LINA’S RISTORANTE IN BLOOMINGDALE NEW JERSEY DELIVERS THE BEST OF ITALIAN FAMILY DINING

By DANIEL SONNINSHINE

The intersecting highways, meshing suburban, rural and city living are a cornerstone of New Jersey life. As are sandy beaches, major professional sports teams, and the closest of proximities to the world’s largest and most influential locale, New York City. What comes with all this? Great restaurants, of course. And New Jersey has many of them.

Do you like French cuisine?

How about Chinese food?

Mexican, hombre?

Or how about Indian, my friend?

You say you like Thai, German, Polish, Brazilian, Japanese, Ethiopian, and just simple ole’ American food?

Well, New Jersey has great eateries boasting all of the above – and more.

But above and beyond all else, the Garden State, with its great, large Italian-American community, has many a fine Italian restaurant. And there is none better than Lina’s Italian Ristorante in Bloomingdale.

Nestled about 40 minutes from Manhattan, in a quiet but suburban working class/professional town in Passaic County, Bloomingdale gets a big splash from Lina’s. This cozy, family-style Italian restaurant is anything but quiet in the top-notch quality of its mouth-watering, tasty meals.

Owners – and master chefs and creators – Sal Pagliarulo and Lina Pagliarulo offer a bevy of delightful vitello (veal), pollo (chicken), and pesce (fish) entrees. Indeed, they are famous for their wide variety of pasta dishes. Open since 1983, their menu, found on the restaurant’s website, is a cool mixture of traditional Italian classics and meals you just won’t find anywhere else. House specialties include:

Sal Pags’ tantalizing Seafood Alla Sinatra, consisting of baby lobster tail, shrimp and scallops – laced with diced fresh tomatoes in a light, but savory, alfredo sauce. Over what? Homemade fettucine.

Lina’s mouthwatering Chicken Alla Lina, a dish of chicken breast smothered with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms  – brought particularly Italian home with diced prosciutto. Add a special white wine sauce, and you have perfection.

Stopping in any time of the evening or afternoon, one is met with a surprise of the ordinary turned special. The roasted eggplant, drizzled with the right amount of olive oil and spices somehow tastes of a rare appetizer delight. The steak and peppers – not on the menu, but prepared at your delight – draws the diner in through a combination of the most flavorful of sauces and additional fresh garden vegetables. And then there are the desserts. Not only made by Sal and Lina, but also Lina’s mama. And, oh, are they authentic. And, oh, are they good.

Spolier Alert:

And, oh, all the food at Lina’s Italian Ristorante is so very, very, good…

Lina’s easily earns five stars.

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

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TV STAR JULIE MCCULLOUGH REVIEWS HOBOKEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, CALLING IT A RARE A+

By JULIE MCCULLOUGH

After spending several years with Hoboken International Film Festival – and over 30 years in the film and TV industry – I wanted to reiterate my evaluation of this event. It’s a one-of-a-kind.

In a 2018 review, I noted that filmmakers have an opportunity at Hoboken International Film Festival that they do not with any other film festival. The town who hosts Hoboken International Film Festival has an opportunity that nearly no other town, anywhere, has.

Known as HIFF, Hoboken International Film Festival, became a top tier film festival in its very first year, all the way back in 2006. Now, going into its 15th year, HIFF has been called by FOX, Time Warner and other major media, “One of the 10 biggest film festivals in the world” – and there are over 2,000 film festivals worldwide. This designation is certainly impressive, but it’s not a designations that make a film festival one of the best.

I was driven to become part of the HIFF family (I am now the “HIFF Festival Ambassador”) because of people. It’s that simple: people make up an event. People choose the content. People run the live action. People work with you. HIFF has had a storied past, with its roots, of course, in Hoboken, New Jersey. It travelled to the Teaneck, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Middletown, NY, and, most recently, Greenwood Lake, NY. Each of these locations delivered something special to HIFF in its growth. Each location added an additional base of fans,  and added to its rich history. Now, HIFF will be coming to a new location in 2020 – who it is will be determined in the near future – and that venue, and the people who live there, will be getting something priceless. The HIFF Video Highlights Reel shows it all. 

HIFF, hosted by  Emmy Nominee GILBERT GOTTFRIED (Problem Child; Alladin; “Saturday Night Live”), gets major movie stars to attend. Here is a short, incomplete list, of some of the attendees who have attended HIFF over the years: Academy Award & Emmy Winner LOUIS GOSSETT JR (An Officer and a GentlemanDiggstownIron EagleRoots); CHARLES DURNING (2-time Academy Award/4-time Golden Globe/9-time Emmy Winner and Nominee); JANE SEYMOUR (7-time Golden Globe/5-time Emmy Winner & Nominee); ROBERT LOGGIA (Academy Award and Emmy Nominee); MELISSA LEO (Academy Award and Nominee); BILLY DEE WILLIAMS (Return of the Jedi, Empire Strikes Back, The Ladies Man); CYNDI LAUPER (Emmy Winner and star recording artist); JONATHAN SILVERMAN (Weekend at Bernie’s; Swinging with the Finkels); PAUL SORVINO (Goodfellas, The Cooler, The Firm);  CLORIS LEACHMAN (Academy Award Winner; 19-time Emmy Winner & Nominee); BURT YOUNG (Academy Award nominee; Rocky; Back to School);  MICHAEL BIEHN (The Terminator; The Seventh Sign); DANNY AIELLO  (Academy Award Nominee); Moonstruck, Do the Right Thing) ;  ARMAND ASSANTE (2-time Golden Globe/4-time Emmy Winner & Nominee); MARTIN KOVE (“Cobra Kai”; The Karate Kid; Rambo); TIA CARRERE (True LiesWayne’s WorldLilo & Stitch; Rising Sun); JOYCE DEWITT (“Three’s Company,” Snapshot; Rock Story); STEVEN BAUER (Golden Globe nominee; Scarface); JOELY FISCHER (“Ellen”; “’Til Death”; Inspector Gadget); DOMINIQUE SWAIN (Face/Off; Lolita); JASON LONDON  (Dazed and Confused; Jason and the Argonauts); COSTAS MANDYLOR (Saw Movies; The Pledge); MICHAEL PARE (Eddie and the Cruisers; Streets of Fire);  ARTIE LANGE (“The Howard Stern Show”); MARION ROSS (“Happy Days”; 5-time Emmy Nominee); MIKE STARR (Dumb & Dumber; Ed Wood; The Black Dhalia); and CARROLL BAKER (Academy Award Nominee; Golden Globe Winner).

Less than one percent (1%) of film festivals (or any event, anywhere) have a roster of star power in that league.

HIFF is indeed a very rare film festival. I have been to hundreds. And HIFF is superior because of so many different elements, including having had many top national and regional corporate sponsors (AnheuserBusch, CBS, Coca-Cola, FOX, TD Bank, Shoprite, News 12 to name a few).

HIFF Chairman Ken Del Vecchio – who is also an acclaimed filmmaker of over 30 movies, a best-selling author (novels and legal books), a regular analyst for major news networks, an attorney, and former judge – will tell you that Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, Toronto and a few others are in a league of their own. Ken provides this recognition because those film festivals have studio support, and they are supported with millions of dollars by their host locations and corporate sponsorships. This makes HIFF that much more amazing because it doesn’t have a scintilla of the resources of festivals like Cannes and Tribeca, yet HIFF truly is in that category right after them.

What makes HIFF even more rare is the fan and filmmaker participation. At every year that I have been to the festival, it has had completely sold out Opening Night (first night) and Gala Awards Ceremony (last night) attendance. That’s over 1,000 people each night. Then, there’s five days of movies playing in between those two nights; people are coming and going all week. Throughout the week, the local establishments are getting crowds who ordinarily would not be in town. Hotels have guests who normally wouldn’t be there during this week. People have to stop and get gas, get basic supplies, etc – thus, boosting this local economy in so many different ways.

So smart of HIFF is making this a week-long event. If it were just a 3-day event, it would be a big “wham bam, thank you mam.” You would have your sold out Opening Night and Gala Awards Ceremony, with a jam-packed Saturday of screenings, and the perception to all would be a nonstop, awesome frenzy for three days. But in having it seven days, you give filmmakers (who are arriving from all across the world) a chance to schedule coming to the festival. You give festival fans numerous options to attend screenings and events, over the seven days. You get the obvious: more movies in the festival (a lot more). You get the intangible (which is oh so very important): the fact that it is a 7-day event, which is the only way for a festival to be recognized by filmmakers and the industry at-large, as well as media, as a top tier festival. And the host town gets seven days of attention (via advertising, publicity, social media, etc) directly aimed at it. The big nights get the biggest attention, and everything else that happens in between is beautiful gravy. So smart!

Now to that publicity, advertising, and social media. All of these items are building blocks—I have lived a career of it, and understand it so very well, having seen the ups and downs of so many shows and events. HIFF brings a massive history of notoriety and recognition. And each year, it adds to it. The host town gets an anomaly of substantial attention through all these marketing matters. The ads, the ads, the ads – in newspapers, radio, TV, and on posters – everywhere the name of the host town is plastered,  along with a large logo for the town. The social media is coming out of Facebook’s, Instagram’s and Twitter’s pores. And the media attention. Again, watch the HIFF Video Highlights Reel and see one great TV report after another. Also, see this video scrapbook from a few years back, which has one newspaper article after another, reporting on what HIFF is all about; It’s quite compelling. And here are a selection of news articles from 2018 and 2019 that I asked the HIFF publicist to cull together.

Backstage 3-30-18

News 12  5-18-18

Times Herald-Record 5-18-18

Spectrum News 5-18-18

Rockland County Times 5-3-18

Times Herald-Record 5-21-18

West Milford Messenger 5-21-18;

Times Herald-Record 5-12-18

Warwick Valley Dispatch 5-12-18

Broadway World 4-19-18

Mid-Hudson News 5-10-18

Warwick Valley Dispatch 5-10-18

West Milford Messenger 5-4-18;

Times Herald-Record 5-8-18

The Maclaey Argus 5-5-18

Times Herald Record – 5-17-19

News 12 – 5-17-19

Empire State News – 5-26-19

The Record – 5-17-19

Mid-Hudson News – 5-24-19

Times Herald Record – 5-16-19

Warwick Valley Dispatch 5-17-19

Hudson Valley Press – 5-22-19

News 12 Facebook – 5-17-19

Broadway World – 3-27-19

Mid-Hudson News 5-18-19

Back in May, Empire State News published an article about HIFF, describing the significantly wide range of praise for the festival; it was rather amazing – and I am providing quotes from that article below:

A roster of celebrities who attended the 2019 HIFF all had great things to say about the event. Watch them here, during interviews on the 2019 HIFF red carpet.  Just some of their red carpet quotes include:

When asked why she returns to HIFF every year, iconic TV actress Joyce DeWitt replied, “It starts with [HIFF Chairman] Kenny Del Vecchio. Ken’s passion for film, and his passion for all the people it takes to put together a good piece. That passion and love that he has is so infectious. And we became friends working together, and after that, becoming involved with the festival really had to do with what he and his wife Francine have birthed in this marvelous situation. There are films here from across America, and also from 24 countries. So this has become one of the largest film festivals in the world, and the very core of that reason is Kenny Del Vecchio.” DeWitt presented the Best TV Pilot award at the festival’s gala show on the last night this year.

Weird Science starlet Judie Aronson, who presented an award at the HIFF Gala Awards Ceremony, declared that she’s “having such a fun time here. So many people…I’m going to be presenting the Best Documentary Award this evening. There are quite a few really wonderful documentaries this year, so I’m really excited to be a part of this. The movies are amazing, all different movies, and I’m having a great time here in Greenwood Lake…I’m just so excited to be here, and for all the winners. Everybody did such a great job on their films this year.”

Martin Kove, a fan-favorite who is right now one of the most visible silver screen actors with his show “Cobra Kai” being in the top three rated shows nationally, stated this before he accepted the HIFF Hall of Fame Award on Opening Night: “I’m here really to support my friend Ken because Ken supports all these young filmmakers…And Ken mentors a lot of these kids who have a lot of dreams…People like Ken really allow these dreams to become a reality for all these young filmmakers.”

“Baywatch” star and best-selling author Gena Lee Nolin, who presented the Best Supporting Award at the HIFF Gala Awards Ceremony, proclaimed, “I’m here to support indie films. I am just so thrilled at some of the nominees and the films I’ve seen over the course of the last few days. It is truly inspiring. And the talent, the raw talent that’s out there…I appreciate good filmmaking. I got into town two days ago, and I love it.”

Star news anchor David Shuster explained, “We’re here because Ken Del Vecchio hooks us up with cool people…everybody seems really nice and excited to have this sort of event. So it’s amazing. It’s great.”

After receiving the 2019 HIFF Excellence in Acting Award at HIFF’s Gala Awards Ceremony, Dazed and Confused star Jason London posted on Facebook that he was “Catching up with great friends and enjoying this beautiful town.” Before the Gala Awards Ceremony, he said, “This festival is so important to independent filmmakers from everywhere. It’s an incredibly well-run event, with great people behind it. Ken knows what he’s doing.”

Walking into the Gala Awards Ceremony, Oscar nominee Danny Aiello stated: “It’s incredible, the crowd here. So many people. I’ve always been glad to be a part of Hoboken International Film Festival.” A sentiment Aiello has expressed before.

The praise for HIFF, however, doesn’t end with celebrities. The filmmakers, fans, and local residents were also thrilled, en masse. And they weren’t shy about it, making public statements and sending written notes to HIFF.

The following Facebook posts are a sampling of the enormity of the social media applause for HIFF, that occurred during and directly after the 2019 HIFF:

“An incredible experience! It was wonderful to see so many great films and spend time with such fun and greatly talented people! Thank you Ken Del Vecchio and everyone for a fantastic festival!!”

– Lizet Benrey

“We had a wonderful time! Thank you for the all out effort to put on an amazing festival!”

– Joe Whelski

“Thank you Ken, Julie and all the great people that made it happen. The festival was so well run, elegant, fun…with lots of great films and cineaphiles. And the setting….gorgeous!”

– Victoria Guthrie

“The Hoboken International Film Festival was an amazing experience with such wonderful people which I found to be all True Class. The Founder Kenneth Del Vecchio and the entire HIFF crew were totally professional and honesty did a remarkable job! Thank You for having us and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this moment in the Festivals History – The Wiseguyz.”

– Freddy Tenore

“It was a wonderful time! I can’t wait until next year! It’s so great to see the event evolve bigger and better with each year. Thank you Ken for shinning a spotlight on the area for independent artists and businesses… to the many that is known, the 14th annual Hoboken International Film Festival happened this past week and last night wrapped up with a star studded gala and awards. The buzz is STILL in the air on amazing performances and witnessing something AWESOME.”

– Charles Marinaro

“Great time…thanks to everyone see you next year.”

– Wes Anderson

“Loved it! Thanks as always for a fantastic time… Wow I’m psyched to now be an award-nominated actor (Best supporting actor in a feature film) and even better that it happened at one of the biggest and best film festivals in the world, the Hoboken International Film Festival! …Thank you to Kenneth Del Vecchio and the wonderful crew of the festival for another incredible year. I’m already looking forward to next year!”

– Anthony Gagliardo

“The amount of planning and work it takes and expense no one can realize but those like me who also do things like this. Its a credit to all involved. CONGRATS TO ANOTHER GREAT FESTIVAL…”

– Billy G Lippolis

“I hope you come back next year.”

– Courtney O’Brien

“Was soooooo fun!!!”

– Oriana DAgostino

“You’re a genius! This Film Festival is terrific. Love Danny. A real gentleman…”

– Kevin M Hudson

“Glad to be part of Hoboken International Film Festival with Greek short film IVAN…

– Panagiotis Kountouras “

“ … you are not going to want to miss this outstanding film festival with unbelievable talent and honorees….”

– Michael DeGennaro

 “Awesome! Love this festival.”

– Laura Shapanus

Thank you Hoboken International Film Festival for being amazing!

– Mike Flowerz

“Opening Night at the Hoboken International Film Festival was a success! The feature film I’m the lead of A Karate Christmas Miracle opened the festival (also starring Julie McCullough, Martin Kove, Eric Roberts, Mario Del Vecchio) , Martin Kove received a Lifetime Achievement award, and Governor Jesse Ventura received a Humanitarian Award. And I got to reunite with a lot of my cast and crew, which was a treat!! Thanks for putting it all together Kenneth Del Vecchio, and for casting me in your film! Looking forward to the Awards Gala on Thursday.”

– Mila Milosevic

“Last nights opening for the Hoboken International Film Festival was awesome!… Another amazing time at the Hoboken International Film Festival 2019 congratulations to all the winners!!!”

-Ken Hampton

“…WHAT. A. FANTASTIC. NIGHT, seeing myself in the Opening Night Movie of The Hoboken International Film Festival! “A Karate Christmas Miracle.”

– Hugo Salazar

“Attending the Hoboken Film Festival last night in support of the movie A Karate Christmas Miracle was the bee’s knees!…”

– Candy Fox

“Great times great people.”

-Joann Patricia

Fun Opening Night At The Hoboken International Film Festival. Can’t Wait To Be There Tomorrow!… The Hoboken International Film Festival Is Roaring With Excitement !!!!!!… The Evening Was Trilling , Filled With Unending Excitement.”

– Josephine Moon Bloomfield

“Absolutely thrilled that the World Premiere of our feature will be @ one of the biggest Film Festivals in the Universe.”

– Mike Vezza

“Great screening this weekend of What Tomorrow Brings at the Hoboken International Film Festival!”

– Sean Hoagland (filmmaker)

“Thanks Kenneth Del Vecchio for an awesome festival!”

– Joe Puglisi

“Congratulations Kenneth Del Vecchio for hosting the wonderful Hoboken International Film Festival and for the film – A Karate Christmas Miracle.”

– Lydia Fiore

“Great job on the festival as always Ken! It’s awesome that you created such a platform where so much talent can shine & be recognized. Keep it up.”

– Gregg Woods

“Ken Del Vecchio does an over the top job with his film Festival every year. Each one better than the last. Not only is Ken a friend, but, each year all of us that attend feel like it is a family reunion. So much fun. I come over from Bloomingburg, NY. I am the director and co-host of The Mr. Phil Show. We have had Ken on our show and he will be back soon on a post Hoboken show. Great job Ken and crew. Congratulations!”

– Mary Lent-Frost

“Fantastic screening yesterday of Catnip Nation at Cove Castle. Every chair taken. Lots of emotion. Looking forward to closing ceremony.”

– Tina Traster

“The Tarab team rocked it on the #redcarpet at Hoboken International Film Festival in the beautiful town of #greenwoodlakes NY!!! Thanks for having us!!!… Met some cool fellow #filmmakers at Hoboken International Film Festival !!! Saw the fantastic #documentary 21 Years -A Folded Flag directed by Richard A. Fitts Jr. and produced by @rudolphchilds .Can’t wait to meet more cool peeps at the Gala Awards on Thursday!”

– Tarab Filmmakers

“Last night at Hoboken International Film Festival was pretty special. After a year and a half of hard work, Mystery Mansion won the jury award for Best New Pilot! It was a surreal moment. I am impossibly grateful to the festival and everyone who made this possible.”

– Mike Handelman

“40th won the award for Best Short Short at the Hoboken International Film FestivalGuy and Kate got to make a speech. They were congratulated by Jason London who was there picking an award himself. Very fun night! Congratulations all!”

– 40th Filmmakers

“The Hoboken International Film Festival was just another amazing event to behold. I don’t know how they manage to make every year better than the last. It was truly a blessing and a honor to be invited to be a part of such a first class celebrity award ceremony. Among the hundreds of new and seasoned producers, directors, writers and actors were some of my favorites! Jessie the Body Ventura, Gilbert Gottfried and of course Joyce DeWitt, as Janet from Three’s Company. She really is as sweet and caring in person as her character she played on the show. I don’t have to tell you how much they all loved the taste of Antioxidant Alkaline water. We already received our invitation for next year… We had a blast at yet another very memorable event… So excited to be a part of this prestigious event another year!

– Alkaline Water King

“Good time again on the red carpet with icon Martin Kove during the Hoboken International Film Festival in Greenwood Lake, New York… On the red carpet opening night for the 14th annual Hoboken International Film Festival in Greenwood Lake, New York. Appreciate founders Kenneth Del Vecchio & Dr. Francine Del Vecchio for hosting me for another great year. Congratulations!”

– Joshn Carpenter, Head of Acquisitions – Green Apple Entertainment

What’s great, as noted in that article with all these quotes – is that you can actually find and read all of these quotes (because they come from published sources, such as on Facebook) and watch all the interviews described. That is indeed a rarity in today’s media world.

The bottom line is this: It’s clear that a lot of people look forward to Hoboken International Film Festival, and with the greatest of excitement.

Of the scores of towns I have traveled to, none of them have anything like HIFF. The excitement, economic growth, attention, etc that HIFF brings to its locale is nothing short of amazing—what other towns and counties have this? Only a sad jealous person, or one with no mental faculties, would deny the wonderful and very rare impact that HIFF delivers.

Speaking of jealousy, that brings me to HIFF Chairman Ken Del Vecchio, who says that “jealousy” is the worst word in the dictionary. “I don’t understand the concept of jealousy,” Ken says. “It’s for insecure losers. I’m happy for others’ successes. And I hope for people to be happy for mine. People, out of weakness, often contrive battles with other people. Oddly, it’s rarely those who have big egos; it’s actually the people with no ego, with no confidence. I can figure out a jealous person pretty quickly, and I cut them out immediately. Jealousy usually goes hand-in-hand with disloyalty.”

And what does Ken say is the best word in the dictionary? “Loyalty.”

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

It’s this type of thinking that has made HIFF such a success. Ken is loyal to all those who work with him, and he is never afraid to compliment them (something a jealous person is unable to do). He points out, publicly, the incredible efforts of his wife, Dr. Francine Del Vecchio, who I call a “unicorn” because of her amazing abilities. He publicly praises and thanks his staff, like HIFF Vice Chair Julie Kimmel and HIFF Talent Coordinator Christie Napurano, who work faithfully and tirelessly along with Ken and all the other HIFF staff. These human qualities, from the leader of the event – along with his continual pursuit for perfection and obsessiveness with organization and rehearsals (not to mention his very valuable industry relationships) – have been of the greatest of importance in HIFF’s success. And what can tell it more than the actual words about Ken Del Vecchio from some of the industry’s most famed figures (types of words that these people indeed choose very carefully and encompass the theme of this article “rare”):

Legendary actor Paul Sorvino (GoodfellasNixon) called Ken “an extraordinary man.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Charles Durning (TootsieThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) exclaimed that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is excellent filmmaker and would make a great leader!” Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The ExpendablesThe Pope of Greenwich Village) stated that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is the only judge I ever agreed with in personal conversation. He’s got some great views about freedom and liberty…and he’s a little bit nuts!” TV star Joyce DeWitt (”Three’s Company”) declared that Ken has “a vision and concept based on excellence and integrity.” Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia (ScarfaceBig) said of Del Vecchio: “The man is honest. Hard-working. Talented. And oh so intelligent.” And U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer proclaimed, “Del Vecchio is a man you can see, with the movies he is involved with, with the friends he has, he has a great mind and he also has a big heart.”

HIFF is truly a rare event with rare people – it’s an A+

Julie McCullough is a successful film and TV actress and standup comedian.  Launching her career as a Playboy Playmate of the Month – where she was on the cover of one of the top-selling editions of all-time – she soon thereafter landed a regular role on one of the hottest TV shows of the late 1980s, “Growing Pains.” After that, she played prominent roles in numerous successful movies and TV shows, including, Sharknado, Max HeadroomThe Golden Girls, Big Bad Mama II  Superboy and the remake of  The Blob. She also serves the HIFF Festival Ambassador.

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INFLATION IS LOW, REAL WAGES ARE UP — WASHINGTON D.C. NEEDS TO BUTT OUT ON MINIMUM WAGE

By RICK MANNING

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 www.dailytorch.com. 

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UP IN SMOKE

By TEMPLE LI

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?

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THE WHITE HOUSE IS NO PLACE FOR RESISTANCE

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 www.dailytorch.com. 

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APOLOGY AND $25,000 FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WHO WORE PRO-BORDER WALL T-SHIRT

By CANDY STALLWORTH

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.

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ILLEGAL SURVEILLANCE RESULTING IN HARSH CONSEQUENCES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL LEVELS

By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO

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. 

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JERSEY FRESH: BAKED ITEMS AT FARM MARKETS

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

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.

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NO, THE RUSSIAN BOTS AND FACEBOOK ADS ARE NOT THE EQUIVALENT OF PEARL HARBOR

By ROBERT ROMANO

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 Radiosvoboda.org’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 www.GetLiberty.org.  You can read more articles at www.netrightdaily.com.

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MEDIA ALLEGATIONS DRIVE KENTUCKY LAWMAKER TO HIS UNTIMELY DEATH

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

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.

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