The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention. President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd. Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.
Giving up is not “reform.” County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposal to transfer property assessment from the county to the towns might possibly speed up assessment decisions by replacing one large and overwhelmed bureaucracy with several somewhat smaller ones. It will likely recreate problems that were major motivations in creating our highly centralized county government 75 years ago.
The 1938 county charter merged the town Boards of Assessors and the County Board of Equalization, ending three decades of complaints, lawsuits and hard feelings about the lack of specific, uniform levels of property assessments between the towns. In a tax system screaming out for simplification, clarification and a sense of certainty, spinning off assessments to the towns will reintroduce “equalization” as an annual issue. Tens of thousands of residents are still trying to figure out why their assessment went down but their tax bill still went up. The division of taxes heading up the tax food chain in an equitable manner is the most complex subject in local government, and it’s all going to make people very sad, particularly in villages and school districts that are split between townships.
Manhattan District Attorney (D.A.) Robert Morgenthau was facing a spirited Democratic primary challenge from a former judge in 2005, but his opponent had trouble finding anything substantively negative to say about Morgenthau.
The reason I know this: a city-based tabloid newspaper reporter called me weeks before the election, asking whether it was legal to have a Manhattan driver’s license while at the same time registering and insuring a car in Dutchess County, where auto insurance premiums are much lower. The answer: yes, so long as the insured vehicle is primarily garaged in Dutchess County. I was the director of public affairs for the New York State Insurance Department at the time and knew immediately the question pertained to Morgenthau because he met those criteria.
Written by Michael A. Miller, Millercolumn@optimum.net Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
Most of the readers who saw it were likely confused. At 9 p.m. on the night of the Patriots’ Day detonations in Boston, Governor Deval Patrick and key law enforcement officials held a widely broadcast media conference. After running through what was going to happen next for the people of Boston, the governor began to take questions from reporters. The first person he called on asked this:
“Is this another false-flag staged attack to take our civil liberties and promote homeland security while sticking their hands down our pants on the streets?”
The governor, looking furious, said, “No. Next question.” A few minutes later, when the officials were walking out of the room, most news networks cut away, so much of the posted video misses the sound of that questioner screaming, “This is a false flag, gentlemen” and some other things I couldn’t make out.
The questioner was affiliated with the InfoWars website, run by Alex Jones, who is not known to most readers, but who recently had a viral video moment when he melted down in a CNN interview with Piers Morgan (“1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!”). Another of his sites is called Prison Planet.
I’ve been asked to explain “False Flag.” It originally referred to an ancient tactic by privateers and naval vessels of flying another country’s flag in order to lure or escape enemy ships. Recently, it has come to mean a staged government action that can be blamed on someone else in order to justify extreme, possibly unpopular, action. In 1939, the Germans staged a phony attack at Gleiwitz to justify the invasion of Poland.
Commentators lashed out at Jones for trolling a critical media conference and attempting to tastelessly place himself at the center of attention. Ninety minutes before the press conference, he had already tweeted that “this thing stinks to high heaven #falseflag”. But as marginalized as Jones was in the largest circles, he was being lionized in smaller ones, and these small circles have found a voice out of all proportion to their size. The day after the marathon, there he was being lauded and praised on late-night AM radio. Listen to New York AM radio after about 10 p.m. and you’re going to hear some things.
The specifics of what Jones says in his act aren’t that important. Others do it better anyway, such as Mr. Swiftboat/Birther, Mr. JFK/Osama Death Hoax and others. They all do 9/11, they all do Reptillian Aliens, they all do United Nations and they all do guns. There it was the other night: Globalists, One-Worlders, Gun Confiscators, Elites, Leftists, Traitors, sometimes used in the same sentence. You are Us or you are Them. Doubters are Them. No joke.
I take it seriously that this bogus Thomas Jefferson “protect themselves against tyranny” quote against firearms control, debunked by the Jefferson Foundation, the Jefferson Library and others, was thrown around again. You don’t get to do that and dehumanize others as traitors.
Many Americans have never been taught to weigh evidence or think critically. We are paying a price.
Congressman Jeff Duncan is allowed to believe that background checks will lead to Rwandan-like genocide of gun owners (April 12). Senator Rand Paul can think that a U.N. treaty banning arms sales to brutal dictators “is in fact a massive, global gun control scheme” (April 3). You can believe that acknowledgment of possible catastrophic climate change will lead to one-world government, the imposition of Sharia Law and gun confiscation (not kidding).
The whole point of the Constitution was to facilitate coordinated national action, not thwart the will of large majorities. No one gets to confiscate that reality.