NJ Republicans must have the courage to engage on the Second Amendment

There are three kinds of people who favor gun control: (1) Those who do so in reaction to horrific events and the media coverage of those events. (2) Those who emotionally or intuitively dislike guns or the idea of weapons. (3) Those looking for power, whether in the form of votes or other forms of power as would come from the confiscation of firearms.

Conservatives like United States Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas) are taking a lead in the process of finding common ground with the first group and engaging with the second, which represent most of those who say they want stricter gun control. Here, Senator Cruz meets with prominent gun control advocates…

Senator Cruz has given a lot of thought to the Second Amendment and he knows who he is, where he stands, and why he stands there. This is important, because in order to have a conversation with those who hold a different position, you must first have a position of your own.

Most New Jersey Republicans get nervous around the Second Amendment. Most, not all, but most. This is an institutional thing that goes back decades. Sad to say, but even Bernie Sanders had a better voting record on the Second Amendment than did many New Jersey Republicans. When President Bill Clinton pushed a bill through Congress that required a seven-day waiting period for the purchase of a hand gun, Congressman Sanders (Socialist-Vermont) voted “NO”, while all but one of the Republicans in the New Jersey congressional delegation supported the bill.

Forget the Trump Revolution, New Jersey Republicans never really embraced the Reagan Revolution The brain and nervous system of the party tends to reject new stimuli. Nevertheless, the world has moved on, and the body of the party – those who identify or who could identify as Republicans – bears no resemblance to the past. Too often, the brain and nervous system reacts to them as outsiders and actively rejects them, looking, as they often do, like the Democrats of old.

So the Republican Party in New Jersey – the brains and nervous system of it – needs to adjust itself to its new body, for just as the body cannot function without a brain, the brain is fairly useless without a body to command. Step one in this process is an intellectual one. It requires engagement – brain with body – to learn again who it is and what it wants to do.

Before attempting to convince “swing” voters or Undeclared voters or “soft” Democrats… New Jersey Republicans must first know who they are, what they stand for, and what they would do in power. Only then can they engage in a dialog and adjust their message to sell their beliefs more effectively – that’s sell… more effectively, not scrap. And it really does help to get literate about this and to write it down, as an outline or a platform or whatever you wish to call it, so that it may be referred to and passed along.

As for the more tactile branches of the body – the activists – it is good to keep in mind the advice of Benjamin Franklin to the citizen who wished to know the form of government that we’d got. “A Republic,” he answered, “If you can keep it.” By this Franklin was instructing that citizenship is a daily duty. It does not end with a victorious election but begins there. The body sends a continuous flow of messages to the brain. It does not celebrate and then go dormant. Neither can the activist – or the good citizen.

Leftists threaten to “stab” Senator. Where is the media?

“Stab the Mother F**ker in the heart!”  So say the Antifa warriors and their political allies here in New Jersey.  Tucker Carlson reports…

So where are the outraged women of the one-percent?

Why no comment from mega-wealthy one-percenters like Lisa Bhimani (who, in addition to her million dollar home, owns a $1.6 million dollar nook in Manhattan for when she happens to be there) or Darcy Draeger or Stacey Gunderman or Lisa Mandelblatt?

Where is Sussex County Democrat Chairwoman Katie Rotondi?  She’s good at trash-talking Disabled American Veterans.  Why no comment about this? 

Why the silence? 

Hypocrisy.

Could Fred Snowflack pass a lie detector test to prove his moral superiority?

It’s bad enough Fred Snowflack writes for a blog owned and operated by a government contactor – an insurance operation no less – part of that grease-machine for which New Jersey is so famous.  Back in the day, when Snowflack was employed by actual newspapers, those journalists had a phrase when describing what you got from the grease-machine… they called it the “corruption tax” that made everything your tax dollars paid for more expensive.

But Fred doesn’t criticize the folks he works for these days.  These days, he argues against the Bill of Rights.  Snowflack claims that any time some Internet mob decides somebody has done anything they consider to be “offensive”, the mob has the right to have that person fired.  And Fred doesn’t seem to think this kind of extra-judicial mob “justice” will have a chilling effect on Free Speech??? 

Hey, if somebody broke the law… charge him.  If somebody broke the rules… discipline him (or her).  But if we are really going to demand someone’s head every time somebody writes or says or even “re-tweets” something somebody else finds offensive… then we better have pretty darn perfect people to start out with.  Because the Internet mob can be fickle about who it destroys… just ask former United States Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota). 

We think it time to break out the polygraphs.  Lie detector tests for everyone! 

Every member of the Board of Trustees of Sussex County Community College (SCCC) should be made to take a lie detector test.  They should be asked every question under the sun to cover every possible kind “offensive” behavior that could be imagined at some later date by some Internet mob.  From adultery and bad words to excessive drinking and the veracity of how they file their taxes… have they ever lusted after one of the SCCC students (even in their mind, because thought crime is the real crime, didn’t you know).

We should make Fred Snowflack take it too… and the monsters he works for.  It would be a blast…

Speaking of monsters.  There’s an old saying among machine politicians in Philadelphia.  It goes like this, “If you say you’re the boss, and nobody says you aint the boss, then you’re the boss.”

John F.X. Graham probably heard it back in the day, when he was prowling around amongst the ward healers in that sainted city of brotherly love.  Back when “ethnic” meant second or third generation Irish or Polish or Italian and individual neighborhoods developed their own dialects (yes, people really did talk like Rocky back then).

John F. X. moved to New Jersey where he followed the yellow brick road of selling insurance to government entities.  Unlike South Jersey’s George Norcross, John F. X. wasn’t really interested in building a political machine.  He was content with a money machine – the old-fashioned kind, the grease machine that uses campaign contributions to lube the representatives of the taxpayers, so that their money pumps out in a nice, steady stream.

In December 2017, the Observer wrote about John F.X. and his operation – the Fairview Insurance Agency – in a “special report” about “How Insurance Brokers Reap Public Funds Without Disclosure.”  It makes for interesting reading:

Insurance brokerages that make political donations are declining to disclose large amounts of money received indirectly from public entities.

One of the biggest goldmines for contractors in New Jersey is selling insurance plans to public entities, which employ hundreds of thousands of workers across the state.

But an Observer review of dozens of public documents shows that in some cases, it’s difficult or impossible to get a complete accounting of the money going back and forth between insurance brokerages — some of which are deep-pocketed campaign donors — and the public entities that award lucrative insurance contracts.

For instance, Fairview Insurance Agency Associates is one of the largest political donors in New Jersey, giving more than $120,000 to various candidates and committees in 2016, the ninth-highest among businesses in the state, according to the state’s campaign finance watchdog agency.

The Verona-based brokerage is also a big contractor, raking in at least $1.1 million through public contracts or agreements across New Jersey in 2016.

Under state law, the firm is required to report annually all of its political donations and public contracts to the Election Law Enforcement Commission, provided it gets at least $50,000 in public contracts and makes at least one political donation of any amount. Curiously, however, some of the money Fairview gets indirectly from public entities is then reported to ELEC as $0.

The effect is that, to the average observer reading ELEC reports, Fairview would appear to have made much less from public entities and institutions than it actually got — directly and indirectly — in a given year.

Observer reviewed ELEC disclosures for five companies, only three of which were required to itemize their contracts and donations.

A review of six ELEC disclosure forms, 29 invoices, four contracts and eight resolutions by school boards and local councils revealed a loophole in state law that allows brokerages such as Fairview to not report to ELEC tens of thousands of dollars, or more, that they receive as a result of working for governments or public entities.

In 93 cases, three brokerages reported receiving $0 from public agreements in 2016 on their disclosure forms filed with ELEC...  In one case, Observer found that Fairview was paid $54,000 indirectly from Jersey City’s school board but later disclosed $0 to ELEC.

It works like this. Brokerages — which sell insurance plans to local governments — are often paid commissions or fees by third-party companies. In this scenario, the actual contract does not go to the brokerage, but to the third-party company, while the brokerage still gets a cut of the business.

In some cases, the dollar amount of these fees or commissions can be traced back by filing public records requests with local governments. Some public entities that answered such requests from Observer provided copies of the original public contracts, which in turn detailed the actual fees or commissions paid to insurance brokerages that were reported to ELEC as $0.

In other cases, there is no mechanism to piece together what a third-party company paid to a brokerage in commissions. Some public entities did not disclose or could not say how much their brokers were paid indirectly by their contractors.

In March 2015, the Jersey City Board of Education passed a resolution to award Fairview a $54,000 contract to be the school district’s prescription insurance broker for fiscal year 2016.

Fairview did not end up receiving an actual contract. The school board struck a deal two months later with Express Scripts to manage its prescription benefits plan, and in that contract, it directed Express Scripts to pay Fairview $4,500 per month on its behalf, according to a copy of the contract provided by the Jersey City school board. The school district essentially paid someone else to pay Fairview.

In the end, Fairview reported that it received $0 in 2015 and 2016 from its work for the Jersey City Board of Education, according to its annual reports filed with ELEC. The firm noted that the amounts it disclosed “do not include commissions received from the insurance carriers.” (Observer, December 6, 2017) 

Campaign contributions flowing one-way, huge contracts flowing the other… minimal to no transparency. That’s New Jersey.

The problem is… the Fairview Insurance Agency owns the news agency (InsiderNJ) that hands out the designations as to who is who in New Jersey media.  And so we come to the quote used earlier…

“If you say you’re the boss, and nobody says you aint the boss, then you’re the boss.”  It is a scam, perpetrated by a bunch of b.s. artist insurance salesmen.

John F. X. Graham owns both the Fairview Insurance Agency and InsiderNJ (he holds titles of founder and publisher, respectively).  Michael J. Graham is Chief Operating Officer of both the Fairview Insurance Agency and InsiderNJ.  Ryan Graham is the Director of Business Development for the Fairview Insurance Agency and the Associate Publisher of InsiderNJ. 

That’s it folks… John F.X.’s grease machine has its own media mouthpiece with which to skew perceptions.  And that’s a handy thing to have in an age of hollowed out local coverage and a dearth of what was once called “investigative journalism.”  The press is now routinely used to punish the whistleblower, the taxpayer advocate, citizen activist, the underdog.  It’s easy to see why.

Now don’t get us wrong, just because John F.X. is all about the money… and the money… and the money… and the money… That doesn’t mean he’s not above playing the part of the noble, the enlightened, crony capitalist.  Hey, didn’t some notorious mob boss put a roof on a church?  Doesn’t Johnson & Johnson make up for failing to warn women that their product could cause uterine cancer by being oh so woke on LGBTQ?  It pays to have fashionable connections and to assist those connections in the higher causes of fashion.

John F.X. is a friend of Hillary.  Yes, that old wind bag.  You could forgive him being a friend of Bill because, heck, who wouldn’t want a night out on the town with Bill Clinton?  He’d make a Saturday night seem like a month of weekends.  But Hillary?  You know that’s just fashion.

Nevertheless, John F.X. has been called “a top Democrat fundraiser” by newspapers like the Bergen Record and the Newark Star-Ledger.  In addition to Hillary Clinton, John F.X. raised money for John Kerry in his 2004 presidential race, and he’s been a big giver to United States Senator Bob Menendez.  In fact, it was John F.X. who pushed the idea of Menendez on a national ticket as vice president:

In January 2008, the Jersey Journal along with other media outlets reported that “John F.X. Graham, one of Hillary Clinton’s National Finance Co-Chairs, thinks that New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez would make a great choice if Clinton wins the Democratic Primary… Graham fired off an email this morning to Clinton Campaign Manager Terry McAuliffe listing politicians who would make good vice presidential material, including the choices most often brought up:  Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards and Joe Biden.  But Menendez, a Clinton campaign national co-chair, would be the “most intriguing” choice, Graham wrote.”

“The name Richardson does not sound exactly Latino,” wrote Graham.  “The Latino voting block is becoming the most influential in this election, especially with the immigration and other economic issues confronting our prosperity.  For lack of a better term, he is the Latino Barack Obama with the experience.” 

Why would John F.X. think that encouraging people to vote along racial or ethnic lines is good public policy?  Has he not heard of the former Yugoslavia? 

Finally, John F.X. made his pronouncements while Senator Menendez was the subject of an FBI investigation.  Not that something like that matters when you are making a fashion statement.

Yes, so it seems that InsiderNJ can also be considered an outpost of the far-flung Clinton Empire.  Ahhhh, corruption at its most tasty. 

And it looks as though John F.X. is quite a big deal.  Even Wikileaks picked up loads of correspondence between John F.X. and his fellow Clintonistas.  Here is an example:

As far as the money goes, national contacts and a national reach does have its advantages.  We found dozens of John F.X.’s insurance agency’s outposts around the country.  All making him money – but northern New Jersey and Essex County in particular is his base.  It was reported in Politico (November 24, 2014) that Essex County Democrat Party boss Joe DiVincenzo’s son worked for John F.X.’s insurance agency.  He also held a full-time public job as well. 

So it was no surprise that the most corrupt political machine in the state – the Essex County Democrats – inducted John F.X. into their “Hall of Fame” in March of 2015.  InsiderNJ editor, Max Pizarro wrote the panegyric, which we suppose was less messy than the alternative. 

Now can we ask this again?  What are these people doing handing out the rankings on New Jersey journalists?  Shouldn’t some organization, like the Society of Professional Journalists, be doing it?  Or the Columbia School of Journalism?  Or anything but the god-damned grease machine itself!

Ten years ago, the authors of The Soprano State – two old-school investigative journalists – joined with journalists like Josh Margolin to decry the “corruption tax” that added to the cost paid by New Jersey taxpayers on everything to do with government.  Could they have guessed that, ten years later, not only would the tax be more imbedded and less transparent, but that the very news agencies responsible for exposing and reporting on it would now be wholly-owned subsidiaries of the same grease machine responsible for the corruption?

New Jersey… you can’t make this stuff up.

Regina Egea: Connecticut’s housing crash a warning for NJ

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The Garden State Initiative’s Regina Egea has once again brought home some hard truths that New Jersey’s political class had better embrace.  Egea is one of the smartest thinkers on public policy in New Jersey.  An M.B.A., former AT&T executive, state Treasury Department official, and Governor’s Chief of Staff – Egea also served in local government as a Deputy Mayor and School Board Member.  As President of the Garden State Initiative, she’s been collecting data, studying issues, and coming up with solutions to New Jersey’s most pressing fiscal concerns.

On May 9th you too can be part of the solution.  The Garden State Initiative will be holding its 2nd Annual Economic Policy Forum.  Join policy leaders like Senator Steve Oroho, Senator Declan O’Scanlon, and Senate President Steve Sweeney in a discussion about the future of New Jersey.  The details are below:

Garden State Initiative's 2nd Annual
Economic Policy Forum  
Thursday, May 9th, 4 to 6 pm
Hyatt Regency - New Brunswick

Egea recently wrote:  The Garden State Initiative's first research report in 2017, “Connecticut’s Fiscal Crisis Is a Cautionary Tale for New Jersey”, detailed how our neighbor up I-95, with its struggling economy, saddled with massive public debt and high taxes, served as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for New Jersey unless we take the necessary measures to get our own fiscal house in order.”

Below are excerpts from Regina Egea’s op-ed published today in the Bergen Record and NorthJersey.com:

A recent Wall Street Journal report, “Wealthy Greenwich Home Sellers Give in to Market Reality,” on Connecticut’s real estate market should concern all New Jersey residents.

The report documents a severe price decline among high-end real estate in the Nutmeg State’s most exclusive areas, notably Greenwich, long a symbol of modern American affluence. Despite America’s booming economy, the report cited numerous reports of owners selling homes for far below what they paid a decade or more ago. 

This was typically preceded by these homeowners' establishing residences in more fiscally attractive states like Florida. (Sound familiar, New Jersey?)

The evidence is staggering. The median home price in Greenwich dropped by 16.7% last year to $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a report by brokerage Douglas Elliman, with early reports showing a 25% decrease in early 2019. In a jarring anecdote, the Journal cited “a stately Colonial-style home on Greenwich, Conn.’s tony Round Hill Road is being sold in a way that was once unthinkable in one of the country’s most affluent communities: It is getting auctioned off. Once asking $3.795 million, the four-bedroom property will be sold … for a reserve price of just $1.8 million.”

…The storm that is currently hitting Connecticut’s real estate market has clouds gathering in New Jersey.

When the wealthy flee a state, sustaining massive losses on their homes in the process, it is unfortunate for the individual but likely devastating for those remaining, particularly if this occurs in New Jersey due to our extraordinary reliance on property tax revenues to sustain local governments and schools. 

The research firm Wealth X reported that New Jersey lost 5,700 people with liquid assets from $1 million to $30 million in 2018 — and that’s before the implications of the state and local tax (SALT) cap on federal taxes were truly felt. Recent reports indicate that New Jersey’s income tax receipts are falling well below projections.

Discussions around yet another tax increase on the wealthy, to fund the nearly $40 billion state budget, will only exacerbate the exodus of wealth. As reference, Connecticut has a top marginal tax rate of 6.99%; last year’s budget agreement increased New Jersey’s to 10.75%. The top 2% of all New Jersey income tax filers (those making $500,000 per year) account for over 40% of all income tax revenue to the state. Since close to 40% of state revenues are from personal income taxes, increasing dependence on this group exacerbates our vulnerability at both the state and local levels. An individual loss in this income category reverberates throughout the state.

The risk now is not just those wealthy fleeing our state. As high-end real estate values deflate, as in Greenwich, the taxes to support our local governments and schools will be redistributed to moderate- and lower-value property owners.

A recent Monmouth University poll illustrates that New Jersey residents’ views of the quality of life in our state are tumbling to an all-time low. The latest poll shows that only 50% of residents are positive, down from the prior result of 54%, and in no surprise, 45% of residents named property taxes as the state’s most pressing issue.

To read the entire article, visit NorthJersey.com

https://www.northjersey.com/story/opinion/2019/04/29/connecticut-housing-crash-predictive-nj/ 

For more information on The Garden State Initiative, visit…

https://www.gardenstateinitiative.org

Sabrin pummels young Dem on taxes. Grossman weighs in on Kate Smith

When a young Democrat suggested that a frustrated property taxpayer was wrong for pulling up stakes and leaving the Garden State, libertarian stalwart Murray Sabrin, a finance professor at Ramapo College beat him about the head (rhetorically) with a large dose of economic reality.  Here’s what Sabrin had to say:

In a nj.com guest column millennial entrepreneur and Kinnelon Board of Education member Jason DeAlessi criticizes a previous guest columnist who explained why he is leaving New Jersey for Pennsylvania where taxes are lower.

DeAlessi’s criticism reflects the prevailing collectivist ideology that has been embraced by individuals from all generations who believe: “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” If this sounds familiar it should, because it is the foundation of Karl Marx’s vision for the world.

DeAlessi makes the egregious assertion that successful people should be the “cash cows” for social welfare spending. This is the heart of the rationale for all taxes in contemporary America. Taxes have become the prime vehicle for politicians to “buy” the votes of the public who believe the redistribution of income will make them better off and not have any negative consequences for the economy.

The millennial critic of anyone who does not want to pay exorbitant taxes states: “But year after year, the value of your stock portfolio, IRA, and 401K goes up – on the backs of your fellow hard-working New Jerseyans.” This is not only false but defamatory. People earn their money by providing goods and services in the marketplace. In other words, they improve living standards for those who buy their produces and use their services. Entrepreneurs like DeAlessi are dependent on customers who value their services and pay their employees a wage or salary reflecting their value to the firm. This how a free market economy works.

Finally, an analogy should lay to rest the notion that people should stay in New Jersey despite the high taxes. If a slave owner prior to the Civil War decried the escape of slaves from his plantation with the assertion that their labor is needed to keep the plantation functioning, anyone who values individual liberty would consider that an outrageous assertion. Slavery being the most egregious involuntary relationship is no different than taxation, which is the modern equivalent of “slavery.” Why? Both slavery and taxation abuse and individual’s right to liberty.

In short, escaping a slave plantation and leaving a high tax state are not “selfish.” They are noble actions to be free and have more freedom over one’s income and wealth.

You can read more by Professor Sabrin at his blog…

https://www.murraysabrin.com/

Meanwhile, former Atlantic County Freeholder Seth Grossman is kicking some socialist ass of his own.  In an email blast earlier today, Grossman wrote: 

Last year, Stockton University lied about its namesake Richard Stockton and removed his statue.   Last week, the same "progressive" mob lied about Kate Smith, and bullied the Philadelphia Flyers into covering her statue, and taking away her song.   Today, they took away her statue.
 
Details at
https://libertyandprosperity.com/kate-smith-latest-victim-of-fake-education-real-hatred-taught-by-colleges-public-schools-today/
 
This did not happen overnight.   This is the latest result of 50 years of people who hate our country, our freedom, and our independence using our public schools and colleges to lie to our children.

Richard Stockton and his family dedicated their lives to ending slavery in America.   Yet Stockton University professors falsely taught its students that he and his family were racists because they temporarily owned some slaves while in the process of giving them educations and preparing them to live on their own.  The real reason Stockton professors hate Richard Stockton is that they hate the Declaration of Independence he signed, and the America based on limited government and individual rights that he helped create.

Kate Smith introduced America to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” at a time when it was needed most.   But our schools and colleges are now teach the lie that she was a racist because the perfectly acceptable language she used 86 years ago is now considered offensive by some.

Get the facts on what is going on, and what we can do about it.

Few people in America have more knowledge on this subject than Dr. Duke Pesta.   One of our members, Steve Jones will host a workshop and discussion featuring Dr. Pesta’s latest video presentation this Wednesday, April 24, at the Shore Diner in Egg Harbor Township.

Topic:  Campus Carnage:  Moral Chaos and Indoctrination in the University.
Video Presentation by Dr. Duke Pesta
This Wednesday, 7pm at Shore Diner
6710 Tilton Road (corner of Fire Road near Parkway Exit 36)
Egg Harbor Township, NJ  08234

No charge, but please order and pay for dinner off the menu and tip your server.
Please RSVP with Steve Jones at  sjones-LP@See-More-Facts.com.  Or leave a message at (609) 927-7333. Feel free to contact him for details.    Thanks.
 
Seth Grossman, Executive Director
LibertyAndProsperity.com
453 Shore Road
Somers Point, NJ  08244
info@libertyandprosperity.com
(609) 927-7333