Inflation for 2018 settled in at 1.9% for the year, with just 0.8% of that in the final six months of the year.  Real wages for 2018 increased measured against inflation increased by $4.39 a week. This means that if inflation and wage increases are equal in 2019, the average worker will make $228.28 more in 2019 than last year. And this is without adding in the benefits of the tax cut.

Why does this matter?

Because economic growth doesn’t typically occur in massive spurts, but instead shows up in people’s paychecks three to five dollars a week at a time.  And while people appreciate it when they pay less at the pump for gasoline, the prices vary from week to week and are hard to calculate into our personal budgets.

But when the average wage earner sees his or her overall take home pay increase gradually, they find themselves with enough money to not feel so stressed at the end of each month. They can then begin thinking about growing their family, putting aside something for the future or even going on a delayed trip.

Wage Hikes Already Here

This same impact is felt when Americans believe that they can afford to quit a job they hate before finding a new one to replace it. The market creates increased or decreased demand for labor and it is that demand which naturally increases or decreases wages. This freedom effect is being felt in the economy and the free flow of labor is what causes competition between employers for workers and increases in wages and benefits to attract and keep good people.

An example can be found in Williston, North Dakota, which is the heart of the Bakken Oil field.  In a February 13, 2013 article titled, “Minimum Wage Increase: The bad idea that just won’t die“, I wrote that the local McDonald’s in that North Dakota town was hiring for $11 an hour, far above the $7.35 minimum wage.”

The reason for that differential was that the town was booming and the competition for people to do entry level labor was heavy, so the Golden Arches needed to pay more, and charge more for a Big Mac to accommodate that increased labor cost.

Today, that same crew member job is being offered for $12 an hour as the small-town McDonald’s remains in heavy competition for labor in light of the ongoing shale oil boom in the area.

Back in Washington, D.C., the know-it-alls on the left have a different idea. They believe that the national minimum wage should be $15 an hour regardless of what market you live in and how much the public will pay for a hamburger, fried chicken or pizza.

Half A Million Jobs Destroyed

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this mandate will eliminate half a million jobs for entry level job seekers. To put that in perspective, the city of Atlanta, Georgiahas fewer than 500,000 residents, so imagine all of them suddenly going from employed to unemployed.

And it is reasonable to argue that the CBO is being very conservative in this estimate. Anyone who has ordered from the counter at a McDonald’s recently has encountered a new electronic board which allows you to place your order using its touch screen.  The company has also implemented remote ordering by mobile phone for both contracted-out delivery and pick-up.

So, even without a $15 an hour mandate, jobs which used to be available for kids trying to get skills, Moms re-entering the workforce as their kids go to school and seniors looking to pad their retirement savings are being automated out of existence.

Seattle, Washington is one of the far left cities that jumped on the $15 an hour bandwagon, and the Washington Post reported in 2017 that a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one.”

Minimum Wage, Opportunity Killer

Interestingly, the study found that employers in Seattle chose to hire higher skilled workers deeming them more likely to help make a profit by increasing productivity over the entry level workers they replaced. The clear result is that those who rely upon entry level jobs to begin their pathway into the labor market are adversely impacted by higher minimum wages.

One of the study authors, Jacob Vigdor of the University of Washington concluded, “Basically, what we’re doing is we’re removing the bottom rung of the ladder.”

Not exactly what the advocates of a $15 minimum wage are promising from Washington, D.C.  Perhaps it is time they look at Williston, North Dakota where McDonald’s employees are paid well above the current minimum wage due to labor supply and demand, or even further west where in Seattle, the very people the newly fashionable socialist party in Congress claims to want to help are being kicked out of the labor pool altogether.

At a time when real wages are rising due to actual market forces, there is no need for Congress to artificially distort labor costs and destroy hope among those who are just trying to get started in life by getting that first gateway job.

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government and a former Labor Department official in the George W. Bush administration.  You can read more of his articles at 






Is Marijuana a gateway drug?  From its ignominious origins in the era of Cheech and Chong, it has evolved into a wonder drug for medically treating pain .  However, wasn’t it not too long ago when prescription drugs such as Fentanyl, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Morphine, etc. were the drugs of choice–and how has that worked out?

As states now accelerate their efforts to legislate in favor of legalizing marijuana for significant tax benefits in equal measure to substantially funding drug treatment programs, is the irony in all of this lost?  To those law-abiding citizens with addictive personalities are not the states encouraging the use of this drug by making it legal, while at the same time proclaiming a drug crisis?

Whether you believe Marijuana is a gateway drug or not, it is a drug to which people become addicted; which can negatively impact their health; impair their judgement; and possibly cause pain and suffering–rather than alleviating it.  LET THE BUYER BEWARE!

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?




By Robert Romano

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly needs to serve up whoever wrote the Sept. 5 anonymous New York Times oped, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” or he needs to go and President Donald Trump needs to find a new chief of staff who will get control of those men and women who have the privilege of serving in the White House.

The oped contends, dramatically, that “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda” and “I would know. I am one of them.”

The oped offers very few specifics over which policy disagreements led to the drafting of the oped.

But what it alleges is that there is a conspiracy in the White House to undermine the constitutionally elected, sitting President of the United States and the agenda he ran on. This goes to the heart of the President’s sole authority in executing the laws of the United States under Article II of the Constitution. The White House is a place where robust deliberations should be had, but, at the end of the day, the President decides the direction the administration will take on areas of policy.

This author, identified by the New York Times only as a “senior official in the Trump administration,” has no right or entitlement to be near this or any president ever again. Anyone of the many “senior officials” working with this official to “to frustrate parts of his agenda” have no right or entitlement to ever work in any administration ever again.

Nobody elected them, and nobody ever would. It’s a disgrace.

Ironically, the piece accuses the President of being “undemocratic” but as editor of the Intercept Glenn Greenwald notes, who is no supporter of Trump, “Many of the complaints from the NYT’s anonymous WH coward — not all, but many — are ideological: that Trump deviates from GOP orthodoxy, an ideology he didn’t campaign on [and] that voters didn’t ratify. Trump may be a threat but so is this covert coup to impose these policies.” Agree or disagree with his summation that the President is a “threat,” it is hard to dispute that an anonymous, shadowy government that nobody elected does not serve America.

Unfortunately for the oped’s author(s), all this oped accomplishes is to affirm the conviction of those who voted for Trump to drain the swamp. Today, it is their anger, those of tens of millions Americans who supported the President in 2016, that is felt.

The reason the American people voted for President Trump is because he was an outsider. To bring a fresh set of eyes to the massive problems this nation was confronting in 2016 when he ran for office, first, against an entrenched Republican establishment on issues surrounding trade and immigration, and then defeated Hillary Clinton and her political machine around those same issues. Trump promised to put America first, rebuild our military, forge new alliances abroad, keep the homeland safe, secure our borders, cut burdensome taxes and regulations, and help Americans get back to work after decades of bad trade deals, outsourcing and open borders.

But for Trump running for the office and winning, and the Supreme Court, instead of being a 5 to 4 constitutionalist majority, might be a 6 to 3 permanent liberal majority.

But for Trump having defeated Clinton, there are no tax cuts. No deregulation. There is no NAFTA renegotiation. No trade concessions from South Korea, Europe and Mexico. We are still in the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accords. The U.S. would still pretend Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or something very much like it, would be ratified by Congress.

In particular, trade was a critical issue that helped Trump win an improbable Electoral College majority in the Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And yet this gutless senior administration official, who complains Trump is “anti-trade,” wouldn’t even have a job in the White House if Trump had not taken those positions. Did he or she happen to pay attention to the President’s platform in 2016?

President Trump delivered Republicans to the promised land, and then he hired many of them to work in his White House and this is the thanks he gets. He won the election through the process laid out in the Constitution — and they serve at the pleasure of the President.

The White House, regardless of the occupant, is the place where the lives of every one of the hundreds of millions of Americans and billions worldwide hang in the balance as the President keeps this country safe, with the sage advice from his councilors. To do that job, he needs the unvarnished opinions from his advisors, so he can make the best decisions he can.

The President may not always make the decision that his advisors agree with, but that is no excuse for undermining the office of the President in this manner.

It is, on its face, the inexcusable act of a true coward, who does not have the courage of his or her convictions to stand up and do the honorable thing. Instead the oped promises that the conspiracy will continue operating in the shadows, promising, “[W]e will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”

The oped justifies itself by wrapping its treachery in the false cloak of patriotism: “There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first.” No, they’re not. If it is true, that there is a “quiet resistance” in the White House, they are putting themselves first. Dante reserved the fourth ring of the ninth circle of Hell for traitors to their benefactors. There was no lower pit.

President Trump is putting the country first — by enacting the agenda he campaigned on and won the election with. If there are those who object to President Trump, they should stand for the office in 2020, when we have elections again. That is the constitutional, republican system of government we live in.

The coward who wrote this oped should save Chief of Staff Kelly and the President a lot of trouble and just proclaim he or she wrote the oped and simply resign. In the meantime, measures must be taken to restore trust in the White House as the President moves forward with his agenda to Make America Great Again.

The White House is no place for resistance.

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





Justice and the First Amendment have prevailed for 18-year-old Addison Barnes.

The high school senior from Hillsboro, Oregon wore a  “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Company” t-shirt to school in May, on a day that his “People and Politics” class was scheduled to discuss immigration. The shirt also features Trump’s famous quote from one of the 2016 presidential debate, “The wall just got 10 feet taller.” Barnes was told by an administrator that some students and a teacher were offended by his t-shirt and was asked to cover it up or go home. He briefly covered it with a jacket but then decided that his free speech rights were being trampled and took the jacket off. At that point, Barnes was escorted out of his classroom by a security guard and subsequently went home. This forced absence was recorded as a suspension, and furthermore, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order that prohibited Barnes from wearing the shirt to school for the rest of the school year.

Accordingly, Barnes sued Liberty High School, the Hillsboro School District, and his school’s principal, Greg Timmons. Now, they have reached a settlement wherein Timmons will write a letter of apology to Barnes and the district will pay Barnes $25,000 for his attorney fees.

Barnes, who noted that a teacher in his school hung a pro-sanctuary city poster in her classroom all year and faced no repercussions, wanted to fight for free speech for those who express conservative viewpoints. In a statement, he said, “I brought this case to stand up for myself and other students who might be afraid to express their right-of-center views. Everyone knows that if a student wears an anti-Trump shirt to school, the teachers won’t think twice about it. But when I wore a pro-Trump shirt, I got suspended. That’s not right.”

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.





The FISA Memo propounded by Rep. Devin Nunes (R – CA) birthed an awakening of civil liberties violations that had been largely tucked away in an isolated corner of America’s hallowed criminal justice system. Criminal defense lawyers and activists of varied stripes had never relented in the struggle to prohibit the government from its intrusions upon citizens’ constitutional rights. Battles in the courts had persistently raged over unreasonable searches and seizures, illegal wiretapping and other illicit surveillance, and spicy incantations of privacy invasions by law enforcement officers. The public, however, had not heard all that much about it in recent years. And, more so, law enforcement had become emboldened, to a far greater degree than the historical “usual”, to usurp Americans’ civil liberties.

The bad cops were engaging in troubling conduct. And, largely, they had been getting away with it. A secret court, such as the FISA court, allowed the police misconduct to run more rampant in cases that purportedly involved matters of national security and allegedly illegal dealings with foreign governments. The pervasive civil liberties violations in recent years, however, have not been limited to the clandestine FISA Court. These unlawful acts of surveillance have occurred across the board, by law enforcement officials at every level.

But the illegal surveillance was not unknown – nor ignored – by the good guys in the law enforcement business.

What many of the bad guys did not know is this: the good guys have been surveilling them – and their misconduct.

There are two types of illegal wiretapping of phones, home/office/automobile bugging, email and computer hacking, etc. Those where a warrant for the surveillance is actually procured by law enforcement, but it is not grounded in probable cause. And those where no warrant is obtained, and the police are simply surveilling subjects with no judicial supervision at all. The former unsavory conduct is the method that occurred in the Carter Page case (the subject of the FISA Memo). In February, I wrote an article – The Spies, Secret Courts and Many Dangers Revealed by the FISA Memo – which thoroughly explains the legal shortcomings in the warrant application submitted by the FBI/DOJ in the Page matter and, thus, why the surveillance of Page was unlawful; there was absolutely no probable cause for the warrant. That article further examines whether or not there was criminal conduct perpetrated by any of the parties involved in that particular case.

In a matter where the court has been misled by law enforcement, only those lawbreaking officers will be subject to punishment for purposely and falsely generating probable cause. Where judges are in on the unlawful “findings” of probable cause, they too can face penalties for the civil liberties violations. The cases where law enforcement take it upon themselves to illegally surveil people (without ever even going to a court) obviously only subjects those officers to punishment.

Today’s climate, via the “revelations” from the FISA Memo, has put both illicit police and judges in jeopardy of firings and criminal prosecution. With the cat out of the bag so publicly, the tireless work of the criminal defense lawyers and activists is now being aided by elected officials, media, and the courts and law enforcement themselves. It is true that all of these parties have, in past years, been players in righting the wrongs of constitutional invasions, but now they will be doing it at a higher degree because of the outcry flowing from the FISA Memo.

And this brings us back to the good law enforcement officers who have long been monitoring the bad law enforcement officers. A fundamental reality in law enforcement is that there are competing agencies. Also, within large (and even smaller) agencies, there are people competing with each other. More so, like in every profession, there are good and honest individuals – and there are evil ones. The good ones are watching the bad ones. The bad ones, so often overly-consumed with their power posts, in layman’s terms, get wildly carried away with themselves. They think that the law doesn’t apply to them, they falsely believe that they are immune to prosecution, and they arrogantly believe that they will never get caught. What some don’t know, is that they are already caught—but they may or may not be punished for it.

I am fully aware of – and have been directly told by some of the good guys – that illegal surveillance has been perpetrated by some of the bad guys, in matters quite personal to me.

I have previously stated in another article, “There’s constant secret surveillance going on. One law enforcement agency is doing improper surveillance. I know about it. And so I go to another top law enforcement agency who knows about the illicit surveillance. They tell me that they’re monitoring it and if it gets to a certain level, they will stop those who are engaging in the illicit surveillance, and they will be penalized. Same thing for non-public unlawful investigations that are occurring.”

If the surveillance crosses into a certain level of illegal activity – meaning where any unlawful charges are filed (or the surveillance is persistent) – then the officials involved with the illegal surveillance/unlawful charges will not only lose their jobs, but they themselves will be prosecuted. If that line is not crossed, however, they will not face any punishment. And I can accept that.

In the past, I have been criticized by a few journalists/lawyers/activists for accepting this. I’ve been asked that if I really have a Libertarian-type outlook, how can I accept this? And my response was:

“In these circumstances, I let that top law enforcement agency handle it because, in the end, I will be protected. They have their reasons to jump in when they determine. And if the illicit surveillance and non-public investigations stop, then the issue is remedied. If they don’t stop, eventually they’ll get fired and prosecuted, and I’m protected.”

The truth is that it would cause the good law enforcement officers serious detriment if they came forward when illegal surveillance and illicit investigations are at, what they deem, a lower level. If they out themselves over the “lower level” occurrences, they would compromise their own surveillance of the bad law enforcement officers. And they would suffer other internal conflicts. So, I believe, in the balancing test, justice is preserved by the good guys coming forward – and securing punishment against the bad guys – upon them crossing that line into the “higher level” acts of misconduct (i.e., unlawful charges or persistent illegal surveillance).

So, in my personal matters, I have been – and am – content. If that line is crossed, the arrogant, illicit actors will have the shock of being terminated from their abusive positions of power and thereafter be the ones criminally prosecuted. And if they never cross that certain line, they escape penalty. So be it: it is the will of the good guys, who have conflicting duties – and I have to respect that because they have been gracious enough to alert me of the ill and, more so, ensure my protection (and the punishment of the wrongdoers) if that line is crossed.

And now, with the FISA Memo and the shakeup it has caused, in other matters where the line has been crossed, a more proactive approach will be taken: wherein the proper parties will more often be vindicated—and the improper parties will more often be punished.

Kenneth Del Vecchio is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/entertainment attorney for 23 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases.  Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star 100+ film and TV stars, including several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and E-1 Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years-old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.”  A frequent legal and political  analyst on networks such as Fox News Channel, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper. 





The Economic Growth Committee of New Jersey’s Senate has passed legislation to remove regulatory restrictions imposed on farmers who sell baked goods at local markets around the state.  Under the current law, the farmers’ baked items must be individually weighed before placed for sale at farm markets.  This puts the locally produced cakes, cookies, desserts, muffins, parties, pies, or other treats at a disadvantage.  According to Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), this change to the law will enable Jersey Fresh producers to “sell baked goods by the dozen and pies individually, not by weight. Farm markets should be placed on the same playing field as bakeries and other retail shops, allowing entrepreneurship to flourish.”

The intent of this law is to help local farmers to redefine their business activities.  In this way, farmers will not be as dependent on the success of the harvest, which can fluctuate because of weather or other forces.  As explained by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25), “By making it easier for farmers to diversify their products and sell baked goods, we can continue to enhance our local economies and give communities the ability to have farm-fresh experiences.”

The legislation, S-410, now faces the hurdle of the full Senate for a vote.

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.






It’s being called an attack equivalent to Pearl Harbor, where 2,403 Americans died when the Japanese brought the U.S. into World War II in 1941.

Russia attacked America. It meddled in the 2016 election.

Appearing on MSNBC, U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) made the comparison, blasting President Donald Trump for his perceived inaction, “Imagine if FDR had denied that the Japanese had attacked us at Pearl Harbor and didn’t react. That’s the equivalent.”

Apparently, Nadler believes the Russian intrusion into American politics should be cause for war between the world’s foremost nuclear powers.

So, what was the “equivalent” of bombing Pearl Harbor?

Hacking the Democratic National Committee and putting the emails onto Wikileaks? Or can we still not prove that?

No, this time the diabolical scheme was a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency that bought ads on Facebook, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, spending “thousands of U.S. dollars every month” beginning in 2015, totaling about $100,000 according to Facebook, what the company allegedly called “information warfare.”

In an election where $2.4 billion was spent by both sides, and the Special Counsel is wasting the nation’s time indicting a Russian company — the principals of which will never face trial or extradition — for less than 1 percent of all campaign spending, 0.004 percent.

And, get this, of the ads bought, per Facebook, “44 percent of total ad impressions (number of times ads were displayed) were before the U.S. election on November 8, 2016; 56 percent were after the election.”

So, it was a plot to influence the election… after the election. With ads that were both for and against Donald Trump, for and against Hillary Clinton, yet Mueller contended in his indictment that the ads’ purpose was “supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (‘Trump Campaign’) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

Even if Mueller’s indictment didn’t ignore the pro-Clinton ads prior the election and then the anti-Trump ads that ran after it, is this the reason why Nadler thinks we should be on a war footing?

Over foreign-purchased ads that did not comply with federal election laws?

Just this month U.S.-led forces in Syria were attacked by Russian soldiers, where more than 100 Russians were killed in the battle. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Moscow agreed publicly that the incident was not officially sanctioned by Russia. Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake compared it to Plato’s “noble lie,” an effort to prevent a wider escalation of tensions between the two superpowers.

Maybe Mattis, Trump and yes, Russian President Vladimir Putin, are the wise ones here.

Perhaps all this Russia hysteria, now led by Mueller, has undermined U.S. foreign policy, making relations with Moscow at a critical juncture more difficult, risking an unnecessary war.

Mueller’s mandate as Special Counsel is to “ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election… [including] any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noted in his press conference announcing the indictment, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity.” Meaning, there is no allegation that the Trump campaign or any other campaign cooperated in these activities. Rosenstein also noted it had no impact on the outcome of the election.

Mueller has two jobs. Investigate Russian government interference in the election, and alleged, still unproven Trump campaign collusion to that end.

This case might seemingly reach the first threshold, but nowhere in Mueller’s indictment does he actually allege that the Russian government actually directed the ads be put up. Or can’t he prove it?

Just saying. It’s Mueller’s job to prove the Russian government conspiracy, not ours. If he won’t even make the allegation, why should the American people and our representatives in Congress waste another two taxpayer cents on this rubbish?

Instead, Mueller links the ads to companies Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, “related Russian entities with various Russian government contracts.” So, it was not even a Russian intelligence agency that did the ads. It was a government contractor.

Which, if’s Viktor Rezunkov is to be believed is a company that spends most of its time commenting on news articles in Russia and making memes. According to Rezunkov, writing in 2015, translated from Ukrainian, the Internet Research Agency has departments “engaged in the blogosphere, in another they are preparing TK — technical tasks, in the third one — they comment on the news in Russian and foreign media, in the fourth — mount photos in the photoshop, forcing, say, heads of [Alexei] Navalny and [Barack] Obama to the bodies of animals, and so on.”

This is why we’re risking Word War III? Over bush league Internet trolls who otherwise spend their time photoshopping the faces of politicians onto the bodies of animals?

If Russian diplomats appeared at the UN alleging that U.S. shell companies had posted silly ads on Facebook against Putin in an effort to “topple” him, and called it the equivalent of Operation Barbarossa, they’d rightly be laughed out of the building. Nadler and others have lost their ever-loving minds.

Maybe one day historians will have a great laugh over all this at our expense. That is, assuming they’re not writing the history of the world that was from a fallout shelter.

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 our website at  You can read more articles at





Republican state Rep. Dan Johnson was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2013. He was found dead on Wednesday, in a probable suicide, a day after he denied the allegations.

Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings said, the Kentucky lawmaker was found dead of a single gunshot wound near Mount Washington. Sheriff Donnie Tinnell told CNN affiliate WDRB that he drove out to a rural area southeast of Louisville. He then drove onto a bridge, parked and shot himself in front of his car.

Johnson posted a message on social media shortly before his death. In the message he denied the sexual assault allegations and urged his family to stay strong for his wife. His relatives reached out to law enforcement after seeing the post and becoming concerned. According to Billings, law enforcement contacted Johnson’s phone and later discovered his body on the bridge. Billings was called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. where he confirmed the probable suicide. He said authorities discovered a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun near his body and his body was found in front of his truck.

According to the investigative report published Monday, Johnson’s accuser said the alleged sexual assault took place in 2013 during the early hours of New Year’s Day when she was 17. The accuser, Maranda Richmond, is now 21. She was staying in a living area of Louisville’s Heart of Fire Church, where Johnson served as pastor. According to the investigative report, Johnson drunkenly kissed her and fondled her underneath her clothes.

According to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Richmond reported the incident to authorities in April 2013, and the Louisville Metro Police Department initially opened an investigation, but closed it without charging Johnson. Somehow the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting obtained police documents on the alleged sexual assault. They then interviewed Richmond about how Johnson allegedly forced himself on her when she was a teenager.

Johnson denied the allegations a day after the center published its report on Tuesday. Johnson believed that Richmond was motivated by his political opponents. Johnson said, “This allegation concerning this young girl absolutely has no merit. As a matter of fact, some of this I heard yesterday for the first time as I read the story.”

According to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Louisville detectives reopened the investigation, the same day Johnson held a news conference.

Johnson’s Facebook page appeared with a post sometime Wednesday evening, that said the accusations “are false” and ‘only God knows the truth.” For some strange reason the post appears to have been deleted which raises some questions as to why would the post be deleted and not the entire Facebook page?

His post read…

“GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news. Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world … 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer.”

Johnson helped give the last rites to victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and has left behind a wife and family who will forever have a void in their lives due to allegations dug up by the media.





Study’s have revealed that children who grow up to become criminal psychopaths later in life were raised by parents or caregivers with two “extreme” parenting styles. High-security prisoners were interviewed by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and they found that many had a history of either total parental neglect, or rigidly controlling, authoritarian parents.

The definition of a psychopath is any person who suffers from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. Psychopaths are defined by their lack of empathy and have a tendency to manipulate people without any guilt.

The heartbreaking fact is that most criminal psychopaths also had a history of grotesque physical and/or psychological abuse during childhood. “Without exception, these people have been injured in the company of their caregivers. And many of the descriptions made it clear that their later ruthlessness was an attempt to address this damage, but in an inappropriate or bad way,” commented author Dr. Aina Gullhaugen

“If you think of a scale of parental care that goes from nothing, the absence of care, all the way to the totally obsessive parent, most parents are in the middle. The same applies to how we feel about parental control. On a scale from ‘not caring’ all the way to ‘totally controlling,’ most have parents end up in the middle,” Dr. Aina Gullhaugen added as she explained the types of parents criminal psychopaths typically have. “More than half of the psychopaths I have studied reported that they had been exposed to a parenting style that could be placed on either extreme of these scales. Either they lived in a situation where no one cared, where the child is subjected to total control and must be submissive, or the child has been subjected to a neglectful parenting style.”

There are many children who experience awful upbringings and don’t go on to become psychopaths and we can not blame parents for everything, but it does play a large part in the formation and structure of a child’s developing brain.

Personality traits of a psychopath are not always the callous killer who is obviously a criminal of some sort. The typical psychopath functions very well in society without any cause for alarm. In many cases people with psychopathic traits are highly successful – in fact they are believed to occupy three and four per cent of senior positions. They go undetected as effective leaders and good decision makers. They can be very charming, charismatic, fearless, and exhibit a massive ego but they lack a conscience. Their human conscience has been seared in some way or another, according to Dr Kevin Dutton, a research psychologist at the University of Oxford. There is a major lack of behavioral control and a tendency to boredom.

Kevin Dutton is a research psychologist at the University of Oxford and author of the Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success. Dr Dutton revealed the jobs with the most psychopaths working in them after conducting an extensive survey. Topping the list were CEOs followed by lawyers and those working in TV and radio. Also featured on the list were surgeons, salespersons, journalists and police officers.

Psychopaths are spread throughout the population and there are many degrees of it ranging from extreme criminal psychopaths to everyday people who don’t even know they may be on the spectrum. It can be dangerous to be unaware of this and range on the very top of scale. These individuals lack the emotion and empathy that commonly stops people from committing crime. Crimes committed by psychopaths range from murder to mentally, verbally or physically abusing a loved one. Either extreme is just as bad and occur mainly because these individuals are so emotionally disconnected that they function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern for human feelings or emotions.

None-the-less, there is always hope for individuals who suffer from psychopathic tendencies. If they discover that their behavior falls on the spectrum and they are able to take a moral inventory of their inability to feel for others then the first step is admitting it to themselves. Most importantly it is not a psychopaths fault for their inability to feel organic human emotions especially if they experienced an abusive upbringing or non existent caregivers. However, seeking help through a trained professional can always heal the past in a safe environment and lead one back to experiencing what it’s like to be a complete feeling, loving, positively functioning human being, once again.



By Natalia Castro

Kathy Griffin’s imaginary execution of President Donald Trump was “only a joke” but the fear it incited in 11-year-old Barron Trump was anything but funny. As both sides of the aisle condemn Griffin’s actions, this incident serves as a reminder that political violence cannot be accepted — for, in order for liberty to prosper, it becomes a civil duty to reject it when it is popularized in this manner.

Although it might incite a Secret Service investigation, Griffin’s joking beheading of President Trump was likely not illegal. It is well within her First Amendment rights to make such an offensive joke. But her freedoms should not allow society to socially embrace this action, as the implications of political violence are far too great — and dangerous.

Throughout history it is clear that when society begins to accept violence against political opponents as the norm, not just rejecting others opinions but their lives entirely, undemocratic regimes are easily able to gain control.

During the French Revolution, political violence was seen as a necessity to dismantle oppressive power structures, but consistently, rulers attaining power through violent means were subject to the same violence.

As historian David Andress explained at the a keynote to the conference, ‘Living in Violent Times’, University of Warwick in 2013, “The revolutionaries of the 1790s were convinced that they were working against violence. Even Jean-Paul Marat, the journalist whose unambiguous calls for the execution of traitors alienated almost every other political leader, always framed those calls in the context of an active threat of counter-revolution, plotting to restore tyranny by force, and as a prophylactic against greater massacre — hundreds of heads should fall, to save tens of thousands.”

British philosopher, Edmund Burke, theorized in 1790 that the reckless revolution in France would ultimately lead to tyranny. France experienced over a decade of public rioting, political executions, and popular discontent. The country did not have a stable leader until 1799 when a military coup d’etat abolished the executive leaders appointed by parliament and thrust Napoleon Bonaparte into power.

Thus, through the normalization of political violence, France allowed unfettered freedom to dehumanize opposition parties and thus experienced a tumble of increasingly radicalized leaders.As Burke warned, “what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.”

In a more recent example of normalized political violence, the Russian Revolution, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and even the Roman civil wars of antiquity all stand out as other prominent, historical examples of how the destruction of political opponents ultimately resulted in tyranny.

The German and Italian fascists of the early 20th century dehumanized their enemy as well. Germany experienced a period of increased political violence from 1918 to 1933, when the public was left discontent after the first World War. In a similar effort to promote revolution in the nation, German citizens began attacking opposition leaders and holding political rallies that nearly always broke out into violent brawls. The result was eventually a banning of all opposition political parties and the establishment of a Nazi totalitarian state.

In Italy, Fascist violence was used to break the threat of socialism. “Blackshirts” traveled to small towns throughout the Italy and forced political opponents to drink castor oil, before stripping them naked and beating them.

This political violence was justified because the opponent’s ideas made them less than human and therefore, able to be destroyed. Micheal Ebner of Slate Media notes, “Through illegal violence, rather than elections, Fascists controlled government administration and destroyed the offices, newspapers, and cultural and social organizations of the Socialists, trade unions, and peasant leagues. Mussolini occasionally decried the illegal activities…but they operated as the motor that drove his government along the road to dictatorship.”

Even in our own country nearly 100 years later, we must remember the threat of such revolutionary violence.

The most prominent current example is inherent in the Islamist, terrorist message in the United States, following the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, domestic terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan requested to be a full citizen of the terrorist organization Islamic State, claiming he believed in the establishment of a Muslim caliphate government ruled by fundamentalists.

This sentiment has been mirrored from the Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting to San Bernardino, violence to pursue a political objective is alive and well in the United States. As radical jihadists pursue their own political agenda, American lives are increasingly being placed at risk.

These may seem like extreme examples, but similar sentiment is seeping into the political mainstream. Just this past April, a clash between pro-Trump and anti-Trump protestors led to 21 arrests, 11 injuries, and seven hospital transports for students at Berkley University. A political rally, that quickly turned to political violence — and serve as a warning that it can always get worse.

Kathy Griffin has been fired from CNN and publicly apologized, but her statement calling for the beheading of President Trump was not merely deplorable — it represents a threat to liberty and the constitutional rule of law.

So far, in most domestic cases of political violence public authorities have responded adequately. But as a civil society we must remember that Griffin’s act is not a joke when public beheadings are a trend for Islamic State already overseas. The rejection of political violence is integral to preserving that civil society, and protecting our democracy against tyranny.

Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of her articles at