Comey Testimony – no smoking gun
If you haven't seen, heard, or read enough about former FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the US Senate, here are a few more clips!
Takeaways: 1. There's still no evidence to support Russia collusion. 2. @POTUS isn't under investigation. 3. Comey leaks (some) memos, which should be illegal if it's not.
Martin O'Malley admits to gerrymandering under oath
We all know it is true. Maryland's congressional (and state) redistricting maps are notoriously partisan. How else could a state go from 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans in 2001 to 7 Democrats and 1 Republican congressional representative without slicing and dicing numbers to get the maximum Democrat representation? Oh yes, and don't forget that Marylanders elected a Republican governor in 2014.
"That was my hope," O'Malley told attorneys according to the Sun. "It was also my intent to create... a district where the people would be more likely to elect a Democrat than a Republican." Gov. O'Malley was talking about the Roscoe Bartlett district in Western Maryland, but this also applied to all the districts they drew. (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-redistricting-case-20170601-story.html) Gov. O'Malley and other Democrat leaders in Annapolis have been deposed in a lawsuit making it's way through the courts regarding Maryland's congressional redistricting.
The other Democrat leaders in Annapolis are keeping quiet about the map and denying partisan motivations. However, according to court documents, Maryland Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Steny Hoyer of Southern Maryland, hired Washington-based NCEC Services Inc. to craft the map. There was no bi-partisanship involved in this effort, other than the use of non-partisan taxpayer money used to pay for this effort.
This court case is working its way through the system. It is conceivable that the Maryland congressional districts will be re-drawn for the 2018 mid-term elections. This would certainly make next year's elections even more exciting!
The Paris Climate Agreement
There is so much hyperbole about President Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. The USA is a world leader in environmentalism and the leading nation worldwide in reducing carbon dioxide emissions year after year. We are, as a nation and as a people, committed to improving our environment.
I decided to read the Paris Agreement for myself, as well as research the financial arm of this Accord, the Green Climate Fund.
The Paris Climate Accord is housed within the United Nations. The agreement is only 25 pages long. It includes this language about eradicating global poverty, which surprised me because I thought it was about climate change. And also there is language about who pays for climate change, eradicating poverty, and climate change education.
Preamble - Emphasizing the intrinsic relationship that climate change actions, responses and impacts have with equitable access to sustainable development and eradication of poverty,
Article 2 (objective is to address climate change and eradicate poverty)
1. This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:
Article 9 (USA pays $$$)
1. Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.
Article 12 (climate change education – driven from the UN)
Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.
The funding apparatus for the Paris Agreement is called the Green Climate Fund. It is also housed in the UN and was established in 2010.
In October of last year, Nature magazine criticized the Green Climate Fund sharply, citing a lack of accountability and transparency. After the Paris Agreement, $10.2 billion had been pledged but a year later they had only approved $168 million for 8 climate projects. After President Obama contributed $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, they increased their staff by 150%, going from 56 to 140 positions. I'm not sure how that is improving climate, but it's certainly working on "eradicating poverty" by giving almost 100 people a good paying job.
The salaries of the board and staff, as well as the general overhead for the Green Climate Fund are excessive. The Executive Director's salary is not transparent or available. The GCF administrative budget increased from $35.3 million in 2016 to $46.6 million in 2017, a 29% increase. They spent $300K to recruit the current Executive Director – but they do not post the ED's salary. The GCF's administrative budget can be found here: https://www.greenclimate.fund/documents/20182/490910/GCF_B.15_21_Rev.01_-_Administrative_Budget_of_the_Green_Climate_Fund_for_2017.pdf/a81747f5-e383-4ba9-b232-417482798098
President Obama pledged $3 billion and paid $1 billion of US tax dollars to the Paris Agreement via the Green Climate Fund. Russia, China, and India have pledged nothing and have paid nothing to the GCF as of June 2, 2017. Of the worldwide total of $10 billion pledged, the USA was carrying almost 1/3 of that at $3 billion. President Trump correctly described the GCF as "a massive redistribution of US wealth to other countries."
You can read the short list of contributors here.
Of the 193 countries that have signed on to the Agreement, the list of contributors is very short.
According to the agreement, China and India will be allowed to continue to expand carbon emissions and estimate they will reach peak emissions by 2030, and then they will work on reductions. Both countries are reducing the number of coal-fired power plants they are adding, but it's only a decrease in the increase of coal power plants built. President Trump rightly points out, "The agreement doesn't eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States and ships them to foreign countries."
I would much rather see the United States put $2 billion into building our infrastructure or paying down our $20 trillion debt. It is unconscionable to send $2 billion US tax dollars to the United Nations managed Green Climate Fund while we have so many needs right here in our own country. The US will continue to be a world leader in environmental policies. It's time to focus tax dollars on our own poverty and needs and also lead by example with environmental policies.
It's still NOT funny
Kathy Griffin, the comedian who crafted a well planned out disturbing video with a bloody decapitated head of President Donald Trump, issued a second apology last week. However, it was not really an apology, it was yet another attack on President Donald Trump and his family. Somehow, Kathy Griffin thinks she is the victim of bullying!
The telling evidence is the video posted on the making of the abhorrent video wherein she is seen high-fiving the producer. She even says, "We have to go to Mexico today, because we are going to prison, federal prison [for this] …"
It is clear she knew exactly what she was doing and was willing to face the consequences. Yet, when the whole country, including the usual Trump-hating media, turned against her actions, Kathy Griffin tearfully accused President Trump and his grown children of ruining her life. WOW!!!
How can you get involved?
Friends and supporters always ask how they can help get common sense ideas across in Annapolis. Follow Governor Hogan and me on Facebook and Twitter – as well as others who represent you and your ideas – share our posts and share our emails!
God bless you and your family!