Beyond Tea-Party Somnambulism!

Posts tagged ‘environment’

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!

 

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. 

Harris’ Legacy

Everyone leaves a legacy. When you die, you’re remembered for how you tried to make a better world for your children and grandchildren. In the case of Congressman Andy Harris, his legacy will be one of “lies, misleading distortions and half-truths”, resulting in a less safe & healthy world, for women, children and the chronically ill.

Proud of his legacy!

The Republican playbook in 2012 includes taking credit for other people’s work. Romney has taken “a lot of credit” for the auto industry recovery. “Bogus” is the nicest word I can muster on that claim.  Not to be outdone, Harris sent a Press Release last Friday, claiming credit for keeping the USPS from closing facilities or offices.  Can anyone tell me what Harris did?  Anyone familiar with this issue, including 100s of postal workers on the Eastern Shore, know it was Sens. Mikulski and Cardin that led the fight.  Mikulski even sent letters to Harris, seeking his support to save these jobs, without even a response! Chalk one up for “lies.”

Polls show how most women feel about the lack of Republican support on issues from health insurance to equal pay for equal work. Harris and his extremist cohorts have failed to support women’s issues.  Of course, it should be different when it comes to violence against women, right?  Wrong! Last month, Harris and the right-wing radicals refused to extend the Violence Against Women Act, which has reduced domestic violence by 58% since 1994.  Last week, Harris, in an attempt to fool women everywhere, voted for a gutted version. The purpose was to muddy the waters, and by confusing people, to appear to care about women. What is it about the treatment of women in the 1800s that is so appealing to Harris?  Here’s one for the “misleading distortions” column.

Now, for ”Half-truths.” Truth: Harris talks big on “making America energy independent.”  But the “lie” asks: Why do we sell America’s oil and natural gas abroad?  Why hasn’t Harris ever supported research into alternative energy sources that could reduce costs of traditional energy?  Why is he so intent on supporting “fracking?”  The answers all involve PROFIT and CONTRIBUTORS.  Harris’ CONTRIBUTORS want bigger PROFITS! “Fracking” is being suspended by other

Andy “Dr. No” Harris is willing to sacrifice the health of our children and grandchildren, for the temporary profits of his corporate supporters.

countries and across the US, because of health, pollution and earthquake dangers.  Will it create jobs here on the Eastern Shore?  No.  But, Harris gets lots of money from the Koch brothers and other out-of-state supporters in the oil industry.  Harris has even voted to take away all powers of the EPA to control “greenhouse gas emissions” which affect our health and the environment. Pollution of the 1900s, here we come…again!

These are just a few issues that affect Harris’ legacy. Ask yourself: Is this a legacy I would be proud to leave my children and grandchildren? I sure wouldn’t.

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?

Andy Harris: Part of the Problem

I wrote last week about the need to replace Andy Harris in Congress. Today, I’m going to share some of the reasons why he needs to be a one-term representative.

Harris - Ideologue and Executioner

You may not agree with me on every issue, but we must all agree that Congress has been a big problem the past two years, failing to solve any of the nation’s real issues, with JOBS being number one. I think it’s commendable that there are representatives that believe in principles; however, when principles dictate ‘no negotiation or compromise’, they become words only, without achievement or inspiration.  Our country can’t afford such ideological luxuries.

We hear Republicans, like Gingrich, moan about more people being on Food Stamps; it’s true, but the reason is not that President Obama wants more people to receive them, it’s because more people are unemployed, a direct result of the financial meltdown that exploded in 2007, during the Bush administration. Lack of regulations, a free rein by the government, and unethical conduct on Wall Street, caused the pain and suffering on Main Street. People are crying out for jobs, while our biggest, most profitable corporations sit on trillions in unused cash. The gridlock in Washington has caused a gridlock in growth and expansion of the economy.

Our Bay continues to die, thanks to Harris' anti-environmental protection ideology

My high school history teacher taught us, “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem!”  Andy Harris has been dismally poor in helping to find solutions. Whenever there has been an opportunity to create jobs, without gimmicks, he was opposed. He is even carrying over his poor environmental record from the MD Senate, where he opposed preserving the Chesapeake Bay, open spaces, wildlife refuges, solar grants, renewable electricity standards, emissions standards for power plants and cars, improved fuel economy standards, and improved energy efficiency standards. In fact, Harris has a score of just 9% for his environmental record. Are you filtering your air and water? If Andy Harris is re-elected, you may want to start!

In his own defense, Harris will point to his introduction, last year, of legislation to study “algae bloom” in the Chesapeake Bay. Too little, too late…and totally useless. Scientists already know what causes algae bloom; what we need is immediate action to stop it, not further expensive government studies. Why is it that boondoggle studies and wastes of taxpayer funds are OK when they are offered by Republican right-wing ideologues, but are lambasted when proposed by Democrats?  Can we say “Hypocrisy?”

Harris’ record on Social Security and Medicare is just as abysmal as his environmental record. He has  voted to cut benefits and medical services to those that can

Goodbye to Long-Term Care - "Dr. Death"

least afford it: our elderly and disabled. He recently voted to end long-term care services to the chronically ill and disabled; talk about a “death panel” – this, from a man trained in medicine! Perhaps, it explains why he became an anesthesiologist and not a family physician: he loves knocking people out!

Harris has had many an opportunity to show leadership and concern for his constituency; he has repeatedly failed, miserably, and needs to return to the operating room. In the coming months, I will share more of Harris’ record with you, showing that he cares little for what the people of the Eastern Shore think, unless it coincides with his ideology. Big corporate sponsors pull Harris’ strings, but it is the people of the 1st District who deserve to be the puppet-masters!

Obama Made The Right Decision!

The Republican attack on the President regarding the loss of jobs with the rejection of the KeystoneXL pipeline, was nothing short of hypocritical. Their ‘spin’ doesn’t include the fact that more jobs will probably be created if the pipeline was approved; what they don’t say is that those jobs will most likely be in the field of “oil recovery and clean up” after the pipeline has it’s first accident that destroys water supplies in the pipeline area.  Are those the kind of jobs we really want to create? Is that the kind of environmental damage we want to turn a blind eye to?  Apparently, the Republicans are more driven by oil company executives than they are for the safety of America, including our future generations. Wasn’t it the Republicans who wanted to protect future generations from inheriting the budget deficit? Why are they willing to sacrifice those generations for immediate profits? I think we all know the answer to that question!

President  Made the Right Decision

The President made a reasoned and reasonable decision when he instructed the State Department to deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This project  has the high potential to endanger the environment, and the impact on the public health needed a thorough review.  However, Congressional Republicans demanded a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision within sixty (60) days (an untenable deadline).

Time is needed to determine the consequences of the proposed 1700-mile pipeline, which would run through one of the Midwest’s major sources of drinking water.  A thorough safety review is necessary before giving the go-ahead to this project.

Natural resources must be developed in a responsible fashion.  To that end, the President has taken steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, including:

* Importing 1.1 million fewer barrels of oil daily

* Increasing wind and solar power by 70 percent

* Supporting over 200,000 clean energy jobs

In addition, fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks have been raised, in order to decrease our use of oil for transportation.

Decisions such as this, which have long-term consequences for the environment and for our and our children’s health, cannot be made arbitrarily and without adequate study beforehand.

Carol Ann Ellis

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