Corzine: Withdrawing Troops From Iraq Would Be A Mistake
Corzine's trip began with a security briefing Monday at the Pentagon. He flew to Kuwait on Tuesday, meeting with top military brass and lunching with 81 soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard. Yesterday, he met with the New Jersey Army National Guard's 250th Brigade Support Battalion in Baghdad and toured Tikrit.Speaking yesterday about the situation in Iraq, Corzine said “U.S. soldiers should not leave just yet” and expressed concern over the proxy war Iran is waging against the United States in Iraq.
Many Democrats, including Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, want the majority of American forces out of Iraq within a year. But Corzine said everything he saw on this trip convinced him that approach would be a mistake.We are fighting the Long War against islamofascism and it is heartening to see Corzine recognizing the importance of the mission in Iraq to our country’s long-term security.
The governor said that from a strategic standpoint, he finds it difficult "to take a backing-away point of view that is sometimes debated." In fact, he believes more troops - especially help from Iraq - are needed.
Although the situation on the ground is precarious, he praised the troops for their high level of professionalism and called their spirits and morale "uplifting." There are more than 5,300 troops from New Jersey serving in Iraq, his office said.
Both Corzine and Maj. Gen. Glenn Rieth, the state's adjutant general, said New Jersey should be prepared for more National Guard troops to be called up for Iraq duty within the next two to three years.
Corzine also warned of a "growing and transparent" effort by Iran to help destabilize the country and "preposition" itself in Iraq in case the United States pulls out.
Equity For Me, But Not For Thee
Steven Goldstein, of the gay-rights group Garden State Equality, called the family council proposal "dead upon arrival and an utter joke."Apparently Garden State Equality is against the proposal because it is “inclusive”, “nondiscriminatory” and goes beyond offering protection for just gay people. The proposed law would “extend the legal rights of marriage to all partnerships, romantic or not”. The Act would allow everyone to benefit from “legal partnerships, such as two female senior citizens living together, or a grandparent and a grandchild, who want to share a health-insurance policy or pass along workers' compensation survivor benefits”.
The equity for me, but not for thee crowd has been exposed. Their fight clearly is not for equal treatment for all, but for special treatment for their group.
"They are going to be hearing from our families in the next 30 days, big-time, and that will change everything," said Buckel, who argued the Supreme Court case on behalf of the seven gay couples who sued for the right to marry. He said there were 20,000 gay families living in New Jersey.We suggest Garden State Equality stop telling people they're “second-class” and embrace the concept of equity for all – gay and straight. The Equal Benefits Act recognizes the changing concept of family and the economic interdependencies of all people living in the Garden State. It’s too bad Steven Goldstein lacks an open mind and compassion for the plight of others who are different from him.
"It may be they're hoping to put the issue to rest, but I think... it will just get all the hotter if these families are told they're second-class."
Here’s To The 'Diggers'
Many thanks to our loyal and freedom loving friends, the Australians!
Celebrate NJ is looking for unique, interesting and even personal reasons you have for loving our Garden State. Is there a place, a group, a person or an event in your community that you think deserves recognition? If so, let them know.
If your Reason is selected as one of the "365 Reasons to Celebrate NJ!" you could see it on billboards, on posters, in newspapers, on TV and hear it on the radio-- along with your name and town-- all throughout 2007. How cool would that be?!
Tell the rest of NJ what you celebrate about New Jersey in 25 words or less, and be the first to enter your idea by December 31, 2006.
Submit your entry here.
What Card Are You?
You are The Star
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised
The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
H/T – Tami, the one True
“Most Ridiculous Program on the Planet”
The program calls for random testing of athletes who qualify for team or individual state tournaments. Each test will cost $150 to $200; the New Jersey high school association and the state each will give $50,000 to cover the bill.
Those who test positive will be penalized with a one-year loss of eligibility.
In Oregon, a nationally renowned steroids expert said that New Jersey's program is severely flawed and "a monumental waste of resources."
"That is the most ridiculous program on the planet," said Dr. Linn Goldberg, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.
Because New Jersey's policy limits testing to postseason tournaments, athletes can easily evade detection by using steroids in planned cycles before and after the playoffs, Goldberg said.
"How is that a deterrent?" he asked. "It isn't, not by any stretch of the imagination. If drug testing is going to work, it's got to be random, it's got to be unannounced, and it's got to be at any time."
"I expect them to go with testing at the championships first and get their feet wet," he said. "Then I think they'll expand testing to year-round. This is what the NCAA did. They started testing at championships in 1986 and then went to a year-round program starting in 1990."
For years, however, the NCAA did not test athletes during the summer, leaving a big loophole in its so-called year-round testing program. Random testing of college athletes was extended into the summer months for the first time this year.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association projects that about 500 athletes -- about 5 percent of the 10,000 athletes who participate in tournaments each year -- will be tested this school year.
Sixty percent of the tests will occur in sports that the association deems most susceptible to steroid use, such as football, track and field, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse and swimming.
Urine samples will be analyzed by the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory in Los Angeles, the only lab in the nation accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency to perform steroid testing.
The Biggest News In New Jersey Property Tax Reform
The Joint Committee recommends that a new school aid formula be developed based upon the nationally-recognized professional judgment panels (PJP) model.The professional judgment model was employed by Augenblick, Palaich, & Associates (APA), the Denver-based consulting firm hired by the New Jersey Department of Education to “cost out” public school financing requirements. The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association describes the professional judgment model used by the state as follows:
The Professional Judgment Panel method focuses on the development of educational goals and the construction of theoretical prototype school districts. Education professionals are then asked to identify the resources needed to meet the specified educational goals.Eric Hanushek, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University writes in The Alchemy of “Costing Out” an Adequate Education:
“Costing out studies” should be interpreted as political documents, not as scientific studies.Hanushek says a much more accurate name for the professional judgment model is the “educators’ wish list model”. The new school district formula developed for New Jersey is a wish list for more state spending combined with a political agenda. The Augenblick study provides the state with cover to slash and practically eliminate state aid for many school districts, to spend $1 billion more in favored communities and to maintain spending for Abbott school districts at 30 percent above parity with the “wealthy” districts.
They are incapable of providing the guidance that is sought, because they do not provide an objective and reliable answer of the cost of meeting educational standards.
When there are no accepted scientific standards for their conduct, when there are few empirical restraints, when they cannot be replicated by others, and when there is no requirement for consistency across applications, it should come as little surprise that the estimates please the party who has purchased them.
For example, Cherry Hill Township currently receives $14,992,420 in state aid for education. New Jersey’s professional judgment “costing out” model concludes the school district is spending $9,416,293 too much. The Morris School District gets $7,553,645 in school property tax relief, but the study finds the district is overspending by $6,890,767. As Governor Jon Corzine said, “Anytime you change a formula, there are inevitably winners and losers.”
The Education Law Center has published the cost and funding information from the Augenblick study on its website. Here you can see what your school district spends and the amount deemed necessary under the recommended funding formula. To determine your school district’s average cost per student and the recommended spending per student, divide each figure by the district’s enrollment, which may be found here.
The chart below provides the summary level information based on actual spending as compared to the recommended funding (DOE Adequacy) for each New Jersey school district category.
Click to EnlargeAmazingly the study concludes, the more a community relies on property taxes to fund its schools, the less the school district needs to spend per student. The less a community relies on property taxes and the less it contributes to the state’s property tax relief fund, the more the community needs to spend on education. We don’t need to tell you what will happen with your property taxes - because you’ve already figured out they won’t be going down.
Sid in the City
If you haven’t already, go over and get acquainted with Sid, his wife Marge, the neighbors Rocco and Shirley, the single guy usually wearing green, Dexter and the dog and Cat, Rex and Regina. Sid is a great blog for a daily dose of humor.
We’ve added a Sid in the City blog bottom to our sidebar and you can too. You can snag the code for the graphic with link here.
Bolden: "I deserve the right to leave when I'm ready"
Bolden said she was upset with the attempt to move her out, and vowed to carry out her plans to stay in the district for at least another year and a half to finish several initiatives.The graduation rate has “improved” because nearly three-quarters of Newark’s students are handed a diploma based on a Special Review Assessment (SRA) rather than by passing the New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). Last year, a high school summit convened by then-Gov. Dick Codey concluded that widespread use of the SRA “contributes to the misstatement” of New Jersey’s graduation rate.
"I deserve the right to leave when I'm ready," she said.
"Test scores are up, the graduation rate has moved from 45 percent to 75 percent. ... I thought things were going well, so I was surprised."
The alternative assessment [SRA] “offers a loophole you can drive a truck through to earn a high school diploma,” with “lots of latitude for almost anything to qualify as meeting that standard”.Taxpayers are the ones who should be upset that the state would even consider offering the school Superintendent a buyout package. Bolden’s contract expired last summer. There should be nothing to “buyout’.
Serving as an appointee of the state, her previous contract ran out this summer, and speculation mounted of a possible change in leadership after the election of Corzine and then Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Last year, Bolden was assured by the state her contract would be renewed, yet that has not happened and she continues to work off her previous contract.This is just one of many state laws that have been passed to advantage public employees at the expense of taxpayers – from contracts that never end, to benefits that can never be changed. Unbelievable.
Under state law, if she abides by the contract, the state must give her a year's notice to terminate her employment. For her to leave sooner would require her agreement.
New Jersey's Five Year Plan
New Jersey’s state budget has increased from $22.9 billion in 2002 to $30.9 billion this year. State spending and the taxes to pay for it has increased by 35 percent. In the past five years, the average property tax bill has also increased by 35 percent.
Five years ago, state debt was $15.2 billion. Today, New Jersey’s debt has more than doubled to $33 billion and an additional $11 billion in debt has already been authorized.
New Jerseyans also face a minimum of $38 billion in debt for public employee benefits, an $18 billion unfunded pension liability and at least a $20 billion unfunded health care liability.
Democrats took control of state government five years ago.
Corzine: Don’t Count On Property Tax Cuts
"Corzine says he supports a recommendation by Democratic lawmakers to change annual rebate checks into direct property tax credits. But the governor tells the League of Municipalities, relief is constrained by resources.Corzine says providing relief and then retreating in a year or two because there's not enough money is not acceptable."
"Corzine said the state should put more incentives and penalties behind an effort to consolidate towns and schools and reiterated a call for a 4 percent cap on property tax hikes."
We’ll have more on property tax reform tomorrow.
Freaking Out Over Property Tax Relief
The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran writes,” Democrats and government workers are normally the coziest of friends” and explains that’s “because the vast majority of the money we raise through the property tax goes directly into the salaries and benefits of government workers.”
But the math is inescapable. We have among the best-paid teachers and cops in the country. And we provide all government workers with cushy benefits that are be yond the dreams of most taxpayers.So we get phony spending caps, smoke and mirrors to advance the Democrats’ latest vote buying scheme. Senate President, Dick Codey says New Jersey’s public employee unions are going to “freak out, big-time" over the “property tax relief” proposals. So where’s that $1 billion in additional state spending going to wind up? Oh yea, from your pocket, to the state’s treasury and then “directly into the salaries and benefits of government workers”.
How bad is this latest scam for taxpayers? Consider this from today’s Star-Ledger, “Assembly Democratic aides briefed lobbyists on the latest recommendations throughout the day yesterday. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers still had not been given draft copies of the reports being presented by panels they served on.”
Update: Here’s the plan, or should we say here are nearly 100 ideas Democrats have to rearrange the deck chairs.
A Victim of Taxpayer Generosity and Life-saving Drug Companies
Her prescriptions would have cost her $880.16 each month or $10,562 annually, if not for the Medicare plan she chose which includes “doughnut hole” coverage for all “generic and brand name” drugs. Her total annual cost will be $1,620 with her $135 month Medicare Part D premium. She’s been convinced her $8,942 savings on life-saving or enhancing drugs is some sort of scam. Doubtful it has ever entered her mind that it is the American taxpayer who pays the difference.
She writes that pharmaceutical companies are “dragging down the individuals much as they did in the Gilded Age”. It apparently never crossed her mind that stockholders own the drug companies and that means average working Americans, pension funds and retirees – Rockefeller (D-WV) sits in the U.S. Senate. Men and women, a large share working right here in New Jersey, make their living by bringing her those drugs upon which she depends. But she’s been convinced these people are greedy. Doubtful it has ever entered her mind where she would be without pharmaceutical company stockholders and employees.
A Tribute To Our Veterans
To my Great-Great Grand Father who fought to preserve the Union and gave his life at the Battle of Gettysburg – we are forever in your debt.
To my Grand Father, the World War I soldier, who fought in the Second Battle of Marne and the Battle of Meuse-Argonne that brought victory to the Allies – your sacrifices and love for our country will never be forgotten.
To our Fathers, a pilot, two soldiers and a sailor, who bravely fought the land, sea and air battles of World War II – words can never truly express our gratitude for protecting our country, preserving our freedom and making possible all that we have today.
To our Brothers who served in the Army and the Marines, you answered your country’s call to duty with honor in Vietnam. You quietly put away your Purple Hearts and Silver Star, but your valor and devotion to our country will always be remembered with our deepest thanks and greatest admiration.
To our Sons, serving in the Army, Navy and the Marines - you fought them over there to protect us here and freed 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are so proud of your accomplishments and your commitment to our country. We are so very humbled by your selflessness - you are our heroes.
To our Uncles, Cousins and In-Laws who have served in the U.S. Military here at home and around the world, during peace and conflict - World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq - thank you your patriotism and all that you have done for peace.
To every man and woman who wears and has worn the uniform of the U.S. Military – thank you for our freedom, for defending us and for making the world a better place.
Trenton’s Latest Property Tax Relief Plan
Income tax revenue, by law, may only be used for property tax relief and is used to offset a community’s public school costs. Municipal aid, derived from other state taxes, is granted to further reduce property taxes. Without these two forms of state aid, total property taxes in New Jersey would be well over $32 billion.
These two major forms of property tax relief are currently reducing the average New Jersey resident’s property tax bill by 37 percent. Of course that’s an average. Some residents receive a property tax relief benefit as low as 3 percent and some 100 percent.
Word on the latest property tax relief plan from Trenton is beginning to emerge - Legislative leaders predict 20% property tax reduction:
Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts today said most homeowners can expect a 20 percent average property tax cut as a result of a property tax special session.
In a joint statement, the leaders said the relief will come as a tax credit on most property tax bills. Last year, the statewide average bill was nearly $6,000. Taxpayers paying that much would receive a $1,200 credit if they qualify for the full credit.
The relief will be based on a sliding scale, based on income, according to sources close to negotiations that are underway to hammer out the final details.
“Structural reforms are necessary, but immediate relief is essential,” said Roberts. “The finish line is in sight and we can make projections of the immediate property tax relief most homeowners will experience. An average 20 percent property tax credit for the majority of New Jersey households is achievable.”
Note the qualifiers – credit; 20 percent average; most homeowners; sliding scale, based on income; if they qualify; and hammer out the final details.This may be jumping to conclusions, but this new property tax relief plan sounds an awful lot like the old property tax rebate plan – the difference being a credit on the bill instead of check in the mail.
If Democrats really want to make their plan sound good, they could show three lines of property tax credit on each tax bill – the first line indicating school tax relief, the second showing municipal tax relief and the new, third type, can be labeled county tax relief.
Ta-da! An average of 37 percent property tax relief for everyone without spending an extra penny.
Update: We see our suspicions were correct - Most homeowners would get credit on bill as rebates are eliminated.
The legislative leaders said while the average tax bill would be reduced by 20 percent, most of the tax relief would be targeted to lower- and middle- income homeowners. Those in the upper brackets would get smaller reductions, or nothing at all.Republicans should offer a plan for real property tax reform that actually reduces property taxes. If Democrats refuse to bring the Republican plan to the Assembly floor for consideration, let Democrats explain it to the voters next year. The time for Republicans to begin this fight is now.
Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Morris), a member of one of the four special committees that have met since July to devise a comprehensive plan to reduce property taxes. "They did not bite the bullet and make the tough decisions needed to enact real property tax reform."
"Eliminate one program to initiate another -- that's heroic," he said. "I think this is obviously more of a smoke-and-mirrors program."
Codey dared Republicans to oppose a 20 percent reduction with all 120 seats in the Legislature up for election next year.
Ken Adams is currently working to raise funds for Valour-IT, a project that provides voice-controlled laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand, arm and eye injuries.
The goal is to raise $180,000 by Veterans' Day so that our wounded heroes have voice-controlled laptops to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field.
Won’t you please help?
The Chafee Legacy
"I haven't made any decisions. I just haven't even thought about where my place is," Chafee saidThe country is better off with this nitwit out of office and so is Rhode Island.
Chafee said he stuck with the party in large part because it allowed him to bring federal dollars home to Rhode Island.
When asked if his comments meant he thought he might not belong in the Republican Party, he replied: "That's fair."
When asked whether he felt that his loss may have helped the country by switching control of power in Congress, he replied: "To be honest, yes."
He described attending weekly Thursday lunches with fellow Republican senators and standing up to argue his point of view, often alone. "There were times walking into my caucus room where it wasn't fun," he said.
"People don't like to step out," Chafee said. "They need a pack to go anywhere. That's not good for the country."
Negative Campaign Backlash?
"I was the middle-of-the-road voter," Murray said in between bites of a hummus salad at The Mall at Short Hills. "I was the one who could be swayed."Not convinced? Parks uses quotes from a Seton Hall University political scientist and unnamed pundits, along with a reference to exit polling to give credence to his theory.
Except, Murray said, all she heard were attack ads from Kean and another candidate she was considering, her 7th District congressman, Mike Ferguson.
"All the negative campaigning really got to me," she said. "I thought the ads were so ridiculous, it made me vote against whoever was running them."
"That's a safe Republican district. It never should have been as close as it was," said Joe Marbach, a Seton Hall University political scientist. "Most of the time congressional incumbents seek to marginalize their opponents. Mike Ferguson chose a campaign strategy that ended up giving Linda Stender great name recognition."Does any of this prove negative ads ended up backfiring against Kean who lost or Ferguson who won?
And pundits who followed two of the closest races -- the Senate and the 7th District -- say a slew of negative ads ended up backfiring against the candidates who ran them.
What's more, exit polling done by students at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University found significant dissatisfaction with Ferguson. Nearly half of all Stender votes were, in fact, protest votes -- 45 percent of Stender voters said they were voting against Ferguson.
And while the poll did not ask a specific question about the "Stender is a spender" slogan, Marbach said there was little question it backfired.Little question? Based upon what, no data and personal opinion? Perhaps it was the “doubling-dipping pension padder, too” part of the “Stender the Spender” slogan that resonated with voters, who knows. It could have been the Dump Mike blog, a year of “robo calls” and the 20 months of negative campaigning against Ferguson that cost Stender the election or made the race as close as it was.
Another article in the Ledger, Exit poll offers clues to Stender's defeat, would tend to discredit the “nasty backlash” theory, at least as it applies to the Ferguson campaign ads. This article quotes the Rutgers University political science professor Jane Junn, who conducted the exit poll:
Slightly more than 80 percent of those voting for Ferguson said they were voting for him, while 55 percent of those voting for Stender said they were voting for her.Parks and Marbach must have flushed down the memory hole the way Linda Stender conducted her campaign – it was all negative. She began by calling the President a liar and informing voters her first priority would be a vote on impeachment. Forgotten is the Linda Stender for Congress mailer based on an old gossip column that ABC News called “false and fabricated”.
The number one reason Democrats gave for going to vote on Tuesday was "party control of congress."
Looked at it another way, Junn said, 45 percent of those voting for Stender were saying they were "voting for anyone but Ferguson," which also reflected the depth to which national issues and Ferguson's alliance with President Bush was playing out at the polls.
The first myth shattered by the students' exit polling was that Republican women would cross party lines to support Stender. It didn't happen, Junn said.
Women who considered themselves independents were split right down the middle, 50-50; it was actually independent men who were somewhat more likely to go for Stender by a margin of 52-48, Junn said.
Now take a look at Linda Stender’s campaign website, it is all negative:
FERGUSON UNWILLING TO RELINQUISH HIS RUBBER STAMPLinda Stender ran a negative campaign because it was the only way she could have won. She nearly did. Bob Menendez ran a negative campaign and won – “Standing Up” - against Bush, against Iraq, against “privatization” of Social Security, against oil companies – against, against, against.
STENDER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES WHYMIKEWHY.COM
FERGUSON’S VOTES = HIGHER GAS PRICES
FERGUSON BETRAYS PUBLIC EDUCATION
FERGUSON HURTING SENIORS WITH HIS VOTES ON SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
STENDER CAMPAIGN BEGINS AIRING RADIO AD WHERE TEEN WITH JUVENILE DIABETES SAYS FERGUSON REFUSED TO DISCUSS STEM CELL RESEARCH
FERGUSON'S TIES TO LAW FIRM HIRED TO DEFEND HEWLETT PACKARD DISTURBING
FERGUSON SHOULD DEMAND INVESTIGATION OF HASTERT/FOLEY CONNECTION
TRICK OR TREAT: THE SCARY TRUTH OF MIKE FERGUSON'S TOXIC LEGACY
Kean and Ferguson also ran against. Kean against political corruption and tax increases. Ferguson against a tax and spender who just happened to be a “double-dipping pension padder, too”. Maybe the jingle and slogan worked.
New Jersey Elects No Change
How will the 970,381+ people who voted for Tom Kean feel when they hear or read Corzine’s remark? Yawn, what’s new, taxpayers are used to being treated with contempt in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s representation in Washington has not changed with this election.
NJ Senate Vote - 2006
Bob Menendez - 1,152,978 - 53%
Tom Kean - 970,381 - 45%
NJ Congressional Vote – 2006
Robert Andrews (D): Congressional District 1
Frank LoBiondo (R): Congressional District 2
Jim Saxton (R): Congressional District 3
Chris Smith (R): Congressional District 4
Scott Garrett (R): Congressional District 5
Frank Pallone (D): Congressional District 6
Mike Ferguson (R): Congressional District 7
Bill Pascrell (D): Congressional District 8
Steve Rothman (D): Congressional District 9
Donald Payne (D): Congressional District 10
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R): Congressional District 11
Rush Holt (D): Congressional District 12
Albio Sires (D): Congressional District 13
Election Day Odds and Ends
Karen O’Leary, 45, said that she had no concerns about Mr. Menendez’s ethics - which Mr. Kean made a central part of his campaign.Ms. O’Leary also falls into another unfortunate voter category - the totally misinformed. Tom Kean is pro-choice and supports federal funding for stem cell research.
“You know what?” she said. “I don’t even care. He stands for stem cell research, he’s for a woman’s right to choose. I don’t care if he takes money under the table. Those other things are more important.”
Then there are New Jersey voters who will vote for a Democrat no matter what:
I see the war in Iraq, the state of the environment, the state of our education system and progressive scientific research, and i think to myself “I want out!” The only way to change things is to turn one branch of our government blue, and if that means electing a serial killer so be it. — Posted by Munier SalemThere are allegations of voting machine rigging in at least 7 New Jersey polling places in Passaic, Union, Middlesex, Camden, and Hudson counties.
Upon entering the voting booth, individuals have encountered machines that are pre-set to vote for Menendez, causing serious confusion. In some instances, the voter has been unable to de-select the pre-set Menendez vote using the touch screen.It’s tough being a Republican in New Jersey.
We previously pointed out a post from Roll Call exposing one Democrat front group behind the “robo” disinformation campaign:
The calls are funded by American Family Voices (AFV), a nonprofit group led by Clinton administration veteran Mike Lux and allied with Lux’s firm Progressive Strategies.Apparently Republicans are now making use of “robo calls” and Democrats are crying foul, calling them unethical and designed to confuse voters. John Conyers and John Dingell are calling for a federal investigation, limited of course to the Republican calls. The usual suspects in the mainstream media are all over the story, but not one word about the “robo calls” from Democrats or their front groups that have been relentless for nearly a year.
Robo calls are annoying, but the hypocrisy even more so.
Time To Vote
Fausta highlights:There is only one issue in this election that will matter five or ten years from now, and that's the War on Terror.
Parkway Rest Stop has offers some GOTV motivation with excerpts from Nancy Pelosi’s diary.
Bob at eCache says in New Jersey’s Senate race it all boils down to questions about ethics.
Dino has the shocking poll numbers in Hudson County for Bob Menendez.
Sid says block out the [D] or [R] that follows the candidates’ name, and concentrate.
Roberto gives his New Jersey election and public question predictions. Blue Jersey here.
In The Hands Of The American People
John Judis and I have been e-mailing about the alarming Pew poll that came out today. It reflects the same trends captured by that earlier Washington Post/ABC poll, except that the trends are, gulp, even more pronounced. Worse, the folks at Pew have graciously posted their cross-tabs, which makes it nearly impossible to rationalize the lousy results. As John points out, the fact that Democrats' 15-point advantage among white women last month has turned into a 2-point disadvantage today is incredibly ominous. Unfortunately, it's not quite as ominous as the erosion in the Democrats' advantage among Northeasterners: from 26 points to 9. The Northeast is, of course, a region where Democrats are banking on roughly half a dozen pick-ups. That kind of dropoff isn't going to get the job done.Are the polls right or wrong? Who knows, but we do know this:
The economy: Most Americans want a strong and growing economy. The country has produced 19 consecutive quarters of economic growth since the “Bush tax cuts” were enacted. The nation’s unemployment rate is low at 4.4 percent, federal tax revenues are at record levels, the budget deficit has been cut in half since the recession of 2001 and every taxpayer has received federal tax relief. In New Jersey the average federal tax cut has been between $1,700 and $4,800.
Iraq: Most Americans want the country to win the war on terrorism. A premature withdraw from Iraq is a defeat for the United States and a win for Islamofascist terrorists. Iran and Osama bin Laden’s followers would be emboldened. North Korea would rightly see our retreat as a sign of weakness to be exploited with nuclear blackmail.
“Redeployment” would leave Iraqis with little chance of developing a democratic country and would almost certainly condemn them to a future similar to Afghanistan under the Taliban and Iran under Ahmadinejad. Providing a safe haven for terrorists to plot and prepare attacks against the United States and our allies clearly would not make the U.S. or the world a safer place.
As for the troops, they recognize the importance of their mission in Iraq and want to finish the job. Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results according to today’s Washington Post.
Tom Kean for U.S. Senate
Frank LoBiondo for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 2
Jim Saxton for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 3
Chris Smith for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 4
Scott Garrett for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 5
Leigh-Ann Bellew for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 6
Mike Ferguson for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 7
Jose Sandoval for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 8
Vincent Micco for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 9
Rodney Frelinghuysen for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 11
Joe Sinagra for U.S. Congress: Congressional District 12
Bob Menendez Involved In Car Towing “Gate” II
Police planned to tow the van until Farber showed up at the scene in her state car. Soon after, Goore was allowed to drive home. Her appearance ultimately led to her resignation in August.Today the New York Times reports
A few minutes before Senator Obama arrived at the Hoboken rally, Mr. Menendez’s interview with a reporter from the radio station 1010 WINS was briefly delayed when the reporter, Steve Sandberg, got a call telling him that the police were towing his car.Will the same people who demanded Farber’s resignation demand the same of Menendez? We suspect a double standard – Farber is a black female and Menendez is a white male.
Mr. Menendez quickly dispatched an aide, and the car was spared.
New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt on Voter Fraud
As part of the program, many states allow military members deployed overseas to return their completed ballot via fax or the Internet. Those ballots, Smith said, will not pass through the hands of any government officials until they are received by a local election authority.A Jersey blogger calls out Congressman Holt and asks this question:
Is Rush really worried about the security of the votes of the troops, or is he worried about the votes of the troops?Holt’s Communications Director, Patrick Eddington, fires back with a lengthy comment, including this:
My question is, why should our service members be given such a shabby and potentially dangerous voting system? Their votes should be as secure and confidential as anyone else’s.Apparently no one is supposed to notice the timing of Holt’s press release or his silence about the “shabby and potentially dangerous” failure of New Jersey to comply with federal voting laws for the fourth straight year.
No one is served by knee-jerk partisanship.
A 2005 study uncovered thousands of cases in New Jersey where ineligible people voted, voted more than once or voted posthumously in the 2004 election. Last November, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg said, "I have great concern in regards to absentee ballots". This was the judge’s response after New Jersey’s Deputy Attorney General testified that voter rolls had not been cleaned up because, "Quite frankly, your honor, the registrar was unaware that this was one of his obligations."
"That is almost impossible to understand," replied Feinberg.It’s now November 2006 and New Jersey’s voter rolls still haven’t been cleaned up. Congressman Rush Holt is more concerned with throwing up road blocks and casting aspersions on the military vote than he is about cleaning up the real mess in his own state.
Feinberg turned to Deputy Attorney General Karen DuMars, who was representing Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.
"This is the first time this has come to the attention of the attorney general," DuMars said.
"I'm dumbfounded. I just don't understand it," Feinberg responded.
"The notion that this was a statutory responsibility that was unknown to the registrar is just hard to swallow," Feinberg said.
"It is truly alarming," Feinberg said of concerns that people might have used dead people's names to illegally vote.
Feinberg noted her secretary just received a sample ballot for her dead father.
"How does my secretary's father end up getting a ballot?" Feinberg asked. "How does that happen?"
Racsas said 50,000 to 72,000 people per year die in New Jersey, meaning workers could have been mulling over between 1 million to about 1.5 million names if Feinberg had ordered them to do so.
“No one is served by introducing possibilities for error, insecurity and fraud” - except perhaps the political party in power of a state that fails to comply with the law to remove ineligible voters from the rolls. What say you Congressman Rush Holt?
Can New Jersey Afford More Of Them?
"The less you know, the more they lie"
“Tom Kean opposes embryonic stem cell research.” Tom Moran calls this a lie, one of many, Bob Menendez has told innumerable times. Kean’s position on this issue is clear to anyone who has bothered to check the facts, as voters who oppose federal funding of stem cell research will be quick to point out.
Tom Moran also calls this statement a lie – “Bob Menendez wants to grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens” and explains his opinion with this “logic”:
He [Menendez] supported a bill that would grant Social Security benefits to some immigrants -- but only if they follow the steps to earn legal status first. Those who remain here illegally would get nothing.The “some immigrants” Moran refers to are the millions of illegal aliens Menendez favors making legal through an amnesty plan. The Washington Post reported on the cost to American taxpayers if the Senate illegal immigrant amnesty bill became law:
Over the next decade, legalized workers and their families, in addition to guest workers and theirs, would claim $24.5 billion in tax refunds through the earned income credit and child credit, $15.4 billion in Medicare and Medicaid, $5.2 billion in Social Security benefits and $3.7 billion in food stamps and child nutrition programs, the report estimates.Depending upon your perspective, conferring these benefits may be a good idea or a bad idea, but there’s no doubt Menendez favors legalizing illegal aliens and awarding them an array of benefits, including Social Security.
“The less you know, the more they lie” – “they” includes the media.
Bob Menendez Hires A Criminal Defense Attorney – Voters Say Bob Who?
After federal investigators subpoenaed records in September regarding a rental deal Menendez had with a nonprofit agency he helped get federal funds, Elias notified the U.S. Attorney's Office he was representing the senator in the matter.Will this news hurt Menendez in the senate race against Tom Kean? It might in some states, but probably not in New Jersey.
Elias also represented former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) when Torricelli faced an ethics investigation that led him to drop out of his re-election campaign in 2002...
“A new poll released yesterday shows that more than half of the state's registered voters do not know that Menendez is our United States senator.”Pathetic.
Menendez and Stender Target New Jersey’s Pharmaceutical Firms
Stender and Menendez are both mouthing the usual liberal line about “greedy” corporations making a profit at the expense of, fill in the blank with the appropriate victim group. In this case the “victims” are senior citizens who previously had no prescription drug coverage. Both candidates promise to change the Medicare program if elected. They completely overlook the ramifications of a less profitable pharmaceutical industry, not only for New Jersey, but for the entire country.
As TigerHawk recently wrote in his post – Memo to New Jersey voters: The Democrats will gun for pharma:
If you live in northern New Jersey, you know that the profitability of the pharmaceutical industry is the single most important driver of employment and income in your economy. Whether you are an executive at Merck in Whitehouse Station or a secretary at J&J in New Brunswick, you know this to be true. You also know that your industry invests in the drugs that save our lives or just make them worth living because the sales of those drugs can generate a rate of return that justifies the huge riskThat’s why Bob Menendez goes after the insurance companies in his rhetoric rather than the most important industry to New Jersey’s economy, drug companies. Linda Stender is just completely clueless, attacking the very people she wishes to represent in Congress. Not that the angle of attack matters, both support plans that would kill the goose that lays the golden egg. From today’s Washington Post:
One of the Democrats' election talking points is a promise to revamp the Medicare prescription drug benefit. They paint the 2003 legislation as a sellout to pharmaceutical firms: Rather than having Medicare officials use the government's bargaining power to keep drug prices down, the law left the job of negotiating prices to private insurers. The Medicare drug benefit has actually turned out to be cheaper than projected, and most beneficiaries say they are satisfied with it.Democrats claim the Medicare drug plan is “inadequate” and are calling for an end to choice, larger taxpayer subsidizes and what amounts to government price setting for prescription drugs.
But the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), nonetheless accuses Republicans of "putting pharmaceutical companies and HMOs first at the expense of America's seniors."
The Post suggests Democrats “would do better to invest their health-care energy elsewhere”:
The best way to make the difficult trade-off between affordable drugs and incentives for new research is not to stage a showdown in Gucci Gulch but rather to heed signals from consumers. The existing Medicare drug benefit may ultimately generate such signals. Retirees have a choice of insurance plans with wildly varying costs, and some are faced with decisions on how much to spend out of pocket. If they choose to pay top dollar for branded medicines, the incentives to invent new medicines will rise; if they prefer to save money, incentives for innovation will decline a bit. Either way, a balance will be struck that reflects broad social preferences.Why take a chance on Democrats who clearly don’t understand economics and the importance of a profitable pharmaceutical industry in the United States? If Menendez and Stender, living in "America's Medicine Chest", haven’t figured it out by now, they never will. Vote for Tom Kean and Mike Ferguson, the life and job you save may be your own.
John Kerry: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
What do you think Bob?
Bob Menendez: Thumbs up to that John.
Painting Bob Menendez as A Victim
For one thing, Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic incumbent and a son of Cuban immigrants, is the first nonwhite candidate in New Jersey history to run as a major party nominee in a statewide race.Please, Bob Menendez is of European decent and is as “white” as Cuban-Americans Desi Arnaz of “I Love Lucy” and Bob Villa of “This Old House". Not to mention, Lyle and Erik Menendez from Beverly Hills, California. In fact, 73 percent of Cuban-Americans are “white” and that includes Bob Menendez. Enough of the “nonwhite” nonsense.
If his name was Bob Smith and he came from Madison, then I don’t think this would be as necessarily close as it is,” said Peter Woolley, the director of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll.
Bob Menendez is in a tight Senate race because his answer to every problem is to increase taxes, he favors amnesty for illegal aliens and is currently under criminal investigation for political corruption.
This election isn’t about race, ethnicity or last name no matter how hard the media tires to paint Menendez as some sort of oppressed victim of “white” people. Menendez’ “true colors” have been exposed during this campaign and they aren’t pretty.