Friday, July 20, 2012

Dark Night for Colorado

Twelve people died, with fifty-nine out of seventy-one injured at a Colorado movie theater. People who for no other reason other than taking in a movie for some enjoyment out of their busy, hectic, chaotic lives.

This was premeditated murder, by a sick individual who had the presence of mind to purchase a ticket, walk through a theater, exit through a fire door, propping the door open as he went to his car which contained two 40-caliber Glock handguns, a Remington 870 single-barrel pump shotgun and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault-style rifle; taking the time to grab a helmet, gas mask, two gas canisters, a tactical vest, throat and groin protectors, black tactical gloves and a Glock pistol.

Because a handgun was used, it now gives a pulpit for a feeding frenzy to all those anti-gun activists, due to this tragic and sad event. Is it possible, that had there been anyone in the theater with a permit to carry, or a right to carry they could have put a stop to a mad man? Could a simple thing such the activation of an alarm when the Fire Door was opened have prevented this from happening at all?

Banning guns from responsible gun-owners because of the actions of a depraved mortal, I believe is wrong. Eliminating guns will not stop those with minds like James Eagan Holmes. Taking the time and the forethought to plan out a heinous crime such as this would not hinder those like Holmes. Banning guns would not stop someone like Holmes, individuals that are so intent on harming innocent citizens would look for another alternative to obtain the end result. James Holmes would have found a way to acquire the weapons he needed for his calculated purpose, even if that meant obtaining them illegally. Taking guns away from responsible individuals will prevent them from impeding the actions of those like Holmes to further their unrealities.

There are those who now blame the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, those who are looking to take away gun owners rights citing this as an example of what happens when people have guns. Any sane person would not have done this, and anyone of sound mind with a gun would not have walked into a crowded movie theater opening fire at unarmed innocent people.

Let’s not use this tragedy as a reason to pursue a political agenda, for throwing accusations at those such as the Tea Party, blaming Rush Limbaugh, or saying that the Bane personality in the movie was a reason for what happened as a protest in reference to Romney’s Bain Capital, or any other impetus as a catapult for stupidity.

Even for arguments sake, with all guns being eliminated, if Holmes took such pains to plan out such a crime, and his intentions were to hurt as many people as possible; he could have done the same thing, using the same method without a gun. Perhaps he would have used another method such as homemade pipe bombs, zip guns, plastic explosives, and Molotov cocktails to carry out his mission. It remains to be seen, but it may have not have been beyond his capabilities as it has been reported that he placed sophisticated explosive booby traps in his apartment that would have detonated upon entry. Authorities stated they saw trip wires, bottles of liquid and containers of ammunition, fireworks and powders through a window camera.

Fifty-nine movie goers were wounded, twelve were killed, and while the ‘Dark Knight’ may rise again, there are 12 innocent people who will not.

Let’s give them the respect and attention that they deserve, and let their families grieve without the rhetoric, 2nd amendment oratories, or to allow the intrusion of politics to interfere with the reality of what took place.

This was a tragedy; the cause of ‘why’ it happened had nothing to do with guns.

 Yes, a gun was used in the process, which just gives cause for more anti-gun stump speeches. But if a gun were not used, it would have been carried out by another method, and the ‘why’ at this time is known only to a deranged character that goes by a self-named moniker of the ‘The Joker."

~ Joe Sinagra

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Name-calling unnecessary in county freeholder race

This article was from 2005 in my run for Middlesex County Clerk.  We were questioning  no-bid contracts in that the by-laws stated no money shall be taken from anyone doing business with the county, and why campaign contributors such as the auditors, county engineers, county attorneys etc., received cushy contracts.   Stumbling blocks were thrown in our path every inch of the way, all the way up to our appeal with the State DCA.  It shows how politics are run in Middlesex County and the extent of how those in control will do anything to keep from relinquishing their hold of the coveted seats of power.


It’s not easy being a Republican candidate for a Middlesex County office. At least that appears to be the case for a slate of GOP candidates who last week tried to file an ethics complaint against the Democratic incumbents.

Not only did freeholder candidates Andrew Tidd and Jay Boxwell Jr. and county clerk hopeful Joe Sinagra show up with their complaint at a county ethics board meeting that did not take place (whether it had ever been scheduled is disputed), but their argument was quickly dismissed as “bogus” by the county counsel, who then tagged the candidates themselves with the same label. Granted, this was not the first shot fired by either side of the county campaign, but it seems downright inappropriate, especially coming from an attorney employed by the county.

County Counsel Thomas F. Kelso issued the statement after the GOP filed a complaint that incumbents David B. Crabiel, Camille Fernicola and County Clerk Elaine Flynn had violated an ethics code that prohibits candidates from accepting campaign contributions from those who receive county contracts. While Kelso explained there was no violation due to what appears to be a loophole distinguishing candidates from campaign committees, he went so far as to state that the complaint was lodged “by a bogus team of candidates who have no government experience and no public support.”

Needless to say, the Republicans, who do have government experience, did not appreciate the description. And they have a right to be ticked. The issue of pay-to-play has long been the norm in New Jersey politics, but it has seen massive public opposition and calls for reform. For a candidate to request a probe into whether a code has been violated doesn’t seem that unreasonable.

And despite the fact that they, like the Democrats, have been discussing many issues facing the county, the candidates are described as “bogus” in an official statement from none other than the county’s top lawyer. Kelso had no place making the comment. It’s one thing to see a candidate for office doing the name-calling; it’s another when the person in charge of county legal matters stoops to that level.

Just as the Democrats in Middlesex County have the ability to discuss a record of achievement, their opponents can and should be asking questions of those in office. Regardless of anyone’s political affiliation, we should all respect those who step up to the plate and take part in a democratic system that seeks to provide checks and balances.






Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taxpayers, again, are up against the boards

Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor - July 10

Taxpayers, again, are up against the boards

Gov. Jon Corzine raised the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, supposedly with half of the additional 1 percent going to tax relief and the other half toward the state budget. So, the state had more money to fund new programs, raising the budget higher, which meant having to raise taxes again on the working class to balance the budget. Once again, it took disposable income out of the pockets of the working class.

Jon Corzine required state union employees, as well as certain other non-union employees, to contribute 1.5 percent of their salary to offset health-care costs, raised their contributions to their pension and increased the retirement benefit age for new public employees from 55 to 60.

In 2008, Corzine approved a law increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62, eliminated Lincoln’s Birthday as a state worker holiday and required municipal employees to work 20 hours per week to get health benefits.

He also decreased funding to most programs, including state universities and colleges. Rutgers University and other New Jersey state universities have raised tuition and cut hundreds of sections of classes and several sports teams.

Democrats had no problem approving all the above, but had it been a Republican governor who wanted to make those changes, it would have been an uphill battle for purely political reasons.

We have members of the Legislature who posture when it is convenient to their party and politicians who come up with sound bites that sound good in the newspapers.

But in the final analysis, the citizens are the ones who like a hockey puck getting smacked back and forth; constantly get hurt in the political arena.

The hypocrisy of government continues at the expense of those who pay the bill.

-- Joe Sinagra

Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 6:53 AM

Sunday, July 1, 2012

ObamaCare . . . The Rising Cost of Pork

For all Americans who love Freedom lost a battle against the Welfare State. In a mammoth decision, the Supreme Court decided to support ObamaCare, extending the destructive path of health care policy in The United States of America.

The effects of ObamaCare will represent higher costs, less competition, less innovation, more bureaucracy, decreased quality, and in the long run, a complete destruction of American health care.

It will be significantly cheaper for an employer to pay the $2,000 fine and pay for the employee to enroll in a government health exchange program, putting more of the cost on the taxpayer.

Many uninsured individuals will choose to pay the tax as an alternative of signing up for insurance through a government exchange. If so, the government-exchange premiums will become so expensive, individuals won’t be able to afford to buy insurance.

Child-only policies will stop being issued due to the required annual benefit levels being increased along with the new requirements that at least 85% of all insurance premiums be used on health-care providers. Meaning higher-cost child-only coverage plans will fail to meet the limits and will be discontinued; causing children to lose their own cheap coverage and either have to move to their parents’ employer plans or access care through the government exchanges.

Employer-sponsored retiree medical plans may be dropped due to repeal of the Medicare part D pharmacy subsidy. Although the subsidy isn’t cancelled until 2013, the SEC requires accounting recognition of any changes as soon as they are known. Over 43% of employers with retiree plans indicated they would likely eliminate retiree medical programs due to the additional requirements under ObamaCare.

Over 670,000 jobs could be eliminated due to the added $760 billion in taxes, penalties, and fees on investors and businesses.

The federal deficit increases at least an additional $115 billion over original projections.

By the year 2020, ObamaCare will have increased the interest on the national debt by $23.1 billion per year, raising the national debt by more than $753 billion, and increase annual budget deficits by an average of $75 billion.

For employer-sponsored plans, starting in 2014, employers who provide health-care plans for their employees will be required to ensure that the level of health-care benefits they provide their employees meet new government standards or face fines and penalties equal to $2,000 per year for each full-time employee. Even then, if their employees would have to pay more than 9.5% of their adjusted gross income for the health plan, or if the employee chooses to purchase from a government exchange, the employer will still have to pay a $2,000 penalty.

You as an individual will be required to have coverage, either from your employer or from a government-sponsored health-care exchange. If you don’t purchase it, the IRS will assess you with tax of $695 per year per family member (capped at three) or 2.5% of your income, whichever is greater, starting in 2014.

There would definitely be an increase in new patients who now have coverage seeking doctors’ care. Creating an immediate shortage of 150,000 doctors. Patients will have to wait longer just to get an appointment to see the doctor.

In addition to a reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, it is estimated that 18 to 20 million new Medicaid patients will seek a doctor’s care. Medicaid coverage pays doctors 56% of the private payment amounts. Federal funding will pay for parity to Medicare for 2013 and 2014, and then it will leave it up to the states to figure out how to pay the Medicaid doctors.

59% of doctors think the quality of medicine will decline in the next five years and 79% are less optimistic about the future of medicine. 69% are think they may drop out of government health programs, 53% would consider opting out of treating insurance-covered patients, and 45% have considered leaving the profession altogether.

For taxpayers, new 40% excise tax on health insurance plans, known as the “Cadillac Tax” if a health plan is valued in excess of $10,200 for employee-only coverage [and $27,500 for family coverage. 43% of all plans are expected to incur this tax by 2018, when it becomes effective.

There will be an increase in hospital insurance portion of payroll tax: The Medicare tax will be increased from 1.45% to 2.35% for families making more than $250,000. The new rate will be 3.8%, effective in 2013. The health insurance rate increase will not be used to fund Social Security and Medicare, but rather as a separate entitlement.

A new 3.8% health insurance tax applies to investment income, including capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, and yes, even the sale of your home.

Affordable Health Care, I think not. Things are about to get a whole lot worse. America was sold a bill of goods for a cash grab by legislators who lined their pockets for a few pounds of pork.

~ Joe Sinagra