Daily Archives: 01/31/2012

Video: Romney Wins FLGOP

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Jewish Turnout Bubkes in GOP12

Nate Silver: There has been some speculation that Democrats could struggle to hold the Jewish vote in 2012. They had struggled, for instance, in the special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District in 2011, which has a heavy Orthodox Jewish population.

But there is no sign tonight of Jewish voters switching their registration over to the Republican side in Florida. According to early exit polls, just 1 percent of voters in tonight’s Republican primary identified as Jewish. That’s down from 3 percent in the Florida Republican primary in 2008, which also might mean that Jewish Republican voters in the state are not terribly enthusiastic about this group of candidates. Jewish turnout in general elections in Florida is normally about 4 percent.

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Jewish Center Rabbi Asks Fidler to Take a Chill Pill

Rabbi Mordechai Tokarsky

NYO Reports: A Brighton Beach rabbi sent an open letter to City Council Lew Fidler telling him to tone down his attacks on David Storobin, his GOP opponent in the State Senate.

“Right from the outset, you have made it clear that you are determined to stake your campaign in the shifty foundation of negativity and fear mongering, ” writes Rabbi Mordechai Tokarsky of the Jewish Center of Brighton Beach.

“You did so when you not once, but many times falsely accused a member of my congregation, your opponent David Storobin, of (and I quote) “having ties to skinheads and neo-Nazi groups and white supremacist groups.

Let me first state unequivocally that your outrageous claims are totally baseless and untrue. I know David; and I must insist to you and everyone that the one thing David Storobin is not, is a neo-Nazi or skinhead sympathizer.”

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Video: Santorum Ad Blasting Obama, Gingrich, Pelosi

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Video: GOP Candidate Buddy Roemer: Fight’s Going on Past Florida…

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Major GOP Super PAC “American Crossroads” Raised $51 Million in 2011

AP Reports: American Crossroads, the Republican “super” political committee that plans to play a major role in this year’s presidential campaign, raised more than $51 million along with its nonprofit arm last year, The Associated Press has learned.

The figures from Crossroads – the group backed by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove – are among the first financial reports being made public Tuesday, the deadline for super PACs and presidential candidates to file financial reports with federal election officials. The Crossroads PAC alone has about $15.6 million cash on hand – a sizable figure as it prepares to hit the airwaves this year to help defeat President Barack Obama.

The financial strength of Crossroads underscores the extraordinary impact super PACs could have on this year’s race for the White House. In GOP primaries so far, groups working for or against presidential candidates have spent roughly $25 million on TV ads – about half the nearly $53 million spent on advertising so far to influence voters in the early weeks of the race.

Crossroads’ financial reports, which the AP obtained ahead of the Federal Election Commission, identify wealthy donors who had given contributions reaching as high as seven figures by the end of 2011. Among the largest contributors is Dallas businessman Harold Simmons, who gave the group $5 million last November and whose holding company, Contran Corp., donated an additional $2 million.

Simmons is a major donor to GOP and conservative causes who pumped as much as $4 million into the “swift boat” campaign that helped sink Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Simmons, an early supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential run, also was a fundraising “bundler” putting donations together for Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Read More: Associated Press

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DCCC Asks Turner to Retrun Grimm Contributions; Local Dem Files FEC Complaint

Politicker: While GOP Congressman Michael Grimm faces allegations that he accepted envelopes filled with campaign cash, contributions from straw donors and more, Democrats are not letting up.

Notably, Manny Ortegy, the Law Chair of the Staten Island Democratic Party, filed a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission, calling on them to “refer these allegations, as appropriate, for criminal prosecution.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is jumping into the fray as well, forwarding unfriendly articles, like one casting doubt on the Republican lawmaker’s future. The DCCC also called on New York’s other GOP Congressman, Bob Turner to return campaign contributions sent his way by Mr. Grimm.

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Gingrich Denies Knowledge of “Kosher” Robo-Call

CNN Reports: Newt Gingrich denied any knowledge of a robocall put out by his campaign Tuesday claiming rival Mitt Romney refused to fund kosher food for Holocaust survivors during his time as Massachusetts governor.

Gingrich’s campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed the calls were going out statewide in Florida Tuesday. The call’s claim that Romney vetoed a bill providing kosher meals to nursing home residents during his time as governor first arose Monday, when Gingrich cited a report from the New York Post.

At a campaign stop in Plant City, Florida, Gingrich denied any knowledge of the robocall, despite his campaign claiming responsibility for it.

When asked if the call was “over the top,” Gingrich said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

When pressed, Gingrich said he wouldn’t comment about the call since it was “something I don’t know about.”

Gingrich first made the claim about Romney’s kosher food veto Monday, telling an audience in Jacksonville he read about the veto over the weekend.

The New York Post reported Friday on a veto Romney cast in 2003 that rejected “$600,000 in additional funds for poor Jewish nursing-home residents to get kosher meals.”

Listen to the full RoboCall Here

Read More: CNN

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Top US Spy Warns, Iran willing to Attack the US on its Own Soil

(Photo Credit: AP)

The Hill Reports: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned a Senate panel that a 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, which U.S. officials say was hatched in Iran, indicates that Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his government are willing to launch attacks in the United States.

“The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials — probably including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack on the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime,” said Clapper in prepared testimony before the committee.

 “Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran’s evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the ambassador as well as Iranian leaders’ perceptions of U.S. threats against the regime,” he said. Clapper’s testimony and questions from lawmakers highlighted changing perceptions about threats to the United States. The annual hearing on worldwide threats to the United States was the first since Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda leaders were killed, and it suggested that Iran is now clearly seen as the leading threat to the United States and its allies, such as Israel.

“When you’re viewing it from the Israeli standpoint, it clearly, I think, reaches the level of perhaps the number one challenge of 2012, as the chairman has indicated,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.).

Read More: The Hill

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Adelson Distances Himself From GOP Special Caucus for Observant Jews Decision

Sheldon Adelson

The Las Vegas Review Journal Reports: Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson distanced himself Monday from a Clark County Republican decision to hold a special presidential caucus after sundown Saturday for observant Jews, saying through a spokesman he and his wife “had no involvement” in the arrangement.

The statement seemed designed to counter concerns by several presidential campaigns that the GOP was giving special consideration to Adelson, who backs presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have donated $10 million to a pro-Gingrich Political Action Committee.

Ron Reese, a spokesman for Adelson, said the billionaire casino mogul never suggested holding the special 7 p.m. caucus and didn’t personally offer to host it at the Adelson Education Campus. The private school in Summerlin was named after the couple because they are generous donors.

Adelson and his wife aren’t orthodox Jews who must avoid activity during the Sabbath, which starts at sundown on Fridays and continues until sundown on Saturdays. Reese said the couple can participate in the regular caucus meetings, which are scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

“In short, they had no involvement,” Reese said. “At no point did either Mr. Adelson or Dr. (Miriam) Adelson provide any input into the process or intervene in any way.”

But if Sheldon Adelson did not determine the resolution, he did pass along the Jewish community’s concerns to a Republican official.

Read More: Las Vegas Review Journal

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Campaign of Jewish State Senate Candidate Doubles Down on Claims That Opponent, Also Jewish, is Skinhead Fan

Lew Fidler Camp released this today afternoon:

Today Councilman Fidler’s campaign for State Senate called on his opponent, Mr. Storobin, to release all writings, interview transcripts, and links to white supremacist and skinhead sites that have been wiped from the internet since Mr. Storobin announced his candidacy for State Senate.

As soon as questions started swirling regarding his writings, Mr. Storobin’s entire internet archive was wiped clean, but his interviews and articles on hate websites remain. Additionally, Mr. Storobin held a smoke-and-mirrors press conference hours ago where he offered no denial or explanation as to the connection between himself and why these writings appear on hate websites.

“Mr. Storobin should stop hiding his true beliefs,” said campaign spokeswoman, Jenn Krinsky. “If there was nothing offensive in any of these writings or interviews, then why did Mr. Storobin delete them from his website, and leave us only the writings that still exist on white supremacist and hate sites, such as Stormfront, American Renaissance or Phora?”

Stormfront is a white nationalist and supremacist internet forum, described as the first internet hate site. American Renaissance is a monthly racialist magazine. Some of Mr. Storobin’s writings appear on these websites, which are inherently sympathetic to the causes of the white separatist Afrikaner Independence Movement, the Minutemen and other extremists. The website of Phora proclaims to “discuss racialism, eugenics, nationalism, holocaust revisionism, history, philosophy, science, politics.”

All of the archived documents are reproductions of Mr. Storobin’s original writings. The originals have been deleted from where they were hosted in the wake of Mr. Storobin’s announcement that he would be running for the State Senate against Mr. Fidler.

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AUDIO of Gingrich Robocall: Romney Forced Holocaust Survivors to Eat Non-Kosher

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Early Filers May Have to Wait Longer for Their Tax Refund

USA Today Via CNBC Reports: Some taxpayers who filed their federal tax returns early this year will have to wait a week longer than initially projected to get their refunds.

The delay was caused by new safeguards installed in Internal Revenue Service computer systems to prevent refund fraud, IRS spokesman Michelle Eldridge says. The problem is limited to taxpayers whose returns were filed before Jan. 26. Taxpayers whose returns were accepted on or after that date will not be affected, Eldridge says.

For many early filers, even a one-week hold-up could present a serious hardship, says Andy Stadler, an enrolled agent in Terre Haute, Ind. He received a call on Friday from a client who was counting on her refund to pay her electric bill, and feared her power would be cut off before she got the money.

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Russia: West’s UN Effort Over Syria ‘Path to Civil War’

The UN Resolution calls for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his deputy, reports the UK Talagraph:

It also stresses there will be no foreign military intervention in a conflict   that the United Nations says has killed more than 5,400 people in the past   10 months.

It demands that “the Syrian government immediately puts an end to all human   rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to   freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov underscored Moscow’s opposition to the   draft, but he stopped short of an explicit threat to block it with a veto.

“The Western draft Security Council resolution on Syria will not lead to   a search for compromise,” Interfax quoted Gatilov as saying. “Pushing   it is a path to civil war.”

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Video: Who’s The Better Singer? Obama? Romney? Biden?

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‘Un-Democratic and Non-Transparent’

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s staff issued the following statement in the name of the Congressman regarding the newest federal surface five-year transportation bill designed to fund the nation’s infrastructure needs …

I am concerned by a number of aspects of this proposal, which falls short of addressing the nation’s most pressing and longstanding problems of transportation, infrastructure and economic progress.

“For one, I am disturbed by the un-democratic and non-transparent fashion with which the majority has drafted and introduced its bill.  Democrats have been left entirely out of the process and, now, after more than a year of waiting for this legislation, we have 48 hours to assimilate 800 pages before it is marked up.  This is certainly not an inclusive and open process that encourages – or enables – bipartisan feedback.  And we surely don’t have sufficient time to fully understand the implications of the policies being proposed.

“It is upsetting that House Republican Leadership continues to act with such divisiveness, rather than seeking bipartisan consensus and truly passable, workable legislation.

“Second, I am generally troubled by the treatment of programs critical to our nation’s economy, and to the New York region, namely: transit, environmentally friendly alternative transportation programs, rail freight, and projects of national and regional significance, which have critical national economic functions.  As the language in the bill currently stands, these dedicated funding sources are either fundamentally reformed, or eliminated completely, shifting the burden to state-level agencies that lack the ability or resources to adequately address the transportation needs neglected in this bill.

“And I am concerned that we still haven’t seen the funding formulas that will be used to divide moneys among the states, as Congress has a history of attempting to shift funds from New York and other states which are more energy efficient.

“Finally, I have serious questions about the offsets employed to pay for such a bill.  Using revenues from gas and oil drilling would not be an appropriate mechanism to pay for our nation’s infrastructure; and such a proposal is a twisted and ironic means of funding transit, rail and other environmentally sustainable modes of transportation.”

(Source: Nadler Press Release)

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Orthodox Jew Promoted To Personnel Deputy Commissioner at The NYPD

Arnold Wechsler (Photo Credit: VIN)

VIN Reports: Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced last week Thursday the promotion of Arnold S. Wechsler to Deputy Commissioner, Personnel. The appointment marks the first time in 40 years a civilian member of the service will oversee all personnel matters for the Department. Wechsler was sworn in during the Department’s promotion ceremony Friday…

Commissioner Wechsler joined the New York City Police Department on January 28, 1974, as a management intern in the Support Services Bureau. In that same year, he was promoted to assistant personnel examiner. In September 1978 he was promoted to Associate Staff Analyst; in July 1981, to Deputy Director of Civilianization; in October 1985, to Deputy Director, Employee Management Division/Employment Section; in January 1995, to Director, Employee Management Division, and in September 2006 to Assistant Commissioner, Employee Management Division.

(Read More)

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Romney and Gingrich Barely Seen in Jewish South Florida

The Forward Reports: Republican voters prepared to go to the polls Tuesday in the Florida primary  after a campaign in which the candidates paid scant attention to the Sunshine  State’s 500,000-strong Jewish community.

The two leading candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich spent much of their  time in central and northern Florida and all but ignored the heavily Jewish  communities in south Florida’s Dade and Broward counties.

Rick Santorum, who was far behind in third place in polls, was scheduled to  speak on Monday at a Boca Raton synagogue but had to cancel his appearance after  his daughter fell ill. Ron Paul chose to skip campaigning in Florida  altogether.

While Florida and its large Jewish population are expected to serve as the  ultimate battleground in the presidential race, not much is in play during the  GOP primary. Most of the state’s Jews are Democrats and cannot vote in the GOP  primary. Those who are Republican lean strongly toward Romney, analysts say.

Polls conducted before the Tuesday primary, the first to take place in a  large state, predict an easy win for Romney, who came back from his defeat to  Gingrich in South Carolina to rebuild a double-digit lead in Florida.

Nearly 2 million Florida Republicans are expected to vote in the primary,  with the winner grabbing all of the state’s 50 delegates.

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IAEA to End Two-Day Tehran Trip Amid Tensions Over Iran Nuclear Work

Bloomberg News: International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are due to end a mission to Iran today, as the organization seeks to ease international tensions over the country’s nuclear program.

The delegation arrived in the Iranian capital on Jan. 29 with Chief Inspector Herman Nackaerts expressing hope that the trip would allow for a “dialogue.”

In a November report, the IAEA cited “credible” sources as saying the country has studied how to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations that its nuclear work is aimed at building weapons, and says documents in the IAEA’s possession are forged.

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Is Fracking Kosher?

Ben HAriss at JTA: As concerns mount over the environmental and public health consequences of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, Jewish groups are coalescing around a strategy that supports efforts to extract natural gas from shale rock while seeking to mitigate its worst effects.

In May, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the community’s main public policy umbrella group, will consider a draft resolution on fracking that in its current form acknowledges the potential benefits of a major new source of natural gas while urging greater oversight and government regulation of the practice.

“Our goal is to see energy independence that protects the environment,” said Sybil Sanchez, executive director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, or COEJL, an initiative of the JCPA that promotes environmental stewardship.

Fracking refers to the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock deep below the surface of the earth in an effort to release trapped deposits of natural gas. The controversial technique, which critics allege poisons groundwater and creates significant public health problems near drilling sites, has grown into a major policy debate.

In Pennsylvania, thousands of wells already have been dug to tap gas from the Marcellus Shale Deposit, a vast subterranean rock formation that is believed to hold enough natural gas to supply American demand for decades. New York, which also sits atop the Marcellus, has a moratorium in place on fracking, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering lifting the ban.

At least four Jewish summer camps in northern Pennsylvania have signed leases to permit fracking on their land, the Forward reported last summer.

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Jewish NY GOP House Candidate Raises $215K in Q4; 16X More Than Opponent

Randy Altschuler

Chris Bragg Reports: Republican businessman Randy Altschuler, who is running a rematch this year against Suffolk County Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop, raised a solid $215,000 over the past fundraising quarter, according to a disclosure filed yesterday. But he still is far behind the Democratic incumbent in total dollars in the bank.

Altschuler retains $583,000 in cash on hand, and still owes himself $500,000 for a loan he took out during his extremely narrow loss to Bishop in 2010. Bishop’s last filing in October showed $998,000 on hand, and his January filing is not yet available.

Altschuler, who won a divisive three-way Republican primary in 2010, now has most local establishment Republican support behind him, but still will face a challenge from one of his 2010 opponents, George Demos, who continues to lob attacks about Altschuler’s past career that involved outsourcing jobs.

The January filing for Demos shows only $12,800 raised over the last quarter, and $86,000 on hand.

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PHOTO: Newt Winning a “Swing” State

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David Storobin to Denounce Fidler’s Nazi Claim

David Storobin

NY State Senate candidate Republican David Storobin plans to hold a press conference to rip his Democrat opponent Lew Fidler for saying that Storobin, a Jew, is busy scrubbing off his ties to Skinhead and Neo-Nazi groups.

The Fidler comments were made at a recent event and posted online by the Brooklyn Young Republicans

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Exclusive: Sole Huntsman Backer on The Hill Will ‘Not Endorse Anyone’

Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY24)

Freshman Republican Congressman Richard Hanna (NY-24) was welcomed Monday Night by a group of Israeli activists to a fundraiser for his political campaign.

The event was hosted by Simeon Fensterheim in New Rochelle NY. In attendance were three dozen people including Robert Cohen and Barry Mannis, National Board members of AIPAC.

Congressman Hanna has previously endorsed Presidential contender Jon Huntsman in his race for the Republican Nomination.

But now that Huntsman has suspended his campaign, the Congressman told GestetnerUpdates.Com that he will not endorse any of the remaining four Republican candidates in the Presidential Field. He thinks Jon Huntsman was the smartest of the pack yet not a flame thrower as others and as such Hanna went with Huntsman. Now Congressman Hanna plans to remain neutral throughout the rest of the season.

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