Entries in Democrat Governor Phil Murphy (5)

Friday
Feb022018

Banning menthol cigarettes is the road to Eric Garner

There is a certain kind of busybody who is just born to be a legislator.  That's all he is good for.  He -- or she -- exists to "do something" every time someone utters the phrase, "Something must be done!"

Of course, every law or regulation... every "something" that this guy does, will at some point involve a man with a gun to showing up to enforce it.  Everybody forgets that.  Laws aren't designed to be benign.  To mean anything, at the back of them there must be mean force -- enough to take your money, your freedom, your life. 

But the busybodies keep on making laws -- telephone books full -- because "something must be done!"

Reporting out of committee in the Assembly earlier this week was a bill -- A2185 -- to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes.  Welcome to the era of Phil Murphy!  

New Jersey is a state that won't kill you if you sodomize, torture, and murder a dozen children.  But increasingly, the state practices a form of ad-hoc execution -- a death penalty meted out without benefit of legal process.  And the lawmakers know that this grows more likely every time they make a new law.  Yet they keep making things illegal... even as they thump their chests and congratulate themselves for abolishing the kind of death penalty in which you get a trial and an appeal or two or three. 

In one of his most famous essays, columnist George Will argued that "overcriminalization" was responsible for the death of Eric Garner, a sidewalk merchant who was killed in a confrontation with police trying to crack down on sales tax scofflaws.  

Will raised the question of how many new laws are created by state legislatures and by Congress in the rush to be seen to be "doing something"?  Will's brilliant column is a must read for legislators thinking about proposing their next round of ideas that will end up being enforced by men with guns.  An excerpt is printed below:

America might at long last be ready to stare into the abyss of its criminal-justice system.

By history’s frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly, or ignorance. With the grand jury’s as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal culpability in Eric Garner’s death on a Staten Island sidewalk, the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decency. It might at long last be ready to stare into the abyss of its criminal-justice system.

It will stare back, balefully. Furthermore, the radiating ripples from the nation’s overdue reconsideration of present practices may reach beyond matters of crime and punishment, to basic truths about governance.

Garner died at the dangerous intersection of something wise, known as “broken windows” policing, and something worse than foolish: decades of overcriminalization. The policing applies the wisdom that when signs of disorder, such as broken windows, proliferate and persist, there is a general diminution of restraint and good comportment. So, because minor infractions are, cumulatively, not minor, police should not be lackadaisical about offenses such as jumping over subway turnstiles.

Overcriminalization has become a national plague. And when more and more behaviors are criminalized, there are more and more occasions for police, who embody the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence, and who fully participate in humanity’s flaws, to make mistakes.

Harvey Silverglate, a civil-liberties attorney, titled his 2009 book Three Felonies a Day to indicate how easily we can fall afoul of America’s metastasizing body of criminal laws. Professor Douglas Husak of Rutgers University says that approximately 70 percent of American adults have, usually unwittingly, committed a crime for which they could be imprisoned. In his 2008 book, Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law, Husak says that more than half of the 3,000 federal crimes — itself a dismaying number — are found not in the Federal Criminal Code but in numerous other statutes. And, by one estimate, at least 300,000 federal regulations can be enforced by agencies wielding criminal punishments. Citing Husak, Professor Stephen L. Carter of the Yale Law School, like a hammer driving a nail head flush to a board, forcefully underscores the moral of this story:

Society needs laws; therefore it needs law enforcement. But “overcriminalization matters” because “making an offense criminal also means that the police will go armed to enforce it.” The job of the police “is to carry out the legislative will.” But today’s political system takes “bizarre delight in creating new crimes” for enforcement. And “every act of enforcement includes the possibility of violence.”

Carter continues:

It’s unlikely that the New York Legislature, in creating the crime of selling untaxed cigarettes, imagined that anyone would die for violating it. But a wise legislator would give the matter some thought before creating a crime. Officials who fail to take into account the obvious fact that the laws they’re so eager to pass will be enforced at the point of a gun cannot fairly be described as public servants.

Garner lived in part by illegally selling single cigarettes untaxed by New York jurisdictions. He lived in a progressive state and city that, being ravenous for revenues and determined to save smokers from themselves, have raised to $5.85 the combined taxes on a pack of cigarettes. To the surprise of no sentient being, this has created a black market in cigarettes that are bought in states that tax them much less. Garner died in a state that has a Cigarette Strike Force.

George Will is a Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist at The Washington PostTo continue reading... http://www.nationalreview.com/article/394392/plague-overcriminalization-george-will 

Being what they are, some of the legislators now pushing this newest, "something must be done" ban on menthol cigarettes, will be quick to blame the police when the law that the legislators send them to enforce inevitably produces resistance.  Someone will be shot or choked and the honorable busybodies will take to going down on one knee or crying on the television or shouting "it's the cops fault" whilst hopping up and down with a featherduster lodged firmly in the bunghole. 

The blue-collar police always get blamed -- not the white-collar legislators who make the law and then send them to enforce it.  The kick in the balls is that it's some of those white-collar legislators who made the law who end up leading the protests against the police for enforcing the law they made.

Police officers come in all races, creeds, and genders.  It is the best job available to folks of their class in a job market that has grown increasingly thinner (courtesy of the politicians and their paymasters).  If the politicians could find a way to outsource the work, they would... and maybe, they will, someday.  But for now, our police are our neighbors, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms and dads.  For now, they are just ordinary members of our communities called upon to do some very important and often unpleasant work.  Blue-collar work at blue-collar pay.  Hey, how many of Phil Murphy's One-Percenter friends would perform CPR on a homeless man if he needed it?  A cop will.  A firefighter will.  They're honor bound. 

Why would you give them anything more to do?

Memo to Legislators:  The next time something goes wrong with a law that YOU made... get out there and lead the chants against YOU.  Identify the culprit that is YOU.  Do the right thing.  Don't blame the guys YOU sent to enforce it.

Thursday
Feb012018

Republican Assemblywomen join labor unions in standing up to Murphy

Better get used to it, Governor Murphy!

At this week's Assembly Health Committee hearing two Republican Assemblywomen took on Governor Murphy's plans to pour taxpayers' money back into crony capitalist groups like Planned Parenthood.  Yeah, yeah, we know that for the uneducated few, Planned Parenthood is synonymous with "women's health."  But it's not.  It is only one of many providers all jostling for market share.

No, you say?  It's a non-profit organization?  Sure, and so was the NFL.  And so are a lot of organizations that make billions and pay their executives millions.  Setting up as a "not-for-profit corporation" is simply a business model -- it's not an "I'm not greedy" pass.

And Planned Parenthood is greedy.  It wants total market share.  That's why it organized the way does -- to spend millions on lobbyists and even more on grassroots marketing -- to convince American women that only they provide the services that, in fact, hundreds of other organizations provide.  We're sure Macy's would like to have the same deal.

Planned Parenthood uses well-paid lobbyists and political pressure to secure government money with as little questions asked as possible.  They want to keep all the vittles for themselves and starve their competition.  Planned Parenthood wants to have a monopoly -- and we all know what that does to consumers and taxpayers.  Consumers pay more and have less choice.  Taxpayers get ripped-off.

Well not when Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi and Nancy Munoz are around!

Holly Schepisi is like a Bergen Bulldog when ripping into a bureaucrat.  The Assemblywoman asked for Planned Parenthood's financial details -- its annual budget, annual revenue and executive compensation, none of which the group's political director could provide during the hearing.  

We can only suppose that Murphy told the director to drop by and pick-up a blank check.  But Schepisi wasn't having it.

"If it was that important, how could the head not be able to explain any of these items?"  Schepisi asked the Health Committee's Democrat Chairman.  "If it wasn’t just a political football, if it was that important to women’s health, how do we not have these answers?" 

Schepisi told the group:  "We have a lot of phenomenal organizations in this state that approach us for funding. The amount of money that you guys want is more than every school that I represent gets for school funding every year."

Assemblywoman Munoz advocated using the funding for organizations that aren’t supported by billions of dollars like Planned Parenthood, such as federally qualified health centers and other clinics.

“Why don’t we give this money to the New Jersey Coalition for Sexual Assault?” she asked.

Munoz noted that there are 279 walk-in clinics, 37 retail clinics, 187 urgent care clinics and 9 pediatric urgent care centers throughout the state that perform women’s health services without public funding.  Why should they be left high and dry with all the funding going to Planned Parenthood?

The efforts by the Republican Assemblywoman to keep the process honest was matched by the efforts of some labor union leaders to question why a former Lehman Brothers executive was going to get a no-questions-asked Murphy appointment to head the state's Economic Development Authority.  

Led by the redoubtable Bill Mullen, of the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council, many blue-collar unions questioned the priorities of Murphy-pick Tim Sullivan, late of Lehman Brothers and currently the deputy commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Economic & Community Development.

Like the Wall Streeter he is, Sullivan has steered a decidedly anti-blue collar course in Connecticut, giving priority to more fashionable projects in what he called the "six key business sectors" he wants to focus on: "insurance and financial services; digital media; green technology; advanced manufacturing; bioscience; and tourism. " 

A state like New Jersey, with a new Governor who is committed to bringing in tens of thousands of sanctuary seekers -- many of whom lack language and job skills, should be looking to invest in projects that more broadly employ blue-collar workers and those who, through blue-collar apprenticeship, can learn the skills they need to get onto the employment ladder.

Stay tuned...

Thursday
Jan182018

Inside scoop: Phil Murphy practicing for his Women's March speech on Saturday

Like they say, a picture really is worth a thousand words...

Credit to Art Gallagher of More Monmouth Musings

Wednesday
Jan102018

The Democrats' moocher towns strike again

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) claims that some places "mooch" off other places when they get back from government more than they pay in.  According to Gottheimer, the country's top "moocher" is Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of African-American residents -- 37 percent and growing -- because the state gets more back than they pay in. 

Is Gottheimer a racist?  Last Friday, Gottheimer was joined at a press conference by Democrats Phil Murphy and Tim Eustace to discuss ways to redress this "moocher" situation.  Are they coddling Gottheimer's racism?  If so, has anyone told the incoming First Lady?  New Jersey's answer to Madame Mao will not be amused.

If there are "moocher states" as Democrat Gottheimer claims, can we apply Gottheimer's measurement to other cases -- such as the relationship between municipalities or school districts within a state?  If, as the Democrat Congressman claims, there are places that "mooch" off the federal government, does it not also follow that there are places that "mooch" off state government?

We've already learned that towns like Sparta get back just 15 cents on every dollar they pay in state income tax to Trenton.  That's right, in what Congressman Gottheimer would call a clear case of mooching, Asbury Park paid in just a sixth -- in income taxes per person -- of what Sparta did, but got back 17 times more!

            Sparta Twp  $5,611,989 (received) / $36,267,481 (paid) = $0.15

            Asbury Park $57,632,816 (received) / $3,835,809 (paid) = $15.02 

We've also learned how poor families in suburban and rural New Jersey are subsidizing rich people in chic urban hotspots.  Their cut of the revenue from the state income tax allows these hotspots to keep their property taxes comparatively low.  For example, despite being clearly being economically better-off, Hoboken gets its property taxes underwritten by the income tax revenue paid by rural Warren County:

 Warren County has double the population of Hoboken City (107,000 to 52,000) but the population of Hoboken has been growing while Warren is shrinking (5% vs. -1%).  And while Hoboken has just 800 veterans, Warren County has over 7,000.  The per capita income of Hoboken City is over $70,000.  This compares with Warren County, at $33,000.  The median value of an owner-occupied home is $550,700 in Hoboken but only $271,100 in Warren County.  The U.S. Census reported that 5.5% of the people in Hoboken are without health insurance vs. 12.5% of those in Warren County.  73.5% of those 25 or older in Hoboken have graduated from college.  In Warren County that figure is 29.6%.

Enter the State Highlands Act... Passed by a Democrat-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey, the Highlands Act undertakes the worthy cause of preserving the aquifer that supplies the drinking water for a large urban population in Northern New Jersey.  Unfortunately, it does so at the expense of rural and suburban property owners -- who saw their land rights seized and the use of their land forcibly regulated -- without compensation. 

The Highlands Region encompasses nearly 859,267 acres across seven counties -- including Sussex and Warren Counties.  In the phrase coined by Democrat Gottheimer -- upscale urban areas are "mooching" off economically disadvantaged rural areas and the state is refusing to provide compensation to those being "mooched" upon.

On Monday, in one of the last legislative acts of the year, Congressman Gottheimer's fellow Democrats made it a point to further piss on the hopes and property rights of the economically disadvantaged communities under the boot of the Highlands Act, by undoing a Christie administration rule that allowed a small measure of development in those areas affected.  With incoming Governor Phil Murphy urging them on from the sidelines, the Democrat-controlled Legislature rescinded the Christie rule and, in so doing, made the property in question next to worthless. 

As Josh Gottheimer would say, the Democrats once again gave more to the "moochers" and took away more from those being "mooched" upon.

Republicans like Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space gave it their best, but with Phil Murphy's full support for the "moochers" and a Democrat-controlled Legislature, the resolution overturning the Christie rule barely passed the state Senate with the minimum 21 votes needed and the Assembly with 42 votes.  One of those votes to help the "moochers" at the expense of those "mooched" upon was cast by Assemblyman Tim Eustace -- who was at last Friday's press conference with Phil Murphy and Josh Gottheimer -- to complain about the "moochers"!  How is that for hypocrisy!

Why do Trenton Democrats continue to support allowing rich people in towns like Hoboken to "mooch" off poor families in places like Warren County?  Somebody needs to ask Democrats like Phil Murphy and Tim Eustace next time they hold a press conference with Josh Gottheimer to complain about "moocher states."

Thursday
Dec142017

Christmas Appeal: End Human Trafficking of Children

We have until January 8th to make this happen!

For the victims of human trafficking who will spend this Christmas in the nightmare of sexual slavery, time is running out. Please, help them.

 

For too many children, their road into modern slavery began on the Internet.

 

According to the U.S. Justice Department, as many as 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year.  The Internet is the vehicle for 76 percent of the transactions for sex with underage girls. 

 

The average victim is between 11 and 14 years old.  These victims come from all walks of life -- from every race, social, and economic background.

 

The problem is made worse by America's fluid borders.  According to the United Nations (UNICEF), 2 million children are trafficked in the global prostitution trade. The U.S. State Department reports that from 600,000 to 800,000 people (mainly women and children) are bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for slave labor and prostitution.

 

Human Trafficking has surpassed the sale of illegal arms and is set to surpass the illegal sale of drugs.  The FBI reports that human trafficking is on the rise in all 50 states and represents a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. 

 

New Jersey is a "hub for human trafficking," according to assistant New Jersey Attorney General Tracy M. Thompson.  "We are easily accessible via Interstate 95, and the proximity to major tourist destinations like Atlantic City and New York City makes us more vulnerable and susceptible," she said. "Our diversity is what makes it so great to be part of this state, but traffickers prey on (people of) their own ethnicity. It makes is so hard for law enforcement to penetrate these activities."

 

 YOU CAN END HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN NOW

 

In September, 14 people were arrested in a child-porn and human trafficking operation in Monmouth County.  In October, the FBI announced that it had uncovered and arrested 42 child sex traffickers in New Jersey.  The Star-Ledger reported that the 42 were arrested on charges that included sex trafficking, child exploitation and prostitution.  A total of 84 children were rescued during the operation.  At the beginning of December, 79 suspects were arrested on a host of charges that included sexual assault, using the Internet to send inappropriate images to children, and child pornography. 

 

So why are the manufacturers of products and services that provide access to the Internet refusing to take responsibility for what they sell? 

 

Every other producer of a product or service is held to account for what they sell.  You can't sell an automobile to an 11-year-old, hand her the keys, and let her drive off the lot. 

 

And with schools requiring young students to have access to the Internet, it is no longer about the parent.  The government-run education system supplants the parents and requires the child to be connected to the Internet.  For many children, it's like requiring them to walk to and from school on a dangerous, traffic-filled highway.

 


There is legislation that changes this and makes the corporations responsible for the products and services they sell.  It is a bill championed by Republican State Senator Steve Oroho, and it has attracted substantial bi-partisan support.

 

The bill is called the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act (S-2928).  And it offers a constitutional way to prevent predators from using the Internet to sexually exploit children.  It requires that those who sell products and services that allow children to access the Internet make their products safe from human traffickers engaged in the modern slave trade.  It is supported by Thorn, an anti-human trafficking group that uses technology to defeat child sex traffickers.


Despite having enough legislators committed to passing this legislation -- either as co-sponsors or supporters, the Democrats who run both chambers of the Legislature have held up passage.  They are listening to objections from the porn industry, who have adopted a "no questions asked" attitude on where their profits come from.  Porn is legal and the corporations who profit from it and their allies are the enablers of human trafficking.

 

The enablers of human trafficking know that S-2928 has enough votes to pass the Legislature and be signed into law by Republican Governor Chris Christie.  They want to run out the clock until Democrat Phil Murphy takes office on January 16, 2018.  Then the legislative books will be closed and the process will need to start all over again, under a Governor who has not expressed support for S-2928.

 

The holidays are here.  Christmas is coming.  Right now, in cities and towns across America, anti-human trafficking activists are working to rescue children who were lured into a life of slavery through the Internet.  They are hoping to reunite them with their families in time for Christmas. 

 

 

Think of how you would feel at this time of year if your child was in the hands of human traffickers.  Wouldn't you want her back?  Wouldn't you want to hold her?  Wouldn't you want to break the nexus that makes such slavery possible?

 

We have a month to break the power of human trafficking and their enablers. 

 

The human traffickers are counting on them to keep things the way they are.  Can we count on you? 

 

Your contribution to the Center for Garden State Families will be used to make sure that every legislator who sides with human trafficking and puts profits ahead of enslaved children is held to account.   They will be forced to face the choice of standing with the slavers or with the victims of slavery.  We trust that when faced with such a choice, they will do the right thing.

 

Can you please make your urgent contribution today?