We Will Always Need To Protect Our First Amendment

We have elected a President who is less hostile to Christianity than our last President, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down as far as protecting our Constitutional rights. On Monday, a website called aleteia.org posted a story about some recent events in Radnor Township, New Jersey, home of Villanova University.

Here is the story:

As part of a $285 million expansion project, Villanova University is erecting a pedestrian bridge that will run over Lancaster Avenue — something the township required for safety reasons to allow safe passage from the campus on one side of the road to the other.

But controversy has ensued over the design of the bridge, specifically the Catholic university’s plan to erect 4-foot, 7-inch metal crosses atop stone pillars on either side of the structure.

Some Radnor Township residents say such an audacious show of religion has no place in a township of many faiths.

“I think they are overstepping their sense of ecumenism to shove these crosses in our faces,” said Sara Pilling, a long-time township resident who lives a couple of blocks from the university.

Villanova officials, however, say the school is well within its right to include the crosses, which will be on school property and which the university will fund.

“On every building on campus there’s a cross,” said the Rev. Peter Donohue, president of Villanova. “I understand people’s sensitivities but it’s just something we’ve always done. It’s just part of who we are. We are a faith-based institution.”

The pedestrian bridge is being constructed on University property with University money. It is a Catholic University.

The article includes an update:

The Radnor Township Board of Commissioners late Monday approved a controversial pedestrian bridge that would link Villanova University’s main campus with a planned expansion on the southern side of Lancaster Avenue.

The 6-0 decision, with board President Elaine P. Schaefer abstaining, came after an hour of debate and discussion over a key element of the bridge’s design: 4-foot, 7-inch metal crosses atop stone pillars on opposite sides of the structure. In the end, the board concluded that it did not have the authority to regulate or prohibit the crosses.

My understanding from the article is that Villanova University is building the pedestrian bridge and paying for the pedestrian bridge. If I were a taxpayer in the town, I think I would just say thank you and not worry about the crosses on the bridge.

People Vote With Their Feet

The Albany Times Union posted a story today about states that are losing population and states that are gaining population.

The article reports:

United Van Lines reported Tuesday that nearly two-thirds of the moves involving New York households were outbound, a higher proportion than any other state except New Jersey and Illinois.

The 2016 National Movers Study by Fenton, Mo.- based United also found that almost 59 percent of the moves within the eastern United States were outbound.

Where were people moving? Mostly to western states and the Carolinas, with one exception. That exception was Vermont, which ranked second on the list of states with the highest proportion  — 67 percent — of inbound moves.

 South Dakota had the highest share of inbound moves, at 68 percent. 

New Jersey and Illinois, like New York, saw outbound moves making up 63 percent of all moves. 

The article also posted another interesting statistic:

In New York, inbound millennials were 27 percent of inbound moves and 19 percent of those moving out. But of those over 65, 26 percent were outbound and 20 percent were inbound.

So what is going on here? Millennials in many cases have limited life experience–they don’t realize how high taxes and high real estate prices will impact their standard of living. Also, many of them are in fields where they could potentially earn a large income, and they are not thinking about how much it costs to live in places like New York. The Carolinas have worked hard in recent years to lower taxes and attract businesses in order to keep the cost of living lower. South Dakota has a booming economy because of the oil industry there. As taxes increase in many northeastern states (as they tend to do under Democratic control), it will be interesting to track the migration of Americans. In recent years we have seen many companies move from California to Texas because of tax issues. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues.

The Experiment Of The States

America is made up of 50 different states. Each state is unique–politically, economically,  geographically, ethnically, etc. So if people could live anywhere they wanted to, where would they live? Actually, the age of the internet has made that somewhat possible–telecommuting has grown in recent years. So let’s look at where people live.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about a study of trends in population growth in states within America. The data for the study came from the IRS. The results were not really surprising.

The article reports the findings of the study:

To measure the states that are most attractive to Americans on the move, we developed an “attraction” ratio that measures the number of domestic in-migrants per 100 out-migrants. A state that has a rating of 100 would be perfectly balanced between those leaving and coming.

Overall, the biggest winner — both in absolute numbers and in our ranking — is Texas. In 2014 the Lone Star State posted a remarkable 156 attraction ratio, gaining 229,000 more migrants than it lost, roughly twice as many as went to No. 3 Florida, which clocked an impressive 126.7 attraction ratio.

Most of the top gainers of domestic migrants are low-tax, low-regulation states, including No. 2 South Carolina, with an attraction ratio of 127.3, as well as No. 5 North Dakota, and No. 7 Nevada.

…Overall, many of the most affluent states are the ones hemorrhaging high-income earners the most rapidly. As in overall migration, New York sets the standard, with the highest outmigration of high income earners (defined as annual income over $200,000) relative to in-migrants (attraction ratio: 53). New York is followed closely by Illinois, the District of Columbia and New Jersey, which are all losing the over-$200,000-a-year crowd at a faster pace than California.

The big winners in terms of affluent migration tend to be historically poorer states, mainly in the Sun Belt and the Intermountain West. Florida has an attraction ratio for people earning over $200,000 a year of 223, the highest in the nation, followed by South Carolina, Montana, Idaho and North Carolina.

Given the opportunity, Americans move to states with lower taxes and less regulation over their businesses and daily lives. Now if we could only teach them to vote that way in national elections…

 

Some Details The Mainstream Media Somehow Forgot

Hillary Clinton loves to criticize Donald Trump’s management of his Atlantic City casinos. However, The Wall Street Journal posted an article on Wednesday that gives a more complete picture of exactly what happened there. Evidently Democratic policies in Atlantic City and New Jersey played a major role in the events there.

The article reports:

In 1976 New Jersey voters approved a referendum that legalized gambling in Atlantic City. The constitutional amendment required casino revenues to fund programs for senior citizens and disabled residents, but politicians have instead funneled the cash to favored projects and businesses under the guise of promoting development.

…A 1984 law required casinos to pay 2.5% of gaming revenues to the state or “reinvest” 1.25% in tax-exempt bonds issued by the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for state and community “projects that would not attract capital in normal market conditions.” Investment recipients have included Best of Bass Pro shop, Margaritaville and Healthplex.

A decade later, state lawmakers imposed a $1.50 fee (which has since doubled) on casino parking spots to fund Atlantic City transportation, casino construction and a convention center. In 2004 lawmakers added a $3 surcharge for casino hotel stays to finance new hotel rooms and retail establishments, which had the effect of promoting unsustainable commercial and casino development.

As the cost of operating the casinos rose (thanks to the policies of the state–run by the Democrats), other states legalized gambling–Connecticut in 1992 and Pennsylvania in 2004. Atlantic City not only lost its monopoly–but the cost of running the casinos increased significantly.

The article further reports:

Irony alert: Mr. Trump in 1997 sued to block the state’s redistribution of casino income when a competing developer stood to benefit from its investments. However, New Jersey’s liberal Supreme Court ruled that voters should have known that the referendum was actually intended to revitalize Atlantic City tourism, not help seniors.

The article concludes:

Employment in Atlantic City has declined by about 10% over the last decade. Since 2010 the city’s property tax base has shrunk by two thirds. Local politicians raised property taxes by 50% between 2013 and 2014 to compensate for the dwindling tax base, but this has merely deterred new business investment and propelled flight.

Meantime, local politicians have continued to spend like they work for Google. Between 2010 and 2014, expenditures increased by 10% while government debt doubled. The city government spends about $6,600 a year per resident—more than any other city in the state including Newark ($2,344). Its budget exceeds that of nearly half of New Jersey’s counties. Labor costs constitute about 70% of the budget.

Earlier this year, the city emergency manager projected a $393 million cumulative deficit over the next five years absent reforms. More than 100 workers have recently been laid off. In May Democratic legislators and Governor Chris Christie passed a bailout that allows the city to squeeze an additional $120 million out of casinos in revenues annually to compensate for lower property-tax revenue.

To sum up: New Jersey Democrats plundered Atlantic City casinos, redistributed the spoils and loaded up the city with unaffordable levels of debt. The gambling mecca is a five-star example of failed liberal policies.

This sounds like Detroit. This is what we are in for if we put Hillary Clinton in the White House and allow Democratic policies to control our economy. I need to mention that in both Atlantic City and Detroit, had the free market been allowed to operate without union and government interference, the industries involved might have been flexible enough to deal with the competition. Because of government interference (and in the case of Detroit, greedy union bosses), the cities went from prosperous and flourishing to poor and decaying.

Filling A Bottomless Pit

In January of this year, I posted an article entitled, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” relating to a children’s book published in 2013. The basic story line of the book is that if you give a mouse a cookie he will expect milk and other things to go with it. That story had to do with a company in Wisconsin that discovered that whatever concessions you make to a special interest group, they will not be enough. This story has to do with the tax situation in Princeton, New Jersey.

MSM posted a story today about a discussion in Princeton, New Jersey, about whether or not Princeton University should be tax exempt.

The article states:

Free lectures, admission to athletic games and concerts, even shuttles to Trader Joe’s are some of the perks that neighbors of Princeton University get from New Jersey’s only Ivy League school.

A growing number of residents, though, resent the gestures. Riding a national wave of discontent with nonprofit institutions, they’re suing to challenge the tax-exempt status of Princeton, whose $22.7 billion endowment makes it the fourth-richest U.S. university. The outcome could cut homeowners’ annual property taxes, averaging $17,699, by a third. It also could end the freebies that make Princeton a cushy oasis while other New Jersey towns, burdened by high public-worker costs and flat state aid, struggle to maintain basic services.

There are a lot of questions that come to mind after reading this. What is the budget of Princeton, and has anyone considered cutting the budget?

The article further reports:

The university pays its hometown about $8 million in annual levies toward a proposed $61.9 million municipal budget. It kicks in another $3 million voluntarily, a boost for emergency services and public works. The rest, the freebies, make for what the school calls positive town-and-gown relations.

So the tax-exempt University already pays more than 10 percent of the municipal budget, and now the city wants to take away its tax-exempt status. It’s interesting to me that the article cites the worth of the University to support its argument. This is classic redistribution of wealth. Princeton has acquired its wealth honestly. It belongs to Princeton. Now the municipality is trying to figure a way to take what has been rightfully earned away from the entity that earned it and give it to the city, which hasn’t earned it. Maybe it’s time that the City of Princeton redid its budget rather than resorting to legal theft.

Fourteen Years Ago This Was The Night Before Our Lives Changed Forever

As we approach the anniversary of September 11, 2001, I wanted to remember that day with something positive. There was a time in 2006 when America and Russia were at least acting like friends. The story below reflects that time.

Remembering 911

aaaaasespt11This is a picture of the Teardrop Memorial, Russia’s gift to the United States in memory of 911. The monument To the Struggle Against World Terrorism was dedicated on September 11, 2006, by President Clinton.   It is located in Bayonne, New Jersey, at a place where the twin towers were visible.   To read the entire story of the monument and how it came to rest there, please follow the link to 911monument.com.    The website tells the story of what inspired the monument and how it came to be. This is another picture of the monument.    I stumbled on this monument in an article at the American Thinker. I visited the monument a few years ago. It is a sobering sight. You stand at the foot of the monument and look across the river at lower Manhattan to where the twin towers once stood.

911 Monument Dedication Ceremony, Sept. 11, 2006

Any Republican Who Supports This Should Be Voted Out Of Office

The Blaze is reporting today that a group of Republicans and Democrats have proposed legislation to raise the gasoline tax.

The article reports:

“In order to sustain the trust fund in the near-term, the legislation indexes the gas and diesel user fees to inflation — raising roughly $27.5 billion and providing funding for our infrastructure needs for 1.7 years,” they said.

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) introduced the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act with another Republican, Rep. Reid Ribble (Wis.), and two Democrats, Bill Pascrell (N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (Ill.). The bill is the latest attempt to boost the federal highway fund that members say will be empty in the next few months.

The bill again raises the question of whether Republicans will decide it’s time to raise the gas tax, find other sources of new funding, or make cuts to other areas of the federal government. Many Republicans will balk at the idea of raising the gas tax, even as many others see it as a natural way to raise money.

The average American finally gets a break on the cost of gasoline, and Congress immediately plans to mess it up. The gasoline tax impacts lower and middle income families. An increased gasoline tax will probably not make a big difference to those in Congress–there are very few (if any) lower or middle class people in Congress–that is a huge part of the problem.

Any Republican who supports an increase in the gasoline tax should be promptly voted out of office. Massachusetts voters just overturned the idea of indexing gasoline taxes to inflation. American voters should do the same.

A Really Bad Idea–Both Politically and Practically

Yesterday, Bloomberg,com reported that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has released his plan to reform Social Security.

The article reports:

Christie, the 52-year-old Republican governor of New Jersey, called for phasing out retirement payments to those with more than $200,000 a year in other income and smaller reductions for those earning $80,000. Together, he said, the overhaul would save $1 trillion over a decade.

“It is about telling all Americans the truth — and without delay,” he said during a 40-minute speech at St. Anselm College in Manchester. “If you believe we should keep this promise, as I do, that all Americans should have access to the economic security these programs provide, then that costs money.”

Spelling out his plans in detail for the first time, Christie proposed:

— Raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 from 67, for those born in 1960 or later;

— Raising the age to qualify for Medicare by one month per year until it reaches 67 from the current 65.

— Eliminating payroll taxes for seniors who remain in the workforce.

I have some major problems with this idea. Social Security is deducted from almost everyone’s paycheck from the time they begin work. Federal employees, active duty military (and Congress) are exempt. The money was supposed to be put in a lock box where it could accrue interest and grow to meet the increasing need. In 1965 (or so) that lock box disappeared and the money was used to fund the war in Vietnam and the Great Society programs. Since then it has been used to fund welfare and entitlement programs. Generally speaking, these entitlement programs do not have a work requirement and the people collecting the money do not have to do anything to earn the money they receive. In most states welfare recipients are not drug tested (most working people have to pass a drug test in order to get a job). Social Security is not the place to cut the federal budget–the people collecting it have paid money into it–it is not their fault the government chose to spend the money.

Recently my husband and I took a vacation to Iceland and Wales. In Wales I learned something about giving to people who may be in need. My husband and I volunteered in a restaurant run by a church. In America, it would be similar to a soup kitchen. However, there was something about the restaurant (which served dinner once a week) that impressed me. The meals were not free. There was a small charge for dinner and a somewhat limited menu to choose from. If someone came in who could not pay, they were given a free meal, but generally speaking, a diner paid something for his dinner. Somewhere along the line, we have taught a group of Americans that there is a free lunch. It is time for that to end. We are accomplishing nothing by denying benefits to those who have paid for them and giving benefits to those who are contributing nothing. That is the wrong message to send.

As an afterthought–does anyone really believe that once an income limit is set on receiving Social Security there will be no changes to that limit? Governor Christie’s plan has the potential of turning Social Security into a plan that everyone who works pays into but is only available to those making less than $50,000 a year in retirement. His plan will create another entitlement that everyone who is working pays into and everyone who is not working can collect from.

Somehow This Didn’t Get A Lot Of Coverage

Have you noticed that every time a Republican seems to be a frontrunner for the 2016 Presidential race a scandal, lawsuit, or criminal charge arises? This is not because Republicans are corrupt or because Republicans do unethical things–it is because Democrats understand how to use the courts and the media. A recent example of this is the scandal involving Chris Christie and the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Remember how much you heard about this when it first became news? Well, now that there is no evidence that Governor Christie had anything to do with the lane closings, how much have you heard?

Fox News recently reported the following:

The U.S. Justice Department probe into the Bridgegate scandal hanging over Chris Christie’s political career has found no evidence so far that he knew of the traffic lane closures in advance, reports said Thursday.

Federal officials opened an investigation nine months ago to determine what the Republican governor might have known about the September 2013 lane shutdowns on the George Washington Bridge, and when.

The probe to date has turned up no evidence Christie had any prior information or directed that lanes be closed for four days, federal sources told WNBC.

Somehow the story just isn’t as important when Governor Christie cannot be blamed.

Media Bias Is Reflected In What You Hear Reported As Well As What You Don’t Hear Reported

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a Muslim man who has killed four people in America as an act of retribution for U.S. military action against Muslims in the Middle East. The story was reported in some New York and New Jersey newspapers in August.

On August 21, nj.com reported:

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Washington state, where he is accused of killing three other men, Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of “vengeance” for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” he told detectives, according to the documents.

…Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.” He also referred to drug use as inherently evil.

“During the interview Brown also stated that, as part of his beliefs, if a ‘man sees evil then he must take action against that evil’,” according to court papers.

Essex County authorities have characterized Tevlin’s June 25 murder as a robbery that turned violent when Brown fired 10 shots into the popular college student’s vehicle, which was stopped at a red light at the corner of Walker Road and Northfield Avenue in West Orange.

Why would the authorities characterize Brendan Tevlin’s murder as a robbery when Muhammad Brown told the authorities that he killed Brendan Tevlin and the other men because of his Muslim religion?

The article at Power Line reports:

Brown has a long criminal history that includes a prosecution for conspiracy to commit bank fraud in 2004. Authorities believed that Brown and 13 other men were using the bank fraud scheme to finance terrorist groups overseas, but were never able to prove where the money went, so Brown pled guilty to a single count and was released in 2005. So it is reasonable to infer that he has been a jihadist for a long time.

John Hinderaker at Power Line concludes:

Still, if you didn’t know better, you might think that national news outlets are leery of linking the words “serial killer” and “devout Muslim.” If Brown had told authorities he was a Tea Party member, I am sure we would have heard a lot more about him.

America has always had people who commit crimes and murder people for various reasons. What we have not been dealing with until the past fifteen years is people who live here and feel an obligation to murder Americans in the name of Islam.

While The Press Was Covering Ferguson…

Yesterday, Hot Air reported on four murders that the press seems to have overlooked. Ali Muhammad Brown was suspected of killing three Seattle men. He is now accused of shooting 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin eight times at a West Orange traffic light in New Jersey in June.

The article reports:

He sought revenge against America for what he said was the wanton killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tevlin was allegedly Brown’s fourth victim.

Brown’s victims, with the exception of Tevlin, had a similar background: they were young, gay men.

…Brown may eventually face federal and/or state-level terrorism charges, but few press accounts of his attacks – most of them in local outlets — state clearly that Islamic jihadist ideology inspired him. “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” court documents allege Brown said of United States actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some outlets are not mincing words about the nature of Brown’s crimes. A July report via a Seattle-based Fox affiliate described Brown as a “radical jihadist” who targeted homosexual men, but few have followed suit.

Brown was an Islamist who targeted homosexual men. Under Sharia Law, homosexuals are subject to the death penalty. He was simply acting within the bounds of his religion. Somehow the press does not seem to be concerned with this man who killed four men in America in the name of jihad. The jihadis are already among us. Unfortunately, the press is not keeping us informed.

.

 

Leadership Comes From The Top

PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY!

The following video is posted on YouTube:

The story behind the video is at infowars.com:

Seeking to file a complaint about the Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter, Steve Wronko visited the Helmetta Police Department to air his grievances about the shelter falling prey to nepotism and corruption as a result of Helmetta Mayor Nancy Martin appointing her son Brandon Metz to head up the facility.

“I’ve made objections about what’s going on at the shelter over there,” Wronko tells the police officer, adding, “My first and fourth amendment rights were violated, my civil rights were violated.”

“Obama just decimated the freakin’ Constitution, so I don’t give a damn. If he doesn’t follow the Constitution, we don’t have to,” responds the cop, brazenly violating the oath he swore to uphold the Constitution.

Leadership, good or bad, comes from the top. President Obama is not directly responsible for the bad behavior of this policeman, but the negative attitude that President Obama and his Department of Justice have taken toward the Constitution does influence the behavior of those sworn to uphold the Constitution. This policeman should be fired for his actions, but he is simply a reflection of the current President and his administration. All of us should take note of this incident–our civil rights are at risk.

UPDATE:

On August 7, MyCentralJersey posted a follow up story to this which included what sounded like an apology.

The story explains:

But on Thursday, Recine, a registered Democrat who serves on the elected Board of Fire Commissioners of District 2 in Piscataway, said he was being “sarcastic.”

“It was just a stupid statement on my part. He got me riled and I said it,” he explained. “I don’t believe that at all. I’m the most patriotic person in the world. I believe in God, the flag, country, the Constitution.”

Recine said he was dispatched to the building because municipal workers were concerned when they saw Wronko taking pictures indoors.

Mr. Recine has resigned from the police force following the incident.

A Really Dumb Law That Is Putting Americans At Risk

Today’s Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about problems New Jersey is having getting road salt. The supply of road salt in a few New Jersey communities is very low because of the recent snow storms. The problem in getting the road salt has nothing to do with its availability or proximity–the problem has to do with union workers.

The article reports:

Townsquare Media reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied the state’s request for a waiver of the Jones Act, a 1920 law requiring that all cargo and passengers moving between points in the United States be transported on American vessels.

A waiver would have allowed New Jersey to get the salt within days from a foreign transport in Searsport, Maine.

New Jersey Department of Transportation Spokesman Joe Dee told the Washington Free Beacon that a waiver from the Jones Act appears “unlikely.”

“We were pursuing a waiver, but we’ve been advised we wouldn’t get one,” Dee said. “It seems unlikely we will get it.”

Jersey City, New Jersey, is expecting snow tonight and tomorrow morning, and then possibly more snow on Wednesday. This has been a very harsh winter in the northeast, and it is really silly to put people’s lives at risk because the salt needed does not happen to be on an American ship. There at least needs to be a waiver of the Jones Act granted. It would also be a good idea to pass a law making sure that when public safety is at stake, the law would be quickly waived.

 

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Anatomy Of A Smear

Before “bridgegate,” Chris Christie was beating Hillary Clinton in preliminary presidential polling. Considering the political history of the Clintons in dealing with their opponents, there was no way that was going to be allowed to stand. Just for the record, I would like to repeat that I do not support Chris Christie for President. My three choices are Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, or Rick Perry, none of which at this time has a realistic chance for the nomination because the Republican establishment would never support them.

The first attack on Governor Christie was about the closing of the traffic lanes in Fort Lee. I will get to that later. After that attack, the Democrat Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken claimed that Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Sandy relief funding if she didn’t approve a building development project favored by the governor. The media went wild. Now they had him–he was bullying this poor innocent mayor–and bullying right now is the worst crime anyone can commit. Well, things are not always what they appear to be.

Guy Benson at Townhall.com did some research. He discovered that the Journal entry she claims to have made was undated and unverifiable. To add to the story, an attorney who represented a client in an unrelated case has stepped forward to point out that Mayor Zimmer testified that she does not keep a record or journal of conversations on city business. She said so in a sworn deposition taken last July, then again at trial.

The article further reports:

David Mello is the only shred of independent corroboration in this case — in support of Zimmer, that is. He is described by MSNBC as a Zimmer loyalist, and openly admits that he was adamantly opposed to Christie’s re-election. Why he waited for several days after this story broke to remember his conversation with Zimmer is unclear, but a core question remains: Why didn’t he, a hardcore Christie opponent, report the alleged corruption scheme to authorities or the voting public when he first learned of the issue?

…The initial MSNBC article that went viral several weekends ago left a strong impression that the city of Hoboken, which was 80 percent flooded after Sandy, had been denied virtually bereft of all relief aid, save for an insignificant pittance. In truth, the city has been approved for roughly $70 million in direct relief and reconstruction aid from the federal and New Jersey governments. Christie’s office says Hoboken is set to receive even more, pending federal approval. Zimmer’s chief complaint was about “hazard mitigation” funds. She says she requested more than $100 million in that specific type of aid, but only received approximately $350,000. Her original ask was unrealistic in the extreme. The pot of money Christie’s administration had to distribute for this purpose was about $300 million — total, for the entire state.

…Mayor Zimmer fingered two separate Christie officials, who she says delivered corrupt, quid pro quo threats on behalf of the administration. One was the Lieutenant Governor, who strongly denies it, and the other is a man named Richard Constable. Zimmer says Constable confronted her on the set of a television show, on which they both served as panelists. The network has no record of their supposed conversation, and another panelist who sat directly next to Zimmer has explicitly refused to back up her version of events. Matt Doherty is the Democratic mayor of Belmar, New Jersey. He says he remembers no such conversation ever taking place, and went out of his way to praise Christie’s professionalism and responsiveness after the storm hit.

There is also the fact that the story changed after it was first reported. Originally Mayor Zimmer had claimed that he governor’s anti-Hoboken retaliation was rooted in her decision not to endorse his re-election bid. This, of course, was considered to be another example of the kind of bullying that closed the traffic lanes. Later Mayor Zimmer claimed she was threatened because she did not support a building project. Even later, Mayor Zimmer explicitly told CNN that Hoboken had not endured any form of retaliation from Christie’s office. All three stories happened in the same week.

Later, Mayor Zimmer was praising Governor Christie for the great job he has done. It just doesn’t add up.

So what about the lane closings? Yesterday a lawyer for the former official, David Wildstein, stated that Mr. Wildstein has evidence that Chris Christie knew about the lane closings beforehand. David Wildstein is a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge. The lawyer has not revealed what the evidence is, and an article at Townhall.com includes a tweet from Josh Barro that asks the question, “If Wildstein has evidence the governor knew about the lane closures, why didn’t he turn it over in response to the NJ Leg subpoena?” Good question.

Hot Air posted an article about the ‘new evidence’ that included the following:

Wildstein’s got two possible reasons to lie. One, obviously, is revenge on Christie. Wildstein resigned in early December, no doubt under pressure from the governor’s office. Maybe he has an axe to grind now, if only because he assumed Christie would go to bat for an old friend like him. The other reason is immunity: He’s spent the last two weeks whispering to people that he’s willing to talk if he’s spared the threat of prosecution. The U.S. Attorney hasn’t taken the bait yet. This is an obvious pot-sweetener.

Stay tuned. All is not what it appears to be.

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Silencing The Opposition Before 2014

I have written a number of articles about the IRS and the Justice Department targeting of conservative groups and their donors. It seems to be a way of life under the Obama Administration. (Use the search engine at the top of the page if you are curious to see who has been targeted and when.)  Evidently Governor Cuomo has decided to follow the example being set by the White House.

NewsMax is reporting today that James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, a group based in New York has been served a subpoena by the Board of Labor asking for every single financial transaction over the last three years.

Mr. O’Keefe is considering relocating to New Jersey because of the harassment he has experienced in New York.

The article concludes:

O’Keefe said among the documents the New York State Department of Labor is demanding to see by next week are general ledgers, journals, caches, pay roll records, checks, stubs, and copies of Social Security returns.

“Like I said, I’m happy to comply with all this stuff, it’s not my first audit, I’ve been audited nonstop for the last three years but it gives us pause. We’ve got to take a step back and look at what’s happening to our country right now,” O’Keefe said.

“I’m a journalist, OK, and I’ve decided to maintain a small nonprofit. When you look at the corruption in the state of New York, when it comes to the pension funds have been robbed and the state university system, all the stuff that’s going on, I wasn’t going to look into these things but now I think I am.

“The American people need to know that they think this is just standard procedure, [but] it’s politically motivated and it’s got to stop.”

James O’Keefe has done a good job of uncovering corruption in our government from ACORN to voter fraud. Any state government that was interested in honest, transparent government should be glad to have his organization in the state. If he is being harassed and driven out of the state, there is probably something in the state that those leading the state do not want exposed. New York needs more of James O’Keefe and less of Andrew Cuomo.

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A New Twist On The Lastest Attack On Christie

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Jersey shore advertisements that New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development over the summer to probe were approved by the Obama administration.

The article reports:

“The Stronger Than The Storm campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama Administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy,” Christie spokesman Colin Reed said Monday.

…“Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly,” Reed said. “We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.”

The action plan that Christie’s office said was approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development included language calling for a media campaign to draw tourists back to the beaches.

Even if this information makes it to the mainstream media, this will not be the end of the story. As you hear these attacks on Christie, keep in mind that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign people (yes, that campaign already exists) are convinced that Christie would be a real threat to an election victory for Clinton. These attacks will continue until the Clinton campaign is convinced that they have removed Christie as a viable candidate. Be prepared.

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The Attack Continues

It is becoming very obvious that the Democrats do not want Hillary Clinton to run against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Now Christie is being investigated for his use of hurricane Sandy funds.

CNN is breathlessly reporting today that:

CNN has learned that federal officials are investigating whether Christie improperly used those relief funds to produce tourism ads that starred him and his family.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the scandal-plagued Republican, who is facing two probes into whether his staff tied up traffic near the country’s busiest bridge to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse his successful re-election bid.

N.J. Democratic legislator: “I do believe laws have been broken.”

If the Sandy inquiry finds any wrongdoing, it could prove even more damaging to Christie’s national ambitions. His performance during and after the superstorm has been widely praised and is a fundamental part of his straight-shooting political brand.

Make no mistake–this is about 2014 and 2016 elections. How much coverage has CNN given to either the IRS or Benghazi scandals?

If the American people allow the press to continually destroy Republican candidates for office, they may find that they do not like the choices they have on election day. As I have said, I am not a big Christie supporter, but I recognize coordinated attacks on politicians when I see them.

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The Destruction Of Potential Republican 2016 Presidential Candidates Begins

A few years ago, I gave a presentation to a group of people entitled, “How to Survive the Silly Season.” The presentation was designed to help the average non-news junkie wade through the junk the media placed in front of them and figure out what the truth was. Usually the silly season for a presidential election begins the day after the mid-term elections. Unfortunately, the silly season for the 2016 election has already begun.

The silly season is one of the main reasons for all the noise we are hearing related to Chris Christie and the traffic jams at Fort Lee. A woman died during the time of those traffic jams and the media is tying her death to the traffic jams. Obviously, there is no way of knowing whether she would have lived if traffic had been flowing smoothly, but somehow the media is omitting that in their reporting.

Chris Christie is frequently mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for President in 2016. That fact is not unrelated to the dust-up about his aides closing traffic lanes at Fort Lee.

What Governor Christie’s aides did was obviously wrong. However, it pales in contrast to using the IRS for political purposes, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc. How much coverage have these scandals gotten? Have these scandals been resolved at this point?

This scandal will remain on the front page for at least a week. It will then be put away unless Chris Christie runs for President, at which time it will miraculously appear again.

It is unfortunate that a woman died in the man-made traffic jam, but anyone who has ever driven in or out of New York City during rush hour knows that even extreme traffic jams are not all that unusual.

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The Super Bowl Just Won’t Be The Same

I could start this story by questioning the wisdom of the people who scheduled the Super Bowl in New Jersey in January, but I will restrain myself. However, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of banning tailgating at the Super Bowl. I am aware (because of a paper one of my daughters did on her way to a Master’s Degree in marketing) that there is a Commissioner of Tailgating. Was he consulted on this? I understand the need for security, but this seems a little severe.

ESPN posted some of the details of the Super Bowl arrangements on its website yesterday.

The article explains:

“You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car,” Kelly said. “And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you’re not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill, and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it’ll all be watched very carefully.”

…There will be only three ways for the expected 80,000 ticket holders to get to the game. The committee will charter buses called the Fan Express, which will cost $51 and pick up and drop off passengers at nine locations around the region. Fans can also take N.J. Transit to the MetLife Stadium stop or be dropped off by vehicles that must have parking passes.

There will be fewer than 13,000 parking spots available for fans.

And hiring a black car, taxi or limo won’t be an option for VIPs who will spend thousands of dollars per ticket. No cars will be allowed near the stadium on game day without parking passes, and any car that drops off a passenger will have to wait at the stadium.

Wow. I think they just sucked the fun out of the whole thing.

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Voting With Your Feet

CBN News posted a story today about the relationship between tax rates in different states and where people choose to live.

The article reports:

Brown (author Travis H. Brown) discovered that the nine states with no personal income tax gained $146.2 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Conversely, the states with the highest personal income tax rates lost a total of $107.4 billion. They are California, Hawaii, Oregon, Iowa, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and Maine. Washington, D.C., was also included.

Another measurement delivers similar results. Brown looked at the 10 states with the lowest per capita state and local tax burdens and found they netted $69.9 billion in AGI. Those states include Alaska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Wyoming, Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Nevada, and South Carolina.

The 10 states with the highest state and local tax burden lost $139 billion in AGI. They are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

This story has personal relevance to me. My husband will be retiring at the end of the year, and we are about to put our house on the market. (If anyone wants a five-bedroom house in Southeastern Massachusetts, please leave a comment). We are moving for many reasons–one of those reasons is the cost of living in Massachusetts. We will be headed to North Carolina where we have family and the cost of living is lower.

Recently, Massachusetts raised the taxes on cigarettes. I don’t smoke, so that doesn’t impact me, but I was in a store yesterday in Rhode Island near the Massachusetts state line. The person ahead of me in line was commenting that she would no longer be buying cigarettes in Massachusetts because they were cheaper in Rhode Island. Right now, gasoline is more expensive in Rhode Island than in Massachusetts, but since the gasoline tax in Massachusetts is now indexed to inflation, I wonder how long that will be the case.

When people have an option, they give less money to the government, whether it is state or federal government. The Laffer Curve explains one aspect of that.

At some point, government needs to realize that at some point it has all of the money we have earned that it is entitled to. The question is exactly where the point of enough taxes is reached.

 

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Would Taxpayer Money Flow So Freely If The Taxpayers Were In Charge Of Spending It?

Yesterday I posted an article about the number of dead people collecting welfare benefits in Massachusetts (rightwinggranny.com). Well, it seems as if Massachusetts is not the only state that can’t keep track of where welfare dollars are going.

Yesterday the New York Times reported that prisoners in New Jersey had erroneously received welfare benefits.

The article reports:

Over a 22-month period, New Jersey paid nearly $24 million in unemployment, welfare, pension and other benefits to 20,000 people who did not qualify for them because they were in prison, according to a report from the state comptroller released on Wednesday.

…Some of the people in prison — those whose Medicaid benefits were paid out to managed care organizations, for instance — may not have been aware they were defrauding the state. In other cases, the fraud seemed deliberate; in addition to the $24 million in benefits improperly paid out, the audit found that 13 state employees had used sick leave to cover their time in prison. (The report said this resulted in “relatively immaterial amounts of improper payments.”)

One of the questions that immediately comes to mind when I read that last paragraph is, “What were the state employees doing in prison and how long were they there?” Can you imaging anyone in the private sector having enough sick leave to cover a prison term?

I think we can safely conclude at this time that the ‘safety net’ is broken. It’s not broken because it is not helping people who genuinely need it–it is broken because it is subsidizing lifestyles of people who do not need or deserve to be subsidized.

I suspect that what has happened in Massachusetts and New Jersey regarding welfare payments going to people who were either dead or not entitled to them is only the tip of the iceberg. We have people in this country working hard, scrimping to get buy, and being taxed to death to support fraud. It’s time we held states accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ money. If a state is not doing a good job, it’s time to elect new officials. Voters need to pay attention and take a stand.

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If You Think Second Amendment Opponents Are Not Serious…

Fox News is reporting today that Shawn Moore of New Jersey was visited by the New Jersey Department of Child Services after he posted a picture on Facebook. The picture was of Mr. Moore’s ten-year-old son Josh holding the .22 caliber rifle he got for his birthday.

The article reports:

Shawn and Josh Moore joined Fox and Friends this morning to tell their story. According to Shawn, when authorities showed up at their home, they said they wanted to look through the house to make sure that guns weren’t available to his children. They also wanted to access his safe in order to run the serial numbers on his weapons to confirm that they were all registered to him. They did not have a warrant.

Moore said the request immediately raised red flags. “I think it’s totally illegal cause in New Jersey, you don’t have to register your firearms. I didn’t commit any crime, I wasn’t charged with anything,” he said.

Just for the record, the government cannot simply show up at someone’s house and search the house without a warrant–that is illegal. Mr. Moore quickly contacted his lawyer who told him not to open the safe. At that point the representatives from the Department of Child Services threatened to take his children away if he did not open the safe. Mr. Moore stood his ground, and after about an hour the authorities left.

There are a few lessons to be learned here. Although there was nothing wrong with posting the picture on Facebook, it was probably not a wise thing to do in today’s supercharged political climate. Another lesson is that every American needs to know their rights in order to counter harassment from our government. Another lesson is that Americans need not be intimidated by government bureaucrats who overstep their bounds. I doubt this story will be told in the mainstream media, but I can guarantee that if the authorities had removed the Moore children from the house most Americans would have heard the story and been upset with the government.

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It Is Too Soon For This, However…

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article discussing whether or not Ted Cruz would be eligible to run for President in 2016. The article describes Ted Cruz as “one of the most brilliant constitutional lawyers ever to serve in the Senate.” The question arises because Ted Cruz was actually born in Canada.

The article reports:

Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was a lifelong American, born in Delaware. (His father was a political refugee from Cuba.) So under federal law, Cruz was born an American citizen by virtue of his mother. His family moved back to Texas, where Cruz grew up, and lived his entire life except the years he spent in New Jersey attending Princeton, Massachusetts attending Harvard Law School, and Washington, D.C., clerking for Chief Justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court and later serving in the Bush administration. So this former Texas solicitor general was born an American citizen and has spent almost all his life in America—usually serving his state or nation. 

It would be better to report, “Some constitutional experts say he would be ineligible,” or more accurate still, “A small minority of constitutional experts say he would be ineligible.” But no one can make the unqualified claim that the Constitution declares Ted Cruz is unable to run for president.

The entire discussion is a typical pre-emptive strike by the Democrat Party and the media on someone who might eventually be a Republican candidate for President. The old guard of the Republican Party has stood by as the media and Democrats have destroyed some of their most qualified people. It’s time for them to wake up and fight back. There are many smart, gifted, and capable Americans who will never run for office because of the way the media treats conservative candidates. It’s time for a change on the part of reporters and on the part of the Republican Party.

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The Double Standard At Work

There is a really ugly scandal evolving about New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. It seems that he had a close friendship with a major Democratic donor named Dr. Salomon Melgen. The two of them frequently flew on the Doctor’s private jet to the Dominican Republic where the Senator spent time with underage prostitutes.

The story can be found at Breitbart.com and in the Daily Caller. Recently the Doctor’s offices were raided by the FBI and records removed from the office. So what is this all about? News reports state Menendez has denied published reports he improperly lobbied on behalf of Melgen’s interest in a Dominican Republic Port security contractor.

To be very honest, this scandal is going nowhere. (I would love to be wrong about this.) The Senator did something gross outside of the country, and I don’t even know if what he did is illegal in the Dominican Republic. There is an ethics violation if he accepted free flights, but that will be corrected by paying for the flights. Essentially, I believe that this is much ado about something that will actually have no impact on anything. Unfortunately this man was legally elected to the Senate and the cronyism in the Senate (particularly among Democrats and the media) will keep his dishonesty and shameful behavior from causing him any problems.

Until we elect honorable men to Congress and the press actually reports the news accurately, this sort of thing will continue unpunished.

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One Of The Problems In Reforming The Tax Code

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal posted a story which might explain some of the difficulties Congress and the President are having in reaching a budget agreement before going over the fiscal cliff. The current American tax code is currently approximately 6,000 pages and 500 words. To say that it is difficult to navigate is a serious understatement.

One of Speaker of the House John Boehner‘s suggestions has been a limit on annual deductions. During the election campaign, Mitt Romney suggested a deduction cap somewhere between $17,000 and $50,000 a year.  Many liberal pundits supported the idea as representing equity. However, now that the election is over and the idea is examined more closely, there are serious consequences to this change–many of those consequences are political.

The article reports:

…For example, 44% of Connecticut filers itemize their deductions, but only some 21% of North and South Dakota residents do.

One tax writeoff in particular illustrates the point: the deduction for state and local income taxes. This allows a high-income tax filer who pays, say, $20,000 in state and local income taxes to deduct those payments from his federal taxable income.

Because the highest federal tax rate is 35%, the value of the state and local deduction is enormous for high-tax states. If President Obama succeeds in raising the federal tax rate to 39.6%, the value of those deductions rises to nearly 40 cents on the dollar. This deduction certainly eases the pain of New Jersey‘s 8.97% top tax rate, or Hawaii’s 11%.

The article explains that five states accounted for nearly half the tax revenue lost because of the state and local tax deduction–California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. California accounted for $51 billion of the writeoff due to state and local tax deductions. All of those five states can be found in the Democrat column during national elections.

The article explains:

To put it another way, when Californians voted to raise their top rate to 13.3% last month, they were voting to reduce revenue for the federal Treasury and thus increase the political pressure to raise tax rates on all Americans. The state and local tax loophole helps disperse and disguise the real cost of big government. As Mr. Obama likes to say, this is reverse Robin Hood.

The article concludes:

Mr. Obama wants to raise tax rates, rather than eliminate deductions, so his fellow Democrats can keep raising state and local taxes without bearing the full economic and political cost. Tax equity and economic growth are the big losers.

Because the current tax code is so politically loaded, I really don’t see Congress and the President agreeing to change it significantly. Unfortunately, it needs to be changed significantly.

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