NJ Supreme Court Steamrolls Suburbs into Creating Even More Affordable Housing

The other day, as I was typing out a recent blog, I heard a familiar rumble – two rumbles actually – a little more distant than usual, but still audible and ominous. Another two sections of Federal Hill in Bloomingdale had been blown into oblivion.

 

Bloomingdale and the Tillcon Quarry are in a race against time. In January of this year, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of expanding the Affordable Housing mandate.  But a new foe has arisen in the languid New Jersey Assembly:  Republican Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale).  Schepisi has either sponsored or co-sponsored no less than 11 pieces of legislation to beat back the assault on New Jersey suburbs.

 

We are facing the equivalent of housing Armageddon.  A non-profit entity with ties to developers, The Fair Share Housing Center, is attempting to force towns across the state to build 280,000 affordable housing units throughout New Jersey in the next nine years.

Residents in towns across the state, Democrat and Republican alike, feel as if they have a proverbial gun to their head.  They are being forced to enter into settlements that could be disastrous to their communities as a result of lawsuits brought by this non-profit.  They are spending money they don’t have to fight unreasonable court-mandated obligations. This is an unwavering threat to taxpayers who can’t afford already nation-high property taxes.

 

We cannot let the courts get away with allowing a non-profit that has no constitutional power to force towns into building what they don’t need. It is also unfathomable that the court would legislate what is best for individual communities. If the Fair Share Housing Center gets its way, the state will be unrecognizable and the change will be irreversible.  If allowed to stand, these mandates can raise property taxes and destroy many other benefits we have come to enjoy in the already most densely populated state as well as create serious social services and educational problems.

 

A special giveaway to developers allows New Jersey to be forced to build approximately 1.4 million homes – a minimum 2,500 per community; a true social engineering disaster that most don’t want and did not ask for.  The assemblywoman has introduced two bills to the New Jersey Legislature giving it time to stop the mad drive to erase local control of our communities, raise our property taxes even higher and change the face of our communities forever.

The suburbs and your town are being squeezed head to toe and although he is Republican, Gov. Chris Christie is no ally in this fight.  He is at the vanguard of a regionalization plan that would wipe out our local identities and severely hamper our already struggling municipal services.

 

As reported on North Jersey.com on Jan. 18, 2017: In a decision that could reshape hundreds of communities, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Wednesday  [the day of publication] that municipalities must allow the development of affordable housing for poor and middle-class families whose needs were ignored for more than 16 years.

 

The state’s top court voted 6-0 to reject arguments advanced by several towns, Gov. Christie’s administration and the League of Municipalities, who said local governments faced no legal requirement to provide affordable housing for poor and middle-class families during a period spanning from 1999 to 2015.

 

The ruling — and dozens of recent settlements negotiated separately by towns — are likely to spur the development of tens of thousands of affordable housing units in New Jersey over the next decade. But it is unclear exactly how many. Estimates vary widely and the Supreme Court did not settle that issue on Wednesday.

 

The Fair Share Housing Center, a nonprofit that argued on behalf of poor and middle-class families, said towns would have been able to avoid up to 60 percent of their affordable housing obligations over the next decade if the court had ruled the other way, leading to more racially and economically-segregated communities.

 

“This ruling means that thousands of lower-income and minority families will be given the opportunity to live in safe neighborhoods, send their children to good schools and work at jobs where they live instead of traveling hours commuting each day,” said Colandus Francis, chairman of Fair Share Housing Center’s board and an official with the Camden chapter of the NAACP.

 

Michael Cerra, assistant executive director of the League of Municipalities, said the ruling raised more questions than answers and would generate more litigation in the lower courts as experts try to decipher how many affordable housing units must now be built. But the justices also attempted to “forge a compromise” on Wednesday, he said, because they rejected some arguments from the Fair Share Housing Center and, as a result, municipalities’ obligations will not increase as much as some housing advocates wanted.

 

In a decision written by Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, the high court once again reaffirmed its commitment to a series of landmark housing rulings in the Mount Laurel cases that date to 1975. The New Jersey justices for decades have said that the state’s poorest residents have a right to affordable housing opportunities in their communities and that towns must allow a reasonable level of development.

 

Enforcing the court’s housing decisions, however, has been a haphazard process. Suburban towns have resisted the Mount Laurel rulings over decades of follow-up litigation. The state Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH, which was created to oversee the program statewide in 1985, has been famously broken for years and stopped issuing rules in 1999.

 

 

The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the delays had gone on too long; it ordered towns to sidestep COAH and go directly to trial court judges to settle affordable housing disputes.

 

But then the question became what to do about housing needs that went unfulfilled from 1999 to 2015, the period during which COAH was paralyzed. LaVecchia wrote that the court would “waste no time” settling that question. The state constitution requires municipalities to provide affordable housing for the “gap period,” she wrote.

 

In effect, the state Supreme Court made their ruling retroactive, a controversial move.

 

“The Mount Laurel constitutional affordable housing obligation did not go away,” LaVecchia wrote.

 

“Attending to that need is part of the shared responsibility of municipalities,” she added later.”

 

In an extreme liberal interpretation of the state’s constitution, Northjersey.com quoted the judge as saying, “We hold that towns are constitutionally obligated to provide a realistic opportunity for their fair share of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households formed during the gap period and presently existing in New Jersey.”

 

Although Christie opposes the Mount Laurel mandates, the four justices he has appointed — Anne Patterson, Faustino Fernandez-Vina, Lee Solomon and Walter Timpone — all joined LaVecchia’’s opinion, as did Justice Barry Albin. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner did not participate in the case.

 

Christie was not involved directly, but the Attorney General’s Office had filed a brief concurring with one town, Barnegat, whose attorney argued that it had no obligation to provide affordable housing for the gap period. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment Wednesday.

 

One of the central questions before the Supreme Court was a technical one: Which legal term should be used when calculating a town’s unfulfilled affordable housing obligations from 1999 to 2015?

 

The state’s Fair Housing Act of 1985 orders municipalities to consider “present need” and “prospective need.”

 

Attorneys for the Fair Share Housing Center had urged the court to rule for “prospective need.”  That would lead to thousands more units being built, they said. But the justices went with “present need,” and they redefined that term to include the housing obligations that stacked up from 1999 to 2015, “a period of time affecting almost a generation of New Jersey citizens,” LaVecchia wrote.

 

Kevin Walsh, the lead attorney for the Fair Share Housing Center, said the ruling was nevertheless a breakthrough.

 

“This decision clears away one of the main obstacles remaining in the fight for fair housing in New Jersey,” Walsh said. “The towns who [sic] were fighting in court are outside the mainstream and now know that they will not be rewarded for further obstruction and delay.”

 

Staci Berger, president of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, said state residents have been buffeted by a recession, record foreclosure rates and Superstorm Sandy.

 

“Our hardworking families, seniors and people with disabilities have struggled to find homes they could afford during this time,” she said. “New Jerseyans and their needs did not simply disappear during the gap period, and as the court ruled, they cannot be ignored.”

 

Cerra said the justices’ ruling “doesn’t really provide finality.”  Experts will now go back and forth in the lower courts debating how to calculate towns’ housing obligations, he predicted. Out of 565 municipalities in the state, 150 to 200 have yet to resolve what level of affordable housing they will be providing over the next decade, Cerra said.

 

“The ruling provides little guidance and will likely result in additional property tax resources being expended,” said Michael Darcy, the League of Municipalities’ executive director. “We again call upon the administration and legislature to craft long-overdue reforms and promulgate a reasonable, rational state housing policy.”

 

The state justices said that from now on, municipalities calculating their “present need” must account for “overcrowded and deficient housing units,” as well as “an analytic component that addresses the affordable housing need of low- and moderate-income households created since 1999.”

 

Households that were low- or moderate-income from 1999 to 2015 must still be in that income bracket presently and must still be located in New Jersey in order to count, the court said. Officials should not factor in deceased people or double-count units that already have been deemed “deficient,” LaVecchia added. As before, municipalities also must continue to factor in their “prospective need,” which estimates future demand for affordable housing.

 

Whether to provide zoning for affordable housing, and how much, are issues that have divided the state for years, often pitting Democrats against Republicans. Some wealthy suburban towns and rural municipalities warn that the court’s mandates would lead to more sprawl and higher property taxes.

 

“This court-ordered overdevelopment will change the landscape of many communities,” said Assemblyman Parker Space, (R-Warren). “It will decimate open space while forcing taxpayers to pay for additional services to handle the increase in population. Property taxes will skyrocket.”

 

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale, criticized the court and said “the failure of the legislature to address the social engineering of the court should not result in changing communities forever.”

 

“This ruling clearly creates potential challenges for municipalities who already built out much of their developable land over the last 16 years,” said Joseph DeCotiis, an attorney at the DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole and Giblin law firm, which represented Brick Township. “Additionally, many developers who already have planned market-rate housing on properties in many of these municipalities may be forced to reconfigure those designs to meet new requirements at their own cost.”

 

Although several bills have been introduced in recent years, New Jersey lawmakers have not advanced any legislation on affordable housing matters since a failed attempt at reform in early 2011. Christie for years has shown no interest in fixing the program or enforcing the state’s affordable housing laws. But the Supreme Court said they are welcome to try again.

 

“We recognize, as we have before, that the legislature is not foreclosed from considering alternative methods for calculating and assigning a municipal fair share of affordable housing, and to that end, we welcome legislative attention to this important social and economic constitutional matter,” LaVecchia wrote.

 

The Supreme Court upheld a ruling issued last summer by the state Appellate Division. Although that decision was much more favorable to towns seeking to tamp down their housing quotas, the justices drastically modified it in a way that will ramp up housing obligations.

 

Fair Share Housing Development FSHD was founded in 1986 by civil rights activists in response to the landmark Mount Laurel Doctrine, which prohibits towns from shutting out the poor through exclusionary zoning and requires each New Jersey municipality to plan, zone and take the necessary affirmative measures to provide realistic housing opportunities for its “fair share” of the regional need for affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income households, the elderly and disabled.

The Mount Laurel Doctrine has led to the development of over 60,000 affordable housing units outside New Jersey’s racially and economically-segregated urban centers.

 

According to its website, the Fair Share Housing Center “fights to defend the rights of New Jersey’s poor by monitoring, enforcing and expanding the Mount Laurel Doctrine.”

 

Fair Share Housing Development (FSHD) is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit corporation with offices in Mount Laurel and Camden, N.J.  The organization was founded by Peter J. O’Connor in 1986 to develop, own and manage affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, seniors and the disabled in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.

 

FSHD and its predecessor organizations, the nonprofit housing programs of the Carpenters Union of South Jersey, have three decades of experience in developing and managing affordable rental housing. FSHD currently manages 656 rental units in five affordable housing complexes in southern New Jersey with over 2,000 tenants.

 

In 2000-2004, FSHD developed Ethel R. Lawrence Homes, Phases I & II (140 units), Mount Laurel Township, Burlington County. Evans-Francis Estates at Short Hills Farm, Cherry Hill Township, Camden County (54 units) was planned for development in 2010, but is currently in litigation with the Township’s Planning Board regarding development approvals.

 

In addition, Fair Share Housing Development is slated to develop another five affordable housing developments in suburban New Jersey in the next several years, including a 24-unit single-family development for families in Mount Laurel; a 36-unit addition to Ethel Lawrence Homes; a 184-unit senior/assisted-living development, also in Mount Laurel; a 76-unit development for the elderly in Cherry Hill at the site of the former Garden State Racetrack; and a 100-unit family rental development in Woolwich Township.

 

FSHD’s work receives crucial support from and lends support to several other organizations. FSHD’s most longstanding partner, the Fair Share Housing Center, was founded in 1975 and continues to support the work of FSHD by providing legal and technical expertise and, when needed, the ability to litigate to circumvent the many obstacles and overcome the resistance that affordable housing has elicited in suburban communities.

 

FSHD also plays an important role in the City of Camden and in the region surrounding Camden. Inside Camden, FSHD serves the role of a traditional community development corporation, and its employees there participate in civic activities with other organizations.

 

FSHD Executive Director Peter O’Connor himself was long involved with other organizations in Camden and he served in a volunteer capacity for more than a decade as the Chairman of the Holy Name of Camden, a neighborhood-based organization that includes a church, school, law office, medical clinic and family counseling program. He was also the Chairman of the Catholic Camden Diocese’s Housing Development Corporation, which develops primarily senior affordable housing in the six most southern counties of New Jersey.

 

FSHD has a very visible presence in the region and is a strong voice in support of affordable housing development outside of areas of entrenched poverty. Several other for-profit and nonprofit entities are involved in developing affordable housing in suburban South Jersey, but no other entity has FSHD’s record or commitment to the development of affordable housing that promotes regional mobility for residents of the City of Camden and strives to reach very low-income households.

 

Peter J. O’Connor, who died in 1988, long fought for social justice. O’Connor arrived in Southern New Jersey following his graduation from Georgetown University Law Center. His work as a Legal Services attorney involved law reform efforts in landlord-tenant, consumer, housing, mental health, and state/federal civil rights law.

 

As the lead counsel in the Camden Coalition litigation in 1970 to 1972, O’Connor challenged the City of Camden’s “urban revitalization” and highway construction efforts that caused massive displacement of Camden residents. O’Connor’s efforts gave rise to a White House campaign spearheaded by Vice President Spiro Agnew to limit the activities of federally-funded Legal Service programs.

 

In May 1971, O’Connor and two other Legal Services attorneys, Carl S. Bisgaier and Ken Meiser, filed suit on behalf of individual plaintiffs and the NAACP to challenge suburban Mount Laurel Township’s refusal to permit affordable housing in Mount Laurel. That case, Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Mount Laurel, was appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1975, and again in 1983, and led to the first requirement in the nation that all municipalities provide for their fair share of the region’s need for affordable housing.

 

In 1985, the Legislature passed the Fair Housing Act, which created the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing, an executive agency empowered to ensure compliance by New Jersey municipalities with their Mount Laurel obligations. Since COAH’s creation, over 59,000 units of affordable housing have been constructed in New Jersey.

 

Over four decades after he started working in South Jersey, O’Connor’s interests in urban deterioration, affordable housing, and regional equity continued . From 1978 to 1980, O’Connor spearheaded the construction of the 402-unit Northgate II development in North Camden, a project that formed part of the settlement of Camden Coalition lawsuit. The complex has on-site management, maintenance and security staff and also provides social and recreational services.

 

In 1983, O’Connor worked in suburban Deptford Township developing New Sharon Woods, a 50-unit affordable housing development for families. In 1986, O’Connor developed Pennsville Towers, a 100-unit affordable housing project for seniors. He also has worked on rehabilitating houses in North Camden.

 

In 1995, O’Connor completed a historic rehabilitation project he envisioned in the Cooper Plaza Neighborhood of Camden. The 64-unit project, Cooper Plaza Historic Homes, adjoins Cooper Hospital and has received national and statewide attention in view of the successful historic rehabilitation of it and ongoing management and stabilizing effect in the area.

 

Most recently, O’Connor’s work focused on advocating for and constructing long-awaited affordable housing for moderate-income, low-income, and very-poor families and seniors in Mount Laurel and Cherry Hill. In Mount Laurel, Fair Share Housing Development built and manages Ethel R. Lawrence Homes, a 140-unit rental development that is named in honor of the lead individual plaintiff in the landmark Mount Laurel litigation.

 

That 62-acre development, which received the Governor’s Housing Excellence Award in 2001, represents the culmination of three decades of work to construct truly affordable housing in a municipality whose resistance to it has become infamous. Social, educational, and recreational services are provided to the residents of the development, which include families making from 10- to 80-percent of median income, a range of affordability with a depth and breadth previously unknown to suburban New Jersey.

 

On March 29, 2006, the court approved an agreement with Mount Laurel Township whereby the Township agreed to provide pre-development funds and capital grants to assist Fair Share Housing Development in the development of an Outdoor Recreation Area, Indoor Recreation Area and Education Center adjacent to Ethel R. Lawrence Homes.

Ethel R. Lawrence Homes, which opened in Winter 2000 and has received extensive local and national media attention, was dedicated in Summer 2002. Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP, spoke at the Dedication. In a demonstration of the significance of the project from a civil rights standpoint, the names of the 40 people who were killed during the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968) were read from the stage by the plaintiffs, ending with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Fair Share Housing Development is slated to develop another four affordable housing developments in suburban New Jersey in the next several years, including, a 24-unit single family development for families in Mount Laurel, a 184-unit senior/assisted living development in Mount Laurel, a 76-unit development for the elderly in Cherry Hill, at the site of the former Garden State Racetrack and a 100-unit family rental development in Woolwich Township, the fastest growing municipality on the East Coast according to 2004 Census figures.

 

In addition to putting shovels in the dirt, O’Connor assisted the fight for fair housing rights in New Jersey courtrooms. As the founder and former Executive Director of Fair Share Housing Center, O’Connor served a s part of the team of FSHC lawyers representing the original Mount Laurel plaintiffs in litigation against Mount Laurel and Cherry Hill Townships which has forced those municipalities to provide for their fair share obligations.

 

O’Connor represented the plaintiffs in litigation against the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency for its perpetuation of racial and economic segregation through the use of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the first case of its kind in the nation; and against a corporation that attempted to redevelop the former Garden State Racetrack in Cherry Hill without providing any affordable housing on-site, a case on which the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2002 released a unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiffs after it took the case on interlocutory appeal directly from the trial court. Additionally, O’Connor succeeded in negotiating a settlement with Woolwich Township that will result in 100 units of housing for families, including very-low income families.

 

O’Connor’s legacy of development and advocacy interests continues to focus on reducing the concentration of poverty in the inner cities of New Jersey, fighting racial segregation in housing and public schools, and working to develop high quality affordable housing in a state with the second highest rental housing costs in the nation. NJ also remains one of the country’s more segregated states.

 

The effort of the Mount Laurel plaintiffs, O’Connor, and others to provide regional affordable housing opportunities is the subject of Our Town: Race, Housing and the Soul of Suburbia, by David L. Kirp, John P. Dwyer, Larry A. Rosenthal of the University of California at Berkeley.

 

O’Connor was also a professor at the Fordham University School of Law in the Bronx, N.Y. He graduated from Fordham in 1951 and from its law school in 1956. He earned a master’s degree in law from Harvard Law School in 1957.  Earlier he had been an assistant district attorney and chief of appeals in Queens County, from 1967 to 1970, and an assistant district attorney in Manhattan under District Attorney Frank Hogan, from 1957 to 1962.

 

At least, that’s how the social justice activist judges and attorneys saw it. The city of South Brunswick didn’t share FSHD’s “idealistic” vision of social engineering.

 

In an article in the The Observor on April 7, 2017, reporter Salvador Rizzo noted the seemier side of judicial activism:

 

Things are getting personal in the seemingly endless legal fight over how much affordable housing to build in New Jersey.

 

After South Brunswick lost a court case seeking to tamp down its affordable housing obligations, the township’s attorney, Jeffrey Surenian, filed court papers last week attacking the judge who issued the ruling.

 

The allegation is that former Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson had a conflict of interest because earlier in his career Wolfson represented and befriended a developer, Jack Morris of Edgewood Properties, who allegedly stood to benefit financially from Wolfson’s rulings last year calling for more affordable housing units to be built than some towns wanted.

 

Surenian added that Wolfson’s son worked at a law firm owned by Morris’s wife while the housing rulings were coming down, and that when the judge retired in December he went to work as general counsel at Edgewood Properties. The judge “brazenly violated” the judiciary’s core values, South Brunswick alleged in a March 28 court filing, asking that Wolfson’s housing rulings be vacated.

 

Attorneys on the other side of the issue called Surenian’s allegations a baseless attack from a lawyer who often loses affordable housing cases. Surenian regularly appears before state courts representing towns that in some form or another are seeking to dial down the amount of low-cost housing they are required to zone for. In recent years, Surenian has lost repeatedly at the trial courts and in the handful of cases that have reached the state Supreme Court.

 

The Fair Share Housing Center, a nonprofit that represents poor and middle class families in housing cases by designation of the courts, filed papers noting that Morris and Edgewood Properties had no involvement in the South Brunswick case.

 

“There is no rule or court decision in New Jersey that provides that a judge who is hearing a lawsuit involving Developers 1-5 must recuse from the lawsuit because the judge is friends with Developer 6,” Kevin Walsh, the lead attorney at Fair Share, argued in a court filing.

 

“A friendship with a developer does not preclude a judge from being involved in any lawsuits simply because other developers are involved,” Walsh wrote.

 

Walsh added that “Judge Wolfson’s career as an attorney who represented developers was known by all involved in the matter.”

 

Surenian argued that even if Edgewood Properties was not a party to the case, it nonetheless stood to benefit from Wolfson’s rulings since they would expand the opportunity for all developers to build low-cost homes in Middlesex County. But Surenian noted that Wolfson recused himself from hearing cases that involved Edgewood Properties directly.

 

Wolfson, who is married to U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson, said Friday he could not comment on specific cases he heard as a judge.

 

But he said “it is a matter of public record … that I disclosed to the court-appointed special masters and all counsel my relationship with Mr. Morris, and in fact recused myself from several cases in which he or any of his companies were adverse to either to the town or to any of the other potentially competing builder/intervenors who sought to gain a favorable rezoning through the litigation process.”

 

“Since my opinions in this case must speak for themselves, I can only urge you to read them yourself so as to gain a complete and unbiased understanding of what has actually transpired in this case since July of 2015, and to judge for yourself what the motivation is for this belated filing,” Wolfson added.

 

It’s not clear that South Brunswick would get a better outcome under a different judge. The state Supreme Court last year issued a major ruling settling some of the same affordable housing questions, and not in the township’s favor.

 

According to Assemblywoman Schepisi, who spoke at the North Jersey Regional Tea Party meeting recently, five days after Judge Wolfson stepped down, he joined the plaintiff’s legal team.

 

Schepisis describes the New Jersey legislature as “complacent.” They fear battling the racially-oriented Fair Share Housing Center  and Fair Share Housing Development.  Municipalities fear developer-remedy lawsuits.  Towns are caught in a trap in which they must either accept 100 percent affordable housing, which is unpopular with most voters, or accept it in increments at about a 1 to 5 ratio.

 

Developers are anxious to build market-rate housing. For the opportunity to build high-density housing, with a 50-year property tax break sweetener thrown in, they’ll set a side certain, small number of units to meet the affordable housing requirement.  However, the population increase in general sets the town back further on its affordable housing requirement, opening the town up to even more incursions by developers, zoning planners and their attorneys.

 

North Jersey Tea Party members wanted to know just exactly who the developers envision occupying the market-rate housing, when residents are fleeing the state. As native New Jerseyans are fleeing the Garden State, its high property taxes, and onerous business climate, Long Islanders are trying to flee the island.

 

The developers are targeting residents on Long Island who work in New York City and Millennials who would like to live in the City but can’t afford the unbelievable rents. I used to work for State Farm Insurance as an internal public affairs writer.  Long Island was my “beat.”  Workers there told me – some ten years ago now – that the middle class was being squeezed off the Island.

 

Eastern Long Island is the abode of the rich, famous and wealthy.  Western Long Island is increasingly the receptacle of the poverty and crime spreading out from the city.  With their poverty, these Section 8 and Affordable Housing residents and families bring crime, drugs, and lower property values, along with higher taxes for the social services they require, including special education.

 

There is no haven for the middle class on the northern and southern shores of Long Island:  the North Shore has long been the abode of Old Money (i.e., Theodore Roosevelt) and the South Shore has become the new Gold Coast.  Middle class and upper Middle Class residents and families have no place to go.  These are the residents – and their progeny – whom the developers are targeting.

 

Long Island’s middle class is basically squeezed into the center of the island, on either side of the county line. Housing is tight, increasingly more expensive and crowded.  Thanks to all those wealthy finance brokers and summer celebrities, Long Island’s cost of living is skyrocketing.

 

In the last 15 to 20 years, minorities from New York City have overwhelmed Nassau County are slowly encroaching on Suffolk County to the east. Uniondale (55.5% Black), (Westbury, 23% Black, 19% Hispanic) in central Nassau County are, or nearly are, minority-majority cities.

 

But in addition to the problems of crime, once you get out into Suffolk County, commuters are looking at a longer, more expensive trek into the city whether by car, train, or less likely, by bus.  The North and South Shores of Long Island are like Eastern Long Island, the abode of the wealthy.  The North Shore has historically been the seat of Old Money; the South Shore is wall-to-wall new mansions lined up cheek-by-by jowl along every inch of the shoreline and far inland.  Villages on Long Island are part of larger, incorporated townships, with new, sustainably narrow roads that are designed to discourage the use of automobiles in favor of mass transit.

 

Long Islanders are essentially city people.  They have no problem living in rental units in close proximity to one another.  They are also, as I noted, Democrats.  Eventually, between the very rich (by northern New Jersey standards) and the poor, the vote will be flipped.  What is left of Conservative Republicans will disappear by their target year of 2050.  Bergen County is already nearly totally blue.  I’m surprised you were able to win election in Bergen County.  But even they have woken up and realize their quiet lifestyle is in danger from such vulnerable towns as Paramus.

 

Thus, Long Islanders are turning their weary eyes to forested hills of New Jersey. Passaic County is well within the acceptable commuting distance of New York City.  Young Long Islanders, in particular, who have no desire (yet) to own a home or the time or money to maintain one, are eager to move into our unsightly, towering condos.  In Bergen, a high-rise tower is being planned for the center of Paramus, the assemblywoman told us.

 

Avalon Bay, just as an example, offers every amenity to the newly-transplanted Long Islander. Swimming pools, saunas, fine restaurants.  According to Assemblywoman Schepisi, the affordable housing dwellers are set off to one side and do not have such privileges as the use of the swimming pool.

 

Bloomingdale, where I grew up has been an early advocate of sustainable development.  Like nearly every other town in northern New Jersey, they officially signed on to the Sustainable Development creed in 2009. So has Riverdale, in Morris County.  Pompton Lakes, where I live, is on schedule to complete an even more ambitious plan for “affordable housing” along its main business route, Wanaque Avenue, by 2020.  Their plan is to build five-story rental apartment buildings along Wanaque Avenue, completely changing the nature of the town along the lines of Montclair.

 

Pompton Lakes also plans to narrow – not widen – but narrow Wanaque Avenue to follow the Sustainable Development plan of discouraging the use of automobiles.  Towns on Long Island have already redeveloped their business districts in this way and let me tell you, it’s a nightmare.

 

The residents of Bloomingdale woke up too late to the fact that their town was being remodeled.  The area where Avalon Bay is located used to be a shooting range and an illegal garbage dump.  The EPA used this fact to have the property condemned as an “urban blight zone” and then redesignate it for multiple dwellings.  Our friend, David, came up north from Texas to attend his daughter’s college graduation.

 

I had to honor of giving him a tour of an area he hasn’t seen much of since he graduated high school in 1973. He was horrified when he was Avalon Bay. When I warned him about “development” he thought I was talking about some houses along Union Avenue. I pointed skyward and then he saw the Monstrosity of Union Avenue – with more plans in the works for the now-demolished Federal Hill area.

 

Northern Passaic County district, has been a leafy haven for drug gangs.  Wanaque has had problems with MS-13 for going on 20 years.  They are at the hub of what has become known as the “Heroin Trail” running north from Pequannock, through Riverdale and on up into Ringwood and West Milford, where the meth factories are located.

 

The drug pedalers/peddlers (they make their runs on bicycles) board the northbound 197 up into Ringwood in the morning and return in the evening to make their “deliveries” all night long until the police shift change at 8 a.m.  I’ve seen them.  They leave markers or portkeys, just as the old Soviet spies used to do, to indicate where the customers can pick up their drugs.  The dealers hide their goods in take-out bags.  The customers pull up, make the exchange.  The dealer pedals off and the buyers take out the drugs and throw the fast food out the car window and drive off.

 

The assemblywoman made note of the Liberals’ hypocritical oversight of infrastructure problems, particularly water.  At a time when it is predicted that New Jersey will not have enough water for all its residents (no matter how many water towers they build), they advocate building affordable housing complexes that encourage even more use of water through air conditioning and swimming pools.

 

The Suburban Trends, our local newspaper, readily publishes the news about a critical overuse of water, yet they write nothing about the demand on water consumption these affordable housing units will create.

 

As for social services, our volunteer emergency responders are already overtasked.  I bought a police band radio to find out what was really going on in our area, because we certainly can’t depend upon our local newspaper (a bi-weekly) to tell us.  What I’ve discovered is that on emergency medical calls, it can take up to 20 minutes just to find a driver for the ambulance before they can respond to the emergency.  I have a 93 year-old mother.  I’ve told my brothers that, on the weekdays at least, don’t bother waiting for the ambulance – just go.

 

Illegal immigration is nothing new to our area – the illegals have been here for 20 to 30 years and in that time, the incidents in crime have gone up, especially at the stores on Route 23.  Criminals have held up the local Target store as well as our fast-food restaurants.  The incidents in stolen cars have also risen, as well as drug overdoses and suicide attempts.

 

The goal of “Sustainable Development” is an attempt to eliminate property ownership and force residents into communal living warehouses.  It is a decidedly Marxist goal.  In Russia and China, citizens do not own property.  They don’t even own the units they live in; their heirs cannot inherit these units.  They are returned to the state.

 

I live in a condo myself, one that was converted from a garden apartment in the 1980s.  I could not afford the price of a house or the maintenance of one.  As I’m single with no children, I’m content.  But I can tell anyone who is not living this lifestyle, it’s not exactly the propaganda brochure the Left paints.  For one thing, Pompton Lakes’ taxes are so exorbitant, thanks to the school tax that I pay almost as much in taxes as my companion who lives in a house with property in Pompton Plains across the highway.

 

We need to give this issue as much publicity as possible.  I don’t have a problem with people who want to live in a city or are nervous about owning a house.  This is America; you should live where you want to.  However, I don’t believe developers have an inalienable right to simply buy up a town and place high-density multiple dwellings in the midst of a quiet suburb filled with people who moved to that suburb precisely because they did NOT want to live in a city, big, small or otherwise.

 

More and more suburbanites are waking up to the dangers that Affordable Housing poses. Our way of life is under attack. We need to send a message to the social activist Judge LaVecchia that we thank her for her sneering “permission” to try to turn back the Affordable Housing mandate.  The Legislature, however, is not under any mandate to affirm her grossly unconstitutional reading of the state constitution and will her activism into reality.

 

She can accuse any of us or all of us of racism. But we can counter with a more pernicious accusation:  communism.

 

It’s her way or the highway? Her imposing judgment and Avalon Bay are precisely what Communism looks like.

 

 

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Published in: on May 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

The End of Fox News As We Knew It

Since Rupert Murdoch’s Liberal sons took over Fox News Network, its programming has leaned so far to the Left that viewers have been dropping off. The most recent ratings put the network at number 3 in its demographic.  For seventeen years, Fox was the number one news network in that demographic and number two overall among news stations.

 

The end began months ago. More and more, Liberal voices were taking over.  First, the network fired Glenn Beck.  They replaced it with The Five.  Greta Van Sustern left to be replaced by Tucker Carlson.  Carlson claims to be a Conservative.  But his performance in debates with Liberals and Democrats is weak and ineffective.  The Liberals basically walk all over him.

 

Carlson has now taken over Bill O’Reilly’s old spot. I had to check Fox News’ website to see who’s on because I stopped watching Fox News around the time of the inauguration.  I’ll watch Fox if there’s a genuine news story on, like the Manchester Massacre.  But for political balance, they’re now worse than useless.

 

The drop in ratings shows that many other Conservatives feel the same way. I recommend Fox Business Network.  Their anchors are surprised to find themselves in the Conservative seat and they occasionally remind the audience that their first mission is the business news.

 

That’s okay. Capitalism is good.  Nor do Stuart Varney, Neil Cavuto or Lou Dobbs seem to mind stretching the news envelope.

 

Bill O’Reilly was railroaded out of Fox News on the basis of some rather spurious sexual harassment claims. The next target is Sean Hannity, who has been pursuing the alleged murder of Seth Rich, a DNC operative who leaked thousands of DNC e-mails, causing harm to the party.  Fox News is now seeking grounds to terminate Hannity’s contract as well.

 

For 17 years, Fox News was a reliable source for the Conservative viewpoint. We could depend upon them to tell us the other side of the story, which was nearly always the truth.  They were the counterpoint to the Mainstream Media.

 

Fox News executives were pilloried at industry conferences and meetings. They were treated like pariahs.  No one “networked” with the Fox News team.  That is the price we pay for telling the truth in a corrupt world.

 

Fox News couldn’t be destroyed from the outside. Fox constantly beat its competition.  So enemies from within gradually wrested the reins of power and corrupted the network.  Those of who were alert saw the signs of its demise early on and switched to Fox Business News.

 

No doubt, they’ll force Hannity out eventually. News networks are not public institutions.  The owners can hire and fire at will.  Those with enough money were able to buy their way into ownership of the network and change its Conservative course.

 

Let us hope and pray that another network will arise to take its place in the realm of television news (we would suggest they not go public with their stock). The stakes are too critical not to have a major Conservative news network on the air.  We cannot let the Liberals win this war.  Truth must prevail.

 

Fox News is dead. Best of luck to Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the others.  We hope to see them again soon.  Long live Conservative news.

 

 

Published in: on May 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dangerous Woman Versus Dangerous Terrorists

Manchester, England. May 22, 2017.  Another terrorist bombing.  Another concert venue.  Another pool of blood.  Another list of innocent victims – really innocent, as in six year-olds.  Another day of mourning.  Another day of asking, “Why?!”

 

Just the other day, Pres. Trump asked the council in Saudi Arabia to drive the terrorists out of their communities and out of their mosques. ISIS drove the community out of Syrian towns and into the West, flooding in amongst them like stalking horses to create terror and havoc in France, Germany, and England.  They find the most vulnerable victims – the young – and murder them mercilessly because they believe Allah wills it.

 

The President called them “losers.” Prime Minister Theresa May called them “cowards.”  They don’t think they are and never.  They believe they have a mandate of their god, Allah, to wipe out the taqfiri (Islamic apostates) and the kafiri, the unbelievers.  Their mission is to wipe out the corrupted, perverted children of the West, install Sharia law, and create a global caliphate.  Even as Pres. Trump is calling on Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to grant women equal rights, the Islamic “warriors” are preparing for battle.

 

Ariana Grande is anti-Trump, anti-American, pro-Muslim, pro-Refugee, and pro-Feminist – that is to say, she only approves of men in her lyrics. The Muslim Terrorists are certainly not pro-Ariana Grande.  But what does that have to do with killing little girls?  Well, they do it all the time in their own countries.  They kill little girls just for going to school in Islamic nations.  So they wouldn’t blink an eye at killing little girls at a decidedly inappropriate concert where the “artist” dresses like a playboy bunny in leather.

 

 

[Verse 1] Don’t need permission Made my decision to test my limits ‘Cause it’s my business, God as my witness Start what I finished Don’t need no hold up Taking control of this kind of moment I’m locked and loaded Completely focused, my mind is open [Pre-Chorus] All that you got Skin to skin, oh my God Don’t ya stop, boy [Chorus] Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you Makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout [Verse 2] Nothing to prove and I’m bulletproof and Know what I’m doing The way we’re movin’ Like introducing us to a new thing I wanna savor, save it for later The taste, the flavor ‘Cause I’m a taker, ’cause I’m a giver It’s only nature I live for danger [Pre-Chorus] All that you got Skin to skin, oh my God Don’t ya stop, boy [Chorus] Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you Makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you [Refrain] All girls wanna be like that Bad girls underneath, like that You know how I’m feeling inside Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout All girls wanna be like that Bad girls underneath, like that You know how I’m feeling inside Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout [Instrumental Bridge] [Chorus] Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you Makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout you [Refrain] All girls wanna be like that Bad girls underneath like that You know how I’m feeling inside Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout All girls wanna be like that Bad girls underneath like that You know how I’m feeling inside Somethin’ ’bout, somethin’ ’bout

 

This is not to condone in anyway the murder of children (or anyone else) at a concert. The bomber used a nail bomb to inflict further damage on those he or she couldn’t actually kill outright.

 

What are we missing here? We’ll stop asking “why?” when we get the picture.

 

Islam is a fanatical religion, no matter how peaceful some of its adherents may claim to be. One way or the other, they intend to “convert” us, preferably (for the “peaceful” Muslims) through inundation, legally overwhelming our population until we’re forced into conversion or pay an exorbitant tax that will bankrupt resisters into conversion.

 

The more militant Islamists, like their political counterparts, the Marxists, believe violent force is the only way to conquer the world. They believe – probably correctly – that nothing short of force will convince us to convert, to renounce our own faiths.

 

The Liberals, frankly, don’t want to be nuked or bombed in the very kind of nightclub that they frequent and Islamists attack. So they’re banking on the “Refugee Solution:”  allowing hordes of Muslims (along with Marxist Mexicans and South Americans) to flood our borders.  Acquiesce to every demand.  Accommodate every “request” to subvert all other religions.  Excuse every violation of our own Constitution.  Turn a blind eye to the entry of known terrorists into the United States and Western Europe.

 

The lyrics to “Dangerous Woman” are mild compared to most of the rock lyrics burning up the Top 40 these days. Still for six and eight year-olds to be bumping and grinding to a song that bids them to yield to their inner Bad Girl can’t be a good thing.  We know what Ariana was thinking.

 

But what are the parents of the little girls who adore Ariana thinking? A song that tells six year-olds, with their mothers sitting right next to them, that they “don’t need permission,” tells you something unfortunate about our culture.  We’re sexualizing our children at younger and younger ages, and applauding as they shake their booties.

 

The Liberals and Radical Islamists are double-teaming us. The Liberals create the debauched target at which the Islamists self-righteously aim.  The Liberals hate Christianity and, of course, the Islamists opinion of Jews and Christians is by now all-too-obvious.

 

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam conservatively. Its founder called for “a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior,” “segregation of male and female students,” a separate curriculum for girls, and “the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes …”

Despite the Western “Cultural Revolution” of the 1960s, Islamic disdain of Western culture and practices pre-dates the Sixties. In the 1940s, Muslim Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb wrote a book, “Social Justice in Islam.”  He had moved to Greeley, Colo.  While there, he attended a church dance in which he observed men and women dancing cheek to cheek and everything else to everything else.  He was greatly offended, even as the church pastor smiled approvingly at the proceedings.

 

Pres. Trump spoke about Muslim art and music. The problem is, they don’t permit music and dancing.  Music is only performed for religious purposes; dancing is completely prohibited.  The only art they practice is in their architecture.  Muslim nations claim that nothing in the Koran proscribes women wearing the hijab.  However, the Muslim clerics advocate the covering up of women and any woman who defies this “law” can expect a visit from the religious police in Iran or to be beaten to death by her husband, father or brother at home.  What’s more, no Islamic jury would convict the man of such an “honor killing.”

 

We’re a world wildly out of balance. To expect peace in such an insensate world is unrealistic, and improbable.  Half the world (the Western half) has become so intoxicated that it is spinning out of control and the other half, rigid, unyielding and self-righteous, feels so threatened by the other’s excesses that it is ready to commit genocide with the intention of restoring “order” to the world.

 

This can only lead to a very bad place – a worldwide dictatorship. The Liberals know this and have been leading our Western society like lambs to the slaughter.  For every massacre like the one that occurred last night in Manchester, Liberal voices will rise louder in their defense of having license to commit every act of sexual immorality – and then commit those acts and write songs in tribute to them.  Remember:  Adriana has gone on record as being pro-Muslim.

 

The further we go, the further the Muslims will go. No, it’s not right.  It’s murder.  The Muslims ought never have been allowed to infiltrate our country to the degree they have.  You don’t kill eight year-old children in the name of God.  But apparently, they regularly kill children in the name of Allah.

 

Our hearts go out to the mothers and fathers of Manchester.

 

Our condemnation goes out to the forces of the Islamic State.

 

And our contempt goes out to “Counter-Culture” artists like Ariana who encourage six year-olds to be “Bad Girls,” placing them in the path of religious fanatics who put no age limit on their victims.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Media, Left Fail to Habeas Trump’s Corpus

Despite much ballyhoo last week that they’d found the smoking gun that would lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment, after only about five months in office, the Left and the Media had to admit that there is absolutely no evidence of collusion between Trump, his campaign people, and the Russians. Maxine Waters admitted “there was no evidence.”

 

The infamous Comey “memo” – which stated that Trump asked Comey if he could let the Flynn (the former National Security Adviser) go – wasn’t even written by Comey; the memo that had D.C. Insiders riled was written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Trump decided to fire Comey before Rosenstein wrote a memo outlining his own concerns, Rosenstein himself clarified last Friday.

When it was announced this month that Comey had been fired, White House officials initially pointed to the Rosenstein memo as a reason for firing the FBI director. As we know, he was overseeing an investigation into any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump said in a subsequent interview with NBC News that he had been planning to fire Comey before he received the Rosenstein memo.

In a statement on Friday seen by Reuters, Rosenstein writes: “I informed the senior attorney that the president was going to remove Director Comey, (and) that I was writing a memorandum to the attorney general summarizing my own concerns.”

The statement, first reported by NBC News, Rosenstein goes on to outline some of his concerns with Comey’s job performance. But toward the end of the 2 1/2-page document, Rosenstein writes: “My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination (firing).”

Rosentein’s predecessor, Sally Yates, served as Acting Attorney General from Jan. 20, 2017, until shew as dismissed by Pres. Trump on Jan. 30, 2017, following her instruction to the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s immigration-related executive order in court. Yates was appointed by Obama.

Trump’s firing of Comey led to a week of Media yammering. The Leftist Media were convinced they had their Saturday Night Massacre.  The Right Media nagged on and on about Trump’s timing.  They still haven’t completely stopped shaking this dead-end issue.  Trump told NBC news reporter Lester Holt on May 11 that he’d already planned to fire Comey before he ever saw the Rosenstein memo.  He called the former FBI director “a showboat” and later, “a nut-job.”

The Conservative media nearly died of apoplexy when they heard the interview and later when Trump re-Tweeted the remark. That’s just vintage Trump.  At least he didn’t drop the F-bomb.  We, the People, thought nothing of Trump’s calling Comey names.  If name-calling bothered us, we’d never have elected him.

While the average American considers “Drain the Swamp” a campaign slogan, the creatures in the Washington swamp on both sides of the aisle are taking it a little more seriously. Could it be they and their media allies didn’t want to see Comey fired because a new FBI director might just look into the Uranium One-Rosatom Russian uranium deal?

This issue has clearly been on the Media’s mind lately. One of the Leftist news magazine’s headline read:  “Why We Really Don’t Need to Investigate the Uranium Deal.”  Snopes, the Leftist “fact-checker” listed the story as “False.”

However, no less a newspaper than The New York Times itself reported on the story on April 23, 2015.

The headline on the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed, and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

Frank Giustra, a mining financier, donated $31.3 million to the foundation run by former President Bill Clinton.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

The New York Times’s examination of the Uranium One deal is based on dozens of interviews, as well as a review of public records and securities filings in Canada, Russia and the United States. Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of “Clinton Cash.” Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting.

Anyone on the Left care to contradict The New York Times?

What we have here is a classic case of diversion by nervous Congressmen on both sides of the aisle, numerous bureaucrats whose jobs are in jeopardy, and a Media indignant that the American people voted for Donald Trump, a Capitalist businessman.

The Media has been trying to force on us questionable polls that indicate Trump is unpopular. This is the same Media that insisted that Hillary Clinton was going to win and that Trump didn’t stand a chance.  They would have us believe that he’s still (if he ever was) a clown, a bumpkin, a simpleton out of his league in Washington.

Yeah, right. He didn’t win a majority of a very questionable vote, especially in California, whose state assembly has a bill pending to make Communism legal.  Still, thanks to the Electoral College, enough of us did vote for him in the right places to bring about his election.

Trump’s election still confounds the Democrats and the Liberal Right, who hate and despise him. He’s received more biased coverage – 80 percent – than any modern U.S. President.  However, while the Mainstream Media leans far over to the left and is dragging Moderate Republican pundits with them, average Americans have resource to alternative forms of communication where they can learn the truth, Snopes notwithstanding.

Moderate Republicans are understandably anxious about the elections in November. They don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of their donors’ viewpoints.  Money talks.  George Soros has a lot of money and does a lot of talking and trouble-making.  Trump wouldn’t be afraid of him.  But the Swamp is.

A confident, secure Pres. Trump and First Lady Melania took off for a tour of the Middle East, not at all fazed, it appears, by the Media name-calling, accusations, and trial-by-pundit. There’s no evidence, as ridiculous as it sounds, that he colluded with Russia to tilt the election in his favor.  There’s no evidence that he ever asked his FBI director to stand down on an investigation.

And there’s no evidence that he’s anything but presidential.

Conservative pundits may sputter and fume all they like about Trump’s “timing” in firing Comey, about “upsetting” the Left and not having the bona fides to be a president.

But listen – they had the same opinion of Ronald Reagan – the former actor. Reagan had previously served as governor of California, while Trump has held no political office.  His career has been building ivory towers from which the elite could hold forth over the hoi polloi of America.

No wonder they’re perplexed at Trump’s election: they couldn’t hear us from their lofty perches.

 

 

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Goes Around, “Comeys” Around

Liberal Democrats, having come of age in the Sixties and early Seventies – think Hillary Clinton graduating from Wellesley in 1969 and attending Yale thereafter during the most tumultuous campus riots (up until now) – seem to have slipped into their dotage.

Aging, senile senators and creaky congressmen are looking for their Saturday Night Massacre moment now that Pres. Trump has finally fired F.B.I. Director James Comey for his big fail in failing to produce the obvious evidence against Hillary Clinton regarding her leaked e-mails and her culpability in regard to the Clinton Foundation.

The Saturday Night Massacre refers to Pres. Richard Nixon’s orders to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which led to the resignations of Attorney General Eliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on Oct. 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal. Nixon suspected the Democrat Party of accepting foreign campaign donations, which is illegal. A group of Republican Party operatives broke into the Democrat campaign headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., which was also illegal. No evidence was ever brought against the Democrats, but eventually the scandal resulted in the resignation of Nixon as president of the United States.

The Democrats are hoping, on much weaker grounds, that history will repeat itself: a Republican president, suspecting a Democrat candidate of eliciting illegal foreign donations, orders an “illegal” investigation, then tries to cover it up.

Except that Trump hasn’t (so far). He said once he was elected, he would not order an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s alleged misdeeds including the thousands of leaked e-mails indicating that she may be guilty. Maybe he’s changed his mind; let’s hope so.

According to Fox News, on Tuesday, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who came under fire during last year’s campaign for his inept handling of the Clinton e-mail probe — and whose agency has been investigating since before Trump was even nominated as the Republican candidate whether his campaign had ties to Russia.

The president informed Comey in a brief letter that he could not “effectively lead” the bureau and called for “new leadership that restores public trust and confidence” in law enforcement.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president’s decision was based on “the clear recommendations” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The White House made the announcement shortly after the FBI corrected a sentence in Comey’s sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. The director had told congressional lawmakers that Huma Abedin, as a top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, including some with classified information.

On Tuesday, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that only “a small number” of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices.

But that error was apparently unrelated to the Comey firing. DOJ officials instead cited his handling of the Clinton probe. Comey first ran into problems during the 2016 presidential race when he tried to conclude his investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server system for emails while at the State Department.

He concluded that Clinton, then the Democratic presidential nominee, had not acted criminally with classified emails but said she had been “extremely careless.” He then announced a revived probe regarding the emails and Abedin’s handling of them in the closing days of the race.

Democrats, for their part (possibly to derail Trump’s campaign early in the race and later, to alleviate heat generated by Clinton’s e-mail scandal) have been clamoring for nearly a year about a possible connection between campaign associates and Russia.

The big deal in the Russia “scandal”? One of Trump’s PR men may have served as an image booster for Vladimir Putin.

That’s it. That’s the whole “scandal” in a nutshell. So, of course, Hillary Clinton’s sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium supplies pales in comparison to this earth-shaking revelation. The classified information in the leaked e-mails – which were sent to Anthony the Weener Weiner’s computer – is small potatoes compared to this national security crisis posed by Trump’s campaign.

You might have thought that, well, the guy in the black hat is former Exxon CEO Secretary of State Tillson or now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who held two meetings with the Russian ambassador prior to the election.

But, no. Tillson’s relations with Russia go all the way back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sessions’ meetings with the Russian ambassador were hardly back-room deals; Sessions brought the ambassador in to express his displeasure with Russia’s interference in the Middle East.

Convinced that Trump’s tax records would reveal his dastardly dealings, the FBI reviewed his tax records. They could find absolutely no evidence of any business holdings in Russia, no dealings with any company in Russia, no dealings with the Russian government. The only item the investigation turned up was that the Trump-sponsored Miss Universe Pageant was held in Moscow in 2006.

The Miss Universe Pageant. THE MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT?!

We know that the Democrats are really desperate to link Trump with Russia. But a beauty pageant? The Democrats have reached so far that they’ll have to have their suits specially-tailored to fit the stretched-out left arm they’ve been using to try to pin something on the mighty Trump.

Could anything be more ludicrous than the left-leaning Democrat Party and the Marxist Media, which have been in bed with Marxists, Leninists, Stalinists, Maoists, and Trotskyites since the 1930s accusing a successful Capitalist of sleeping with the enemy? Or at least dealing with him?

In the end, Trump’s black hat guy – the villain in the Democrats’ minds – is just some two-bit PR hack writer. The Left seems quite certain that someone helped get Trump elected, that he couldn’t possibly have managed the election on his own. They also believe that his followers are not the majority of Americans. However, a sizeable minority, if not a majority, of Hillary’s followers were not Americans at all.

Clinton was clearly not made for television the way Trump was. The Left can’t quite grasp that theirs was a not-ready-for-prime-time candidate. Videos of her collapsing at the 9/11 Memorial Service in New York City didn’t help her. Neither did then-Pres. Obama whose health care plan was proving ever more unpopular and costly. They couldn’t quite grasp that the sheeple would turn on the sheeple-herders.

The Democrats figure if they could just get some mud on whoever “helped” Trump turn his campaign around – remember, everyone – the Democrats, the Media, even the Republicans – had him in the Loser column – they could discredit Trump himself and maybe add a charge of cover-up as a bonus. They’re even pipe-dreaming of a Nixonian impeachment or resignation.

If they’re looking for a “culprit” who helped Trump turn his image around, they need look no further than the lady at his side, First Lady Melania Trump. Intelligent (she speaks seven languages), sensible, loyal, poised, and beautiful, he didn’t need to hire an image consultant; he was married to one. All he had to do was listen to her – and evidently he did, and won the hearts of the American people and the election.

The Comey story is really quite simple: Trump had enough of Comey’s ineptitude. As president, he had every right to fire him without any investigations into his decision. He knew sooner or later the Media and the Democrats would cry, “Saturday Night Massacre!” and the witch hunt would begin. Still, keeping Comey on was an insult to all the members of the FBI – the rank-and-file who have served our country honorably.

The Democrats are rather like a toothless dog at this point. But they’re counting on an ignorant public to follow their lead in raising the cry for an investigation of Trump before his own FBI director can begin an investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Clinton served (rather dishonorably, it must be noted) on the Watergate Committee years ago. She even tried to claim that Nixon had no right to defend himself. She was summarily dismissed, at last, from the panel, although Nixon was ultimately forced to resign for lying about covering up for the Watergate burglars.

What better justice could we ask for than this: that this president is not investigated for firing an incompetent, partisan director, but instead goes on to appoint an investigator who may just find Clinton guilty as charged.

Hope she hasn’t thrown away her orange jumpsuit.

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Published in: on May 12, 2017 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The People Are Done Backing Down on Obamacare: A People’s FB Conversation

Pres. Trump is taking back America so fast and furiously, it’s hard to keep up with him. We’ll deal with his firing of FBI Director James Comey presently.  At least the firing has taken the pundits’ minds of the new health care bill.

 

Does anybody EVER ask the American people how they feel about government-sponsored medical care? Does anyone in the federal (or state) government even know any real people.

 

Here’s a conversation about the new health care act from some real-life friends (former co-workers) on Facebook the other day. Miss P is one audacious lady.  She never held back on expressing her opinions and feelings, God bless her!  Here, she leads the FB conversation about the new American Health Care Act of 2017, repealing much of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

 

The bill passed the House of Representatives and now faces a tighter vote in the Senate, where Liberal Republicans are even less aware of the existence of real Americans than their counterparts in the House. The only people they know are donors and “victims” whom they can exploit.

 

One element of the new bill is the Pre-Existing Conditions clause which, in Obamacare, was eliminated. Insurers could not discriminate against policyholders who had a pre-existing condition.  The debate now is whether pre-existing conditions have returned and what patients are supposed to do about it, especially if they’re older.

 

Miss P. urged everyone to read the bill before commenting upon it. Here is the summary:

American Health Care Act of 2017

TITLE I–ENERGY AND COMMERCE

Subtitle A–Patient Access to Public Health Programs

(Sec. 101) This bill amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to eliminate funding after FY2018 for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides for investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and restrain the rate of growth in health care costs. Funds that are unobligated at the end of FY2018 are rescinded.

(Sec. 102) The bill amends the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 to increase funding for community health centers.

(Sec. 103) For one year, certain federal funds may not be made available to states for payments to certain family planning providers (e.g., Planned Parenthood Federation of America).

Subtitle B–Medicaid Program Enhancement

(Sec. 111) The bill amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act (SSAct) to limit the state option for a participating-provider hospital to preliminarily determine an individual’s Medicaid eligibility for purposes of providing the individual with medical assistance during a presumptive eligibility period. The bill lowers, from 133% to 100% of the official poverty line, the minimum family-income threshold that a state may use to determine the Medicaid eligibility of children between the ages of 6 and 19. In addition, the bill reduces the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid home- and community-based attendant services and supports.

(Sec. 112) Beginning in 2020, the bill eliminates: (1) the enhanced FMAP for Medicaid services furnished to adult enrollees made newly eligible for Medicaid by PPACA; and (2) the expansion of Medicaid, under PPACA, to cover such enrollees. However, a state Medicaid program may continue to provide coverage, with the enhanced FMAP, to such enrollees who were enrolled prior to 2020 and do not subsequently have any break in eligibility exceeding one month. With respect to states that expanded Medicaid under PPACA, current law provides for transitional FMAP increases through 2019. The bill eliminates these increases after 2017, capping the FMAP at the 2017 level. Under current law, any alternative benefit plan offered by a state Medicaid program is required to provide specified essential health benefits. The bill eliminates this requirement beginning in 2020. (“Essential health benefits” include ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, laboratory services, preventative and wellness services, and pediatric services.)

(Sec. 113) The bill eliminates Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment reductions: (1) with respect to states that did not implement Medicaid expansion under PPACA, beginning in FY2018; and (2) with respect to other states, beginning in FY2020. (DSH hospitals receive additional payment under Medicaid for treating a large share of low-income patients.)

(Sec. 114) The bill specifies how a state must treat qualified lottery winnings and lump sum income, beginning in 2020, for purposes of determining an individual’s income-based eligibility for a state Medicaid program. Specifically, a state shall include such winnings or income as income received: (1) in the month in which it was received, if the amount is less than $80,000; (2) over a period of two months, if the amount is at least $80,000 but less than $90,000; (3) over a period of three months, if the amount is at least $90,000 but less than $100,000; and (4) over an additional one-month period for each increment of $10,000 received, not to exceed 120 months. An individual whose income exceeds the applicable eligibility threshold due to qualified lump sum income may continue to be eligible for medical assistance to the extent that the state determines that denial of eligibility would cause undue medical or financial hardship. Qualified lump sum income includes: (1) monetary winnings from gambling, and (2) income received as liquid assets from the estate of a deceased individual. In addition, the bill eliminates the requirement for up to three months of retroactive coverage under Medicaid. Under current law, a state Medicaid program must provide coverage for up to three months prior to an individual’s application for benefits if the individual would have been eligible for benefits during that period. The bill eliminates this requirement and instead specifies that coverage begins in the month during which the individual applies for benefits. The bill allows a state to delay or deny an individual’s initial eligibility for Medicaid benefits without providing a reasonable opportunity to submit evidence of a satisfactory immigration status or pending official verification of such status. A state that elects to provide a reasonable period for an individual to provide such evidence may not receive payment for amounts expended on the individual’s medical assistance during that period. In addition, the bill disallows a state from using, for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility for long-term care assistance, a home equity limit that exceeds the statutory minimum.

(Sec. 115) With respect to states that did not expand Medicaid coverage under PPACA, the bill: (1) with specified limitations, provides for additional federal funding for certain health care services; and (2) through 2022, increases the applicable FMAP. A non-expansion state that subsequently expands Medicaid coverage under PPACA shall become ineligible for this funding.

(Sec. 116) No less frequently than every six months, states must re-determine the eligibility of adult enrollees made newly eligible for Medicaid by PPACA. The bill temporarily increases by 5% the FMAP for expenditures that are attributable to meeting this requirement. In addition, the bill increases the civil penalty for improperly filing certain Medicaid claims related to Medicaid expansion under PPACA.

Subtitle C–Per Capita Allotment For Medical Assistance

(Sec. 121) Under current law, state Medicaid programs are guaranteed federal matching funds for qualifying expenditures. The bill establishes limits on federal funding for state Medicaid programs beginning in FY2020. Specifically, the bill establishes targeted spending caps for each state, using a formula based on the state’s FY2016 medical assistance expenditures in each enrollee category: (1) the elderly, (2) the blind and disabled, (3) children, (4) adults made newly eligible for Medicaid by PPACA, and (5) all other enrollees. With respect to a state that exceeds its targeted spending cap in a given fiscal year, the bill provides for reduced federal funding in the following fiscal year. In addition, the bill: (1) requires additional reporting and auditing of state data on medical assistance expenditures, and (2) temporarily increases the FMAP with respect to certain data reporting expenditures.

Subtitle D–Patient Relief and Health Insurance Market Stability

(Sec. 131) After 2019, the bill eliminates cost-sharing reductions for low-income individuals with certain health insurance.

(Sec. 132) The bill amends the SS Act to establish and make appropriations for the Patient and State Stability Fund to provide funding to states through 2026, including to: provide financial assistance to high-risk individuals so they may enroll in health insurance, stabilize health insurance premiums, promote participation and increase options in the health insurance market, pay providers for services, and provide financial assistance to enrollees to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Funding is allocated to states based on each state’s share of incurred claims and uninsured individuals below the poverty line. To receive funding, states must provide matching funds at a rate that grows from 7% in 2020 to 50% in 2026.

(Sec. 133) Health insurers must increase premiums by 30% for one year for enrollees in the individual or small group market who had a break in coverage of more than 62 days in the previous year.

(Sec. 134) Beginning in 2020, health insurance benefits no longer must conform to actuarial tiers (e.g., silver level benefits).

Note: According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM),

Actuarial value (AV) is a measure of the percentage of expected health care costs a health plan will cover and can be considered a general summary measure of health plan generosity. Section 1302(d)(2) of the Affordable Care Act defines AV relative to coverage of the essential benefits (EHB) for a standard population. AV is generally calculated by computing the ratio of (i) the total expected payments by the plan for essential health benefits (EHB), computed in accordance with the plan’s cost-sharing rules (i.e., deductibles, co-insurance, co-payments, out-of-pocket limits), for a standard population; over (ii) the total costs for the EHB the standard population is expected to incur. For example, a plan with an 80 percent AV would be expected to pay, on average, 80 percent of a standard population’s expected medical expenses for the EHB. The individuals covered by the plan would be expected to pay, on average, the remaining 20 percent of the expected expenses in the form of deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance.

(Sec. 135) The bill increases the ratio by which health insurance premiums may vary by age, from a three to one ratio to a five to one ratio. This ratio may be preempted by states.

TITLE II–COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS

Subtitle A–Repeal and Replace of Health-Related Tax Policy

Sections 201-203 of the bill make several modifications to the premium assistance tax credit for a transition period and repeal the credit after 2019. (The credit is currently provided to eligible individuals and families to subsidize the purchase of health insurance plans on an exchange.)

(Sec. 201) This section makes taxpayers liable for the full amount of excess advance payments of the credit. (Under current law, liability for certain low-income households is limited to an applicable dollar amount.)

(Sec. 202) This section modifies the premium assistance tax credit to: make the credit available for catastrophic qualified health plans and plans that are not offered through an exchange, but otherwise meet the requirements for qualified health plans; prohibit the credit from being used for grandfathered or grandmothered health plans; prohibit the credit from being used for health plans that cover abortions (other than abortions necessary to save the life of the mother or abortions with respect to a pregnancy that is the result of an act of rape or incest); and revise the formula used to calculate the credit using a schedule that varies with household income and the age of individuals or family members.

(Sec. 203) This section repeals the premium assistance tax credit for health coverage that begins after December 31, 2019.

(Sec. 204) This section modifies the small employer tax credit for employee health insurance expenses to: (1) prohibit the credit from being used for health plans that include coverage for abortions (other than any abortion necessary to save the life of the mother or any abortion with respect to a pregnancy that is the result of an act of rape or incest) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017; and (2) repeal the credit for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.

(Sec. 205) This section repeals the penalties for individuals who are not covered by a health plan that provides at least minimum essential coverage (commonly referred to as the individual mandate). The repeal is effective for months beginning after December 31, 2015.

(Sec. 206) This section repeals the penalties for certain large employers who do not offer full-time employees and their dependents minimum essential health coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan (commonly referred to as the employer mandate). The repeal is effective for months beginning after December 31, 2015.

(Sec. 207) This section delays the implementation of the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage (commonly referred to as the Cadillac tax) until 2025. (Under current law, the tax goes into effect in 2020.)

(Sec. 208) This section permits tax-favored health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements to be used to purchase over-the-counter medicine that is not prescribed by a physician.

(Sec. 209) This section repeals the increase in the tax on distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs that are not used for qualified medical expenses. The bill reduces the tax on HSA distributions from 20% to 10% and reduces the tax for Archer MSA’s from 20% to 15% to return the taxes to the levels that existed prior to the enactment of PPACA.

(Sec. 210) This section repeals the limitation on FSA salary reduction contributions.

(Sec. 211) This section repeals the medical device excise tax for sales in calendar years beginning after December 31, 2017.

(Sec. 212) The provision permits employers who provide Medicare-eligible retirees with qualified prescription drug coverage and receive federal subsidies for prescription drug plans to claim a deduction for the expenses without reducing the deduction by the amount of the subsidy.

(Sec. 213) This section repeals the increase in the income threshold used to determine whether an individual may claim an itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses. The bill allows all taxpayers to claim an itemized deduction for unreimbursed expenses medical expenses that exceed 7.5% (10% under current law) of adjusted gross income.

(Sec. 214) This section repeals the additional Medicare tax that is imposed on certain employees and self-employed individuals with wages or self-employment income above specified thresholds.

(Sec. 215) The section establishes a refundable, advanceable tax credit beginning in 2020 for certain taxpayers who purchase health insurance and who are not eligible for other sources of coverage. The credit applies for health insurance coverage that: is offered in the individual health insurance market within a state or is unsubsidized COBRA continuation coverage; is not a grandfathered or grandmothered plan; substantially all of which is not for excepted benefits providing only limited coverage, such as dental, vision, or long-term care; does not include coverage for abortions (other than any abortion necessary to save the life of the mother or any abortion with respect to a pregnancy that is the result of an act of rape or incest); does not consist of short-term limited duration insurance; and is certified by the state in which the insurance is offered as meeting the requirement of this bill. The bill specifies credit amounts which are based on age and adjusted gross income. It also limits the annual credit amount to $14,000 per family. If the amount paid for the insurance is less than the credit amount, Treasury may deposit the excess into an HSA of the individual or a qualifying family member as designated by the individual. The Department of the Treasury must establish a program not later than January 1, 2020, for making advance payments to providers of eligible health insurance on behalf of individuals eligible for the credit. The bill specifies reporting requirements for health insurance providers who provide eligible health insurance coverage to individuals.

(Sec. 216) This section increases the limits on HSA contributions to match the sum of the annual deductible and out-of-pocket expenses permitted under a high deductible health plan.

(Sec. 217) This section permits both spouses of a married couple who are eligible for HSA catch-up contributions to make the contributions to the same HSA account.

(Sec. 218) This section permits an HSA to be used to pay certain medical expenses that were incurred before the HSA was established. If the HSA is established during the 60-day period beginning on the date that an individual’s coverage under a high deductible health plan begins, the HSA is treated as having been established on the date coverage under the high deductible health plan begins to determine whether an amount paid is used for a qualified medical expense.

Subtitle B–Repeal of Certain Consumer Taxes

(Sec. 221) This section repeals the annual fee on branded prescription pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers.

(Sec. 222) This section repeals the annual fee imposed on certain health insurance providers based on market share.

Subtitle C–Repeal of Tanning Tax

(Sec. 231) This section repeals the 10% excise tax on the price of indoor tanning services.

Subtitle D–Remuneration From Certain Insurers

(Sec. 241) The section repeals a provision that prohibits certain health insurance providers from deducting remuneration paid to an officer, director, or employee in excess of $500,000.

Subtitle E–Repeal of Net Investment Income Tax

(Sec. 251) This section repeals the 3.8% tax on the net investment income of individuals, estates, and trusts with incomes above specified amounts.

The summary does not clarify the problem of pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies feel it’s unfair for a patient with pre-existing conditions to buy a policy and then make immediate claims on it.  They compare it to someone buying an insurance policy on their car after they’ve had an accident (in fact, a driver has to wait 30 days after an accident before they can be insured, I believe).

 

Patients counter that they’ve been paying for their insurance all along, usually through an employer, and that they shouldn’t be penalized if they’ve been laid off from their jobs before retirement age. Auto insurers are no longer permitted to red-line, a practice which used to allow companies to deny coverage to drivers with poor records or who live in high-risk areas for accidents and theft.  That would pretty much mean that everyone living east of the Garden State Parkway would be unable to get coverage.

 

The interesting thing about cars is that historically there’s been no maintenance insurance for cars, although recently some companies have been advertising for such policies. Another new market is pet insurance.  By the way, if you’re a homeowner and you have a pooch, you should know that there are certain breeds insurance companies won’t offer protection for.

 

Human beings are not machines, however. Unlike a car, if a human being begins to rust, you can’t just throw them on the junk heap.  In a more responsible age, human beings recognized this mortal tendency and saved their money.  That was when you actually received interest on your savings; now, you’re penalized by the bank for saving your money in their institution.  Those were also the days when you could count on your job for life.  And Liberals wonder why we long for the Good Ole Days…

 

But here’s Miss P and Facebook Friends on the subject:

 

Miss P: Am I missing something? Keep reading panic posts about how many people are going to die and how many won’t be able to receive treatment if they have a “pre-existing” condition. For instance, poor Cher won’t be able to get her asthma meds. Seriously????  If I can afford to pay for all my OTC meds that were once prescribed and covered, I don’t think asthma is going to bankrupt Cher. Also bothering me is the fact that no one seems to remember life before the almighty life-altering Obamacare. It’s only been 7 years. What did you all do? Lots of people had pre-existing conditions 7 years ago and long before that.  I remember getting EOBs stating denied for pre-existing condition. I did then what I do now, I pay for the doctor’s visit. What about all the people that fell into that category and were denied coverage altogether? The biggest kicker here….it’s not even law. It squeaked by Congress, still has to go through Senate then get signed into law by the president. Funny how no one is complaining about all the other insurance companies assigning risk pools and charging according to what they think is right.  Little Johnny drives like an ass and has 2 DWIs so my car insurance is high. You live in an area prone to flooding, your homeowners is higher. How quickly that’s all forgotten.  Funny how 8 years inflates some people’s sense of entitlement.

 

KD:  I am still confused about pre-existing conditions. Does that mean you choose not to pay for healthcare insurance, then you get ill, then you get insurance and try and claim it? Like putting Collision on your car ins after you crash it

 

LG: While I agree with you regarding the over reactions it, my son and I do not get coverage for our pre-existing condition (asthma). It would be very expensive for us to have to buy our medication without insurance. The inhaler we both take costs $500 each per month. That’s just one medication. Most people cannot afford to do that and pre-existing conditions were covered before Obamacare.

 

KD:  But if you have insurance, how is it pre-existing?

 

LG:  If I lose my job and have to change insurance… someday he will have to get his own insurance….

 

KD: Ahhhhhh, I am sure that will be one of the Kinks that will have to be worked out

 

Miss P: Before Obamacare it was at the insurance companies’ discretion. Obamacare forced the insurance companies to cover pre-existing. My health insurance is off the charts and my premium and deductible is high to compensate for those who need Obamacare. I contribute over $150/mo, my deductible is $2350 and when (IF) I hit that deductible I’m responsible for 20%. That’s fun…know what 20% of surgery is? Took me two years to pay it off. So that’s fair? Last year, I didn’t hit my deductible until December 23 so every doctor appointment with the exception of my annual well-woman was out of pocket. My f*&# mammo wasn’t even 100%. My deductible was only $2,000 last year…only???!!! It needs to be fixed. Competition needs to be brought back and Big Pharmacy needs a kick in the ass. WTF?! Look at the epi pen and a junkie can get a free Narcan shot but a cancer victim gets bankrupted trying to live? I call BS on the whole system.

 

JW: Since Obamacare my deductibles have cost close to $30k. That means I’ve been paying out of pocket for my drugs every year. Why do you think you should have someone else subsidize your meds?

 

Miss P: Hit my deductible December 23; what was the point?

AS: Sense of entitlement?

 

Miss P:  I could name more than a handful who believe it’s their God given right to coast through life without ever contributing or being accountable. It’s sickening.

 

JD: I recommend watching Baseball!  [Ed.: Just don’t sit behind home-base; saw a guy get clobbered once by a flying bat…not pretty]  But seriously, my insurance and deductibles have skyrocketed in the past few years, not feeling it for Obamacare!

 

Miss P: The Cher thing and Warren throwing her 2 cents in pushed my buttons today. Neither one of them ever have to worry about going without. SHUT UP.

JD: Instead of causing unnecessary panic, Schmuck Schumer should be reaching out to negotiate a plan that both sides can back… or better yet, Congress should drop their privileged health insurance and participate with We the People…. it would be fixed very quickly!!

 

Miss P:  EXACTLY!  Maybe then he’d have something legit to cry about!

 

JD: Schmuck Schumer is a photo op in waiting! He needs to work harder and not just cry about everything!! I’m ashamed of his representation for NY.

 

JW: The House didn’t exempt itself.

CP: The surcharges they’re talking about imposing for pre-existing conditions are disgusting. God forbid anyone has the audacity to have asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, or breast cancer. The asshole who chooses to drive drunk and gets surcharged for it for the next 3 years is on him. I’m guessing no one would “choose” to fight breast cancer.

 

Miss P: Senate will never pass it. I’m not saying it’s right but seriously wtf did everyone do before Obamacare? There were plenty of sick people. I had a cancer scare while unemployed and uninsured, did what I did with the surgery, paid it off a little at a time. I’m not saying anyone chooses to be ill but I have a friend whose son has a TBI because she was forced to get insurance for the rest of her family that she can’t afford. They just don’t go to the doctor so her son can continue to receive the care he needs. Sorry but what about those families? She didn’t choose for her son to be in an accident. And for the record I’m not the asshole that chose to drink and drive so why am I paying higher insurance because someone else did and why did I get stuck because the stoned ass kid who didn’t have insurance decided to drive under my truck?

 

JD: They are also making hundreds of millions of $ aside to subsidize for pre-existing conditions. Nancy Pelosi admittedly voted for Obamacare without knowing what was in it…. I think we all need to study the whole plan before beating it down… we should have plenty of time while it sits in the senate!

 

BB: It was just announced on the news.. RIGHT NOW… that we’re all going to die. Each and every one of us is going to eventually be dead.

 

DO: Pre-existing conditions are still covered if you need to change insurance as long as you don’t let your insurance coverage lapse. This is the actual story.  Try not to let the media and celebrities scare you…get all the facts first! Pre-existing conditions ARE covered. It is only in the case where a person lets their insurance LAPSE and then has to renew their insurance that they won’t be covered – BUT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY THE DIFFERENCE (see below) – Over $200 Billion is being set aside for that purpose. As long as you stay with one provider, or switch providers without a lapse, you are fine. Furthermore the state has to apply for a waiver to even allow insurance companies to charge at a higher rate for pre-existing conditions. Plus … for those who lapse and fall into the more expensive insurance rate (high-risk pool), the federal government will pay the difference, as stated above. This has all been done this way for a valid reason. People were waiting until they were very sick to purchase insurance – now I ask you, do you think that’s fair to you? Do you think insurance companies can survive that way? And lastly, the Senate will also be working to make this healthcare act even better. So please try to look at the million great aspects of this act instead of twisting the details to bash Trump! For example, Trump has taken out 140,000 regulations – and that’s a fact! Plus no one will have to pay a penalty if they don’t have insurance, like they did with Obamacare!

 

Miss P:  And that D is why I love you. I’m getting really sick of find something wrong with everything just because people don’t like him. There’s some really good stuff out there if people would wait and see rather than like I said earlier jump to the wrong conclusion before anything has even happened.

 

DO: My problem is that Obamacare did NOT help me – it hurt us big time. Cost me over $10k a year that I wasn’t paying for the last 7 plus years that is has been in effect. So why is it ok for me to absorb the cost and do without but now that it just might be my turn to benefit from a revision it isn’t ok?? How come I am not allowed to have a little breathing room in my day to day? At this rate I will be on the government hand out line shortly. Maybe then I will see it a different way, but for now, I work damn hard for my money and I would like to keep a little of it. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

 

Miss P:  Me, too. Hit my deductible 12/23 so that was $2k.  I was I think $23 over…add my $150/mo benefit contribution, $430 for my glasses – mind you just lenses, and over $3500 in dental over my $1500 max. Work minimum 50 hrs a week and that’s a benefit? Kill Obamacare! Need to reevaluate the handout line you mentioned too.

 

DO: Oh wait – I didn’t include dental and eye care!! That was the amount my premiums went up to cover this ObamaNation!!! With a kid in braces and glasses and two adults in contacts and glasses – forget it!!

 

JV: I agree… Let me explain “pre-existing” condition, for those who are scared or just don’t understand…Pre-existing means, if you were diagnosed with the condition when you had no insurance and are now seeking insurance for the condition!! Get it!!!? Just like car insurance with pre-existing damage with no insurance!!! Pre-existing car damage = no coverage!! Homeowners insurance works the save way!!! Get it people? If you have insurance with the current condition and get new insurance, the condition is covered. Don’t let your health insurance lapse, if you do, you may not be covered for the condition.

 

CP: You can get as sarcastic as you want, and I can “get it” all I want, but some of us [Ed. Note: Most of us in this conversation worked for the same company, an ins co.] will be out of work soon. Thus losing our benefits, but thanks for the insurance lesson.

 

Miss P: You forget I was one of them 10 years ago. The great job I got right after they laid me off went belly up in less than 3 years. Was out of work for over 2. No job, no unemployment, no insurance. Dying dad who I ultimately lost which the only good part of being out of work was being able to spend time and take care of him. Stuff happens to all of us. I’m only being bitchy because you went there first. I didn’t choose to be out of work that long and when I finally did get a job it was for a substantial pay cut. My bills and responsibilities didn’t end because my job did. As for the insurance lesson, our good old company told me the uninsured kid was my problem so I pay them for what? They didn’t even pursue it. Dropped that subro in a heartbeat when they found out he was uninsured. So forgive my bitter mean girl. Sick of the system. Read the posted link for a healthcare bill lesson. You jumped to that same wrong conclusion that pushed my buttons to begin with. The whole pre-existing has been grossly blown out of proportion.

 

See post #2 with the link. It’s all explained. I’m done!! Everyone keeps hating on him [Trump]. He’s gonna get a second term. Whole reason he got elected in the first place.

 

JV:  Look, I voted for him. I agree 100% with what he wants and agree with this health insurance bill. I understand people get lapse in coverage for one reason or another, and if it happens you may pay a surcharge. I was just explaining the pre-existing condition clause. It’s in every health insurance policy and are currently covered and the premiums and high deductibles show for it. This bill is a way to defer the cost to the proper people, whether your job went belly up or your company has given you 10 years to find a new job!

 

JP: Yep he certainly is!!!! 👍🏻

 

Miss P: Hey JV, I knew I was losing [job] for what 3 1/2 years? I found a job before that happened. It was the next job that blindsided me but in the long run it all worked out in my favor. As for voting for him I did and I will do it again in 2020. It’s about time we get put first.

 

JV: Totally agreed, girl. I would vote for him again too, in a heart-beat. My 401k has gone up in last 100 days, amazing.

 

Miss P: Last 100 days??? Since the election! He seriously needs to pull the swamp plug. Still too many floaters.

 

JV: True true. Well next year is an ejection year for a lot of senators and congressmen and women… the keep fighting him the more the votes will go against these politicians, just saying 😊

 

Miss P: They’re making complete asses out of themselves. Grow up, work together, and get stuff done. Freaking Pelosi?? What’s up with that? Senility or drunk? Half the time she thinks he’s [Trump] Bush and no one sees a problem there? And now Obama is doing to the French campaign exactly what he and his posse accused Russia of doing to ours. Hmmmm hypocrisy much?

 

JP: Pelosi aka Wax Lady – needs to be moved to Madame Trusaud Museum.

 

LF: Some people before Obama care could not afford health insurance & didn’t have it!! Some people paid $1000 a month out of pocket, but the sad truth is Obamacare is not working for most people who make over $21,000 & have to pay outrageous deductible & the price of the premium keeps​ going up!! America needs a form of one payer!! But the people who own insurance companies & the hospitals​ & pay off our government will do whatever they can to make sure they make billions of dollars off of people being sick!!! People who make money from your illness or health is a conflict of interest!!!

 

Miss P: It may have helped those but it screwed the test of us. No one should’ve been forced to buy insurance they couldn’t afford. My biggest thing this morning was so many people jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about something they couldn’t be more wrong about. Like the man or not, read up about what the actual proposed plan is and people aren’t going to lose coverage because of pre-existing conditions some of which I heard were so ridiculous. People need to direct their energy elsewhere. I don’t care if you don’t like him. Plenty of us have disliked other presidents and have never ever shown such disgust and disrespect. People should be ashamed of themselves.

 

LF: What happens when the insurance companies drop people off? My boyfriend got dropped off of his insurance. They claim he didn’t pay but he did. He proved he did & they still refuse to give him back his insurance!! Now he has pre-existing condition & is screwed!! & Don’t think these insurance companies aren’t dropping people now!! If you wish to take them to court & the judge doesn’t find in your favor, you can get a fine of $250,00!! So the insurance companies are banking on that you will be scared crapless to fight them!!!

 

Miss P: You’re doing the exact thing that set me off this morning, making the exact assumptions that couldn’t be further from the truth. Go to whitehouse.gov and read the actual proposed plan. I posted it earlier. Or you can choose to believe the bullcrap being crammed down your throat by the Media and people who don’t like Trump. Either way, the TRUE proposed plan is posted. Obamacare is not what everyone needs. It tripled my deductible and made getting sick damn near unaffordable and I work too hard and too many hours to get screwed like that. $2350 deductible? Are you kidding me????

 

LF: It’s not bullcrap what I said & the plan the Trump administration put out sucks that simple!! & I don’t have a problem with Trump!! But I have a problem with this crap they want to replace the unaffordable insurance with some more!!! The insurance companies will still charge whatever they want, just like Obamacare. The only difference is you won’t have to buy it!!! What about caps! I read it [the bill] & it sucks. Just my opinion & you are sure entitled to yours especially on your fb page 😍 Peace

 

Miss P:  Have you read the actual plan? Can’t criticize it until you understand it and what the media and liberal left is putting out there is not it. I’m willing to bet you did not log onto the White House website to read the actual proposed plan like the majority of people flipping out about the pre-existing conditions. There are BILLIONS budgeted so people don’t lose their coverage. You might want to take a few minutes to read and digest it, then form an educated opinion afterwards. If you still think the country is better off with Obamacare then so be it, that’s your choice and you’re entitled to it. Just know the facts first. whitehouse.gov Hit the drop down menu, briefing room, then latest news

 

The White House

President Donald J. Trump

whitehouse.gov
Miss P: Just read thru this again, LF.  If your boyfriend was dropped for what the insurance company is claiming is non-payment and can’t get reinsured because of a pre-existing condition then that company is in serious violation of the current insurance laws. The ACA is still in effect. May want to have him check into it. Definitely can’t even begin to blame Trump’s PROPOSED plan; it’s nowhere near a law yet. Sorry to say your boyfriend is another victim of the wonderful Obamacare.

 

LF: I agree Obama care is not working for sure but Trump used to know one-payer was what we need.  Every person knows I’’s what we need right up until the moment they find out who really runs this country & world for that matter!! Just take a good long look at how Obama sold out to Monsanto!! The guy vowed to get rid of the poison & GMO but no!! Not only did he not keep his promise, he let Monsanto not have to label!! Insurance companies, Monsanto, pharmaceuticals & the food industry & bowing is running this world & we the people are screwed

 

DW: Government should have never gotten involved in health insurance. If you want something to get screwed up have, the politicians put their hands in it.

 

PC: I can’t leave UPS as a package handler…it will be 5 years part time…great medical/dental plan, a part-time pension, but it’s extremely hard work.

 

Miss P: Unfortunately, with a full-time job and full medical benefits, being uninsured would be more affordable. Obamacare killed me. In the past three years, my deductible alone has almost tripled. Needless to say unless something catastrophic happens, I won’t reach it.

 

At this point in the conversation, I complimented Miss P for her fortitude in speaking out so knowledgeably on this subject. I could be wrong, but I believe Miss P has “only” a high school diploma.  The last time I actually saw her in person, we were working together in the Word Processing Department as typists.  Yet her Facebook post was far better-informed, interesting, and intelligent than anything I’ve read in the Media.  I wrote to her that the press has grossly misled the public on the American Health Care Act.

 

Miss P: Oh I know and if you took the time to read the whole post all sides included [which I had] you’d see I got ripped a new asshole for that [for defending pre-existing conditions clauses], too. People seem to forget I already walked down that road and at the first mention of a date [for the AHCA].  I started looking. It all comes to choices: don’t play the victim card. I didn’t. Yes my mean girl bitch card is on full display right now. Everyone is entitled to an opinion; that’s what makes our country unique. But lately if you’re on the right, you’re wrong. No one has to agree; just be educated before you pounce. No one is going to lose coverage especially for pre-existing and lord knows I myself have plenty from my knee and back to allergies and now arthritis. Another big one [a lie] – “it’s going to kill people”…just walking across the street kills people. My friend basically just blamed the new not-even-law-yet policy on her boyfriend getting bounced.  Ummm sorry.  We’re still in Obamacare he’ll. Health insurance is a total scam. There is no reason my deductible should’ve almost tripled in 3 years. I am very fortunate [in having found another job]. I work my ass off.  I get stressed to the point I scream and have thrown a thing or two including some not so nice names 😂 at my boss but overall I LOVE my job. Never saw THAT coming. I’m DONE backing down to people.

 

Few politicians bother to read Facebook. They certainly don’t know what real people are saying to one another about issues like health care.  Being invited onto an everyman’s or woman’s Facebook page isn’t on their agenda.  Some politicians, like N.J. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (NJ Distr. 25 – R) do have Facebook pages.  He posts quite often and opens his page to all sorts of discussions.

 

Of course, we can hardly expect them to read every single constituent’s Facebook page, either. So, the answer is for all of us to sign onto our representatives’ Facebook pages and let them know what we think.

 

Imagine if Miss P had written her discourse on the American Health Care Act 2017 on the Facebook page of one of our Senators or Congressmen? Or even on Donald Trump’s page or Paul Ryan’s?

 

Imagine if we all did it?

 

Published in: on May 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tom-Hanks-Moves-to-Ringwood Hoax: A Pipeline Dream

Last Wednesday, I announced to my companion that I’d read news that we’d have a new and very famous neighbor: actor Tom Hanks.

 

“Where’s he moving to?” my buddy asked. “Somewhere in Bergen County, I’d guess?”

 

“No. The article said he was moving to Ringwood.”

 

My friend swallowed his food and blinked his agoggled eyes for a full minute.

 

“Why?!” he finally asked.

 

I had no immediate answer, so I told him I’d have it figured out by the time we got to band rehearsal that night.

 

The article “quoted” Hanks as saying that he’d had enough of Hollywood and he found that Ringwood was a very pretty, peaceful place. Pretty, yes.  Peaceful?  Well…if you don’t being in the midst of Passaic County’s drug manufacturing complex, Ringwood’s a great place.  Ah but there is Skylands Botanical Garden, Ringwood Manor, Shepherd’s Pond, and Ramapo Mountain State Park.

 

Just so you know, so as not to play with you, I discovered the next day that the whole thing was a hoax. The authors of this fake news had poor Tom Hanks moving to every tiny little town across the United States.  They thought it great sport to toy with conservative little towns being eclipsed by the aura of Hollywood celebrity, their residents overjoyed at the prospect of being overshadowed by dramatic greatness.  Hanks, by no means the first or only celebrity victim of this hoax, was the perfect everyman to fit their bill of a celebrity moving to small town America, even though he’s a native Californian and would have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to leave the Golden State, where he was born.

 

Ringwood wasn’t as much of a stretch because this town that borders New York State is within 30 minutes commuting distance of New York City (something the authors mentioned as being attractive to Hanks) and Teterboro Airport. Also, Greenwood Lake Airport would be just up the Greenwood Lake Airport for his private flying pleasure.

 

He’d be within easy commuting distance of New York, that is, except for one problem: Skyline Drive.  As we all know, there are no mountains in New Jersey, as the rest of the world defines them.  But we do have extremely steep hills whose grades are difficult to scale.  Around here, developers don’t build on mountains anymore (as they did in Ringwood and Wanaque); they blow them up.

 

Celebrities and billionaires, please take note, if you’re thinking of getting away from Hollywood via Ringwood, N.J.: Skyline Drive is inaccessible in severe winter weather.  You might as well try to climb Mount Everest as drive up or down Skyline Drive in the winter.  Locals do it, but they don’t recommend it and the police do close the road during winter storms.

 

The next accessible entrance to Route 287 is some 15 minutes down the road, in Wanaque.

 

Why would a rich man like Hanks want to move to Ringwood, indeed. Northern New Jersey has more than its share of wealthy celebrities, but mainly they live in eastern Bergen County.  The closer to the City the better.  In Bergen County, they build gated communities for themselves, ensuring safety from thieves and paparazzi while still being able to make the city in 15 minutes or less.  The hucksters would have been more successful had they selected a tiny Bergen County town like Closter or Hillsdale.

 

But okay. My friend still wanted an answer and as I hadn’t yet discovered the hoax, I tried to come up with a solution to this mystery.  The answer?

 

The Pilgrim Pipeline. The environmental activists are up in arms over this gas pipeline.  Funny, they didn’t get their hackles up very high when Tillcon essentially blew up Federal Hill, which is now all but gone.  They’re getting ready to push through the entrance to Route 287 at Exit 53 in Riverdale.

 

There’s a skip in the exit numbers for Route 287. The next exit north is Exit 55 and therein lies one of the pipeline problems.  It’s where the pipelines – plural, I should say – all meet.

 

If the Pilgrim Pipeline is separate from a similar north-south pipeline called the Algonquin (indeed, one may be gasoline, the other natural gas), the environmentalists have a lot of pipeline on their plates.

 

As of this date, the Pilgrim Pipeline has been moved out of Ringwood onto the border of the neighboring, Bergen County town of Mahwah (Tom Hanks, please take note; don’t sign on the dotted line for your Ringwood home just yet). This means this pipeline will traverse the ridge of Ramapo Mountain.

 

Activists have hysterically noted how close to the Wanaque Reservoir the Pilgrim Pipeline is. As the crow flies, looking at a map, it seems perilously close (!).   However, the activists apparently haven’t actually visited our area and certainly haven’t driven up Skyline Drive in Ringwood.

 

The entire road nearly six miles long: three miles up a steep grade and another three miles down the other side.  That’s a whole lot of terrain for a gas leak to cascade down before it actually reaches the reservoir.  In between are a forest of trees and a nest of suburban homes clinging to the hillside.  Strange that the activists show no concern for the homes along the pipeline; just the trees, and that reservoir, which is the water supply not for Ringwood and Wanaque (despite) but the city of Newark, miles and miles away.  The reservoir and its surrounding watershed property belong to Newark.

As we all know, if you want to have a voice in any local town council meeting in these parts, you must be a resident, or a paid representative of a resident.  Hence, a charity move into town by a celebrity activist.  They come to live here just long enough, move and shake, and then return to their Hollywood mansions (Hanks has two, although they’re reportedly up for sale).

Ah, that should bring Tom Hanks and friends flying in! Hanks is a committed Democrat and FOO (Friend of Obama) Fighter.  Strange still, that the activists aren’t concerned about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline which actually passes right over (or under) the Wanaque Reservoir far to the north, near the New York State border.

 

The activists cite claims about the dangers of shipping gasoline and natural gas. They cite some statistic about one natural gas incident happening per month.  What they don’t state is that these accidents typically happen in residential communities, usually at an individual address, where either a builder doesn’t check the plans for the location of the pipe and hits it, or a municipal worker doing roadwork hits a main, or a homeowner is not home to detect a leak or is home but doesn’t recognize it because they’re sleeping (that happened to us when I was a child).

 

Natural gas is naturally odorless, so the natural gas company adds an artificial odor which should be detectable. But sometimes, older people can become confused and think they’re natural gas stove is lit when it isn’t.  In any case, while there are some small risks of an explosion, responsible homeowners can easily avoid catastrophes.  Municipal employees and builders need to take greater care in examining maps and blueprints before proceeding with work.

 

With that said, natural gas is an extremely efficient source for home fuel. LPNG is also independent of the electrical grid.  While an electrical ignition is required to turn it on, if there’s a power failure, an electric generator will serve the purpose.  During Hurricane Sandy, here in Northeastern New Jersey, many homeowners were fortunate to have natural gas heat to warm their homes and run their stoves, in order to cook.  We who have only electric heat froze during those very cold October days.

 

Residents in the Ringwood area – which encompasses an area from West Milford, its next-door neighbor in the north, to Wayne in the south – are by no means opposed to having natural gas for heat. Any property owner who either has or can make the switch chooses it over oil and certainly over electric.

 

Nor are we particularly frightened of the pipeline itself. At least one natural gas pipeline has run straight through this area since the Sixties, over what was Federal Hill.  The pipeline certain cut a swath through the forested hill.  However, far from upsetting Mother Nature’s critters, the deer and the rabbits were happy to have an open place, a meadow, in which to frolic and sun themselves.

 

Nevertheless, residents both Democrat and Republican are upset over the various pipeline plans and both for environmental reasons. The installation of these pipelines will require even more detonations, more excavations, and more permanent ruination of what is left of our natural landscape.  What hasn’t already been devastated in the name of “Sustainable Housing” will be destroyed by these pipelines.

 

At least one of the pipelines – the Tennessee not the Algonquin or Pilgrim pipelines – is much too close to that reservoir. One appears to cut right across the reservoir and the other right near its northern border.  The plans are constantly in flux, so that no one really knows ultimately where these pipelines will eventually be built.

 

The difference between the two groups is that the Democrats oppose the pipelines on ideological grounds whereas the Conservatives oppose it on – well – conservative grounds, as in conserving nature. This is a beautiful area.  Or at least it was.

 

It’s hard to imagine Tom Hanks moving here. We are in Passaic County, not Bergen.  There are no truly wealthy communities in Passaic County, except for Wayne, and if Hanks doesn’t like Los Angeles, he certainly wouldn’t like Wayne.  Ringwood is at the end of the world.  Civilization stops, pretty much, at the Ringwood Diner.  Farther up the road, there are various shopping centers on Skyline Drive – a Shop Rite, a CVS.  But there civilization ends.  That’s the way the Ringwooders like it, too.  They don’t need any Hollywood celebrities to validate their peaceful existence.  They don’t need the meth factories, either.  In Ringwood, when you see a “No Trespassing” sign, you’d better heed because you’ll find yourself at the business end of either a shotgun (the JWs – and I don’t mean the Jehovah Witnesses, either!) or an AK-47.

 

Still, it would be great, in a way, if Tom Hanks brought his star status to bear on the pipeline construction. Bergen County has the wealth to drive the pipeline away from their share of the woodlands.  The residents of Passaic County have no such power or influence.  If the influential want to turn all of Bloomingdale, Pompton Lakes, Wanaque, Riverdale, and Butler into one huge city by 2050 (those are the plans) there’s not a thing we can do about it.

 

To their credit, the pipeline company is planning to run these pipelines in the least-populated regions. Two or three of the pipelines at one juncture will run through the now-flattened Federal Hill.  Oh, they’ll still plant an entire city on top of it; they’re running another pipelines right through the center of Jersey City.  So, if it running a pipeline through the middle of a big city doesn’t cause them any worry, they’re certainly not going to bat an eye at putting a pipeline through a sandpit and then building an entire city on top of it.

 

So Tom Hanks, we know you’re not coming; that it was all a huge of hoax of fake news to mock the small town values of communities like Ringwood (not that it was your fault in any way). But if you were ever seriously contemplating moving to Ringwood, forget about it.

 

Still, where’s John Denver when you need him?

 

To quote Treebeard, from the film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”:  “Nobody cares for the woods, anymore.”

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on May 8, 2017 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trump’s First One Hundred Days: Is America Great Again Yet?

Last Saturday was Donald Trump’s 100th day in office as President of the United States.  So how’s he doing?  Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani used to ask that same question, didn’t he?

 

If a president is judged by how much the opposition hates him (within his own party and without), Trump is doing fantastic. Yesterday was May Day (May 1st) the official holiday of the Communist Party.  On May 1st, 1889, the First International Workers Day was declared.

 

They have several holidays in which they celebrate the births of their greatest notables: April 22, Vladimir Lenin; May 1st,   May 5th, Karl Marx; and far out there on the calendar, Leon Trotsky, Nov. 7, Josef Stalin, Dec. 18, and Mao Tse-Tung, Dec. 26.  May1st was chosen in honor of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, Ill., in which actually occurred on May 4, 1886.  Workers were striking for an eight-hour work day.  The police killed a few demonstrators.  The next day, the protestors threw a bomb at the Chicago police.  Seven police officers were killed.   The site of the incident was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1992, and a public sculpture was dedicated there in 2004. In addition, the Haymarket ‘Martyrs’ Monument at the defendants’ burial site in nearby Forest Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

 

This year’s May Day riots were particularly violent in response to the election of Donald Trump as president. The violence has been on-going since he won the election last November.  Trump can be congratulated for adding at least one new slang word to our vocabularies:  “Snowflake,” describing the young Millennial Liberals falling into an emotional swoon over the loss of Hillary Clinton to Trump.

 

There, then is Trump’s first accomplishment.

 

  1. Foreign Policy

 

Pres. Trump vowed to repair all the foreign policy damage his predecessor committed for the last eight years. One of his first acts was to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  On January 28th, the President signed an executive memorandum ordering the Secretary of Defense to work with other cabinet members to develop a plan to defeat ISIS.  On February 3rd, the President authorized the Treasury Department to sanction 25 individuals and entities that provide support to Iran’s ballistic missile program and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.  He has met with over 16 foreign leaders.  Much to the dismay of many, he has vowed to meet with such controversial leaders North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.  The Dear Leader’s response was to fire off some of his toy nukes, sending many Western pundits under the nuclear table.

 

But Trump’s finest hour in the first 100 days was his dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago hotel. Just before dessert, Trump excused himself to the Chinese president in order to bomb a Syrian airbase, after Syrian Pres. Bashar Assad “allegedly” chemically bombed his own people in the Syrian rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun

 

Not to be outdone by himself, a week later, the Commander-in-Chief ordered the military to drop the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever created, to so called MOAB Bomb (“Massive Ordance Air Blast” or “the Mother of All Bombs” – Moab was also an ancient kingdom mentioned in the Bible, in what is now Jordan). The bomb’s target was ISIS tunnels in Eastern Afghanistan’s Achin district of Nanganhar province.

 

Pres. Trump did an admirable job of getting China’s attention concerning its North Korean satellite. Jinping has promised to rein Kim Jong-un in.  Still, Trump has yet to address the issue of China’s “fake” Spratley Islands, a string of man-made islands between China’s mainland and the Philippines.

 

As for the issue of Radical Islamic Terrorism, the President has loudly denounced the various terrorist group threatening Europe and, of course, the United States. He signed an Executive Order on Jan. 27 “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”.  However, a revised Executive Order 13769 suspended for 90 days the entry of certain aliens from only seven countries:  Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The president also stipulated in the EO that he didn’t mean to discriminate against anyone of the Muslim religion; only those who pose a threat to other nations, i.e., ISIS.

 

We must forgive Mr. Trump if he doesn’t understand the entire nature of the threat – he is, after all, a city. He wouldn’t know anything about hornets’ nests and how most hornets go peacefully about the natural world, doing whatever it is hornets do.  They also build where they want to build and if you try to remove or destroy their nest, they will attack.  But make no mistake; they are one community.

 

There is an old saying about airline pilots: No one is more anxious for the plane to land safely than the pilot.  New York City stands as the Number One terrorist target in the world.  Thanks to the combined efforts of the New York City Police Department, the NY-NJ Port Authority Police, Homeland Security, and various other counter-terrorism agents, New York has proven to be the most difficult target to strike since 9/11.  That’s not to say that it will never happen again (or at least that the terrorists would try).  But our counter-terrorism agents and our military have not forgotten that September morning becoming more and more long ago in our memories.

 

New York City is the President’s hometown. Just because he’s pro-military and pro-security doesn’t mean he “wants” a war; only that he’s willing to fight one if our enemies become too obstreperous.  He proved that with the Syrian and MOAB bombings.  Trump laid his cards down on the table so that there would be no mistake about his intentions.  Some Conservatives are dismayed that he’s willing to “talk” to Jinping, Kim Jong-un, or even Vladimir Putin himself.

 

He’s willing to talk to anyone to prevent a war. He’s said that America has involved itself in too many foreign wars, to no avail.  George Washington would have agreed.  That does not mean that he’s willing to allow other countries to use the United States of America as a doormat, take advantage of our inherently peaceful nature, or endanger freedom here or around the world.
If Trump’s foreign policy style is more pragmatic than ideological, perhaps that’s better for America and the world that bowing down to foreign potentates. He knows how to play the game very well; just don’t tell our enemies.

2. Jobs and the Economy

 

Since January, when he took office, Pres. Trump has ordered no less than 15 Executive Orders regarding the economy. Everything from Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, which will reduce the bureaucratic burden on companies investing in new innovations, to an EO on the Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System, these being

(a) empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;

(b) prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;

(c) foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;

(d) enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;

(e) advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings;

(f) make regulation efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored; and

(g) restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.

As of February 2017, the unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent, a relatively low number despite years of media hysteria. Seven million Americans are collecting unemployment insurance; 14 million are actually unemployed while another 94 million (including retirees, stay-at-home moms and students) are not in the workforce at all.  153 million people are in the work force in some capacity; 163 million are receiving some type of government benefits.

 

The interest rate is still far too low, at 0.5 percent. That means that our bank savings are virtually worthless, when you add in a bank’s administrative costs.  The average American saves about $9,000 per year.  Our national debt is closing in on a record $20 billion – that’s $61,225 per citizen, more than most people who are working make.  Medicare/Medicaid fairly recently went over the $1 trillion mark.  The total unfunded liabilities for our entitlement programs dwarfs even the national debt:  $105 trillion.  So much for our retirement years.

 

How can anyone think that the national debt can be paid off through taxation when personal debt is only $1 trillion behind the national debt must have lost touch with economic reality somewhere around the time “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” aired. Most of that debt is mortgage debt, followed by student loan debt at a far distance. The total U.S. debt per family is $829,230.  Total personal debt per citizen is $56,286.

 

Just who is going to pay for all this? Although there are fewer workers than recipients, the wages for those in the highest tax brackets who actually work for their money rather than receiving dividends and so forth, are in the six figures.  As you’ll see below in the figures from the U.S. Census bureau, 49 percent of all income over $100,000 was earned by the top 20 percent of the population.  Of those, 23 million are government workers, who redistribute the wealth to the recipients.

 

The mean household income in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, was $72,641. Broken by race and ethnicity:

 

Asian:     $90,752

White:     $79,340

Hispanic: $54,644

Black:       $49,629

 

The aggregate income measures the combined income earned by all persons in a particular income group. In 2007, all households in the United States earned roughly $7.723 trillion. One half, 49.9 percent, of all income in the U.S. was earned by households with an income over $100,000, the top 20 percent. Over one quarter, 28.5 percent of all income was earned by the top 8 percent, those households earning more than $150,000 a year. The top 3.65 percent with incomes over $200,000, earned 17.5 percent. Households with annual incomes from $50,000 to $75,000, 18.2 percent of households, earned 16.5 percent of all income. Households with annual incomes from $50,000 to $95,000, 28.1 percent of households, earned 28.8 percent of all income. The bottom 10.3 percent earned just 1.06 percent of all income.

 

Pres. Trump has maintained that the income level for Blacks is deplorable. He has maintained that re-balancing the trade balance between the United States and foreign countries, bringing jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, back to America will help those communities struggling the most.

 

However, he also just announced that he has “renegotiated” NAFTA, seemingly going back on an important campaign promise to his most important base: the Trump Democrats.

 

According to CNN, “President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he decided to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement rather than terminate the sweeping trade deal after speaking with the leaders from Canada and Mexico.

“The President told the leaders Wednesday he was not immediately planning to end the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact which he railed against as a candidate and as recently as last week declared was harmful to U.S. workers.

“‘I decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big, you know, shock to the system, we will renegotiate,’ he told reporters before a meeting with the Argentinian president.

Trump left himself some wiggle room on the trade deal, though, saying that if he is ‘unable to make a fair deal’ he will ‘terminate NAFTA.’

 

“’We’re going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot,” Trump said.

 

While foreign competition is a threat, especially to manufacturing workers, innovations in technology create just as much of a threat. Last night, we were watching a program on the Velocity Channel.  The episode demonstrated the manufacture of a Corvette Stingray.  Chevrolet has two factories for this car:  one in Bowling Green, Ky., and the other in Tonawanda, N.Y.  The manufacturing is done primarily by robots.  Watching the machines assemble the engine was amazing.  One machine was committed to drilling the holes in the manifold for the engine.

 

Each side had eight holes and the machine had eight separate drills that created the holes and then inserted the screws. What would have taken two workers who knows how much time to drill was done in seconds by the machine.  That’s of little comfort to the out-of-work machinists, of course.  Those of us who find ourselves falling into the cracks of employment time at nearly the end of our productive lives, wondering how we’re going to manage until Social Security kicks in (which has been moved back to later and later ages, while companies still pretty much kick most of their workers to the curb around the age off 55) find ourselves in the same predicament as those displaced hornets.

 

Still, looking at the cold, hard numbers and the cold, hard facts, we know the country is in economic trouble and we know the president knows it, too. The fact may be that we fifty-fivers are collateral damage.  Hardly anyone below the management level ever survives fifty-five.  Sometimes even the managers don’t survive.  My older brother is one of the few people I know personally who will make it to retirement age.

 

According to the White House website, over 500,000 new jobs were added to our economy last month. He approved the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL Pipelines. And he rolled back anti-coal regulations.

 

Trump admitted recently that the job of being President of the United States is a lot more difficult and complicated than he thought. Just the other day, his budget was voted down by Congress.  That meant that his budgetary opponents had a lot of assistance from Liberal and Moderate Republicans.  Chief among those opponents is House Speaker Paul Ryan himself.  Pundits have been theorizing that one of his replacements in the event of an ouster might be N.J. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen.  Yeah, that’ll work.  Right.  A congressman who has been more liberal than some liberal Democrats.

 

So you can see the President does have a tough road ahead. He’s a tough guy, though, and the economy is the toughest of the fights he has ahead of him.

 

3. Education

 

Right out of the box, Pres. Trump eliminated Common Core, the much-bally-hooed, anti-education program created by Obama that held out the carrot-stick of federal money to states the implemented the Common Core standards and its follow-up test, the PARC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career). Common Core turned educational standards on their head.  With the goal of “narrowing the achievement gap”, Common Core lowered literary standards so that suburban schools, in particular, would witness plummeting grades, allowing a more favorable comparison with already-failing inner-city schools.

 

We have former Pres. Jimmy Carter to thank for creating a cabinet position for education in 1976, something that ought never to have occurred. Administration of schools should have been left at the state and local levels where they belonged.

 

Pres. Trump, for as much as education is in the federal president’s purview, has urged parents and students to consider vocational education as an alternative to the traditional college route. For many students, this route does make sense, especially if they’re not achieving academic excellence (and don’t especially want to) or they’re not interested in the typical ladder-climbing career in the corporate world.

 

The number of vocations available to those who don’t want to travel the traditional college career route is astounding. I’ve seen all sorts of interesting vocational careers: candy packer, betting clerk, clarity administrator (software guidance assistant) and more traditional occupations such as tool repair technician, LPN, RPN (nurses), medical billing clerks, speech pathologist (which would require college), bookkeeper, veterinary assistant, hairstylist, plumber, mechanic, electrician, cook, baker – all sorts of occupations that require training, but not college, necessarily.

 

My favorite is dog trainer. I would have loved that.  I’m a big fan of Cesar Milan.  There’s also an increasing demand for dog groomers.  Rich people love their high-end dogs.  All sorts of jobs need doing that can’t be done by robots.  That’s why there’s such a demand for health care workers.

 

4.  The Military

 

Then there’s the military. Obama decimated our military – and the military budget and Trump is doing his best to bring our military back up to speed.  In particular, he’s determined to revamp the Veterans Administration.  He wants to put an end to the horror stories of elderly veterans dying while waiting for care.  Trump goes all out to support the military.  He even highlights the military’s musical talent.  I’m still waiting for him to host the U.S. Army’s banjo brigade; they’re fantastic.  The Left has criticized him for being “obsessed” with the military build-up and that he’s a hawk, even while he holds talks with our fiercest adversaries, including a recent phone call with Vlad, a diplomacy the Media ignores at its convenience.  His proposed budget includes a $54 billion increase in the military budget.

 

Trump is old enough to remember the Vietnam War and how Congress withheld funds from the military to make it nearly impossible to win the war early and put an end to it. He’s determined that that’s not going to happen on his watch.  Despite the backlash from a namby-pamby Congress and the militant Media, who think nothing of encouraging riots for racism, illegal immigration, and sanctuary cities yet deplore the violence of war, Trump scored a coup in naming James Mattis, a former Marine, as Secretary of Defense.

 

Critics gnashed their teeth when Trump criticized NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) for not holding up their financial end of the bargain in guarding against an incursion from Russia or from any other threat to Europe or North America. Yet America does bear the brunt of the protection of Europe, while Europe does little if anything to stem the tide of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants, the stalking horses of ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist organizations.  The “refugees” are the sheep in which the wolves are hiding.

 

Trump has also declared himself a staunch supporter of Israel. Yet, today he held a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Trump said he was “committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement.”  A Middle East peace agreement has been the golden ring on every presidential carousel since Israel was created.  They’ve all wanted to prove the doubters wrong, including Trump.  No peace agreement can ever be reached so long as the deal involves the destruction of Israel.  Israel has already ceded too much ground to the Palestinians.

 

Critics consider this another nuclear danger – that someone will bomb Jerusalem in order to lay claim to it. The Muslims built on the site of the old Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., and insist there was “never” a temple on that spot.  Never mind that the “Wailing Wall” still stands and that archaeologists have identified it.  To the Muslims, it doesn’t exist and even if it did, it’s theirs now, gold dome (built by Osama Bin Laden’s father, Mohammed) and all.  According to the Bible, the temple, if restored, will not be destroyed by fire but by a flood, in case anyone is interested.

 

Only one side is right in this conflict and it will not be resolved by any president, monarch, dictator or terrorist. Jerusalem is God’s call and if you actually read the Bible, you’ll find He’s the one who ordered the city’s destruction in the first place because the priests of the times were practicing pagan rituals and bowing to pagan gods right in the temple.  But don’t worry – apparently He has no use for its current occupiers.  According to Scripture, they’re “bowing to the wrong god.”

5.   Healthcare

 

We had to figure that the Democrats would put up tremendous resistance to ACA or Obamacare, Obama’s socialist, all-inclusive, government-run and mandated health care system. The idea was to do away with insurance altogether and provide universal health care to every citizen, from cradle grave.

 

Not only would this have put the government in charge of 7 percent (?) of the economy, but would dictate every individual choice we make concerning what we eat, if, when and how we exercise, and what care we will receive, if any, beyond a certain age. One of the more appalling conditions was that patients aged 75 and over who were hospitalized for, say, a heart attack, could not return to the hospital for a month, no matter how sick they were.  I actually heard an emergency room nurse telling a returning patient this very thing – that they could not be readmitted to that hospital and that they would have to go to the next nearby hospital for treatment.

 

“But I think I may be having a heart attack,” said the patient.

 

“Well, I’m sorry, but it hasn’t been 30 days since your last visit,” the nurse replied.

 

“What?!”

 

“If you think you’re having a heart attack, then you’d better hurry.”

 

Gosh, I almost had a heart attack just listening to the conversation. What if that had been my mother?

 

Trump, upon being inaugurated, signed an Executive Order repealing Obamacare. But Congress sent it back to him, telling him, “No way.”  Congress went to work to repeal the bill.  But they were only able to repeal three of the Obamacare conditions.

 

Obamacare Repeal was thought to have died on the operating table and Democrats cheered. Fortunately, Speaker Ryan pulled the bill before voting so that it could be resurrected another day.  That day has arrived and the most controversial item on the agenda is a problem Conservatives, not Liberals, have – pre-existing conditions.

 

Citizen Conservatives are in favor of preventing insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Who doesn’t have a pre-existing condition today?  With DNA testing, anyone can be diagnosed as having a “pre-existing” condition.  If you have diabetes, for instance, or suffer from asthma (both illness afflict the young as well as the old), what are you supposed to do?  If young Jennifer has an asthma attack on the roller coaster and has to go to the hospital, she (or her parents) are just supposed to suck up that huge hospital bill?

 

The point of insurance is to cover costs so you don’t go into bankruptcy and lose your house. Today’s health insurance premiums are so high, thanks to government regulations, that hardly anyone can afford health insurance.  ACA is hardly affordable.  The unemployed are not penalized for not buying government insurance, but it’s just as difficult for them to obtain it without selling off all their assets, leaving no income at all upon which to live.

 

Some years ago, a wiser GOP realized that the pre-existing conditions condition was unfair. But politicians also have donors, and the donors usually own health care-related businesses, or own stock in some, and pre-existing conditions are a way to keep costs down and profits up.  Now that they’re up against the vote, the Republicans (of all types) are complaining about eliminating pre-existing conditions from insurance policies.  Their donors are clearly not happy.

 

They make an argument along the lines of this: that if you had a car that wasn’t roadworthy, it wouldn’t pass inspection and the insurance company wouldn’t insure it.  Likewise with a driver with too many points on their license.  No insurance, no license; no license, no insurance.

 

Well, I have a bad hip. The joint is wearing down.  Lately, I suffered a few falls from the hip, which was unable to support me.  I fell publicly and because I look younger than my age, people laughed and sneered.  They just thought I was clumsy.  If only.  This hip, I inherited from my mother.  My mother had military spouse insurance.  She was able to have both hips replaced and went on to work as a bus driver until she was 75.  I also inherited weak abdominal muscles from both my parents, as in hiatal hernia.  I can’t lift anything heavy.

 

That means I will find it very difficult (painkillers don’t kill this particular pain) to take work in the retail environment, which requires standing all day. I also can’t lift anything heavy.  If only I could get that operation, I could do that that work.  But alas, because I’m unemployed, I have no insurance and haven’t the money to buy any.  Because I don’t have the insurance, I can’t get my mom’s operation, and since I can’t afford the operation, I can’t do the only work open to 58 year-old, non-managerial women.

 

So don’t talk to me about “pre-existing” conditions, you lot. Congress has its own, affordable insurance plan so what do they care if some of us have to go through life limping?  You pundits out there are obviously employed and have money and health insurance.  Poor Charles Krauthammer is in a wheel-chair for life, so he’s exempt from a scolding.  As for the rest of you:  limp this!

6.  Illegal Immigration

 

Illegal immigration and sanctuary cities have gotten the lunatics out into the streets. Pres. Trump has ordered numerous Executive Orders obliging local, state and federal law enforcement to enforce the law and arrest illegal immigrants.  Trump has already deported a number of illegal immigrants held in detention.  It’s time to fill up the detention centers with more.  He’s reluctant to target women and children.  However, just like the refugees from North Africa, they’re all part of the same tribe.  Where one goes, the rest must follow.

 

The federal courts have defied many of Trump’s orders regarding sanctuary cities. The cities are up in arms that Trump is denying them federal aid if they harbor illegal immigrants or refuse to cooperate with ICE in deporting the illegals.  College campii are also declaring themselves safe-havens for illegal immigrants.

 

America is a nation of laws. One of the first laws is that if you want to live here permanently, you go through the process of becoming a citizen.  Citizenship used to mean integration and assimilation.  Before you could become a citizen, you had to prove you were free of communicable diseases, weren’t convicted of any crimes, knew someone in the United States who could sponsor you, and had a job or some skill that would enable you to easily find one, and finally, that you could speak English, at least by the time you became a citizen.

 

Today, anything and everything comes over the border. Drug dealers, felons, sexual predators, children with measles and other, even worse diseases.  The illegals generally have no job skills at all and are only suited for menial labor.  That’s just fine with our Millennial Millionaires who would much rather not cut their own grass, weed their own gardens, clean their own houses or raise their own children.  An English professor of mine once said that our generation (the Baby Boomers) read too many English novels about wealth and privilege and that it wouldn’t end well.

 

What’s more, the Millennials are the drug pushers’ customers. They’ve relaunched the tired, old Sixties campaign that pot is harmless, even salubrious.  Yeah.  Right.  Fortunately, our new president doesn’t see drugs that way.  Who are you going to believe?  An addle-headed weed-whacko or our billionaire president who doesn’t touch the stuff?

 

“Just say no.” Users will never say, “No.”  But that doesn’t mean Americans have to say “yes.”  They want us to leave them to do their thing.  The problem is they want “to do their thing” in public which means the rest of us will be subjected to “doing their thing” as well.

 

Absolutely, say “No” to drugs and to the illegal immigrants who pedal them up and down our streets. Rumor has it that actor Tom Hanks is planning to move to this area.  That’s fine.  He’d just better mind the “No Trespassing” signs or he’s liable to find himself looking down the business end of a double-barreled shotgun or an AR-15 or even an AK-47.  Just stick to the state park areas (there are plenty of them).

7.  The Supreme Court

 

In another one of those stand-up-and-cheer moments, Pres. Trump’s first nominee for the Supreme Court, Neal Gorsuch, passed the Senatorial gauntlet and now sits on the highest bench in the land. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans are mighty anxious about Trump’s ability to bench the court.  A Conservative, or at least constitutionalist, majority could undo much of the damage the Liberals have done since FDR’s day.  We look forward to a more constitutionalist Supreme Court with much satisfaction.

8.  The Media

 

The bad news is that Fox News is going under. For months even before the election, the venerable Conservative news station was showing symptoms of Advanced Stage Liberalization.  The final straw was the railroaded ouster of Bill O’Reilly through a series of, if you’ll excuse the expression, “trumped-up” charges of sexual harassment.  We must remember that charges of “sexual harassment” are very “broadly” (please another expression) defined.  In order to be guilty of sexual harassment, a man has only to compliment a woman for being pretty, offer to assist her, or, heaven forbid, ask her for a date.

 

Glenn Beck came to O’Reilly’s rescue, stating that former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was behind the network’s hostile environment, fostering battles between his employees in the name of “competition.” Ailes himself was ousted.  It must be noted that whatever we think of Rupert Murdoch’s Liberal sons, they have cleaned up Fox’s website.

 

What does this mean for Donald Trump? Well, it just means that he now has one more network to add to his “Fake News” list.  Fox Business News is still Conservative, although the network has been forcing liberal commentators onto its programs.  “What are you doing here, anyway?” one of the FBN hosts asked Juan Williams.  Sean Hannity, Drudge Reported today, is staying on with Fox News, and the network confirmed it, as their lone Conservative.

 

Donald Trump can handle the media trash. He’s from television himself, and he’s a New Yorker.  What’s unfortunate is that we Conservatives now have one less dependable news network as a resource.

 

The future does not bode well for future Conservative networks. Judging by the left-handed, lopsided so-called Free Speech Zones at campuses across the country, free speech is heading towards the concentration camp.  Conservatives dare not express opinion for fear of being beaten or worse by Soros-sponsored thugs.  As in the past, these college students must keep their heads down and their mouths shut in case the Millennial Nazis hear them.

 

Let us hope that Pres. Trump will take up the mantle for freedom of speech, especially at universities and colleges, or our future will be filled with Fake News.

9.  Presidentiality

 

So, how does Pres. Trump rate in terms of presidentiality? As it happens, much better than last Spring.  Pres. Trump has matured exponentially as a speaker, a president, and leader of the free world.  His speeches are much more comprehensible, literate, and professional.  He’s still fond of tweeting, and a good speechwriter or communications strategists knows when to let the boss have some leeway to spread his wings – and his message.

 

The pundits sniff indignantly at Trump’s manner of speaking. Much of the man-of-the-streets is still evident.  While that might make English major or journalist major college graduates grind their teeth, it’s a breath of fresh air to Trump’s many followers and even to those of us who know a line or two of Shakespeare.

 

Julius Caesar both welcomed and feared the citizens of Rome. Plagued by epilepsy, he feared the day he would fall down in the streets where they would mock him.  Yet he recognized that ultimately his power was borrowed from them (at the whip of the lash, it’s true) and would return to them when he was gone.

 

Trump has engaged many of the world’s leaders in his first 100 days and to great effect, the best being his meeting with the Chinese president, which is destined to go down as a classic presidential moment. He has not come off worse for the experience.  He hasn’t thrown up on anyone.  He hasn’t bowed to anyone.  He certainly hasn’t bored anyone, as far as we know (and that’s highly unlikely).

 

Minus the Media filter (a decidedly Marxist red, as it happens), Trump has caused some minor concerns in his first 100 days (appointing his children as advisers; struggling to repeal Obamacare; renegotiating NAFTA rather than repealing it; backpedaling on the Syrian refugees and on female and underage illegal immigrants). The good news is that, at least on paper, the border wall with Mexico is still scheduled to go up as planned.  He’s said that he’s not going to renege on that promise, which helped get him elected President.

 

One hundred days is a short time period – about four months. In order to drain the swamp, Trump must make the case to the American people to dredge the swamp and remove the representatives who aren’t representing their interests or America’s.  It’s up to us, not him.  He can only lead the way.

 

The horses must decide if they want to keep drinking stagnant water or drain the swamp, remove the rotten wood and overgrowth, and refresh it.

 

 

Published in: on May 3, 2017 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment