"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Military Commissions Act

Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg both voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which was passed by the U.S. Senate on September 28, by a vote of 65-34.

Herb Jackson posts this comment from Tom Kean on the passage of the bill:

"I would have voted with Senators Graham, Warner and McCain who believe enemy combatants have appropriate due process under this legislation. I am pleased the Senate passed the bill. The version passed by the Senate respects the guidelines of the Geneva Convention, and will help us to defeat terrorism in a manner that protects our soldiers and other heroes while respecting American values and principles."
Once again the folks at Blue Jersey display their complete disregard of the facts with this:

The first thing to note is that Kean Jr. is pleased that the President of the United States will be authorized to, with the stroke of a secret pen, arrest, detain and torture any American citizen without judicial review.
Presumably Menendez and Lautenberg are also pleased or they wouldn’t have voted for the bill. More importantly, nothing could be more false than the notion that this bill would permit American citizens to be arrested, detained or tortured. If you notice Blue Jersey doesn’t provide a link to the bill, or cite provisions of the act to back up their hysterical claim.

The act applies to alien unlawful enemy combatants as clearly stated in the law. From the
Military Commissions Act of 2006:

Sec.948a. Definitions
ALIEN- The term alien means a person who is not a citizen of the United States.

Sec.948c. Persons subject to military commissions
`Any alien unlawful enemy combatant is subject to trial by military commission under this chapter.

Liberals Rooting For Kean To Defeat Menendez

Now even some liberals are coming out against New Jersey’s culture of political corruption and are rooting for Tom Kean to defeat Bob Menendez in the New Jersey U.S. Senate election.

I thought I might try to start a similar trend among liberals: We should root for Bob Menendez's defeat in the New Jersey Senate race so that it might serve as a wake-up call to the New Jersey Democratic party that it really needs to clean up its act.

Menendez, of course, is currently embroiled in an ethics scandal. The most recent shoe to drop came today, with this damning report in the Philadelphia Inquirer about longtime Menendez confidant Donald Scarinci putting the arm on a New Jersey psychiatrist to hire a Menendez crony or lose his fat government contract.

And Menendez is just the latest New Jersey Democrat to be plagued by questionable ethics. Before him there was Jim McGreevey. And Bob Torricelli. And John Lynch. And Ray Lesniak. The list goes on.

What's particularly maddening about the current situation--in which a seat that should be safely Democratic is now in play, thanks to Menendez's ethics problems--is that it was completely avoidable. In the summer of 2005, while Menendez was still in the U.S. House of Representatives, he was already under an ethics cloud. And yet, when it came time early this year for the newly elected governor Jon Corzine to pick someone to fill out the remainder of his term in the U.S. Senate and thus become the de facto Democratic nominee, Corzine still picked Menendez!

All of which makes me think that the powers that be in the New Jersey Democratic Party, including Corzine, just don't get it. And the only thing that might make them get it would be the remarkable feat of a Republican winning in a blue state in this most Democratic-friendly of election years. Save the New Jersey Democratic Party. Vote Kean.
As we’ve pointed out before, “Democrats have discovered that New Jersey voters will elect whoever they put on the ballot regardless of how sleazy and corrupt the nominee. The party bosses have good reason to believe this is the case given the track record of the state.” “New Jersey's Democrat Party leaders have created a culture of corruption in our state and they have been well rewarded for their achievement.”

It remains to seen if voters will once again reward Democrats and keep the culture of corruption New Jersey’s claim to fame.

Menendez and the Jersey Corruption Devil

It's too late to run now. Menendez was caught by the Jersey Corruption Devil a long time ago, whether he pays a price for his actions remains to be seen.

Trochilus Tales provides more facts and analysis on Bob Menendez’ latest corruption scndals, plus links to the Menendez shakedown tapes.

Dino's Forum has more.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Kean Over Menendez In WNBC/Marist Poll

Another poll shows Tom Kean beating Bob Menendez:

A new WNBC/Marist poll released on Friday shows that, if this were Election Day, Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. would defeat Menendez 42 percent to 37 percent.

More than half of those polled in this survey were aware of Menendez's recent troubles. The federal government is investigating his leasing of a building he owned to a non-profit agency who also received federal money. There are also concerns about possible unethical dealings while in Hudson County government.

Overall, 52 percent said they were aware of the Menendez investigation, while 47 percent were not.

New Jersey U.S. Senate Debate Between Tom Kean and Bob Menendez.

We haven’t read much discussion about the virtual debate between Tom Kean and Bob Menendez being hosted by the Hall Institute. That’s really a shame because there’s more to be learned from that site about the candidates' positions then you’ll find anywhere.

Some have said the virtual debate is an exercise between the candidates' communications staffs. Perhaps, but the tone, approach to problems, political philosophy and policy positions taken in the debate have, at the very least, been approved by each candidate.

So, if you’re interested in issues versus sound bites and want to find out where Kean and Menendez stand on some of the most important issues facing our country, you really should spend a few minutes reading the candidates' responses and rebuttals.

We’ve provided links below to the opening statements, all Eight debate topics and the responses from both Kean and Menendez. Responses from other candidates may be found here.

Opening Statements
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez

1: Fiscal Issues (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Bob Menendez

2: Foreign Policy (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Bob Menendez
From Tom Kean

3: Social Security (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Bob Menendez
From Tom Kean

4: Medicaid (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Bob Menendez
From Tom Kean

5: Higher Education (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Bob Menendez

6: Immigration (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Tom Kean

7: Environment (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez
From Robert Menendez

8: Concluding Questions (read question)
Tom Kean
Bob Menendez

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Menendez Votes For Detainee Bill Backed By President Bush

Credit where credit is due, Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg have voted in favor of American interests for a change. New Jersey’s two senators joined the majority to pass the detainee bill backed by President Bush for interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects. The vote was 65-34.

The folks over on Blue Jersey are beside themselves and on the blog’s one-year birthday too. A taste of the comments on the BJ post, I Am In Shock

[From a letter to Bob Menendez] I am disgusted and ashamed. Your vote on the torture bill today proved that, no matter what your ads and spokespeople might say, you have become an example of exactly what the Democratic party can not afford right now - a political opportunist.
Yes, Menendez is a political opportunist and always has been, but at least the pressure of an election caused him to vote for rather than against the preferences of a majority of his constituents.

This is a Republican bill, passed by the Republicans against the votes of the majority of Democrats. Let's not lose sight of that. And what happened to Max Cleland. The bill is not designed to allow torture and detention -- that is happening anyway -- but rather to give Karl Rove an issue in November to accuse Democrats of being weak terrorist sympathizers.
Gotta love the BDS and Karl Rove as the motivation for a much needed bill. But, people should keep in mind this line of thinking when they vote in November. If Democrats controlled the senate we would probably have a terrorist bill of rights and a catch and release policy.

If true, I'm out. That's it. No more pro-Menendez posts. No more getting Lautenberg's back. No more money to any one of these spineless un-American bastards. No more volunteering. No more phone calls. Whats the freaking difference?
These folks don’t handle diversity of opinion well.

I can't in good conscience vote for Menendez now. :( What are the odds this is all some sort of horrible clerical error? How could so many Democrats have voted for this monstrosity after Hillary Clinton gave such a good speech?
Maybe the senators didn’t buy into all the hysterical nonsense about the bill and decided using interrogation techniques that have disrupted terrorists’ plots, saving countless American lives, is the right thing to do. Maybe, they enjoy a seat in the Senate and would like to be reelected.

I'm not going to write a letter to Menendez and Lautenberg's Senate offices. Instead, tomorrow morning I'm going to call up the campaign office I've been volunteering with, and tell them that I won't be in for a week -- not because I'm too busy, but because I'm ashamed of this vote.
Oooh, a whole week – that’ll teach him.

A Menendez Switcheroo Unlikely

Yesterday, we read this on NRO’s TKS blog by Jim Geraghty:

Word from my sources in Jersey is that the consensus pick is former governor Richard Codey, who entered office when McGreevey resigned and departed when Corzine was sworn in.

And at least one Jerseyite is adamant that the switch is coming, as late as October 15!
Frankly, we don’t give much credence to the suggestion that Democrats might pull another switcheroo in a U.S. Senate race and replace Bob Menendez. First, because we believe Menendez will not quit the race under any circumstances and second, because Democrats knew who they were getting when Governor Corzine appointed Menendez to the Senate.

Most importantly, Democrats have discovered that New Jersey voters will elect whoever they put on the ballot regardless of how sleazy and corrupt the nominee. The party bosses have good reason to believe this is the case given the track record of the state.

There has been no political price paid after each scandal, criminal investigation, indictment, conviction and prison sentence. You know the names - Jim McGreevey, John Lynch, Wayne Bryant, Sharpe James, Bob Torricelli – just to highlight those in the newspapers in the last week. And you know what happened - another Democrat was appointed or elected to take his place. The cycle of scandal and corruption remains unbroken, no political fallout, none.

New Jersey's Democrat Party leaders have created a culture of corruption in our state and they have been well rewarded for their achievement. Now, we have Bob Menendez under criminal investigation, telling one lie after another as each element in one of his stories collapses. But “Democrats gathered around Menendez like a pride of lions”.

Today’s latest revelations about Menendez’ corruption, caught on tape no less, will probably have little impact on a population where only 36 percent of voters can correctly identify him as a U.S. Senator. Just about six weeks before the election and 64 percent of New Jersey’s electorate doesn’t even know the barest minimum about Menendez. It’s doubtful these folks are aware of the string of corruption scandals that have been swirling around Menendez, let alone his political record and policy positions.

Soon Menendez will blanket electronic media with his sound bites and campaign ads. He’s got a 3-to-1 funding advantage over Tom Kean and he will use it to paint himself as a hero and to trash his opponent. It could very well be effective in a state virtually devoid of television news coverage. Philadelphia and New York stations will give minimal airtime to New Jersey‘s elections and any time given will undoubtedly be sympathetic to Democrats. Menendez will be a name in a horse race, he’ll face no scrutiny.

So, we highly doubt New Jersey will see another switcheroo in this election. Why should Democrats bother spending the money to print new signs, create new ads and go to the New Jersey Supreme court to switch another candidate after the legal date? Should Menendez win the election and then be indicted, Governor Jon Corzine will just appoint another Democrat to take his place and the cycle will continue without the slightest hitch.

Note to Blue Jersey: We are again posting information related to a tape embarrassing to Democrats. Just as in the last election, we are of the understanding the tape or tapes exist and will more than likely come out before Election Day. This post, as last year’s, contains direct quotes from reliable sources familiar with the content of the tape(s). Just as last year, do not look for the tapes to be hosted and available here. P.S. We noticed you have been covering up the Bob Menendez’ corruption scandals like a rug.

For those interested in Menendez’ latest corruption scandal here’s the lowdown:
For nearly two years, Oscar Sandoval worked as an FBI informant in a criminal probe resulting in convictions of a half-dozen North Jersey politicians and government vendors, shaking the state's political establishment.

In court papers filed in March, the North Jersey psychiatrist says he was pressured in 1999 to hire a doctor favored by Menendez or risk losing $1 million in government contracts.

Sandoval surreptitiously tape-recorded what he took as the threatening conversation, and provided a copy of the previously unreleased recording to The Inquirer.

In the 20-minute taped telephone call, Donald Scarinci - a powerful North Jersey lawyer, political fund-raiser, and confidant of Menendez's - tells Sandoval that Menendez would consider it "a favor" if Sandoval hired the doctor. He also said hiring Vicente Ruiz would afford him "protection."

At one point in the conversation, Scarinci says, "The only reason I stuck my nose in this Ruiz thing is because Menendez asked me."

Shortly afterward, he adds, "My point of view, it makes sense for you because it gives you protection."

County contracts were at the heart of the criminal probe of former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, who pleaded guilty to participating in a kickback-for-contracts scheme in 2002.

Scarinci is one of New Jersey's most prominent lawyers. His Lyndhurst law firm, Scarinci & Hollenbeck, represents government agencies in New Jersey, including the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, along with private clients.

Scarinci has been a prominent fund-raiser and contributor to Menendez's campaigns and has served as a treasurer of Menendez's House campaigns.

Menendez maintains his campaign-finance headquarters in the building that houses Scarinci & Hollenbeck.
We can begin to see how this relates to U.S. Attorney Chris Christie’s criminal probe into Bob Menendez's dealings:
Ruiz did not return phone calls last night. Ruiz in 1998 earned $125,192 as a physician with the North Hudson Community Action Corp.

Earlier this month, federal investigators issued a subpoena seeking records from North Hudson related to its lease of a Union City building Menendez owned while he was in Congress. Menendez had helped NHCAC get federal funding.
And there’s more to come:
"There is a tape in which Donald Scarinci refers to Menendez," said Sandoval's lawyer, Tomas Espinosa. He added, "There is more than one tape."

Sandoval would not detail the contents of the tapes other than to say they would be damaging to Menendez, a longtime congressman appointed to the Senate in January and now campaigning for a full term.

Several Democratic insiders confirmed Sandoval's characterization of the recordings. One person close to the Menendez campaign and familiar with some of the content called it "really embarrassing" to Menendez.

The Sandoval papers further allege that Menendez personally appeared at the end of a meeting of the two doctors with Scarinci in the lawyer's office "and stated that he was glad we could work out our difference and could work together."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Public Financing Of Political Campaigns


Monday, September 25, 2006

Retiring at 45

Just another example of the unsustainable benefits New Jersey state workers receive:

State corrections office Stewart Harris, a PBA union leader, earns the same salary as other members of his union with at least 12.5 years on the job -- $70,480 -- which will increase to $72,136 in late December.

Harris, 44, plans to retire next June on a pension that will pay him 65 percent of what he earned as a correctional officer. Additionally, the insurance premium for his retiree health benefits will be paid by the state.
This guy will retire at the age of 45 with free health benefits for life and a yearly pension of $46,888.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Don't Vote Democrat

The closer we get to electon day the more hysterical the left becomes. From the Huffington Post:

Don't Vote Democrat

I'm not kidding. If the last week is any indicator of what we've got to look forward to in a Democratic Congress, then don't bother. The last time they were in charge we got the Patriot Act, the Iraq War resolution, and the Medicare drug bill.
Shocking to find a a lefty blogger who acknowleges that the Senate was controlled by Democrats when the Patriot Act and the Iraq War resolution were passed by congress, isn’t it?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ask Menendez About Social Security and Medicare

Bob Menendez says there is no looming Social Security and Medicare financial crisis. And of the entitlement funding problems that do exist, he claims they can be solved by increasing taxes on “the wealthy.”

If the federal government confiscated everything the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans owned, leaving them with absolutely nothing, the government would collect $1.2 trillion, once.

If the federal government seized all the assets and earnings of the wealthiest five percent, the feds would have a one-time haul of $14 trillion.

If the federal government confiscated everything from the American people, the government would rake in $52.1 trillion.

Ask a congressman what the national debt is, and he will say $8.5 trillion. That’s a lot of money, but it completely ignores our two largest and most important government programs, Social Security and Medicare. If you include the promises made by those programs to workers who are already paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, the national debt jumps to $46 trillion.

If you look closely at the annual letter you receive from the Social Security Administration, you will see that the benefits you’ve been buying with your payroll taxes are only “scheduled.” That’s a fancy word for maybe. The federal government can revoke them at will, according to the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Fleming v. Nestor.

Ask your senator or congressman again about the size of the debt. If they answer anything less than $46 trillion, follow up by asking whose benefits they will cut or whose taxes they will raise.
Written by a Republican trying to “destroy” Social Security? No, written by Congressman Jim Cooper, D-Tenn, a Democrat willing to truthfully discuss the entitlement issue

Plan Introduced To Cut NJ State Workforce By Ten Percent

The state of New Jersey has more than 74,000 employees. Pennsylvania, by comparison, has 8,000 fewer employees but 4 million more people.

Assemblyman Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) introduced a plan Wednesday to cut New Jersey's state work force by 10 percent over 10 year.

“It would be great if you could wave the magic wand and cut the state work force 10 percent overnight,” Whelan said. “But I think you have to be realistic about what you can achieve.”
Yes please, but faster.

Gasp! Negative Comments About Bob Menendez

The media have given more attention to “Astrogate” than they have to Bob Menendez’ record or his positions. Ditto for Tom Kean’s. Democrats do an excellent job of using the media in New Jersey to their advantage, the same goes for liberal blogs.

By now most New Jersey blog readers have heard about the kerfuffle over comments posted on Blue Jersey. So used to echo chamber comments to every post, Blue Jersey’s jmelli became suspicious when a couple of comments didn’t toe the party line.

Someone on the liberal political blog Blue Jersey has been posting -- gasp! -- anonymous criticisms of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
Well, at least one reporter seems to recognize “Astrogate” is much ado about nothing, but she still wrote the story. But, it's to be expected. When major players in your party are being investigated and convicted of political corruption on a regular basis, blog comments become a big deal.

Apparently, it’s outside the realm of possibility that three “Democrats, confused Democrats, wavering Democrats or former Democrats” aren’t thrilled with Bob Menendez. So the story goes that jmelli looked up the IP address for the critical comments and discovered they were from a Comcast business account in Union, five miles from Kean's campaign headquarters.

The Kean campaign’s technical adviser said that the Internet protocol, or I.P., address that linked the posts to the Kean headquarters was an old one, “from over a month ago.”
So, we are told jmelli called a friend for help:

In a telephone interview Thursday, Melli said he was pretty certain the postings came from Kean's campaign but needed an e-mail from them to verify it. So he called a friend who had recently received an e-mail from Kean's campaign and the IP addresses were the same.
The friend according to the New York Times turns out to be a reporter.

But an e-mail message Ms. Hazelbaker sent to a reporter on Wednesday shares the same I.P. address.
There again is that cozy relationship among the Menendez campaign, Blue Jersey bloggers and reporters we’ve been writing about. (Isn’t there a news story or two in that?) Anyway, from this information jmelli took the grand leap of accusing Kean’s campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker of personally being responsible for the blog comments.

An I.P. is an address, much like a telephone number, that in most cases is specific to an individual computer. But in this case, the Kean campaign registered a business account with Comcast, and it is likely that the entire office shares the same I.P. address — so the postings could have come from any computer within the headquarters in Mountainside, N.J.
Has any reporter viewed the proof for this accusation? Just because jmelli was able to find out the Kean IP address from a reporter doesn’t prove any comments on Blue Jersey actually came from the address. Not a single report on this ho-ha mentions a reporter actually saw anything to verify the charge. The story seems to be based on jmelli’s word and little else. There was more skepticism from the press when a U.S. Attorney, with a perfect conviction record, launched a criminal probe into Bob Menendez’ business dealings.

Beyond the media's willingness to make a big deal out of the trivial from a highly partisan source, here’s what we make of all this. The Blue Jersey bloggers were unable to refute the comments and so they’ve resorted to complaining about the people who made them. They could have pointed out the source and then rebutted the commenters’ points, but obviously they couldn’t. So we get "Astrogate".

When we receive anonymous comments from Democrat campaign staffers we engage them in debate. That’s one of the differences between a political blog such as this one and a permanent Democrat campaign blog such as Blue Jersey. Not that there’s anything wrong with campaign blogs, New Jersey Republicans should create a “Red Jersey” blog.

We have no idea who was responsible for the “offending comments” on Blue Jersey, but it’s good to know there may be disaffected Democrats working for the Kean campaign.

At a news conference in Bergen County, surrounded by more than 20 Democrats who said they will vote for Kean, the candidate said "a sure sign of a failing campaign is when they stop attacking me and start attacking my staff."

Joe Rakowski, a former Jersey City councilman and acting mayor, said he and other Democrats support Kean. "There's a lot of animosity around Bob Menendez," Rakowski said.
As each new poll comes out showing Kean in the lead, look for Democrats to become more hysterical. If taxes and corruption prove to be the issues in New Jersey’s Senate race then Kean is sure to win. If not, then the taxpayers of New Jersey are sure to lose, again.

In either case, blog comments will play absolutely no role in the outcome. Biased reporting in the media, that’s another matter. But, that’s the way it is in New Jersey and it’s not going to change for the foreseeable future. Heck, the pundits at our largest newspaper write glowing tributes to Democrats after they have pled guilty to political corruption and tax evasion. We don't expect anything less for those under criminal investigation.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Creating A Culture Of Corruption In New Jersey

Why is New Jersey so plagued with political corruption? Why do voters continue to elect unethical politicians who clearly are stealing the state’s taxpayers blind? Or as Jim at Parkway Rest Stop put it,” Is There No End to this Crap?

Michael Carroll explains one of the root causes of New Jersey’s culture of corruption– the people voting for these spandrels aren’t the folks picking up the tab.

Most serious political corruption tends to be an urban problem. And a Democrat problem. Not because Republicans are inherently more virtuous, but because they tend to approach government from a different perspective than do Democrats. Dems see government as an engine for legally stealing from A to benefit B. Republicans, contrariwise, see government as a bulwark to prevent B from stealing from A.

The Dem mentality inevitably gives rise to corruption, both of the illegal and legal sort.

First, victims of theft tend to object, but if the thief is playing Robin Hood, he creates a substantial constituency for theft. If the beneficiaries of the theft are the residents of a particular district, while the victims live somewhere else, Robin will repeatedly win office in a landslide, even if he’s not exactly pure of heart, and takes a cut for himself and his band of merry marauders.

Consider Sharpe James and Wayne Bryant, the poster boys for (apparently) "legal" corruption. If one lived in Newark or Camden, and benefited from the huge amount of boodle these two legislators managed to secure for their constituencies, how would one vote? Put another way, if Sharpe delivers hundreds of millions in pork each year – goodies that his constituents enjoy at someone else’s expense – are yachts, a Rolls, and trips to Rio too high a price to pay? If Camden gets billions due to Bryant’s efforts, are governmental jobs for his entire family unreasonable compensation? Why should the voters of Newark or Camden care? They aren’t paying the bills.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Menendez Machine In Action

Yesterday, the Menendez campaign put out a story on Blue Jersey citing a 1996 article in the Jersey Journal as some sort of proof that Menendez’ rental deal with a federally funded nonprofit was approved by a Democratic counsel to the House ethics committee. In fact the article proves no such thing.

According to the Jersey Journal article, Menendez claimed he was told by the Ellen Weintraub, Democratic Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the House, that the deal did not violate conflict-of-interest laws. However, the Jersey Journal article makes it very clear that the Menendez story could not be confirmed with the Ethics Committee or with Weintraub.

Folks actually reading the article will also learn the rental deal was viewed as suspicious back in 1996 and that Menendez claimed back then “he did not realize his building would be housing a federally funded agency until after the deal was done”. According to the article the original lease was for three years, yet as we now know Menendez continued renting his property to the agency for another six years.

Now, ten years later Menendez claims he received “verbal approval” for the rental deal from Mark Davis, a former Ethics Committee counsel, who as it was first pointed out, is deceased and later discovered to have left the House Ethics Committee before Menendez entered into his deal with the agency.

On September 9, 2006 Menendez said:
"But having said that, if I ever thought even with an ethical approval that this would become the distraction it has become in this campaign, I certainly would have thought about it twice and would not have ultimately pursued it," he said.
Obviously, Menendez has been caught in another fib. The Jersey Journal article makes clearMenendez was well aware of a possible conflict of interest as far back as 1996 and yet he continued the deal beyond the original term of the lease until he sold his property in 2003.

As we predicted yesterday, Herb Jackson cites the Blue Jersey blog post today in an article for the Record. It’s fascinating to watch the political machine in action.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Newspaper Clippings

It’s fascinating watching Bob Menendez’ team using the far left blog network as an arm of his U.S. Senate campaign.

What were you doing in February of 1996?
We were living in New Jersey. Bob Menendez was a member of Congress from New Jersey and the de facto political boss of Hudson County. He was also making a nice side income renting a property he owned to a federally funded nonprofit agency.

Thurman Hart, Xpatriated Texan, was working on a bachelors degree in psychology at the University of Central Florida, not clipping news items from the Jersey Journal about Menendez, saving them for posterity and use in future blog posts.

Congressman on the other hand do employ newspaper clipping services and have a team of people writing stories they want to get into the media. How long before Herb Jackson is quoting the Blue Jersey blog as his source for a news column?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Menendez Fears Scrutiny

Steve Adubato described Bob Menendez as a great debater and extremely articulate. Then why did Menendez decline to debate Tom Kean on “Meet the Press” and opt instead for two locally hosted debates to be aired at 8 am on consecutive Sundays in October? The answer in a word is fear.

Menendez is afraid to face a questioner that isn’t totally in his corner, as opposed to the usual cheerleaders from the local press he’s grown accustomed to tossing him softball questions. He’s afraid to debate the issues and have his far left agenda exposed to a larger voting audience. He’s terrified his unethical, if not criminal, behavior will not be glossed over and excused in a national venue. He knows the stories he’s told surrounding his deal with a nonprofit agency will be proven to be out and out lies.

"We are turning down 'Meet the Press' so that we can focus on local affiliates, local reporters and appearances before New Jersey voters," [Menendez] spokesman Matt Miller said.
That quote speaks volumes about Menendez and the local press.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too Many Pots Of Gold

Democrats suffered almost daily embarrassment over reports about the Menendez inquiry, the tell-all book by disgraced former Gov. James E. McGreevey and the guilty plea by Middlesex County power broker John Lynch on federal fraud charges.” And that’s just last week.

“With so many layers of government, there are simply too many pots of gold for prosecutors to guard.”

“Christie's prescription gets tougher when he turns his attention to the humble voter, whom he sees as both the victim of this corruption and its enabler. “

If the majority of voters in the state have been the enablers than New Jersey’s media have been the pushers – excusing, trumpeting and endorsing one crooked Democrat after the next for election. The pots of gold can’t be large enough for most of the editorial writers and political pundits in this state. Taxpayers are the victims, but you’d never know that from reading the major papers in New Jersey.

A Monmouth University poll released last month showed that 77 percent of New Jerseyans believe Jim McGreevey resigned from office because he was a homosexual.

Wonder how people got that idea?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Real Property Tax Relief Can’t Be Accomplished Without Fixing Abbott School Funding

A New Jersey state task force appointed by Governor Jon Corzine recommended the state spend $3.25 billion on school construction - $2.5 billion in the 31 Abbott districts and $750 million in the other 585 school districts in the state. This is in addition to the $8.6 billion the state has already spent - $6 billion in the Abbott districts and $2.6 billion elsewhere in the state.

This latest recommendation is just the beginning. Back in February the task force suggested an additional $29.2 billion be spent for Abbott school construction over the next ten years. This is an incredible sum considering the Abbott districts comprise only 22 percent of the state’s public school students.

The state’s Abbott school construction program has been a boondoggle from day one. An analysis by the Star-Ledger showed the state spent an average of 45 percent more to build schools in the Abbott districts than did local boards of education throughout the rest of the state.

An audit report by State Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper concluded New Jersey’s school construction program was a textbook case of “mismanagement, fiscal malfeasance, conflicts of interest and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Those words fairly sum up New Jersey’s 30 year Abbott school experiment. Billion upon billions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into these schools with little to no improvement to show for the investment. The original $6 billion allocated for Abbott school construction was blown through with less than one-half the scheduled projects completed.

New Jersey’s Abbott school districts now spend 30 percent more per student as compared to the state’s average and receive 55 percent of all state property tax relief for schools. State school construction funding is even more lopsided with 70 percent of state resources being spent on the Abbott districts.

If the politicians in Trenton are serious about reducing New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes then they will need to seriously address the over-allocation of tax dollars to the Abbott districts. Every child deserves a quality education, but it shouldn’t be necessary to bankrupt the state and its property taxpayers in order to accomplish the goal.

Bob at eCache has more

Friday, September 15, 2006

Midterm Elections

Andrew Busch, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Claremont McKenna College, has written a series of short articles on momentous midterm elections that are well worth reading.

From his article 1974 Midterms Bolster Liberalism in Congress:

Perhaps the most important effects of the midterm elections came in foreign policy, however. The new Congress was much more willing to confront the President—and much less willing to confront the spread of communism. When North Vietnam violated the 1973 cease-fire agreement and invaded the South again in 1975, Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to re-supply the South before it was overrun. Congress refused, and on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell. In a certain respect, the midterm elections of 1974 sealed the fate of Indochina.

When Portugal gave up control of Angola and Mozambique in 1975, the Soviets and Cubans began aiding the pro-communist MPLA guerrilla group. When Ford asked Congress to help fund the pro-western group UNITA, it not only refused but passed the Clark amendment permanently enjoining any sort of aid to UNITA. (The Clark amendment was finally repealed in 1985.)

In both houses, liberal Democrats were emboldened to hold public hearings about CIA covert operations. Those hearings not only embarrassed the executive branch but arguably conveyed information that was damaging to national security. The hearings resulted in intelligence "reforms" that hamstrung intelligence and covert operations for the rest of the decade.

Altogether, the Congress elected in 1974 set about almost immediately to undermine the capacity of the United States and its friends to resist the expansion of Soviet power in the world. The record of that Congress might profitably be considered by Americans before they vote in November 2006. Congressional elections might typically hinge on issues like the economy and scandal, but the consequences of those elections can reach far afield, and sometimes can even make vain the sacrifices of many.
Busch Midterm Election Series:
1978 GOP Sets Stage for Reagan
1974 Midterms Bolster Liberalism in Congress
1966 Midterm Foreshadows Republican Era
1958-1962 Midterms Pave Way for Great Society
1946 Midterm Gives GOP First Majority Since 1928 Elections, Helps Ensure Truman’s Reelection
The New Deal Comes to a Screeching Halt in 1938
1930 Midterms Heralded New Deal

New Jersey’s Unbelievably High State Worker Accident Rate

Based on a study of the state's risk management program last year, New Jersey’s accident rate among its workers is about 45 percent higher than the national average for state governments, placing it with Connecticut and New York as one of the three worst in the country. The state’s unbelievably high accident rate cost New Jersey about $105 million last year in worker benefits.

In related news, a former employee of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance pleaded guilty yesterday to theft by deception for falsely collecting state disability benefits. The state worker claimed he was injured and unable to perform his duties for the banking department. In fact, during the time he was receiving state disability payments he collected $123,704 for work he did as a general contractor for an automotive group.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

“Menendez Is Just Not Selling Very Well”

Roberto writes, “Another day ... another poll ... one more day of bad news for NJ Senator Bob Menendez”.

Pundits are scratching their heads wondering why Menendez is doing so lousy in a race that they felt was a lock for the democrats. Herb Jackson … quotes political pundit Larry Sabato as saying "Slowly it is dawning on me and others that Menendez is just not selling very well . . . There isn't a lot of attractive warmth to Menendez and it shows".

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Menendez: You Put Your Hand On The Bible

Senator Bob Menendez is placing his perfect rating with the folks at the Secular Coalition for America in jeopardy. The Hill noted just yesterday that Menendez was one of 18 “senators earning the aetheists’ praise”. Now that he’s been caught with his hand in the federal cookie jar and lying about it, he’s breaking out the Bible:

“You put you hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth.”

There may be one small bit of truth to this ad, if you notice Menendez doesn’t say “I put my hand on the Bible and swore to tell the truth.” His ad goes on to quote from various news papers – here’s just a few quotes Menendez forgot to mention:

"There have been 75 corruption indictments in New Jersey over the last four years. The public has a right to yearn for a break from the past, and Mr. Menendez does not represent a clean slate." - New York Times, December 9, 2005

"I had no choice but to testify. I did not go running to Newark.” – Star-Ledger, June 23, 2006

Menendez also admitted that he had written two, one million dollar checks to the mob connected contractor, for the same invoice, but said that it was nothing more than an error in bookkeeping. - Star-Ledger, June 22, 2006

Bob Menendez claimed he received “verbal approval” from the House ethics committee, for a cozy deal he had with the federally funded North Hudson Community Action Corporation, although he said he did not obtain a written opinion. - Star-Ledger, August 25, 2006

Menendez's financial disclosure forms filed with the House Ethics Committee showed the rental income as required, though not the source. - Bergen Record, August 26, 2006

Menendez claimed the “verbal approval” he received came from Mark Davis, a former Ethics Committee counsel, who conveniently for Menendez, is dead. - Associated Press, September 9, 2006

Mark Davis left the House Ethics Committee before Menendez entered into his deal with the federally funded agency. - Star-Ledger, September 9, 2006

Previous Posts:
Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”
Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted
Menendez Sets Off Ethical Alarm Bells
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez
Bob Menendez: The Early Years

Democrats Play The Victim Card

Former U.S. Senator Harrison “Abscam” Williams (D-NJ) was forced to resign from the U.S. Senate because he was unfairly trapped into taking bribes.

Former Governor Jim “Machiavelli” McGreevey (D-NJ) was forced to resign because of gay discrimination.

Former U.S. Senator Bob “the Torch” Torricelli (D-NJ) was forced from office because extremist Republicans were out to get him.

Former Newark Mayor Sharpe “Roils-Royce” James (D-NJ) is under criminal investigation because he is a civil rights leader.

U.S. Senator Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez (D-NJ) is under criminal investigation because he’s being “swift boated”.

Notice a pattern?

Unemployment and Taxes in New Jersey

New Jersey's unemployment rose from 5.1 percent in July to 5.3 percent in August, its highest level in more than two years, even as the national rate declined. Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent from July to August.

In the past twelve months, the private sector in New Jersey has added only 26,300 jobs, while state government has added 2,400 workers and local governments in the Garden State have added 3,500 more workers.

This past March, Governor Jon Corzine claimed he was going to eliminate 1,000 state jobs as part of his “hard choices” budget. Instead, what taxpayers got were $1.8 billion in new taxes and 2,400 more state workers to support.

Tax policy makes a difference. Increasing taxes does not help grow an economy. Increasing taxes is not a prescription for increasing the incomes of middle class families. When are New Jersey’s liberal Democrat’s going to figure this out?

Check out the Hall Institute’s virtual debate between Bob Menendez and Tom Kean. Menendez’ solution to every issue is to raise taxes.

New Jersey already has the highest property tax rates in the nation. In addition, New Jersey state income tax rates for those in the top-earning brackets are among the highest in the nation.
For every dollar state taxpayers pay to the federal government, New Jersey gets back 55 cents, the lowest return in the nation. The reason for the state’s lousy return should come as no surprise – we are “the rich” - New Jersey has the highest household income of any state. It should be obvious that the taxpayers of New Jersey are paying their “fair share” to the federal government.

But, not according to Senator Bob Menendez and congressional candidate Linda Stender. Both Democrats are calling for the repeal of the “Bush tax cuts”, which means they are advocating for higher taxes on New Jersey families.

There’s a reason New Jersey’s economy is going in the opposite direction from the nation as a whole – crushing state and local taxes. The last thing New Jersey needs is higher federal taxes. Menendez and Stender haven’t figured that out or maybe they just don’t care about the people who pay the bills.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering Nicholas John

Nicholas John was born on July 2, 1959 in Dunvant, Swansea, Wales, a city rich in history and spectacular scenery. It was also the birthplace of the poet Dylan Thomas and home to Nick, his two bothers and his parents Glyn and Enfys. To meet Nick was to understand the magic of his homeland.

Nick was a passionate and warm-hearted man, with a great sense of humor and an easy smile. His sense of adventure led him to travel the world, making lasting friendships wherever he went. No matter where his travels took him, though, Nick never forgot his Welsh heritage. He often entertained friends and colleagues with stories of Wales and after a pint or two, he would tell them in Welsh. His favorite pub in New York was Fiddlesticks.

Nick loved sports, especially playing rugby and rooting for the Welsh Rugby Union team. He regularly played squash and was always looking forward to his next scuba diving adventure. Nick was a music buff. He played the guitar and amassed a very large and eclectic music collection.

Nick also had a successful business career that included executive positions with McGraw Hill, Manufacturers Hanover Trust and JPMorgan Chase. His work gave him the opportunity to explore the world while living in London, Hong Kong, Sydney and New York. It was while working in Australia that Nick met his life partner, Megan Dennison. Together they moved to New York, living in Greenwich Village, not far from his downtown Manhattan office at Chase.

On September 11th Nick was not in his office, but was attending the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress at the World Trade Center, Tower 1. The meeting was being conducted at Windows on The World, with its spectacular view from the 108th floor. That’s where Nick was when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into Tower 1, the north tower, at 8:46 a.m. Records show he called 911 from his cell phone, but he was unable to escape before the Tower collapsed at 10:28 that morning.

Nick may have left us on September 11th, but he will live forever in the hearts of his family and friends around the world. He is commemorated in the United in Memory Quilt and on the “Memorial Railing” that runs through the new British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square in Manhattan.

“Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” - Dylan Thomas

British Minister, Andrew Davies, joined teachers and students from Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera to lay a wreath in memory of Nicholas John. A wreath of daffodils and Welsh flags was presented to a guardian of the new Memorial Garden for the British victims who died on September 11, close to the Ground Zero site at Hanover Square.

If you have memories of Nick you’d like to share, please post them in the comments section or add them to the Remember: September 11, 2001 website.

Thanks to D.C. Roe for coordinating the 2996 tributes to those lost on 9-11. Click on the graphic below to read other remembrances.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”

Manny Diaz and Bob Menendez were law partners in Union City during the early 1980s.

Nine years ago, Diaz was arrested for cocaine trafficking in a case that eventually landed him in federal prison for two years. In 1999, the year he began serving his sentence, he was also disbarred for misusing his clients' money and other breaches.

Today, Diaz is the director of emergency food and shelter services for the North Hudson Community Action Center. That’s the same agency involved in a federal investigation launched last week over a deal Menendez had with the nonprofit.

As a member of the U.S. House, Menendez steered millions in federal funding to the agency while collecting more than $300,000 in rental income and over $30,000 in campaign contributions from the nonprofit’s employees.

When Menendez was triumphantly sworn in as Jon Corzine's replacement in the U.S. Senate in January, Diaz was on hand, having already contributed more than $4,000 toward the Democrat's campaign for a full term.

What a coincidence.

Previous Posts:

Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”
Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted
Menendez Sets Off Ethical Alarm Bells
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez
Bob Menendez: The Early Years

Saturday, September 09, 2006

New Jersey Gas Prices

As commuters via public transportation we don’t do much driving and so aren’t quite as attuned to the fluctuation in gas prices as most folks. We thought gas prices were falling. But, then we noticed Linda Stander was complaining about “big oil” companies in her new TV ad and Chuck Schumer is claiming Bob Menendez is on the wrong end of a federal investigation because Republicans are trying to divert attention from their failures on gas prices.

Presumably Stender, Menendez and Schumer believe if oil companies paid more taxes, prices at the pump would be lower. How higher oil company expenses (taxes) could possibly bring about lower consumer gas prices is a mystery. Anyway, Democrats are blaming Republicans for their failure to repeal the law of supply and demand.

So what is going on with gas prices? We went to NewJerseyGasPrices.com and found this graph on their site of the average price per gallon in New Jersey for the past month.

Click to Enlarge

Wow, gas prices are dropping even more than we realized, how’d that happen? According to the Philadelphia Inquirer experts say the drop in gas prices shows supply, demand at work. Imagine that?

Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole

Two weeks ago Bob Menendez claimed he received “verbal approval” from the House ethics committee for a cozy deal he had with a federally funded nonprofit agency, although he said he did not obtain a written opinion.

Then on Thursday, Menendez claimed the “verbal approval” he received came from Mark Davis, a former Ethics Committee counsel, who conveniently for Menendez, is dead.

Today, the Star-Ledger reports that Mark Davis left the House Ethics Committee before Menendez entered into his deal with the agency.

Additional Posts:
Menendez: You Put Your Hand On The Bible
Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”
Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted
Menendez Sets Off Ethical Alarm Bells
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez
Bob Menendez: The Early Years

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fixing the Blame For 9-11and the War

Does anyone else find it strange that the New York Times can splash national security secrets across its front pages and Democrats are okay with it, but an ABC docu-drama brings them to battle stations?

Or, how about the free speech argument we heard in New Jersey when Joseph Kyle, the Parsippany High School teacher, was having President Bush tried for "war crimes” in his senior government class. But, now we have Democrats, including Congressman. Bill Pascrell (NJ-8), demanding Scholastic Inc. and ABC keep The Path to 9-11 out of America's classrooms. Why the change of heart?

Obviously, we haven’t seen the film, but we’re almost certain the docu-drama will show the perpetrators of 9-11 to be Al-Qaeda. Perhaps that’s the problem, the Democrats blame game is under attack.

Everything was just fine by Democrats when the Bush administration and the United States were being bashed over 9-11 and the war in the news, films and books. No howls of protest and demands for scrupulous accuracy from the usual suspects under those circumstances.

Lately, various crazy 9-11 conspiracy theories have been gaining traction and Democrats, especially those on the far left, have been fanning the flames. Along comes a TV show that apparently puts these ludicrous notions to bed and all hell breaks lose.

The blame game and conspiracy theories had gotten so out of hand that Osma bin Laden felt compelled to release his own new video proving Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on 9-11.. So enough of the finger pointing and endless speculation of who could have done what when – the 9-11 attacks were carried out by Al-Qaeda. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind where the blame should rest.

Using the 9-11 Commission Report and subsequent Intelligence Committee reports as weapons of mass destruction against government agencies or the Clinton and Bush administrations is counterproductive. Fixing American problems, not American blame should be the goal of our efforts.

We are at war; the least we could all do is agree on the enemy - Islamic fascists. The definitive history of this war will be written sometime well into the future, we would prefer it be written by the United States of America. If that proves not to be the case, then we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted

From NJ.Com:

Federal investigators have subpoenaed records of a rental deal between U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and a non-profit agency in Union City, launching a criminal investigation that is sure to rock New Jersey’s hotly contested Senate race.

Authorities delivered the subpoena to the North Hudson Community Action Corp. earlier this week, according to three sources familiar with the move who requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The action comes two weeks after The Star-Ledger reported that Menendez collected over $300,000 from the organization over a nine-year period while he represented Hudson County in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that period, he also helped the agency win millions of dollars in federal funding.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie declined to comment. Christie is a Republican who was appointed by President George W. Bush, but has won wide, bipartisan support for pursuing public corruption cases involving both political parties.

More here: Federal Probe Launched Into Menendez's Finances

Additional Posts:
Menendez: You Put Your Hand On The Bible
Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”
Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted
Menendez Sets Off Ethical Alarm Bells
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez

New Jersey’s Tax Policies and Stagnant Economic Growth

Economic growth in New Jersey has declined to its slowest rate in nearly five years and is projected be about 0.6 percent through the spring of 2007.

The nine-month growth rate has not been so low since 0.4 percent was projected in November 2001, when the economy was emerging from a recession but still reeling from the terrorist attacks two months earlier.
Tax increases have consequences. Economic growth and private sector job creation are two casualties of the misguided taxing policies Democrats have enacted since taking control of state government in 2002.

We've had a pretty dramatic decline in private-sector job growth in the state," said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

The descent was fueled by an increase in business taxes enacted under the McGreevey administration, giving the state a reputation for hostility to business, Hughes said.

New Jersey is on pace to add about 34,000 jobs this year, less than half the 75,000 it should, and over one-third of the new jobs are in government even though that sector accounts for less than one-fifth of all jobs, Hughes said.
The state is broke, property taxes are soaring, businesses aren’t expanding, but New Jersey Democrats keeps the gravy train rolling by adding more government workers to already bloated payrolls.

During the past five years, "there was very little concern about the impact of tax policy on the economy," Hughes said.
Overall, while the state lost 117,600 high-paying service and manufacturing jobs, it replaced them with 113,200 low-paying service jobs. The first half of the first decade of the 2000s has been characterized largely by the contraction of high paying, private-sector office and manufacturing jobs, replaced by lower-paying private-sector employment and expanding public-sector, tax dependent jobs.
Since Democrats took control of Trenton in 2002, state spending and taxes have increased by 35 percent and debt has ballooned by a whopping 214 percent. New Jersey’s population has grown by less than two percent, while the number of state government workers has increased by more than 20 percent. The increase in all public-sector jobs in New Jersey has been increasing at the rate of 9 percent.

For a long time, a significant (and rising) share of the state budget has been used to redistribute income. Too little attention and too few resources were consistently dedicated to growing income.
That’s an understatement.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why Bob Menendez Is Polling Poorly

Fred Snowflack is always good for a laugh. Today in the Daily Record he writes:

Most people are not political junkies. Even people who regularly vote may not pay all that much attention to politics.

In off-hand conversations recently with two friends of mine, the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican challenger Thomas H. Kean Jr. came up. In wading into discussing the race, one thing immediately became clear. Both my friends thought the Republican candidate was the former governor of New Jersey. That would be Thomas H. Kean Sr.
While it’s not surprising Snowflack has such poorly informed friends, it is a very convenient story that just happens to fit one of the Democrats' major explanations for Bob Menendez poor showing in the polls.

"I do feel that a lot of people think it is the governor running," says Lew Candura, the chairman of the Morris County Democratic Committee. Candura said that feeling was reinforced when he spent time with some of his neighbors over Labor Day weekend.
There you have it, if a County Democratic Committee chairman and his neighbors feel a certain way - it must be true. Or perhaps Candura’s neighbors are as clueless as Snowflack’s friends. In either case it’s doubtful these folks are likely Kean voters.

Recent polls show the race a statistical dead heat. That defies conventional wisdom. New Jersey is a solid "blue state."Democratic presidential candidates have won New Jersey four times in a row and Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate race in the state in more than 30 years. Add in President Bush's dismal poll ratings and Menendez should be comfortably ahead.
Snowflack believes Menendez should be ahead in the senate race just because he’s a Democrat. But, Menendez is not a generic Democrat and as anyone slightly familiar with the candidate knows, he comes with ethical baggage and a decidedly far left record. Funny, Snowflack never mentions Menedez postions or his voting record as a possible reason for his candidate’s limp support in Blue Jersey.

A poll by the Eagleton Institute of Politics earlier this year gave some credence to that argument. It noted that the race was a virtual dead heat, but also that when voters definitely knew the candidate was Kean Jr., Menendez had a lead of nine percentage points, 42 to 33.
We debunked that conclusion five months ago when the Eagleton poll first came out. As we pointed out back then, 74 percent of those polled were unable to correctly answer the so-called knowledge questions about either candidate, supposedly asked to filter out people that confused Kean with his father. What the Eagleton poll showed were respondents’ preferences based on political party as of March 2006, with Menendez leading Kean 40% to 35%.

It’s ridiculous to claim that five months further into the campaign more people are confusing Kean with his father now than back in the spring. That’s the illogical nonsense Snowflack wants to you believe for Kean showing a 4 to 5 point edge over Menendez in recent polls.

But, just in case you don’t buy into the confused voter theory, Snowflack does offer another reason for Menendez’ failure to poll well:

And don't overlook the fact he's Cuban. Bigotry is not dead, and Menendez may lose some votes because of his ethnic background. That's sad, but true.
With Republican obviously backing Kean, Snowflack is referring to lost Menendez votes owing to bigotry within the Democrat Party and those unaffiliated voters who regularly support Democrats. Could be, but that doesn’t explain the closeness of the race, unless he believes a fairly good chunk of these voters are bigots and becoming more bigoted as the campaign goes on.

Snowflack does offer one more guess and here he’s starting to get warm:
Menendez comes from Hudson County, which has a well-deserved reputation for political sleaziness.
In other words, Hudson County is rife with political corruption where Menendez is known as “the Boss”. There’s one more logical reason for the incumbent Senator Menendez to be polling so poorly at this stage – his extreme left positions on the major issues. Snowflack just can’t bring himself to consider such a possibility and so it’s back to the voter confusion theory.

Now that September is here, both candidates will become more visible on television and in various advertisements. It should become pretty clear that the candidate is the son, not the father," Wooley said
It’ll be interesting to see how Menendez tries to conceal and disguise his record in the 24-by-7 ads his money advantage will buy. Never fear though, Kean has a secret weapon to counteract the Democrats’ financial advantage - Tom Kean Sr. is going to do all of his son’s ads. Okay, we’re just kidding, but just imagine the heads exploding at the mere thought.

New Jersey Senate Race – Kean Leads Menendez

The latest Rasmussen poll, conducted on August 28, has Tom Kean leading Bob Menendez 44 percent to 39 percent. Last week’s Fairleigh Dickinson poll also favored Kean by a similar margin.

"New Jersey is considered a deeply blue state and this is a Democratic year. Menendez ought to be well ahead," said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, who is weighing whether to move the Kean-Menendez race from "leans Democratic" to "tossup" on his online political prediction site.

That is a move fellow handicapper Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report made several months ago.

"It's simply a combination of an appointed senator, a less-than-popular governor who appointed him, a Republican with a good name and a Republican who has one of the hot issues of the cycle, which is ethics," Rothenberg said.

"If this was simply a way for New Jersey voters to send a message about corruption, I would write Menendez off today," Sabato said.
Who knows, maybe New Jerseyans will want to send a multipart message - No to unethical politicians, no to tax increases, no to amnesty and government benefits for illegal aliens and no to surrendering to Islamic fascists.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bob Menendez: The Early Years

New Jersey’s junior senator, Robert Menendez, was appointed by Gov. Jon Corzine in 2006 to complete his term in the U.S. Senate. Corzine had resigned his senate seat after winning his bid to become governor in the 2005 election.

Bob Menendez began his political career at age nineteen with his election to the Union City Board of Education as part of the William Musto machine-backed slate of candidates. In 1978 Menendez gave up his seat to serve as the school board’s chief financial officer. Musto was then mayor of Union City and a state senator.

In 1981 a federal grand jury was impaneled to investigate political corruption in Union City. Menendez was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury that ultimately indicted Musto and six other Union City officials on 36 counts of racketeering, extortion and fraud.

At the 1982 corruption trial Bob Menendez and a construction contractor, Rudolph Orlandini, were star witnesses. Menendez testified as the school board’s chief financial officer during the time contractor Orlandini was paying $700,000 in bribes to city and school officials. The bribes were offered in exchange for allowing the contractor to over bill the district by more than $2 million for renovations at two district high schools.

The scheme collapsed when the Board of Education ran out of money before Orlandini had finished work on the school construction projects. Under pressure for cash from his organized crime associates, Orlandini became a government informant, taping school board and city officials.

According to the trial transcript Menendez said he had alerted his political mentor, Musto, that he would be testifying before the grand jury and that he had been interviewed by the FBI. Menendez said Musto had suggested he decline to testify, citing the possibility of self-incrimination. He also said Musto had told him that an FBI informant - the bribe-paying contractor - had been taped talking about bribing Menendez.

Under cross-examination, Menendez admitted that he never told the grand jury about the conversation with Musto, and that he told prosecutors only after he found out from newspaper accounts that the secretly recorded tapes did not implicate him. Menendez conceded that even after 12 appearances before a grand jury, he supported Musto's bid for re-election as state senator and mayor.

Menendez also admitted that he had written two, one million dollar checks to Orlandini, for the same invoice, but said that it was nothing more than an error in bookkeeping.

Musto, along with six city school officials and contractors were convicted in the corruption case. Musto was reelected, but his prison sentence prevented him from fulfilling the mandate of the people. The contractor Orlandini confessed to paying hundreds of thousands in bribes, but was placed in the federal witness protection program. After the trial Menendez said "I had no choice but to testify. I did not go running to Newark.” Menendez continued on with his political career.

Additional Posts:
Menendez: You Put Your Hand On The Bible
Another Menendez, North Hudson Community Action Center “Coincidence”
Bob Menendez Digs A Deeper Hole
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez Busted
Menendez Sets Off Ethical Alarm Bells
Bob “I Barely Broke Even” Menendez

Friday, September 01, 2006

Corzine: “I’m Not That Tricky”

"I'm not that tricky. I'm not that tricky," New Jersey's Governor Jon Corzine said.

Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he was simply being generous, not seeking any political favors, when he forgave a $50,000 loan to a prominent black minister who later endorsed his campaign for governor.

"If I wanted to hide" the gift, the governor said, he could have maneuvered it through his personal bank accounts and no one would ever be the wiser.
Christopher Christie are you listening?

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