were held by the GOP. Luckily, the Senate refused to approve this bill.

4) Interesting that all of Harris’ charts and graphs provide no sources for where the figures come from, which I believe are the fantasy graphs made by him and his staff, without support from any reliable source.

5) Amazingly, Harris’ idea of important legislation was HB 4367, regarding ATM signage. Forget jobs, forget health care, forget education…we need to get those ATM signs fixed!! I think Andy has finally gone over the deep end!

6) Finally, his analysis of why he refuses to “compromise” is not only mind-boggling, but it shows his very limited understanding of the legislative process and how to work with others. Compromise is not a black/white issue…to use his example, instead of limiting yourself to a “I want North, you want South, therefore, no compromise”, he could say, “How about we go North for a while, then go South for a while?…or, let’s go North, then South, together!” This approach would demand an attempt at leadership, something Harris lacks…as well as compassion, which he seems to have left in the operating room.

It’s time for Andy to give up his government salary and go back to putting people to sleep…it seems that he’s very good at that!

Here is the link to the StarDem article: http://www.stardem.com/news/local_news/article_a51d3a20-d476-11e1-bbef-0019bb2963f4.html

The “New” (But Not Improved) Andy Harris

By Roger Burt, PhD

 
I had the great joy of attending another Andy Harris “Town Hall”, in Chestertown, the other day (dripping sarcasm here). He has changed his tactics from the previous one I attended in Easton. In a sense, he is now a kinder, gentler Andy because he says even less than he did before.
 
This program was dominated by him presenting charts about debt and deficit. In a low key fashion, the intent, obviously, to make the audience uncomfortable about their future.
 
His slides and accompanying graphs suggested considerable reason for concern, given his focus on debt. The graphs even displayed projections out to 2070. Oh, my! It is clear we are in trouble! (More dripping sarcasm).
 
But, there was just a teensy problem about the graphs and slides: Nowhere was the data attributed to anyone or any organization. The data could clearly have been made up and, I suspected, much of it probably was. If nothing else, there should be a question raised about the validity of projecting out to 2070.
 
At no time did he present any programs or solutions. We simply were supposed to be concerned and then, I guess, vote for him. Why I would want to do that was not apparent. There was no program or plan, no light at the end of the tunnel.
 
At one point, he proclaimed that we needed to have a serious discussion about the issues. It had a bizarre Rodney “Can’t-We-All-Just-Get-Along” King quality about it. Of course, since his Tea Party brethren do nothing but block legislative progress, it had a rather hollow ring to it. There is no discussion with these radicals. (ED. NOTE: According to studies by independent organizations, this is the least productive Congress….EVER! They beat, by 40%, the previously least-productive Congress.)
 
In short, it was a presentation that was terribly short on conclusions, forward-looking plans or programs, solutions or anything useful or illuminating. Fundamentally, it left us with his usual stance – “NO”. Only this time, he was not even edging into confrontation.
 
When it came time for questions, it was apparent that the environmentalists were at the ready. They have learned, and they had preambles ready, so they got to say something, rather than asking a question and yielding the floor to Harris, for his typical obfuscation and evasion. It was at this point that there was some heat generated from the interchange. In response to one question about the Clean Water Act, he challenged, “And how will YOU pay for it.” Nice touch. Once again, no program, no solution, just negativity and it is our problem, without guidance or leadership.
 
From this program, it seems likely that he is going to run a campaign that is mostly evasive, as if being an incumbent is enough to get him re-elected. He doesn’t have an impressive record to run on, especially since he has voted “no” on key jobs-creating and infrastructure legislation, among others. We will see how effective an evasive campaign can be, since it opens the door to being challenged; eventually, he will have to say something. 

Town Hall Tap Dancer, Extraordinnaire!

by Roger Burt, PhD

Yesterday Andy Harris held his “town halls” in Easton and Worcester. ‘Samo-samo.’  Remember, he schedules these meetings at inconvenient times for most people (this one was 2:30-3:30pm).  The Tidewater Inn in Easton experienced nothing new from Harris, or “Dr No”, as his opponents refer to him. He opened with a presentation consistent with the Tea Party wing of the Republican party line. Total yawn!

The liar, the spinner, the obstructionist…is now tap dancing his way out of the room!

 

There were about 60 people attending who represented at least four different groups. Of course, there were the head-bobbing faithful, but also Democrats, environmentalists and postal employees. So, it was not a universally-supportive group.

Those critical of Harris’ record did well in that they did not localize their seating, but were spaced around the room, which meant they could not easily be identified when he took questions. Richard Calkins, President of the Talbot Forum, got the first question, and was clearly prepared as he stood with his clipboard and had a significant preamble to his question.

Other questioners were from the environmentalist group and Democrats not happy with Harris’ obstructionist approach to doing business. In each instance, Harris succeeded in not answering the question. He always started with, “Before I get to this question, let me finish about what Ronald Reagan did…” Sure…and he never got back to the question.

One questioner, clearly from the Shore and among the Republican faithful, delighted Harris as he went on and on about how his Medicare premium was rounded up to the nearest dollar and how distressed he was about that. The faithful, and Harris, lapped it up. 

The tactics of Harris’ opponents were good, but did not prevent him from ducking the issues and responding with pure spin and outright lies. And, as we all know, he is a 1st-class liar and distorter of the truth.

What Harris opponents did not do was to respond to his exhortations with murmurs of discontent or laughter, which would have helped affect the climate in the room. There also were no demonstrators outside with signs, which would have made a public demonstration of disagreement and invited the press to provide some minimal coverage. Generally, locals know who is representing the StarDem (local paper) and they can be button-holed. There are other tactics that can be employed and there is an obvious need to make common cause with our various anti-Harris constituencies. Pre-planning and tactical coordination among the various groups would be useful. Harris follows the Koch Brothers playbook when it comes to these public forums and he is good at not being put on the difficult spot of not being able to tap dance his way out.  And, let’s face it…he is an Arthur Murray professional when it comes to tap dancing his way around issues and questions.

Harris – Not A Bay Lover

I grew up around the water. My Mom called me her “little fish” because I never wanted to stop swimming or playing in the sand. I eventually bought my first boat 15 years ago. I loved the Bay so much that I made a life-changing decision: Sell everything and live on a boat, year-round! Some thought I was nuts (well, maybe), but some thought it was a wonderful idea, confiding that they were jealous.

Our Bay continues to die, thanks to Harris' environmental opposition.

In mid-2003, I sold my house, big-screen TV, knick-knacks, furniture, drum set (my band opened up for Hootie & the Blowfish in the ‘90s) and gym equipment. I bought a 15-year-old 50-ft boat, with about 350 sq ft of living space, and started living a dream. I traveled from one end of the Bay to the other, including the small and not-so-small rivers and streams.

I lived aboard through hurricanes (Isabel ‘03) and snowstorms (’06), and enjoyed it so much that I pledged that I would stay aboard ‘til the day I died. ‘She’ was my home until 2008. Sadly, my arthritis was getting the best of me, but, on the bright side, I met a wonderful woman from Parsonsburg that I married in 2010. One door closes and another opens.

Why did I tell you this story? With happy memories living on the Bay, I also experienced the decline of the Bay. In 11 years, I saw the results of work by anti-Bay, Baltimore legislators, like Andy Harris. During his Senate tenure, I watched the Bay’s garbage and dumping increase; I saw the algae and muck accumulate along the Bay’s rivers and streams. I went from swimming in the Bay, to being afraid I’d step on a used syringe or other pharmaceutical trash.

 

I had some keys that fell overboard in 2008. I tried to ‘fish’ them out, but all I came up with was seaweed, held together by algae and sticky black muck, along with other trash. Needless to say, I never retrieved them.

"Dr Death" allows the environment to die!

 

 

Harris is a Baltimore-based politician; not a lover of our sick Bay, its suffering wildlife or its dying tributaries. How do I know that? During his years in the Senate, he had a pitiful environmental record. He hasn’t learned anything since then, still fighting those who care about, and love, the Bay. Now, his passion is for “fracking”, since visiting Pennsylvania. Does it matter that PA shut down their program because residents had flames spouting from water pipes and chemicals polluting their water and air? Crabs, anyone?

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