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The Gov. O’Malley playbook: thump your chest and ignore the rest

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Ponder for a moment, if you will: over the past two weeks, news reports have told us of Maryland state officials working hard to enroll people released from prison in the Affordable Care Act program; warned us that even though the state has retained its AAA bond rating, the ratings agencies are still worried about Maryland’s ability to meet its high pension liabilities as well as its dependence on federal spending; pointed out that Marylanders pay higher taxes on cell phones than folks in 38 other states (almost double the rate paid by Virginians); and informed us that the state’s lone nuclear power plant (Calvert Cliffs) is on a “Most at Risk” to be shut down early list (that wind farm was certainly right on time, huh?).
But wait, as any handy-dandy late-night infomercial tells us, there’s more: additional media dispatches revealed that government spending in Maryland grew 30.5-percent over a ten-year period beginning in 2001; disclosed that an audit of how the state spent $13 billion in federal funds revealed significant problems in the eligibility of those benefitting from entitlement programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund; and announced that two more guards at the state-run Baltimore jail were busted for drug-smuggling and assault – the latest parade-participants in a now almost five-month-old frog-march of misconduct cases.
Oh, and the state corrections secretary – Gary Maynard – whose administration slept through the many years and dozens of instances of corruption is still on the job.
But wait... we also received word that as the “Rain Tax” begins to take effect all across the Fee State, businesses, non-profit organizations and (gasp!) even homeowners are realizing what a huge burden this money grab is proving to be; we’ve also been alerted to evidence that shows at least one Baltimore City Public School – in our number one education system, I might add – where administrators allegedly falsified dozens of grades by rewarding failing students with passing marks; and our top-rated education system just introduced us to a new word – “misalignment” – that loosely translated means the new ‘Common Core’ curriculum has barely been implemented (if at all) and the test scores have already shown a downward spiral.
‘Common Core’, as you may be aware, is a federal education program not implemented by the federal government (state’s had to accept the D.C. bribe to qualify for more tax dollars which they will in turn incinerate in the great, bottomless cauldron known as public education) that will, among other things, help accelerate the gap between the poor and the well-to-do – a tactic Maryland already employs with aplomb and then pretends they have the number one schools in the nation.
And if you act right now… State Attorney General (and threatening-to-be gubernatorial candidate) Douglas Gansler will send to you – absolutely free – a copy of both his plan to make Maryland government more transparent (by creating another government position that drains the taxpayer) and the latest report from a State Integrity Investigation that gave the state an overall D- on its “Corruption Risk Report Card.”
No problem – we can just get a Baltimore City public school administrator to change the grade to a 90 or above.
The Corruption Risk Report Card (CRRC) grades states using 14 criteria, and Maryland’s overall score placed them 40th among the 50 members of the Union. As surprising as finding flies on a pig, the CRRC found that Maryland rated an “F” in the Public Access to information; an “F” in Executive Accountability; and “F” in State Pension Fund Management; and an “F” in Legislative Accountability.
Makes one wonder how this state managed to outpace the 10 corrupt cesspools that followed us.
And Gov. Martin O’Malley’s reaction to these 14-days chock-full of typical Maryland falderal?
Well, he hosted a barbecue celebrating the sixth annual “Buy Local Challenge” week; sent a fundraising letter on behalf of his Lt. Governor’s gubernatorial campaign (someone has to keep the same detrimental, business-killing, taxpayer-pounding policies alive for the next four years and Anthony Brown is certainly the person best suited to do so); and he hosted a “Climate Change Summit” to both up his wanna-be-presidential street cred and to use environmental extremism to once again rummage through the pockets of middle- and working-class Marylanders.
“We trust in the fierce urgency of now,” O’Malley gushed during his speech to scientists, environmental activists, business leaders and a couple polar bears that had lost their ice floats.
“This is not only about polar bears drowning,” O’Malley said, aggravating the furry members of his audience, “it’s also more locally about the 168 Marylanders we’ve lost in severe weather events over the past decade and a half.”
O’Malley’s plan – above and beyond the intent to pad his liberal resume – basically calls for Marylanders to reduce their energy consumption or face continually-rising utility bills.
His ‘ambitious’ effort calls for a 25-percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, cutting power plant emissions by 40-percent, doubling the state’s transit ridership by 2020, and eliminating 85-percent of waste by 2030.
Running a wet-vac-equipped boat around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor would snag about 10-percent of that waste number by the weekend.
Pointing to Maryland’s 3,200 miles of coastline, the governor trotted out nightmare scenarios that result in significant portions of the state serving as future barrier reefs – because nothing excites the doomsday predictors like an impending disaster, even if there is just as much science supporting no sea level rise as there are scientists claiming you’ll soon be able to purchase oceanfront property in West Virginia.
For those with short-term memories, or Maryland Democratic voters, as they’re more commonly known, we’ve been blinded by climate change smokescreen before.
In April 2007, Gov. O’Malley signed an Executive Order that established the Maryland
Commission on Climate Change (MCCC) and saddled the commission with a mandate to produce a Climate Action Plan (CAP).
MCCC partnered with the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) to develop recommendations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Maryland and to estimate the costs and benefits of their recommendations.
Subsequently, The Beacon Hill Institute – an organization that had previously reviewed the cost-benefit methodology employed by CCS in Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina - found three serious problems with the CCS cost-benefit analyses, among which were a failure to quantify benefits in a way that they can be meaningfully compared to costs; a misinterpretation of costs to be benefits; and estimates of costs that left out important factors, causing CCS to understate the true costs of its recommendations.
Simply, the Beacon Hill report concluded that, for policymakers, “the CAP report offers no worthwhile guidance and fails to quantify the monetary benefits of reduced GHG emissions rendering its cost savings estimates implausible if not downright unbelievable.”
Implausible and unbelievable, much like the claims O’Malley made that his new climate initiative will create thousands of jobs and pump billions into the state’s economy.
But the point here is not to argue the science behind global warming, climate change or whatever the activists and profit-seekers are calling it this week. Instead, it’s yet another opportunity to observe what this governor considers his priorities.
And as has been the case for the last few years, Gov. O’Malley is clearly more interested in elevating his national profile than he is in enriching the lives of those in his home state.
If Martin O’Malley truly wants to cut emissions and expand transit ridership all he need do is keep raising the state’s gas tax.
With all due respect, governor, your policies, taxes, fees, half-truths, disregard for real issues and infringement on your citizens’ natural rights are much more catastrophic and worrisome than any threat of floods, severe weather or even drowning polar bears.
Maryland’s poor and middle-class are already looking for the 'fierce urgency' of a life-line; where is the ambitious plan to save them?

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