Saturday, May 31, 2008

Garrett vs. Goldwater

Former Senator and Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater is often cited as the Godfather of the modern conservative movement. Our own Representative Scott Garrett will often invoke Goldwater's name to lend some kind of credibility to his arguments, such as during his speech I compressed last month.

I've often questioned Garrett's commitment to being a fiscal conservative, one of Goldwater's hallmarks. Things like Garrett voting for budgets that added $2.2 trillion to the deficit in four years; or failing to swear off earmarks; or even making sure his earmarks are going to programs that exist; have really brought into question Garrett being a fiscal conservative.

Granted, special interest groups like the Garrett loving Club for Growth (aided by the media) have rebranded what being a fiscal conservative means in the public consciousness, but in the Goldwater model they're not even close to Conservative. The very fact Garrett is beholden to such a special interest group is in and of itself in sharp contrast to Goldwater.

With Garrett's sponsorship of a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage we're once again reminded that Garrett is no Conservative. I realize the amendment is little more than a campaign fundraising gimmick, but it's the simple fact that a true Conservative would never sign on to something like this.

Here is, in my opinion, the singular quote from Barry Goldwater that shows this point, from his seminal book The Conscience of the Conservative:
The conscience of the Conservative is pricked by anyone who would debase the dignity of the individual human being. Today, therefore, he is at odds with dictators who rule by terror, and equally with those gentler collectivists who ask our permission to play God with the human race.

With this view clearly articulated, it makes sense Goldwater had this to say to The Washington Post in 1994:
"The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay," Goldwater asserts. "You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it."

There is nothing about a Constitutional Amendment that debases the commitment two individuals have made to each other, recognized by some denominations and states, that is not discriminatory.

Garrett's group of co-sponsors are not the "gentle collectivists" either. No, they're more of the religious fundamentalist variety. Garrett demonstrates this with actions like his attendance at such things as the Kairos Journal Awards. Goldwater had his thoughts about guys like Garrett:

When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

Goldwater was true to this belief all his life, as evidenced during his acceptance speech in 1964:
Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth.

This amendment is going to fail. Garrett and his cronies will attempt to use it to rally the base, distract voters, and raise some cash. This is another example in a long line of very consistent behavior from Garrett.

Garrett is who Garrett is, but time and again he proves the fact that Garrett is no Goldwater.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Same As the Old Boss?

Well, in a statement re-posted on Blue Jersey, the Real Bergen Democrats have called for the resignation of BCDO Chairman Joe Ferriero and Attorney Dennis Oury:
The time is now for the Bergen County Democratic Organization to remove Ferriero and Oury from any positions of authority within the party's structure. We're calling upon the Chairman and the Party's chief counsel to put the integrity and the good name of all Democrats ahead of their individual personal and professional agendas of wielding their positions of power for their own gain.

For those with a memory of Bergen County politics, this isn't the first time a party chairman has been faced with calls for his resignation. BCRO Chairman Berek Don was forced to resign following his involvement in a money funneling scheme to former Senator Torricelli.

From the NY Times circa 1997:
Mired in personal and professional scandal, the leader of New Jersey's largest county Republican party has resigned, party officials said.


The county Republican vice-chairwoman, Rita Kirk, said that Mr. Don, who resigned Monday, wanted to avoid bringing negative publicity to the county organization.

Unlike Don who pled guilty in 1999, it's important to mention, again, that there have been no indictments in the Ferriero situation.

However, US Attorney Chris Christie seems to have been more prudent when issuing his subpoenas since the Menendez debacle. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Abate Getting Nasty

Well, the earlier dust up over at Blue Jersey definitely pales in comparison to what has being going on for the last 24 hours. Camille Abate sent out a rather nasty mail piece attacking Dennis Shulman regarding his comments made regarding Iraq. In response, there has to be a record breaking number of comments regarding the Abate mailer I still have yet to receive.

While I'm concerned about how easy it will be to paint Shulman with the Federal investigation into the BCDO's top people (I could write the ads in my sleep); Abate's campaign over the last two weeks or so has planted some seeds of concern about the type of Representative she'd be.

First there was the talk on health care from the New Jersey Herald debate:
Shulman said he would encourage bipartisan discussion to establish such a program, but Abate said she would not "because there has been too much talk already," inciting applause from the audience.
I'm not sure why that comment sent chills down my spine, and nobody else has focused on it. The idea of replacing one ideologue with another is rather unappealing. Barry Goldwater understood that politics demands compromise, and it's one of Representative Scott Garrett's worst traits as a Representative that he is so unbelievably partisan.

Second, this whole mailer business. Why?

In a year where a record number of new voters are being brought in or returned to the process with the promise of a rejection of the politics of the past, this type of mailer should have been left on the shelf.

Overselling and underachieving are the hallmark of Garrett's time as our Representative (ex. AMT's still there; our tax dollar return has gone down). As I noted earlier, most voters know that no single Representative has the power to bring the troops home. Therefore, no Representative can be "trusted" to do the job, because "trusting" them to do the job implies a power they do not possess.

My hope is, should Abate win, her campaign will recognize that this sort of mailer won't inspire those undecided people to come to her side.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Bidding Bergen: Subpoenas

For those that hadn't heard, subpoenas are flying out of US Attorney Chris Christie's office as part of his investigation of the BCDO's pay-to-play loving lawyer Dennis Oury and Chairman Joe Ferriero. I can't help but smile about this one.

Here's how The Record describes the scope:
In all, seven municipalities, one school district and a county agency have been served with subpoenas relating to Oury since last Wednesday.

The Star Ledger added this tonight:

But while the initial round of subpoenas made it seem as though Oury was the focus, two people familiar with the investigation said it was really centered on Ferriero. Oury and Ferriero are partners, along with Leonard Kaiser, executive director of the Bergen County Utilities Authority, in the consulting company.

Until there are indictments, there's really not much to talk about (remember the Menendez investigation?). But, one can only hope this is a step toward a cleaner government. With that in mind:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The RSC Action Plan

I was looking over the new Action Plan from the Republican Study Committee, and noticed something odd. Part of the action plan is the following:

We will not wait on the Democrat Majority to end "Bridges to Nowhere" and "Monuments to Me"—we declare an immediate earmark moratorium and pledge to reform the system.

On their website, the RSC has a list of members who have sworn off earmarks. What's interesting about the list is our Representative Scott Garrett has not taken the pledge. I suppose it would be difficult for him to take the pledge when he's advocated for a $1.5 million earmark for a program after the Army ended it.

Beyond that, the Action Plan seems to be little more than a commitment to the Bush priorities over the last few years. Herb Jackson summed up the plan on Sunday in The Record.
The right-leaning Republican Study Committee issued an action plan that, among other things, calls for tighter controls on spending, looser controls on oil companies and agencies gathering intelligence on suspected terrorists, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, putting welfare-like restrictions on food stamps and housing assistance, and requiring people who are not elderly, young or disabled to work to get government help.

Among other things, it's disturbing to me that in a time of economic downturn, the RSC would advocate taking food stamps and Section 8 housing away from families in need. Here's how the RSC sums up their belief:
Such reforms will ensure a more stable environment for low-income children by encouraging their parents to marry and raise them in two-parent homes.

Nothing like stigmatizing those who need help in these economic times. The USDA has a fact sheet here, which highlights among other things this little tidbit of information:
The Food Stamp Program is a program that supplements the food purchasing power
of low-income Americans. The average time a food stamp recipient stays on the program is 9 months.

The RSC is declaring war on a largely short term, underutilized program (65% of those eligible), where 75% of the participants are children. Average monthly participation in the Food Stamp program has increased 50% since 2001, now covering 1 in 11 Americans in a given month. A large part of the reason for the increase are the very economic policies the RSC fought for.

This is the classic political bait and switch. Unfortunately, history shows this is an effective way to distract voters from things like the $15 billion in fraud the RSC allowed to occur or the deficit they exploded while in the majority.

Although touted as returning Republicans to their roots, there's nothing about balancing the budget, staying out of individuals' lives, or defending the Constitution involved in the plan. In a number of instances, it's the exact opposite. Since the RSC can't stand on their record, it's interesting to see them attack the results of the policies they have implemented over the years.

I guess we'll all have to wait and see how short term the American voter's memory is.

Garrett on Memorial Day

The New Jersey Herald has some of Garrett's comments:

Congressman Scott Garrett, R-5, who spoke at the ceremony, noted that each soldier's death has "a sad, poignant meaning for that family."

He also recognized the dedication of small-town America, which honored its fallen on such a beautiful day.

"It is important that we continue this tradition for this generation and the next generation," he said.

Indie Filing Deadline

Wally Edge reminds readers that June 3rd is the deadline to file as an Independent candidate for Federal office. I know I have said before I wouldn't run, and despite the words of encouragement to jump in again I received over the weekend, I'm really not in a position to this year. Maybe 2010.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank You

Words can never truly express the gratitude each of us owe to the men and women of our armed forces. Today, we honor that service. To my family, friends, and those I have never met, thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dems Getting Heated

Over at Blue Jersey a brawl has broken out over the Democratic nomination here in the Fifth. Two posts by Juan Melli, Editor in Chief, questioning the honesty of the Camille Abate's campaign statements regarding Dennis Shulman's stance on Iraq have led to some testy conversations.

In the first, Melli simply calls the Abate campaign liars. In the other, he questions the Abate campaign manager's attempt to paint Shulman's stance on Iraq and Representative Scott Garrett as one in the same:
I believe our troops have endured far too much bloodshed in the name of a war that never should have been started and will fail no matter how long GeorgeBush, John McCain, Scott Garrett and Dennis Shulman try to keep them there.

With two weeks left to go, it's not surprising that things have gotten heated, but this is a bit of a stretch. Shulman's comment about making sure there was time to repair the damage done in Iraq was a little too politically cautious; but it's light years ahead of Garrett saying the war was justified after we found 12 mustard gas canisters.

Last I checked there were about 15 to 20 out of 435 who vote "end it now" on funding bills and such. Often times, they vote with the Republicans against timetables and things because it doesn't end the war fast enough in their mind. Someone should find out if Abate would join this crowd or not.

The bottom line is, and most voters know it, no single Representative has the power to bring the troops home now. What's important to find out, and probably would throw cold water on this thing, is how they would have voted on several of the bills over the last year.

If it turns out they both would have supported the various time lines, then there isn't an issue. However, if Abate would have voted with Garrett against these measures because they didn't do enough fast enough, then it would be Abate and not Shulman who would be keeping the troops there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

$7.8 Billion Iraq Fraud

Update: It looks like it's actually $15 billion.

Well, it's nice to know that the Bush Administration still loves to drop bad news on Fridays when no one is paying attention. Even better, a holiday weekend when people really aren't paying attention. Anyway, here is the news:
An internal audit of $8.2 billion paid to U.S. and Iraqi contractors found that nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud.

In some cases, there weren't even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent.


The probe said that during a five-year period — from 2001 through 2006 — $7.8 billion in payments skirted billing rules with some violations egregious enough to invite potential fraud.

I've already written about how fraud in Iraq has led our tax dollars to be used to fund the insurgents killing our troops, as well as how the reconstruction auditors were being phased out after some embarrassing findings. This latest revelation, while by far the biggest in terms of dollars, is just another in a horrendous string of incompetence.

Representative Scott Garrett has joined Rep. Jeb Hensarling in calling for a special conference for the House GOP to come up with an action plan to deal with voter's anger. Maybe they can start with trying to explain why it is that every audit looking at the time when Republicans controlled Congress is showing a lack of oversight and graft unparalleled in the history of our nation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Fleet Week!

So, as I do every year, I took this morning off to see the ships come in for Fleet Week.

It was amazing as always. We were a little shorted on aircraft this year, but the F-18s are always great. Also, and I always say this, could someone PLEASE figure out how to include at least one Marine Corps raid demo in NJ? Is it too much to ask?

Anyway, here is the schedule of events. As always, remember to say thanks to the service people running around New York City and Hoboken.

I have more pictures posted here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who Is Telling the Truth

Big Oil was back on Capitol Hill today, getting grilled about the sky high price of oil and their mind numbing profits. As usual, this is how they explained it:
"The fundamental laws of supply and demand are at work," said John Hofmeister, chairman of Shell Oil Co., acknowledging it is something the oil industry has been saying for some time and that the explanation may sound "repetitive and uninteresting."

However, OPEC sees things differently:
However, Chakib Khelil, president of Opec, said he did not expect output to be increased, adding that “current prices are not based on supply and demand."

So the question then becomes who is telling the truth?

Debate Wrap-Up

The New Jersey Herald ran an article covering the debate they sponsored last night with The League of Women Voters.

Abate at Ramapo

Camille Abate will be at Ramapo College next Friday for an interview with Rachel Maddow.

Here are the details:

Ramapo College Sharp Theater
505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, N.J. 07430
May 30th, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Clinton: Damn the Rules

Here's something to think about: Senator Hillary Clinton is saying she'll take the fight for Michigan and Florida to the convention floor. They broke the rules Clinton had agreed to, and so the votes were tossed.

Does America really need another President so comfortable with bending and breaking the rules?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Debate Tonight

The New Jersey Herald is one of the sponsors for the debate tonight between Camille Abate, Roger Bacon and Dennis Shulman. I can't make it, but if anybody takes a video I'd love to see it.
Challengers for the congressional seats representing Sussex County will face off tonight in a debate in Sussex County Community College's new Performing Arts Center.

The debate at 6:30 p.m. will showcase the Democratic candidates running for the Fifth and 11th congressional district seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Veterans History Project

This from the latest Garrett Gazette:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: CALLING ALL VETERANSI am hosting an event kicking off our Veterans History Project onMonday, June 2nd. This exciting project, created in 2000 by Congress isaimed at collecting oral history interviews, memoirs, letters, diaries,photographs, and other original materials from veterans like you. Thekick off event will be Monday, June 2nd at 10 am - 12 pm. at SussexCounty Community College, 1 College Hill Road, Newton, NJ 07860 in thePerforming Arts Center. If you have questions regarding this event orwould like to sign up for an interview, please call my Newton office at973.300.2000. Additional information can be found at

Politico Piece on Garrett

The Politico ran a nice little piece on Representative Scott Garrett. Two things we learned: Garrett loves his dog and plays keyboard.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

MTA to Garrett: Um, No

Representative Scott Garrett was given the opportunity to explain his transportation opt out bill on Fox Business the other day. After laying out the plan, and saying he believed mass transit operators would likely prefer his plan, the head of the MTA basically said "no, no we wouldn't" (that's a paraphrase).

One has to wonder if Garrett will continue to pursue the bill so openly after being told by the head of the MTA that it's a bad idea. That's the difference between an ideologue and someone seeking real solutions to issues.

You can watch the interview here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Garrett, I Understand

Representative Scott Garrett is catching a bit of hell for his vote against the new GI Bill the other day. I think most of us in Garrett's position would have voted for the bill, but I understand why Garrett voted against the bill. It has nothing to do with Garrett's comments on the issue, because as usual he didn't make any. It also has nothing to do with the BS reasons given by the opponents saying it was a tax on small business, because it's not.

No, actually it was one of the arguments by a proponent of the bill. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for (due to her work to reign in private contractors like Blackwater and the abuses and waste they create in Iraq), said the following:
We are talking about people who are making over $1 million to pay a small sacrifice for this war where our military families are paying a huge sacrifice.

I suppose that's what I don't like about how they decided to fund the bill: targeting millionaires to pick up the entire tab. No one denies the way things have gone the last few years that certain income brackets (none of which I'm in) have done better than others in terms of taxes, however, those who serve in the military are all of our responsibility.

I crunched the numbers, and to pay for this bill without adding to the deficit, the average tax bill of $11,081.26 would have to go up $53.79. Basically, if you multiply your taxes paid by 0.004854202 that would be your increased contribution.

I don't know if I'm alone on this or not, but I've often said I have no problem with my taxes going up if I knew it was going to veterans. It's a national disgrace that we have veterans who are homeless, veterans who are lacking medical care, and veterans who find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Veterans have been willing to give their lives so all of us can have our freedoms, and we don't do enough for them.

Unfortunately, partisan politics and ideology have gotten in the way of providing what our troops need. The Republicans want to pass costs on to the next generation, and only support the troops in campaign commercials; while the Democrats want to only go after millionaires when all of us should be helping the troops and veterans. Meanwhile, things don't get better for O-U-R troops and veterans.

In that sense, I simply wish Democrats would show some real leadership and ask all of us to make the sacrifice. The Republicans didn't ask anybody to sacrifice, except future generations and military families, and now the Democrats are saying only millionaires and military families should. I understand the ideology and I understand this is an election year, but I'm sick of our troops being used as partisan political talking points instead of being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

We all should be kicking in for this, among other programs, for veterans; it's the least we can do when weighed against what they have been willing to do for us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Congress is Full of Crude

With the Senate passage of a halt of contributions to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, those in Congress somehow believe that 70,000 barrels a day in the market is going to make a difference at the pump. Sadly, this is just an Election year gimmick.

Even though folks like our Representative Scott Garrett champion the idea, it will make even less of a difference at the pump than suspending the 18.4 cent gas tax. The US burns through 20,687,000 barrels/day, making the 70,000 barrels equal to 0.33% of our daily usage.

The retail price of gasoline today is $3.722. Of that money 72%, or $2.680 is attributable to the price of crude oil. In a stagnant market, the increase in supply would lead to an equal decrease in price. So, in theory, the $2.680 would decrease to $2.671.

Your savings on a 16 gallon fill up: 14.5 cents.

That's not per gallon, that's total. Less than a penny a gallon.

If Congress is interested in a real solution, and not one worth less than half a postage stamp, they need to find a way to deal with speculation. It's widely quoted that speculation is adding 25-30% to the price of a barrel of oil.

The first place to look is how oil futures are taxed. The folks over at explain it better than I could, but basically, the current tax code encourages speculation on oil. Unlike stocks that you have to hold onto for a year for favorable taxation, 60% of the profit an individual makes on commodities is taxed at 15%, even if they only held the futures for a few minutes.

While it would be impossible to completely eliminate speculation, if the 30% price increase due to speculation was eliminated, on that 16 gallon fill up, we'd be saving about $12.86.

Just something to think about.

Shulman's First Ad

Rabbi Dennis Shulman released his first ad today:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Garrett and Ringwood

Who says Representative Scott Garrett doesn't pay attention to the District? Well, at least his press office does.

After I pointed out that it was Representative Frank Pallone, and not Garrett, who started the effort to get the Ringwood Superfund site relisted; followed by Dennis Shulman saying the plight of the Ramapoughs reinforced his desire to run; Garrett put out the following today as part of his Garrett Gazette:

As you may know, I have been actively involved with efforts to re-list the Ringwood, New Jersey site on the National Priorities List (NPL),also known as the National Superfund list. The site had been de-listed initially by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994, but in 2006 it became the first EPA Superfund site to be re-listed.

Since entering office, I have been actively involved in working to resolve this situation.
That's not entirely true.

Garrett was first elected in 2002. According to the Bergen Record, Garrett's first demand of a report of the status of the clean-up came only after their award winning series "Toxic Legacy" debuted. The series broke in late 2005, so Garrett was in office almost 3 years before making serious comment on the situation.

Garrett also was not part of the letter to the EPA Inspector General from Pallone, as well as Senators Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, demanding an investigation into why the site was de-listed in the first place. Whether or not Garrett was invited to participate, and therefore, whether or not he declined to call for the investigation is not clear.

To his credit, the New York Times says Garrett did urge the EPA to relist the site, which I don't think anyone questions. It's more of how committed he was to it before being shown up by other members in the Congressional Delegation.

"Since entering office" is quite a stretch.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

CFG Loves SG and Deficits

Few special interest groups take such pride in openly talking about how they buy politicians with campaign cash as the Club for Growth. They do raise a tremendous amount money, but with only 1145 donors they'd have a tough time winning a town council race if they could pool their votes as opposed to their cash.

Pat Toomey, Bully in Chief at the Club, explains the Club's rationale for taking out Republicans in an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal today (emphasis mine):

Conversely, many of the Republican candidates the Club for Growth's members have supported over the years are now leaders in the conservative movement and favorites among the party's grass roots. Sens. Coburn and Jim DeMint and Reps. Scott Garrett, Jeff Flake, John Campbell, Jeb Hensarling, Tim Walberg and Mike Pence are just some of the brave leaders who have led the fight for limited government and greater economic freedom.


A Republican majority is only as useful as the policies that majority produces.
Back in November I highlighted the CFG's policy goals. I double checked their website, and they haven't changed. As I've mentioned before a balanced budget and reducing the deficit play no role in the Club's stated goals. Here's how Toomey explained the rationale to Congress last year:

While shrinking the federal deficit is important, it is not crucial as an end in itself, but only to the extent that it serves as a means to another end—increasing prosperity and economic growth. At the end of the day, job growth, higher incomes, and gains in family wealth are more important than the number on the federal government’s ledger.
Since 2001, the Federal Deficit has mushroomed 63.3% to over $9.3 trillion . That works out to a little over $31,000 per citizen, and was equal to roughly 37% of the GDP last year. On a side note, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Toomey seems to share Garrett's penchant for distorting facts (same link as above):

It is important to remember that the current deficit is only 1.5% of the Gross Domestic Product and decreasing by the day.
We spent $430 billion on interest payments in 2007, which was more than the entire non-defense discretionary budget. At some point, maybe during the campaign, Garrett and the folks at the Club would like to explain how it's beneficial to the taxpayer to have more than a third of their tax dollars going to pay interest instead of being kept in their own pockets.

Over a period of time, aggressively paying down the debt could lead to a reduction in taxes of 25-30%. Playing the same numbers game others do, this would reduce the "average" tax bill by between $2,700-3,300. Or, put another way, return around $300 billion a year to families without their children having to pay it back with interest and without loss of services.

This isn't even including any corporate cuts possible. How much could the economy grow with an extra $300 billion injected, per year? How many jobs would that create?

However, that's the sort of long term planning lacking with the cut and borrowers like the CFG and Garrett. It's unfortunate really. They love to beat their own chests, padding their personal checkbooks and campaign coffers by saying they're fighting the good fight to shrink taxes; when in fact the policies they advocate ensure taxes will always be higher than they need to be.

Aronsohn Talks Mother's Day

This is really a very moving piece written by former 5th District, and current Ridgewood Council, candidate Paul Aronsohn.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Republican Stalling Costs Taxpayers

Yesterday was a particularly bad day on Capitol Hill in terms of stalling and procedural nonsense. House Republicans wasted a little over 3 hours of the legislative day on procedural motions. The worst was the almost two hours wasted on trying to adjourn, starting first thing in the morning. Then came the hour to process motions to reconsider unanimous (416-0) or nearly unanimous (413-1) votes, and the subsequent motions to table those motions.

Before your eyes glaze over I'll get to the point. Not including things like electricity and the salaries of support staff, these maneuvers cost taxpayers nearly $110,000 dollars.

This figure is derived by taking the full salary of the House of Representatives ($74.3 million), breaking it down to the per minute cost ($594.86), and multiplying that by the amount of time wasted (184 minutes). I'm sure with a little time that I don't have, we'd be able to figure out the total cost (I'd be willing to bet a beer it's over $300K). However, $110,000 wasted is $110,000 wasted.

While our own Representative Scott Garrett didn't make these ridiculous taxpayer robbing motions, he didn't vote against them or stop his colleagues. Since he did vote to reconsider these votes, one has to wonder if he had a change in heart when voting for things like recognizing National Nurses Week.

There are times when procedural motions serve a purpose, but robbing the taxpayers shouldn't be one of them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ron Paul Endorsed Garrett

With everything else going on, I missed this one. However, Representative Ron Paul did in fact officially endorse Representative Scott Garrett.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Garrett on Attitude! Radio

Update: I listened to the show, and AJ Sparxx really is one of the better interviewers I've heard. It's a quick show, but worth a listen.

Representative Scott Garrett will be on Attitude! Radio tomorrow at 11AM. Attitude! Radio is run by the guys over at Conservatives with Attitude.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Clinton: To Hell With Economists

Well, this is a scary thought:
Clinton raised questions about Obama's ability to connect with working-class Americans while dismissing economists who have said her plan to suspend gas taxes over the summer would do little good.

"I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said when asked to name an economist who backed her proposal.
Back in 2006, economists at the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banks started sounding the alarms about where the economy was headed. I was scoffed at when I'd bring this up during presentations. I would argue they were pretty much on the money.

Now, we seem to have two candidates who want us to eliminate the gas tax for the summer. Economists have panned the idea as having little impact for the consumer, because there's no guarantee any of the drop in price would be passed on to the consumer.

Then, you have to add in the fact we as taxpayers would have to borrow money to replace the transportation funds to repair bridges so they don't collapse like the one in Minnesota. So not only is there no guarantee we wouldn't be hosed at the pump, we'd be paying the money back with interest.

I know I don't comment much on the Presidential race, but this comment is absolutely too ridiculous to ignore.

Missed One

Representative Frank Pallone, who deserves a tremendous amount of credit for kick starting the relisting of the Ringwood Superfund Site, endorsed Dennis Shulman in his quest for the Democratic nomination here in the Fifth.

What a Couple of Weeks

Well, it's been a few good weeks for me. The major project I was working on is done and I got a little trip in there. A few interesting things went on while I wasn't watching, so let's get to it:

1. Representative Scott Garrett has continued his quest to blame Democrats for all that is wrong with the economy. During a speech largely aimed at Democrats, he also continued his practice of misrepresenting facts when it comes to numbers. Garrett stated that gas had not yet crossed $2 a gallon on Election Day in 2006, sitting around $1.90.

Had Garrett or his staff bothered to check with Energy Information Administration they'd know gas was at $2.20. While no one denies, prices have gone up, why exaggerate the truth? Either it's an honest mistake, or a continued pattern of misrepresentation that raised it's head when Garrett was misrepresenting income levels during the SCHIP debate.

2. Shockingly, Garrett and Senator Bob Menendez issued a joint statement regarding a bill to help veterans. This was written up by the folks over at Blue Jersey and Herb Jackson of the Record. It's nice to see partisanship put along. As noted by Jackson, Garrett's efforts in this area haven't gone anywhere since November. Hopefully, Menendez coming on board might help get it done.

3. Garrett led the fight against the housing package that went through the Financial Services Committee, which will be voted on by the House this week. Of particular interest was Garrett going against a proposal to give an automatic 10% equity if someone refinances their loan through FHA. I've checked with folks in both parties, and all agreed with Garrett that on face value the proposal seemed a little over the top and rather unfair to those without the opportunity.

4. Garrett went on television to argue against regulating deceptive advertising and double billing by credit card companies.

5. Camille Abate, candidate for the Democratic nomination, put up a biographical video on YouTube.

6. The Bergen County Freeholders were ripped by the Record for voting as a block the majority of the time. It's a bit ridiculous that the Freeholders claim they have an open process when they schedule their meetings at times when no one can make it.

More to come...