KIMBERLY BENNETT OF K BENNETT LAW SERVES CLIENTS WITH EXHILARATING PRACTICE AND FEE STRUCTURE

By DANIEL SONNINSHINE

Fees for legal services are paid in three primary manners: by an hourly rate, a contingency fee (a percentage of a settlement or a damage award), or a flat rate. Contingency fees are utilized in only a select few types of matters, most of which are personal injury cases, such as automobile accidents and slip-and-falls. Attorneys will not offer contingency fee rates in more than these handful of areas because they are either not practicable or because they are not permitted in certain types of law (e.g., family law and criminal law). While a contingency fee can often be quite profitable for a lawyer – with the standard fee received by the barrister being 33 1/3% of the settlement proceeds or damage award from a trial verdict – there is considerable risk for the attorney in handling cases under this arrangement, which risk is as follows: the firm will get paid zero if there is no such settlement or damage award.

The two most used fee models for lawyers are the hourly rate and flat fee systems. Arguments have abounded, forever, among attorneys regarding which payment structure is better. On the one hand, an hourly rate fee seems attractive because the client “is simply paying for the work the attorney is carrying out”, as one civil lawyer declared. That’s a fair statement. However, clients, many times, just do not like open-ended situations; while it is reasonable that a lawyer is paid for every minute of his/her work, a considerable amount of clients do not want to receive monthly bills itemizing every phone call, paragraph written, and research session conducted by their attorneys. They do not relish the uncertainty of exactly what they are paying for the legal services for which they have contracted.

If a person hires a plumber to fix her clogged sink, she wants to know if the fee is $100, $500 or some other fixed, flat rate. She doesn’t want to engage a deal at $75 or $100 per hour, being left in the unknown what the final fee will be; she doesn’t want uncertainty, but rather desires certainty. For most professions, the flat fee, accordingly, prevails. Legal clients, accustomed to this fixed payment structure in the predominant number of deals they execute outside of law, thus, often would rather a flat fee deal with their lawyers.

Bring in Kimberly Bennett and her law firm, K Bennett Law, into this equation, and one finds an innovative, exciting flat fee structure, as well as a talented, motivating, caring attorney who leads the outfit. Bennett, who is barred in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but headquarters her legal operations from Atlanta, focuses her practice on legal branding for companies and entrepreneurs. Being wholly aware that her clients have set budgets, she accommodates them by offering flat, monthly fees, wherein they pay the same figure to K Bennett Law regardless of the number of hours churned out by the firm’s lawyers. This financial stability is so very helpful to the growing companies that Bennett’s firm serves.

Bennett, whose practice focuses on business/commercial law, trademark/copyright law, and employment/labor law, offers varied reasonably priced flat monthly fee packages that can be found on the “Legal Subscriptions and Brand Counseling” page of K Bennett Law’s website. For example, for only $1,000 per month, a business client will get all of the following from Bennett and her legal team:

  • Monthly document review
  • Unlimited Cease & Desist letters
  • Unlimited scheduled client quick calls
  • Ongoing trademark monitoring & USPTO filings
  • annual brand assessment
  • quarterly trademark search
  • quarterly strategy session
  • quarterly legal project
  • projects include:

(1) entity restructuring,

(2) trademark application,

(3) contract review & guidance,

(4) customized contract template, or

(5) operations development & support

Through Bennett’s firm, clients can, routinely, contact their lawyer without the worry of every conversation resulting in a significant bill, and they can have documents reviewed and letters written – en masse – without paying a single dime more than the very appealing $1,000 monthly flat fee. On her website, Bennett states:

“At K Bennett Law LLC, the practice’s core business model is to provide monthly, subscription legal services to clients that desire ongoing brand protection and growth support but are not quite ready to hire a full-time attorney. We go beyond a project attorney and learn your business, grow with your business and, when your business is ready, we help transition your business to a full-time attorney. We are more than an attorney, we are your strategic team member focused on providing business-centric legal advice to help your company grow from growing business to industry leader.”

This is a model that nearly every small business and growing entrepreneur can enjoy. Justice is served.

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. He also dabbles in film reviews. Favorite flicks include The Godfather, Blazing Saddles, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Passion of the Christ.

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

PAUL ARDILA IS A TRUE ROCK STAR

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Has anyone ever hit three grand slams in a single baseball game? How many people have climbed Mount Everest in an hour? Count the number of individuals who have:

Won $10,000,000 in a poker game.

Earned $100,000,000 in a movie where he played the lead role.

Designed the largest three buildings in the world.

Scored 10 touch downs in a football game.

Painted a mile-long bridge in three hours.

Swam across the Atlantic – and back – in less than 24 hours.

Well, Paul Ardila has one it all. He is a real rock star (he’s sung a few thousand sold-out concerts too).

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

IF LARGER STATES DON’T START REOPENING SOON, WE MIGHT NEED A BANK DEBT HOLIDAY TO AVERT ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS WITH MILLIONS OF FORECLOSURES

By ROBERT ROMANO

Another 5.2 million Americans filed for initial unemployment claims last week, bringing the total number of jobs lost to the Chinese coronavirus and related government closures to anywhere from 21.8 million to 24.8 million jobs lost in about one month, and when added to the 5.8 million who were already jobless, produces an effective unemployment rate of 16.7 to 18.5 percent.

That’s already almost triple the number of jobs lost in the 2007-2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession, when 8.3 million Americans had lost their jobs by Dec.2009 and more than 6 million foreclosures occurred between 2007 and 2010. Joblessness has not been this high since the Great Depression.

If the same proportion of homes lost to jobs lost holds true today in the event we have a long-term unemployment problem, as many as 15 million to 18 million households could be in jeopardy of falling behind on their mortgage payments right now — through no fault of their own. They had great jobs and were making good money to live in a nice home, and now it could all be washed away by the recession onslaught brought on by the virus.

Many banks are already providing temporary forebearance and deferral options for mortgage payments that must be paid back for any delinquency on a separate payment plan, or outright deferral with the delinquent amounts being added to the mortgage principal.

In addition, there is also a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions by the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, but those who have already lost their jobs are in danger of falling behind on their payments and losing equity in their homes right now. Fortunately the job losses only began a month ago, but already the effects may already be trickling into the financial system that could become a torrent should it go on too long.

The trouble is the amount of time it takes for a recession to run its course, with job losses to recovering those jobs lasting on average 27 months since 1948 — 11 months to lose all the jobs, and 16 months to get them all back. But if you look at the financial crisis and Great Recession, which may be a more relevant example, it took 25 months to lose all the jobs, and 57 months to get them all back. Of note, the past three recessions have progressively taken longer to recover from, at 14 months to 18 months and then 57 months in the last one.

So, banks might be able to defer or reduce payments for a few months, but in the end, if unemployment turns out to be a much longer term problem, then so too will foreclosures eventually become a problem, the current moratorium notwithstanding. The danger comes if the recession lasts longer than anticipated and suddenly homeowners are either way behind on their payments or they lost a ton of equity when the moratorium ends and find themselves upside down if, say, property values plummet during this recession.

For middle and upper middle class households, the expanded unemployment proceeds plus the checks going out, particularly in more expensive states, may still not be enough for millions of households who are already experiencing unemployment. Households whose revolving debt loads were already high will be impacted greatly. The wealthiest could actually be hit the hardest in these circumstances, as unbelievable as that might sound to the lay person, because they will have to simultaneously assume considerable capital losses on equities to get to cash, which are still in practical bear market territory.

Into the mix, we must also consider the very strong possibility that governors of larger states with bigger metropolitan areas, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to take considerably longer to reopen than smaller states, cities and towns that have flatter curves in terms of the rate of infection by the virus. Longer periods to reopen, then, will undoubtedly mean millions of more unemployed and longer periods of unemployment, too, and therefore even more potential foreclosures than is currently being discussed.

And so we may need a temporary bank holiday to prevent another financial crisis much, much larger than the last one. That is, if we want there to be a middle class when this is over. Not even the wealthy may have enough savings to not work indefinitely because they have larger mortgages, as we learned in 2008. The higher the property values, the bigger the problem. Those of you living in more expensive states who are at risk of losing their jobs or already have know exactly what I’m talking about.

This gives some context to the current anxiety over how and when states might begin reopening. There are very understandable concerns on the public health side, and those on the economic side are equally sobering. But still not knowing when we might reopen definitively for each state is a huge red flag that the potential downstream costs have not been fully contemplated by the federal and state governments.

For example, if in reality we’re actually talking months and not weeks to get past this current period for larger states and metro areas where property values are the highest and unemployment will likely be the worst — and maybe even until we get a vaccine for the virus — we need to know that right now.

State governors must be clear about what it will take for them to reopen, because Congress, Treasury and the Federal Reserve must be prepared now, not later, for those contingencies that have yet to be defined.

Under these circumstances, periodically returning to Congress to address these concerns every few weeks when another critical part of the economy breaks could result in millions more households getting behind on their payments, ultimately culminating in another foreclosure crisis when things finally do reopen that will make 2008 look like a blip on the radar. Again, we’ve already lost triple the jobs compared to the last financial crisis. Expanded unemployment benefits and the checks now going out may not be enough to cover the damage that’s already been done, especially in areas with higher costs of living.

Whatever choice we make right now must be both politically and economically sustainable. That has to be the rule. Does the above scenario sound sustainable to anyone? Governor Cuomo? Anyone?

State and local governments have their own problems, where the essence of the crisis is they are rapidly running out of taxpayers to cover the costs of everything on government ledgers, in addition to so many losing their jobs in the private sector to continue servicing their own privately held debts. This toxic combination could collapse not only the financial system but society itself.

This could be an economic suicide pact if the proper measures are not taken.

The U.S. labor force is currently contracting at a rate about 3 to 4 percent every week! So, for governments, that means state and local revenues are falling at about the same rate. It appears to be more expensive to leave things closed than to have them open, despite utilizing fewer resources, as unbelievable as that sounds.

Another problem is that currently, Congress is attempting to deal with this emergency on the fiscal side where the administration may have to keep going back to Congress when further assistance is needed, and even then what they’re producing out of Congress is actually quite meager despite the gargantuan price tag when balanced against the real need. Consider that, the legislation Congress passed is by far the largest in American history, and might not be enough.

To be sure, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve should have access to accurate, up-to-the-minute data that will tell them how many households are about to fall behind on their payments and by how much. They need to look at the drop in FICA payments already occurring and then compare the incomes that existed above that but suddenly do not anymore. Similar analysis will probably need to be prepared for municipal bond markets. The shortfalls being experienced or that we’re about to experience must be colossal.

Treasury and the Fed should also consider whether the bill Congress already passed, which can be expanded up to $6 trillion with firepower from the Fed, already would authorize a more aggressive approach and begin making immediate preparations.

If so, then the nation’s top financial officials could move towards a bank holiday rapidly. We might need it right away, not just for households, but for a larger portion of debt service than is currently being anticipated. In truth, only the Federal Reserve has the resources to do this. Anecdotally, my student loan payment has been automatically deferred. Officials should consider whether that might be necessary for a larger share of debt payments across the country.

Here are just a few categories of things the Fed might already be looking at potentially covering. Fiscal conservatives may wish to avert their eyes.  But if this really is going to go on for months, not weeks as I am reading from state governors right now who are reticent to even think about when we might reopen, then this contingency must at least be considered. The areas most likely to run into trouble are 1) state and local government revenues; 2) municipal bonds; 2) small businesses; 3) larger employers; 4) mortgages both residential and commercial; 5) credit card bills; 6) student loans; and 7) corporate bonds.

Without widespread deferrals amid mass unemployment already approaching Great Depression levels, even if only, say, 25 percent of individuals and entities fell into this category, that would be more than enough to topple the entire financial system.

Again, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve has access to all the data they need to determine how many households and, yes, municipalities are about to be unable to service payments. It might be wise to consider debt service assistance for the foreseeable future. That’s what a bank holiday is. In addition to the already approved expanded unemployment plus the checks going out, debt service assistance might be enough to get households through this crisis without any foreclosures and prevent households from falling behind on their payments in the first place.

Such a program can only possibly be undertaken on the monetary side, in my opinion, because not even the U.S. treasuries market are big enough to cover the gaping hole that has been created by the equivalent of a large asteroid striking the global economy.

In 2008, Congress created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to address what was more like a $5 trillion problem in mortgage and derivative markets. That is because no matter how big Congress thought the problem was, it was in fact much, much larger than could be politically contemplated. The only way then Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was able to stop the bleeding was by effectively taking over the delinquent mortgage markets from both the privately issued mortgage-backed securities plus those held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

To give this scale to the current crisis, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion leverageable up to $6 trillion plan to address what might actually be more like a $20 trillion problem on the backend.

This has to do with the potential cascading effects of tens of millions of Americans suddenly stopping their payments on debt service, which may already be happening or soon will this month and next month en masse. In the financial crisis, that resulted in bond holders who suddenly stopped receiving principal and interest payments, who in turn suddenly stopped making their own debt service payments to major financial institutions, who in turn had nowhere but the Fed to turn to.

It shouldn’t even get that far. The uncertainty in the projection has to do with similar uncertainties about how long the economic shutdown will go on, plus bank exposure in the shadow banking and derivatives markets. It is possible not even the banks know how large the problem is across the system. The only difference appears to be on orders of magnitude. Again, we’ve already lost triple the jobs compared to the last financial crisis. The orderly liquidation fund in Dodd-Frank won’t be enough to cover this on a liquidation basis, nor do I think it should even be considered as an option because it assumes mass defaults.

Now, stemming that tide will be the Fed’s ongoing legacy mortgage-backed securities purchase program from the last crisis, where the central bank takes bad debts off of bank’s balance sheets. But we shouldn’t let it get there, either, because that assumes the foreclosures happen.

This crisis was not the fault of Americans who were working hard and paying all their debts in one of the finest economies in modern history.

In one month, however, again, we have lost almost triple the jobs lost in the Great Recession that took 25 months to be realized beginning in 2007 all the way to the end of 2009. The bill Congress already passed could be adequate to address this since it already provides for the Fed to expand measures as needed up to $6 trillion without any more votes in Congress required to cover whatever needs to be covered. If so, then the action that could still be urgently needed must come from Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

In addition, 38 million Americans in the labor force are 55 years old and older, and 11 million of those are 65 years old and older, such that even if governors say let’s reopen except for older Americans, we’re still talking about almost one-quarter of the labor force who will likely be unable to continue working and servicing their debts. And that’s the so-called Swedish model. It will likely take years to calculate the true costs of the overall closures impacting a far wider swath of the civil labor force than just the elderly, however.

Now, all of the above is completely dependent on what state governors do very specifically on reopening, and what sorts of treatment become available to mitigate the virus’ impact, including any cures that were authorized on an emergency basis by President Trump. Until there is something like that, and we can already anticipate how governors in larger states are going to proceed, it would be irresponsible of Congress, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve not to contemplate and prepare for the worst case scenario economically that I fear we are already in. The damage may have already been done. We need to get ahead of this storm. The problem is it is already right over our heads.

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. 

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

THEY ALL WENT BATS IN WUHAN

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Rats are rather grotesque creatures. Same with mice. What really makes them different from squirrels, that don’t bother people, though, is probably the fluffy tails. Squirrels just aren’t that offensive to people. They’re kind of likable.

But bats?

No way.

Bats are like rats. They’re disgusting. They’re like rats with wings. Not to mention, fiction lore has defined them as vampires. Animals that turn into humans who blood-suck from other humans. But that’s just fiction. Dracula was the creation of a famed author.

The bats in Wuhan, China, however, so unfortunately are not fiction. These bats may not suck blood from humans but they have nonetheless infected humans in a terrible way, through the coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 aka the China coronavirus aka the Wuhan coronavirus.

Although these bats are not turning into humans, like the nefarious fellow Dracula, the horrible disease that they are transmitting to humans has, no doubt, been caused by humans and not really the bats themselves. This is because humans, for some idiotic reason, decided to play around with the bats’ species-specific coronavirus. Wearing white lab coats, tin-foil hats, and Coke-bottle-thick magnifying glasses, Wuhan, China scientists-of-sort (aka sordid scientists) befriended these bats and extracted the coronavirus from them. Was their intended purpose for the good, i.e., to learn from this virus, to create some kind of “down the road” vaccine in the event that the virus was somehow transmitted to human beings? That seems to be what they’re saying, “they” being some Chinese officials and, possible, it may be the case. If it is the case, it nonetheless appears to be an incredibly moronic endeavor. Is there really a legitimate reason to isolate viruses from animals (viruses that can affect humans) for some potential, long-shot benefit?

The answer definitely seems to be “no.”

For what happened here?

Negligent so-called scientists unleashed the coronavirus to the human population, which begs revisiting the question: did this fruit from good-faith, albeit dumb, intentions? Or did it fruit from a sinister plan, where the coronavirus was extracted from the bats with a purpose to infect human beings?

The latter possibility is probably unlikely because humans, generally, are not that sinister, but there have been (and currently are) many evil people in the world, so such a disgusting, horrid act is possible. Most likely, however, is that the release of the coronavirus from this lab was an accident, due to the mad scientists’ carelessness.

What’s not a reasonable possibility, though, is that some bat that was just flying around, all of a sudden, sprinkled the coronavirus onto a person, and that’s how this entire tableau began. It came from the Wuhan lab, and it came from people who like playing with bats. And that sucks.

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

ANOTHER 6.6 MILLION JOBS LOST TO CHINESE CORONAVIRUS, UP TO 19.6 MILLION LOST AND COUNTING, BUT MAIN STREET WILL REOPEN VERY SOON

By ROBERT ROMANO

Weekly unemployment claims in the U.S. were up another 6.6 million, bringing the total jobs lost since the Chinese coronavirus pandemic to anywhere from 16.6 million to 19.6 million as federal and state government closures continue to in order to stave off the virus and protect the elderly and those with underlying conditions, more than doubling the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

That puts the effective unemployment rate 15 percent, pretty much the highest since the Great Depression, with an overall 22 million to 26 million out of work and rising as Americans continue to engage in social distancing. Recall, about 5.8 million were already jobless when the outbreak began when unemployment was just 3.5 percent, a 50-year low, with the worst likely yet to come.

This is like a tidal wave washing over the global economy, and no one will be spared. Businesses large and small are being tested during this time, but already the data and the damage is simply catastrophic. Nothing has ever been seen like it. What’s worse, it could take years or a decade to recover, even with well-intentioned measures by Congress to help small and large businesses to shore up payroll.

President Donald Trump has requested Congress increase funding for small businesses by another $250 billion bringing the total up to $600 billion, even while others say there should be no cap. In the meantime, the Federal Reserve appears to be opening a secondary market for these small business loans that it will be purchasing as banks make the loans, freeing up more capital to keep the lending going. The April 8 Fed release stated, “To facilitate lending to small businesses via the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Federal Reserve will establish a facility to provide term financing backed by PPP loans. Additional details will be announced this week.”

The biggest challenge for these lending programs is probably letting small businesses know they exist and that these loans are available, and convincing them that retaining payroll is more advantageous than laying off employees while much of the economy is still closed and is expected to be for several weeks more while the virus runs its course.

Already, Vice President Mike Pence reports more than $98 billion loans have been made to hundreds of thousands of small businesses. Is it enough, though?

On one hand, one can make a case for a swift rebound, that as soon as the closures end and states reopen their economies, all the businesses will open their doors quickly and Americans will swiftly get back to work.

On the other, as I was noting earlier this week, in analyzing the 10 recessions since 1948, on average, it takes about 11 months for all job losses to be realized in a recession, and then on average another 16 months to get those jobs back. Sometimes it’s longer sometimes it’s shorter. The longest cycle took 7 years with the Great Recession. The shortest was the 1970-1971 recession that took 12 months.

So, bare minimum, small businesses will need at least a year or more of support to survive. The CARES Act includes up to $6 trillion from the Federal Reserve. Already, the Small Business Administration and Treasury are working with the Fed to expand payroll protection lending.

The expansive nature of the program is not unsurprising.  In 2008, Congress passed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to buy privately issued mortgage backed securities from banks, but it instantly became obsolete when the Fed took over AIG and derivatives markets. Additionally, the Fed then purchased the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage backed securities directly off the banks’ balance sheets, totaling trillions. That’s because no matter how big Congress thought the problem was, it was in fact larger. Much, much larger.

For the Trump administration to accomplish what they’re trying to do to save 30 million small businesses, the backbone of the economy, it could require trillions of dollars. Congress already created the vehicle for doing so by expanding the Fed’ mandate, recognizing that in an emergency like this, only the Federal Reserve will have enough firepower to deal with the magnitude of the damage being caused by the pandemic-induced government closures.

Additional tools the Fed should consider will be to weaken the dollar relative to other currencies, even as interest rates collapse — yes, both are possible simultaneously, look at 2009 and 2011 when dollar bottoms coincided with labor market and housing market bottoms — amid heightened demand for U.S. securities including treasuries, which can help hasten the recovery and, critically, stave off deflation that must be a real threat with demand completely collapsed at the moment.

So, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Right now, we are witnessing the flight to safety as financial institutions stock up on treasuries, which with unemployment still rising sharply, is expected.  That won’t last forever but it will probably go on for a good long while. Like the virus, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. First things first, kill the virus and that will give the confidence states and businesses need to reopen sooner rather than later.

But, simultaneously, we have to make sure there’s an economy to return to.

The next few weeks’ unemployment claims reports will bear out the extent of the damage that has already been caused and as can be seen, it is quite extensive. The key thing to understand is that the damage may not be reversible in the short-term even with the program Congress created. But that does not mean that the program is not ultimately necessary. Quite the contrary. That lifeline will be the reason we get out of this much, much faster than might have been otherwise possible.

By now, any notions about getting back to 3.5 percent unemployment anytime soon have probably been dispelled, but with the decisive action being taken today by President Trump and Congress, we can shorten the duration of the job losses and speed the recovery. Main Street will reopen soon, it’s only a matter of time.

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. 

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

NOW THAT BERNIE IS OUT, MAY THERE STILL BE A BROKERED CONVENTION?

By TEMPLE LI

Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the presidential race, suspending his campaign. But does that mean that Joe Biden will just walk in and obtain the Democrat nomination? Maybe not. Why? Because of there still may be the possibility of a brokered convention.

What is a brokered convention?  It is related to the selection of a presidential nominee at the national conventions of the two major political parties—the Democrats and Republicans—and needs to be understood in the context of the evolution of the presidential selection process.

The Founding Fathers never intended for the development of a partisan system of government.  Both Hamilton and Madison wrote in the Federal Papers 9 and 10 against the dangers of domestic political factions.  As a result, President Washington was elected by the Electoral College in both the 1789 and 1792 elections.  The Electoral College is written into the constitution and states in Article II, Section 1, and Clause 2 that the states’ legislatures are responsible for the manner in which these “electors” are chosen.  The total number of members is 538 and the presidential candidates must receive an absolute majority of 270 electoral votes in order to win the presidency.  The number of electoral votes for each state is determined by the total number of senators and members of the House of Representatives that each state has in Congress.

However, the simplicity of the Electoral College and the selection of a president became more complex with the inception of the political party system, ironically initiated by the two individuals who originally opposed their establishment.  Hamilton led the Federalist Party, while Madison, along with Jefferson, formed the Democratic-Republican Party.   Since the constitution did not provide for a procedure, it then became incumbent upon the political parties how their respective candidates were selected. Initially, the members of Congress or state legislators were responsible for selecting candidates.    Prior to the implementation of the primary/caucus system of choosing presidential candidates, brokered conventions were common, since, particularly with the Democrat party, the candidate needed to win 2/3 of the delegates’ votes at the convention.

The emergence of primaries started in 1901 in Florida; however, the first presidential primary was held in New Hampshire in 1920 and the primary/caucus system of selecting presidential candidates was born.  Primaries differ from caucuses in that primaries are state and local-government run, while caucuses are private events controlled by the political party.  There are two major types of primaries, open and closed.  Open primaries allow for all state voters to participate in a particular party’s primary, although they can only vote in one primary.  For example, a registered Republican can vote in a Democrat primary, but then cannot vote in the Republican primary.  The reason this might occur is for the purpose of “raiding,” or voting for the weakest candidate in order to impact the selection of the other party’s candidate.  Closed primaries restrict participation to the registered voters of that particular party.  There are other variations on these two types, but they are the most prevalent.

In the primaries, voters are either voting directly for the candidate or for delegates representing the candidate and the number of delegates each candidate receives is dependent upon the particular party’s method of determining the distribution of delegates.  Each party has developed their own formulas for determining how many delegates to the national convention each state will be allocated and the allocation of state delegates to the specific candidates. For the Democrats this may be based on the proportion of votes each candidate received in the state primary.  For Republicans, it may be the winner takes all.  These then become pledged delegates.

Additionally, each state has a certain number of unpledged delegates.  In the case of Republicans, it is limited to 3 top party members for each state.  For Democrats it is a much broader number, encompassing party leaders and elected officials who are called superdelegates or automatic delegates.

That brings us to the national convention, where a candidate must receive the majority of the delegates’ votes to become their party’s candidate.   For 2020, the Democrat convention will have a total of 3,768 pledged delegates and the winning candidate must receive approximately 1,885 pledged delegates’ votes.  If no candidate achieves this during the first round of votes, then a brokered convention occurs.   The pledged delegates are released from their pledged votes and second and third rounds may occur with horse-trading for super delegate votes and getting pledged delegates to change their vote. If it goes to additional rounds, then candidates would need to win 2,267 votes out of 4,532 votes which include the super delegates.

With President Trump having the full backing of his party, a brokered convention is not a consideration, but what about on the Democrat side? With sanders out, that just leaves Biden. The vast majority of progressives are not fans of Biden. More so, it is often difficult for Biden to string together more than a few sentences without either making a monstrous gaffe or just, plainly, losing his train of thought. many Democrats are quite concerned, and do not see him as a viable 2020 presidential candidate. Some, who perhaps liked him for the post in the past, are not rather reticent. And this may lead to a brokered convention, where Biden could be pushed out. In favor of who?

First and foremost, Michelle Obama (if the Obamas think this a winnable election by the Democrats, which it is not). Then to:

Andrew Cuomo, maybe.

Or Hillary Clinton, perhaps.

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.             

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

 

 

 

MIDDLE CLASS INEQUALITY

By TEMPLE LI

In the midst of all the current day’s madness, let’s not forget the middle class.

Oh yeah, the middle class has once again forgotten in this violative mess.

But why not be reminded of another matter where the middle class is so often screwed?

Education.

William “Rick” Singer sang and sang and sang!   His audience is the F.B.I.  and his song, a tale of a major college admissions bribery scheme.  Mr. Singer was the architect of a scam to advantage children of the rich and famous into getting their offspring into prestigious colleges such as Yale, Georgetown and University of Southern California.  He did this by bribing school administrators and coaches, as well as influencing the SAT and ACT process by having a surrogate capable of acing these exams test in place of the actual applicants.  Parents paid for these services by donating to Rick’s sham charitable organization and then use the contribution as a tax write-off.  The scam, in place between 2011 and 2018, involved over 750 families who got their darlings into college fraudulently.  Mr. Singer has been charged with racketeering and money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Back in March 2018, 50 people were indicted by federal prosecutors, including two Hollywood celebrities, Lori Loughlin, along with her husband Mossimo Giannulli, and Felicity Huffman in conjunction with the admissions scheme.  Lori and her husband paid a bribe for their two daughters to be accepted into the University of Southern California as members of the crew team, although neither had ever been involved in this sport.  Felicity paid for her daughter’s SAT scores to be altered.  Lori and her husband and Felicity have been charged with mail fraud and home services fraud and their careers have already begun to suffer as a result of their actions.

No one should really be surprised or shocked.  The rich and famous have consistently used their wealth to influence their children into getting into primo colleges and universities, albeit without apparently breaking the law.  This is regardless of political affiliation, Republican, Democrat or Independent.  There has always been inequality between the haves and the have-nots and particularly in where one goes to college.  The “old boys club,” the funding of buildings and programs and huge donations has guaranteed that offspring will continue in the tradition of their fathers and mothers before them in being accepted into elitist schools.

It was interesting and revealing the other night as Chris Cuomo, scion of a powerful political family and Anderson Cooper, part of the Vanderbilt clan, exchanged comments on this admissions scandal.  both are very intelligent men, who are good at their craft. But, you could see Anderson make a slight, but definite, grimace as Cuomo noted that they were both Yale alumni and understood how money can make a difference.  Was that a slip of the tongue?

For places such as Yale, the beneficiaries are either the very rich or the very poor.  It’s the schmucks in between that pay the price of inequality.

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

 

 

 

 

JOEY COME LATELY: BIDEN NOW SAYS HE SUPPORTS CHINA TRAVEL BAN TO SLOW VIRUS AFTER HE CALLED IT ‘REACTIONARY’, ‘XENOPHOBIC’ AND HYSTERICAL’’

By ROBERT ROMANO

Former Vice President Joe Biden now says he supports travel bans to contain the Chinese coronavirus after all, after he had previously called the China travel ban issued by President Donald Trump in late January “xenophobia.”

Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told CNN on April 3 that Biden “supports travel bans that are guided by medical experts, advocated by public health officials and backed by a full strategy,” adding, “Science supported this ban, therefore he did too.”

Was that before or after looking at a poll that said Trump would do a better job dealing with this crisis than Biden? Asking for the potentially hundreds of thousands of American lives President Trump saved by acting decisively in the early days of this pandemic at a time Biden was hysterically complaining about what he called “reactionary” travel restrictions.

And why wasn’t Biden the first one explaining his new position on this issue? Why tell us now? And why lie to the American people, to pretend he was in favor of it all along when he never supported it at the time? Why not just admit he was wrong?

Biden not only didn’t support the ban, he explicitly opposed it, repeatedly, saying it was unscientific, even though it turns out it ultimately was backed up by the science. Which, you don’t need a medical degree to understand. It’s just common sense. Travel restrictions are just another form of social distancing from those traveling from the hotspot at the time, which was China, to prevent the American people from coming into contact with others who had been exposed to the virus, just as not going to work if you’re sick might.

On Jan. 27, Biden had an oped published in USA Today, perhaps anticipating the upcoming travel ban and blasted President Trump’s calls in 2014 for travel restrictions during the Ebola outbreak as “reactionary”.

Biden wrote, “I remember how Trump sought to stoke fear and stigma during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. He called President Barack Obama a ‘dope’ and ‘incompetent’ and railed against the evidence-based response our administration put in place — which quelled the crisis and saved hundreds of thousands of lives — in favor of reactionary travel bans that would only have made things worse.”

On Jan. 31, President Trump issued the travel restrictions from China.

On Feb. 1, a day after the travel restrictions were put into place by, Biden said in Iowa, “We have, right now, a crisis with the coronavirus… This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.”

Biden added, repeating a line from his USA Today oped: “Diseases have no borders, they have no borders.”

On March 12, the very same day President Trump implemented further travel restrictions on Europe, leaving little doubt about his thoughts on the travel ban, Biden said in a speech, “Banning all travel from Europe or any other part of the world may slow it but as we’ve seen will not stop it. And travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics, rather than risk, will be counterproductive.”

That might’ve been the first crack in Biden’s façade, when he first acknowledged that travel restrictions might slow the virus down. Still, he didn’t support the policy. As it turns out, slowing the virus down was exactly what President Trump’s policy did, buying valuable time for the U.S. to put in place mitigation and race to bring desperately sought medical supplies to areas of the country now experiencing surges of new cases and hospitalizations.

The same day, Biden tweeted similarly, “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it…”

Is that so, Joe? Then why are the doctors telling those who are sick to stay inside? Why are patients at hospitals kept in separate rooms behind glass?

You know who wouldn’t stop the virus? Joe Biden, that’s who. We know Biden wouldn’t have done the travel ban in late January, because he told us every chance he got. He called it “reactionary,” “hysterical,” “xenophobic,” and “counterproductive.” All he has done up to this point is mock and deride President Trump’s efforts.

In fact, until Bedingfield told CNN that Biden now supported the travel restrictions, nobody in the world ever knew Biden had changed his position on the issue. Bedingfield said Biden’s “reference to xenophobia was about Trump’s long record of scapegoating others at a time when the virus was emerging from China,” but not a reference to the travel ban. Uh-huh.

Finally, on April 5, Biden completed his about face on the issue on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos, who must have simply forgotten to roll the video tape of Biden blasting the travel ban. Biden said, “[Trump] indicated that I complimented him on dealing with China. Well you know 45 nations had already moved to keep—to block China’s personnel from being able to come to the United States before the President moved. So it’s about pace, it’s about the urgency and I don’t think there’s been enough of it.”

Perhaps ABC or CNN should bring Biden back to explain all his other statements away, or even better, to point out a single statement made in January or February supporting the travel restrictions. You know, when they might’ve still made a difference.

Ironically, Biden added, “I think it’s important to follow the science. Listen to the experts. Do what they tell you.”

But if President Trump had done that, there might have been no travel ban from China at all. We’d still be taking flights from there. At the time, Trump was acting against the academic models, according to Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, who testified to the House Homeland Security Committee on March 11.

Cuccinelli stated, “Our understanding at the time we recommended it to the President and we had that discussion with him was that the academic model suggested not to do that. So, our advice was contrary to the then existing models as it was described in the task force. We made the recommendation anyway. The President was well aware of that sort of contrary indication and he adopted the recommendation and we universally now believe we tremendously benefitted from adopting those measures.”

It was Trump who proved whatever model said travel restrictions wouldn’t work wrong. Even Biden admitted, albeit a month and a half too late, that such a travel ban might slow the virus down.

That bought us time, time we would have never had if Biden had been president.

Leadership does not come in a text book. It’s not something you can look up. It requires instincts and an ability to take decisive action. In politics you don’t a second chance to act decisively. Trump acted decisively. Biden failed. Coming back in April and saying in hindsight it was a good idea is nice and all, but at best it makes Biden a Joey come lately on this issue. He should just admit he was wrong. To say he supported it all along is a monstrous lie.

On Feb. 1 when it mattered, Biden in Iowa said, “The American people need to have a president who they trust what he says about it [the virus].” That’s right, Joe. They really do.

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. 

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

PRINCIPAL DUMPED AFTER MAKING STUDENT REMOVE “TRUMP 45” JERSEY AT PATRIOTIC FOOTBALL GAME

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Let’s harken back to the days when kids were actually in schools…

Oh, the petty nonsense that has been dealt with…

This one started out with typical far left, so-called academic elitism, but…

Cheers to Harnett County School District in North Carolina for dumping the bonehead principal that made a student remove his “Trump 45” football jersey at a patriotic high school football game.

Matthew Collins, 18, exercised his First Amendment right to free speech and wore a red, white, and blue jersey to his high school football game on October 5. Students had been told to dress patriotically for the game. Collins’s jersey featured stars and stripes on the front, along with the letters “USA” and an image of the Statute of Liberty’s torch. The back of the jersey featured the name “Trump” and the number “45.”

Close to halftime, Cindy Gordon, then-principal at the high school, singled Collins out of the crowd and asked him to remove the jersey. She stated that the shirt was “too political” and that some parents complained about it. Collins complied with her request, although Collins’s father later reported that his son felt “humiliated” and “embarrassed” by the principal’s actions.

“There is nothing political about this shirt,” Mike Collins, Matthew’s father, noted. He also pointed out that he himself is a registered Democrat. The jersey was a show of respect for the sitting president, not an attempt to make a political statement.

Naturally, this incident received plenty of media attention and criticism. The school district, likely embarrassed by Principal Gordon’s lame attempt to appease some complaining liberals (or perhaps she was personally offended by this visual reminder to her that Donald Trump is the President of the United States), released this statement: “…we want to emphasize that Harnett County Schools supports and affirms students’ rights to express themselves — including wearing clothing expressing political messages or supporting political candidates or officeholders — in ways that are not expected to disrupt school or school events.”

A week later, the Harnett County School District reported that Cindy Gordon had been replaced. It is unclear whether Cindy Gordon is totally out of a job, or has just been relocated to another position in the district. In any case, thank goodness she is not serving as the leader of the high school. Anyone who squashes a student’s right to free speech should not be acting in a leadership role. Whether she was caving in to offended liberal parents at the football game, or she asked Collins to remove his Trump jersey because she just did not want to see this display of support for the president, she is not deserving of the respect of those in her school community.

It’s scary to think how often students in schools, who wish to express conservative viewpoints, face unfair repercussions. ESN has reported on several recent cases, where students’ freedom of speech was shut down because it was pro-Trump and/or conservative. In such cases, liberals get offended, melt down, and take unnecessary and unjust actions against young people simply because they are exercising free speech that does not fit into their anti-Trump, anti-Christian, anti-patriotic ideology. While it’s not likely that liberals will end their whiny, nonsensical antics anytime soon, let’s hope that those power-abusing libs in charge, like Cindy Gordon, find themselves out of power when they attempt to trample on young people’s free speech.

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.

 

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE?

By TEMPLE LI

Millennials have been raised in an environment which fosters a disdain of country and an affinity for socialism.  They have a cynical view of their nation’s past and have expectations that the government owes them big time and should provide for all their wants and needs.  They are indoctrinated in schools under union control and liberal bias whose teachers are more interested in political correctness rather than freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas.  A former winner of the National Teacher of the Year Award, Tracey Bailey, after giving up his membership in the American Federation of Teachers, indicated that unions are just “special interests protecting the status quo,” pillars of “a system that too often rewards mediocrity and incompetence.”

Millennials are very verbal about their discontent with capitalism.  Abel Delgado has been politically active in Flint, Michigan, regularly attending protests, city council meetings and community discussions throughout the ongoing water crisis in this city.  According to a NBC report in a November 2016 report, Delgado reflected: “It really came down to me seeing the effects of capitalism and seeing that all of that was driven by greed,” Delgado said. “It came down to (that) I’m sick and tired of seeing people oppressed.”

The election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes represents their growing tendency to reject capitalism in favor of a more socialist government which they perceive will, through control by big government, improve the climate, provide free higher education,  more inclusive medical care, and eliminate income inequality .  Yet they are very naive about finance, economics, budgetary issues and the workings of  huge bureaucracy.  Their heroes are celebrities that travel to aclimate change event in Italy in private jets, yachts and helicopters.

They are perfectly okay with someone like Colin Kaepernick taking a knee and refusing to salute the flag or sing the National Anthem; while intolerant of others who do not embrace  their liberal way of thinking.  They gladly support trying to obliterate the statues, pictures, symbols which represent the growth of a truly unique nation and the individuals who contributed to its formation, failing to realize that history is contextual and these represent historical points of reference.  Instead they are products of a school system imbibed in revisionist history, where  individuals are memorialized based on their sexual orientation rather than the relevance of their contributions.

They march in demonstrations against a country which has given them the greatest freedoms the world has ever known.  In a 2017 article in HUFFPOST, the headline was, “Millennials Are The Foot Soldiers Of The Resistance.”  PJ MEDIA writer Rick Moran decided to ask millennials how they felt about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comment that “America was never that great.”  By and large the young people queried by Moran backed Cuomo.  “I don’t believe that America has been great for all folks ever,” said one.  “Even today.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, millennials in Hong Kong are fighting and protesting to maintain the continuation of a democratic, capitalistic society. According to THOUGHTCO, a reference site with a 20+ year focus on expert-created education content: “In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang negotiated the underlying plan for the lease to end, such that Hong Kong would remain a semi-autonomous region for a 50-year period after the lease ended.  The lease ended on July 1, 1997, and since then tensions between the democratically-minded Hong Kong population and the PRC have continued, although Hong Kong remains functionally separate from the Chinese mainland.”

These Hong Kong millennials see their freedoms gradually being eroded away by China’s desire to dominate and they have been protesting since June, putting their lives in peril, to prevent a communist/socialistic takeover.  Millennials in Hong Kong sing the Star Spangled Banner, holding American flags, during their protests, seeking U.S. support in their pursuit for their continued democratic way of life.

The millennials in America may think the “grass is always greener on the other side;” while those in Hong Kong realize that the seeds China is trying to plant are anything but green.

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

COMMENTS DISABLED BY SITE.             

YOU MAY, HOWEVER, COMMENT THROUGH FACEBOOK.