I almost donated to the Gary Johnson campaign for president the other day. However the recent article stating that he believes the "fair tax" will reboot America made me change my mind. Instead I'm going to donate to R. Lee Wright's campaign.
No general tax is fair, nor will this scheme benefit America. Substituting one form of coercion with another is certainly not libertarian. The ideal tax would be 0%. In 2012 the U.S. took $1.4 trillion in income taxes while spending $2.5 trillion. To get rid of federal income taxes and replace them with nothing would require cutting federal spending back to $1.1 trillion. This would bring spending back to where it was in 1991. We probably would not need to cut spending this much because such a drastic cut in taxation would result in increased revenue in other taxes because of the increase in wealth, commerce, and employment our country would enjoy. Doable? Maybe. Libertarian? Yes! Realistic? Sadly, hell no.
The income tax is the biggest single intrusion suffered by the American people. It forces every worker to be a bookkeeper, to open his records to the government, to explain his expenses, to fear conviction for a harmless accounting error.
Compliance wastes billions of dollars. It penalizes savings and creates an enormous drag on the U.S. economy. It is incompatible with a free society, and we aren’t libertarians if we tolerate it.
- Harry Browne, LP 1996 and 2000 Candidate for President
Phillipsburg Police Detective James P. Stettner II fired his duty revolver into the grave a former teacher and lied about it. He pled guilty in January and was fined $1,250 for discharging a firearm less than 300 feet from a home.
The Police Department is refusing to release the details of the internal investigation or what the department punishment was. Mr. Stettner remains on the force.
According to the Asbury Park Press Data Universe, Mr. Stettner was paid $87,600 by the town of Phillipsburg in 2010. His brother, Robert Stettner, is also a Phillipsburg Police Officer Captain. Their father, James P. Stettner, Jr. is on the Phillipsburg Town Council and is a former Phillipsburg Chief of Police.
NJLP Annual Convention
Tavern on the Lake
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Tentative Meeting Agenda
Doors Open at 8 AM, Coffee and light breakfast available
Call to order & quorum check 9:00 AM
Agenda review & approval 9:05 AM
- Minutes of prior meeting (Steering Committee Meeting 2/12/2012) 9:10
- 2011 and 2012 budget presentation 9:15
Election of NJLP Officers and At-Large Reps (9:30)
Ongoing Business & County Committee Reports
New Jersey scored the highest in the state for the state of its laws and regulations preventing government ethics violations. Part of the high score was attributed to New Jersey's Open Public Record's Act.
My experience, however, is that many towns are still ignoring the law. The work of John Paff and our committee has forced many towns to obey the law.
New Jersey scored well because of its Open Public Records Act, but John Paff said that law doesn't go far enough. Paff, the chairman of New Jersey Libertarian Party's open government advocacy project, said he's filed hundreds of requests for information under OPRA.
Paff said there are too many exemptions. And even though a citizen can appeal when denied access to a record, he said the Government Records Council moves far too slowly.
"It's taking them like 18 months or two years to adjudicate a complaint," Paff said. "So that's an issue because by the time you get the record, even if you prevail, a lot of times whatever it is that you were trying to prove in the first place or whatever case you were trying to make has expired and no longer has any relevance."
On December 1, 2011, I submitted an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to Florence Township (Burlington County) to gain information regarding Nicholas J. Costa, Esq.'s payment for serving as the Township's municipal prosecutor during 2010. Part of my request sought copies of "both sides of any check written to Mr. Costa for prosecutorial services performed during 2010."
In his December 15, 2011 letter, Township Administrator Richard A. Brook informed me that Mr. Costa received $22,814.04 during 2010 but opined that my request for copies of the checks was "outside the bounds of the intent of the OPRA law." According to Mr. Brook, my request "essentially equates to prying into someone's personal private accounts." Mr. Brook further observed that since backs of checks "deal with personal bank account numbers, personal signatures and possible routing numbers," my request raised "issues dealing with an employee's identity, identity theft and information that is really personal in nature." In denying my request for the check copies, Mr. Brook intoned that "even people who work in the public sector deserve a measured and reasonable degree of privacy."
In response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, I received an August 19, 2009 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Township of Hillside (Union County) and former Hillside police officer Francisco (Frank) Utset. I've placed the MOA on-line here: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2012/2012067P2//UtsetMemo.pdf
According to the MOA, the Township was in the process of firing Officer Utset for "engaging in conduct unbecoming a public employee" on July 21, 2008. To that end, the Township had issued a Preliminary Notice of Disciplinary Action and suspended Utset, with pay, effective July 21, 2008--the day after the alleged "unbecoming" incident.
Three Rutgers University students were detained last week for chalking a peace sign and the words "Ron Paul" on a wall of the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. These students stated that they were members of the Rutgers Libertarians and the Rutgers Young Americans for Liberty groups.
There Are Few People That Fight For Marijuana As Hard As NJWeedman
[reprinted with permission from http://www.theweedblog.com/my-marijuana-hero-njweedman/]
If you don’t know about NJWeedman, and you consume marijuana, where have you been smoking your marijuana, under a rock? Meeting NJWeedman was on my bucket list for several years now, and I’m happy to say I had that honor at the activism panel at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles. The first time I ever saw NJWeedman on video was footage of a pro-marijuana protest NJWeedman was being arrested at. As the cops put the handcuffs on NJWeedman, NJWeedman just kept taking hits from his blunt and blowing the smoke in the cops’ faces. It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen to this day.
NJWeedman even mailed marijuana to politicians in a form of marijuana prohibition protest! I could try to tell the story of NJWeedman myself, but I will let him do it. Here is the ‘about’ page from NJWeedman’s official website:
Robert Edward Forchion (born July 23, 1964), also known as NJWEEDMAN, is a cannabis activist and a perennial candidate for various New Jersey elected offices. Forchion identifies himself as a member of the Legalize Marijuana Party and campaigns primarily on the single issue of cannabis legalization. Forchion has done various stunts to bring attention to cannabis legalization, including smoking cannabis in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, as well as attempting to legally change his name to NJWeedman.com.
The Police Accountability Project sent the following letter to the Phillipsburg (Warren County) Mayor and Council. My thought is that even though the Council may not really care if a drug arrestee's constitutional rights were violated by a local cop, the amount of money that the cop's mistake may have cost the taxpayers may impress them.
February 21, 2012
Hon. Harry L. Wyant, Mayor and members of the Phillipsburg Town Council
675 Corliss Avenue
Phillipsburg, NJ, 08865
Dear Mayor Wyant and Council members:
I'm not a resident, but ask that you please review today's Appellate Division decision in the case of State v. Kevin Davis. The decision is on-line here:
Professor Scott Beaulier, Adams-Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise at Troy University, will speaking at TCNJ this Friday. His topic is The Myths of Immigration, and he will be speaking from 3pm to 4:30pm in the Library Auditorium.
Professor Beaulier is the author of the recent Freeman article Tough on Immigration is Tough on Economic Growth.