Murphy proposes French-style fuel tax that caused the Yellow-Vests Movement

Wikipedia defines the Yellow Vests Movement as “a populist, grassroots, revolutionary political movement for economic justice that began in France in October 2018.” The movement is motivated by rising fuel prices as well as government and crony-capitalist-induced escalations in the cost of living.

The Yellow Vests Movement holds that a disproportionate burden of government tax “reforms” fall on “non-elites” – the working and middle classes – particularly in rural and suburban areas. In France, the Movement has called for direct democracy through the implementation of citizens' initiative referendums.

The Movement spans the political spectrum, drawing from voters on both the Right and Left who have been pushed to the “periphery” by government policies that support crony capitalism. It gets its name from yellow high-visibility vests, which French government regulation requires all drivers have in their vehicles and to wear during emergencies.

Writers as diverse as Ralph Nadar, Chris Hedges, and Christophe Guilluy have written about a fusion of economically stressed voters on the “periphery” of the new economy coming together to challenge government and crony capitalist elites. It has been noted that the Trump prosperity has temporarily slowed down this evolution, much in the way that Watergate (1974) was simply a bump in the road on the way to a conservative resurgence and the election of Ronald Reagan and a Republican-controlled Senate (1980).

The Yellow Vest Movement started with the imposition of a new “green” fuel tax that was the last straw for working and middle class voters trying to make ends meet. Now it looks like New Jersey is heading down the same road. On Monday, the NJ Spotlight reported:

In what could amount to the most significant regional effort yet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 12 states have issued a draft policy framework to create a cap-and-trade program to reduce global warming pollution from vehicles.

The proposal, developed by the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), is modeled somewhat after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program that for the past decade has helped clamp down on carbon pollution from power plants.

This draft framework, while sparse in details, proposes to put a cap on emissions from the transportation sector by requiring state fuel suppliers to buy allowances, which would be auctioned off for the right to emit carbon.

The draft does not describe what the level of caps would be, precisely who would be regulated, how much the allowances could cost, or how quickly the caps would go down. The transportation sector has replaced the power industry as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In New Jersey, the sector accounts for roughly 40% of the state’s carbon pollution.

Motorists will likely pay at the pump

In the end, the cost will likely end up being paid for by motorists at the pump, a difficult choice for New Jersey and other states already pursuing new clean-energy solutions that are expected to be reflected in higher energy bills — at least for the short term.

Within the United States, New Jersey has perhaps the clearest elite vs. working class divide with more than half the state’s poor families living in rural and suburban communities subsidizing the property taxes of wealthy professionals and rich corporations nestled in the so-called Abbott Districts. Government directed, taxpayer-subsidized, crony-capitalists in Abbotts like Camden reap profits by husbanding poverty.

How will higher fuel costs go down with voters who are already stretched to the limit? How is this latest Murphy administration scheme going to help a state with a high rate of foreclosure and the highest property taxes in America?

Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space have proposed legislation to block Governor Murphy’s plans to raise the cost of fuel in New Jersey. A-5042 prohibits New Jersey’s participation in multi-state cap and trade programs like that proposed by the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

This legislation should get bi-partisan support before November 5th and the cold weather months set in. Higher fuel prices are not something anyone wants to see for the holidays.

Assemblyman Wolfe: Another of those “different” kind of Republicans?

What ever happened to the Republican Party being the party of local citizen control of education?  What ever happened to the Republican Party that opposed big government mandates?

Apparently, in New Jersey at least, the Republican Party is of a mixed mind on these once universally agreed upon principles.  See, this is why they lose.  Nobody can tell what they stand for anymore.

The Democrats today in committee – all of them – in lockstep, voted to send to the floor A-1335 (S-1569) which MANDATES that local school boards, paid for by local property taxpayers (unless you are a Democrat Party machine-controlled Abbott District), adopt a new curriculum that is centered on the accomplishments of individuals based on their physical disabilities and sexual preferences.  Once upon a time, average Republican voters could have expected ALL of their elected representatives to oppose such an overreach by a central government.

Now everyone can agree that Dr. Alan Turing OBE was a great mathematician and scientist.  Whether or not his sexual appetite figured into his great mental capacity is speculative, but he should be honored and remembered for his achievements in science and in war – not for how he got off.  That was his personal business.  Of course, the post-war Labour government never forgave him for being Churchill’s man.  The Left was obsessed with the private affairs of Dr. Turing (who, by-the-way, earned his doctorate at Princeton University). 

Today the Left is still more obsessed with Dr. Turing’s penis that with his brain – and while his penis may or may not have been particularly interesting, it was the quality of his mind that earned him a place in history.  Now the New Jersey Legislature – Democrats (all) and Republicans (some) – is set on elevating Dr. Turing’s penis above his brain.  Demanding that we see his sexuality before his science.  That’s sad… and puerile… and stupid.   

Dr. Turing was victimized by a Labour government because they could not get past his being a “gay” man.  They refused to see the scientist and insisted on only seeing the sex act.  Today a committee of the New Jersey Assembly has asked the full Legislature to mandate that children be taught to see the sex act before the human accomplishment.  Today a committee of the New Jersey Assembly has gone on record to state that what you do with your pecker and who you do it with is the principal measure of a man.  They are on record as stating that it is more important than our common humanity, than our shared aspirations, than the greatest accomplishments of science and art.  They’re like a bunch of high school wankers… obsessed with their new toy.  They can think of nothing else… can’t get past it.

It’s sad… puerile… and stupid.   

This foolish over-reach by big government has already been passed by the State Senate, courtesy of those three moes… Senators Addiego, Bateman, and Brown. 

So when will the Republican Party step up and speak for citizen control of local education?  When will it start opposing big government mandates?

Julie O’Connor: Stark raving ideologue

(originally published by CNJ in February 2013)

“It does take great maturity to understand that the opinion we are arguing for is merely the hypothesis we favor, necessarily imperfect, probably transitory, which only very limited minds can declare to be a certainty or a truth.” ― Milan Kundera

According a 2009 account given in the Star-Ledger, Julie O’Connor spent her formative years in that bastion of establishment liberalism, Montclair, New Jersey and now lives in one New Jersey’s Abbott Districts – Jersey City.  Like similar members of the establishment, Ms. O’Connor has had the benefit of most of the state’s income tax payers working hard to subsidize the property taxes paid by the affluent households in her community.  Isn’t it nice to live in one of the wealthy colonies dependent on the largesse of the state’s Democrat Party? 

Isn’t it nice to see your property tax bill subsidized by everyone else – including the 49 percent of the state’s economically deprived children living outside the Abbott Districts?  And this number comes from the state Supreme Court’s own Doin Report.  Even Governor Jim McGreevey’s Education Commissioner said that the state should stop subsidizing rich gentrified urban communities at the expense poor rural ones.

Before joining the Star-Ledger’s editorial board, Ms. O’Connor was active in the Peace Corps – in the vacation paradise known as Costa Rica.  The Ledger’s promotional piece on her notes:  “In her spare time, she enjoys running, drinking chai tea and watching reruns of ‘I Love Lucy.’”  Get the picture?

Somewhere along the way, this hothouse orchid developed quite a mouth on her and an intolerance to civil debate.  If she happens to disagree with your opinion, that makes you “nuts”, and she’ll call you that, in print.

And it doesn’t matter that her own newspaper, in editorial after editorial, once expressed the same concerns about the same issue – if you disagree with Julie O’Connor, you’re “nuts”.

In a February 14, 2013, editorial penned by Julie O’Connor on behalf of the entire Editorial Board and management of the Star-Ledger, Ms. O’Connor put forward the argument that anyone concerned about the unwieldy size, composition, or process that has gone into concocting the Bush-Obama “Terrorism Watch List” and the effects this might have on due process and the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights, was – in Ms. O’Connor’s word – “nuts”.

Apparently she hadn’t read the concerns put forward by the Star-Ledger itself, in earlier editorials:

“Terror list cries out for reform” screams one editorial.  Criticizing the million name list it notes:  “The number of names on the terror list, many as common as ‘Gary Smith’ or ‘Teddy Kennedy,’ guarantees thousands of innocent travelers regularly get pulled aside for questioning at airports and borders. Besides being a pain for ordinary people, it wastes valuable law enforcement time with no real security benefit.”

The Star-Ledger advises the FBI to “shelve” plans to use “profiling” to enhance its “terrorist” watch list.  The Ledger editorial warns:  “Comparing untold numbers of Americans to a terrorist profile would endanger civil liberties and wouldn't be a very effective way of ferreting out those who threaten the nation.”

In another editorial headline, the Star-Ledger concludes that “the watch list is dangerous”, and makes the following observations:  “The flaws in the FBI's handling of names on the nation's terrorist watch list are troubling enough. Inaccurate, outdated or incomplete data are passed along by agents without being reviewed for reliability. The result is a list with many names that shouldn't be there. Here's something more troubling: The FBI is probably doing the best job in government in processing names to be added to the list, according to a recent Justice Department inspector general's report. Other agencies don't share information reliably, don't all follow the same reporting protocols and don't even always define ‘terrorism’ the same way. Information isn't updated. Names aren't removed when people are cleared of any connection to terrorism.”

Those are from just three of the many editorials written before the management and editors of the Star-Ledger executed an about face on the question of due process and the Bill of Rights.  The list is flawed and should not be used as the basis of whether or not we are afforded our constitutionally protected civil rights.  In the following clip, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert shreds the ridiculousness of the so-called “Terrorist Watch List”, noting that Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela was on the list for many years:

Look, we all know why this editorial was written like a piece of attack mail from the New Jersey Democrat State Committee.  The day before the editorial’s publication, reported that state Democrat Party leaders had held a strategy session by conference call that day and were “mobilizing” for a “public relations assault” against Republicans on exactly the issue on which Ms. O’Connor labeled Republicans as “nuts”.  Maybe she was on the call?

In the past, Star-Ledger editors and management, through their editorials, have lectured the newspaper’s readers on the importance of “civility” in public discourse.  They have lectured against name-calling and bullying and on the need for a greater understanding of mental health issues and a greater sensitivity to those who suffer from mental health problems.  The Ledger praised then Acting Governor, Senator Dick Codey, for his good service in this area and noted the difficulties braved by the state’s then First Lady.  It is a good thing Julie O’Connor wasn’t selecting the words for that editorial.

Of course, the management of the Star-Ledger is in hock to the state’s Democrat Party and there is little the editorial board can do about it.  Like Julie O’Connor, the Star-Ledger is located in one of the state’s Abbott Districts and the corporation’s property tax bill would rise astronomically if New Jersey were to adopt Fair School Funding.  And the Ledger is only a tiny part of a much larger corporate enterprise with significant holdings that benefit from the largesse of state Democrats. 

Remember how the state’s newspaper industry panicked when they thought they would lose their corporate welfare?  When there was a bill up that would have allowed county and local governments to post notices on-line instead of forcing them to spend the money from property taxes to publish newspaper notices that nobody reads.  That’s right, in the age of digital technology your property tax dollars are being used to prop up a failing business model that depends on deforestation and flushing effluence into waterways. 

But there is a larger question here and it is a really BIG and IMPORTANT question:  The management of New Jersey’s largest newspaper, through its editorial board, appear to believe that due process and the Bill of Rights have no place in our current situation.  That in the twelfth year of the “War on Terror”, with no formal Declaration of War and no end in sight, we as a nation must accept that ideas such as due process, the rule of law, and justice no longer have a place in our society.  They appear to want to convince us that “if we can save just one life. . . for the children” then we should shove the whole Bill of Rights into the shit bin.

Tom Moran, the man entrusted by the management to run the Star-Ledger’s editorial board, has labeled the Constitution as a “source of our woes” and as much as said that we need to scrap the American Constitution in favor of a strong-man executive style of government, similar to what they have in Egypt or Russia.  One idea that Moran floated was to allow newly elected presidents to appoint 10 senators and 50 congressmen to serve “at large”. 

Let’s put President Obama aside for the moment.  Here’s the question for Tommy Moran:  “Would you really want a President Nixon, George W. Bush or even a President Christie with this kind of power?”

What Tom Moran advocates is neo-Fascism disguised as an attempt to break the slow, deliberative process inherent in every democracy.  It is no wonder then that the management and editors of the Star-Ledger want to dump due process and the Bill of Rights in favor of a secret list, with a secret process, developed by an unaccountable bureaucracy answerable only to the executive.

What happened to Blackstone's formulation that it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"?  Too old-fashioned?  Not chai tea enough for our contemporary “lifestyle”?  With thousands of drones set to take to the skies and some in the government arguing that Americans can be killed extra-judicially – is neo-Fascism our future?

Maybe we will get some answers.  CNJ’s editor has been reaching out to people concerned about due process and the Bill of Rights, regardless of party or ideology, because that doesn’t matter.  Without due process and the Bill of Rights, all of us are susceptible to being terrorized by the government of the day.  Who gets terrorized will just depend on the regime.  And who “wins” in a game with no rules? 

In the next week or so, the editor will be contacting the management and editors of the Star-Ledger, to ask them to be part of a cross-party, cross-ideology, cross-community discussion about due process and the Bill of Rights in a time of endless, undeclared “war”.  We will all be watching to see if the Ledger’s apparatchiks have the courage to come out of their well-guarded building to sit down with other Americans to discuss the position put forward in their name, by Julie O’Connor.

FACT: John McCann defends political corruption

FACT:  There is one thing that rigs an election more that gerrymandering.  It is called "the line"


A few county party organizations in New Jersey (both Democrat and Republican) have usurped the actual government-prepared ballot so that they can use it to advertise who their "official" candidates are.  That's right.  A few party bosses in a few counties are using the taxpayer-funded ballot to "instruct" the voters of their party on how to vote.

This doesn't happen anywhere else in America, and it happens in New Jersey only because the state's unelected courts have allowed it to happen.  Of course, these are the same courts that have given us Abbott Districts (where all the money for education goes to a few counties controlled by urban political machines). Because of Abbott we have the highest property taxes in America.

The same courts that have allowed political party bosses to usurp power with "the line" have eroded our Second Amendment rights to make us less safe.  The same courts that have refused to allow citizens the right to take legal action against government when it fails to protect them from violence and murder.

If you want to know why you pay so much, look no further than "the line" which keeps the same corrupt party machines in power, selecting the same insider politicians, who make the judges who inhabit the courts.  So if you are content with paying the highest property taxes in America, keep supporting the same party bosses and go on voting "the line."

Candidate John McCann has defended this misuse of the official ballot by political party bosses.  He has done so even when the party boss is someone like Passaic County's Peter Murphy, who was convicted of public corruption and sent to prison.

Passaic County Republican Chairman Is Indicted on U.S. Bribery and ...

Dec 5, 2000 - The chairman of the Passaic County Republican Party was indicted today on federal bribery and mail fraud charges in a continuing investigation of the Republican-dominated county government that has already resulted in guilty pleas by two other officials. ... For most of that time ...

Once prosecuted by Christie, Passaic GOP power broker poised for ...

Jul 16, 2015 - Former Passaic GOP chairman Peter Murphy of Totowa ultimately plead guilty to mail fraud back in 2003 after a lengthy prosecution and conviction (the ... involving dishonesty or moral turpitude or which constitutes a felony in either the State of New Jersey, Federal jurisdiction or equivalent of same in ...

Why would anyone in their right mind support someone like Peter Murphy?  Isn't politics corrupt enough already?

Not only is "the line" an aberration used nowhere in America outside a few political machine controlled counties in New Jersey, it wouldn't pass muster in a Third World election overseen by the United Nations.  "The line" -- the McCann endorsed vehicle for public corruption -- is arguably in violation of several United Nations General Assembly Resolutions, including A/RES/46/137 (1991), A/RES/55/96 (2001), as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966).

So while we send American service men and women far from home to make the world "safe for democracy," a few county politicians in New Jersey are laughing at them by corrupted the process and are making a mockery of the sacrifice of those young lives.  They should be ashamed but corrupt party bosses like Passaic County's Peter Murphy are beyond shame.

And candidate John McCann is right there with them.

President Donald Trump was criticized recently for employing the term "shithole" to describe some Third World nations.  Well, as far as political processes go, there are quite a few "shithole" county party committees (both Democrat and Republican) who are making an effort to turn New Jersey into a political and economic "shithole."

And candidate John McCann is right there with them.

"Moocher" label: Democrat Gottheimer's coded racism?

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) has been throwing the "M-word" around again.  The Bergen County Democrat has taken to social media to decry what he calls "moocher states" -- which Gottheimer defines as those who get more back 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.  In contrast, New Jersey's percentage -- 13 percent -- is about a third of Mississippi's.  So what is Congressman Gottheimer trying to say and who is he calling "moochers"?

Perhaps the real reason Mississippi receives more in federal money than New Jersey does, is that the folks who live in Mississippi are -- on average -- much poorer than those who reside in New Jersey.  According to the latest data from the United States Census Bureau, Mississippi is the poorest state in America, with a median household income of just $40,593.  In contrast, New Jersey is the fourth richest state in America, with a median household income of $72,222.  Only Maryland, Hawaii, and Alaska had higher median household incomes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

By another measurement -- covering the years 2010-2014 -- New Jersey is the second richest state in America, with a Per Capita Income of $37,288.  By this measurement, Mississippi is again the poorest state in America, with a Per Capita Income of just $21,036.

In applying the "moocher" label to Mississippi, Democrat Gottheimer claims that New Jersey gets back just 33 cents for every dollar it sends to Washington, while Mississippi receives $4.38 for every dollar it sends to Washington.  Despite Gottheimer's claims, the Pew Charitable Trust Reports that New Jersey received far more in actual federal money than did the state he mocks as a "moocher":


But the Democrat has raised an interesting concept in his claim that some places "mooch" off other places when they get back from government more than they pay in.  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?

This was the central idea behind State Senator Mike Doherty's Fair School Funding plan, which he championed back in 2012.  According to Doherty (R-23) and his acolytes, the solemn promise made to the voters when the state income tax was established -- that the proceeds would be used so that property taxes could be reduced -- was broken by the state judiciary (the failsafe of the political establishment) when it absconded with the revenue from the state income tax and directed that it be used for social engineering purposes, in what became known as the Abbott Decision.  Worse still was that the two other branches of the State's government -- the Executive and the Legislature -- allowed the Judiciary to get away with it.

In effect, New Jersey's judiciary set up a "moocher" and "mooched upon" relationship within New Jersey, based on the municipality that you happened to reside in.  This is the world now -- as Democrats like Josh Gottheimer see it:  The "moochers" and those "mooched upon."

So who are the "moochers" in Democrat Gottheimer's brave new world? 

In 2012, Senator Doherty conducted a series of town-hall meetings in which he demonstrated how some municipalities in New Jersey were -- to use Democrat Gottheimer's phrase -- "mooching" off other municipalities.  Using data supplied by the Department of the Treasury, Department of Education, and the Office of Legislative Services, Doherty compared two towns -- one, a so-called "Abbott" District in Monmouth County; the other, a non-Abbott in Sussex County.

Like the federal income tax, New Jersey has a progressive income tax.  Those who earn more, pay more.  According to the figures provided to Senator Doherty, the top 1% of earners pay 38.5 percent of the state income tax, while the bottom 33 percent pay nothing.

Doherty compared Asbury Park, an Abbott District, with Sparta Township, a non-Abbott, and found that the average Sparta resident paid almost 6 times as much income tax as the average resident of Asbury Park:

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Doherty also found that the average student in Asbury Park got back 17 times as much in income tax revenue as the average student in Sparta Township:

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 9.58.40 AM.png

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!

Senator Doherty made the point that New Jersey got back just 61 cents on every dollar it sent to Washington, DC, but noted that for non-Abbott towns like Sparta, the return was even worse on the state income tax money it sent to Trenton. 

            Sparta Twp - $5,611,989 / $36,267,481 = $0.15

            Asbury Park - $57,632,816 / $3,835,809 = $15.02

That's right.  Towns like Sparta get back 15 cents on every dollar they pay in state income tax to Trenton.

Senator Doherty noted that unlike everywhere else in America, New Jersey's school funding formula -- and its use of the state's revenue from the income tax -- left many of its towns without a basic threshold with which to educate their children.  And because of this, New Jersey needed artificially high property taxes to pay for the children in these revenue-starved towns.

The Trenton Democrats have argued that these so-called Abbott towns need all that revenue because they are economically disadvantaged.  Yes, they once were,  but the Democrats have ignored the economic gentrification going on in places like Hoboken, Jersey City, and Asbury Park -- and the enormous influx of wealthy professionals and rich corporations.  The Democrats' formula for apportioning the state's take from the income tax is locked in a time warp -- based on figures decades old. 

In fact, when the state commissioned a study on how effective its formula was at helping economically disadvantaged children, the state's own figures showed that it missed half the state's poor children -- those who lived outside the so-called Abbott towns.  That was a decade ago, the Abbotts have only grown collectively richer since then.

Today we have a situation where 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.  Why should rich Hoboken get 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%.

So why do Trenton Democrats continue to support a system that allows rich people in Hoboken to "mooch" off poor families in 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."