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NEW JERSEY’S 7 DECADES OF SUPPORT FOR THE STATE OF ISRAEL

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

New Jersey’s Legislature (Senate and Assembly) with the support of Governor Murphy have passed joint resolution, SJR-56, to recognize the upcoming 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel on April 20, 2108.  Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-21) sponsored this resolution to recognized the unique relationship between New Jersey and Israel.  The Resolution states:

Whereas, On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition the British Mandate of Palestine and, through that vote, to create the State of Israel; and

Whereas, April 20, 2018, the 5th day of Iyar of the Hebrew calendar, marks the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence; and

Whereas, The modern State of Israel was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust and World War II where the death of six million Jews did not eliminate the will of a people to seek dignity in life and a place of respect and recognition among the people of the civilized world; and

Whereas, Israel, from its inception, has faced hostility and has endured terrorist attacks which have indiscriminately killed many innocent men, women, and children; and

Whereas, Despite hostility and conflicts, the people of Israel have built a strong nation and forged a dynamic society, creating a unique and vital economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life for its citizens; and

Whereas, In its 70 years of statehood, Israel has established a modern parliamentary democracy, becoming one of the most successful democracies in the Middle East, and provided to all its citizens and residents opportunity through the highest standards of living and human equality in a region otherwise beset with poverty and human rights abuses; and

Whereas, Israel continues to strive for peace and security for the nation, its neighbors, and throughout the world shares innovations and achievements in agriculture, education, research and development, humanitarian aid, technology, solar, wind, and water power advancements, music and the arts in order to fulfill the prophecy of becoming a light unto the nations; and

Whereas, Israel, a nation the size of New Jersey, shares a very special partnership with New Jersey, highlighted by, among other things of mutual benefit, a trading partnership of more than $1.6 billion and New Jersey’s enactment of both Iran sanctions and legislation opposing Israel boycotts; and

Whereas, The New Jersey–Israel relationship has strengthened in the area of economic, technological, and people-to-people exchanges to the benefit of each entity; and

Whereas, Israel has been a steadfast friend and faithful ally of the United States over the past seven decades; and

Whereas, Given the close political, economic, and cultural ties between the State of Israel and the United States of America as well as between the State of Israel and the State of New Jersey, the Governor and the Legislature find it fitting and proper to recognize the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel;

As summarized by Senator Kean, “This resolution represents our commitment to working with this great nation, as they strive to achieve peace with their neighbors in the Middle East and around the world.”  Kean added, “Israel has proven its strength by rising above the horrors of history to become one of the most successful democracies in the Middle East, with a wealth of economic opportunities for the people who are proud to call the country home.  It is our privilege to congratulate them on the occasion of their 70th anniversary, and wish them many years of peace and prosperity.”

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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Security

ARMED GUARD IN MARYLAND, POLICE IN TEXAS REMIND THE NATION THE ONLY WAY TO STOP DETERMINED KILLERS IS LETHAL FORCE, NOT SCHOOL WALKOUT RALLIES

By ROBERT ROMANO

An armed resource officer and first class deputy, Blaine Gaskill, responded with lethal force to stop a shooting at Great Mills High School in Lexington Park, Md. The gunman is dead and, sadly, the girl he shot remains in critical condition as of this writing, while another boy caught in the crossfire was listed as in stable condition with a bullet wound to the leg.

Far away, in Austin, Texas, as police surrounded the mail bomber responsible for six bombings that killed two and injured six others, ready to shoot him if necessary, the bomber killed himself, blowing himself up.

The school resource officer in Maryland and police in Austin are the real-life heroes who have reminded the nation that sometimes the only thing that can stop a determined killer is lethal force.

To prevent future shootings or bombings, then, will require armed guards to harden otherwise soft targets like schools to minimize the loss of life when these tragic incidents happen. If the question is how to save as many lives as possible when faced with a cold-blooded killer, it’s to kill him first — every time.

It’s common sense. In Latin, the saying was “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” That is, if you want peace, prepare for war.

Some might not have the stomach for this sort of thing but that’s what it will take. Every time.

If a potential killer thinks that if he tries to go to a school to shoot people, he’ll be riddled with bullets, that can and will deter future attacks. Otherwise, the shootings stand out very much as copycat murders, exploiting the soft targets of gun-free zones.

As those charged with the responsibility of securing our own communities, as parents, we either heed these lessons and secure our schools or our kids could be next. This is a matter every city and town must address, as security is first and foremost the local community’s responsibility.

Compare that solution with those apparent students who organized a national school walkout on March 14. What specific, life-saving proposals did they call for?

Every Town for Gun Safety, which walkout groups are promoting, vaguely proposes “common-sense public safety laws” that “respects the Second Amendment.” But really, it’s about more background checks that are already used in gun purchases, overturning concealed carry laws and inexplicably opposing armed guards to secure locations. The group doesn’t want communities to defend their schools.

Why not? Even if one supported more gun control restrictions, there more than 300 millions guns in this country. If every proposal Every Town is calling for was enacted, somebody, whether a police officer or armed citizen, would still be needed to stop a determined killer dead in his tracks.

Nationalschoolwalkout.us, where students can organize their own walkouts — another is planned for April 20 — is even vaguer about what the call to action is, writing, “We’re protesting the violence in schools and the lack of change that has occur[r]ed to stop that. The day is also a time for students to interact on an elevated platform they have never had before. It is a day of discourse and thoughtful sharing. Bringing together communities and students to get a national discussion rolling.”

And if “action” doesn’t happen, the group promises, “we won’t tolerate any more inaction on this issue. And if cowardly politicians fail to act, young people will show them the consequences of letting so many Americans die by voting them out in November.”

So, it’s not about securing the schools, it’s about mobilizing public outrage and generating a get out the vote operation for Democrats. How do we know it’s partisan?

It’s being organized by Indivisible.org, where students can go to organize their own school walkouts. It has published a guide, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.” The group is composed of “former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.”

You read that right. The group is based on the success of the tea parties in 2009 and 2010. On their site, they write, “Like us, you probably deeply disagree with the principles and positions of the Tea Party. But we can all learn from their success in influencing the national debate and the behavior of national policymakers.”

The agenda is simple. Stall action on President Donald Trump’s agenda in Congress this year, and then vote in the Democrats in November. The walkouts organized after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. in February was simply an opportunistic reaction by Indivisible and other already-formulated groups.

What issues besides vague “gun control” do they support? Opposing tax cuts, opposing any deal with Trump on DACA, opposing the war in Yemen or any actions against Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and protecting Obamacare and expanding Medicaid.

So, really, the national school walkouts are a way of building the group’s mailing lists for the big push in November for the Congressional midterms. The group’s website clearly states, “National School Walkout is movement powered and led by students across the country. Event registration and a map of events for the April 20th school walkouts are hosted in-kind by the Indivisible Project team.” Organize a walkout or participate in one put on by Indivisible and you’ll probably be added to their database to receive action alert communications on their wheelhouse of issues.

Responsible school administrators can make up their own minds. But these walkouts are not tea parties being organized by adults in their spare time. They are disrupting educational activities to elect Democrats. It’s absolutely partisan and they should not be occurring during school hours. These events should be cancelled and the organizers looked into for disrupting official government functions like public schools, a punishable offense in most states.

First Amendment rights notwithstanding, time and place restrictions on speech in public schools are there for this very reason, and State attorneys general and the Justice Department, which can look into the fact this is occurring across state lines, should investigate. Local communities need not tolerate their school districts being platforms to elect one political party over another.

In the meantime, while Democrats are busy organizing turnout for the Congressional midterms — which will not stop a single determined killer — communities would be well advised to do the one thing that actually does work. Post guards to secure locations and shoot the killers first. Don’t leave the children defenseless.

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

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at www.GetLiberty.org.  You can also read more articles at www.dailytorch.com.

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DANIELS LACKS ALL CREDIBILITY, AVENATTI RENDERED A LEGAL BUFFOON

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

If a legal aficionado ever wanted to uncover a case that is both completely deficient in fact and law, he/she needs to look no further than the Stormy Daniels/Michael Avenatti lawsuit against Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen. Daniels, uncovered on just about a daily basis given her porn career, was further revealed, as a sleazy fabricator, in a “60 Minutes” episode yesterday evening. Avenatti, more so, continued to shed his legal scales in offering no lawful rationale for the action he filed against the president and Cohen.

Daniels and Avenatti, an odd, twisted couple of star-seeking wannabes, define being legally incredible and inept via their claims. It’s as if they decided to bring the worst possible case in an effort to gather the maximum attention for themselves. It seems that they have relied upon the lethal concoction of (1) the maxim “even bad publicity is good publicity”; and (2) allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by an overly eager fake news tabloid media and special interest group witch-hunt-brigade against Trump. The pair are gambling that, upon their case going down in a blazing legal fire, after all the dust settles, their now 115 minutes of fame, coupled with some sure millions in publicity/book/movie/ancillary payoffs, will outweigh the millions that Daniels will pay in damages and the frivolous lawsuit penalties/reputation destruction that will be caused to the once-little known lawyer Avenatti.

Daniels is the poster non-babe for lacking credibility in a matter where a person claims an affair occurred:

(1) In 2006, she stated that she never had a sexual relationship with Trump;

(2) In 2011, she stated that she never had a sexual relationship with Trump;

(3) In January 2018 – this year – she stated that she never had a sexual relationship with Trump. She specifically put in writing, “My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more.”
Three times, over an 11-year period, Daniels unequivocally asserted that she did not have a sexual relationship with Trump. Given these admissions, alone, it is not just disingenuous to make a claim that Trump had an affair with her, but it is patently absurd. However, there are more major credibility problems for Daniels.

The woman has consistently been seeking a payday for her tale of an affair with the president. In 2011, she was prepared to take a $15,000 payment from a magazine for a Trump-love-fest story that she offered. Much to Daniels’s dismay, her dream deal fell apart.

Ever resilient to make money off her brief meetings with Trump (it is uncontested that they knew each other), Daniels jumped on an assault band wagon against the president during the 2016 presidential campaign. Seeing that she could again obtain a sizable monetary check for an affair story, she began frothing at the mouth about it to many listeners. She wielded offers and finally settled on the NDA deal with Cohen. This landed her a whopping $130,000, a figure much greater than the $15,000 magazine payment from five years earlier. Now, it seems quite evident that this money-hungry-grub is convinced that she can far exceed the $130K by breaching the NDA (an agreement that forbids her from speaking about any alleged affair with Trump).

Daniels, who admitted on “60 Minutes” that she has gotten a lot more job offers after instituting her lawsuit, surely is awaiting major financial reward from her unsupported claims. Her greedy ambitions poke more holes in the porn gal’s credibility than those caused by her chosen career; it is rational to conclude that one who accepts money for sex is not a credible witness.

While Daniels’s monstrous credibility issues eviscerate her unsubstantiated she-said he-said claims, Avenatti’s lawsuit assertions are without any legal merit. The attorney’s legal proffers to nullify the NDA are rooted in two arguments, both of which are failures. His first claim –that Trump did not sign the agreement – on its face, sounds valid. This is a threshold legal issue (not one of fact), which, as it turns out, has no validity, and will be decided against Avenatti, causing the case to be dismissed. The reason: the agreement allows for it to be signed by Trump OR his attorney, Michael Cohen.

Since Cohen signed the document, it was unnecessary for Trump to execute it. Accordingly, with this threshold issue being a failure, the case is over right there and, although Avenatti might not be the highest quality of an attorney, he is not an idiot; he understands that he has a loser with the “lack of Trump signature” cause of action. This leaves him with his second argument, which is a desperate Hail Mary.

Claim number two is that Daniels signed the NDA under duress and/or coercion. This proposition is rooted in a ridiculous, unsupported story that was exposed in last night’s “60 Minutes” report. Daniels, in low-budget actress form, said, “I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. Taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’” Upon giving the audience a quick look of distress, she added, “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”
This story has about the same writing creativity of a porn flick, embossed in the typical cliche of an encounter with an unknown, threatening man in a parking garage. The mysterious culprit, of course, levies a veiled threat that an infant may lose her mommy. Then, he’s off into the darkness, never to be seen again.

Other than the bad acting performance delivered in her nationally televised story, Daniels has one glaring problem. None of the necessary evidence to support a credible account of an alleged criminal incident exists. There are no eyewitnesses. There’s no video evidence, nor audio. There is zero forensic evidence. No confessions or admissions of any kind by the supposed perpetrator exist. There are no written threats to buttress Daniels’s story. There isn’t even a police report following the alleged criminal activity.

What kind of mother would be threatened in front of her infant child – and then not report it to the police? Answer: a pornographer who fabricated a story as an effort to reap substantial monetary gain and public notoriety.

Simply, Avenatti has no legal basis to have the NDA judicially terminated. His rationale for the nullification is not just specious, it’s absolutely meritless. Although Avenatti won’t get disbarred for his unsavory conduct, he almost definitely will be liable for filing a frivolous lawsuit, which means significant economic sanctions (and likely bar association reprimand).

Daniels shall suffer greater legal consequences.

She has violated a gag order. This court order forbade Daniels from speaking about the alleged matters that were covered in the NDA (i.e., the supposed affair). Daniels slobbered to Anderson Cooper and, thus, America, about the purported sordid occurrences connected to the alleged imbroglio. This blabbering was in direct contradiction to the gag order. In addition to the enormous monetary penalties (likely millions of dollars) for now violating the NDA’s provisions, Daniels could be jailed if it is deemed that she is in contempt of court.

Gag orders, no doubt, are constitutionally problematic judicial acts. They should never be employed by U.S. courts because they violate one of America’s most fundamental – and precious – constitutional rights: free speech. Even though this gag order (like all others issued by courts) clearly subterfuges Daniels’s First Amendment rights, it nonetheless is in effect; she will suffer legal punishment for violating that order. That penalty against her will be wrongful.

However, the legal ramifications that Daniels will endure for (1) blatantly breaching the NDA where she willingly took $130,000 to stop spewing her carnal tales; and (2) committing slander and libel for fabricating the affair – will be justified. She will face an orchestra of legal music which, undoubtedly, will be millions of dollars in damages. As the massive credibility potholes of this matter have been revealed, Daniels will also be considered morally bankrupt by America but, then again, her career trajectory has already rendered that result.

Avenatti, well, he looks like a legal buffoon to all non-politically motivated lawyers (see additional legal miscues by him in Michael Cohen Has Violated No Laws, But CNN Host, Analysts Create Wild Theories In Witch Hunt). But he may gain some traction as a Democrat operative and/or in the adult film industry.

In the weighing process, although the pair might profit some in the short run through their infamy, the lawsuit – and NDA breach – has been a pretty stupid decision by them. Daniels should have invested her $130,000 payment. And Avenatti should have remained in legal obscurity.

Kenneth Del Vecchio, ESN publisher and editor-in-chief, 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/entertainment attorney for 23 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star 100+ film and TV stars, including 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 frequent legal and political  analyst on networks such as Fox News Channel, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 

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FBI MAKES WIDE RANGE OF BUSTS IN NEW YORK

By TEMPLE LI

The FBI today dispatched numerous press releases, detailing a bevy of arrests, indictments, and convictions it has recently made throughout the State of New York. The list is of collars is impressive. One release told of the following:

“An Indictment charging Gholamreza Rafatnejad, 38; Ehsan Mohammadi, 37; Abdollah Karima, aka Vahid Karima, 39; Mostafa Sadeghi, 28; Seyed Ali Mirkarimi, 34; Mohammed Reza Sabahi, 26; Roozbeh Sabahi, 24; Abuzar Gohari Moqadam, 37; and Sajjad Tahmasebi, 30, all citizens and residents of Iran, was unsealed today.  The defendants were each leaders, contractors, associates, hackers-for-hire or affiliates of the Mabna Institute, an Iran-based company that, since at least 2013, conducted a coordinated campaign of cyber intrusions into computer systems belonging to 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the State of Hawaii, the State of Indiana, the United Nations, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.  Through the defendants’ activities, the Mabna Institute stole more than 31 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property from universities, and email accounts of employees at private sector companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.  The defendants conducted many of these intrusions on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (Iran) Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), one of several entities within the government of Iran responsible for gathering intelligence, as well as other Iranian government and university clients.  In addition to these criminal charges, today the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Mabna Institute and the nine defendants for sanctions for the malicious cyber-enabled activity outlined in the Indictment.”

Another press release explained:

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL SCRONIC, a former hedge fund manager, pleaded guilty today to securities fraud before U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel.  SCRONIC admitted as part of his plea that he had defrauded the 45 investors in his Scronic Macro Fund of more than $22 million.

“Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  ‘Michael Scronic lied about the performance of his investment fund, telling investors that his returns were as high as 13 percent.  But, in fact, his fund was wholly unsuccessful, resulting in millions of dollars in losses.  And what wasn’t lost in the market, Scronic used for his own personal expenses.  Now he faces significant time in prison for his fraud.’

“According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and other court documents, SCRONIC, raised more than $22 million from 45 investors in the Scronic Macro Fund (the ‘Fund’) from April 2010 to the October 2017.  SCRONIC told investors that the Fund had positive returns in all but one of the 22 quarters from January 2012 through June 2017, with the highest reported quarterly return being 13.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.  In reality, the Fund lost money in 28 out of 29 quarters of its operation, with a total net loss of about $15.7 million before commissions.  The Fund’s only positive quarter was its first quarter of operation in 2010.”

Still another provided:

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMEL UPSON, a/k/a ‘Flynt,’ was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for racketeering offenses arising out of his participation in the ‘Boss Playa Family’ or ‘BPF’ street gang based in Mount Vernon, New York, including the murders of two members of a rival gang in 2008.  UPSON pled guilty to a Superseding Information on October 5, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who imposed today’s sentence.

“U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  ‘Jamel Upson lead a gang that posed a grave threat to the people of Mount Vernon.  Upson has admitted to personally slaying two rival gang members in the course of gang activities.  Jamel Upson’s disturbing indifference to the lives of others has been met with a fittingly stiff prison sentence that will take him off the streets for 40 years.’

“According to the Superseding Information, the Indictment, other documents filed in this case, and statements made during court proceedings:

“UPSON was the leader of the BPF street gang, a criminal enterprise that operated in the Mount Vernon area from approximately 2007 to 2014.  BPF members sought to increase the gang’s power, protect and expand its territory, and enrich its members through an array of criminal activities, including shootings, assaults, larcenies, arson, and the distribution of cocaine and marijuana.  In particular, BPF sought to assert its dominance over rival Mount Vernon street gangs, principally the ‘Goonies’ gang, through acts of violence including numerous shootings.”

And a different release told:

“Earlier today, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned a four-count indictment charging 18th Street gang members and associates Yanki Misael Cruz-Mateo, Israel Mendiola Flores and Sergio Gerardo Herrera-Hidalgo with murder conspiracy and the October 25, 2017 murder of a fellow 18th Street gang member who was suspected of being an informant for law enforcement.  A fourth defendant, Cristian Perez, was indicted for helping Cruz-Mateo to evade capture by law enforcement after the murder.  Cruz-Mateo also faces firearms-related charges.  Cruz-Mateo, Herrera and Perez are in federal custody.  Flores is in custody in Ulster County, New York.  The defendants will be arraigned on the indictment at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on a date and time to be determined.

“Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Holley Carnright, District Attorney for Ulster County, announced the charges.

“‘As alleged in the court filings, these defendants committed and concealed a brutal murder against one of their own members because they suspected he had been cooperating with law enforcement,’ stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  ‘Violent street gangs like 18th Street perpetuate bloodshed to maintain allegiance and increase members’ status within the gang. This Office is committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to eradicate these destructive gangs.’ Mr. Donoghue also expressed his appreciation to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, the New York State Police and the Kingston Police Department for their assistance during the investigation.”

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FAR LEFT HYSTERIA OVER JOHN BOLTON

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

What is with all the liberal media hype over the appointment of John Bolton as the new National Security Adviser? The claims are clear: that Bolton is a war monger. But is he? And what is a war monger?

Clearly, the United States should not be entering into any military action unless her national security is at risk. This constitutional notion is at the core of the national security adviser’s role.

The reality is that there are indeed times when America’s own security is in jeopardy. When the nation is it at risk (of military invasion), then its citizens are in danger. Is it not sound to have an individual in the role of national security adviser who understands this basic proposition?

Is a leader a war monger if he believes it is right to engage in military action where America’s national security is in jeopardy? Squarely, the answer is “no.”

A person is a war monger where he proposes war as a solution for reasons other than the protection of national security. Examples of wrongful reasons to invoke the use of the military include engaging in battle for economic growth, the taking of land, religious/social purposes – and even to democratize another nation (when that nation otherwise poses no danger to the United States).

Bolton apparently felt/feels that America’s involvement in the Iraq War was justified. He believed it was necessary to protect the United States. He thought that America may be in harm’s way because Saddam Hussein harvested weapons of mass destruction. At the time, nearly every political leader thought this – Republicans and Democrats alike.

Today’s ambiguous, and often twisted, view of history claims that the belief that the then-Iraqi government owned WMDs was wrong. The reality is that no one really knows if Hussein possessed such weaponry. The “fact” that the American government never located these types of lethal weapons in Iraq is akin to meaningless. It is commonsense that Hussein, upon learning of America’s intent to launch military operations in Iraq, hid and/or deported the WMDs. He could have accomplished this before or after American military arrived. Additionally, one mustn’t forget that the country is rather huge—WMDs could still be there to this day, hidden.

Accordingly, Bolton’s thoughts regarding the Iraq War are not outrageous. Rather, they are sound.

And add this to the equation: at the time of America’s invasion into Iraq, that country – in addition to Afghanistan and likely others – were harboring Al Qaeda terrorists (who had indeed caused substantial harm, directly, to America and her citizenry). The same was the entire basis for the United States’ attack upon Afghanistan.

In taking out two strong Middle East tyrannical leaderships – the Taliban and Hussein – America sent a wholly important message to the rest of that region. That message was the following:

If you harbor terrorists who murder Americans, on American soil, you – personally – will be removed from your leadership and, perhaps, this Earth. When other Middle East dictators witnessed both the Taliban and Hussein being wiped out, the harboring of al Qaeda came to a screeching halt. This proved to be a highly protective measure for U.S. national security.

Hindsight, in a blurred version of history, is often unclear vision.

Supposedly, Bolton has talked about measures of war with Iran and North Korea. Well, so have numerous other American leaders.

If Bolton, or anyone, is urging war simply to obtain economic gain, or for purposes of nation building, then his thoughts are wrongful.

Those talks of military action are justified, however, if, again, America’s national security is in jeopardy. A warning that the United States will act, with war, is a tough, smart reminder to crazed foreign dictators that America will not allow her sovereignty to be jeopardized via the use of nuclear or other volatile weaponry. This appears to be Bolton’s method of operation, and the same is quite reasonable.

Engaging in war as a preventative measure is a loaded issue. For, when is “preventing” an attack upon the U.S. conduct that amounts to protecting American national security? The U.S. government, no doubt, should not enter into any military action upon another nation unless an attack upon America is truly imminent; even then, all efforts should be employed to avoid war.

A stroll down history lane may be instructive.

Pearl Harbor.

Hawaii was bombed without warning.

But what if the American government had learned that Pearl Harbor was about to be attacked by Japan? When would it have been justified for the U.S. to hit Japan first, as a preventative measure?

This is not an easy question to answer, except to say that if American leadership were “positive” that a bombing of U.S. soil was imminent, then America should strike first—to prevent an attack on her land.

Under all circumstances, back in 1941 and today in 2018, the United States should never engage in an act of war without a Declaration of War by Congress. The notion that the president, as a singular person, can cause the country to employ military combat is unconstitutional, as well as dangerous. However, many presidents (Democrats and Republicans) have violated this sacred rule. Give John Bolton the benefit of the doubt that he would not actually advise President Trump to take that unconstitutional course.

And give the president the benefit of doubt that he would never act in that unsavory unilateral manner. He has shown, much to the dismay of his vociferous and unfair detractors, that he is a deal-maker. He is willing to talk – and deal with – the foreign leaders, who past presidents have failed to accomplish anything with; President Trump, at least, has already made some progress with those foreign leaders. Given time, he may prove to fully succeed. The man is moving in the opposite direction of war. No one should think that his hiring of John Bolton will turn that ship around.

One reason is that the Bolton hysteria, as promulgated by the far left, appears to be fully unwarranted for the reasons detailed above. Another reason is this:

President Trump clearly is not beholden to anyone, nor manipulated by anyone. If he doesn’t like their advice, he simply fires them.

Kenneth Del Vecchio, ESN publisher and editor-in-chief, 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/entertainment attorney for 23 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star 100+ film and TV stars, including 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 frequent legal and political  analyst on networks such as Fox News Channel, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 

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OMNI-BUST: CONGRESS FAILS TO SECURE BORDER AS PRESIDENT TRUMP RISKS HEADING INTO 2020 WITHOUT ANY NEW CONCRETE WALL BEING BUILT

By ROBERT ROMANO

Click here to tell Congress to build the wall now!

A year late, Congress has finally approved the President’s supplemental request to begin construction of the southern border wall at $1.6 billion.

The supplemental was requested in March 2017. It was supposed to be included in the May 2017 omnibus spending bill affecting spending levels for Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.

This would have paved the way for the full funding for the wall being included this year.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Because Congress did not get started with the supplemental last year, the odds they were going to get to full funding for the wall for fiscal year 2018, that is, spending levels for Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, dropped markedly.

Now those who were warning of precisely this outcome have been vindicated.

This was a broken promise from the get-go. After the election, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were promising $12 billion to $15 billion for the wall.

On Jan. 27, 2017, Ryan told the American people that, “This is something, [the wall], we want to get on right away. And so we do believe this is urgent. We believe this is one of the most important promises the President made running for office. It’s a promise he’s going to keep and it’s a promise we’re going to help him keep.”

Ryan added, “We anticipate a supplemental coming from the administration on defense and the border” and “I’m hoping in the first quarter we can get this done. But again, it’s getting [Mick Mulvaney confirmed as Office of Management and Budget Director and] up and running so they can send us the supplemental.”

Mulvaney was confirmed on Feb. 16 and the supplemental request was proposed on March 14 by Mulvaney and then formally put in on March 16 by President Trump to Speaker Ryan. So far, so good.

Unfortunately for the President and his supporters, by March 30, Ryan had kicked the can down the road, telling CBS News, “The big chunk of money for the wall really is… next fiscal year’s appropriations because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly.” So, the wall, which Ryan had described as “urgent” was now being put off at least a year.

But then that was wrong, too. Instead, the spending bill Congress approved this week only includes the supplemental that was supposed to pass last year. The down payment includes bollard fencing and some levees and some secondary fencing, plus replacing some existing fencing. No concrete walls like the prototypes the President was surveying earlier this month.

Meaning, not only is the wall part of the wall still not fully funded, it’s not even been begun. To be fair, the supplemental request last year was always going to be that fencing. It was thought that the wall portion would be passed this year. That was Congress’ failure.

It was not for a lack of opportunities. Both the supplemental and the fully funded wall could have been included in the September 2017 continuing resolution. Didn’t happen.

Or they have been included in the December 2017 continuing resolution. Didn’t happen.

See a pattern? Because Congress waited a year to approve the President’s initial down payment on the wall, the American people are still waiting for the “big chunk of money for the wall” Ryan promised a year ago.

Now, there are one, maybe two vehicles left to get the wall funded before the 2018 midterm Congressional elections. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30. So the full funding for the wall could be done there. But it doesn’t seem likely.

Where is the urgency Ryan spoke of? Are Republicans trying to lose the midterms?

Most likely, Congress will just pass a continuing resolution that would put funding into the lame duck period after the election but prior to the swearing in of the next Congress. Assuming Republicans lose the midterms, what will the Democrats’ incentive be to allow funding for the wall then?

Meaning it’s do or die in September, which literally could be President Trump’s last chance to get the wall done. Why? Because come Jan. 2019, he might not be dealing with a Speaker Ryan, but instead, a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and perhaps even a Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both of whom are emphatically opposed to any southern border wall.

Optimists might say that Republicans could still get it all done in 2019, because they might not lose either house of Congress this year. Maybe. Unfortunately, the omnibus spending bill also failed to defund sanctuary cities. It did not expand funding for interior enforcement. It passed an expansion of the FBI’s criminal background database but did nothing to advance reciprocity and concealed carry. And it spends so much money it is possible we’ll see a $1 trillion budget deficit this year.

In addressing illegal immigration, protecting gun rights and the $20 trillion national debt, issues Republican voters deeply care about, the record in this Congress is less than stellar. This could make it difficult for Republicans to turn out their voters for the 2018 midterms, which are already tough enough for incumbent parties.

Now, Republicans are less likely to keep the House and Senate in November, making it far less likely that the wall will be ever fully funded. The GOP should be running scared right now. It’s their majorities that are at stake.

Trump could have avoided this by vetoing the bill. Earlier this morning, the President had issued a veto threat of the omnibus bill via Twitter, “I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.” But in the end, Trump signed the bill, citing the need to fund the military first as overriding all other concerns.

What does all this mean? Headed into 2020, Trump could be coming back to voters empty-handed on his signature campaign promise of the southern border wall. There is still time to get it done by September, but in reality, the President has a rapidly diminishing window of opportunity to get the wall built. It may be now or never.

Updated to reflect President Trump signing the bill.

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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change

GOING PAPERLESS?

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

The lure of a yellow legal pad calls to me.  However, as a lawyer and writer, I’m drowning in paper.  Whenever I need a document, it magically disappears.  The information only reappears when I no longer need it.  So . . . I’m trying to go paperless.

The eCourts and electronic filings are changing the practice of law.  The “red wells” bursting with numerous extra copies are not efficient and cost effective.  The scanner has become an essential tool in the practice of law.  It has brought a degree of document control.

Now, I’m thinking of scanning all of my writings, poetry included.  Then I could throw away the stacks of papers that surrounded my desk and make me feel like a hoarder.  The problem is that I just don’t trust the technology.  With the recent storms, power outages have made me wonder about the wisdom of going paperless.  Even without any working technology, as long as there is light, I can write.  The yellow legal pad and black pen compel me.  Marks on paper, print that looks like thread.  Only understood by me.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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Congress Ceiling

BIPARTISAN OMNIBUS BILL

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) stated, “With reservations, I voted in favor of the Omnibus [bill] because it provides the seed money to finally commence work on the Gateway Tunnel project. Gateway is of decisive importance to the future of New Jersey and the Northeast. Our ability to realize it compelled Congress to pass this bill.”  While not perfect, Congressman Pascrell released these statements to explain the select programs funded in the Omnibus:

  • $415.5 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program. This represents an increase of $19.5 million from the FY2017 budget. The Byrne JAG program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their own local needs and conditions.  Grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice in a host of areas.
  • $225.5 million for the COPS Hiring Grant program that has placed more than 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities across the country by providing grants for the hiring of officers. These grants provide federal resources to communities with public safety needs that may lack the funds to hire law enforcement officers.
    $350 million for the Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) program and $350 million for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program, as well as a waiver that will make it easier for communities in New Jersey and elsewhere to retain firefighters.
  • $60 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSPG) that was designed to provide physical target hardening measures to protect against the threats the Department of Homeland Security has identified as of most concern to at-risk nonprofit institutions.
  • $11.32 million for the Traumatic Brain Injury state grant program. The Task Force works to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States, supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures, and strives to address the effects these injuries have on families, children, education, and the workforce.
  • Expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by 12.5% and improved flexibility for the credit to provide for more affordable homes for the lowest income families.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) also voted for the bipartisan Omnibus bill:  “Today, I voted to secure critical bipartisan funding for America’s Gateway Project, national security, and war on the opioid crisis.  Furthermore, “I am encouraged to see funding for the critical Gateway tunnel project included in the funding bill. Although we still face headwinds, this federal support is a constructive first step toward solving the most pressing infrastructure problem facing our nation. The Gateway Program will provide job-creating investments to fix New Jersey’s crumbling tunnels, bridges, roads, and rails and spur economic growth. Securing the gateway to one-fifth of America’s economy is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue,” he added.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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hands

NEW JERSEY’S JUDICIAL COMPACT

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

The New Jersey Bar Association (hereafter referred to as “NJSBA” or “the Association”) will conduct a general membership vote on an update to its bylaws from March 22-29, 2018.  The proposal has already been approved by the Board of Trustees and will empower the NJSBA’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee (JPAC) to have a role in reviewing bench and prosecutor candidates.  Beginning with Governor Richard J. Hughes, 45th Governor of New Jersey from 1962 to 1970, the NJSBA has entered into a Judicial Compact with the governor’s office to review candidates in a non-partisan process.

On March 12, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Compact, which ensures that each county maintains a representative on JPAC.   Additionally, the revision to the Association’s bylaws would add three at-large members from underrepresented groups in the legal profession.  The diversity of New Jersey’s citizens requires a legal system to be equally inclusive.  As indicated by NJSBA President Robert B. Hille:  “The NJSBA’s role in the process protects and promotes a fair, impartial and independent Judiciary, which is a hallmark of the rule of law in a vigorous democracy. Our JPAC conducts an extensive investigation into a lawyer’s qualifications to serve as a justice, judge or county prosecutor. That investigation includes interviewing judicial and personal references, as well as reviewing a list of matters the person has handled. During the past 49 years, the committee has reviewed thousands of candidates with the purpose of providing information, insight and guidance to numerous governors to evaluate the candidates who will preside in the state’s courts and prosecutor offices.”  The results of the bylaw revision vote will be one to watch.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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'FIRED

THE LEFT IS GOING CRAZY OVER THE ANDREW MCCABE FIRING, BUT ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS GOT IT EXACTLY RIGHT

By RICK MANNING

Former Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe has been fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the left is going crazy.

McCabe’s firing was recommended by the FBI’s internal career civil service run Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Attorney General acted accordingly.

The Office of Professional Responsibility has been run by Robin Ashton who was appointed to the post in 2010 by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who extolled her, “As a veteran career prosecutor, Robin is uniquely qualified to serve as Counsel for Professional Responsibility, and I am confident she will lead the office with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and dedication.”

During Holder’s tenure as Attorney General, Ashton was awarded the Attorney General’s Claudia J. Flynn Award for Professional Responsibility in 2013, the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Management in 2010, as well as receiving the United States Attorney’s Award for Meritorious Service in 2010.

The Washington Post reported about the March 14, 2018 recommendation saying, “The FBI office that handles employee discipline has recommended firing the bureau’s former deputy director over allegations that he authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and misled investigators when asked about it, leaving Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether he should fire the veteran official just four days before his expected retirement date, people familiar with the matter said.”

So let’s be clear.  Andrew McCabe’s political activities while serving as the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were so outrageous that the career civil servants charged with the responsibility of reviewing misconduct cases recommended that he be fired four days prior to his retirement date, denying him his pension.

It was not a “political” firing, but instead McCabe was let go because career civil servants recommended it, and given the high esteem that Holder obviously held the person he hired to run that office, no one should be able to claim anything else.

Yet, the same Eric Holder who oversaw much of the politicization of the FBI had the audacity to tweet, “Analyze McCabe firing on two levels: the substance and the timing. We don’t know enough about the substance yet. The timing appears cruel and a cave that compromised DOJ independence to please an increasingly erratic President who should’ve played no role here. This is dangerous.”

Holder knows better and he and others on the left are the only ones playing politics over the McCabe firing.  His appointee to the Office of Professional Responsibility made the recommendation to fire four days prior to McCabe’s retirement date. Attorney General Sessions waited for and acted on that recommendation. If he had acted earlier, as many believe he should have, Holder would have been angry that he didn’t let the process play out, but now by allowing the internal public employee review of the case run its course, Sessions is attacked as “cruel” and “caving” to the President.

If anyone needs proof that McCabe was nothing more than a political operative in a standard issue FBI white short sleeved shirt, you only have to read McCabe’s defiant reaction to the firing: “This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

Hardly the contrite words of someone who spent a full four hours meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein the previous day trying to save his pension, but instead, we see the partisan McCabe, still intent on taking out the duly elected President of the United States.

What any clear minded individual would have to note, is that Attorney General Sessions got it exactly right.  He followed the recommendations of the career, non-political, Justice Department staff, to fire McCabe, and by doing so, ensured that the process was not politicized.

And McCabe’s own reaction demonstrates just how politically weaponized it had become.

The only truly stunning thing that has come from this event is that the left has revealed itself as defenders of those who abused their positions to utilize the nation’s intelligence services against their political opponents.  All the while, claiming that those who were elected and appointed to clean up the mess are taking the nation in a dangerous direction.

If the left and right cannot mutually agree that the FBI, CIA and the rest of the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies can no longer be allowed to use their enormous power for political purposes, then there is real reason to fear for the future of our nation.

In fact, if we are going to be able to pull our nation back from the brink, it is exactly the measured type of actions that Attorney General Sessions has embraced to restore the rule of law after eight years of abuse that will lead the way.  For this reason, the nation owes Attorney General Sessions a debt of gratitude, both for following the law and allowing the process to play itself out before making a decision.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at www.GetLiberty.org.  You can also read more articles at www.dailytorch.com.

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