Tag Archive: George W. Bush

Just a reminder from 1947

The quote is from a conversation G.M. Gilbert had with Hermann Goering in the jail cell where Goering was being held during the Nuremberg trials, for Gilbert’s book, Nuremberg Diary. And it’s useful to remember as fascism, xenophobia and the casual disregard for the…
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Chris Christie Gets His War Hawk On

In this morning’s News Roundup we catch Chris Christie’s self-righteous outrage about this Daily News cover story, which he called “liberal” (oh no!), “reprehensible” and degrading to the “power of prayer,” accusing the Daily News of “trying to eliminate the Second…
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David Samson and the ‘Master of Disaster’

David Samson’s name now turns up in unfolding scandals in the Christie administration on two fronts. He is the Port Authority Chairman who subpoenaed emails show blasted PA Ed Patrick Foye for outing the threats to public safety that Christie’s political operation engineered. Samson also turns up in allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer this weekend, who claims Sandy aid controlled by the governor was held hostage unless she approved a lucrative development project in the north end of the city. The private developer, Rockefeller Group, is represented by Samson’s law firm Wolff Samson.

Samson, a mystery figure of enormous power in the workings of the Port Authority, has now been subpoenaed. And Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle confirmed on TV this morning that Samson has retained Michael Chertoff.

When Chertoff was Director of Homeland Security for President George W. Bush, they called Chertoff the ‘Master of Disaster’.

Given all that’s going on, that sounds about right.  

What’s Happening Today Mon. 12/30/2013

“Let them eat cake,” said Marie Antoinette about the poor who could not even afford bread. During the Clinton era income for the poor increased in the USA. Then with George W. Bush, the Great Recession, and continuing through Barack Obama the poor just got poorer. Legal Services of NJ reported: “Poverty in New Jersey continued to grow even as the national recession lifted, reaching a 52-year high in 2011, according to the most recent report.”

The federal government (primarily Republicans) and our NJ governor have played a major role in this downward slope leaving the poor today in a precarious position. Below are key factors that substantially impact the poor (and the middle class) in NJ:

Unemployment: Throughout Gov. Christie’s tenure the unemployment level has been higher than both the national average and the level of neighboring states. The persistence of high unemployment disproportionally affects the poor as well as the middle class. As the Urban Institute explains, loss of a job not only leads to loss of income but can result in “permanently lower wages, worse mental and physical health, higher mortality rates and severe problems for affected family members.”

Jobs: NJ Policy Perspectives (NJPP) indicates “We’ve regained only 59 percent of the jobs we lost in the Great Recession (neighboring New York, by comparison, has regained 150 percent). Worse, this November drop in the unemployment rate is largely attributable to the fact that 30,600 New Jerseyans gave up looking for work.”

Earned IncomeTax Credit: The EITC encourages and rewards work by reducing the income tax due on low and middle income wage earners. Starting in 2011 and continuing through today Governor Christie reduced the tax credit from 25% to 20%. NJPP provides a map that shows the number of households and individuals in each county who lost Earned Income Tax Credit funding in 2011 and 2012. In Essex County for example 211,162 individuals lost $14,150,964.

SNAP (food stamps): These federal benefits were recently cut. The Center on Budget and Policy Perspectives says, “The depth and breadth of the SNAP cuts that took effect in November are unprecedented.” CBPP indicates that  between November 2013 and September 2014 NJ will receive $90 million less in food stamp funds which will impact 873,000 NJ recipients. $90 million would also be a boost to our economy, but our Governor is not getting involved. Congress (ie. the Republicans) are considering further cuts. Will Christie protest?

Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits, which add multiple weeks to the initial 26 weeks paid by the State, expired Saturday. Extension of these benefits was not included in the recent compromise budget package. NJPP points out, “The expiration will harm New Jersey more than any other state since the Garden State has the highest share of its labor force on extended benefits.” NJPP estimates the expiration will immediately impact 90,000 New Jerseyans and another 89,000 in the first six months of 2014. Democratic legislators in the U. S. Senate might pass a bill to extend the benefits, but getting it passed in the Republican-majority House is a heavy lift.

Minimum Wage: The one bright spot: effective Wednesday the NJ minimum wage will increase from $7.25 per hour to $8.25. NJPP estimates, “it will impact a total of 429,000 working New Jerseyans, or 11 percent of the state’s workforce.” This happened through a popular ballot initiative after Gov. Christie vetoed the legislature’s bill. President Obama would like a national increase to an even higher level, but prospects are not good for congressional passage.

Recently Pope Francis debunked the “trickle-down” theory and said, “Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”  

Project Vote Swap Redux: Liberals for Lonegan and Conservatives for Buono

During the 2000 Presidential election, some liberals who preferred Ralph Nader to Al Gore, but were (correctly) afraid that their votes would help to elect George W. Bush, the far greater of the two evils (from their perspective, not mine – Gore was a lousy Presidential candidate, but he was most certainly not evil and eventually found his voice on environmental and other issues during the Dubya years), came up with an interesting idea that if implemented fully throughout the country could have changed the outcome of the election and everything that followed dramatically.

The concept was that Gore voters in cobalt blue and crimson red states would vote for Nader in return for Nader voters in purple states voting for Gore with the hope that Gore would win the purple states and become President while Nader would get enough votes for the Green Party that they would become a strong and viable 3rd party in the future.  Sadly, because the idea was not fully implemented or well-organized in the least, neither happened.  However, it does provide for some inspiration for the upcoming October and November elections.

Grassroots progressives are just as unhappy with Cory Booker as movement conservatives are with Chris Christie, particularly because they recognize that their victories in 2013 will most likely propel both men to Presidential candidacies, which could enable them to have an undesired impact on the ideology of their respective political party, especially if they eventually become President of the United States.  Assuming for a moment that progressives would be willing to sacrifice a United States Senate seat for one year in return for reclaiming a gubernatorial seat for four years at the very least and conservatives would be willing to do the reverse, I believe that we have the foundation for Project Vote Swap Redux.