Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mayor Jim Haggerty announces for Magistrate

Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty

Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty today announced that he is a candidate for election to the office of District Judge in court 11-1-05, which serves Kingston and Edwardsville. This seat became vacant upon the retirement earlier this year of District Judge Paul Roberts, who served with distinction for twenty-nine years.
“I look forward to bringing my two decades of community involvement as mayor to the office of District Judge, along with my nearly twenty-seven years of legal experience,” said Haggerty. “I believe that my experience, qualifications, education, and background make me the best-qualified candidate to serve the citizens of Kingston and Edwardsville in this important position.”
Haggerty has served as Mayor of Kingston since 1998, having been elected to five consecutive terms. At a time when local municipalities have struggled with failing budgets and massive tax increases, Haggerty has guided Kingston to financial success with an investment grade double A level Standard and Poor’s credit rating, a lower earned income tax, obtaining over $11.5 million in grants, and fully funding all municipal pension plans. He has also successfully led important community investments and improvements including a $2.5 million reconstruction of the Hoyt Library, design and construction of the $3.4 million central fire station, a $1.5 million upgrade to the Kingston Pool, and over $7.5 million in street improvements. Kingston has also been designated a Tree City USA for twenty consecutive years.
“I have done my best to serve with integrity, a steady hand, and a respect for all of our citizens,” said Haggerty. “I will bring these same important qualities to the position of District Judge.”
Haggerty is a 1983 graduate of Wyoming Valley West, ranking first in his class of 435 students. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) on a U.S. Army ROTC scholarship, graduating with a B.S. in Management Science in 1987. He was awarded his law degree, with distinction, from Georgetown Law School in 1990.
Haggerty has been in the private practice of law for nearly twenty-seven years, the last twenty-two years with his office in Kingston. His practice focuses on helping hard-working families in Luzerne County navigate the legal system. “Although I am a hometown attorney, I have appeared before over fifty magistrates and over forty Common Pleas judges. I have appeared in state and federal courts in over twenty-five counties in four states, and I have handled almost every sort of matter a lawyer can handle. I know how an effective judge runs an effective courtroom, and I will use that knowledge for the benefit of the citizens of Kingston and Edwardsville.”
Haggerty grew up in Kingston, the son of the late James and Judy Haggerty. He later served as a Lieutenant and tank platoon leader in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He was a First Honor Graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, KY. He is also a graduate of the Airborne Course at Fort Bragg, NC.

“My military experience taught me the importance of preparation, determination, and teamwork. And after getting pushed out of a moving airplane five times by a Green Beret jumpmaster, I am definitely prepared for any challenge.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Alternative Facts

Brooklyn Bridge courtesy of Wikipedia
President Trump says three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election.  This explains his 2.8 million vote loss of the popular vote, and now he's launching a "major investigation" into voter fraud.  For those of you who believe this "major investigation" will bear fruit, Buzz is getting out his deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.  He picked it up cheap a few years ago, and he says he's willing to sell it at a loss.

After raising this issue in a tweet late last year, the President, on his own accord, repeated this allegation when meeting with Congressional leaders on Monday.  Perhaps the President misspoke on Monday, so we all waited for the Baghdad Bob of the administration to set us straight at his Tuesday Press Briefing.

Here's what White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

“The president does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign,” Spicer said. “He continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

When pressed further, Spicer cited some studies which have been thoroughly debunked.  According to FactCheck.org, one of the studies cited (Old Dominion University) has even been debunked by its authors, who said their "extrapolation to specific state-level or district-level election outcomes is fraught with substantial uncertainty." 

Now, this morning, the President has announced he will continue "tilting at windmills" with a "major investigation" into voter fraud.

Perhaps the President bases his conclusion on those "alternative facts" to which Kellyanne Conway referred to on Sunday's "Meet the Press."  

This is a major problem.  The late New York Senator Patrick Moynihan famously said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  If we cannot agree on the facts, we cannot engage in any useful discussion.

Many supporters of the President will believe almost anything he says, and this is unfortunate.  The tall tales of his campaign are proof of this.  The problem arises when everyone else, including some members of his own party, question the President's veracity.

Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-SC)  said.  "To continue to suggest that the 2016 election was conducted in a fashion that millions of people voted illegally undermines faith in our democracy,  It's not coming from a candidate for the office, it's coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it."

Some will dismiss Senator Graham as not a true believer in the Trump Revolution, but you cannot dismiss everyone who criticizes you because eventually you will alienate many people you need.  The Republicans only have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, so Trump can't afford to lose but a few Republican Senators.

Facts DO matter.  They are not debatable.  White is white.  Black is black.  Up is up and down is down.  It is the duty and obligation of a free press to call "bullshit" when the President or any elected figure plays fast and loose with the facts.  It is also the duty and obligation of Republicans to call the President out when he uses "alternative facts," even if those alternative facts further the party line.

Let's hope that the next four years is not a 24/7 "Bullshit" call.