The NJGOP is broadening its base under Steinhardt

In last week’s column comparing the state fiscal rescue plan put forward by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-03) with the tax-cut plan backed by Republican Assembly Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21), we wrote :  “This situation might be different if New Jersey Republicans had taken the time to build a base of small dollar donors and activists.  But as fundraiser Ali Steinstra noted at the March NJGOP Leadership Summit, broad-based Republican fundraising can only be accomplished by appeals to the party’s conservative base.   

The GOP establishment in New Jersey is barely on speaking terms with its base, so the ground has not been prepared.  We have no equivalent to what the NJEA and the Norcross super PACs will throw against us, so pissing on a hornet’s nest probably isn’t a good idea.  At this moment in time, it is more likely to motivate the kind of turnout that will cost us another four or more seats in November.

Assembly Leader Bramnick has a sensible, Republican plan that addresses the problem of spending and taxation.  It avoids drawing fire from well-organized, well-funded interest groups.  Those on the ballot this year have a choice to make.”

Apparently we had failed to notice that under the leadership of Chairman Doug Steinhardt, the Republican State Committee (NJGOP) has been pioneering new methods of grassroots fundraising, including the use of “investor reports” to set goals and inspire donors.  The idea of investor reports was summed up by Chairman Steinhardt:  “You don’t invest in a business without a prospectus or something else that lets you know it’s a good investment. We created these with the same idea in mind. It’s been very successful.”

 Some highlights of the NJGOP’s success:
- There were just 68 active donors when Chairman Steinhardt took over.
- As of March 30th, there were more than 1800 active donors. 
- Of these 79% were small dollar donors (under $200).
- There has been a 29% increase in new donors in 2019.
- 2019 had the best first quarter fundraising since 2015 (accomplished without a Governor in office and after the set-backs of 2018).
- The NJGOP team of 3 full and 2 part time employees have logged 20,000 miles to grass roots events as of April 30 vs 25,000 in all of 2018.

Chairman Steinhardt noted that that the NJGOP was “reconnecting with Republicans and it’s showing.”  Kudos to the Chairman and his team.

Sussex video shows how easy it is to punk the media.

The day after the Andy Boden for Sheriff campaign attempted to shake down the local Republican Party, a doctored video was distributed purporting to show their opponent in a compromising #MeToo situation.  The Boden campaign had specifically referenced said video in its shake down attempt.  They claimed that the video had been obtained by off-duty corrections officers (men with badges and guns) in an unofficial political surveillance operation.

The doctored video was released to more than 150 media outlets, using a fake Facebook account, under the name of someone who does not exist.  The Boden campaign refused to comment to the media.  Candidate Boden likewise refused to comment.   

In published stories, the media admitted that it could not locate any person associated with the fake Facebook account.  48 hours after the doctored video was posted, the fake Facebook account disappeared.

Nevertheless, several media outlets not only published the doctored video, but published a long, rambling press release – issued on a fake Facebook account by an entity that does not exist – treating it as a factual statement.  And they did so despite the fact that they could not locate any actual person who would vouch for its authorship.

Despite clear evidence of alteration and it lack of provenance, these media outlets failed to test the technological accuracy of the doctored video.  Surprisingly, they behaved as if they operated sometime in the 1950’s – before technological changes, particularly in digital technology, had turned the old phrase “seeing is believing” on its head.  For instance, does anyone really believe that Tom Hanks is shaking the hand of President Kennedy in this video?

In September of last year, Bloomberg reported on the threat to authenticity posed by “deep fake video technology” and warned media outlets that “fake videos and audio keep getting better, faster and easier to make, increasing the mind-blowing technology’s potential for harm if put in the wrong hands.”  The story suggested that all video should be closely examined and vetted by technological professionals before being cited as a source. 

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is clear: 

-       Ethical journalists take responsibility for their work.  Verify information before releasing it.

-       Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.

-       Identify sources clearly.  The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

-       Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information.

-       Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.

-       Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort.  Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

-       Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves… Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.

-       Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

-       Expose unethical conduct in journalism.

-       Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.

Those media that reported on this, handled it like a #MeToo situation.  In fact, there was no complaint by anyone claiming to be a victim.  Instead, the complaint came from the illicit surveillance operation.

Sources claim that the corrections officers who conducted the operation took what they had to the home of a former elected official/computer expert, and that he “cleaned it up” or “enhanced” it.  The backstory here is that the corrections officers are angry with the incumbent Sheriff because the county jail is being downsized, which has placed some of their jobs in jeopardy.  Off course, this downsizing is a consequence of Bail Reform passed as a ballot question in November 2014.  With a dwindling jail population, the Sheriff cannot justify maintaining high levels of staffing and the consequent cost to property taxpayers in Sussex County.  Estimates of the cost to refurbish the jail for other purposes run upwards of $60 million and the Freeholder Board is in no place to raise taxes or debt to accommodate such costs.  The doctored video is seen as a desperate move by a few, very disgruntled, corrections officers.

That said, the role played by the media outlets tricked into distributing this video – and their willingness to be punked by a fake Facebook account – is a matter for concern, especially as it will only get easier to fake videos in the future.  Perhaps this is a case for the Ethics Committee of the SPJ?  Stay tuned…

Pro-Sanctuary Democrats try to take down GOP Sheriff.

Earlier this year, within days of the Sussex County Freeholder Board signaling its intention to rebuff the Murphy administration’s plans to turn Sussex County into a Sanctuary State, the allies of Governor Murphy were out to replace Sheriff Mike Strada, the current conservative Republican, with someone who would block the Freeholders’ plans to place the Sanctuary State question on the ballot and ask the voters to opt out.

They found just the pawn they needed in Corrections Officer Andy Boden, who had been placed on leave after a psychological examination found him unfit for duty.  The Democrats knew that Sheriff Strada had run afoul of the Corrections Officers’ union – which endorsed Leftist Democrat Phil Murphy for Governor in 2017 – after cutting spending at the county jail.  The Sheriff’s cuts – amounting to nearly $2 million – helped to hold the line on county property taxes this year.

Sources claim that after reviewing some of Boden’s Facebook posts, his Democrat handlers suggested to him that he remove such crazy “selfies” as the one below, which shows the candidate on a bear rug, in a state of undress.  Hey, we try to be open-minded about such things, so we won’t comment further.

BodenBear.jpg

Earlier this month, after the Freeholder Board took the historic vote to place the Sanctuary State question on the November ballot – giving the Sheriff the power to ignore the Murphy administration’s directives – the Leftist Pro-Sanctuary forces really went nuts.  Andy Boden’s campaign attempted to shake down the Republican Party Chairman and targeted Sheriff Strada’s family with threats.

And just as they did with President Donald Trump, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Assemblyman Parker Space… they came up with false accusations designed not so much to win a political campaign as to cause personal damage to the Sheriff, his wife, and children.  And all because he opposes the Democrat Governor’s plans to make Sussex County join his pro-Sanctuary State, pro-illegal immigration, bandwagon.

Remember how these same forces tried to smear Donald Trump in 2016… Parker Space in 2017… and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.  Once again, conservatives need to fight back.

A.O.C. and Cory Booker would get A+’s from AFP

Did you catch AFP’s latest score card?  The one where every far-left Democrat in the state got rewarded with an “A” or “A+” because they supported AFP’s crazy ideas about going soft on crime in America? 

It’s official.  Americans for Prosperity has left the building.  AFP has walked away from American conservatism and has become a hodgepodge of fashion statements pumped out of the bunghole of Koch Petroleum. 

Relentlessly anti-working man/woman and anti-Trump, AFP now seeks to join the most far-left Democrat Socialists to reward criminal behavior, empower convicts at the ballot box, and roll back the clock on the Reagan-era tough-on-crime prescriptions that have driven down the crime rate across America.  AFP wants to ignore the facts, when the facts are clear:

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AFP wants to screw up what’s worked and turn that ship around.  In a few years or so, we can all look forward to a return to the crime rates of the past that AFP now appears to forget.  Once upon a time, before Rudy Giuliani, when they made movies like “Death Wish” to dramatize the terror that stalked American streets. 

Strap yourself in boys and girls… for the Great Re-Learning!

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The people who run Koch Petroleum operate AFP as a lobbying unit of their globalist business empire.  Once-upon-a-time the Koch operation included the Libertarian Party.  One of the Koch brothers even ran for Vice President – against the ticket of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush – on a platform that included the legalization of all forms of drug use and prostitution, as well as removing the legal protections for children, making them no different from consenting adults. 

The Kochs tried to take over the Republican Party… to remake it in their own image.  Failing that, they opposed the candidacy of President Donald Trump and continue to do so.  Now they are doing what so many “woke” corporations have done, adopting a fashion-statement issue in order to curry favor with the liberal establishment, to shield their corporate excesses from scrutiny.  They are hoping that people see the “good” they are doing in promoting a pro-criminal agenda and lay-off them when their petroleum centered business gets itself in trouble again.

So now you know why so many far-left Democrat Socialists have picked-up scores of “A” and “A+” from Americans for Prosperity’s latest score card.

Next week in Trenton: Marijuana and other shady stuff

Legalizing marijuana – including so-called “edibles” in the shapes of chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, cookies, and candies (in other words, attractive to young children) – is number one on the agenda of some Trenton Democrats.  The Senate Democrat leadership is pushing marijuana – in the midst of an opioid epidemic, no less – but an opposition of principled Democrats and Republicans, led by Senator Ron Rice (D-Newark) has formed and they are pushing back. 

Senator Rice, who was on the front lines defending America as a Marine in Vietnam and defending innocents as a police officer on the streets of Newark, now he has taken the point again and this victory, when it comes, will have been gained by his courage and leadership.  God bless Senator Ron Rice.

Now a new study supports Senator Rice and the bi-partisan coalition that has formed around him.  The study is by the leading psychiatric journal of the English-speaking world, The Lancet Psychiatry, a renowned peer-reviewed journal that is part of The Lancet, the world's most important medical journal.  You can access the study here:

www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(19)30048-3/fulltext

Here's the takeaway…

Daily cannabis use was associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder compared with never users (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 3·2, 95% CI 2·2–4·1), increasing to nearly five-times increased odds for daily use of high-potency types of cannabis (4·8, 2·5–6·3).  

It's worth noting that what the authors call "high-potency cannabis" is flower marijuana (aka buds) with more than 10% THC. Most cannabis sold in legal U.S. dispensaries is about 20-25% THC. In other words, by American standards, the cutoff was actually quite low. Using that daily led to a fivefold increase in the risk of psychosis.

The other takeaway…

If high-potency cannabis were no longer available, 12% of cases of first-episode psychosis could be prevented... rising to 30% in London.

In other words, marijuana appears to be producing a measurable increase in the number of psychosis cases in Europe - 1/3 of all cases in London (where use patterns are most similar to the United States) are due to cannabis use. If that's correct, than legalization and the increased use it produces is even more of a public health disaster than we thought.

Maybe the most important comment on the study came from Dr. Adrian James, who is the Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British equivalent of the American Psychiatric Association:

“This is a good quality study and the results need to be taken seriously. Cannabis carries severe health risks and users have a higher chance of developing psychosis."

www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-daily-cannabis-use-potency-and-psychosis/

The Assembly will have a voting session on Monday, March 25, 2019.  Legalizing marijuana – including child-unfriendly “edibles” – is top on the agenda.  There will be individual Democrat and Republican caucus meetings at 11:00 AM.  The Assembly voting session will begin at 1:00 PM.  Citizens are urged to attend and observe this session.  The Senate is meeting the same day.  We will send out the Senate schedule over the weekend.  Here is the legislation up for consideration by the Assembly: