Daily Archives: 11/17/2011

House leadership to Obama: Sanction Iran’s Central Bank

JTA Reports: The U.S. House of Representatives leadership urged President Obama to take the next steps toward sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank.

“If a review of the facts confirms that CBI is involved in illicit activities linked to Iran’s nuclear program and terrorist activities, we urge you to quickly designate CBI as a facilitator of Iran’s weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorist activities for the purpose of imposing sanctions on persons that do business with CBI,” said the letter sent Thursday night by Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader, Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the committee’s top Democrat.

“We also urge you to make the Central Bank of Iran’s involvement in proliferation and terrorist activities the target of coordinated multilateral sanctions,” it said.

The bipartisan seniority of the signatories is rare.

The Obama administration has until now resisted extending sanctions to the Central Bank, although it has the tools to do so through sanctions passed in Congress and the U.N. Security Council.

The United States has sanctioned smaller banks, but sanctioning the Central Bank would effectively cut off Iran from dollar-transacted exchanges — in other words, much of the developed world’s economy.  One of the factors holding back such a step is the spike in oil prices that would result.

The letter comes on the heels of a review last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, making a stronger case than ever that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

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NY GOP Boss: State Has Late Prez Primary “for Obama’s Purposes”

Few NY Republican voters are happy that the State’s Presidential Primary will be
held in late April 2012, when so much attention and influence goes to the early states.

The NY State GOP Chairman Ed Cox in an interview with GestetnerUpdates.Com agrees with this frustration saying “it is not a preferred date.” However, he points out that the State Assembly is strongly in the hands of the Democrats and “the Democrats in power… wanted it much later for Obama’s own purposes” to pro-long the Republican Primary.  But, he says “a compromise was worked out” and the State got the earliest date possible.

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Exclusive Interview: NY GOP Chair “Does Not Believe” Jewish State Senate District in the Works

Ed Cox, the Chairman of the NY State Republican Party told GestetnerUpdates.Com earlier today he “does not believe” that the State Legislature is working to create a so-called “Super Jewish State Senate District” in Brooklyn. However, he admitted that he didn’t hear about it from members one way or
another.

In the interview, Mr. Cox made a case as to why the Jewish Community, more so the Orthodox wing of the Community, increasingly finds home in the GOP. The Chairman pointed to strong foreign relations, family values, support for private education and entrepreneurship as reasons why Orthodox Jews are increasingly moving from the Democratic to the Republican Party.
Audio of interview
Audio of Interview

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Perry to Raise Less Than $5 Million in Q4?

Houston Chronicle Reports: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign fundraising has gone into a tailspin as a result of poor debate performances and plunging poll numbers, jeopardizing his position as the best-funded Republican presidential candidate of 2012.

Perry’s associates and supporters say his campaign has redoubled its money-­raising efforts in the past week to ensure that his campaign will have enough money to survive the first three contests of the 2012 election calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

But Perry’s loyal backers are running into resistance from Republican donors. One Perry fundraiser, who asked not to be named, said he received 15 RSVPs for a recent event from potential donors saying they might attend. But after a gaffe-marred Perry debate performance, none showed up.

“The debates have taken a toll,” the fundraiser said. “The national numbers have taken a toll. People see the campaign on a negative trajectory.”

For good reason. The RealClearPolitics.com average of recent national polls places Perry fourth at 9.9 percent, down from his peak of 31.8 percent on Sept. 13. More ominously, new polls in the first two states to select presidential convention delegates show Perry languishing in fifth place in Iowa and New Hampshire as fellow Texan Ron Paul rocketed to second place.

“It’s the iron rule of politics: Money follows popularity,” says Austin lobbyist Bill Miller, a Perry donor. “It goes up if you’re popular and goes down if you’re not.”

Another Perry fundraiser said he expects the Texas governor to raise between $3 million and $5 million in the final three months of 2012 — less than one-third of what he generated in the first six weeks of his candidacy.

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NYC Comptroller’s Lawyer Quits Amid Donor Probe

Reuters Reports: A prominent lawyer tapped by New York City Comptroller John Liu to review questions about Liu’s fund-raising abruptly quit the probe on Thursday, a potential setback to the comptroller’s ambitions to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Liu, a Democrat, was widely considered a top contender to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2013 election until Wednesday, when federal prosecutors charged one of his campaign donors with wire fraud and conspiracy for evading campaign finance rules.

The prosecutors said the fund-raiser used “straw donors” to funnel cash to a candidate they did not identify, but Liu confirmed the donor was one of his supporters.

Robert Abrams, a former New York state attorney general, quit on Thursday, in a letter to lawyers for the comptroller and his campaign committee.

Liu had recently hired Abrams to conduct an in-depth investigation of his campaign’s fund-raising efforts after articles in The New York Times revealed possible wrongdoing.

The reason he quit, Abrams said, was that Liu’s lawyer had asked him to suspend his work until the federal probe ended.

“Your request that I suspend my work on this matter is untenable, as it compromises my independence, and my ability to do a thorough and effective job,” Abrams wrote, adding the federal government had not made that request.

Abrams was not immediately available for comment.

Paul Schechtman, a lawyer who represents the city comptroller, told Reuters: “I remain surprised that Mr. Abrams does not appreciate that it’s in no one’s interest, including his own, to conduct two simultaneous investigations.”

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Romney Aides Bought PCs Before Romney Left Statehouse, Wiped Servers Clean

Boston Globe Reports Via ABC: Several of  former Gov. Mitt Romney’s aides in the Massachusetts statehouse  purchased their state-issued hard drives shortly before Romney left office in 2006, making sure all  administration’s emails were wiped from the server, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

11 of Romney’s top aides purchased 17  state-issued hard drives for $65 each, some doing so just weeks before Gov. Patrick Duval — a Democrat and strong supporter of President Obama —  took office, effectively obliterating  the electronic record of the Romney administration, the Globe reported.

In a statement to the paper, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul had this to say: “In leaving office, the governor’s staff complied with the law and longtime executive branch practice. Some employees exercised the option to purchase computer equipment when they left. They did so openly with personal checks.”

Read the full Boston Globe article here.

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Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Meets Top Dems, GOPers in D.C.

JTA Reports: Barkat met with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, as well as with Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the House’s Middle East subcommittee; Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee; and Robert Dold (R-Ill.), who represents a heavily Jewish suburban Chicago district.

Ros-Lehtinen in a statement after her meeting Monday with Barkat said she “reiterated my support for the formal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. The Administration must finally move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and require that Jerusalem be identified as Israel’s capital on relevant U.S. government documents.”

It has been the policy of successive presidencies not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until a final-status agreement with the Palestinians is achieved.

Ros-Lehtinen referred to the disagreements between the Obama administration and Israel over settling in eastern Jerusalem.

“The Administration must end its one-sided criticism and pressuring of the Israeli government, particularly concerning its building policies,” she said.

While Obama administration disagreements with Israel over settlements have been more public than under previous presidents, U.S. opposition to such building is longstanding policy.

Barkat, who the previous week had been a featured speaker at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Denver, also met with Obama administration officials, his spokesman said.

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Fact of the Day: SIXTY Jobs Available for Every OWS Protester!

A CNN report suggests there are three million open job position in the USA. This means that even if 50,000 people participate today in the nationwide Occupy “Day of Action,” each of them have sixty jobs available to choose from.

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Opinion: Malloy Should Be Like Cuomo? Be Glad CT Isn’t NY Now

As a Democrat, it is tough for me to post this opinion piece from Rick Green, but Cuomo acted like a Republican with the budget, so here read this: Remember last spring when folks were asking why Gov. Dannel Malloy couldn’t be like NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo? When Malloy raised taxes, argued with the unions and saw his popularity plummet, Cuomo cut a deal with his unions, resisted a big tax increase and found his poll numbers surging in the Q-Poll.

In a Courant story last summer, Q-Poll director Douglas Schwartz had this to say about Malloy:

His low approval rating is a reflection of how voters feel about his budget … They think the budget relies too much on tax increases and not enough on spending cuts. They also think the middle class is paying more than its fair share while those with higher incomes aren’t paying their fair share.

… The Republicans control the state Senate, so [ Cuomo 's] had to reach across party lines to get things done – which may have led him to not support any tax increase. And so that actually may have been a good thing for him in the end.

The news out of New York isn’t so rosy now, with Cuomo saying yesterday that the state faces a budget deficit of as much as $3.5 billion next year, based on figures releasesd Monday. The New York Times quotes Cuomo saying telling a radio interview that:

The news is grim … The results over the past few months have not been good.

Connecticut, meanwhile, has a balanced budget and a plan for the future, albeit one that includes taxes and increased spending.

Republican Tom Foley, who lost to Malloy in 2010, went so far as to write in the Courant that “Andrew Cuomo gets it” when it comes to state budgeting. He argued that “we should be doing the same” as New York.

Suddenly, being like New York and Andrew Cuomo doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

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O No! Not Again!

Huff Post Reports: His sniffles began during the speech, but it wasn’t until after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stepped down from the podium during a Wednesday ceremony at the Capitol that the bawling started.

Boehner was one of several Hill leaders who gave remarks at an event honoring astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin with the Congressional Gold Medal. Congress approved the medal in July 2009 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“Neil Armstrong was once asked: Why did you, this one man, choose to speak for all when you set foot on the lunar surface? As it turns out, there was no script, there were no notes,” Boehner said. “When the moment came, Neil’s thoughts turned to the 400,000 people who worked on the project…. He said he knew ‘it would be a big something for all those folks and a lot of others who weren’t even involved in the project.’ So it was.”

And then, as Boehner lined up to present Armstrong with his medal in front of the crowd, the weeping began.

An attendee at the ceremony said Boehner’s strong emotional reaction was startling.

“It was certainly a moving event, but seeing him sob and gasp for air was sort of off-putting,” said this attendee.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the speaker was just moved by the chance to honor the astronauts.

“Like the speaker said, honoring these American heroes was a pretty cool opportunity,” Buck said.

Boehner’s public displays of crying have become a hallmark of his time as speaker. He fought off tears during his first address to the new House majority in November 2010, and cried as he accepted the gavel from former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in January 2010.

The speaker defended his habit of crying in public during a January interview on Fox News Sunday.

“I wear my emotions on my sleeve,” he said when asked to respond to critics who say his tendency to shed tears makes him look “weak” or “strange.” “I’m not going to apologize for being emotionally attached to the things I feel most strongly about.”

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In N.Y., 2010 GOP Field Uninterested in Gillibrand Challenge

From the National Journal: Republican candidates that ran for and lost statewide elected office in New York in 2010 are not eager to try their luck again against the only statewide candidate from the Empire State up in 2012: Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Hotline On Call reached out to nine such Republicans. Six of those 2010 candidates replied, including candidates for the Senate, governor and attorney general. None expressed definitive interest in 2012, suggesting the state GOP will have to find new talent to take on one of 2012′s safest Democratic incumbents who also boasts a well-stocked war chest: Gillibrand had $7 million in her account at the end of the third quarter.

So far, only first-year Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos has declared his candidacy.  According to a Siena College poll released on Wednesday, Gillibrand has a huge 65 percent to 17 percent lead over the Republican.

Republicans have also expressed interest in 2010 comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, though he has yet to make any formal statement.

Former Rep. Joe DioGuardi, Gillibrand’s last general election opponent, said he is concentrating instead on speaking out about the nation’s debt, saying that he feels like “Paul Revere back on his horse ringing the bell.”

Former Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman, who lost the GOP primary to DioGuardi but ran in the general election on the Tax Revolt party line, declined a Senate run. He may consider a House bid instead.

2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino has ruled out a Senate run. However, he left options open for challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, saying, “It depends upon my mood at the time.”

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