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MCCANN DEEP IN LEGAL WOES AS LONEGAN SOARS IN NJ CONGRESS RACE, GOP BRASS SEEK DEL VECCHIO TO HELM STRUGGLING BCRO

By SHIRLEY WITHERSPOON

A man who repeatedly defines himself as a lawyer in his campaign proclamations, John McCann has just been outed as being ineligible to practice law in New Jersey – the same state where he is currently running for Congress, in the 5th Congressional District. On McCann’s campaign Facebook page, which has a grand total of 221 likes, his biography states, “John is a practicing attorney who also serves as General Counsel to the N.J. Sheriff’s Association where he advises Sheriffs across the state on both legal and policy issues.”

Notwithstanding McCann’s declarations, it has been revealed that he is currently administratively ineligible to practice law in the state, for his failure to pay required annual attorney assessments to the New Jersey Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protections – since October, 2012. Accordingly, it appears that he has been prohibited from practicing law in New Jersey for over five years.

Questions are now abounding whether the varied sheriffs he has advised on “legal issues” knew of McCann’s inability to practice law. More so, there is considerable concern that his ineligible status could have ramifications upon cases that he handled while being disallowed from the practice of law.

McCann has flouted publicly, on numerous occasions, that he has served as the attorney for the Bergen County Sheriff, Democrat Michael Saudino. This specific lawyer position has led to additional legal problems for the ineligible barrister.

Legislative District 39 Republican Executive Director Joseph Hakim filed a criminal complaint against McCann on November 16, asserting that McCann committed the third degree crime of threats and other improper influence in political matters, as well as the petty disorderly persons offense of harassment. The complaint specifically states:

“John McCann, a candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, did threaten unlawful harm against Joseph Hakim with defendant John McCann doing such in his capacity as a lawyer for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department and knowing that he had no legal authority to conduct such investigation, with the purpose to influence Joseph Hakim in an opinion, recommendation, and vote as both a party official, in Joseph Hakim’s capacity as Executive Director of the Republican Party’s 39th legislative district, and as voter, with regard to the 2018 New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District election, wherein defendant, stated to Mr. Hakim, ‘Joseph, I know all things about you. I know what you are about. Parts of my job allow me telling you that I had access to information on any one and I looked you up. That was the benefits of my job,’ making such threat to Joseph Hakim because he does not support defendant John McCann in his candidacy for Congress, in violation of NJSA 2C:27-3A(1).”

Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali provided a written statement to the police department in Woodcliff Lake, the locale where he said the incident between Hakim and McCann occurred. Ghassali’s statement provides:

“On Saturday Sept. 23, 2017, I witnessed the following at the Wel Tice Community Center at about 9a.m. John McCann told Joseph Hakim that he knows everything about him as his job was the attorney for Bergen County Sheriff. And that he can have access to information to investigate him. Hakim asked if he was being threatened and both got loud. Because Hakim is not supporting him for his run for Congress.”

Obviously, this is not a he-said she-said case, with the incident being witnessed by Mayor Ghassali. The criminal statute, 2C:27-3, provides that a person commits a third degree crime if he:

“Threatens unlawful harm to any person with purpose to influence a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or exercise of discretion of a public servant, party official or voter…in any public election.”

Per the complaint and witness statement, McCann, in his capacity as attorney for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, “threatened unlawful harm” (in conducting an investigation into Hakim with no legal authority) with the purpose to influence his opinion, recommendation and vote as a party official (Legislative District 39 Republican Executive Director) and voter in a public election (the Congress election in the 5th District). As the complaint stated, McCann issued the threat because Hakim “does not support defendant John McCann in his candidacy for Congress”

McCann denies any criminal conduct. A probable cause hearing for the case is scheduled on December 14 at a municipal court located at the Bergen County Justice Center in Hackensack. Hakim is represented by well-known Bergen County lawyer, Douglas Anton. It is unknown whether McCann has representation, but he can legally represent himself despite his current ineligibility to practice law in New Jersey (defendants are always permitted to represent themselves pro se).

Meanwhile, Steve Lonegan, a former three-term mayor and McCann’s GOP primary opponent, has been soaring along with his campaign. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R–Texas), one of the nation’s most respected conservative leaders, endorsed Lonegan two weeks ago. New Jersey state legislators have been lining up to endorse the GOP 5th Congressional District frontrunner, with endorsements already coming in for Lonegan from some of the most popular elected officials in the state, including: State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), State Senator Mike Doherty (R-Warren), State Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex), State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Passaic), State Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24), State Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sussex), State Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23), and State Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-23). At this very early point, Lonegan has been endorsed by nearly every state legislator in the district, with the remaining few legislators likely to come on board soon – as it’s unlikely they would want to miss the train captained by their next congressman.

Senator Cruz proclaimed, “Steve Lonegan is a tireless advocate for our founding principles who has proven his willingness to boldly take his message directly to the people of New Jersey, and I am proud to endorse him to become the next Member of Congress from the Fifth District. I have known Steve for many years, and look forward to working with him to grow jobs, expand freedom, and ensure the security of the American people.”

“Steve Lonegan will go to Congress to cut taxes and create jobs,” Senator Oroho stated. “We need his determination and focus now, more than ever.  That’s why I’m supporting Steve Lonegan for Congress in Congressional District 5, a district Steve has won in the past, albeit for different offices.”

In speaking of Lonegan, Senator Cardinale stated that he “has been a tireless champion of the Republican Party when no one else would step forward to take on the tough battles. I’m pleased to be the first state legislator to announce my support for his campaign.”

And Senator Doherty said, “Steve Lonegan has led the fight for every worthwhile conservative cause in New Jersey for the last two decades. And he’s often been out front when few, if any, in the state legislature were willing to stand behind him. But in 2018, the Republican Party will unify behind Steve to take back the Fifth Congressional District.”

Numerous conservative issue-oriented entities and their leadership have also already endorsed Lonegan, including Ann Kievit, President of the Northwest New Jersey Taxpayers’ Association; Rev. Greg Quinlan, President of the Center for Garden State Families, on behalf of New Jersey for a Conservative Majority; and Alexander Roubian, President of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has also endorsed Lonegan, granting him the nationally coveted “Young Guns” designation. The NRCC has awarded this designation to just 31 congressional candidates in the United States.

When announcing Lonegan as one of the Young Guns recipients, NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers said, “These 31 candidates are formidable competitors against the liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the left. We look forward to working with these candidates to grow our Republican majority and enact policies that help hard working Americans.”

McCann’s roster of endorsements has been anemic. The Record, a daily newspaper covering Bergen and Passaic Counties has, however, referred to McCann as the “right-hand man” of the Democrat Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. McCann proudly states that he served as the lawyer for this Democrat sheriff for the last several years (until this fall) – but it appears, for at least part of the time, he had been doing so while being ineligible to practice law in New Jersey.

A lone Republican official in the 5th Congressional District stands out as a supporter for McCann, embattled Bergen County Republican Organization (“BCRO”) Chairman Paul DiGaetano. The BCRO has been floundering for quite some time, with elected officials, county committee persons and Republicans throughout Bergen County complaining that the organization has little, if any, money, as well as no fundraising abilities to obtain monetary support any time soon. Grumblings have elevated to loud criticisms, with additional complaints of all out organizational failures. The once thriving BCRO has been unable to oversee successful Republican elections at the county level for multiple consecutive years.

Additional grievances arose when DiGaetano chose to wage a primary battle against Kristin Corrado in New Jersey’s 40th Legislative District. Corrado ran an off-the-line campaign in Bergen County, along with assembly running-mates Kevin Rooney and Chris DePhillips.  DiGaetano was destroyed in that contest this past June, obtaining only 30% of the vote. Corrado, Rooney, and DePhillips all went on to win in the general election. Many GOP leaders and voters were outraged at DiGaetano’s choice to run in the primary election because they felt it compromised his chairmanship role at the BCRO. They were specifically troubled that his attention was on himself rather than other candidates’ elections in Bergen County—with such self-absorbed focus in direct contradiction to his role as the BCRO chairman. The fact that he was ossified in his race against Corrado caused a further lack of confidence in his leadership.

Problems for DiGaetano became much worse when, for an inexplicable reason to most observers, he chose to support McCann instead of Lonegan in the 5th Congressional District primary. Beyond all of McCann’s legal woes, he is considered less than a moderate Republican; many feel that he is an outright liberal given his pro-choice stance, odd economic agenda, and his very open Democrat ties. McCann apparently also has no fundraising abilities, zero national support, nor any real local support – other than DiGaetano.

This all has metastasized from questions to grave concern from GOP leaders, county committeemen, and voters in the state’s most populated county. It is has led to a ground swell to replace DiGaetano, with Lonegan Campaign Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio reported to be the choice of many Republican leaders, locally and even nationally, to be the new BCRO chairman. Del Vecchio, who moved back to his native Bergen County this summer after residing in New York for the last four years, had recently been in a top leadership position at the BCRO, as senior advisor. But he left when DiGaetano gave him an ultimatum – either choose the Lonegan chairmanship role or stay with the BCRO and support McCann. Del Vecchio, who defines “loyalty” as the most important word in his dictionary, immediately chose to stick with Lonegan.

A charismatic, but sometimes controversial, figure, Del Vecchio seems to be the natural selection to revitalize the ailing organization. In December 2015, Del Vecchio became the first Congress candidate in the country to endorse Donald Trump for president. Immediately upon his endorsement, Del Vecchio was appointed the Congressional District 18 & Orange County Chairman of Trump’s New York presidential campaign. From there, Del Vecchio was a relentless beast in support of Trump’s candidacy. He personally went door-to-door to over 1,000 households in his congressional district. He appeared on Fox News Channel to herald Trump, and did substantial local media interviews in Trump’s support.

Del Vecchio’s efforts paid off. Trump received 70% of the vote in Orange County and more than 67% of the overall vote in Congressional District 18 in the New York presidential primary. Del Vecchio’s inexorable stumping for Trump helped lead District 18 to being one of the top five Trump winningest congressional districts in the state (and it had the highest vote total of the those top five districts).

In addition to currently serving as chairman of Lonegan’s Congress campaign, Del Vecchio was chairman of Lonegan’s gubernatorial campaigns. Commonly referred to as a modern-day Renaissance Man, Del Vecchio has written, directed and produced over 30 movies that star numerous Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His movies are distributed by industry powerhouses such as Sony Pictures, Anchor Bay, Millennium Entertainment, Cinedigm, and NBCUniversal. He is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, writing a series of 1,300+ page criminal codebooks for Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journals. He’s a best-selling criminal suspense novelist, inking out his first book as a 24-year-old law student and then following with multiple others.

Del Vecchio is also the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner and other media “One of the 10 biggest film festivals in the world.” Additionally, he is a former judge, a former prosecutor, and a criminal lawyer who has tried an astounding amount of cases (in excess of 400); he was noted as the youngest attorney in New Jersey history to try and win a felony jury trial. He’s taught a few thousand police officers and lawyers criminal law at high priced seminars, and he’s been a frequent legal analyst on Fox News and other leading networks.

Del Vecchio, through all of these endeavors, is accustomed to – and extremely successful – in managing large monetary budgets, high level fundraising, overseeing substantial personnel, and major media dealings. His accomplishments over the last 20+ years have been profiled in voluminous press reports. Some notables include the following highlighted feature articles and television appearances:  The Daily BeastFOXCBSCNNNBC“The Colbert Report”Radar OnlineThe New York Daily NewsThe Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, who wrote “As usual, Mr. Del Vecchio was larger than life.”

Legendary actor Paul Sorvino (GoodfellasNixon) called Del Vecchio “an extraordinary man.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Charles Durning (TootsieThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) exclaimed that “Kenneth Del Vecchio would make a great president!” Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The ExpendablesThe Pope of Greenwich Village) stated that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is the only judge I ever agreed with in personal conversation. He’s got some great views about freedom and liberty…and he’s a little bit nuts!” TV star Joyce DeWitt (”Three’s Company”) declared that Del Vecchio has “a vision and concept based on excellence and integrity.” Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia (ScarfaceBig) said of Del Vecchio: “The man is honest. Hard-working. Talented. And oh so intelligent.”  And U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer – yes, the top dog Democrat from New York – proclaimed, “Del Vecchio is a man you can see, with the movies he is involved with, with the friends he has, he has a great mind and he also has a big heart.”

Senator Schumer likely was unaware of Del Vecchio’s lifelong, unabashed conservative and liberty-minded stances when he made those complimentary comments. And Del Vecchio is not otherwise without detractors. Much like Lonegan and President Trump, Del Vecchio is said, by some, to have a large ego. His opponent from his 2016 congressional race often remarked that Del Vecchio was “bombastic.” Others have referred to him as brash, tough, hard, and insensitive to liberal views. When once confronted with his critics’ characterizations of him, Del Vecchio whipped, “Jealousy is the worst word in the dictionary.” Then he elaborated, “I don’t understand the concept of jealousy. It’s for insecure losers. I’m happy for others’ successes. And I hope for people to be happy for mine. People, out of weakness, often contrive battles with other people. Oddly, it’s rarely those who have big egos; it’s actually the people with no ego, with no confidence. I can figure out a jealous person pretty quickly, and I cut them out immediately. Jealousy usually goes hand-in-hand with disloyalty.”

An interesting article in Forbes, “Leonardo Del Vecchio and Family”, may shed some light on Del Vecchio and his immediate family. Leonardo Del Vecchio, Kenneth Del Vecchio’s grandfather, is Italy’s wealthiest man, having a net worth of over $21 billion. His eyewear company, Luxottica, owns Ray-Ban, Oakley, Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. When asked about his relationship with his grandfather, Del Vecchio always demurs or outright denies that Leonardo Del Vecchio is his grandfather, presumably to avoid distraction from other issues. Del Vecchio has declined further comment in this regard.

Del Vecchio also declined to comment on the movement behind him for the BCRO chairmanship other than to say, “I wish the best for Paul DiGaetano. That said, I was disheartened when he chose to stand in isolation with John McCann. It’s a strange choice, given that McCann seems to be nothing more than a disruptive shill for the Democrats. Although McCann certainly has a constitutional right to run, the electorate would rather see all of our energy spent on defeating the socialist-minded and well-funded Josh Gottheimer. In any case, after Steve trounces McCann in the primary, we’ll be primed to proceed to further victories. And that’s because we are veteran-protecting, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life, freedom seeking, sanctuary city eliminating, politically correct smashing, economy boosting capitalists. That’s what the voters want – not plastic, phony politicians.”

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QUANTUM MECHANICS AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

By R. J. NICHOLAS

One way to cultivate healthy human relationships is to view relationships through the lens of Quantum mechanics.

The linear Newtonian perspective tends to be the common perspective we default to when it comes to relationships. Everything has a cause and an effect, one thing leads to another, according to Newtonian physics. Unless acted upon by ‘another’ object, an object will continue in the same direction (like linear time).

This simply is not so when it comes to quantum mechanics. Things can change directions at any time for no reason and pop in and out of existence with no apparent cause. It’s interesting that we have been living in a quantum world long before we knew of it’s principles. Quantum reality functions very differently from Newtonian reality. The reason we have been experiencing Newtonian laws, is because according to quantum mechanics, we have observed and thus created them as such. In other words, because we witness and interpret relationships in this way we experience linearity, cause and effect, and force creating change.

Even though our brains works in the quantum world somehow we still experience our bodies and relationships through Newtonian eyes. It is our thoughts that create our realities. Yet somehow we continue to create from an old model of physics. When we have expectations and therefore disappointments if things do not evolve according to our liking, we are viewing the relationship as progressing in ‘linear time.’ When we live as if anything could happen at any moment we are seeing a relationship from the quantum perspective. This perspective gives us a level of freedom and detachment that could very much serve the moment currently playing out.

When we count on a person to continue their ‘development’ in a certain direction and then judge them according to the distance they have trod, we are operating from a Newtonian physics perspective. However, to live as if anything could completely change spontaneously at any moment based on nothing more than the joy of experience, we are operating at a quantum level of infinite possibilities. Life and important relationships would be full of potential surprises and gifts of renewal.

If we can recognize that the ‘other’ is simply an extension of our own observation, especially in situations where we experience conflict, we might be better able to create the results of our desiring by being that which we might prefer. We are in fact altering the outcome by our preconceived ideas. If we proceed through a disagreement in an inharmonious and linear way, expecting the other to ‘come around to our way of thinking’ we are actually helping to perpetuate, by quantum standards, that which we reject.

When we believe (and perceive) that we and the ‘other’ are separate, with individual choices, we are operating on a linear plain. Quantum mechanics allows us to have a very different interpretation of relationships. Particles that were once together, though seemingly separated, forever are joined and dance as if they are one. Instead of separation between two individuals, there is unity. In the quantum world, our choice of how to view the moment, therefore affects the outcome of that moment. Whatever we assume is happening, is happening. If we perceive a negative outcome from a fight, it is evidenced. If we perceive harmony, peace and a stronger relationship from a fight, this too is confirmed.

Even if a choice is beneath what is possible we will only experience what we choose to and what is agreed upon collectively (either silently or vocally) at any given time. We can dominate the field with our awareness if we wish to. If we choose to perceive the miracles at hand because we believe the quantum is at work, we most certainly will. If we can act from a place of full responsibility of outcome and stand in the place out side of time, where we are at one with the object of our perception, the ‘relationship entity’, we will always be pleasantly surprised. This is because we have switched to becoming empowered observers instead of fearful victims. The quantum viewpoint will help us manage the unexpected and even less then desireable circumstances because it will never seem as debased in the quantum viewpoint as it most certainly does from our ‘normal’ vantage point.  Quantum mechanics gives us the tools by which to live a higher order of relationship and to release the dramas caused by slavery to linear time. Relationships will be transformed into something more fluid, forgiving and life enhancing, if we believe in this perspective and choose to see the benefits of doing so. Choice and perspective alter the outcome of any situation and we live in a fluid field of possibilities. Therefore, why not elevate our experiences beyond a life lived on ‘default’ and merge into the possible reality where something new is possible, something evolutionary – in our world and in our relationships.

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FIRES CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

In the past week, several fast-moving fires have forced thousands of Californians to evacuate their homes. The fires swept across the southern part of the state destroying buildings and taxing fire crews that have been working for days.

A 4,100-acre fire in San Diego County was only 15 percent contained as of late Friday night. The evacuees told of swiftly encroaching flames that left at least six people injured, prized racehorses dead and dozens of homes in ruins. Resident Paul Anderson left his home in San Diego County on Thursday and said, “I got the ‘Get the hell out of here’ evacuation while four cop cars were rolling around the neighborhood saying, ’Get out!’ ”

There have been several more fires burning in Southern California, including a flare-up near Alpine in Cleveland National Forest and a blaze in Ventura County that has killed at least one person, burned 143,000 acres and destroyed more than 400 buildings — including at least 150 homes. The Ventura fire has been threatening homes from the exclusive enclave of Ojai to the hills of Ventura. Officials said that by late Friday conditions had improved, and they allowed many residents of the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula to return home.

A federal state of emergency has been declared in California and President Trump ordered additional aid be sent to assist them. Trump’s declaration allows federal agencies to coordinate the relief efforts. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the first known, fire-related death this week. The medical examiner said in a statement that the remains of Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula, were found at the site of a car crash on an evacuation route.

Capt. Israel Pinzon, a spokesman for the state firefighting agency said, “This fire just keeps on going on us.”

Capt. Kendal Bortisser, a spokesman for the state firefighting agency said, “We’re throwing a lot of equipment at this fire right now, both from the air and from the ground.” The size of the fires ranged from eight to 15 acres in the Cleveland National Forest area.

A larger fire broke out near Bonsall where firefighting crews in San Diego County were also contending with. Dianne Jacob the chairwoman of San Diego County’s board of supervisors said, “We’re not out of the woods yet. We need to stay vigilant and be prepared.”

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TRUMP GOP TAX CUTS IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

By ROBERT ROMANO

With the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions hanging in the balance with the upcoming Dec. 12, and a 2018 campaign season viewed as unfavorable to Republicans upon us, all eyes are upon the GOP Congress and its plan to cut taxes to see whether it can finally get something done.

Competing plans have passed the House and Senate. Now it goes to conference.

So the thinking goes, if the GOP Congress cannot pass major legislation now, the odds that it will in the future are negligible. Why?

This is only the third time since the Great Depression Republicans have had possession of the White House and majorities in the Senate and House. The other times were 1953-1954 and 2003-2006. That’s it.

Add to that, Republicans could lose control of the House in 2018. The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002. That’s it.

If there was a time for Republicans to pass their ideal tax cut plan, now is it. They may never get a better chance at this. So, how does the tax cut in the Senate look?

The Senate tax cut will average $181.8 billion a year for the first four years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

That works out to 0.84 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if you use the $21.76 trillion average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate projected by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for 2018 through 2021.

That’s bigger than the 2001 Bush tax cut at 0.71 percent of GDP, although not as big as the 1981 Reagan tax cut at 2.89 percent of GDP. As a result, it should be a net generator of economic growth.

On that basis, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning issued a statement of support, saying, “The inclusion of the individual mandate repeal, giving 6.6 million Americans relief from paying $3 billion a year in tax penalties is extremely important, and the small business and corporate tax relief will help generate millions of new jobs and investment over the coming years, ending the economy-killing tax rates that have prevailed for decades. In addition, the vast majority of Americans who pay taxes will receive a tax cut through the plan.”

But, said Manning, the plan could be improved in the House-Senate conference “by adding the full skinny Obamacare repeal, cutting additional hundreds of billions of spending to reduce the deficit and provide larger individual tax rate cuts and incentivizing repatriation earlier in the cycle to give an immediate infusion of trillions of dollars to the economy.”

Particularly, there are still some taxpayers may be seeing a net tax increase that Democrats will surely leverage in the 2018 midterms. The vast majority of taxpayers will get a tax cut, to be clear, but some won’t. They could be catered to in the conference committee between the House and Senate.

The solution of course is to simply present a bill that cuts everyone’s taxes no matter how much they make, and the guessing game ends for voters and Democrats lose their talking point. The Senate took a step in that direction, adopting a House proposal to cap property tax deductions up to $10,000 rather than eliminating it completely.

To get there, Congress can find spending cuts over 10 years equal to any current anticipated tax hikes. The advantage to either of these options is that instead of $1.5 trillion tax cut, we’re looking at a $3 trillion tax cut, or 1.74 percent of GDP over 4 years instead of tax cut representing just 0.87 percent of GDP. That’s double the stimulus.

So, where are the potential budget savings? If the skinny Obamacare repeal were included in the House bill, that would result in $280 billion of budget savings, and keep a major campaign promise.

Other savings can be found in the Trump budget, which cut spending by $4.5 trillion, and included provision to reorganize government and implement two-penny plan for non-defense discretionary spending cuts, which scored at $1.4 trillion.

Put those two items together, and that completely eliminates the need to eliminate state and local tax and property tax deductions some members had complained about. Instead, there is an opportunity via spending cuts for far deeper rate reductions to ensure everyone’s taxes are cut.

As a grand compromise, it might go a long way to not only giving the economy the boost it needs for growth, but dramatically altering the landscape in 2018 to the GOP’s advantage.

Overall, Republicans have a pretty good plan on tax cuts, just in time for Christmas. The majority, which right now is in jeopardy, could be saved. Particularly, with the business tax cuts and the vast majority of Americans getting a tax cut, this should be a huge boost to growth. And with the possibility for a conference between the House and the Senate, there is still a major opportunity for the bill to get even better. Stay tuned.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS TAKING ON THE OPIOID CRISIS

By NATALIA CASTRO

2015 was the worst year for overdose deaths in U.S. history, until 2016 happened. Now, unless the federal government takes decisive action, 2017 will be even worse. The opioid epidemic has left both rural and urban America paralyzed. After decades of overprescribing, opioid deaths last year alone account for more lost lives than the entire Vietnam War at 59,000 according to data compiled by the New York Times.

But the Trump administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is leading the way toward critical reforms throughout government to save American lives.

Even without directly knowing someone addicted to opioids, Americans across the country are feeling the impact of the epidemic. In 2015, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic was about $504 billion, a figure that accounts for roughly 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product. But considering the White House data continues to predict that drug overdoses related to opioids are underreported by as much as 24 percent, is it clear this figure could be much higher.

The consequences of this addiction include billions of dollars in medical costs, addiction treatment costs, and criminal justice costs on top of the decrease in productivity among users.

To mitigate these costs and curb the cycle of addiction, the Trump administration has allocated more than one billion dollars directly to drug addiction since taking office. This includes more than $800 million since April for prevention, treatment, first responders, prescription drug monitoring programs, recovery and other care in communities, in-patient settings, and correctional systems. As well as $254 million in funding for high-risk communities, law enforcement, and first responders.

President Trump took another crucial step towards addressing the issue last month by naming the opioid crisis a public health emergency, allowing additional resources to be allocated to the problem.

Trump’s Commission has also worked to find solutions for the growing problem. In a report approved on Nov. 1, 2017, the Commission calls for sweeping change to drug courts and a national media campaign to combat opioid addiction.

The report highlights issues such as overprescribing, overproduction, and inadequate oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as causes for the crisis, then continues to outline 56 recommendations for curbing the epidemic on an institutional and social level.

As a result, the Trump Administration is making combatting the crisis a government-wide mission. While the FDA is imposing new requirements on manufacturers of prescription opioids, the State Department has established an agreement with the UN, making it harder for criminals to access fentanyl, an often illegally manipulated opioid. The Department of Defense and the Department and Veterans Affairs have also teamed up to conduct a six-year, $81 million joint research partnership focusing on nondrug approaches to pain management for service members and veterans.

More than anything, the Commission has called for greater knowledge of programs that work and do not work for combatting the epidemic. With the understanding that merely arresting these individuals addicted to opioids is both costly and ineffective, the Commission calls for the Office of National Drug Control Policy to establish a system to track all federally funded programs aimed at combatting opioid addiction to test which ones actually curb overdose rates.

If the U.S. government hopes that 2017 will be a better year than the past, the federal government must continue working to address what has indeed become a national epidemic. Americans across the country are feeling the emotional and economic pain of the opioid crisis, and while the Trump administration has taken critical steps to curb the problem, it has only just begun solving it.

Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

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THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE ARE TOTAL ZEROS

By THE OLD BAG

Nancy Pelosi – Isn’t she just about the dumbest politician you have ever seen? She admitted to not reading ObamaCare before she voted on it.

The Vast Majority of People Who Think They DESERVE Hand Outs from the Government – I didn’t even know what a cell phone was when I was growing up, much less thought the government would give me one for free.

Colonel Sanders – If the rumor is true that Kentucky Fried Chicken isn’t actually chicken, but some weird GMO concoction.

The Guy Who Gave Bruce Springsteen His Nickname – Not because I don’t like Springsteen’s music; I actually love it. But because he heisted President Donald Trump’s nickname. And don’t tell me Springsteen was called The Boss before The Donald was – and if that’s the case, then the nickname-giver was a prognosticator and he’s still guilty of this faux pas.

Al Sharpton – The man is an absolute racist. And what’s going on with his head in proportion to his body?

The Government of Iran – Let’s start with the way they treat women…

Men Who Use the Women’s Bathroom and/or Have Botox – Both are just odd.

Sandra Fluke – Why should we pay for her contraception? And does anyone really want to use it with her?

People Who Smell Like Fish – If they’re not fisherman, why is that?

Those Who Have Pigs for Pets – Can’t we just eat them?

A Subset of Those Who Have Pigs for Pets (Those Who Don’t Eat Bacon) – I just can’t trust someone who doesn’t eat bacon, unless it’s for a religious reason. And if it’s for a religious reason, the person better eat turkey bacon.

Planned Parenthood Employees – Can’t you get a job where you don’t murder babies?

Americans Who Don’t Realize That Israel is One of Our Most Important Allies – Knuckleheads…

Those Who Used Cocaine Yet Oversee Prosecutions of Others Who Snorted It – Oops, that’s exactly what Barack Obama did. He used the white powder in his student years and then, when he was the chief executive officer of the country (including overseeing the Justice Department), where he saw to thousands prosecuted for cocaine endeavors…Hypocrite….BTW: it’s just plain stupid to use coke or any CDS.

Vampires – Not into these weirdos.

The Guy With No Legs from South Africa Who Shot His Girlfriend – If he didn’t do it on purpose, he sure was reckless by firing into a closed bathroom door when he had no idea who was behind it…And I’m not being insensitive by describing him “as the guy with no legs” – it’s just a fact and I forgot his name. Everyone knows who I am talking about.

People Who are Overly Sensitive and Easily Offended – Boo hoo…Go pound salt.

Anyone Who Has a Problem With That I Believe in God – Self-explanatory…

I’m disgusted, grossed out and sickened by these above people.

More to Come…

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NYPD’S SECRET USE OF CELLPHONE-SWEEPING TECHNOLOGY

By R. J. NICHOLAS

Scores of police departments across the country are quietly using a highly secretive technology developed for the military that can track the whereabouts of suspects by using the signals constantly emitted by their cellphones, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Objections to the suitcase-sized devices known as StingRays or cell site simulators are increasingly growing amidst civil liberties and privacy groups. The StingRays or cell site simulators mimick cell towers and can sweep up cellphone data from an entire neighborhood. The cellphone user doesn’t even have to make a call or send a text message, the Police can still determine the location of a phone without the phone being in use. Some versions of the technology can even intercept texts and calls, or pull information stored on the phones.

Privacy experts say, that part of the problem is the devices can also collect data from anyone within a small radius of the person being tracked. In most cases, law enforcement will go to great lengths to conceal usage by offering plea deals rather than divulging details on the StingRay. Attorney Jerome Greco, of Legal Aid Society said, “We can’t even tell how frequently they’re being used.” Greco recently succeeded in blocking evidence collected with the device in a New York City murder case. “It makes it very difficult”

It has been brought to public attention that at least 72 state and local law enforcement departments in 24 states plus 13 federal agencies use the devices. The departments that use them must take the unusual step of signing nondisclosure agreements overseen by the FBI which makes further details hard to come by.

The Harris Corporation is a defense contractor that makes the devices. They are involved with the agreements that are intended to prevent the release of sensitive law enforcement information to the general public, states an FBI spokeswoman. The agreements, however, don’t prevent an officer from telling prosecutors the technology was used in a case.

The use of this technology was virtually unknown to the public in New York City until last year. The New York Civil Liberties Union forced the disclosure of records showing the NYPD used the devices more than 1,000 times since 2008. The NYPD and other police departments across the country are standing behind the continued use of this current technology saying it helped catch suspects in kidnappings, rapes, robberies, assaults and murders. It has even helped find missing people, if they even had a cell phone on them.

None-the-less, privacy experts and citizens that support the constitution say such deceptive gains come at too high a cost. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “We have a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.” She is referring to the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. “Our Founding Fathers decided when they wrote the Bill of Rights there had to be limits placed on government.”

Proposals to stop this invasion of privacy have been introduced by lawmakers in several states ranging from warrant requirements to an outright ban on the technology. There are a dozen states that already have laws requiring warrants. Last year, federal law enforcement said that it would be routinely required to get a search warrant before using the technology — a first effort to create a uniform legal standard for federal authorities.

As a result case law is slowly building. A Washington, D.C., appeals court overturned a conviction on a sex assault after judges ruled a violation of the Fourth Amendment because of evidence improperly collected from the simulator without a proper warrant, two months ago.

Last month, in the New York murder case argued by the Legal Aid Society, a judge in Brooklyn ruled that the NYPD must have an eavesdropping warrant signed by a judge to use the device. This is a much higher bar than the “reasonable suspicion” standard that had previously been required.

State Supreme Court Judge Martin Murphy wrote, ”By its very nature, then, the use of a cell site simulator intrudes upon an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, acting as an instrument of eavesdropping and requires a separate warrant supported by probable cause.”

 

Even though there had been a court order to use a StingRay, New York City police officials disagreed with the ruling and disputed that a StingRay was even used in the case. Police officials say they require a higher stander of probable cause when applying for the devices, but who knows what’s really happening.

Many hope the ruling will push the nation’s largest department into meeting the higher standard, and help judges better understand the intricacies of more cutting-edge surveillance, including Greco from the Legal Aid Society. Greco said, “We’re hoping we can use this decision among other decisions being made across the country to show that this logic is right. The fact that most judges don’t understand this growing technology, is what is making cell tapping a major issue. It makes it easier if another judge has sat down, learned about this new surveillance and really thought about it.”

Will American citizens continue to sacrifice their boundaries and privacy out of fear and oppression or will they stand like their forefathers did and say no more?

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THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS TAKING ON THE OPIOID CRISIS

By NATALIA CASTRO

2015 was the worst year for overdose deaths in U.S. history, until 2016 happened. Now, unless the federal government takes decisive action, 2017 will be even worse. The opioid epidemic has left both rural and urban America paralyzed. After decades of overprescribing, opioid deaths last year alone account for more lost lives than the entire Vietnam War at 59,000 according to data compiled by the New York Times.

But the Trump administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is leading the way toward critical reforms throughout government to save American lives.

Even without directly knowing someone addicted to opioids, Americans across the country are feeling the impact of the epidemic. In 2015, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic was about $504 billion, a figure that accounts for roughly 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product. But considering the White House data continues to predict that drug overdoses related to opioids are underreported by as much as 24 percent, is it clear this figure could be much higher.

The consequences of this addiction include billions of dollars in medical costs, addiction treatment costs, and criminal justice costs on top of the decrease in productivity among users.

To mitigate these costs and curb the cycle of addiction, the Trump administration has allocated more than one billion dollars directly to drug addiction since taking office. This includes more than $800 million since April for prevention, treatment, first responders, prescription drug monitoring programs, recovery and other care in communities, in-patient settings, and correctional systems. As well as $254 million in funding for high-risk communities, law enforcement, and first responders.

President Trump took another crucial step towards addressing the issue last month by naming the opioid crisis a public health emergency, allowing additional resources to be allocated to the problem.

Trump’s Commission has also worked to find solutions for the growing problem. In a report approved on Nov. 1, 2017, the Commission calls for sweeping change to drug courts and a national media campaign to combat opioid addiction.

The report highlights issues such as overprescribing, overproduction, and inadequate oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as causes for the crisis, then continues to outline 56 recommendations for curbing the epidemic on an institutional and social level.

As a result, the Trump Administration is making combatting the crisis a government-wide mission. While the FDA is imposing new requirements on manufacturers of prescription opioids, the State Department has established an agreement with the UN, making it harder for criminals to access fentanyl, an often illegally manipulated opioid. The Department of Defense and the Department and Veterans Affairs have also teamed up to conduct a six-year, $81 million joint research partnership focusing on nondrug approaches to pain management for service members and veterans.

More than anything, the Commission has called for greater knowledge of programs that work and do not work for combatting the epidemic. With the understanding that merely arresting these individuals addicted to opioids is both costly and ineffective, the Commission calls for the Office of National Drug Control Policy to establish a system to track all federally funded programs aimed at combatting opioid addiction to test which ones actually curb overdose rates.

If the U.S. government hopes that 2017 will be a better year than the past, the federal government must continue working to address what has indeed become a national epidemic. Americans across the country are feeling the emotional and economic pain of the opioid crisis, and while the Trump administration has taken critical steps to curb the problem, it has only just begun solving it.

Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government

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MARIJUANA OVERDOSE AND DEATH

By WENDLE MCPHERSON

Over a millennia there has never been a recorded case of a fatal marijuana overdose… until now.

An 11-month-old in Colorado died last year following exposure to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in weed. Two poison control doctors who wrote the reported findings had concluded the infant’s death was caused by a marijuana overdose. However, this information did not reach the masses in order to educate people of how deadly the mind altering drug truly is to children and adults.

It’s interesting how reports about America’s current President can be on the headline of every news article and media outlet across the nation, but when a life is taken by a drug that is being legalized by states across America no one is the wiser. It’s obvious that such a finding would have sent a shockwave through the marijuana advocacy and medical communities. Especially when Cannabis is being promoted with such a positive reputation associated with a low risk of harm. This has been the main reason so many advocates have fought to relax laws that categorize weed as one of the most dangerous drugs. America’s desire to numb out or stop experiencing real human emotions to their fullest have caused citizens to continue pushing the issue to get the medical industry to promote that THC alone doesn’t kill people. It is most puzzling that the government has gone along with this way of thinking even though medical experts have routinely warned of certain mind, body and emotional health risks around consuming marijuana.

Even though the facts are loud and clear, still advocates push to drown out the deadly effects of marijuana including the vital brain cells that suffer and die every day with daily use of the drug. Not to mention the mental and psychological disorders that occur as a result. One would think the case from Colorado could have challenged that entire precept, but sadly enough it didn’t. One of the doctors who authored the report told The Washington Post, “We are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed that child.” How could a doctor be so confident in making a statement like that, when after a close reading of the paper, the doctors associated with the case argue that marijuana exposure could have most definitely contributed to the myocarditis ― an inflammation of the heart muscle ― that was determined to have caused the death of the 11-month-old boy.

After a full examination from multiple doctors, it was concluded that the child tested positive for high levels of THC. According to medical experts there have also been numerous reports of cannabis-associated myocarditis that have proved fatal in the past. Coincidentally these reports have also gone unpublicized by the media as well. There may have been an article or two written to soothe the broken hearts and lives of loved one’s effected by the fatality, but where is the widespread media coverage on such deadly devastation due to this drug?

There is a growing number of states ― now eight, as well as Washington, D.C. ― that have since legalized marijuana for recreational use. Is this something to celebrate or should we seriously consider the devastating effects this can have on human beings bodies and minds across America? As humans we have an amazing ability to adapt to our ever changing environments quickly and efficiently, but how quickly do we want to sweep the issue of drug legalization under the rug? It may seem peaceful and considerate of the government to want to bless us with such a wonderful act of kindness, but activate your minds on this concept. Since when does the government want to bless us? Since when do they really hear the voice of the people and want to do what’s best for a country that has been slowly declining for some time now. Do you think that legalizing a mind altering drug across this wounded nation is really whats best for us?

Before you answer these questions, stop by a local AA, NA, or AL-ANON meeting in your area and see how many American’s are packed into rooms and buildings struggling to break free from substance addictions that have stolen their minds, their hearts, their families and their lives. Or are you one of the “followers” in a nation full of wounded individuals who wants drugs legalized because you are still numbing out to some emotional or physical pain that you haven’t been able to grasp or admit yet?

My job to deliver a different perspective is done here. The answers to these questions I leave with you.

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