IT IS OFFICIAL, PAUL MANAFORT IS A POLITICAL PRISONER

By PRINTUS LEBLANC

Paul Manafort is in a fight for his life, literally. He is currently facing up to 305 years in prison if he is convicted of all the crimes he is alleged to have committed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Manafort is currently in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day now as terrorists at GITMO are live better than he does. For what? Did this man murder, rape, or commit an act of violence? No. Surely, he is a mastermind behind a criminal organization spanning the globe? No.

Paul Manafort is in jail for one reason and one reason only, he worked for President Trump during his election campaign. The trial of Paul Manafort makes participation in the political process illegal.

The Mueller investigation has been tainted from the beginning. Robert Mueller staffed the investigation with over a dozen partisan lawyers and investigators. Many of the investigators also have disturbing conflicts of interests while others have horrendous records at the DOJ.

It is easy to call the investigation phony because Mueller’s team hasn’t investigated anything to do with Russia collusion. The team has not taken control of the DNC server to prove Russia hacked the server. The Russian lawyer working for Fusion GPS that had the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya, has yet to be interviewed by anyone from Mueller’s team let alone contacted.

And finally, there have been no media reports about Mueller or anyone from his hit squad attempting to interview Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. The entire premise of the Russia collusion story hinges on whether Assange got the emails from Russian government sources or not. One would think at least one of those leads should be followed up on if Russia collusion is the real purpose of the investigation. Maybe Mueller isn’t looking into Russia collusion because if he did and found none, that would mean his investigation might be terminated?

It has become crystal clear the probe has nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with going after political enemies, and the most recent filing by Mueller’s team in the case against Manafort should scare every American. The filing has turned the criminal case against Manafort into the most important criminal case in U.S. history.

For the last few weeks Manafort’s defense team has argued their client’s work for then-candidate Trump has no bearing on the current trial, stating, “Evidence or argument relating to Mr. Manafort’s work for then-candidate Trump’s campaign in 2016 or the Special Counsel’s investigation of the campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government is wholly irrelevant to whether Mr. Manafort’s personal income tax returns were false, whether he willfully failed to file reports of foreign accounts, and whether he conspired to commit, or committed, bank fraud.”

Mueller’s team agrees with the defense that the trial has nothing to do with Russia collusion, responding to Manafort’s lawyers, “The government does not intend to present at trial evidence or argument concerning collusion with the Russian government and, accordingly does not oppose the defendant’s motion in that respect.” But the Mueller team still argued the case has something to do with the President because when Manafort allegedly lied about his income on a loan application while he was working for then-candidate Trump.

Remember, the special counsel was set up to investigate Russia collusion and has now admitted it is investigating subjects that have nothing to do with Russia collusion. Why?

As Judge T.S. Ellis stated earlier in the trial, “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”

What the Mueller team is doing here should turn every American’s stomach. Mueller knows Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., the two venues for the Manafort trials, are virulently anti-Trump. Mueller is using the political hatred for the President to get a favorable verdict against Manafort. Is this justice?

If it is considered justice, the Department of Justice should change its name to DOP, the Department of Persecution. The latest moves by the Special Council has made it abundantly clear Paul Manafort is being prosecuted because of his political affiliations. If found guilty, Manafort will be perhaps the first political prisoner in U.S. history since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Mueller, his henchman, and the DOJ should be extremely careful moving forward. The persecution of political enemies will destroy any confidence the American public has left in the justice system. The next defense lawyer going into court against a U.S. Attorney only has to bring up the political persecution of Manafort and claim the same thing for his or her client while making sure there is at least one Trump supporter on the jury. Instant hung jury. By making politics illegal, Mueller is in danger of making the DOJ and FBI irrelevant institutions.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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EPA ANNOUNCES IT IS PREPARED FOR HURRICANE SEASON

By DANIEL SONNINSHINE

The 2018 hurricane season officially began on June 1, and the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is ready. Having learned from the major hurricanes of 2017, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the Agency has stated it is coordinating with federal, state, and local agencies to be ready to respond to the storms and their after-effects.

At a recent press conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated “EPA stands ready with our partners on every level to respond to the 2018 hurricane season. Given the expert preparedness and rapid response efforts of our teams during last year’s hurricanes, we are confident that we will respond swiftly to provide the necessary support and minimize impacts to public health and the environment.”

This preparedness includes, according to a recent press release from the EPA, approximately 60 personnel on the ground in Puerto Rico and USVI and in the Regional Emergency Operations Center in Edison, NJ dedicated to response, recovery, and readiness.

The EPA has provided ongoing assistance in Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria last year. In their ongoing efforts, it has maintained several generators used to supply power to some public water supply systems, according to the press release. These generators will remain in Puerto Rico in an effort to be prepared for any potential storms that hit over the next several months.

Hurricane season ends on November 30.

Daniel Sonninshine is an Empire State News staff writer, who is in search of greatness. A 20-something smart fellow, he is now lifting weights in an effort to obtain more power. If that doesn’t work, he will ask to write more editorials for Empire State News and less fact articles.

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MEL LISITEN, A MEGA-SUCCESSFUL PIONEER IN SELLING AMERICAN BUSINESSES

By DANIEL SONNINSHINE

With nearly 1,000 businesses sold, Lisiten Associates, a Manhattan-based company, is largely considered the United States’ leading business brokerage firm. The company specializes in selling, well, nearly every type of business. Mel Lisiten, the firm’s founder and president,  said, “If there’s a market for the business, we can sell it. And when we do, the best deal will be closed.”

Lisiten is one of those rare people who actually has the gravitas, experiences, and track record to back up his assertions. Recently invited to join a presidential advisory board, the Lisiten Associates mastermind formed the firm in 1982, and has sold a wide array of companies – ranging from numerous businesses with sales prices in the tens of millions to smaller ones in the six figures. Some of the successful Lisiten transactions in that eight-figure range include a healthcare consumer goods manufacturer/distributor, a fast food aggregator, an international fragrance manufacturer, an all-season specialty product wholesaler, a massive landscaping company, a food distributor/packaging conglomerate, a telemedicine platform business, a major glass and frame fabrication entity, a blue zone bottled water company, and a top HVAC designer/installer…Get the idea? Lisiten Associates sell across the board.

Mel Listen’s story, in many ways, defines the American Dream. In his early professional life, he built several fashion companies. One of them became a huge international sportswear brand, which Lisiten sold to interests held by the Getty family. At around that same time frame, he invested in real estate under the name InstaHouse, a venture that soon evolved into a multimillion-dollar enterprise of purchasing, renovating, furnishing and renting homes. In 1980, just a year after the Getty deal, Lisiten sold InstaHouse.

These personal business successes – and sales – opened the door for Lisiten to create FashionLab, a super trendy company in the fashion design, marketing and business consulting/brokering fields. Through FashionLab, Lisiten serviced many major companies, such as Pierre Cardin, Levi-Strauss, J.C.Penney, Macy’s, V.F.Corp, Marubeni Corp., Lego-Sweden, The Gap, Banana Republic, Bloomingdales, Keds, Members Only, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-USA, Gloria Vanderbilt, Bonjour, Regatta Sport, Dunlop, Spalding, Brittania, Lady Manhattan, Vera, Jaclyn Smith, and 9 West – as well as many smaller companies.

In due course, FashionLab morphed into Listen Associates, as the company became more globalized, and their business brokering spread to the breadth of industries. Now, Lisiten Associates markets the sale of its clients’ businesses worldwide, through an intricate and savvy array of advertising techniques. The Lisiten Associates website identifies the varied mechanisms it utilizes in confidentially selling their clients’ businesses, as well as the additional services it provides, including aiding in valuing  a company, strategies for growth, marketing, sales, advertising, production,  business operations, and planning improvements.

The USBLA has honored Lisiten Associates with a “Best Broker in North America” award in every year from 2008 through 2017. The country’s top talk radio affiliate – 770 WABC in New York City – called Lisiten Associates “the number one business brokerage in North America.” And according to multiple other major news outlets such as Newsday, Crains New York, WSJ, and DiversityBusiness.com, Lisiten Associates is the “leading premier business brokerage company” in the tristate area.

Mel Lisiten has captained his company via decades of business sales successes. Putting together a strong team of professionals to work alongside him in orchestrating deals for their voluminous clients has been integral in Lisiten Associates’ accomplishments. Staff bios are saliently present on the company website, displaying a broad range of business acumen among the firm’s top tier staff, including Skip Warner (senior vice president), Alan Pfeifer (vice president), Heather Sloane (vice president, global communications), Rosemarie Antonelli (vice president, media), Kimia Shadrokh (regional sales director),  Allan Montalbano (regional sales director),  and sales and business professionals Sonya Perrotti, Paul Kanengiser, Laura Goldsmith, Nick Bruzesse, Nancy Schuster, Carl E. Guzman, Kristin Egmont, Anthony Pagnozzi, Jeremy Dickstein, Alan Waldman, and Raymond Chernaskey.

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Daniel Sonninshine is an Empire State News staff writer, who is in search of greatness. A 20-something smart fellow, he is now lifting weights in an effort to obtain more power. If that doesn’t work, he will ask to write more editorials for Empire State News and less fact articles.

WILL A NEW SUPREME COURT FINALLY SHOW AMERICA THAT LONGSTANDING LEGALITY DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUATE TO MORALITY?

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the U.S. Senate nomination processes involving his hopeful replacement – Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh – it is perfect timing for all to evaluate the facts of life, starting with that a human being is, well, a human, at every stage of life. And with this being the case, every rational American should be elated that, almost definitely, a pro-life justice will be appointed to replace Kennedy. Which means that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and states will be permitted to outlaw abortion.

A new Supreme Court will again have the opportunity to explain, via a bold decision, that just because a law is precedent doesn’t mean that it is constitutional. More so, it will have the opportunity to explain that legality does not necessarily equate to morality. A longstanding law allowing the abortion of human lives is a defining example of this maxim.

Is there anyone out there who can refute the following, with a logical, analytical argument?

Would you murder a baby one second after she is born? If not, would you:

(1) Kill a baby (or if you like, a fetus) one second before she is born?

(2) Kill a baby one minute before she is born?

(3) Kill a baby one day before she is born?

(4) Kill a baby one week before she is born?

No one, except the truly depraved and deranged, would answer “yes” to any of the above. Everyone agrees that the baby is a human life at that point. But the truth is this: the baby (fetus) is, factually, a human life from the moment of conception. Let’s logically go through the analysis:

Other than those who know that life begins at conception, most others believe that, at some point, the fetus “magically” transforms into a human life. But when does this “magical” transformation occur? Is it a month before birth? Two months before birth? Three months before birth?

Many have tried to argue that the fetus “magically” becomes a human being at the time of “viability” (i.e. – when the baby can live outside the mother’s womb). That theory, of course, in layman’s terms, is idiotic. In 1973, when the Supreme Court delivered Roe v. Wade, a baby could only live outside the woman’s womb at 6 months. Accordingly, in 1973, the vast majority of pro-abortion activists considered that at 6 months a fetus had “magically” transformed into a human life (because the baby was “viable”). The problem with the viability argument, however, is that in 2018 – because of medical advancements – a baby can now live outside the woman at a much earlier time (at less than 5 months). So, in 1973, according to the then-pro-abortion activists, the baby was not viable at 5 months – and therefore not a human life (and thus could be killed). Today, however, since the baby is viable at 5 months, she has magically become a human life and can’t be killed. This, of course, is illogical and plainly absurd. Tragically, millions of human lives were killed in 1973 and for many years thereafter because they weren’t then-considered “viable.”

With the viability argument now debunked, we are back to the same question: when does the fetus “magically” become a human life? The more clever of the pro-abortion activists have recognized the failure of the longstanding viability argument, and have moved onto a more innocuous and ambiguous argument of “it’s just a mass of tissue and cells” and/or “it has no brain or nervous system.” Per this argument, at some point the “mass” changes into a human – but when? The first fatal error in this stance, is that in each baby/fetus, the brain and nervous systems develop at different rates. This means that the “when” fluctuates. So, if one is choosing to abort under this slippery slope basis, he is sometimes aborting a “mass of cells”, but other times is aborting a human being. Additionally, aside from the major unanswered quandary of WHEN (according to these people) does this “brainless mass of tissue” magically transform into a human being, can anyone answer what “IT”(the “mass”) is? “IT” is not an elephant. “IT” is not a pine tree. “IT” is not a rainbow trout. “IT” is not a crocodile.

“IT” is – definitively – a human life. “IT” is, simply and factually, a human life at every  stage of life. That is one guarantee that we all have as human beings: we go through life in stages. At 8 months inside a woman’s womb, a baby is at a certain stage of human life. At 8 months after being born, a baby is at a certain stage of human life. At 90 years old, a person is at a certain stage of human life. At one second after birth, a baby is at certain stage of human life. At one second before birth, a baby is at a certain stage of human life. At five weeks after conception, a fetus is at certain stage of human life.

No doctor, no scientist, no person (who just thinks he knows) can define a time when a fetus “magically” turns into a human being. Pro-abortion activists constantly debate it among themselves which, oddly, leaves one group thinking that another group is killing humans (at a certain stage), while an entire other group thinks that just some species-less lives are being killed (at that same certain stage)…A genuine, yet sociopathic and evil, response from the actually logical pro-abortion activists would be that they simply just don’t care about human beings at their earliest stages of life (e.g. – a month after conception) and just don’t value them at that stage. Most pro-abortion activists are not evil sociopaths, however. They have just been propagandized into equating legality with morality. They believe that because abortion is legal, then it is moral. And, unfortunately, they don’t think any further into it…Now, kindly think further into the analysis that I have laid out here, because no rational, logical conclusion other than this exists:

There is no “magical” moment when a fetus suddenly turns human. The fetus/baby is always human. Arguing otherwise is not just stupid, it’s disingenuous…Unless the person making the argument is lacking brain power – but then, is that person actually a human being? Or just a brainless mass of tissue?

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 the major television networks, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 

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NEW JERSEY’S REFORM OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER SYSTEM

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the “Revised State Medical Examiner Act,” which overhauls the Office of the State Medical Examiner in the Department of Law and Public Safety and transfers its powers to the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner.  Sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (Bergen), “This bill will provide much needed reformation to the Medical Examiner system.  A well-equipped staff as well as oversight of county and intercounty Medical Examiner offices will provide more efficient assistance to mourning families in our state. It’s long overdue, and our forensic investigatory apparatus would have the much needed independence from the judicial system it deserves.”

Under the new law, the Chief State Medical Examiner will report directly to the Commissioner of Health and will function independently within the Department of Health.  The Chief State Medical Examiner will next be required to adopt rules and regulations for medicolegal death investigations and personnel operation standards for the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner along with all other county or intercounty medical examiners in New Jersey. Each medical examiner will continue to be appointed by the governing body of county or counties for a five year term.

Furthermore, the Chief State Medical Examiner will now have the power to intervene and assume control over all ongoing medicolegal death investigation.  Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (Hudson) explained that, “By putting oversight of forensic pathologists under the Department of Health instead of the state’s top prosecutor, we are creating a more unified system and removing any perception of prosecutorial influence.”  Sponsoring Legislator Mukherji also applauds Attorney General Grewal for supporting this reform and its rationale.

To add another layer of oversight to New Jersey’s Medical Examiner System, a nine member Medical Examiner Review Team will be required to meet within 45 days after receipt of a dispute report or removal from office notification.  The Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Human Services, Attorney General, Chief State Medical Examiner, Chair of Pathology from a New Jersey medical or osteopathic school, a board certified pathologist, and three public members appointed by the Governor will participate on this Review Team.

Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizen’s Committee Chair Joseph F. Vitale issued the following statement:  “I welcome the governor’s actions in signing these long-overdue and desperately-needed reforms to a medical examiner system that’s been fragmented, mismanaged, under-resourced and overworked.  Today’s enactment will empower the medical examiner with the capability for central oversight, adequate staffing, sufficient funding, higher standards and enhanced quality control, and will bring closure and comfort to families who have been mourning without answers.”

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney, 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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MAGIC NUMBER FOR 3 PERCENT GROWTH IN 2018 RISES TO 4.3 PERCENT IN Q2 AMID ACCELERATING LABOR PARTICIPATION IN THE TRUMP ECONOMY

By ROBERT ROMANO

In 2017, labor participation among working age adults aged 16 to 64 has jumped up to an average, annual, unadjusted 73.34 percent, up from 72.95 percent in 2016, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trend has continued into 2018, rising to 73.47 percent.

As a result, the number of 16 to 64-year olds not in the labor force dropped 837,000 in President Donald Trump’s first year and a half in office in office, from 55.58 million to 54.75 million.

Since Trump took office, an additional 3.4 million Americans reported having jobs as unemployment sits at record lows, including among blacks and Hispanics.

That’s really great news for the economy, particularly on the labor participation side, when you consider recent history.

Since 2000, labor participation — those working or looking for work — among working age adults 16-64 has dropped dramatically, from 77.2 percent all the way down to 72.95 percent in 2016.

As a result, you had at the end of 2016 an additional 8.7 million Americans aged 16-64 out of the labor force more than would have been had the labor participation rate remained the same. Now, as the same trends have continued into 2018, that’s down to 7.7 million.

In fact, if labor participation for 16-64 year olds had remained the same as 1997, when it peaked at 77.37 percent, the measured unemployment rate would have been much higher, coming in at 10 percent in 2016 when Trump ran instead of the measured 4.9 percent. But thanks to the improving labor market conditions, now that adjusted rate is dropping significantly, too, now down to 8.13 percent.

Huge progress there. America is getting back to work and as workers are rejoining the economy.

And it’s so important, particularly to economic growth, which is still struggling to turn around.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis again downgraded the inflation-adjusted annualized growth of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) to 2 percent for the first quarter of 2018. That’s down from the previous estimate of 2.2. percent.

Not only is that disappointing news for the Trump administration, it is so for the U.S. economy, as it still shows growth slower than expected or hoped for still a decade after the financial crisis.

And it sets the bar that much higher for the remainder of the year to get to 3 percent or 4 percent annual growth, levels not seen since 2005 and 2000, respectively.

Now to get on track for 3 percent growth in 2018, assuming 3 percent growth annualized in the third and fourth quarters, the economy will now need to grow at 4.3 percent annualized in the second quarter. That’s up from 4.1 percent with the prior revision.

To get on track for 4 percent growth this year, the economy will need a whopping 8.5 percent in the second quarter.

Since 1929, when GDP first came into use, the U.S. has grown on average 3.3 percent every year.

From 1929 to 2000, it averaged 3.68 percent growth a year.

But from 2001 to 2016, it has averaged just 1.8 percent growth a year, illustrating the very significant slowdown during that period, which includes the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. In Trump’s first year, it only grew at 2.3 percent.

Meaning there are still very real challenges ahead, but in those rising labor participation numbers you can see the beginnings of the turnaround.

Now, with the Trump tax cuts in full effect, lowering individual and corporate tax rates, plus more than $300 billion of overseas profits being repatriated in the first quarter of 2018 alone, not to mention uprooting economy-killing regulations, growth could really start accelerating. That is the hope. Sometimes it takes a couple of years for all that to kick in, but it could happen faster, too.

The ongoing jobs and labor participation boom should help a lot. We just need that second quarter number to hit big.

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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WHO IS BEHIND THE SCHEME TO KEEP THE UNSUSTAINABLE RFS IN PLACE?

By PRINTUS LEBLANC

The ethanol lobby and corn farmers are teaming up to keep the government mandated gravy train flowing into their bank accounts. After a deal was reached between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several Senators, and oil refiners regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the deal suddenly collapsed when it got to the White House. The deal made sense for everyone involved, so the question must be asked, what happened and why?

The RFS is a government rule, established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The rule mandates renewable fuels, mostly corn ethanol, be blended with gasoline. Of course, this became an instant cash cow for corn farmers and ethanol refiners. The government had just mandated anyone that drives a vehicle must use their product.

But just like Obamacare didn’t do what it was supposed to do, the RFS didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The first problem is ethanol efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, E10 and E15 get 3 to 5 percent fewer miles per gallon than regular gasoline. E85, the flex fuel, gets a horrible 15 to 27 percent fewer miles per gallon. If the purpose of the RFS was to increase fuel economy, it failed by adding ethanol.

The accounting system for keeping track of biofuels was another mistake. Each gallon of biofuel is assigned a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) that consists of numbers and letters. The RINS go towards the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) assigned to each refinery by the EPA. The price of a RIN fluctuates wildly. In one seven-month period during 2013, the price ranged from $.07-$1.43 per RIN.

The extra RIN cost is an enormous burden for many small and independent refineries. Since they do not have the blending capability, they must purchase the RINs. The extra cost drove Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. The refinery, just outside Philadelphia, refined 335,000 barrels per day, making it the largest on the east coast. In 2017, PES spent $218 million on RINs, the second largest expenditure behind crude oil.

The cost is also being passed on to the consumers. A Congressional Budget Office study produced in 2014 found the RFS between $0.13 and $0.26 per gallon of regular gasoline and $0.30 to $0.51 for diesel.

The RFS diminishes fuel economy, puts refiners into bankruptcy, and increases the price of gasoline at the pump. Why on earth is this abomination to capitalism still running? The only answer to that question must be “special interests.”

King Corn and the ethanol industry are extremely powerful. Iowa’s unique position as the first caucus in presidential nominating contest gives the corn industry disproportionate power in Washington D.C. When combined with Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) long tenure and the high esteem his colleges hold him in, King Corn has a huge political advantage.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning recently remarked on the excellent job Grassley is doing stating, “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has been the point of the spear for restoring the constitutional rule of law into our federal courts.  The importance of his ushering Neil Gorsuch through the Senate to the Supreme Court has been made all the more apparent this week with critical decisions on the president’s ability to declare national security risks at our border, the right of public employees to opt-out of union membership and the ending of California’s efforts to force Christian pregnancy providers to advertise abortion services being just three examples of the transformative fruits of Chairman Grassley’s efforts.”

But that doesn’t mean the corn industry should be able to bankrupt other industries because the federal government insists on burning food instead of selling it around the world.

Something no one has been able to answer, is how does the previously agreed to deal hurt farmers and ethanol refiners? Nothing changes for King Corn and the ethanol producers. The corn will still be grown, the corn will still be turned into ethanol, and the ethanol will still be blended with gasoline. The corn farmers and ethanol refiners will still get paid if the RINs system is adjusted as the deal suggested.

Two groups are benefiting from the manipulation of RIN prices. Big oil producers with blending facilities and Wall Street. Big oil companies hoard RINs, raising the price for non-blending facilities. This allows them to add a cost to their competitor thanks to a government program.

Wall Street is also heavily involved in the manipulation of RINs. JPMorgan Chase has amassed a substantial amount of RINs in the past, according to a New York Times article. The banks would hold on the RINs and drive up the price of the imaginary product. Wall Street will always find a way to speculate on a product, especially if the government creates the product.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) ran a wonderful campaign to get elected to in 2014 midterms. Ernst famously ran a campaign ad boasting of her skill at castrating pigs on the farm; hinting D.C. was full of pigs. There is no bigger pig in D.C. than King Corn. Will the Senator live up to her campaign video?

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor 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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MENTAL SHUTDOWN

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

After watching, listening, and reading the news from various sources, my mind shutdown.  Unlike the government, my decision was unrelated to money, power, or political parties.  What happened to the art of the argument in political debate?  When did it become all about venom and animosity?  Weren’t the essential elements of democracy the freedom to debate by viewing the issue from various perspectives?  I taught my college students to always consider the other side’s position.  We studied logical fallacies (false logic) and learned about “argumentum ad hominem” (latin for an attack of a person’s character, physical attributes, and/or motives).  Fallacies distract from the debate topic/real issues.

In Ethics class, I revealed how policies with “good intentions” can be the most destructive.  The lines of right and wrong quickly blur once decisions are implemented.   “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction” (Issac Newton)  Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/isaac_newton_382602  However, respectful arguments allow for compromise and inspire creative solutions.  Our founding fathers and mothers provided a framework for the freedom to argue to agree.  They never envisioned how political parties (factions and special interests) would divide the nation.  Attacks “on and of the person” don’t move us forward.  I must shutout the constant babbling.

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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KENNEDY RETIREMENT DOES MORE TO MOTIVATE REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR THE SENATE THAN THE GOP SENATE DOES

By ROBERT ROMANO

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has reminded voters in this midterm election season that their vote matters — because judges matter.

With the Senate closely divided 51 to 49, another Supreme Court nomination by President Donald Trump promises to be one of the most contentious fights in modern Senate history.

Even more so because of the electoral map. Nine Democrat seats up are in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Meaning the Democrat senators occupying all those seats will be forced to vote on Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, whoever he or she is.

And with Kennedy’s retirement, every single one of those seats is now very much in play. Very simply, the vote on the Kennedy replacement will be one that determines whether that seat is held by a Democrat, or a Republican come 2019.

Should the Democrat senators vote no on the nominee, it will rile up Republicans who would prefer the balance of power on the Supreme Court remain the way it is now, 5 to 4 appointed by Republicans. It could help Republicans pick up certain seats.

Should they vote yes, they will dispirit their own base of Democrat voters, who still can’t get over losing to Trump in 2016. If Trump’s nominee sails through, they might stay home, helping Republicans win other seats.

The vote is a lose-lose situation for Senate Democrats.

Either way, Kennedy’s retirement ups the incentive for Republicans to overcome the enthusiasm gap that typically pervades midterm elections after winning the White House.

The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002.

On other hand, in 1926, 1962, 1986 and 1990 the losses were kept to less than 10 seats. 1954, 1970, 1978 and 2014 the losses were less than 20 seats.

On the Senate side, the White House incumbent party tends to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats. Here, there are more exceptions where seats were either gained or none lost: 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998 and 2002.

One of those years was 1970, the same year Harry Blackmun replaced Abe Fortas. That year, the incumbent party, Richard Nixon and the Republicans, picked up two Senate seats.

In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor replaced Potter Stewart. A year later, the incumbent party, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, neither gained nor lost any Senate seats.

Now, clearly, Trump has promised to appoint a constitutionalist justice far more conservative than Blackmun or O’Connor, two of the most disappointing Republican choices for the Court in modern history. Nobody knew at the time how disappointing they would be, though.

In other words, running not one but two consecutive Supreme Court nominations successfully could put Trump in a commanding position for the midterm elections — because Democrats will feel defeated headed to the polls. Dejected.

The D in Democrats will stand for dispirited.

The flip side of that is if Senate Republicans fail to replace Kennedy this year. It could be Republicans who are demoralized. Just putting that out there.

When you get right down to it, Republican Senators include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have one job. To unite the Senate Republican conference and replace Kennedy with a constitutionalist who will protect individual rights and read the Constitution as written. And the more successful they are at it, the more likely they are to expand their majority this year. Again, they have one job.

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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APPLE VS. QUALCOMM: FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO INNOVATE

By RICK MANNING

Qualcomm and Apple face off this month in what could wind up being the most significant intellectual property dispute this nation has seen in decades.

It boils down to this: The company that pioneered global smartphone connectivity — Qualcomm — and the company that currently holds 15.2 percent of the world’s smartphone market Apple — are embroiled in a multibillion-dollar battle over the technology that makes these devices tick.

The long-running dispute is actually multiple cases — approximately 50 separate legal actions filed in 16 jurisdictions across six countries, including a key hearing this month before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C. Qualcomm is asking the ITC for what’s known as an exclusion order — or a ban on the importation of certain iPhones that use inferior Intel modems.

Its argument? That Apple is using Qualcomm’s innovations without a license to do so.

“Given their enormous market presence they think they can infringe (upon) our intellectual property with impunity,” Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said last week. “But we have the rule of law in our favor and so we’re hoping to get their attention by asking a court to stop them from infringing.”

Rosenberg is right. The rule of law is in Qualcomm’s favor. And it is essential for our nation’s economic future that it be upheld.

Most of the media coverage related to this case has focused on its potential impact on smartphones (and the broader smartphone market) — and that’s important. But it is much bigger than that.

At the heart of this case is a fundamental question that could define the next century of technological advancement in this country: Do we still believe in innovation in America? Or, conversely, are we becoming a nation where patented technology can be stolen whenever a corporation decides it doesn’t want to pay for it anymore?

Qualcomm is the company that connected cellphones to the internet. It is responsible for 3G, 4G and is currently pioneering 5G — a “new era of connectivity” that will provide consumers, networks, businesses and smartphone manufacturers with super-high speed, “fiber like” wireless solutions. According to one economic impact study, 5G will add more than $3 trillion to our nation’s gross domestic product and create upward of three million  new jobs.

Earlier this year, I advocated against, and President Trump ultimately blocked, a threatened takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcomm because the importance of the U.S. being the leader in 5G was widely recognized, and Qualcomm’s integral role in developing 5G is indisputable. Without Qualcomm’s innovation, the U.S. would cede its dominant position to other nations. It is clear that Qualcomm reinvests its licensing fees into critical research and development and Apple’s continued refusal to compensate Qualcomm for its innovation could also hinder the company’s (and thereby the country’s) ability to advance 5G.

Licensing the use of its patented innovations is the heart of Qualcomm’s business. It is also what keeps the company and its nearly 40,000 employees in business. Qualcomm’s patented modems and other innovations are so indispensable to the operation of smartphones and other mobile devices that the manufacturers of these devices have agreed to not only buy the company’s chips — but pay Qualcomm for the right to use the underlying technology.

Well, everybody pays except Apple — which is currently delinquent to the tune of up to $4.5 billion when it comes to licensing fees owed to Qualcomm.

Apple insists  it “believe(s) deeply in the value of intellectual property,” but its actions tell a different story. Not only is the company refusing to pay what it owes, it is being accused of infringing Qualcomm’s intellectual property (the basis of the ITC complaint). The company is also trying to stonewall the courts in an effort to keep its conduct from coming to light.

Last December, a federal judge in San Jose, California issued sanctions against Apple after it refused to turn over evidence related to one of the cases in this dispute.

Qualcomm’s position remains simple: Licensing agreements are an essential component of incentivizing innovation in this country.

Without them, innovation dies.

Or to put it another way: Do we want to kill off trillions of dollars in economic activity, and risk no longer being the leader in 5G, because one of the world’s richest companies doesn’t want to pay what it owes?

As originally published in Investor’s Business Daily.

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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