Saturday, July 16, 2005

Cory Booker and Sharpe James Fight

The Newark community should stand up against this corrupt mayor and whatever politics he plays that has enabled him to drive a rolls royce on a city salary. However, there is ignorance that prevents this from happening. Go to "Afro-Netizen" and you will understand the type of propaganda that prevents a real progressive from entering Newark politics.

Newark Mayor Sharpe James and his main challenger, political activist Cory Booker, came close to throwing fists yesterday at a youth Basketball fundraiser in Newark. The Mayor had been invited by the group's organizer and was admiring the games when Booker, who lost the mayoral race in 2002, appeared and made a comment to James which sparked a crowd of 20 or so guards and supporters surrounding the two men. People started shoving as the politicians shouted at eachother.

Many objective observers of Newark politics assume that James, an alleged crook, initiated the fight. However, many who understand the implications of Booker's loss in 2002 would speculate that Booker used this as an opportunity to show his "street cred", something that was severely lacking in his last campaign. Although Booker has spent the last several years as an activist on some of the most dangerous streets in the country, he grew up in the suburbs, attended Stanford and Oxford, and was subject to absurd accusations from the mayor that included being Jewish, being a Republican, and accepting donations from the Ku Klux Klan.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Idealism From The Right

According to New Jersey blog "Professor Kim's News Notes", Jon Corzine recently had a conference call with several Jersey bloggers, where he cited that the significance of blogs has been demonstrated through their effective use by the Democratic Senate Committee in 2004. He also noted that the right wing blogs are so aggressive that he wonders how he survives day to day. More HERE.

Of course, conservative Jersey blogs showed signs of sour grapes about the affair. Enlighten-New Jersey, a right-leaning blog that reports predominantly on state politics, was disgusted with what they described as "people working for politicians", instead of the other way around. To the people of the concerned blog, the 20% of the U.S economy that is in the hands of the government is largely distributed to people working for politicians. It's democracy. Of course, to be fair to Republicans, many advocate decreasing that percentage--especially in New Jersey. Well...a voter can wish for whatever he wants but he should spare himself the pain of wishing for the elimination of patronage in the Garden State.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

NARAL Says "Screw Abstinence"

In a post titled "So What Does Evil Look Like", a Catholic blog, A View From the Pew, declares NARAL's "screw abstinence" party disgusting and hedonistic.

In a less ideological assesment, this blog, discusses the political suicide that the comes with the anti-abstinence bash.

The question that every journalist must ask himself is "What were they thinking?". Why would, of all the chapters, the Washington D.C branch, the one which represents NARAL's interests to politicians and the national press, have such a bad sense of public relations? By snubbing their noses at a widely (debatable) practiced Christian tradition, they have accentuated the claims of the religious right that Democrats take directions from liberal interest groups that are "far out of the mainstream". Therefore, they have put any Democrat in a socially conservative state in immediate danger of being thrown out of office. And as a result, Democratic congressmen will try harder to disassociate themselves with NARAL.

Church Supports Harry Potter

As if Harry Potter didn't have enough supporters inside the pages of J.K Rowling's hit series, he recently received an endorsement from one muggle establishment that has had strained relations in the past with witches and wizards: the Church. Various officials at the Vatican have come out in support of the stories that detail young Potter's adventures, many of which involve a fight against evil, which is ultimately represented by Lord Voldemorte, the man who killed Potter's parents when he was still an infant. Here at BBC News, Father Peter Fleetwood describes the support.

The Church believes that Harry's fight against evil can be likened to the stories of the Bible, in which Jesus Christ teaches people to be good. However, it's clear for anyone that has read the first five books that Harry is having very little success at converting people to his cause as he seems to have plenty of powerful enemies, who, for the sake of the young readers, will hopefully not crucify him at the end of the series. A dissenter, John Granger, recently wrote a book analyzing what he perceives as the deception in Harry Potter.

Senators Feel Pressure to Support Rove

Prominent Republicans are feeling the pressure from party leadership the man who has been the most important strategist for their party since the election of President Bush in 2000. Of course, it is not only party allegiance that makes many feel compelled to protect Rove, but personal ties as well.

The most important supporters of Rove's have been on Capitol Hill. Senator Norman Coleman, who owes his senate seat to Rove who reportedly discouraged another Minnesota Republican, Tim Pawlenty, from challenging Coleman in the 2001 senate race and instead pursue the position of governor. Pawlenty is now governor of the state and Coleman is now a U.S senator who probably feels personal admiration for man as well as a desire not to face a competitive Republican primary if Rove feels a lack of loyalty on his part. The Great Minnesota Progressive gives more insight.

Many would be suprised at Senator Arlen Specter's vocal support for Rove. Specter (R-PA), long considered a moderate voice within the GOP, also has recently become indebted to Rove. His heated primary in 2004 against right winger, Pat Tooney, was close until the Bush administration sent a Rovesque campaign team to Pennsylvania to bail the Senior Senator out. Specter was taciturn with the press. "I support Karl Rove", he said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

And The Spinning Shall Continue

According to this at the Daily Kos, President Bush has received his lowest ratings concerning "honesty and straightforwardness" since his election in 2000. Kos goes on to echo the sentiments of most liberals when he says that "Bush has proved that he is not a man of his word when he failed to fire the leaker". However, Kos is only one component of the massive storm of spinning that will take place on both sides of the aisle.

Rush Limbaugh, a man who is almost comically one of the most powerful members of the media, has already begun to describe Karl Rove as a hero, rather than a traitor. Interestingly enough, the difference in opinions expressed about this man is not unusual for traitors--or heros. Martin Luther King was referred to as both a hero and a traitor, as was virtually every American president, Benjamin Franklin, Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Schwarzenegger...the list goes on.

Capitol Hill is host to many enthusiastic spinners as well. Senator Lautenberg, a liberal and senior man in congress is one of the only officials to publicly declare that "treason" has been committed. Of course, he was rebuked by Republican members of the senate such as Norman Coleman (R-MN) who accused Democrats of spending more time on negative attacks than on effective legislation. The Great Minnesota Progressive Newswire decides that Coleman is paying back Rove for his support of his senate bid in 2001.

Corzine's Recent and Victorious Journey

Several conservative blogs have recently been interpreting this article, by, in a manner that is quite unflattering to Jon Corzine. The consensus among conservatives is that Corzine is a power hungry politician who has carefully planned his means of ascent since his earliest days as a millionaire bank president. Reacting as if encountering an ambitious U.S senator is truly shocking, Enlighten-NJ denounces Corzine's candidacy due to his "bizarre behavior" as the CEO of Goldman Sachs as well as his openness about his dissatisfaction with his less-than-influential role in the senate.

Enlighten has a good point. Corzine is definitely rich and definitely ambitious. He probably made it into the senate due largely to his enormous campaign funds and he probably thinks about his interests before anyone else's. What Enlighten is trying to say is that he's a politician. However, a pragmatic New Jersey voter should be attracted by this (not so unique) quality in a senator, not repelled by it. A man who knows that his idealistic messages that he delivered on the campaign trail do not carry as much weight during his freshman term as they would when he's the chairman of a committee knows what he needs to do to deliver to his district. Of course, if Corzine vacates his seat to run for governor he will simply replace himself with another freshman senator with limited leverage in congress. Sometimes it's refreshing to hear politicians be blunt about their motivations. When John Kerry was on the 04 campaign trail, I strongly doubt that he told his aides that he wanted to be president so "America would be safer at home and more respected in the world".

Does Doug Forrester have this quality? Maybe. Does he know how to be an effective leader in a state dominated so heavily by local political organizations? Or does he truly believe that he can just abolish it the way he promises in his rhetoric. He's already spent twice as much money as the Democrats and not only because he's a rich man. He's a politician too and if he wants to survive in New Jersey he will not fight what he promises to fight. Now all that's left is ideology..

NJ Conservative also has some commentary.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Republicans Outspending Democrats In Governor's Race

The New Jersey Republican Party and the Doug Forester campaign are currently outspending Democratic operations nearly two to one, as the gubernatorial race heats up here, reports Republican Reports.

This comes as a suprise to most of us in Jersey who were warned by the Corzine campaign that he would spend "whatever necessary" to win the governor's office. Corzine, a first term U.S senator from New Jersey, set a record during his 2000 senate race after spending approximately $60 million of his own.

The lack of spending on the part of Corzine is attributed mainly to the uncompetitive nature of the Democratic primaries. Corzine faced only token competition while Forrester faced a conservative challenger in Bret Schundler, who lost largely because conservative support defected to a third candidate, Steve Lonegan. Nevertheless, Forrester won, but enters the general election with considerably lighter pockets than his opponent.

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One Stop View offers comments by three prominent Democrats on the Rove affair. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) declared that if Rove was indeed the source, he was guilty of treason.

According to Harry Reid (D-NV), months ago, the Bush administration promised that if anyone in the White House was found to be involved in the Valerie Plame case, they would no longer be welcome in government. Now that Karl Rove seems to be that source, Democrats are finally licking their lips for what is sure to be an awkward situation for Republicans at the White House and on Capitol Hill alike. However, because the GOP has a substantial majority in both chambers of Congress, the case is not likely to receive the same attention that the it would under Democratic rule.

However, another hopeful option emerges for Democrats in light of the administrations promise that it was unassociated with the leaking of the status of a covert CIA agent to Robert Novak, a syndicated columnist. Under pressure from the public, congressional democrats, and a few prominent members of his own party, President Bush would have to consider the option of dismissing Rove before any embarassing investigation could take place.

Before liberals jump to idealistic conclusions, they should remember a similarly embarassing case for the Bush administration that took place more than a year ago at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Although there was significant evidence that the military disaster was largely attributed to top administration incompetence, the president refused to dismiss Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps because Rumsfeld is the best man for the job, or maybe because Bush wanted to thumb his nose at public opinion. Nonetheless, Karl Rove is a close confident of the president and is credited with the president's political victories. Bush is in his second term and he will not let his friend go down without a fight.

Liberals respond: How are they going to sweep this under the rug?

Right Wing Radio In Iraq

This article from Operation Truth describes a contingent of conservative radio hosts who are going to report the "good" news from Iraq.

Apparently Fox News is not sufficient for right wingers. What is especially dubious about this mission is the fact that the reporters have already stated that they are going to "report the good news". The phrase that comes to mind when a statement like that is made is "selective reporting". However, according to the concerned radio personnel, they are simply countering what has already been a liberal blitz of "bad news".

Melanie Morgan, the head of the group as well as a conservative commentator from San Francisco, does not seem interested in fulfilling the title "reporter". She seems more interested in revenge. This blog believes that she should rearrange her priorities if she wants her "truth tour" to be taken seriously.

What befuddles more critics is the fact that this group of radio personnel is government sponsored. More here from Randy J. Bull's Words Have Power.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

In A Perfect World

In response to the allegations (described below) against Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, the Conservative Edge is quick to display this statement, by Fletcher, in which the governor defends his administration by saying that past administrations have been blatant offenders of favortism for 45 years and they did not face investigations. The Edge also denounces the Kentucky attorney general, a democrat, for pursuing what they seem to think is a purely political prosecution.

Sounds like a strong defense Fletcher has. Excuse me for being naive, but I feel safe in assuming that whatever Fletcher's campaign platform was, it wasn't "let's continue 45 years of corrupt government". Although it would make the voting process a lot easier if candidates were that honest. In a perfect world, a politician's speech would go something like "I'm simply a man running to occupy a seat for the party, vote with the party, and introduce an occasional bill written by lobbyists". Nevertheless, since officeholders do not use this type of campaign rhetoric, they should make at least a token effort to run honest administrations.

This blog would be too idealistic to refute the Edge's claims that the indictments are politically motivated, however, what it will say is that every political investigation is, at the end of the day, alive largely for partisan reasons. If every official in government was so honorable that he would turn in any wrongdoer he was aware of, even if the offender was a fellow party member, national and state governments alike would be basketcases. Of course, eventually politicians would learn to behave and government would be more effective than ever.

Kentucky Reminds Us of Newark

Three subordinates of Governor Ernie Fletcher, of Kentucky, were indicted yesterday on charges ranging from criminal conspiracy to political discrimination. The Democratic National Committee gives its insight here.

For those readers who don't understand the charges, political discrimination is the illegal version of a practice that virtually every successful politician uses: patronage. However, the specific type of patronage that is being prosecuted in this case is the defendant's alleged discrimination against Democrats working as state employees. A simple example would be the replacement of a state policeman who you know to be against the governor with one who is sympathetic to the administration and can deliver favors in the future.

These type of actions have defined the legacy of Sharpe James, who has served as a virtual dictator in Newark for the last 16 years. James has had a chief of staff convicted of bribery and a police chief convicted of embezzlement. However, unlike Newark, it's almost certain that Kentucky, which has moved increasingly towards a one party republican system over the last decade, will hold its governor more accountable than the voters of Newark do James. Note, there is a sharp distinction between convictions and an indictments. Fletcher can still say that he doesn't employ criminals.

For excellent insight on Kentucky politics, check out Bluegrass Report.

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