Tag Archive: President Obama

He is still our governor, isn’t he?

So when is the last time Christie took a public position or action on New Jersey governance? It’s been a while. He is busy flailing his way through a losing campaign, acting in desperation mode, and ignoring his New Jersey duties.

Yesterday’s Monmouth University poll in New Hampshire, a “make or break” primary, places him tied in 9th position (2%). Real Clear Politics has him in 11th place (2.3%) in South Carolina, 13th (1.5%) in Iowa, and in national polls at 11th (2.0%). In 2013 in July, August, and September he was leading in the national Republican nomination polls and by December he was at 20%, above the nine other potential contenders. Since then it has all been downhill to 2.2%.

His desperation on the campaign trail is increasingly apparent. In New Hampshire he now takes sole credit for keeping the 2nd Amendment alive in NJ, although his position on gun control in the past has been more moderate. He says about President Obama, “He looked right in that camera and lied to the American people [about Iran].” He boasted that if elected he would track immigrants like FedEx packages. To satisfy voracious conservative primary voters he has also dished out red meat on planned parenthood, common core, teacher unions, marijuana, taxes, and more. All desperate political blather, flip-flopping and posturing.    

News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bad omen for former Port Authority Chair David Samson: United Airlines Chief Executive and two other senior officials have stepped down during a federal corruption investigation on whether the airline had improperly sought to influence senior officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Samson was granted “The chairman’s flight” to South Carolina where he has a home.

Federal government awards $256 million to PATH: to repair damage sustained by the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail system during Superstorm Sandy.

Feds drop study of cancer risks near nuclear sites including Oyster Creek, arguing they don’t haver the time or resources.

Christie is officially continuing his four-year, multi-million dollar battle for legal sports betting despite appellate court ruling. The state Legislature and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association filed similar motions.

Pinelands burning: Firefighters are battling a blaze that has burned through about 1,000 acres of the Pinelands.

Obama said about Christie: “And then there was the guy – these guys are running for office, they’re running for the presidency – who said a union deserves a punch in the face. Really? Tell me how you really feel.”

Thursday the NJ Economic Development Authority will consider a host of new tax breaks to corporations, including $253 million for a Camden venture. NJ Policy Perspective has detailed in the past that the subsidies the state has offered to companies to relocate in Camden are highly risky, “come at a tremendous taxpayer cost per job and mostly shifted existing jobs around the region, doing little to grow the broader economy.”

If Christie were mayor of New York City he says, “Stop-and-frisk would be back in about five minutes.” Guess what guv: “Stop and Frisk” searches remain legal in NYC, just under more appropriate regulations.

Finally Rep. Bill Pascrell says, he will vote for the agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

Mayor Steve Fulop indicated yesterday, he would oppose the nuclear deal with Iran reached by President Obama.

Mayor of Jersey City takes another step toward gubernatorial candidacy. He opens his new website Steve Fulop 2017.

Former Senator Joe Lieberman was in Teaneck yesterday to support Democrat Josh Gottheimer, who is considering a 2016 challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett.

Pot Smokers beware: NJ Appellate Court ruled that police may still search people without a warrant when they detect the smell of marijuana.

Add Bon Jovi to the list of artists scheduled to perform in China only to have their concerts canceled due to some sort of affiliation with the Dalai Lama.

President Obama on Camden: “We know these problems are solvable.”

At the end of President Obama’s speech in Camden, the speakers blared Bruce Springsteen’s optimistic Land of Hope and Dreams, which ends with the word “faith.” Federal and state funding and the actions of concerned citizens have made Camden a better place. However, Obama said, “Nobody is suggesting the work is done. This is still a work in progress. Crime, poverty and hopelessness have no single solution.”

The economy remains poor. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ten years ago Camden employment was 608,611 and early in 2015 was 596,071. Unemployment was 28,875 (4.5%) and today is 44,235 (6.9%). Not so good.

A Tale of Two Reports: “Never let this happen again”

This week two important documents were made available to the public: a report on the CIA use of torture after 9/11 and an interim report on Christie administration activities leading up to and following the gubernatorial election. U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the objective of making her committee’s report public was “To never let this happen again.” Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Sen. Loretta Weinberg, co-chairs  of the NJ Legislative Select Committee on Investigation, said much the same thing, “If not for this work, the public may never have become aware of this threat -and this abusive behavior could have continued.”

As one might expect people have attacked both reports. CIA vehemently accuses the well-documented federal report of inaccuracies. Sen. Mark Udall countered with “The C.I.A. is lying.” Republican State Senator Kevin O’Toole, not for the first time created a tantrum and raised his voice in anger to the co-chair, “This is not North Korea, John, this is America.” Such an absurd allusion needs no response.

Although both documents increase transparency and bring to the fore important issues, there is at least one significant difference. The federal report deals with activities that took place some ten years ago. Civil suits may result from the detailing of torture, but it appears the Attorney General will not seek to punish perpetrators. In New Jersey, however, the Federal Attorney is undertaking a Bridgegate investigation.

According to unidentified NBC sources potential Bridgegate-related indictments may be filed against some six individuals as early as next month. In Feinstein’s Intelligence Committee case we have President Obama’s executive order in 2008 ending such torture, which can be rescinded or altered by a later President, and no Department of Justice charges being pressed. In New Jersey, we have Gov. Christie’s Executive Order closing down the intergovernmental department at the heart of Bridgegate, but more importantly the hope that through the justice system people who violated laws will be punished, further strengthening the likelihood that we will “Never let this happen again.”  

Great News for Many NJ Immigrants

Let Republican zealots call for Armageddon, but President Obama last night said clearly, “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Following yesterday’s presidential Executive Orders, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that 5.2 million people will potentially be eligible for the anticipated deferred action program, and in New Jersey 204,000 will be eligible.

  •  Approximately 137,000 parents in New Jersey will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born in the U. S. before the date of this announcement.
  • Another 67,000 individuals will be eligible for the the expanded DACA program so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today and be granted relief for three years.

    As Pew Research indicates, “It remains to be seen how many people will apply for and receive deportation relief.” MPI  points out, “Application costs, fear of self-identifying as unauthorized or potentially exposing other unauthorized relatives to government scrutiny and lack of information about the program and its temporary nature” can be barriers.  

  • New Jersey in WWII and WWIII

    There are obvious differences between the war we are fighting now and World War II, but they both are wars and they share similarities. New Jersey like most of the nation in the late 30’s and early 40’s was hesitant, and often strongly against entering another war. The nation had gone through the depression, had vivid memories of the carnage of World War I, and had become isolationist. In the midst of the build-up, “New Jersey retailer Louis Bamberger financed the establishment of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to accommodate leading thinkers fleeing Nazi rule such as Albert Einstein, who accepted an appointment to its faculty in 1933.”

    All hesitancy came to an abrupt end with Pearl Harbor and the recent beheading of two American hostages. Like President Roosevelt who had passed the Neutrality Act, our current reluctant warrior president ended his hesitancy on a dime and launched an attack on ISIS in Iraq and shortly later in Syria. We are now some seven weeks into heavy bombings, with soldiers on the ground, and a loose alliance.  

    Like today, in the 30’s and 40’s our enemies were many. Soon President “Rosenfeldt” and Jews were denigrated as war-mongers and profiteers. Prejudice against recent Italian immigrants was high. With WWII we were fighting Germany, Japan, and Italy. Russia was first an ally, defending itself against Germany, but most suspected that Uncle Joe Stalin would soon become an enemy. Countries abroad that had been friends were taken over by the Axis powers and became enemies, with underground resistance. Spain was a cluster of nationalist, communist, and pro- and anti ally forces. American-Japanese were determined to be an enemy and rounded up and barbarically interned. 5th columnists were working on their side of the fence.  

    Unaccompanied kids fleeing from violence need more help in New Jersey

    Last week at the Texas border Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said, “The message has to be that our border is not open to illegal immigration and we are sending people back … You will be sent back.” In contrast, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees produced a report Children on the Run that included a study “which concluded than 58% of the 404 fleeing children interviewed at the Mexican border were forcibly displaced because they suffered or faced harms that indicated a potential or actual need for international protection.” While the U. S. is urging countries to provide refuge for Syrians fleeing violence, it is taking a hypocritical and contrary position within its own borders. Homeland Security refers to these people as aliens and illegal immigrants, and on Wednesday, President Obama said, it was likely that most would be sent back to their countries.

    However, Rep. Rush Holt has a different take on the matter. Last week while meeting with NJ immigration advocates including First Friends of NY/NJ, he stated, “They are refugees. That’s how we can start, by using the appropriate language.”

    Below are suggestions as to how we can further help these frightened, endangered refugees arriving in New Jersey.