Letter to the Editor: Trump’s No Collusion Illusion


Trump said it again at his press conference with Putin, “just to say it one time again and I say it all the time, there was no collusion.” The sing song goes on.  You can’t miss the lyric to nearly every Mueller indictment, every Congressional committee report, every witness, however insignificant.

“See, no collusion, no collusion.”  The beat goes on. The repetition designed to create it’s own truth. But there has been collusion and the latest indictment will lead to more and even more examples.

NPR and others have reported that Diana Denman, a Republican delegate to the 2016 Convention who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, said that Trump aide J.D. Gordon was directed to weaken that position in the official platform. Gordon has denied that he was directed but has since been under investigation by Mueller and the latest indictment lays more groundwork to cite this as an early signal to Putin that their clandestine work on behalf of Trump would pay off.

We now know that Trump campaign officials were communicating with Guccifer 2.0 — a Russian front part of Russian intelligence. The only question now is not whether there was collusion between Russian intelligence and members of the Trump campaign and organization, clearly there was, but whether it was witting or unwitting. In other words did the Trumpistas know with whom they were in contact with and why.

As the Mueller investigation closes in to reveal a pattern of collusion. We see Trump drawing desperately to his new best friend, willing to sacrifice core American interests in the process.

Today, we saw President Trump sell his country down the Volga River. We have only yet to learn the price of the sale.

Stan Salett

Stan Salett had offices in Moscow and Tbilisi, Georgia in the early 1990’s and has been a policy advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton.

Spy Poll Results: Chestertown Overwhelmingly Likes Idea of Nonstop Public Transportation to Easton


The results of a Spy poll on public transportation is in, and the conclusions might surprise a few people.

In short, Residents of Kent County overwhelmingly support some form of public transportation to downtown Easton, based on an hourly schedule, with an average cost around $15 per ticket, departing every hour, and would be willing to do so more often if offered special discounts by restaurants or performance venues.

Over 170 Spy readers responded to the Spy poll posted last week asking Chestertownians if they would use a non-stop shuttle service between downtown Chestertown and downtown Easton for either work or pleasure. A summary of the survey is shown below.

1.  Would you use an nonstop bus shuttle from Chestertown to Easton?

2.   What would be a fair round trip fee for such a trip?

3.  Ideally, what schedule would you prefer if a service was offered?

4.  Would your employer help you cover some these costs?

5.  If traveling for entertainment or dining, would you be more likely to use the service if there were special discounts rates offered by restaurants or performance venues?

Op-Ed: What Zero-Tolerance Policy on Immigrant Families Means on the Mid-Shore by Steve Parks


The plight of children separated from their undocumented immigrant parents along the southwest border is epitomized by a pair of 1-year-olds. A girl, recently reunited with her mother after 85 days in detention, was covered in lice and encrusted dirt. She now clings to her mother’s legs and cries whenever Mama tries to move. The other 1-year-old drank milk from a bottle as an embarrassed judge asked, as required, if the boy understood his immigration status. What’s your mother’s name, son? Mama.

It’s not known where the parents of that child or hundreds of others, many under the age of 5, are being detained after their children were taken from them. It could be in one of four adult detention centers in Maryland, including one in Snow Hill.

 “This keeps us safe?” asks Matthew Peters, director of the Chesapeake Multi-Cultural Resource Center on Bay Street, just behind the former Safeway supermarket in Easton. Since the policy announced in April by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, immigrant clients seeking help from the center rose to four a week on average, up from one a week. Seventy percent live in Talbot County, 20 percent in Caroline, with others scattered about the region.

A plurality is from Guatemala, where Peters, then of the Peace Corps, built a school and applied his forestry skills in creating a park. A 36-year civil war prevented most immigrants from that impoverished Central American nation and those to the south from reaching the U.S.-Mexican border until about 20 years ago. A residential and commercial building boom in Easton starting in 2001 drew immigrants to Talbot where they work not only in construction, but also in restaurants, agriculture, landscaping, crab-picking and house-cleaning.

Typically, they send much of their earnings back home. Some spend thousands of dollars to bring relatives here on tourist or seasonal work visas. Now the federal government is cracking down on such visas for immigrants south of the border, which makes it harder to find workers for these jobs. Canadians, who don’t even need a visa to enter the U.S., are not subjected to the same scrutiny.

The brother of an immigrant living in Easton returned time and again on work visas. But this spring he was detained at the border, accompanied by his 8-year-old son. The boy has been detained separately for more than a month at a Bethany Christian Services facility charging the government $700 per diem per child. (Betsy DeVos, U.S. Education Secretary, reportedly has had financial ties to Bethany.) Peters is handling the case, filing paperwork for the 8-year-old’s release. “But there’s always one more thing,” he says, dragging the process out. “Most of my clients are illiterate.” Misspellings and other errors abound. If the case is “won” and the child is found eligible for release into the custody of a family member—usually not the parent apprehended at the border and deported—there’s the matter of vetting the relative and paying for the child’s transportation.

A Marydel client was told it would cost $3,100 to fly her 10-year-old daughter from a detention center near the border. Peters found a ticket for $375. But there’s the cost of flying someone to accompany the minor and paying for that person’s lodging. “Now they want to charge her for fingerprinting and an inspection of her home,” he says. The tab is now $1,500 and counting.

The brother of another Marydel woman was detained at the border with his 2-year-old son. The brother is being held in Seattle. His sister asked Peters to represent her family. The 2-year-old was put on the phone with Peters and the aunt, who the toddler has never met.  “The boy was just wailing the whole time,” Peters says. “All we’re achieving with this policy is hurting these families—people who’ve already gone through all kinds of hell.”

About 200, many of them fathers, are detained in Snow Hill. Will they ever see their kids again?

Absent other factors, such as previous illegal entries, crossing the border without documentation is a misdemeanor.

Steve Parks is a retired journalist who worked for Newsday on Long Island and for the Baltimore Sun and once interned for the Star-Democrat.   


Looking at Chestertown from the West: Basket-Makers Go on Strike and Win


Editor’s note: This is a new Spy series that will be sharing historic news clippings on Chestertown from the perspective of the newspapers of Washington, D.C. Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. While the Shore’s local newspapers have faithfully recorded Chestertown’s life and times since 1791, when this small town periodically finds itself being the subject of a major daily story, it’s always been greeted, like any small community, with extreme interest. For when those occasions occur, now or in the past,  it gives the community a rare opportunity to see how the rest of the world may view it. And thanks to such powerful databases as newspapers.com, we can now able to share some of that coverage from the West of Chestertown. 

Its almost impossible to image that Chestertown would have a serious labor dispute on its hands in the 19th Century but, as the Baltimore Sun reports in 1899, that was indeed the case when the basket-makers in town had enough from Crane & Trenchard Brothers.



The Baltimore Sun
July 8, 1899

Letter to Editor: A Fitting Nickname


Of possible Democratic challengers to Trump in 2020 it is hard to guess at this point who will wind up on top. But of one thing we can be certain: Trump will give that person a demeaning nickname. He seems to believe that character assaults are, in addition to policy attacks, required. He favors incivility over civility, childish reaction to the slightest slight, gutter politics and prejudice that plays to his “base” – these are his hallmarks, his modus operandi against any opponent or critic.

Should his opponent take the high road and not respond in kind? Not entirely; not if she or he wants to win.

I am not recommending complete degradation to dirty tricks, but not complete surrender either. I think giving him a nickname would accomplish, with enough civility, an effective response. Mention his nickname every time he uses the one he gives you.

What should his nickname be? I’ve been thinking about this for a while. The requirements should be:

1) It must capture his defining characteristics.

2) The name must get under his skin, irk him every time he hears it.

3) The name must be so recognizable (ala “Pocahontas”) that it becomes generic. When it is mentioned, most people know immediately that it refers to Trump. All prospective opponents could (and should) begin using his nickname as soon as they receive theirs from him.

4) The name should elicit a mental image of the character with which Trump is to be associated.

Of the many names I came up with, none could capture all of Trump’s characteristics, so I had to settle on one that accomplishes the most for the image presented.

My choice? Pinocchio. My reasons:

1) Most political students know of the Pinocchio Award. A “Pinocchio” signifies a big lie, a provable, intentional falsehood. “Pinocchio” has become synonymous with lying. Is Trump not the reigning world champion in this regard?

2) Pinocchio, being a wooden puppet, had a wooden heart, and therefore possessed no conscience or moral compass.

3) Pinocchio, being a child, had a child’s perspective, demeanor, and knowledge.

4) Pinocchio was a puppet. Others pulled his strings (Putin, McConnell, Duke, LaPierre, etc.) before he became a “real” boy.

5) If you read the original story, The Adventures of Pinocchio, author Carlo Collodi described him as a rascal, imp, disgrace, ragamuffin, and confirmed rogue. Upon being born, Pinocchio laughed in his creator’s face. Pinocchio’s goal was a personal ambition (become a real boy); he expressed no interest in helping others.

6) Pinocchio, being fictitious, was an unwitting participant in the history created around him.

Other suggestions? I feel that Democratic candidates shouldn’t just take it from the bully in silence.

Bob Moores


Awaiting an Apology from Andy Harris by Michael H.C. McDowell


I am seeking a full and contrite apology from Congressman Andy Harris, over a verbal attack at a League of Women Voters Republican primary election forum on Sunday, June 10, 2018, at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.

After a no-show by the other Republican primary candidates, the League cancelled the forum. Mr. Harris, however, agreed to take questions from the audience out in the lobby around 1:45 p.m. I joined a group of about eight voters gathered around Mr. Harris, half of whom I knew from Chestertown, where I live.

Mr. Harris first answered a question on health care and pre-existing conditions. After listening to the end of this particular exchange, I asked Mr. Harris a question on his environmental record. I got about 20 seconds into my question when, suddenly, Mr. Harris interrupted me in an aggressive, accusing tone: “I know who you are. I met you in Chestertown. You threatened violence and to kill one of my campaign workers. If you don’t step away, I will call a state trooper.”

I was absolutely stunned. I responded that this was complete nonsense and demanded he explain and retract his wrongful accusations. He persisted in ignoring my response and once again warned me he would call a state trooper if I further engaged with him.

I was shaken and angered by this utter lie. I took a few moments away from the lobby, to try and understand what had just happened. At no time have I ever threatened violence against anyone, and certainly no one connected with Mr. Harris’s campaign, and I never suggested I might “kill” one of his staffers. Where could this truly shocking accusation of Mr. Harris have come from?

The next morning, I spoke to Mr. Harris’s press secretary, Jacque Clark, and on her specific advice, emailed his campaign manager, Nicole Beus, and followed up two further times. Mr. Harris or his staff never responded.

Minutes after the June 10 attack, I recalled a posting on May 8, from a man who occasionally posts on Mr. Harris’s campaign Facebook site and supports Mr. Harris. I made a comment about this posting and received a threatening message to me and other critics of Mr. Harris from this individual. This person said he had a weapon and could shoot us!

I saw from this man’s personal Facebook page that he seemed to have been in the military, or was possibly still in the military, and his photo on the page shows him wearing military fatigues and brandishing military grade weapons. I responded to his post, saying that his comments were way out of line and possibly illegal and perhaps in breach of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He replied back suggesting I didn’t know what I was talking about. I let him know that I am on the advisory board of an historic military college, and know a number of flag officers, judge advocates-general, and other senior officers. This individual mocked my knowing “big shots,” and I didn’t bother responding further.

Later that day (May 8), I had a text and voicemail message from Mr. Harris’s press staff, which were friendly in tone, saying they were deleting this man’s threatening posts and, because I had responded to those posts, my posts would therefore also disappear and they wanted to explain why. I had no problem with that. I responded to the press staff within minutes, suggesting that this man be unfriended and/or blocked from Mr. Harris’s page and that this person should be reported to law officials. That is the last I heard on that issue.

Jacque Clark told me on the phone on June 11 that she indeed remembered that message to me from Mr. Harris’s staff.

Did Mr. Harris somehow mistakenly connect this man’s threat to the Harris staff with me? Did he completely wrongly attribute the threat to me, on account of this Facebook exchange? I want to know on what basis Mr. Harris justified his outrageous and false allegations about me at a public event.

I felt humiliated, angered, and shaken by Mr. Harris’s behavior towards me on June 10. About 10 minutes after this hostile attack, I showed a male member of Mr. Harris’s campaign staff (a burly bearded man with a Hogan campaign sticker on his shirt) the May 8 text I had received from Mr. Harris’s Capitol Hill staff, about the removal of the threatening post on the Harris Facebook page. The staff person suggested I take up the matter the next day. Did this fellow inform Mr. Harris about the clear evidence which I offered?

Mr. Harris verbally attacked me without any factual basis for his claims, refused to allow me to respond to his false accusations, and threatened several times to call a state trooper.

There are at least four witnesses to this appalling and totally unsubstantiated attack. I have spoken to four of them, three of them in person, one on the phone, and have their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They completely confirm my account of what Mr. Harris said about me in front of them, to their shock and disapproval.

To repeat, I want a full and contrite apology and full explanation from Mr. Harris. Mr. Harris works for us, the voters, of whom I am one. The voters, and this voter, certainly don’t work for him.

As an elected public servant, Mr. Harris cannot be allowed to make such disparagements of a voter seeking information on his campaign platform.

Mr. Harris has had more than a month to act. He has done nothing. Shame on him. The voters of District 1 deserve better than the bullying, arrogant and offensive Andy Harris.

Michael H.C. McDowell writes from Chestertown.

Easton’s Qlarant Named a Top Predictive Analytics Solution Provider


Easton’s Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been named a Top Ten predictive analytics solution provider for 2018.  CIO Applications Magazine interviewed 3 executives from Qlarant:  Dr. Ron Forsythe, Jr. CEO; Sandy Love, President; and Holly Pu, VP of Product Development.   The article provides insight into the culture of Qlarant, and highlights the predictive modeling capabilities the company provides to some of the nation’s most important organizations.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Holly Pu, VP of Product Development for Qlarant. “Predictive Analytics provide an important role in fighting fraud and saves the nation millions of dollars each year. Being recognized as one of the best in the industry means we did what we set out to do. “

CIO Applications magazine provides a network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions.  It also enables IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.  Qlarant’s PLATO™ program is a powerful self-learning analytics engine that is able to sift through billions of pieces of data to detect aberrant trends.   Qlarant also offers RIViR, which provides risk identification, risk visualization and risk resolution services.

“We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award demonstrates those facets of our business,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO.

Opinion: Theodore Roosevelt on the 4th of July


Leave it to historian David McCullough, author of “Mornings on Horseback,” to share remarks made by a very young Theodore Roosevelt in 1886, when he was a young rancher in the Dakota Badlands, about the importance of the 4th of July:

I am peculiarly glad to have an opportunity of addressing you, my fellow citizens of Dakota, on the Fourth of July, because it always seems to me that those who dwell in a new territory, and whose actions, therefore, are peculiarly fruitful, for good and for bad alike, in shaping the future, have in consequence peculiar responsibilities. . . . Much has been given to us, and so, much will be expected of us; and we must take heed to use aright the gifts entrusted to our care.

The Declaration of Independence derived its peculiar importance, not on account of what America was, but because of what she was to become; she shared with other nations the present, and she yielded to them the past, but it was felt in return that to her, and to her especially, belonged the future. It is the same with us here. We, grangers and cowboys alike, have opened a new land; and we are the pioneers, and as we shape the course of the stream near its head, our efforts have infinitely more effect, in bending it in any given direction . . . In other words, the first comers in a land can, by their individual efforts, do far more to channel out the course in which its history is to run than can those who come after them; and their labors, whether exercised on the side of evil or on the side of good, are far more effective than if they had remained in old settled communities.

So it is peculiarly incumbent on us here today so to act throughout our lives as to leave our children a heritage, for which we will receive their blessing and not their curse. . . . If you fail to work in public life, as well as in private, for honesty and uprightness and virtue, if you condone vice because the vicious man is smart, or if you in any other way cast your weight into the scales in favor of evil, you are just so far corrupting and making less valuable the birthright of your children. . . .

It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.

I do not undervalue for a moment our material prosperity; like all Americans, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads—and herds of cattle, too— big factories, steamboats, and everything else. But we must keep steadily in mind that no people were ever yet benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue. It is of more importance that we should show ourselves honest, brave, truthful, and intelligent, than that we should own all the railways and grain elevators in the world. We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune. Here we are not ruled over by others, as in the case of Europe; we rule ourselves. All American citizens, whether born here or elsewhere, whether of one creed or another, stand on the same footing; we welcome every honest immigrant no matter from what country he comes, provided only that he leaves off his former nationality, and remains neither Celt nor Saxon, neither Frenchman nor German, but becomes an American, desirous of fulfilling in good faith the duties of American citizenship.

When we thus rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects. We must never exercise our rights either wickedly or thoughtlessly; we can continue to preserve them in but one possible way, by making the proper use of them. In a new portion of the country, especially here in the Far West, it is peculiarly important to do so; and on this day of all others we ought soberly to realize the weight of the responsibility that rests upon us. I am, myself, at heart as much a Westerner as an Easterner; I am proud, indeed, to be considered one of yourselves, and I address you in this rather solemn strain today, only because of my pride in you, and because your welfare, moral as well as material, is so near my heart.

Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909. Excerpt From: Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by Simon & Schuster.


Poodlenomics by Carl Widell


What has happened to our champion of free trade, Andy Harris? He and his beloved Americans for Prosperity have long supported free trade and low tariffs. But now that President Trump is leveling tariffs against everyone under the sun, even Canada, Andy Harris has rolled over. “Anything you say, Mr. President.” Principles forgotten, Harris has become Trump’s poodle. Welcome to ‘Poodlenomics.’

When President Trump announced tariffs against our largest trading partner, the European Union, Andy Harris did not object. When Trump proposed steel and aluminum tariffs against our allies, Harris let out not a whimper. Even when Trump introduced tariffs against Canada, which makes no sense whatsoever (we have a trade surplus with Canada), Harris didn’t even bark.

It’s not that others are not speaking out. Every other Congressman in the Maryland delegation has spoken out against Trump’s trade policies. Other Republicans, such as John McCain and Jeff Flake, have spoken out. The ultra-conservative Americans for Prosperity, of which Harris is a member, which has long maintained that free trade is the path to American economic success, has spoken out. It has called upon President Trump too, “ lift recent tariffs on aluminum and steel imports as well as the proposed tariffs on other imports from China,” (see Freedom Partner webpage: https://freedompartners.org).

Even the US Chamber of Congress, which Harris has long supported, has spoken out. On its website, the Chamber quotes Martin Feldstein, President Reagan’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, who argues that “foreign import barriers (i.e., tariffs) … are not the reason for the U.S. trade deficit. The real reason is that Americans are spending more than they produce…. The policies of foreign governments affect only how that deficit is divided among America’s trading partners.” (See https://www.uschamber.com/series/above-the-fold/trade-deficit-truths.)

Congressman Harris must know the basics of foreign trade accounting, but he chooses to go along with President Trump’s ill-conceived policies. Party over principle – that’s Poodlenomics.

What we need is a Congressman with backbone, with common sense policies, willing to reach across the aisle, who has served in Afghanistan four times and is willing to stand up to the President when necessary. Someone who is not a poodle. Have you looked at Jesse Colvin lately?

Carl Widell Widell is the chief financial officer and a director of Network Technologies International. He also served on the Talbot County Board of Education in 2008.