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Remember when Vinny Prieto promised us a sales tax cut next year if we'd just let him hike the gas tax this year? And remember how that turned out to be a big fat lie?
Well, Vinny's back, this time with Steve Sweeney in tow, and boy oh boy do they have a deal for us! Is it a good deal? Bwahahahahaha!
The joint proposal would gradually eliminate the estate tax, increase a popular tax credit for the working poor, raise the tax exemption for retirement and pension income, provide a small tax deduction for spending on gas taxes and create a tax exemption for veterans.
The tax cuts are designed to offset a new 23 cent per gallon increase on gasoline sold in New Jersey that would boost New Jersey's second-lowest in the nation gas tax, 14.5 cents per gallon, to 37.5 cents. According to lawmakers, that will fund a 10-year, $20 billion Transportation Trust Fund.
So we get boned up the gas tank in exchange for what? Crumbs?
I think I'll curb my enthusiasm.
The latest, bicameral offering phases out the estate tax, raising the threshold from $675,000 to $2 million on Jan. 1, to $5.4 million in 2018, and eliminating it entirely in 2020.
Lawmakers have said they expect the estate tax cut will be transformational for New Jersey, which has the lowest threshold in the U.S. It was also considered key for recruiting Republican support for the gas tax hike.
The deal will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit to 40 percent of the federal credit and increase fivefold the amount of retirement and pension income excluded from gross income taxes.
A tax deduction once included in the Senate bill is making a comeback. It will allow New Jerseyans making up to $100,000 to deduct up to $500 of their gas tax costs. And there's a brand new $3,000 personal exemption for honorably discharged veterans.
Their estate tax phaseout won't survive the next gubernatorial election, for the same reasons the sales tax cut was never going to be enacted. Any "Republican" whose vote is swayed by this charade is an idiot.
Raising the EITC is just more wealth redistribution, ie payments to poor inner-city Democrats to ensure their votes don't wander off in search of Donald Trump in November. Ditto for that handout to the AARP set.
And then in what's gotta be the biggest insult of all, they're flat out declaring that anyone earning more than $100K a year is rich and underserving of any tax cut at all. In other words, typical Democratic Party class warfare.
The only real cut in the list is the $3,000 personal exemption for veterans, and that's probably only in there because Prieto and Sweeney don't actually know any vets, and so they're thinking hardly anyone in the state will take them up on the offer.
No thanks fellas. Your plan stinks.
Cut spending. Use that to finance your transportation boondoggles. But then, as Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying, that would provide you guys with insufficient opportunities for graft.
UPDATE 22 Jul 2016 15:46:
Well, this is awkward.
Apparently this "deal" wasn't run by Chris Christie before being announced by Sweeney and Prieto.
Brian T. Murray, Governor Chris Christie's spokesman, told MMM in an email that Christie has not seen the Transportation Trust Fund legislation that Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced today.
And shortly thereafter, Indiana Governor Mike Pence joined him on the ticket.
You will note that this blogger was, briefly, in the #NeverTrump camp.
Then reality set in.
The bottom line? Pond scum would be preferable to Hillary Clinton.
So I conclude, not without some reluctance, that the Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn is right: the best case for Donald Trump is this: the alternative is Hillary Clinton.
The economy? "There is zero reason to believe a Clinton administration would be any improvement over the past eight years, from taxes and spending and regulation to ObamaCare. "
Social issues? Hillary Clinton is "the candidate who touts the Planned Parenthood view of human life, who sees nothing wrong with forcing nuns to provide employees with contraceptives, and who supports the Obama administration's bid to compel K-through-12 public schools to open girls' bathrooms to males who identify as female."
Foreign affairs? Think the Russian "reset" (how's that working out?) Benghazi, and the "deal" with Iran.
The Supreme Court? To ask the question is to answer it.
In short, as McGurn concludes, Donald Trump "represents a huge risk." But -- and it's a large "but" -- "honesty requires that this risk be weighed against a clear-eyed look at the certainties a Hillary Clinton administration would bring."
There are 6,000 some odd political appointees residing in the Executive Branch. Staffers in DOJ, EPA, IRS, Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, the military, and elsewhere. Barack Obama has filled those slots with Lois Lerner and Elizabeth Warren clones. Hillary Clinton would keep them in place. Donald Trump can't wait to fire them all.
Meanwhile Turkey is imploding, with Recep Erdogan purging moderates while moving our NATO partner into an alliance with every other Middle Eastern Islamic dictatorship. Hillary Clinton allowed that to happen.
Barack Obama has set the stage for open warfare on police. Black Lives Matter, regardless of their stated intentions, has become a terrorist organization. Dallas, Baton Rouge, Milwaukee, Kansas City, the story is the same — an "activist" took it upon himself to kill policemen, in order to protest "injustice."
Those cops have families. Those cops did nothing wrong. And yet Barack Obama has refused to light the White House blue to memorialize them even though he didn't hesitate to put up rainbow lights in celebration of sodomite "marriage" or purple lights for a dead rock star. No doubt Hillary Clinton agrees with his racist, and divisive decision, since she bashed the police during a recent speech to the NAACP.
Then there's the curious case of Twitter banning conservatives, most recently Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos. As a private media company they are, of course, free to serve whomever they wish. (Unlike, say, a baker or a florist or a photographer, but I digress...) But what happens when Hillary Clinton finishes her attack on the the First Amendment by installing a version of Twitter's Orwellian Trust And Safety Council at the FCC, with the power to "ban" people from using the Internet?
Like I said, scary stuff. And reason enough to vote for Donald Trump.
Obamanomics, Christie-nomics, and small business are not a winning combination in New Jersey.
The state lost more than 9,500 of its roughly 180,000 small businesses from 2004 to 2014 as it struggled to recover from the downturn. Every county besides Ocean lost small businesses over the decade.
The economy has discouraged businesses owners across the state, said Deborah Smarth, chief operating officer of the NJ Small Business Development Centers.
"People have put off that decision because they don't want the risk," she said.
Meanwhile, New Jersey policies have discouraged growth, according to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, which ranked the state 49th in the country for its small business climate, mainly due to taxes.
Working in a high cost state, many business owners have put financing and taxes at the top of their list of concerns, Smarth said.
"In recoveries, small businesses are the ones that have been job savors and creators," Smarth said. "Yet the New Jersey government has not been friendly to small businesses."
The Democrats in our state legislature have a "solution," of course. Raise taxes. They're trying to hike the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon, and there's the perennial Millionaire's Tax they trot out whenever one of their pet projects looks like it's running out of money. Property taxes are among the highest in the nation, the sales tax bites everybody every day, and New Jersey even charges an Exit Tax when you wise up and leave our progressive utopia.
Add in the burden of skyrocketing Obamacare premiums, onerous and duplicative environmental regulations, surcharges for "affordable housing," a $15 per hour minimum wage, mandatory paid sick time, and a toll booth on every street corner, and well, it's no wonder people aren't flocking here to hang out their shingle.
"New Jersey government has not been friendly to small businesses" has
gotta be the Understatement Of The Year. But wait, whichever of the dueling
Steves (Sweeney or Fulop) becomes our next governor, you can be certain of
one thing — small businesses in New Jersey will look back on this past
decade as The Good Old Days as he turns the citizenry into an ATM for the
gold-plated public employee pension and benefits fund.
Sorry Sandersnistas, your guy doesn't actually have principles.
Bernie Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton at her Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rally on Tuesday, Clinton's campaign confirmed to The Associated Press.
The Vermont senator's campaign announced his participation minutes after the Clinton team's email hit inboxes, with both announcements sharing the same language that the two former primary rivals will "discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top."
I guess he forgot the part about her being unqualified for the presidency.
"She has been saying lately that she thinks I am quote-unquote not qualified to be president," Sanders said. "Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don't believe that she is qualified if she is through her super PAC taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest money. I don't think you are qualified if you get $15 million through Wall Street for your super PAC."
She's still in the pocket of Wall Street fat cats Bernie. For way more than $15 million too. Maybe she shared some of that cash with you to help you change your mind?
"I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq," he continued, referring to Clinton's 2002 vote as a U.S. senator from New York.
Sanders also criticized Clinton's past support of trade deals, suggesting that that also undermines her ability to be president.
I'm thinking these quotes need to be in every GOP attack ad between now and November. Hillary's record in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Russia is one of failure and chaos. Everything she touched while Secretary of State has gotten worse. Her trade deals have cost American jobs. And her Wall Street donor list is a who's who of the .001%, belying Bernie's populist posturing.
A guy with principles wouldn't endorse all that.
A guy with principles would take a second look at Jill Stein's offer to take over the Green Party's nomination instead.
But then, if you thought Bernie Sanders had principles, you didn't really know him all that well.
He played you for suckers. He was only in the race to bask in your adulation while the Secret Service fed his ego. Now he expects you to follow him into the abyss behind a congenital liar cum career criminal in the interest of "party unity."
Pretty wild coming from someone Hillary once
said she's "not even sure" is actually a Democrat, eh?
To almost no one's surprise, Obama's DNC-controlled Justice Department accepted the recommendation of his puppet FBI Director and formally announced the closure of their investigation into Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified information.
The Justice Department's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email setup has been formally closed without any criminal charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday.
The decision had been expected and was largely a formality given FBI Director James Comey's recommendation a day earlier against any prosecution. Even before Comey's public statement, Lynch had said she intended to accept the recommendations of the FBI director and of her career prosecutors.
To say I'm disgusted is a gross understatement.
Then Hillary and Barry just "happen" to schedule their first joint campaign appearance on the very day the FBI director is set to announce his findings. These events don't happen on a whim, or without weeks of advance notice. So for sure everybody already knew she was going to skate.
Which means, of course, that the FBI "interview" at her house on Saturday was just for show. The investigation was already concluded. The decision to clear her had already been made.
In other words, the fix was in. The rule of law is dead. Mr. Comey's cowardly decision will go down as one of the government's worst assaults on truth.
After describing clear evidence of extensive mishandling of classified national security information, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI will not recommend indicting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. This is naked crony government, ugly and exposed.
Laws are for the little people.
Hillary Clinton is Too Big To Jail.
It doesn't matter that the evidence of her guilt is plain for all to see.
But it might matter that buried in Comey's remarks is this little gem, in which he obfuscates Hillary's guilt.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
If Donald Trump and the GOP are smart they'll seize on this double standard, and convict Hillary in the court of public opinion.
Paul Ryan is, to his credit, connecting those dots.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Wednesday formally urged Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to deny presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton access to classified information.
Ryan, in a letter to Clapper, said he wants Clinton prohibited from receiving classified information "for the duration of her candidacy for president."
"There is no legal requirement for you to provide Secretary Clinton with classified information, and it would send the wrong signal to all those charged with safeguarding our nation's secrets if you choose to provide her access to this information despite the FBI's findings," Ryan wrote.
Of course Clapper will demur. He's a politician who's also looking to keep his job for four more years. But that will just give the GOP another talking point — what level of "carelessness" would lead Clapper to deny someone access to more classified information?
Move over "Crooked Hillary." Her new nickname ought to be "Careless Hillary." Because do we really want someone that reckless and negligent in the White House?
You know what? This guy is on to something.
And in the meantime I think Woodward and Bernstein owe Richard Nixon an apology.
It's a scene that's played out 6 times already. But that didn't stop Loretta Weinberg and her harridan caucus from again passing a budget bill that includes $7.5 million taxpayer dollars earmarked for the charnal houses of Planned Parenthood.
And with a stroke of his veto pen, Chris Christie nixed it for the 7th straight year.
Gov. Chris Christie rejected legislation Thursday [...] that would have restored $7.5 million in grants for women's clinics which he eliminated when he first took office in 2010.
In veto statements released just before 10 p.m. — two hours before the start of the new fiscal year — the governor said his actions "protected taxpayers" from the "irresponsible" spending by the Democrats who control the Legislature.
"Unfortunately, the Legislature has continued its annual ritual of attempting to pass additional unbudgeted spending for selected interests," according to Christie's veto statement.
The vetoes did not come as a surprise. This is the seventh time the governor rebuffed efforts to restore the $7.5 million that had been shared by more than 50 clinics providing health screenings, birth control and other heath services.
"Birth control" is of course their euphemism for abortion. Planned Parenthood is in the infanticide business. Period. All that other stuff is ancilliary, and ephemeral. Baby parts are profitable; condoms, not so much.
According to their audited financial statement, Planned Parenthood took in more than $230 million dollars last year. And they've got $284 million in net assets behind that. So they're not exactly poverty stricken. They don't need New Jersey's $7.5 million.
Or to put it another way, PP could easily cover that $7.5 million and restore those supposedly "vital" health services. That is, if they actually wanted to help women rather than play politics.
But politics it is, because to a virtue-signalling liberal the appearance of
"doing something" is always better than actually getting something done. So
we'll see you again next year Loretta. And you'll go 0 for 8.
Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend New Jersey. The impending 23 cent gas tax hike, scheduled to go into effect at midnight, is (temporarily) dead.
It's not for lack of trying. And it's not because State Senate Democrats have suddenly seen the light in our already overtaxed state.
Nope. It's because Steve Sweeney wants the tax hit to be bigger. Christie's fake sales tax cut has gotta go! To be replaced with, well, the Democrats are still working that out.
New Jersey's elected leaders failed to reach a compromise Thursday to fix the state's transportation funding crisis, Democratic leaders of the state Senate said Thursday afternoon.
The announcement that there would be no Senate vote came as a surprise to legions of lawmakers and lobbyists in Trenton, most of whom have spent the last two months warning that construction projects on the state's roads, bridges and rail lines will close at midnight if no funding fix is found. But leaders in the Senate said Thursday that there is enough money to carry the fund through July.
Asked whether the Assembly and Senate are close to agreement on funding the Transportation Trust Fund, Sweeney said simply, "No."
So the fund that was running on fumes suddenly has an extra month of life. It's a miracle!
"We're going to go talk to the Assembly because we don't feel there's enough support in the Senate to do the Assembly bill. So we have to go to the Assembly with what we feel is a bill that could pass," Sweeney, D-Gloucester, told reporters. "It's a negotiation, and we're going to try to negotiate with the Assembly when we leave here. But we're not going to take any action on either bill today."
The only part the 2 sides agree on is the immediate 23 cent hike in the gas tax.
Christie and the Assembly say they'll offset that with a one percent sales tax cut sometime after 2018.
Senate Democrats had cobbled together a hodge-podge of estate tax phaseouts, retirement income tax exclusions, and charitable contribution deductions for some "middle class" tax filers to maybe appease enough fence-sitters into backing the gas tax increase. Christie called that plan "unfair," which is how he came to be siding with the Assembly's proposal.
Meanwhile the Transportation Trust Fund is $30 billion in debt and every dime currently dedicated toward it now goes to interest payments, leaving nothing to pay for actual transportaton projects. Hence the zeal to more than double the gas tax.
And of course all of this plays out against the backdrop of Sweeney's 2017 gubernatorial ambitions. Which of course might get detoured if he's seen as the mastermind of a whopping gas tax hike.
Happy, uh, Independence Day.
Hanging around with Donald Trump seems to have given Chris Christie the idea that he's capable of cutting yuge deals. Except his idea of a deal is actually a complete sellout to the Democrats.
The state Assembly hastily approved a plan after midnight Tuesday to cut the sales tax by a penny in exchange for raising the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon to rescue the near-broke Transportation Trust Fund.
Most members of the Assembly began the day Monday expecting to vote on a bill that would raise the gas tax and soften the blow by abolishing the estate tax, granting a greater exemption for retirement income, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers and creating a tax deduction for charitable giving.
But by late Monday, that bipartisan plan gave way to an alternative proposal that preserved only the gas tax and income tax cut for retirement income, and that for the first time included a cut to the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent by 2018.
Raise the gas tax now. Maybe cut the sales tax later. No estate tax cut. No income tax cut. Nothing upfront except Tax and Spend. It's such a great deal they had to sneak it through in the dark of night.
The deal was hashed out between Gov. Chris Christie, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), who shuffled in and out of the governor's office from afternoon into the late night.
At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) asked Prieto to post the Transportation Trust Fund bills for vote by emergency resolution. Within 14 minutes, the Assembly passed the governor's funding plan.
Fourteen minutes! That's gotta be some kind of World Record for deliberative scrutiny. Obviously no one actually read the bill, or bothered to care what the public might have to say about it. Too late peasants! It's a done deal, so bend over and take it like a man.
The whole thing is a sham. By 2018 Christie will be a memory in Trenton. And dollars to donuts whatever Democrat succeeds him will find enough budget "emergencies" to ensure this sales tax cut never sees the light of day.
But that didn't stop Governor Sellout from doing his Happy Dance.
In an impromptu press conference minutes before the vote, Christie took credit for the revised proposal. Prieto emerged from the governor's counsel's office across the hall minutes later and embraced the governor.
"Who said that we don't get along?" said the speaker, who had been Christie's bitter adversary over a plan to bail out Atlantic City last month.
"While you guys are in there working, I'm the entertainment out here," Christie added. Prieto and Christie exchanged a ceremonial handshake and the governor did what could only be described as a celebratory dance.
Screwing the public is bipartisan fun!
Prieto and his unionista buddies are salivating at getting their mitts on that projected $2 billion annual boost to the Transportation Slush Fund.
They say it'll be used to fix our crumbling roads and bridges. And at an average cost of $2 million per mile there'll be plenty of opportunity for sticky fingers to latch onto some loose cash. Especially when some projects top out at a whopping $27.3 million per mile. Go ahead, tell me that one wasn't padded by the usual assortment of shady characters.
Then again, a lot of it will probably be earmarked for utopian socialist boondoggles like light rail, bike lanes, and the urban planners' perennial favorite — Transit Villages, which they'll sell on the idea of, wait for it, cars being too expensive to operate.
And then like I said, any hope of a future sales tax cut will fade into oblivion when the Democrats decide to use that money to bail out the public employee pension fund.
For a guy who entered office on the promise of shaking up the Trenton
establishment, Chris Christie has now cemented his stature as the epitome
of Business As Usual. Thanks governor. Thanks a lot.
No taxation without representation. It's the essence of modern liberty. It's the foundation of America's government. And it's about to be put to the test by the European Union, where a draft proposal would force robots to pay taxes.
Europe's growing army of robot workers could be classed as "electronic persons" and their owners liable to paying social security for them if the European Union adopts a draft plan to address the realities of a new industrial revolution.
Robots are being deployed in ever-greater numbers in factories and also taking on tasks such as personal care or surgery, raising fears over unemployment, wealth inequality and alienation.
Their growing intelligence, pervasiveness and autonomy requires rethinking everything from taxation to legal liability, a draft European Parliament motion, dated May 31, suggests.
The draft motion called on the European Commission to consider "that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations".
Isaac Asimov, please call your office.
If robots pay taxes, shouldn't they be allowed to vote? Hold office? Can an "electronic person" own property or exercise civil rights?
These aren't silly questions.
And no, I don't have the answers. I'm pretty sure the Euroweenies don't have the answers either. They're just trolling for revenue to prop up their bloated social welfare state and robots are this week's easy target.
But someone ought to put some thought into this Real Soon Now or the
EU just might find themselves on the receiving end of a robot revolution.
Yesterday Chris Christie proposed a statewide school aid plan that's so sensible, so fair, and so simple, it probably has zero chance of passing our rabidly partisan Democrat-controlled legislature.
The plan calls for equalizing state aid per pupil across the board. Every kid in every district gets the same amount. The current court-imposed formula sanctifies 30 "Abbott" districts, giving them the lion's share of state aid while leaving crumbs for the other 534. How this could be considered "fair" is beyond me, but then I'm not a liberal socialist. So expect the Democrats and their NJEA unionista buddies to oppose this plan tooth and nail.
But man-oh-man, if it did pass, I'd see my school tax bill shrink, by a lot.
Because according to this Star-Ledger analysis, Caldwell's state aid would rise from a measly $400.20 to $6,599 per pupil, an increase of 1524%!
Given that the CWCBOE spends about $14,000 per kid, and pretty much all of that comes out of property taxes, I could potentially see my school tax bill go down by about $4,000 a year.
That's almost better than winning the lottery!
Of course I'm only dreaming. Not because the Democrats won't pass Christie's plan. But because even if they did, the spendthrifts on Caldwell's board of education would never surrender that property tax revenue. These guys have a wishlist a mile long and an extra 6 grand per kid in state aid would get vacuumed up into lavish pie-in-the-sky ostensibly "educational" spending projects in a New York minute. The gold-plated water fountains in their Performing Arts Center or the state-of-the-art locker room facilities they're currently building in Met Life Stadium Junior (formerly known as Bonnell Field) would pale in comparison to the stuff they'd throw money at given the chance.
Christie's plan is only half of the solution. The other half is spending
control, something that's even more lacking in these parts than state aid.
Between the teachers union and the BOE the taxpayers don't have a prayer. And
until that situation changes it doesn't matter what Chris Christie or any future
governor does, because in the end we're still gonna get hosed.
Electric cars, still limited in how far they can go before needing to plug in for more juice, will soon be getting a jump start from New Jersey.
The state has launched a $725,000 grant program aimed at encouraging the installation of more electric vehicle charging stations.
Hey, remember back in the early 1900s when the state passed out grants to "encourage" the building of more gas stations?
Yeah, me neither.
According to the state Board of Public Utilities, there are currently 398 charging outlets at 181 locations in New Jersey, based on data kept by the federal Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center. BPU President Richard Mroz said the grant program will encourage greater use of electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids, by expanding the infrastructure network needed to keep alternative-fueled vehicles on the road in New Jersey.
398 charging stations doesn't sound like a lot. Except there probably aren't 398 electric cars in all of New Jersey.
Remember when the people who needed and wanted a service paid for that service? Ah, but then we couldn't have socialism, and use Other People's Money to buy votes and preen for favorable press.
Under the first phase of the New Jersey program, reimbursement grants of up to $250 will be offered on a first-come basis for each Level 1 charging station installed, and up to $5,000 for each Level 2 charging station.
Level 1 charging stations provide power through 120 volt lines, but take longer to charge. They add about 2 to 5 miles of range to a plugged-in electric vehicle per hour. Eight hours of charging at 120V can provide about 40 miles of range.
Level 2 stations, which offer more mileage range in a shorter period of time, are connected to 240 or 208 volt dedicated circuits, and can recharge a typical electric vehicle battery overnight.
Proving once again just how impractical electric cars really are. Plug in for an hour while twiddling your thumbs, and presto! you're good for another 2, maybe 5 miles. Lather, rinse, repeat!
Wait 8 hours (maybe take a nap?) and go a whopping 40 miles! Just don't turn on the air conditioning…
Or you could, oh I don't know, spend 8 minutes at the corner gas station and go upwards of 400 miles on a single tank. That is if you're smart enough to buy a Real Car instead of a glorified golf cart.
But then how would smug virtue-signaling liberals be able to feel good about
themselves at our expense?
That whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing? Yeah, it's so 17th century.
People whose names appear on a federal terror watch list or no-fly list shouldn't be presumed innocent until proven guilty for purposes of buying a firearm, according to Democratic lawmakers.
Congressional Democrats, in the wake of the Orlando, Fla., terrorist attack on Saturday, have renewed their call to ban individuals on the terror watch list from purchasing weapons. Most Republicans maintain that such a law would restrict peoples Second Amendment rights without due process of law.
Liberty, it's so outdated dontcha know. And guns are scary!
So yesterday, to the applause of pretty much every liberal on my Facebook friends list, Senate Democrats waged a 15 hour filibuster to force a vote on suspending the Constitution for gun owners.
A Democratic senator who mourned the loss of 20 children in his home state of Connecticut waged a roughly 15-hour filibuster into the early hours Thursday, asserting as he yielded the floor that Republican leaders had committed to hold votes on expanded gun background checks and a ban on gun sales to suspected terrorists.
Who is a "suspected terrorist?"
Anyone on the government's secret terrorism watch list or the airlines' no-fly list. Lists that you can't find out if you're on, and can't get off of if you are.
Sounds legit, right? Because remember, guns are scary!
Meanwhile, the New York Times wants the government to go even further, by convening a secret Star Chamber to suspend the Second Amendment.
A New York Times editorial advocates for a new law allowing a secret court to take away citizens right to own a gun at the discretion of the federal government.
Citing the Orlando terror attack that left 50 dead including the shooter and 53 wounded at a gay nightclub, the piece advocates for a "no-buy" list similar to "no-fly" lists. Under the law, suspected terrorists would not be able to buy a gun. In an attempt to ensure the integrity of the lists and preserve due process, the author proposes people only be added to this no-buy list after a secret court rules they are ineligible, similar to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court hearings where the federal government obtains permission to wiretap. Under this proposal, an American who has never been convicted of a crime could be denied their right to buy a gun simply because a secret court decided it should be that way.
Hey remember the Good Old Days when Democrats opposed the FISA courts?
Oh, right, that was back when that evil Booosch guy was using them to spy on library records and other important stuff. This is like totally different! Because guns are scary!
But, OK, let's suppose a bunch of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats really do have everyone's best interests at heart. They're paragons of integrity and they'll never put their political enemies on a "no-buy" list out of spite, unlike say, their buddies at the IRS. Honest!
So then riddle me this Batman. Because I'm confused about something. See, a day earlier Newt Gingrich floated the idea of resurrecting the House Un-American Activities Committee. Which of course would meet in the open, in front of TV cameras.
Newt Gingrich said resurrecting the House Un-American Activities Committee could help defeat radical Islam.
"We originally created the House Un-American Activities Committee to go after the Nazis", he said Monday on Fox News's "Fox & Friends."
"We passed several laws in 1938 and 1939 to go after the Nazis", the former GOP House Speaker added. "We made it illegal to help the Nazis. We are presently going to have to take similar steps here. We're going to take much tougher positions."
"We're going to ultimately declare war on Islamic supremacists, and we're going to say, 'If you pledge allegiance to [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria], you are a traitor and you've lost your citizenship.'"
And liberals flipped out.
When it comes to Muslims, Due Process is the only thing that matters. And their Constitutional rights are sacrosanct. And, McCarthyism!
"In the fifties, the most effective sanction was terror", The Harvard Crimson wrote of the committee's style in a February 1964 op-ed.
"Almost any publicity from HUAC meant the 'blacklist.' Without a chance to clear his name, a witness would suddenly find himself without friends and without a job."
I'm reveling in the irony. "Blacklist." "No-buy" list. Po-tay-to. Po-tah-to.
Here's an idea. Let's call the whole thing off.
Because even with all their lists, the Democrats still wouldn't have stopped the Orlando shooter. He deliberately wasn't put on any watch lists.
If you're asking yourself "why not?," that's easy.
The answer is, because under this Administration, accusations of "Islamophobia" are career-ending, whereas letting people be killed by the dozens is just an unfortunate bit of government work.
It's almost as if they're just using this shooting as pretext for advancing their totalitarian ideology. Never let a crisis go to waste. And disarming the population is Step One toward controlling the population.
And, Chris Christie sells us out once again. Or folds like cheap suit. Take your pick.
NJ Democrats want to raise our state's gas tax by a whopping 23 cents a gallon to pay for more transportation boondoggles like Camden's light rail to nowhere and a new rail tunnel for people who work in Manhattan. Er, "to fix our crumbling roads and bridges," at the low, low price of $27.3 million dollars per mile. Or, so I'm told.
In exchange, they're going to "phase out" the Estate Tax. In theory, anyway.
And today Chris Christie signaled he's OK with that plan, if the tax-and-spend party pinky-swears they'll phase out the estate tax "faster."
State lawmakers have "got work to do" on a pair of transportation funding plans if they expect approval by Governor Christie, he said Monday.
Having spent the weekend reviewing the proposals, Christie determined there is "not nearly enough" of what he calls tax fairness — reductions in exchange for an increase in the gasoline tax. Both legislative plans call for increases of up to 23 cents per gallon likely to be passed on to motorists.
"Tax fairness!" Because tacking 23 cents a gallon onto the price of gas is "fair!"
Oh, but, we're going to get rid of one of our dueling death taxes. Maybe.
Both plans propose raising $2 billion a year for the Transportation Trust Fund over the next 10 years. A critical component to achieve tax fairness, Christie said, is the elimination of the estate tax, one of the two so-called "death taxes" that many critics say make New Jersey uncompetitive with other states and unpopular for retirees. But the legislative proposals would phase out the estate tax over four years. Christie wants it eliminated by the time he leaves office in two years because, he said, "I don't trust them."
Yeah, well, we don't trust you either Chief.
And we certainly don't trust your bureaucratic brain trust to wisely spend that new $2 billion in annual revenue you're squeezing out of us. Because their track record stinks. Where else but New Jersey could you find a 3½ mile roadway reconstruction project costing north of one billion dollars? I must be the only guy in the state whose palm isn't getting greased on that one…
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. We don't have a revenue problem, we have spending problem. And Chris Christie's "solution" is to look the other way.
Thanks governor. Thanks a lot.
I'm coming out of the closet.
Donald Trump wasn't my first choice for the GOP presidential nomination. That distinction goes to Scott Walker.
He wasn't my second choice either. Or my third.
Hell, he wasn't my 17th choice, OK? Happy now?
But he's gonna be the nominee. And not for nothing, anyone is better than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The nation can probably survive 4, or even 8 years of President Trump.
America as we know it won't last six months after the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua is inaugurated.
Why? Because she'll finish what Obama started, erasing the Bill of Rights, trampling the Constitution, coddling our enemies, ruining the economy, and opening our borders to the Mohammedan hordes and Mexican drug lords. Oh, not to mention the enshrinement of Pay-to-Play as the only way to get anything done in her White House.
Her daughter spilled the beans, say goodbye to the Second Amendment. Hillary will confiscate our guns.
Donald Trump won't.
Hillary will appoint at least 2, and probably 3 radical left-wing justices to the Supreme Court. Justices who'll make Sonya "Wise Latina" Sotomayor look like Oliver Wendall Holmes by comparison. Justices who won't think twice about rewriting the Constitution to suit their social justice whims.
Donald Trump won't.
Hillary will irrevocably send our nation down the rathole of green energy, bankrupting the coal, oil, and gas companies as she pours trillions of tax dollars into pie-in-the-sky renewable generation fantasies.
Donald Trump won't.
Hillary will enhance and prop-up Obamacare, or barring that, replace it with Cuban / Venezuelan style single-payer health care.
Donald Trump won't.
Hillary will bury all the misdeeds of the Obama administration like Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, Lois Lerner's weaponized IRS, EPA overreach, State Department stonewalling, the disastrous Iran "deal," and the stench at the VA. And of course if she's president we'll never know the extent of the corruption at the Clinton Foundation or where all the money they supposedly raised for Haiti actually ended up.
Donald Trump will pour some much needed disinfectant on all that's rotten in the Democratic Party. Can you imagine how much fun Attorney General Chris Christie is going to have prosecuting everyone who ever worked for BHO and HRC? And Valerie Jarrett will probably defect to Iran the day after Trump is elected.
And of course, speaking of misdeeds, Hillary Clinton is under investigation by the FBI for serious breaches of national security.
Donald Trump isn't.
The presidency must be denied to Hillary Clinton. Of that there can
be no doubt. Donald Trump is the last person standing in her way. Ergo, it's
time to man up and endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States.
When I decry the indoctrination occuring in the government schools I'm often chastised by my liberal friends for over-reacting. Well, it turns out that ideas do have consequences, and one such consequence is the elevation of Gaia worship over traditional morality.
When asked to rank a series of action statements (lying, over-eating, stealing, etc) according to a five-point scale: "always OK," "usually OK," "neither wrong nor OK," "usually wrong" and "always wrong," teens and young adults rank "not recycling" as more immoral than viewing pornographic images. Combining the percentages of those who chose always and usually wrong for each statement, theft (taking something that belongs to someone else) ranked #1 at almost nine in 10 (88%). Not recycling ranked #4 at 56 percent, and porn was all the way down at #9 with only a third (32%) of teens and young adults ranking it as morally wrong. [Emphasis mine]
We are at a point where our teens consider viewing porn less of a moral issue than over-eating, energy consumption and not recycling.
Because "over-eating, energy consumption, and not recycling" are three issues the progressive left insists on emphasizing, over and over, brainwashing our children with apocalyptic visions of rising sea levels washing away a population of overweight sloths. Absent a sense of perspective, of course.
And naturally too, downplaying the detrimental effects of viewing porn is another deliberate decision. Porn desensitizes children to the spiratuality of sexual relations. Porn shows them that it's "normal" to engage in immoral activities. And the generation that came of age on "free love" is now teaching our kids that sexually, anything goes.
This is what comes of moral relativism, the belief that there are no absolutes, only shades of gray. It's a belief that "good" and "evil" are merely 2 sides of the same coin, and one is not inherently better than the other. Absolute morality, of the kind espoused by the likes of organized religion, has become verboten, replacing relativity with relativism.
Which is why our educators do not provide perspective when expounding on the perils of Climate Change, or racism, or homophobia, or Islamophobia, or in fact any of their radical pronouncements. When all ideas are "equal," nothing has value. Or rather, everything has the same value, and that value is defined by the person espousing it.
Alas, men need something or someone to worship. It's human nature. If God is taken out of the equation, then another deity, the State or the planet or the self, rushes in to fill the void. So we begat a generation of kids whose morality is skewed. A generation that will rearrange bathrooms across America to accommodate a single transgender individual and doesn't blink an eye at depictions of group sex on television. And of course a generation which delights in persecuting Christians and Jews who stand up in objection to the skewering of absolute truth.
In such an environment, how could recyclling not be more important
than resisting temptation?
When was the last time a political candidate was called a "moneygrubber?"
Let's ask Elizabeth Warren, who lobbed that label against Donald Trump today.
Donald Trump is an "insecure moneygrubber," Sen. Elizabeth Warren told the assembled Democrats of Massachusetts at the state's party convention Saturday.
Good grief. Did she break out a caricature of him with a hooked nose too?
Because in the fever swamps of the Left, "moneygrubber" == "Jew".
And according to Warren, Donald Trump, like stereotypical Jews, is "all about money."
From there, Warren launched into a laundry list of Trump's policies, highlighting where the GOP nominee's views differed from that of her own and her party's. She said he is "all about money."
The casual anti-Semitism inherent in that comments is astounding.
"These are the values we fight for," Warren said.
Donald Trump's daughter converted to Judaism.
And Elizabeth Warren's "values," the values she will "fight for," denigrate Ivanka Trump's religion.
Did you know Warren is on Hillary's short list for VP? Imagine a raging anti-Semite, a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Welcome to today's Democratic Party.
UPDATE 05 Jun 2016 13:28:
Adding insult to injury, Bernie Sanders and the DNC platform committee go full-on anti-Semite.
Sanders got to appoint two people to the Democratic Party's platform committee. Here's who he chose:
Professor Cornel West not only has called the Israeli prime minister a war criminal but openly supports the BDS movement (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), the most important attempt in the world to ostracize and delegitimize Israel.
West is joined on the committee by the longtime pro-Palestinian activist James Zogby. Together, reported the New York Times, they "vowed to upend what they see as the party's lopsided support of Israel."
Like I said above, the farther left you go, the more virulant is the Jew-hatred.
Reince Priebus couldn't do it. Paul Ryan won't do it. Mitt Romney doesn't want anyone to do it. Bill Kristol is urgently trying to prevent it. And John McCain forgot what "it" is.
But somebody has to step up and unite the GOP, and from somewhere beyond left field we get ... Mitch McConnell?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, widely acknowledged as one of the GOP Establishment's leading voices — who himself has little positive to say about Trump — is also deeply disconcerted by Kristol's apparent desire to see the GOP lose just because its presumptive nominee isn't a Weekly Standard-reading neoconservative who wishes to gallivant across the globe building democracies.
He's talking about Kristol's cockamamie idea of drafting NRO's David French to run as a third party candidate. Which, unless he also enlists Indiana State Representative Randy Frye as his running mate, is doomed to failure.
Oh, sure. "French - Frye 2016" is also doomed to fail, but it'll at least be good for a few laughs on late night TV.
Kristol's scheme "can only help elect Hillary Clinton," McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday. "Donald Trump won this thing in a good, old-fashioned way and I think we ought to respect the wishes of the Republican voters," he continued.
"Anything that divides this sort of right-of-center world is not helpful, and I don't think it's a good idea to do anything that helps us elect Hillary Clinton," he said.
In other words, keep your eye on the prize guys. Hillary Clinton and whatever radical progressive nutjob she cajoles into being her running mate are the real problem. They must be defeated. And like it or not, the only guy who can defeat them is Donald Trump.
Not Gary Johnson. Not David French. Not Mitt Romney The Sequel.
Which isn't to say that Trump is perfect. Far from it. So I was pleased to see that McConnell isn't letting Trump off the hook either.
During a Tuesday interview with Business Insider to promote his newly released memoir, " The Long Game," the Senate majority leader said it was time for Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, to stop focusing on "score settling."
"Well it's pretty clear he's going to be the nominee, and I would think the better path to take would be to unify the party rather than settling grudges or old scores," he said. "I hope Trump will go in a different direction."
"He's not a dumb guy, he's a smart guy," McConnell continued. "He's earned the nomination. Now's the time to put the party together, and I would put aside all the score settling with people who competed with him for the nomination or said things."
Now of course some of McConnell's sudden penchant for unity comes from a sense of self-preservation. Trump The Destroyer could very well send him back to obscurity as the GOP moves in a whole new direction. And I for one wouldn't lose too much sleep if McConnell and his cronies were deposed.
But McConnell's been around for a long time and he knows how to cut a deal. Trump likes deals. And a deal that keeps the House and Senate in GOP hands while crushing Hillary Clinton sounds like the best deal we can get at this point.
Of course part of Trump's appeal is he says things that are outrageous. He lambastes the establishment. He doesn't do nuance. He can't, and shouldn't turn that off. But he's also got to realize that he needs the GOP more than they need him. These establishment guys, their sinecure is set, even if Hillary gets elected. Bob Dole lost in 1996 and he's still hanging around collecting a paycheck.
So McConnell's olive branch is a good sign. Trump should take it, and together they should figure out a way to make peace with the #NeverTrumpers before it's too late.
That list of potential SCOTUS nominees was a good first step by the way. The NRA endorsement, especially given how Hillary is ratcheting up the anti-gun rhetoric, is also a positive development. (Yes, I know he's been all over the map on guns prior to his presidential run. But Constitutional Carry was one of his first big position statements, and he's repeatedly come out for gun permit reciprocity in a manner equivalent to how states recognize drivers licenses. So let's say he's "evolved," or something.)
If Mitch McConnell wants to bring both sides together I'll do what I can
to help. Bizarro World here we come. Because, #NeverHillary.
It's not exactly a smoking gun. And it's certainly not a stinging rebuke. But at least it's not a total whitewash either. The State Department's Inspector General has finally issued a report on Hillary Clinton's private email server, and yes, it says she broke the rules.
The State Department's independent watchdog has issued a highly critical analysis of Hillary Clinton's email practices while running the department, concluding that she failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private email server and that department staff would not have given its blessing because of the "security risks in doing so."
The inspector general, in a long awaited review obtained Wednesday by The Washington Post in advance of its publication, found that Clinton's use of private email for public business was "not an appropriate method" of preserving documents and that her practices failed to comply with department policies meant to ensure that federal record laws are followed.
The report says Clinton, who is the Democratic presidential front-runner, should have printed and saved her emails during her four years in office or surrendered her work-related correspondence immediately upon stepping down in February 2013. Instead, Clinton provided those records in December 2014, nearly two years after leaving office.
The report found that a top Clinton aide was warned in 2010 that the system may not properly preserve records but dismissed those worries, indicating that the system passed legal muster. But the inspector general said it could not show evidence of a review by legal counsel.
So far so good, right?
Here comes the "but."
The 83-page report reviews email practices by five secretaries of state and generally concludes that record keeping has been spotty for years.
It was particularly critical of former secretary of state Colin Powell — who has acknowledged publicly that he used a personal email account to conduct business — concluding that he too failed to follow department policy designed to comply with public-record laws.
And there you have it. The "everybody else was doing it" defense.
It's a smokescreen big enough to hide all of her transgressions.
You watch. The FBI will say they can't recommend indicting Hillary because they didn't indict Colin Powell way-back-when.
And then all the way to November, no matter what Trump says about Crooked Hillary, her media sycophants will keep spinning the lack of an indictment as "proving" she was "cleared."
I told you guys the fix was in.
Damn, I hate being right all the time.
Remember back in March when I noted that Obama bypassed Congress to send $500 million to a UN climate slush fund?
Congress didn't appropriate any money for his green dreams, so he took the $500 million from "somewhere else."
Well, Thanks to Senator James Lankford (R-OK) now we know where that money was supposed to go. Zika prevention.
I've said several times on the Senate floor, over the last two weeks, that the Zika virus is a serious threat and should be dealt with responsibly by funding immediate vaccine research and aggressive mosquito population control.
In a floor speech last week, I also shed light on the fact that Congress last December provided the Obama administration with authority to pull money from bilateral economic assistance to foreign countries.
They can use those funds to combat infectious diseases, if the administration believed there is an infectious disease emergency. In the middle of the Zika epidemic, the administration did use their authority to pull money from foreign aid and spend it, but they didn't use it for Zika.
You might ask — so what did the administration spend the infectious disease money on earlier this year?
You guessed it… climate change.
In March, President Obama gave the United Nations $500 million out of an account under bilateral economic assistance to fund the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund.
Congress refused to allocate funding for the U.N. Climate Change Fund last year, so the president used this account designated for international infectious diseases to pay for his priority.
Sorry pregnant women, Mother Gaia takes priority over you.
While I understand that intelligent people can disagree on the human effects on the global climate, it is hard to imagine a reason why the administration would prioritize the U.N. Green Climate Fund over protecting the American people, especially pregnant women, from the Zika virus.
Oh c'mon Senator, of course you can imagine why this president would prioritize climate change over human suffering. It's his legacy. It's how he collects accolades from preening liberals like Leonardo DiCaprio. And face it, what Leo thinks is far more important to Mr. Obama than the suffering of some nameless, faceless children.
It's called Virtue Signaling.
Combating Climate Change gets him invited to all the best parties and fawning coverage from the New York Times. Fighting Zika is harder, prone to possible failure, and not something limousine liberals care about because if it affects them at all, it's only because the maid or the gardener is prattling on about it instead of doing what they're paid to do.
Climate Change is the cause du jour.
Zika is somebody else's problem.
Fortunately Senator there is another arrow in your quiver. Introduce legislation
to bring back DDT. If nothing else, hilarity will ensue.
Choices? You now have fewer.
The number of insurance companies offering health coverage via the Affordable Care Act marketplace in New Jersey will dip to four next year when Oxford Health Plans, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, pulls out.
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, announced in April that it would leave the Obamacare marketplaces next year in most of the 34 states in which it offered coverage. High health costs for the small number of people who signed up in those markets led it to project $650 million in losses this year, the company reported. The company did not reveal its plans for New Jersey at that time.
A state insurance official notified the company on Tuesday 5/17 that the withdrawal of its HMO offerings was approved, to take effect on Jan. 1. The HMO will no longer be offered either on healthcare.gov or in the state's unsubsidized individual market.
There goes my plan.
I liked it. But, I can't keep it.
Of course I liked my pre-Obamacare plan better, but I couldn't keep that either.
Oxford customers affected by this move are to receive notification letters in late June. They will be able to shop for replacement coverage during the open enrollment period that begins on Nov. 1.
Yippee Kai Ay.
The insurers currently approved to sell coverage through the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey are Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, AmeriHealth of New Jersey, Health Republic of New Jersey, and Oscar Health Insurance, which is available in nine counties, including Bergen and Passaic.
With competition decreasing, watch for rate hikes. Big rate hikes. Because anyone who thought "affordable care" meant lower prices is an idiot. Or a Democrat. But I repeat myself.
Donald Trump says he'll shut Obamacare down.
I think I'm ready to vote for that.
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