Wednesday, March 20, 2013

JuiceBlender: Tea Partier Don Dwyer Considers Joining Dems, Gansler Attacks Iran, Cardin Staffs Up for AG, Tom Perez Rises

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Congressman John Delaney denies that his boss has reversed course on previous promises not to cut social security. Maryland Juice readers had pointed out that Delaney pledged not to cut social security while on the campaign trail, but that he is now seeking to raise the age for social security eligibility (along with other changes). Delaney's camp is arguing that he has always been publicly in favor of such alterations to social security.

It seems the confusion may be because Delaney doesn't consider changes like increasing the retirement age to be a "cut" to social security. Fair enough, I guess. But even taking this argument at face value, a visitor to Delaney's website would likely not catch this sort of nuance without also reading the fine print (aka additional newspaper coverage of his campaign statements). In any case, you can see Congressman John Delaney's response below:
SPOKESMAN FOR JOHN DELANEY: Saw your post. I would disagree with your characterization that Congressman Delaney is “reversing a campaign promise.” From the very beginning he’s been a strong supporter of Simpson-Bowles, which includes entitlement reforms and cost of living adjustments. This was literally in the very first stories about John as an official candidate (see John Fritze’s story in the Baltimore Sun, 1/4/12) and was discussed frequently during the primary and the general election. John’s specific support for entitlement reform, was covered in the Washington Post’s (3/10/12) primary endorsement as well, which was something we distributed widely during the campaign.

Congressman Delaney does not want to cut Social Security. Like President Obama and Leader Pelosi have also stated, as part of a grand bargain he does believe changing the cost of living adjustment should be on the table and the fact is changing the cost of living adjustment isn’t a cut, it remains a net increase. We’re in an environment with folks who want to privatize, voucherize, and truly cut our safety net. John is against this and he wants to make sure these programs can be sustained and that we can continue to make other needed investments in education, infrastructure, etc.

Below Maryland Juice highlights several brief tidbits that may be of interest to Free State politicos:

JUICE #1: TEA PARTY DELEGATE DON DWYER CONSIDERS SWITCHING TO DEMOCRATS - Eye on Annapolis is reporting on the astonishing news that Tea Party Delegate Don Dwyer is considering switching parties! The embattled Republican lawmaker is facing criminal charges due to his involvement in a drunk boating accident that injured children. Now it seems he is considering running for re-election as a Democrat (excerpt below):
EYE ON ANNAPOLIS: Conservative Republican Don Dwyer is considering switching parties in a move he has dubbed “Operation DINO–Democrats In Name Only.  Citing frustrations, Dwyer asked his Facebook audience if they would still support him and his conservative values if he switched parties.  The thought process was to upset the status-quo in the primary elections which tend to determine the make up of the General Assembly for Democrats....
Here is a screencap from Del. Don Dwyer's Facebook page confirming the news:

STRING OF PROBLEMS FACING MARYLAND REPUBLICANS - Dwyer's attempted rebirth as a Democrat is the latest sign that the Maryland Republican Party may be in severe turmoil. Earlier this month, the conservative bloggers at Red Maryland reported that MD GOP Party Chair Alex Mooney left the state to seek public office in West Virginia (excerpt below):
RED MARYLAND: Sources in West Virginia have confirmed to me that Alex Mooney, who until February 21st was the Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, has moved to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

He intends to run for Congress there in the 2nd district seat being vacated by Representative Shelley Moore Capito, who is running for the U.S. Senate...

TEA PARTY CALLS FOR A THIRD PARTY IN MARYLAND - A final piece of evidence that the Maryland GOP may be in serious trouble is that Tea Party members are now calling for a third party alternative to the Republican Party. Potomac Tea Party Report blogger Ann Corcoran drafted a call to action last month, titled, "It's time for a new political party, let's try it in Maryland." The Maryland Tea Party writer noted, "Democrat and Republican leaders are too busy wheeling and dealing in their crony capitalism cabal to care about us." Check out an excerpt from her post below:
POTOMAC TEA PARTY REPORT: It’s time for a new political party, let’s try it in Maryland. Come on!  What have we got to lose in this state! I can just hear the wailing and the gnashing of teeth out there from all of you who find the concept anathema.  But, our situation is dire, perhaps as dire as when the founders signed the Declaration of Independence....

...there is no hope for our situation short of a new political party that welcomes all those who no longer feel represented, who feel that the special interests joined with the political class in Washington and in state capitals (Annapolis!) do not have the best interests at heart of the country class person who is completely disrespected by most of our representatives in government.... Democrat and Republican leaders are too busy wheeling and dealing in their crony capitalism cabal to care about us.
Frankly, I’ve listened for the last four years about how the country class needs to take over the Republican Party from within and I don’t see it happening (admittedly I have no stomach for it myself!).   It’s time to try something else.  And, I don’t mind being the whipping boy for suggesting it because I have nothing to personally gain or lose by doing so. I don’t need to be popular. Scream and shout!  Hate me all you want—it’s time to give the Republican Party some “brutal image”—a revolution! .... Now!  Who would like to step up and lead us?

JUICE #2: ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG GANSLER CAMPAIGNS FOR 2014 GOVERNOR BY INVOKING IRANIAN THREAT - Maryland Juice recently stumbled upon a peculiar op. ed. by Attorney General Doug Gansler that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The 2014 Democratic Primary candidate appears to be campaigning for Maryland Governor by invoking threats from the Iranian government (excerpt below):
DOUG GANSLER (VIA WALL STREET JOURNAL): Despite partisan divides, Americans consistently unite to defend against threats to national security. Chief among those threats is Iran, which has ignored repeated international calls for peace and instead pursued its nuclear-weapons capability and sponsored terrorist plots against the United States and its allies.

At the federal level, the threat of a nuclear-armed state sponsor of terror has brought nearly every member of Congress together to take action. In 2010, by a vote of 408-8 in the House and 99-0 in the Senate, Congress passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which allows the U.S. to apply greater economic pressure on the Iranian regime. Cisada, as it is called, has been a powerful federal tool, but still more must be done....

As the lawyers for state pension funds and the defenders of state consumer pocketbooks, states' attorneys general should be doing all we can to protect state citizens from unnecessary financial risk. As the states' chief law-enforcement officers, we should be fighting lawlessness whenever it ensnares our states.

Coordinated state-level sanctions against Iran will disentangle state economies from Iran's harmful regime and increase pressure on companies to stop operating in Iran until its government changes its ways....

JUICE #3: DELEGATE JON CARDIN BEGINS STAFFING UP FOR 2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL RACE - Maryland Juice recently stumbled a job announcement from Delegate Jon Cardin indicating he is now staffing up for the 2014 Attorney General Race:
JON CARDIN JOB POSTING: Maryland State Delegate Jon Cardin Hiring Full-Time Campaign / Finance Staff Persons For 2014 Campaign For Attorney General of Maryland - Maryland and Washington DC

Responsibilities include:
  • Traveling and working directly with the Candidate
  • Organizing and coordinating events
  • Compiling and analyzing data, research
  • Developing and implementing strategic plans

Applicants for this position must:
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to write clearly and concisely
  • Be able to balance and prioritize multiple projects
  • Have proven organizational skills
  • Be personable and enjoy working with others
  • Be comfortable communicating on the telephone
  • Ideally, have database experience

JUICE #4: OBAMA APPOINTS FORMER MOCO COUNCILMEMBER TOM PEREZ TO SERVE AS LABOR SECRETARY // WATCH VIDEO - A few days ago, President Obama appointed Tom Perez to serve on his cabinet as Labor Secretary. Perez is a former Montgomery County Councilmember who later served as head of Maryland's Department of Labor. Below you can watch President Obama's announcement of his selection of Tom Perez:

JUICE #5: CONGRESSMAN JOHN DELANEY CHANGES POSITION ON SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS - Two Maryland Juice readers have pointed out that newly elected Congressman John Delaney appears to be reversing a campaign promise not to reduce funding for social security. During his 2012 campaign, Delaney stated he was opposed to any cuts to the program:
JOHN DELANEY 2012 - Social Security is a promise, and as your Congressman it’s one I intend to keep.  For more than 75 years, Social Security has remained one of our most important and successful government programs.  Today this program keeps more than 13 million Americans out of poverty. For countless more it makes a middle class retirement possible.  The last thing we need to do is cut a program that has been so successful.

We must preserve this crucial program for future generations without cutting benefits or making radical and irresponsible changes. In Congress, I will defend Social Security and fight any attempts to privatize it.

Only one year later, Congressman John Delaney appears to be going back on his promise to not cut social security. Earlier this month, Delaney wrote an op. ed. in The Huffington Post indicating he's now seeking to cut social security benefits for people like me (excerpt below):
JOHN DELANEY 2013 - In 2010, 13 percent of the population was over 65. By 2030, it will reach nearly 20 percent. This singular fact puts enormous pressure on the federal budget. Left alone, this trend will cause entitlement spending to consume 70 percent of our budget by 2024 and crowd out all of our other priorities. While we debate our fiscal trajectory for the next ten years, we should remember that years 11-20 are even more concerning; this problem gets materially worse after ten years, when entitlement costs increase dramatically....

As Democrats we need to step forward and lead on comprehensive reform of entitlement programs to make them sustainable and affordable across the long term and allow us to invest in our future.... The Simpson Bowles commission proposed specifics -- including raising the cap on taxable income for Social Security, adjustments to retirement age, additional revenue, and a revised cost of living adjustment methodology -- to accomplish this goal....

Regardless of where you fall on the social security debate, it is impossible to ignore that Delaney is now calling for cuts to social security. He calls this proposal "comprehensive reform" that is needed to make the program "sustainable," but either way, that's not what he promised on the campaign trail.

JUICE #6: FOOD SAFETY ADVOCATES CALL ON SENATOR MIKULSKI TO DROP MONSANTO CORPORATE WELFARE - Montgomery County food safety advocates have contacted Maryland Juice to complain about fast-moving legislation in the U.S. Senate that would provide corporate welfare for factory farms using genetically engineered crops. A Maryland Juice reader pointed us in the direction of an action alert from the Center for Food Safety calling on Senator Barbara Mikulski to reject legislative favors for Monsanto, a giant in the factory farming industry:
CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: Though wrapped in a “farmer-friendly” package, this corporate welfare earmark is simply a biotech industry ploy to continue to plant [genetically engineered] crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally....

This would negate any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of [genetically engineered] crops.... Call Senator Mikulski and demand that she pull this dangerous and unconstitutional rider! Call her office at (202) 224-4654 today!

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