On June 3, 2018, the communities surrounding Guatemala's Mount Fuego were devastated by the volcano's eruption. An estimated 1.7 million were affected with displacement after a modest recovery from the mudslides affecting the area two years previously. The human interest aspects to the destruction's story brought Guatemala into focus and some discussion surrounding its plan for relief and recovery. Now, as 2018 closes, a similar situation has occurred yet again for the citizens who have started their lives over. The focus of the human spirit triumphing over harsh circumstances shows much bravery but is only part of a (tired) story we witness repeatedly.
Although Guatemala is a beautiful country with potential, the economy has struggled despite a healthy GDP averaging over 60 billion USD between 2015-2018. The neighboring countries of El Salvador and Honduras, in contrast, averaged 23 billion and 21 billion, respectively. President Morales inherited an inflation rate of ~ 2.4% but rose to remain steady around 4%. Despite long-term pledges of equality, the wealth distribution of the country has remained skewed with more than half of the population below the poverty line and the indigenous population most sharply affected. Nor have Morales' campaign platforms of ending malnutrition and steadying employment made significant social impact. This culminated with protests for his resignation a few months ago after UN corruption investigations arose.
After a more than four-year investigation, a former member of the Bound Brook Borough (Somerset County) Council was tentatively fined $100 by the New Jersey Local Finance Board (LFB) for voting in favor of a resolution which designated a redeveloper for a Main Street property while her in-laws owned that property and her husband, who currently sits as a Borough Council member, had an interest in a business located on that property.
In his August 2, 2018 article, "Why did Rutgers pay fired AD Julie Hermann $500K more than she was owed?" Star-Ledger reporter Keith Sargeant wrote about Rutgers' refusal to provide him with the university's separation agreement with former Athletic Director Julie Hermann. After reading the article, I had my non-profit submit an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for the separation agreement and then sued when Rutgers denied the request.
In 2001, an appeals court ruled that New Jersey's practice of not allowing anyone to register to vote as anything other than Democrat, Republican, or Independent was unconstitutional. This was the result of a lawsuit brought by a coalition of political parties, including the NJ Libertarian Party.
Since then the number of registered libertarians has been steadily growing. The 2018 numbers show 11,040 registered Libertarians. This is a 32.9% growth from the prior year. This year we have grown once again to 8,309 registered Libertarians. We have 4.8 times as many registered libertarians now than we did 5 years ago,
There are only two factors that determine what you are paid for the work that you do - how much you are willing to work for and how much your employer is willing to pay you. How much your employer is willing to pay you is based on the laws of supply and demand. The work that you do may require back-breaking effort or may require a certain skill set and training, but this alone does not mean that it will reward you with a large paycheck. The output of your work needs to be in demand.
In a free market, financial transactions between consenting parties only occur if both parties benefit from the transaction. This is true both for the exchange of goods and the exchange of labor. The wages that a worker receives is defined by the simple fact that both the employer and the employee benefit from the exchange of salary and benefits paid to the employee and the work done for the employer. Anything that stands in the way of this mutual benefit results in fewer transactions.
In New Jersey if you want to practice hair braiding you need to complete a 1,200 hour cosmetology course where you learn lots of things – except for how to braid hair. The practice of hair braiding requires no chemicals and is perfectly safe. Last year, a mother of four was fined $1,200 for braiding hair without a license. Anita Yeboah can’t afford the up to $17,000 to obtain this license. She faced the prospect of either going on welfare, or starting a business to support her and her four children. As an immigrant from Ghana, she grew up learning to braid hair as part of her culture.
Brigitte Nzali was slapped with a fine for braiding hair from her shop in Blackwood, NJ. She and other hair braiders have joined forces to form the Hair Braiding Freedom Coalition. They have worked to get a bill through the Assembly that would get rid of burdensome licensing requirements.
On August 27th, Governor Phil Murphy heartlessly vetoed their bill. The bill had bi-partisan support in the legislature, but Murphy thought it went too far and wanted hair braiders to have at least 50 hours of training or three years of experience.
Originally Published at Cato at Liberty, republished under Creative Commons License
Yesterday, President Trump tweeted that “unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with the migrant caravan approaching the U.S. border. Vice President Pence later tried to justify President Trump’s comment by arguing that, “It is inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing toward our border.” Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies wrote that “the president was obviously referencing … ‘special interest aliens’ … U.S.-bound migrants moving along well-established Latin America smuggling routes from [Muslim] countries.” Perhaps President Trump was referencing special interest aliens but the clear implication is that they are potential terrorists who are using the caravan to sneak into the United States and murder Americans.
The members of the migrant caravan will either apply for asylum at the U.S. border or try to enter illegally. From 1975 through the end of 2017, 9 Americans have been murdered in attacks committed on U.S. soil by 20 foreign-born terrorists who entered illegally or as asylees. During that time, the annual chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack committed by an asylum seeker or an illegal immigrant was about 1 in 1.3 billion per year. Those estimates are based on this methodology with updated numbers.
Published in the West Milford Messenger, September 25, 2018
Regarding the article on local veterans groups being concerned over the public's lack of understanding the meaning of Memorial Day and Veterans Day
I can only say look no further than the government school system.
The politicians and bureaucrats have a vested interest in keeping the general population in the dark on how we get involved in all these wars.
It has been a very long time since anyone other than a Democrat or Republican was elected to Congress from New Jersey. In fact, it last happened 160 years ago! In 1858, Garnett B. Adrain, who had been elected in the 3rd District as a Democrat in 1856, ran as an Anti-Lecompton Democrat. Jetur R. Riggs ran with the same party identification and was elected in the 4th District. A major issue that year was the admission of Kansas territory to the union as a state. Congress needed to ratify the new constitution of the proposed state. One of the proposed constitutions, the Lecompton Constitution had these provisions in it concerning slavery:
ARTICLE VII.- SLAVERY.
Published in the West Milford Messenger, August 16, 2018
A recent letter to the editor in the Messenger put forth the idea that increased government power and control is the way to protect wildlife and its habitat.
This thinking is erroneous.
Private conservation efforts work much better since there is an incentive to do well that government bureaucracies will never attain; that incentive is profit and the need to please donors and investors.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy all come to mind as successful private conservation groups.
Published in the West Milford Messenger, July 5, 2018
Have I missed something, I thought the Republicans were the party of "family values," why then are they OK with breaking up the families of immigrants?
Thanks to our "Bigot in Chief," Donald Trump the Republicans are no longer the party of small limited government.
I think we are all in agreement that New Jersey has changed markedly in the last ten years. As an immigration gateway, our state sees a regular dynamic shift that makes defining who and what New Jersey is difficult. Our personal stories and memories may no longer be relevant. As a transplant to NJ, I can identify with the goals and challenges of an immigrant from an even more alien landscape. I was looking for progressive work options as do many others that come here. Physical safety, inflationary protection and political freedom were not significant concepts on my own note but are common among the reasons given as to why America is attractive. Finding a place to call home, a “comfort zone”, has led to ethnic pockets within our communities. The downside to this grouping is isolation – discovering the diversity of American life is undercut.
Published in the West Milford Messenger, May 9, 2018
It comes as no great shock to me that our council members don't want to discuss marijuana legalization and consider it an "inappropriate" topic.
This once again shows that the majority of council members only pay "lip service" to the principles of individual liberty, limited government and the right to choose.
Over the past several months, northwestern New Jersey has been treated to a political wild west of sorts, where Phillipsburg is the main character in a show no one wants to watch. From arguments to cronyism, this public theater has become nothing more than another side show in the issues that plague New Jersey.
“A Phillipsburg youth center's decades-long partnership with town government may be in jeopardy. It started with a town employee's Facebook post.” (Novak, 6 April 2018).
This is an honest headline from an article from lehighvalleylive.com, which owns the most circulated newspaper in Town – The Express-Times.
Nicholas DeSimone works in public policy for Reason Foundation in Washington D.C. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and has written for Reason Foundation, Townhall.com and Penn Political Review. Follow him on Twitter: @nickyd8181
Every recent measure from the Democrat’s plan to ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles to Congressman Thomas Massie’s plan to repeal the Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act and even President Trump’s plans to arm teachers in schools and implement stricter background checks for mental illness have been suggested to prevent individuals from committing mass shootings.
While the background check system has prevented individuals from illegally obtaining guns from licensed dealers, the gun show loophole can allow individuals to purchase guns from unlicensed dealers. Attempts to close this loophole have been made in 19 states and Washington D.C. by requiring background checks on all handgun sales. However, guns, including the AR-15 are still widely accessible through unlicensed dealers.
The majority of guns used in 19 recent mass shootings were bought legally, with some of these individuals—possessing a history mental illness—able to pass federal background checks to purchase guns. Logic would follow that by making background checks stricter this would prevent people who have mental illnesses from illegally obtaining guns.
Let’s assume that all gun show loopholes are closed and we rely on stricter background checks for mental illness, as suggested by gun control advocates. There are few concerns with this.
First, what types mental disorders would prevent a person from owning a gun: depression, acute stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or anxiety/panic disorder? All of these mental illnesses have one thing in common; they all rely on self-report for accuracy so when determining who is classified to have one of these mental disorders there’s much room for inaccuracies.
The NJ Libertarian Party Nominates Tosone for Congress in NJ-5
|Congressional Candidate Jim Tosone
with US Senate Candidate Murray Sabrin
Township of Washington, NJ, March 27, 2017 – Jim Tosone received the Libertarian Party’s nomination at the New Jersey LP Convention on March 24th, as their candidate for House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 5th congressional district.
Tosone is a lifelong resident of New Jersey. His wife and he have lived in Township of Washington, Bergen County, for 30 years. They have one daughter.
Tosone had a thirty-year career at a Fortune 50 healthcare company as a Director of Business Technology. He now consults with leading organizations to help them enhance their innovation, collaboration, and communication skills. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mathematics and Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.
I did not realize that the odor of marijuana, without more, justified a roadside, under-clothes search of a motorist's genitals and anus by a State Trooper clad in latex gloves. I received this video in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request made to the New Jersey State Police.
Pennsauken quietly paid out $770,000 in 2006 to settle female police officer's sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit
I normally do not post settlements of cases that are this old, but the size of the settlement, the nature of the allegations and the fact that the alleged sexual harasser has since been promoted to Police Captain and still serves in that position cause me to make an exception.
Pennsauken Police Officer Susan D. Holtz filed her sexual harassment civil lawsuit on June 4, 2003. Holtz, who was hired as a patrol officer in 1990, said that she was "a very close friend of" Michael Probasco, who was then a patrolman, until she met her husband, Larry Holtz. According to Holtz, her decision to cut off all personal interaction with Probasco so that she could "devote her entire romantic attention" to Larry Holtz "enraged Probasco" and resulted in Probasco spreading lies about her in order to sabotage her relationship with Larry.