TRUMP ECONOMIC BOOM CONTINUES WITH 4.8 MILLION NEW JOBS SINCE JAN. 2017

By RICK MANNING

The latest job numbers are in and they’re great news for America, showing that the American economy remains robust with 312,000 jobs created, and average job gains for the past three months totaling an incredible 254,000.

The left-wing media has been desperately trying to talk down the Trump economic boom over the past two months citing the notoriously volatile stock market as their source of concern. The latest unemployment report puts that to rest for now.

America continues our historic reversal of the Democrats death sentence for the manufacturing sector with more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs created over the past two years with 32,000 new jobs in December alone.

Overall, 2.9 million more Americans are employed now than were in December of 2017, and 4.8 million since President Trump took office.

The unemployment rate remains quite low at 3.9 percent.

Labor participation too is accelerating, up to 63.1 percent in December.

The truth is that Americans are working in record numbers, wages continue to rise modestly, our manufacturing plants are running on overtime and inflation remains stable with the unadjusted Consumer Price Index for the past six months running at 1.8 percent with the twelve month unadjusted rate at 2.2 percent.

The job and inflation facts are indisputable.  America is working, wages are rising, inflation is under control, and most of America should just now begin to realize the individual household benefits of the tax cuts.

Like President Donald Trump promised, his economy is making America great again as the government dependency cycle is being broken more and more each day through the best social program invented — a real, productive, meaningful job.

It’s not just the tax cuts. Don’t forget the President’s trade agenda and deregulation, which are lowering the cost of business in the U.S. relative to overseas competitors. That’s a big job booster, too.

Let’s hope that Speaker Pelosi doesn’t mess it up with higher spending and tax increases. Rather than seeking to impeach the President, the Democrats in Congress should be looking for ways to work with him to increase the wealth effect being created through this virtuous economic cycle.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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DON’T GIVE AN INCH ON THE WALL, MR. PRESIDENT

By ROBERT ROMANO

A bipartisan group of Senators led by Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) are urging President Donald Trump to sign a short-term continuing resolution to reopen the government for three weeks, purportedly to allow time for negotiations to occur as Congress considers Trump’s proposed border wall expansion.

But the only reason there is even any discussion at all about a border wall is because the President has said he won’t sign legislation funding the government that does not include the wall. Trump has something Congress wants — his signature — and as long as he denies it he has leverage under the constitutional separation of powers to see that his top priorities are funded.

If Congress wants to reopen the government, the quickest and easiest way to do that is to pass a bill that includes what the President asked for on the border wall. Sit down and negotiate, but realize the President’s priorities must also be included or else no deal.

Supporters of the President have urged him to hold the line against signing any bill that fails to address border security and the wall.

“It would be an extraordinary mistake to open the government without the funding of border security including the wall as part of that agreement,” Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said, noting that a deal could still be made.

Manning explained, “[I]f the Democrats wanted to open the government, a deal could be hammered out in under 24 hours which included steel border barriers, more border patrol and ICE officers as well as an increase in immigration judges to help those seeking amnesty to receive a speedier decision, and humanitarian aid for those who have crossed the border illegally so that their detention pending disposition is safe, secure and meets their medical and other basic needs.”

In fact, there’s a menu of options for Democrats to choose from to try to get the government reopened. But to get signed it is clear it needs to include the wall. And fully fund it, too, so there’s no need to have this discussion again with the September funding bill.

In 2018, the House prior to turning the majority over to Democrats passed $5.7 billion for the wall and other needs at the border, which is already a compromise from the $12 billion to $15 billion that was promised by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Jan. 2017.

Other compromises have been offered since Trump took office. Former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) offered an immigration reform bill that would have built the wall, ended chain migration, ended the visa lottery, defunded sanctuary cities and implemented a national E-Verify system but also included legal status for those who were granted DACA with no fast track to a green card, the parents of citizens being granted renewable temporary visas and a guest worker program for agricultural workers. It would have instituted a merit-based approach to immigration by boosting the number of visas for skilled workers.

President Trump supported the Goodlatte bill. It even included provision for DACA, something Democrats have been pushing for and something that Trump campaigned against in 2016. He’s willing to compromise. Democrats might try putting something up that includes the wall plus their priorities and see what happens.

Otherwise, there will be little reason or incentive for President Trump to sign any spending bill. Ultimately, this battle is about whether the duly elected President can have his priorities included.

Elections matter.

So does the separation of powers.

Ultimately, if Congress lacks the votes to override a presidential veto of legislation, or if a bill cannot even get through the Republican Senate without the wall, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have to deal. There’s no other way to get the government reopened if Trump simply won’t sign a bill with no wall — which is why he needs to stick to his guns. Don’t give them an inch, Mr. President.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN A PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN TO CAUSE A RECESSION

By ROBERT ROMANO

As the partial government shutdown enters day 27, the longest in U.S. history, Congressional Democrats still refuse to even discuss funding the President’s proposed southern border wall expansion. And now, some analysts are warning that if the shutdown continues, it could lead to recession.

“Shutdown raises the risk of recession,” warns one headline from Politico.

“Slok Says Government Shutdown Could Cause a Recession,” warns another from Bloomberg, quoting Torsten Slok, chief international economist of Deutsche Bank.

“Jamie Dimon says shutdown could reduce economic growth to zero this quarter if it continues,” states CNBC, quoting J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jaime Dimon.

But even taking the generous estimates of reduced output for granted, it’s hard to make the case that leaving the government shut down would on its own cause a recession, if you define it as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The affected federal government departments and agencies in question simply do not spend enough money for that to be the case.

The U.S. economy nominal Gross Domestic Product was $20.7 trillion annualized in the last report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Estimates on the partial government shutdown suggest about $2 billion every two weeks in withheld pay from affected about 800,000 affected federal workers, according to the Center for American Progress, who will be awarded backpay when it’s all over.

In addition, Bloomberg estimates about $245 million a day or $3.4 billion government contractors are not paid every two weeks.

Together, that works out to potentially $35 billion every quarter in diminished output, or $140 billion annualized.

Suffice to say, that would come out of GDP. Government consumption expenditures are defined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis as “Expenditures consisting of compensation of general government employees, consumption of fixed capital (CFC), and intermediate purchases of goods and services…”

But that still may not be enough to cause a recession, as it only accounts for 0.67 percent or 2.7 percent annualized of the $20.7 trillion GDP calculated on an inflation-adjusted, quarterly pace.

So, for it to erase all of the potential gains, the rest of the economy would have to grow at 2.7 percent or less in the first quarter. Anything more, say, it grows at 3 percent, then it will still be technically positive for the first quarter.

And after that, since government expenditures in the real GDP don’t tend to grow that much quarterly — they contributed about 0.2 percent to GDP growth in the third quarter — the U.S. economy would essentially shrug off the spending cut by the time the second quarter of 2019 rolled around as a new baseline for government expenditures was established, assuming the shutdown lasted that long.

Therefore, you wouldn’t see a recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth, if government spending is cut $35 billion in the first quarter.

Plus, since everyone would be awarded backpay anyway, the expenditures are simply being moved forward in time. So, what was not spent in the first quarter would be paid in the second quarter, in addition to all the expenditures that would have happened in the second quarter anyway.

The money is going to be spent in the end. Congress has already passed a law that will automatically award backpay when the shutdown ends anyway. But even if they weren’t, any slowdown, owing singularly to the government workers and contractors not getting paid should only be temporary.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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ELIZA DUSHKU WHINING HER WAY TO $9.5 MILLION

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Whining actress Eliza Dushku, best known for her role in the teen, sex pot movie Bring It On, has violated a confidentially Agreement with CBS by telling all about alleged sexual harassment conduct carried out by “Bull” star Michael Weatherly. Dushku was reportedly paid a whopping $9.5 million – more money than most people make in a lifetime – because Weatherly allegedly repeatedly commented about Dushku’s “ravishing beauty”, spoke about a threesome and made other comments and jokes that she found offensive. These comments for allegedly made on the “Bull” set while Dushku was making a 3-episode guest starring appearance.

The actress purportedly was in line for a regular role on the hit show. But, according to Dushku, she was cut loose by CBS after she complained about Weatherly’s commentary. This led to the nearly $10 million payment.

Although reaping the massive cash benefits of her cry baby money, Dushku determined to breach her part of the deal – that she would remain silent about the settlements – by publicly speaking to media. The actress, who willfully has appeared nude in movies like Banshee and The Alphabet Killer and whose moral (or lack thereof) values have included permitting herself to have her beasts fondled in movies and otherwise engage in multiple sex scenes, was apparently affronted by being called beautiful by Weatherly and hearing a few sexually-related jokes. If this sounds like wild hypocrisy to you, join the club of the tens of millions of normal Americans who are confused, befuddled, annoyed, and aggravated by looniness – and phoniness – of these Hollywood boneheads, media creeps, and political fraudsters.

By all accounts, I am a great-looking woman; let’s go as far to say that I’m hot. I won best-looking in high school and was the prom queen. I think it’s fair to say that most people  would think that I am better looking than Dushku. Yet, I would not be at all offended if someone spoke of my “ravishing beauty.” And when a man makes such jokes as Weatherly supposedly made to Dushku, I just laugh at the man and walk away. Let’s get real here: a small part of our society has gone insane. The mental midgets at CBS (and other similar outfits) who pay millions of dollars to disingenuous clowns like Dushku – who feign some sort of infantile injury upon hearing racy jokes and comments about their prettiness – are facilitating the craziness and empowering the phony lot. Amazingly, while I haven’t (and never would) take off my clothes and get tongue-kissed and groped for money (as Dushku has an actress), I not only do not get “injured” by men telling me I’m beautiful and hearing jokes, but I’m hardly bothered by it—the same as all normal, honest women. Please, please – tell me I’m hot, and then pay me $10 million (I’m even willing to take the funds in silver).

Eliza Dushku is a phony whiner. But a wealthier one.

Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.

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RENAISSANCE MAN AND BOY KEN DEL VECCHIO & MARIO DEL VECCHIO INSIST HEADLINES SHOULD GO TO COACHES AND TEAMMATES LIKE JASON DANIELLO & J.J. DANIELLO

By TEMPLE LI

In a 1996 article profiling a then 27-year-old Ken Del Vecchio’s unique eclectic accomplishments, the Passaic County, New Jersey newspaper Herald News proclaimed that the young man had the “Midas Touch.” He can “turn anything into gold”, the newspaper reported, in writing about Del Vecchio’s successes as a published author, a prolific weightlifting champ, and being one of the youngest attorneys in New Jersey history to win a felony jury trial. In that same 1996 year, Hudson County’s The Observer first coined the phrase “Renaissance Man” to describe Del Vecchio, with dozens of media outlets headlining him with that same title. Twenty-three years later, nothing has changed – except that Del Vecchio has now written/produced about 30 major movies, authored some of the United States’ best-selling criminal law books (in addition to multiple novels), and he turned that winning seminal case into trying over 400 cases and handling in the neighborhood of 20,000 others as a criminal defense attorney, prosecutor, and commercial litigator. He also, at one point, served as a New Jersey judge.

Del Vecchio, still baby-faced in his late 40s, is in a torrid race to be the earth’s modern-day Renaissance Man. As part of that self-imposed competition, he founded one of the world’s top film festivals, Hoboken International Film Festival. Del Vecchio’s movies have been released through giants the likes of Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, and E-One Entertainment. His books are published by top houses such as Pearson Education, Prentice Hall, and ALM.

If all of his professional accomplishments aren’t enough, Del Vecchio has won over 50 bench press competitions, at his best lifting 450 pounds while weighing just 175 pounds. See it here.

Empire State News has just joined a long line of major media who have covered Del Vecchio and his accomplishments over the last two decades. 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 is an excellent filmmaker and would make a great leader!” 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 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.”

The last line of Kenneth Del Vecchio’s first novel, the best-seller Pride & Loyalty, is “You can’t be loyal to everyone at once because then you’re loyal to no one at all.” Del Vecchio said, “That’s the definition of loyalty. You can’t be everyone’s best friend. Loyalty is the most important – and best – word in my dictionary.”

And what’s the worst? “Jealousy,” Del Vecchio said, “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.”

Del Vecchio, a regular legal analyst for the major news networks such as i24 News and Fox News Channel and who has published for ESN, will make other commentators pay the price when jealousy creeps into the dialogue. Case-in-point: just a week ago, on star anchor David Shuster’s show “Stateside”, pundit Hamza Khan sought to personally attack Del Vecchio. Watch here, as Del Vecchio dismantles Khan with the skilled blows of not just a professional speaker, but of a very commanding, charismatic one. Viewers took to Facebook to comment on Del Vecchio’s verbal fileting of Khan:

Kathleen Healy, an attorney, wrote: “GREAT JOB!!! As usual, you shot back with quick, intelligent responses to that obnoxious moron.”

Eric Reyes, a high school friend, posted: “My man Kenneth Del Vecchio dressing the idiots down. Go Ken.”

John Bernieri, an actor, stated: “No contest. You murderised him! Eloquent, to the point, and very cool were you. Blabbering, blathering and pathetic was he. Bring on the next misfit!”

And Suhel Ahmed,  a medical doctor, posted: “It was a great exchange except when he went personal against you…that’s a sign of weakness…he couldn’t intellectually beat you so he resorted to insults…you did great man…and remained composed. Very cool.”

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Ken has a huge ego. He does,” declared Del Vecchio’s longtime friend Mike Borao, an attorney and boxing manager who represents many Top 10 contenders. “But there’s a few different things about him. He can back it all up, exponentially, everything he says. He also will openly tell you what he’s not good at. And he will compliment others. It’s because Ken has true confidence. I’ve never met a more confident person. He’s afraid of no one. And it shows in everything he does. His writing, his TV appearance debates, his movies. And in court. Ken Del Vecchio is the last, the very last attorney, that you want as your adversary.”

Son Mario Del Vecchio has his own, growing list of Renaissance Boy accomplishments, and that title has now begun to stick with him. At only 10-years-old, he has already acted in 10 movies, just playing the lead role in a Christmas movie – A Karate Christmas Miracle – opposite multiple famed stars including Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (Best of the Best; The Expendables), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid; Rambo; “Cobra Kai”), and Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado). A year-round active athlete – he plays football, wrestling, baseball and, of course, karate – Mario is a straight A student at Highland Elementary School in his hometown Midland Park.

McCullough, who plays an eccentric psychic-turned-law professor in A Karate Christmas Miracle, had this to say about the child star of the movie: “I’m amazed at all that Mario has been able to accomplish by only 10-years-old. It seems this kid can do anything. I watched his football highlights reel and was stunned by his strength and athleticism. He also has the skills in karate to pull off the physical part of his role in this charming movie. But his personality and mind are what impresses me the most. He gets up in front of 1,000 people at the Hoboken Film Festival awards ceremony, tells a joke, and then presents an award to a filmmaker. And he has a photographic memory, so he had all of his lines memorized before the two adult leads. He has a ton of lines, and he flawlessly knows them all. It’s rather unbelievable. He’s also a really nice, cool kid, so it’s a pleasure to work with him.”

The movie follows precocious Jesse Genesis, who has created a “12 Days of Christmas List” of tasks, the list being triggered by the disappearance of  his father who went missing during a mass shooting on Christmas Day one year earlier. If Jesse completes all the tasks, including teaching himself to become a karate black belt, he believes his father will return on this Christmas. Jesse’s sophisticated, workaholic mother, Abby (Mila Milosevic), believes her husband was lost in the shooting, but has a glimmer of hope through visions that Jesse reports to her. After Abby enlists the aid of the psychic played by McCullough, a roller coaster thriller ensues, where the trio unravel a mystery that no one expected – and maybe, just maybe witness the delivery of a miracle that can only happen on Christmas.

A number of media outlets have already covered A Karate Christmas Miracle and its young lead actor, including one of New Jersey’s leading daily newspapers, The Record, which published this article earlier this month: Midland Park’s ‘karate kid’ stars in sport-themed Christmas movie of his father’s making.

Mario shows his maturity and on-screen comfort in this video interview with The Record.

A Karate Christmas Miracle, written/produced by Del Vecchio and written/directed by Julie Kimmel, will have its worldwide premiere on May 17, 2019 as the Opening Night Movie at Del Vecchio’s Hoboken International Film Festival. Del Vecchio said that neither Kimmel, who is a vice chair at the festival, nor his own son Mario, got their positions in the movie because of their relationships with him. They got the positions “because of their talent only,” Del Vecchio said. “If Mario can’t act with great talent, he can’t play roles in my movies. Same with Julie as director. She has to be an outstanding filmmaker for me to hire her in that spot. Sorry, no favoritism. This is a business for me. And Mario needs to be more than just an exceptional actor for this role; he also needs the mixed martial arts skills.”

A standout out in karate who, in real life, is already up to his blue belt, Mario said the martial arts experience helped him realistically play the role. “I’m not a black belt yet. But I go to karate two to three times a week all year, so I will get there.” But he said that football is actually his favorite sport. On the least experience side is wrestling, where he is in his first year. In baseball, he is practically a veteran; he has played baseball for five seasons already. In football, he recently completed his third year. Playing in Montclair, New Jersey in the elite national American Youth Football League, Mario excelled this season, starting on both offense (guard) and defense (DE & MLB). His football highlights reel shows it all.

“What’s particularly exciting in watching Mario play football is his physical strength and competitiveness,” said Borao, “I had a couple of my clients watch his reel, and they found pretty remarkable that a kid his size was basically manhandling much bigger and older kids. Mario’s also the fastest lineman, so that helps him.” With regard to the age, Borao was referring to the fact that Mario was in the middle age in his league; next year, he will be one of the oldest players on the team. “Mario earns the respect of his teammates and coaches,” Boaro added, “His dominance is a factor of course, but it’s also that he’s all business, no nonsense. And not afraid, like his father.”

On this day, Mario and his father were at a high school in Glen Rock, New Jersey, an affluent Bergen County town, with a large rock right in the center of its upscale downtown. Del Vecchio actually had lived directly across the street from the rock when he was in third grade. At the beginning of fourth grade, he and his family moved to Westport, Connecticut, a top-tier beach town on that state’s coast. He said his family moved around a lot in his youth, with many different stops including the more blue-collar areas of Bloomfield, NJ (where he lived from birth through first grade) and Kearny, NJ (where he lived during his high school years). Although Del Vecchio reminisced momentarily about Glen Rock, his focus quickly shifted to Mario, who was at the high school for a wrestling match.

Wrestling a kid from another Bergen county town, Mario was winning 2 – 0 at the end of the first period. Near the end of the second period it was 4 – 3, but Mario ultimately took a loss.

Wrestling for the first time this year, the sport is new to Mario, but one wouldn’t think so in watching him. He’s confident on the mat, with a powerful stature. His substantial karate experience probably has assisted him, although he acknowledges that “the two sports are totally different. And I have a lot to learn as a wrestler.”

After the match, one of the opposing team’s coaches exclaimed about Mario, “That kid was a first year wrestler?! He was up against a fourth year wrestler, and he almost beat him. That’s one tough, strong kid.”

After being asked about getting a forfeit victory earlier in the day, Mario quipped, “That’s not a win. The other kid didn’t wrestle.” Then he asked, “Why are you reporters talking to me? I didn’t win today. You should be talking about E.J. [Cozzupoli] and J.J. Daniello and the other kids on my team who pinned kids today.”

According to Del Vecchio, who also serves as one of the coaches for Midland Park-Waldwick youth wrestling, Cozzupoli and Daniello are two of the best and most experienced wrestlers on the fourth grade team. In explaining his role as a coach, Del Vecchio said, “I’m just a secondary coach. Paul Eliya and Jason Daniello are the main coaches at this level. They run the show and do it well, and me and few other guys just help out at the practices.”

Mario had his own points about his fellow wrestlers. “I’ve wrestled EJ in practice a number of times. He’s real good, fast and strong. I learn when I wrestle him. He’s also a real nice kid. After I lost, he told me what a good job I did and gave me candy that he had bought. That was classy my dad said, and my dad text his dad and told him about it. J.J., I just wrestled him once and he caught me in a headlock. I’ve watched him some as well, to learn. He’s real dedicated. He goes to our practice first, then to the dual team practice right after. What I like about him is the way he looks at his dad. It reminds me of how I look at my dad. Real proud.”

Del Vecchio explained that Jason Daniello, J.J.’s dad, is a motivating coach, who “has the right combination of knowledge, direction, wrestling abilities, and patience.” It’s important that the kids work hard, Del Vecchio noted, adding that “both Jason and Paul lead practices with extolling the right work ethic, but they also understand that these are young kids who need to learn and have fun. So they make sure that we have the right mix of instruction, drilling, and live wrestling. And then Paul comes in with his bag of dodge balls, where the kids can unwind at the end of practice.”

Del Vecchio then glanced off to one of the other matches going on, yelling a few congratulatory words to one of the Midland Park-Waldwick wrestlers, Noah Crowe, who had just won a match, and turned back saying, “Yeah, I agree with Mario. Since this interview is being done here, that’s who should get the headlines for this article. Some of these kids and coaches.”

Ken and Mario Del Vecchio, by all accounts, are a modern-day Renaissance Father and Son team. “People are in awe of them for their talents and accomplishments, no doubt,” McCullough said. “And most will appreciate their rare confidence, which allows them to put themselves aside at times and genuinely praise others who deserve compliments, but there will be some jealous joker who will read this article and have something negative to say. It goes with the territory.”

Temple Li is the news editor for Empire State News, where she frequently authors her own editorials (just because she feels like it). She graduated at the top of her class at a mediocre college, infuriating her professors with her conservative wit and sultry charm. Empire State News allows Ms. Li to make a living, and to have a platform to tell people what she thinks. What could be better than that?

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PELOSI AND SCHUMER PUT PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARIES OVER HUMAN LIVES LOST AT THE BORDER BY OPPOSING THE WALL

By ROBERT ROMANO

In his national address on Jan. 8, President Donald Trump made the case that the cost of not building the southern border wall will be the human lives lost by not stemming the flow of illegal immigration and the crime that is brought as a result.

“In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.  Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now,” Trump said.

Trump added, “This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”

In contrast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in their response portrayed the partial government shutdown in human terms, too — but ones about the affected government workers, of which there are about 800,000, some working, some furloughed and all without pay.

“President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation,” said Pelosi.

Schumer for his part made a similar appeal, stating, “There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference. Federal workers are about to miss a paycheck. Some families can’t get a mortgage to buy a new home. Farmers and small businesses won’t get loans they desperately need.”

So, the choice as presented to the American people by our leaders was rather simple. Either, save lives by stemming the flow of illegal immigration through enhanced border security and reopening the government once Democrats agree to this concession, or sacrifice more lives so the federal workers can get paid now.

In short, Pelosi and Schumer want the American people to choose paying the federal government workers not to keep them safe. It doesn’t seem like much of a choice.

Other than lighter traffic, most Americans so far have largely been unaffected by the government shutdown. Mail continues to be delivered. You can still apply to get passports. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid continue to pay out. Food stamps will continue to be issued through at least the end of February.

The ones on the hook at the moment are those federal workers who are not getting paid. It undoubtedly is a hardship, not knowing where to get the money for the mortgage or to pay the utility bills. But as much as a hardship as losing your spouse or your child to hands of somebody who should have never been here in the first place?

In a humanitarian sense, the choice seems easy.

We pay the federal employees and fully build the wall so that the tide of illegal immigration is stemmed and that sort of thing doesn’t happen again. Yet, for Pelosi and Schumer, the only choice allowed is binary. Either don’t pay and the federal employees will lose their pay, or don’t build the wall and other Americans will lose their lives — but they don’t care, not even if building the wall would save a single life.

In the process, the Democratic leaders present the limits of their power to affect the situation. It also demonstrates the limits politically of the untenable position they have constructed for themselves.

Rather than meet the President halfway over a year ago when former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) offered a compromise immigration reform bill, Democrats and several Republicans, too — who don’t get off the hook for standing in the way — every proposal by the Trump administration on immigration has hit a brick wall in Congress, pun intended.

The Goodlatte bill would have ended chain migration, ended the visa lottery, built the southern border wall where needed, defunded sanctuary cities and implemented a national E-Verify system. It even included legal status for those who were granted DACA with no fast track to a green card, the parents of citizens being granted renewable temporary visas and a guest worker program for agricultural workers. It would have instituted a merit-based approach to immigration by boosting the number of visas for skilled workers.

Addressing overall immigration is definitely worth looking into, and tells the tale that current immigration policy is driven not by merit but by geographic proximity and familial relations, and favoring particularly one country, Mexico, not the needs of the economy.

According to Department of Homeland Security data, from 1986 to 2015, the U.S. has taken in 29 million immigrants. 6 million or more than 20 percent were from Mexico alone. A country that comprises less than 2 percent of the world’s population made up more than one-fifth of all U.S. immigration. Nearly all of that was the 1986 amnesty and then the family-based preferences for those who received the amnesty.

Because of the 1986 amnesty plus chain migration, the Mexican share of overall immigration rose from 11 percent in 1986 to 51 percent by 1991 before tailing down again. In 2015, 15 percent of all immigrants were from Mexico alone. 96 percent of Mexican immigrants are family preferences for either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Hardly any of the employment visas go to Mexicans, with just 1,200 on the 107,000 waiting list, just 1 percent, whereas there are 1.3 million Mexicans on the family waiting list out of 4.3 million, more than 30 percent.

The Goodlatte bill would have addressed and reformed that broken system. So, it’s not even a situation where simply border security could be addressed. The President has gone out of his way to offer his version of comprehensive immigration proposals. The one thing he absolutely says he needs is the wall, which is why the government is now shut down.

But Pelosi and Schumer cannot even bring themselves to offer a deal that includes the wall, even if they wanted other concessions in return. They are the ones without a policy. The only reform they support is full amnesty and open borders. But that is no compromise. It is a surrender of sovereignty. In the process, they are arguably putting more lives in danger. To them, simply keeping the government open and pretending there is no problem or crisis with illegal immigration is the only choice worth considering. This problem could be fixed, with their help, but they want nothing to do with it. Which, to quote the President, is “so sad.”

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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THE RIGHT IS ULTIMATELY RIGHT ON THE WALL, BUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ‘CRISIS’ IS FULL OF SHADE ON BOTH SIDES

AN EMPIRE STATE NEWS EDITORIAL

Illegal immigration and the wall are topics where there is so much to evaluate. It’s not black and white to me, as I find a lot of shade. For example, while I believe there is an illegal immigration crisis, I don’t subscribe to the notion that it is any greater a crisis today than it was 5, 10, 20+ years ago. The fear mongering component from the right ultimately will fail.

Following in this same path of fright-creation is the “crime” factor. No doubt, some illegal immigrants commit crimes in the U.S. – but both sides have misplayed the statistics; per capita, percentage-wise, illegal immigrants commit the same percent of crimes as American citizens, across the broad spectrum of unlawful activity. Conservatives, in my opinion, have a valid argument that any additional crimes (i.e. – those committed by illegal immigrants) are too much, as such crimes would not have occurred but for those individuals’ unlawful entry into America. That said, over-hyping the illicit conduct, in making it appear more prevalent than it actually is, will soon backfire.

The heroin/opioid epidemic card now being strangely played by the right is also a loser. Blaming illegal immigrants for Americans’ misuse of these dangerous substances is a canard. First, there lies another statistical error. The grandiose claims that upwards of 90% of these drugs come into the U.S. though illegal southern border entry is, plainly, false; a much lower percentage is the true stat.

More alarming is that many conservatives are now hugging the drug addict-sympathy teddy bear too tightly. The primary fault in this exaggerated “epidemic” rests in the hands and minds of the users of the drugs. While a valid liberty-based argument calls for allowing people to utilize substances of their choices (after all, it’s their own bodies), the same logical approach must be taken on the responsibility end. Simply, these heroin et al addicts have caused their own problems – and their demand for the drugs is the primary culprit of the “epidemic”, not the illegals (and legals) who are supplying the high.

Per the above, I find some colleagues’ sudden coddling/empathy of the junkies a bit of an overreach, if not outright hypocritical of past public viewpoints. Similarly, I find some of the left’s meteoric embrace of illegal immigrants’ “rights” wholly hypocritical. While stats may be arguable, historical video of one leading Democrat after another condemning illegal immigration (and serving as a proponent of tough anti-illegal immigration measures) is definitive. People’s words are their words. And not long ago, the words of many on the left sound much different than their words today.

All that said, I want the wall. I believe it’s a deterrent, a real physical barrier, that can greatly limit the illegal immigration crisis that we have been suffering for years. The crises to me, hype aside, is a blended cache of problems, but mostly rooted in economics. American taxpayers – those of us who actually work – pay too much money funding the housing, transportation, education, healthcare, and  overall livelihoods of illegal immigrants. Then again, us hardworking taxpayers are also funding the travails of many lazy Americans. But that’s another discussion.

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IF HOUSE GOP ‘100% CONFIDENT’ VOTES ARE THERE FOR $5 BILLION FOR THE WALL, THEN VOTE

By ROBERT ROMANO

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has declared that he is “100 percent confident” that the votes are there in the House to approve $5 billion for the southern border wall.

The comments, on Fox News, came after incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) challenged Republicans at an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump, where she said, “You have the House of Representatives.  You have the votes.  You should pass it right now.”

Not for nothing, but Pelosi has a point.

If House Republicans are 100 percent sure they have the votes to pass $5 billion for wall funding then they need to vote. What have they been waiting for?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised $12 billion to $15 billion in Jan. 2017 and so far all they got done was the $1.6 billion supplemental for the wall President Trump requested in Feb. 2017. And that didn’t get passed until March 2018.

So it’s not as if Republican haven’t had multiple opportunities to pass wall funding while they had majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Always it came down to an unwillingness to fight a Senate Democrat filibuster and potentially move to a partial government shutdown over wall funding, for fear it might cost Republicans their majority in the House — which they ended up losing anyway in Nov. 2018.

This is where President Trump has a point. At the Oval Office meeting he said, “the problem is the Senate, because we need 10 Democrats to vote, and they won’t vote.”

That is true, but by postponing a fight on the issue, thus far there haven’t been any votes on fully funding the wall.

Now with the migrant caravan charging the border, suddenly, many members of Congress see the need for the wall.

Just look at Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa, who is now leading the caravan. He has lived in Mexico since 1987, where he fled after being suspected of a terrorist bombing in Honduras that wounded six American soldiers — he claims he was being persecutedfor his “left-wing” views.

That Mexico harbored a suspected terrorist is bad enough but now Ulloa has delivered a letter to the U.S. consulate demanding entry of the migrants or else a $50,000 per migrant payoff. It’s a shakedown.

“It may seem like a lot of money to you,” Ulloa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “But it is a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras.”

Can you believe this? This is who Congress is defending by refusing to build the wall and secure the border right now, radicals like Ulloa who hate the United States and yet think they are owed entry here.

Has Congress taken leave of its senses?

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said Congress should move immediately on the wall funding, “The House should be moving to a vote immediately, attach the measure to the omnibus bill and then vote the same day the Senate is to vote.”

To bolster their chances of prevailing, House Republicans might also consider guaranteeing they will vote with 146 members to sustain a presidential veto of any spending bill that does not have wall funding in 2019 should this drag on for a few weeks.

Pelosi has already stated she won’t be moving any funding for the wall when she is Speaker, saying to reporters of Trump, “Does he want to have government closed forever?”

Which, that’s actually a good question. Finally, one idea to bring additional leverage to the table are the non-essential federal employees. In Oct. 2013, more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed according to the Office of Management and Budget. Usually, Congress votes to award them backpay for not working after the fact. But what if they didn’t get backpay this time around?

All options should be on the table. This is a fight that Congress needs to fight now — and win.

The fact is the American people are never going to have a stronger advocate than President Trump on this issue, who has threatened to shut down the government if Congress does not fund the wall. The time for Congress to act is now. It’s time to vote.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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WHY IT IS BAD TO FALSELY ACCUSE PEOPLE

By MARIO DEL VECCHIO

Falsely accusing people is bad for many reasons. Innocent people can get in small or large trouble that they should not get in, which is unjust. Also, if you get caught falsely accusing people other people will think less of you, which is bad for you. On the contrary, if you don’t get caught, people will think less of the innocent person, which is terrible, especially if the accused person is your friend. If the last event occurs, it will be bad for you, because either you will make an opponent or lose a friend. Another thing that can transpire, is YOU getting in trouble by a teacher /judge. Long story short, you should not falsely accuse people because of all the above reasons, and many more reasons.

Mario Del Vecchio is a precocious young lad who turns 10 in September. He prides himself in knowing more about politics and such than most adults. He also is quite confident that being a tattle-tale is for zeros, and that only losers are jealous. He has no use for disloyal people, but he has a lot of use for karate, wrestling, football, baseball, and Fortnite. And if you try to push him around, he will defend himself and push back harder than you – otherwise, he will leave you alone.  

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MICHAEL COHEN’S GUILTY PLEA FOR ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS WAS A PLEA TO A NON-CRIMINAL ACT BY A NON-CREDIBLE ACTOR

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

When Michael Cohen’s offices and hotel room were raided in April by federal law enforcement officials, there was outrage – and rightfully so. The outrage was not warranted simply because a lawyer’s privacy had been invaded. Rather, it was warranted because the government was invading the very precious safeguards of attorney-client privilege under a cloak that Cohen, a lawyer, had likely committed crimes.

As it turns out, Cohen did perpetrate some criminal offenses. Yesterday, he pled guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and bank fraud; the prosecution has a valid case against him for these offenses. He also pled guilty to making illegal campaign contributions, which was a specious legal disposition, at best. The guilty plea to that offense underscores the outrage that many inside (and outside) the legal community felt when Cohen’s properties were raided. Why?

Because in obtaining this particular allocution of guilt from Cohen, the prosecutors had relied upon evidence, including conversations between then-presidential candidate Trump and Cohen, that directly violated Donald Trump’s attorney-client relationship. This is not only a frightening affront to the president, but to all Americans.

Donald Trump’s sacred right to a confidential attorney relationship was obliterated in a zeal-infested pursuit by prosecutors to procure any information they could scrap up to implicate the president in the engagement of illegal activity. They sidestepped the prohibition against seizing and utilizing conversations and correspondences between attorney-client by asserting that the discourse between Donald Trump and Michael Cohen was in furtherance of a crime by and between them. Although such illegal conduct would cause the attorney-client privilege protections to be vitiated, there must be probable cause that the lawyer and client were actually involved in unlawful conduct together. With regard to the purported campaign finance violation charge that Cohen plead guilty to, as oxymoronic as it may sound, probable cause for a crime did not exist. This means that the government wrongfully interfered with Donald Trump’s privileged communications with his lawyer and, thus, serves as a threshold rationale for why any companion charge against the president would be unlawful. But there are several more relatable reasons why a case against Trump will fail, if it is predicated by this dubious Cohen plea.

It is universally understood that Michael Cohen, affectionately referred to as Trump’s fixer, had paid $150,000 and $130,000 to a nude model (Karen McDougal) and a porn star (Stormy Daniels), respectively. When Cohen elocuted to the judge – meaning when he told the court why he was guilty – he stated that he made these payments under the direction of Trump and for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election. According to the prosecutors, as well as Cohen’s own attorney, Democrat operative Lanny Davis, these payments amounted to a crime. Illegal conduct was executed, they say, because the monies doled out considerably exceeded the cap that an individual can donate to a presidential campaign.

The maximum donation that a person can make to the election fund of a presidential candidate is $2,700 per election. Unquestionably, $280,000 in payments toward a campaign would far supersede the legal limits. But there are several massive roadblocks to a moral – and legal – attempt at charges against Donald Trump in connection to these payoffs:

First, the prosecution’s entire case appears to be a “he-said, he-said” case. While Cohen says that the payments were at the direction of Trump “for the purpose of influencing the election”, Trump will surely say the payments were not for that purpose. Prosecutions predicated upon one person’s word versus another are inherently unjust, as one can never truly prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt under such unverifiable circumstances. For, who can ever know which person is telling the truth?

Another tragic flaw in this matter: Michael Cohen has no credibility. The soon-to-be disbarred lawyer had stated, on numerous occasions, that the payment made to Stormy Daniels was not at the direction of Donald Trump (and that Trump did not know about the same until afterward). Now, he claims that the payments to Daniels (and McDougal) were upon Trump’s orders. This flip-flopping, accompanied by several other apparent fabrications perpetrated by Cohen, render him incredible.

More so, how can anyone ever prove Donald Trump’s state of mind regarding why he would want payments made to Daniels and McDougal – meaning, even if he was aware of the payments, how can it ever be proved that they were issued “for purposes of influencing the election” versus “for purposes to protect his family and general reputation”? The answer is that such can never be proved, minus a smoking gun. Michael Cohen’s singular word certainly is not that smoking gun.

The dangerous slippery slope created through this charge and the ambiguity of the law itself are yet other massive hurdles in a potential prosecution against Trump for committing this alleged campaign finance violation. Albeit, Cohen pled guilty, but a law was indeed not broken by him in this instance.

First, there is nothing illegal in paying “hush money.” This is a media-manufactured sensation, perpetrated by either ignorant people or straight-up liars. “Hush money” – funds paid to individuals to keep quiet about a matter – is paid to settle cases, of every sort and type, thousands of times yearly; it is memorialized in court documents approved by scores of judges throughout the nation. “Hush money” is nothing more than payments made in exchange for confidentiality and the non-disclosure of information. Hush money is routinely paid by educational institutions, doctors, soda manufacturers, day care centers, corn farmers, home builders, and yes, even law enforcement agencies; it is paid by everyone and anyone. The media has dubbed disbursements for confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements as “hush money” in an effort to dupe people with an unsavory-sounding phrase, but the transaction is not only perfectly legal, it is totally normal.

The statute governing illegal campaign contributions is wildly broad and ambiguous, and it is a substantial overreach to employ it in Cohen’s case. In layman’s terms, who would think this type of payment violated campaign contribution caps? When Cohen issued these payments, his actions were those of an everyday attorney: he was settling cases. He paid out nuisance money – that’s all $280,000 is to a billionaire like Trump – as an ordinary course of business, to end a potentially embarrassing matter. The fact that the monies were paid during a presidential campaign is legally irrelevant. Trump, as well as an inordinate list of individuals and companies, settle such cases (over a wide array of topics) routinely—and they do so with a general purpose: to end a potentially embarrassing situation.

Invoking this campaign contribution statute to criminalize such matters that are so indirectly and tangentially related to a campaign creates a terrifying slippery slope that has never-ending implications against countless politicians and donors. The angry anti-Trump mob is so hateful, it has become blind and is willing to discard justice in their illicit pursuit to nail this man. They do not care, in this moment of a craze, what very dangerous slick-sloped ramifications this farcical guilty plea can create. It is instructive, if not critical, to evaluate other commiserate dealings to demonstrate just how legally irrational this “guilty” plea by Cohen was (and potential action against Trump for these payments).

Donald Trump and his companies, like most business leaders and corporations, have been involved in numerous ongoing lawsuits. What if Donald Trump and other principal shareholders settled a case during the presidential campaign? For example, what if they settled the Trump University lawsuit? Should the shareholders be charged with making illegal campaign donations because their portion of the settlement payment exceeded the $2,700 statutory limit? Should the lawyers handling the case be charged as conspirators? This, of course, is patently absurd. None of these people would be guilty of campaign finance violations because the case was resolved during the campaign, rather than after or before the campaign.

Let’s get real here: Michael Cohen didn’t think he was making a contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign when he paid $280,000 to Daniels and McDougal. He thought he was settling a case. The simple reason why Cohen pled guilty to a crime for these payments is because the prosecutors pressured him to do so. The actual offenses that Cohen committed (tax evasion and bank fraud) are of little consequence to these law enforcement authorities because they do not implicate the president. In order to involve him in Cohen’s legal woes, they needed to stretch, carve, and acid-wash the law. They needed to label ordinary legal dealings (paying nuisance settlement monies in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement) as a campaign finance violation.

So, Michael Cohen pled guilty to a charge that he could not possibly have had the mens rea (intent) to commit. Sure, in a global sense, one would understand that settling these cases could have some innocuous benefit to Trump’s campaign, but the existence of this indirect benefit is a far cry from causing these payments to be legally defined campaign contributions. There was an overall benefit to Trump, his family and businesses to settle these matters that can never be distinguished from the ancillary benefit their settlements had to the campaign.

For this last reason, alone, Trump is not culpable for any criminal offense, even if he instructed Cohen to make the settlement payments to the nude model and porn star. The prosecution would never be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his purpose in making such payments was “to influence the presidential campaign.” Equally problematic for the prosecutors is that this is a “he-said, he-said” case – and the first “he”, Michael Cohen, has zero credibility. The entire lot involved with his guilty plea lacks legal credibility.

Cohen’s own lawyer, Lanny Davis, revealed his motivations for the guilty plea when he gleefully tweeted the following after yesterday’s court appearance:

“Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

Davis threw his client under the bus, assisting the prosecutors in obtaining this unsavory guilty plea for the political purposes of trying to make a case against Donald Trump – and not for seeking justice in a case against Michael Cohen.

Any potential case against Trump for unlawful campaign finance activity was poisoned at the onset of Cohen’s legal woes, via the government’s abolishment of Trump’s attorney-client privilege, when law enforcement improperly seized and utilized confidential communications in furtherance of their case. It worsened when the prosecution elicited the unfounded Cohen guilty plea for illegal campaign contributions (in face of apparently other sound charges). The frightening slippery slope has already been launched through this illicit action, but the decline of this slope can be straightened out by justice-seeking legal authorities: overriding prosecutors can dismiss the charges on their own motions, judges can dismiss the charges, juries can return not guilty verdicts, and Congress can enact new, narrow and clear laws. And oh, the president can deliver pardons.

The injustice of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea yesterday – and what may be so wrongfully sought against the president pursuant to it – very likely will be remedied by some, or even all, of the above. Why so optimistic? Because the matter is so obviously legally ridiculous – and there are more good people in America than bad.

Kenneth Del Vecchio is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/litigating attorney for 24 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases; he is partner in the prestigious law firm, Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and E-1 Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.”  A regular legal and political  analyst on the major news networks, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 

This article was originally published on August 22, 2018, the day after Michael Cohen plead guilty.

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