Is That The Way It Is?

If you add together the various elements contained in the article, “Rightward shift, jabs may cost GOP field,” 2-14-16 you get the sum of big time moral bankruptcy in the Republican Party. The bitter verbal fights and feuds that took place in the Saturday night Republican debate and the comments made on the Sunday shows give cause for pause – whose interests are being served, theirs or we the people? When you see and hear so many of the Republican candidates engaged in such vociferous, angry attacks hurling vicious comments at one another, is it time to ask, do any of these candidates make for the kind of leader who should be at the helm of our country?
What compounds the issue is the fact that the Democratic Party isn’t any better!

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Campaign Finance Reform – A Big Joke

Campaign finance reform – a big joke
“Money is pouring in despite new law,” 2-14-16, unmistakably illustrates the ineffectiveness of Maryland’s campaign finance laws. When you read about the tactics used by people such as developer Armando Cignarale and associates contributing money to the Catherine Pugh campaign, or David Cordish and associates giving money to Elizabeth Embry’s campaign, you see how the folks with big bucks easily circumvent the law.

Without a doubt, campaign finance reform in Maryland is a big joke and for this, we can thank the General Assembly along with the governors – all of whom pretend to be in support of campaign finance reform, but knowingly pass laws containing all kinds of loopholes. It’s just another example of corruption in the legislative and executive branches of government.

This outrageous pouring of money into elections should be a wake up call for people to come on board with the one and only solution and that is – ethical politicians who will, point blank, say no to any kind of campaign contributions because they are all disguised bribes.

Public Financing – A Rotten System

The article, “O’Malley gets public cash before closing down,” 2-7-16, depicts just how rotten the public financing system is. This method should be abolished. Wouldn’t it have been more meaningful if the $946,365 which Martin O’Malley received in public funds had been used for medical research or food banks rather than allotted to a phony career politician?

I’ve said it time and time again. We do not need any more laws for campaign finances. What we need is to elect ethical politicians who are willing to say no to disguised bribes, better known as campaign contributions, period. Until this becomes the standard, we will continue to see career politicians such as Martin O’Malley engage in conning, ripping off, and lying to their constituents. The result of these shenanigans? For one thing, Mr. O’Malley winds up with several hundred thousand dollars in his account. For another, we have a “screwed up” state and country!

Media Power

The article, “Absent Trump a present to foes,” 1-29-16, points out a poignant statement from former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania who objected to the media coverage. “What Iowans deserve is to hear from every candidate on equal footing.” Just look at the course of the election because the media has not done what Rick Santorum called for.

What has made Mr. Trump so successful is the so-called fair and balanced coverage the FOX TV News network has afforded him. From the moment Mr. Trump announced his candidacy during the 2015 summer, a marriage of convenience between Donald Trump and the FOX TV News Channel took place. The shrewd and clever self-promoter adept at conning people has attracted more viewers to the FOX network while Mr. Trump is able to reach more viewers with his message. This marriage serves the self-interest of both parties. For FOX, more viewers means charging sponsors more money for their advertisements. For Donald Trump, more viewers means potential more supporters. However, this marriage of convenience has seen some rocky roads.

The events that transpired between Donald Trump and the FOX News channel prior to January 28th, last Thursday’s Republican debate illustrated a lot of political chicanery that is typical of the moral bankruptcy in the media with the citizens being the victims. The public heard Mr. Trump state he would be a no-show at the debate because of the unfairness shown to him by one of the moderators from FOX. The public also heard the FOX network assert it would not sacrifice its principles in order to placate Mr. Trump. But what the public did not hear was the behind-the-scenes “wheelin and dealin” that took place between Mr. Trump and FOX TV News right up to the start of the debate. The moderator, Megyn Kelly, showed on the air, after the debate, the two scripts they had – one if Mr. Trump did show up and one if he did not. Both Mr. Trump and FOX News TV were attempting to “con” the viewers with regard to their sincerity in upholding their integrity.

Here’s one thing you can be sure of. Should FOX be successful in promoting Donald Trump to the point that he is the nominee of the Republican Party, you can be certain that the mainstream media will do everything they can in destroying Donald Trump while protecting and promoting the interests of the Democratic nominee.

And once again, the voters get the shaft by not having a fair opportunity to hear the positions of all the other candidates on key issues that will affect our country’s future.

 

The Game of Power vs. Greed

The article, “Power brokers pour money into Baltimore mayoral race,” 1-22-16 should evoke a reaction of disgust. This piece of writing presents a very telling picture of two groups of people using whatever means they want in their mission to achieve power, money, and fame. On the one hand, we have the entrenched power hungry career politicians or want-to-be politicians who want to maintain or gain power. And then there are the citizens with big bucks who want more bigger bucks engaged in the act of buying influence and using the politicians or would-be-politicians for their own greedy desires.

In this political game of power vs. greed who are the real losers? The answer should be obvious – the citizens of Baltimore City who are struggling to survive and “make ends meet.”

I believe the comments of Herb Smith, political science professor at McDaniel College, are worthy of note. According to Professor Smith, “The city often has been a pay-to-play system, and if you hit the combination right, you’re good for fours years. You either choose wisely or you spread it around.” However, Professor Smith does not say what I say, and that is, the pay to play political system in Baltimore City is a disgrace.

The strategy for ending this political game of power vs. greed is plain and simple. Say no to campaign contributions because they are disguised bribes. Not realistic – maybe, maybe not, but it’s the right thing to do!

What happened to Judge Goodie?

I have been the owner of 4 dogs in my life time and have loved all 4 of them. You can call me, a lover of dogs. I would like to share a very sad experience with my last dog, Judge Goodie.

I had the privilege of owning Judge Goodie for about 6 years. Although he was very challenging, I loved him dearly. Approximately 5 years ago, Judge Goodie was involved in a disturbance with a technician at an animal hospital.
Both my veterinarian and the veterinarian at the animal center concurred that Judge Goodie was a good dog, but people needed to be careful with the way they handled him. . Approximately 3 years ago, Judge Goodie bit my sister. At that point I felt I had to give him up for adoption.

My dog’s groomer informed me she knew of a wonderful animal rescue group that could find Judge Goodie a good home. And so, I gave the dog to the groomer along with a check for $250.00 with a promise of another $100 once the animal rescue group found him a good home. She told me I would be able to get pictures of the dog and I would be kept informed of his progress.

To make a long story short, although several weeks went by, I never heard from the groomer. Therefore I called her and was told she would get back to me. Again, no word from her. So again, I made another call to her and again, she said she would get back to me. No word from her again. And so I made another call to her. Finally she stated that the dog was in a wonderful home in Anne Arundel County.

When I asked her for the name and address of the new owner, I was given a name, but no address. I just wanted some assurance the dog was O.K. After 6 months of trying to locate the dog and also the hiring of a private detective to try to locate the dog, the only thing the detective was able to do was trace the dog to the Baltimore County animal shelter. Pursuing this clue, I contacted the shelter and inquired about my dog. , Based on my description of Judge Goodie, the interim director reported to me they had no record of Judge Goodie having been there.

I then realized that my dog and I had become the victims of a phony animal rescue group. The interim director acknowledged that this is a chronic problem throughout the state of Maryland. She called it animal trafficking.

Wanting to do something about this situation, I decided to try and seek some justice in the Maryland State legislature . My intent was and still is to have a bill passed designed to put these phony animal groups out of business. Therefore, I contacted my new state delegate, Shelly Hettleman and asked her to introduce such a bill. I asked a number of my students and associates to also call her to lend support to my request. But it was to no avail. Delegate Hettleman closed her ears to the callers. She refused to cooperate. Trying another course of action, I contacted the State Senator Susan Lee of Montgomery County who was supposed to be sympathetic to animal rights. However, the result was the same – no cooperation from her either.

In my opinion, the response from these 2 state legislators is appalling and shameful. To this day I still do not know what really happened to Judge Goodie.

We need a bill introduced and passed in the Maryland state legislature that will put these phony animal rescue groups out of business.

Responsibility and Accountability Mingled with Love

I would be irresponsible if I didn’t comment on Congressman Van Hollen’s letter, “Congress’ inaction on guns is a national disgrace,” 1-10-16. The Congressman doesn’t tell you that the real answer to the crime problem is not new gun legislation but rather the return to Judaic/Christian values – of love, responsibility, and accountability. People who commit crimes do so because they never really have the opportunity to have a loving father and mother.

A gun or a rifle, by itself can’t hurt anybody. It takes a human being to pull a trigger. An individual learns criminal behavior from peer groups who never had the opportunity to know what it’s like to have responsible parents. Another contributing factor in the crime surge is the downfall of public education – it has been a dismal failure for not being able to effectively teach students how to get along with each other. One more dynamic in the crime crisis is the glorification of violence – in its many forms, shapes, and sizes – that has permeated our culture of TV, movies, music and the whole social media scene.

Real criminals do not go around getting permits for guns. Instead, they look around for human beings they can prey off of. Proposing new gun legislation might sound good as momentary solutions with popular appeal but lack real substance for long term answers.

Congressman Van Hollen – it’s not the inaction of Congress on guns that is a national disgrace, but rather the disgrace is you and your Congressional associates’ failure to tell the truth about the actual causes of the crime problem.

Persecution or Prosecution for the 6 Baltimore City Police Officers

The article,, “Order on officer’s testimony blocked,” 1-9-16, contains some troubling points of information. The article informs us that Carrie Williams, the Maryland Assistant Attorney General, wrote a response to the motion from Officer Porter’s legal team preventing him from testifying. She asserted that the immunity extended to Mr. Porter “is sufficient” to protect his Fifth Amendment rights and that an injunction to prevent his testimony “does not serve in the interest of justice.”

I have to ask – What does sufficient mean and whose justice is she referring to? Is sufficient equivalent to justice for Officer Porter?

Furthermore, it is ludicrous that the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn Mosby, has to rely on Maryland Assistant Attorney General to present justification for the “unconstitutional” limited immunity extended to Officer Porter. Shouldn’t Marilyn Mosby, or one of her assistants be the party to respond to the injunction request from Mr. Porter’s attorneys? The fact that the law requires the Maryland attorney general’s office to represent the prosecutor in the appeal is, in my opinion, ludicrous. This merely demonstrates how messed up the Maryland legal system really is. The fact that the Attorney General, who is elected by the people of the state of Maryland, is allowing his assistant to put forth a justification composed of such absurd logic is outlandish.

In the article, Attorney Brian Murphy’s commentary, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. According to him, the prosecution is creating for itself a “massive distraction” and a host of problems. As he stated, “the prosecutors’ use of immunity to call Porter as a witness was unprecedented because it is ‘cumbersome’ and would pose challenges if Porter is tried again. Usually when you want to use a witness, you don’t prosecute him. Either grant immunity totally or work out a deal where he gets a lesser sentence.”

So once again, the fix continues to be in, whereby Judge Barry Williams, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn Mosby, and Attorney General for the state of Maryland, Brian Frosh, are determined to see to it that the 6 Baltimore city police officers are persecuted instead of prosecuted with justice.

The Fix Is In

The article “Porter must take stand, judge says,” 1-7-16, solidifies the point that Judge Barry Williams obviously is determined to help the prosecution obtain a conviction of all the police officers standing on trial in the Freddie Gray fiasco.

Maybe Judge Williams needs a refresher course in Constitutional law and take better notes on the 5th amendment to the Constitution which allows an accused individual to exercise the right against self-incrimination.

Could it be that Judge Williams is pandering to mob rule because as a judge, like other leaders in government, he has to face re-election by the citizens of Baltimore City? Furthermore, his decision to place a gag rule on the Porter trial exacerbates the point that he is catering to mob rule. What happened to the public’s right to know and the principles of the Freedom of Information Act?

Where is the justice for the police officers who were only doing their job of trying to protect the citizens of Baltimore from real criminals?

I guess it’s O.K. to throw the Constitution away and condone a license for looseness as long as the “mob” in Baltimore City gets its way. What kind of message are we sending to our youth?

Is it any wonder the citizens of Maryland have lost trust in government- and that means all three branches – executive, legislative and judicial.

Short-Sightedness on the Part of the Sun

Your editorial, “The Verdict”, 12-17-15, has painted with a large, broad brush the entire Baltimore City Police Department. This does a tremendous disservice to the overwhelming majority of the heroic police officers of Baltimore City who put their lives on the line to protect editors and citizens alike everyday.

The officers’ bravery enables you to exercise your rights to express your opinions, as ludicrous as they are, against the rank and file of the Baltimore City Police Department. What comes across from your editorial is a condemnation of 97% of the police officers due to the 3% of bad apples.

The fairness and even the accuracy of your assertions come into question. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the problems of the Baltimore City Police Department stem from the governing of phony career politicians including Mayor Rawlings-Blake, ex-Mayor Dixon, and ex-Mayor O’Malley? These 3 politicians were responsible for giving us some lackluster police chiefs who haven’t had a clue as to how to run an efficient and effective police department. Doesn’t it speak volumes for the lack of continuity and stability within the department when you’ve had 7 different police chiefs in the last 15 years. Didn’t one or two of the police chiefs wind up in jail?

The last time I checked, the starting salary of a police officer is approximately $48,000 a year. For this meager sum of money, officers go on their jobs everyday not knowing if they will return home safe and sound as they perform their duties in protecting you and all the citizens of Baltimore City. And now, they have the additional concern of the consequences confronting them should they make an arrest of a criminal with a rap sheet 2 pages long.

Therefore your editorial about those who serve in the Baltimore City Police Department shows short sightedness on your part, don’t you think?

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore