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February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Simcha Felder Wins State Senate Seat

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Former Councilman Simcha Felder is the new State Senator for the newly cobbled “super Jewish district,” having won 65 percent of the vote against the GOP incumbent Senator David Storobin.

Felder, an Orthodox Jew, has been endorsed by the Jewish Press, to represent a district that includes Borough Park, Midwood and Homecrest.

Although he was running as a Democrat, Felder supported the Romney-Ryan ticket and said he would caucus with the GOP if it retained control of the Senate in Albany.

GOP Claiming a Rout in Pennsylvania Based on Absentee Ballot Returns

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The website GOP.com on Monday suggested that President Obama’s campaign is trying to protect Pennsylvania, sending big gun Joe Biden to a state that was considered safe for Democrats. The website claims the reason for the sudden change in strategy was the huge GOP edge in absentee ballot returns in that state, which went for Obama by 10% in 2008.

In 2008 the GOP edged the Democrats by a mere 2% in absentee ballot returns, says the website As of Monday, the GOP’s lead was 18.8% — a 16.9% bump. Republicans have turned in 55.2% of the absentee ballots to date while the Democrats have returned just 36.4%.

GOP.com boasts a huge effort on the ground in Pennsylvania in recent months, with more than 60 staff and dozens of offices, adding: “We have made over 5 million volunteer voter contacts including over 1 million volunteer door knocks across Pennsylvania. That voter contact is paying off in the absentee ballot returns and clearly the President’s campaign sees it in their numbers. That’s why they are playing defense in the Keystone state as Governor Romney’s momentum allows us to expand the map.”

But while this good news for Romney may be very real, every single poll conducted in Pennsylvania in the past two weeks gives the edge to Obama, including Rasmussen Reports, which on October 24 showed Obama with a 51-46 lead. The poll average is at +4.6 in Obama’s favor.

Next Tuesday is going to be a very long night, possibly well into Wednesday…

The GOP’s Anti-Sharia Plank

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Republican convention delegates voted last week to adopt a platform plank, cautioning against the use of foreign law in U.S. courts. While jurists such as Supreme Court Justice Scalia have said that “foreign legal materials can never be relevant to an interpretation of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution,” and Justice Thomas has written that the Court should not “impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans,” other jurists have searched foreign legal sources to locate “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

This GOP platform provision, however, represents something beyond concern over the practice of buttressing sketchy legal reasoning with extra-American sources; the GOP statement also objects to Sharia law or any other foreign legal code that threatens to creep into judicial decisions disguised as validated ethnic customs. As suggested, this admonition would apply when claims in a legal dispute are based upon cultural codes with deficient individual and civil right protections compared to American constitutional standards.

The publicized New Jersey spousal abuse case first raised widespread alarm when a trial court judge refused to issue a restraining order against a husband despite the established record of domestic violence and assault (reversed on appeal). The judge ruled that the husband did not demonstrate sufficient legal criminal intent in light of an imam’s testimony that wives are required to comply with husbands’ sexual demands. The man’s wife, known in the opinion as S.D., was 17 on the day of her wedding and did not know the bridegroom before the marriage ceremony in Morocco.

Another case that presented the Sharia terms of a foreign marriage in an American court is that of Joohi Hosain. When Joohi left her marriage (under strict Sharia rules, wives are not generally allowed to sue for divorce), her husband in Pakistan sued for custody of their daughter, Joohi fled to America on a student visa with her daughter, and eventually presented her custody case in U.S. courts after her by-then-ex-husband pursued her to Maryland. Although Joohi explained that making an appearance in a Pakistani court would likely result in accusations of adultery and the possible punishment of whipping or stoning, the Maryland appellate court determined that even so, the mother had the notice and opportunity to be heard and was thus afforded proper due process. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals then deferred to the Pakistani ruling that it was in the best interest of the child for the father to have primary custody.

About half of the cases involving Sharia family customs which have been presented for adjudication by American judges involve marriages solemnized in other countries, but many Islamic domestic marriages are also based on Sharia norms. These domestic unions present unique challenges: they often begin with disregard for the state law regarding the registration of officiants and the licensing of marriages. Even worse is the disregard for due process and informed contract formation when marriages and property distributions are arranged without the bride’s participation.

After a review of both foreign and domestic Islamic marriages, I recently presented a survey to the Federalist Society that considered both published and unpublished family court cases that adjudicated Sharia terms. To date, about 25 U.S. family law cases reflect the U.S. approval of the Sharia-based marital terms in the family court or the court of appeal.

Consider the plight of two Muslim American women. First, Hamideh Saba Saadatnejadi, an American of Iranian descent, married in Tennessee after her father negotiated the Sharia version of a dowry. However, the imam was not registered with the state, and the required marriage license was not filed. The union did not last long, and her husband tried to extort Hamideh’s interest in the Sharia prenuptial (part of which was agreed to by the husband to deter him from marrying up to three additional wives if he returned to Iran) by threatening not to file the marriage license unless she relinquished claim on her dowry. The family court ruled the marriage void as required procedures were not followed, but the appellate court reversed the decision and recognized the marriage based upon substantial compliance with Tennessee law.

Courts went the other way in New Jersey when Faranak Yaghoubinejad married her husband according to Sharia formalities but without complying with licensing laws. Again, when Faranak filed for divorce, her husband conveniently claimed that the marriage was not legal. The trial court this time upheld the marriage based upon the union having some elements of a marriage, but the appellate court reversed the decision, saying the “ceremonial marriage of purported spouses was absolutely void.”

African American May Run for NY Mayor as Fusion Candidate of Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

The NY Post’s Michael Benjamin, himself a former Democratic assemblyman, reported that NY State Senator Malcolm Smith from Queens, a Democrat, is planning to be the city’s 109th mayor, come 2013, running on the Republican ticket. He also suggested that Smith’s trial balloon had rattled some GOP leaders, who are attempting to nip it in the bud. Democrats are saying Smith is just a stalking horse for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, meant to sway black votes from former city Comptroller Bill Thompson.

To remind you, Malcolm Smith’s former 15 minutes of fame happened over his pitifully short stint as State Senate majority leader — when he lost his majority after Democratic senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate defected to the GOP. It was political slapstick at its worst, and quite a record from which to recover. In the end, Smith was deposed by the Senate Democrats.

Benjamin reminded his readers that Smith still faces questions about a suspicious awarding of the contract to run the Aqueduct “Racino,” and irregularities at some charities with which he is associated.

“One of the questions we ask candidates is, ‘Have you ever done anything that would be an embarrassment to you or the Republican Party?’” Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa told the NY Daily News. “I don’t think he could pass that test.”

Except that the same Daily News report says State Republican Chairman Ed Cox confirmed that he met with Smith “at the urging of a mutual friend,” but declined to comment further.

“There’s an opening for a fusion candidate in the 2013 race,” says Benjamin, pointing out that all the Democratic candidates have been left of center, yet as the last five mayoral elections have shown, the left no longer has the majority even in New York City.

The alliance Benjamin envisions would combine Republican voters, the Orthodox Jewish bloc, outer-borough “Koch Democrats” and minority voters.

He suggests that the Haredi and the evangelical Christian communities are actively looking for a “traditional-values standard-bearer.”

The conservative blog “PlanetAlbany” opined that the best candidate would be an African-American former Democratic assemblyman who is pretty conservative on social issues, and an insightful political observer – namely NY Post pundit Michael Benjamin.

Colin Campbell of “Politicker” reminded his readers recently of the growing influence Orthodox Jewish voters are commanding in NY City politics, and that “even though the community’s voters might side strongly with the Republican candidate in the 2013 mayoral race, they are mostly registered as Democrats and candidates seeking to win the Democratic primary are extensively courting the community.”

All the candidates recognize this reality and are working hard to engage Orthodox voters, reported Yossi Gestetner a few months ago. As the candidates competing for the nomination are nearly identical on social issues, some have been working to separate themselves in other ways.”

Gestetner brought the example of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who started his own Iran boycott website and took a firm stance against the campaign within the Park Slope Food Co-op boycotting Israeli products, calling it “wrongheaded and an affront to American values and interests.”

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo may have committed a costly mistake when vetoed a bill that would have made it possible for many special-education students to be placed in private schools using public funds. Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups had lobbied for the bill, arguing that children learn best in settings that resemble their home environment.

It may be just the kind of rallying point that would help elect New York’s Third Consecutive Republican mayor.

McCain Says Adelson Contributions Are ‘Foreign Money’

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The former GOP presidential candidate, himself a devout campaign finance reformer, is accusing the current GOP candidate of accepting foreign money in exchange for influence over U.S. policy. The plot thickens more than a little when the agent of influence is a Jewish billionaire and the foreign power in question is the State of Israel.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asserted that the involvement of anonymous donors and super PACs in American elections will lead to corruption, PBS reported.

McCain alleged specifically that money from outside the country may be helping one PAC: billionaire contributor Sheldon Adelson, owner of casinos in the United States, Macau and Singapore, has pledged $100 million to Republican interests this election cycle.

“Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” McCain told Judy Woodruff on Thursday.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee has been a critic of the Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for super PACs.

McCain and former senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) were the chief sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as the McCain–Feingold Act, which regulates the financing of political campaigns.

According to PoliPundit.com, the active ingredient in McCain’s borderline xenophobic objections, as well as in Adelson’s move to bear hug Romney into submission, is Israel.

On a trip to Las Vegas late last month, Romney and Adelson had a private meeting, according to that website, after which Adelson attended Romney’s dessert fundraiser for those who contributed $50,000 or more.

People close to Adelson said that he wants to be certain about Romney’s positions on support for Israel. Adelson has publicly criticized President Barack Obama’s support of Israel as too weak.

Woodruff also asked McCain about the comparisons between the president’s “doing fine” gaffe and what McCain said about the fundamentals of the economy during his 2008 run as the Republican nominee. Specifically, she probed his feelings on the striking similarity between the attack ad the Romney campaign issued on Thursday, and Team Obama’s ad that many have said was McCain’s fatal blow.

“We’re in the midst of a fiscal meltdown. When I said, look we’re in a terrible fiscal crisis but the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain said. “So I think there is a difference between the two.”

Romney Gaining Momentum As Obama Struggles

Monday, June 11th, 2012

A week of setbacks for President Obama has the GOP excited about Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances to emerge victorious in November.

Last Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker survived a recall election, which was seen by many political observers as a referendum on the parties’ differing fiscal visions for dealing with the ongoing economic issues facing the United States. Initiated by opponents of Walker’s plan to curb collective bargaining rights for state employees, his victory was interpreted as a sign that voters were opposed to investment in government as a means to stimulate economic growth, which Obama supports.

More importantly, the Wisconsin recall election seemed to energize Republicans who have offered Romney lukewarm support at best. The New York Times, in a story today titled “GOP Mood Toward Romney’s Fall Prospects Brighten,” reported that consensus is building that Romney has a real shot at victory, quoting Republicans that had supported Romney’s opponents during the Republican primaries and conservatives that had previously been critical of him. The value of this growing consensus is found not merely in its moral victory but also in more vibrant fundraising and activism.

According to the New York Times piece, Romney and the Republican party already yielded more money in May than Obama and the Democratic Party ($76 million vs. $60 million), a significant achievement considering that Obama’s fundraising for the 2008 presidential campaign broke previous records for presidential campaigns, and is said to have revolutionized presidential fundraising.

Making matters worse for Obama, he made an uncharacteristic misstep last Friday by stating in a press conference that “the private sector is doing fine.” Known for its media savvy and disciplined message, the Obama administration spent the rest of Friday and the weekend focused on damage control, but Romney and the GOP had already seized on the comment as proof that Obama is out of touch with regular Americans and out of solutions for the American economy.

Last week also saw increasing pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Justice Department’s botched ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting. Appearing before the House Oversight Committee by subpoena, Holder was accused of dragging his feet in providing information about which high-level Obama administration officials knew about the botched sting, which resulted in the death of a US border agent. As of this writing, the Committee is set to vote on holding Holder in contempt of Congress.

At the same time, the Obama administration is dealing with accusations that the White House had in recent weeks leaked highly classified information on the targeting of Al Qaeda militants by drones and the cyber-weapon Stuxnet. Republican lawmakers are claiming that the White House risked exposing intelligence operations for the purpose of political gain. Obama has strenuously denied the accusation, and Attorney General Holder has opened criminal investigations into the leaks.

Enthusiasm is also waning among people that only four years ago were die-hard Obama supporters. “Obama Girl,” AKA Amber Lee Ettinger, who became famous for her YouTube video “Crush on Obama,” told the Daily Caller on Friday that she is “not as excited as I was the last time,” and refused to offer Obama a public endorsement.

Of course, all of this negative publicity comes against the backdrop of economic numbers that suggest slowing economic recovery and job growth.

Recent polls are also bearing out Romney’s growing momentum. Rasmussen’s most recent poll has Romney leading Obama by one percentage point (46% – 45%), and a Gallup tracking poll from the first week of June shows the same results. Though this may seem like an early, insignificant lead, when viewed in light of the past month, there is a clear trend in favor of Romney. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from May 20 had Obama leading Romney 47%-43%; thus, a five point swing has occurred over 3 weeks.

Gallup also polled Jewish voters, and found that as of June 5, Obama was supported by 64% of Jewish voters, while Romney received the support of 29%. Although he holds a 35% point lead over Romney, it is worth noting that in the 2008 Presidential election Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote.

Meet Josh Mandel, Rising Ohio Jewish GOP Rock Star

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Meet Josh Mandel, who won the Ohio GOP primary and will take on Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in the fall. A new-age GOP, his fiscal policy comes down to this: he says the country needs to undertake “sweeping regulatory reform.”

Mandel, 34, has been compared to the other dashing, young conservative, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. Next week, Rubio is coming to Ohio to campaign with Mandel. “This guy is the real story coming out of Ohio,” one longtime GOP consultant in the state tells me. “He’s the rock star of the party.”

He has a serious battle ahead, against incumbent Brown, who holds a double-digit lead over the former Marine in polls. But he is not discouraged.

Brown will “still be beating us in the polls probably through the summer, maybe even into the early fall,” Mandel said. “The only poll we care about is Election Day and on Election Day, we’re going to win. He has an advantage in that he’s got great name ID. His name ID, his name recognition, is in the mid-90s. He also has a significant disadvantage in that everyone knows who he is but still less than half the people want to rehire him. Our challenge, our main obstacle, is building up our name recognition, getting known throughout the state of Ohio.”

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball asked what makes Mandel think he’s ready to be a U.S. senator. She reports: “Mandel looks me gravely in the eye” and responds:

“The Constitution,” he says, pausing for effect, “says that you have to be 30 years old. And I think the people who wrote the United States Constitution had a wisdom about them that was very special, and a vision for America that should be appreciated.”

Another long pause. “I served two tours in Iraq? In the Marine Corps?” he says. “I’m the treasurer of the state of Ohio, where, when the United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time in American history, and 14 government funds around the country were downgraded, we earned the highest rating we could earn on our $4 billion investment fund. Where we navigated the European sovereign debt crisis with a yield, rather than a significant loss like so many other — er, unlike so many other — a loss — you know what I’m trying to say. With a yield rather than a loss, when so many other corporations and organizations and governments lost money around the country.”

Mandel is a strong supporter of Israel. He and his wife Ilana were married in Jerusalem in 2008.

Mandel was a member of AIPAC at the Ohio State University. In 2008, he attended the 2008 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C, where he gave an address, and was quoted as saying “It was inspiring, the young people so motivated and gung ho about strengthening the Israel-United States relationship…Israel is our best friend and ally in the Middle East and it’s important that we maintain a strong and lasting relationship with them.”

At that conference, Mandel stated Iran was a threat, and discussed his divestment initiatives as a legislator in Ohio.

In February 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli government issued a statement thanking Mandel for his support of the operation.

In May 2009, Mandel was a panel participant at the 2009 Awards and Installation Dinner held by the World Alliance for Israel PAC in the Los Angeles area.

In 2010 the OhioDaily obtained a copy of a letter sent to then Republican Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel from Canton, Oh. Rabbi Leah Herz, who scolded the young Mandel for race-bating:

Mr. Mandel, I do not question your heroism, and like all decent Americans I applaud your sacrifices while serving in our military.  As a Rabbi however, I say, “shame, shame” on the way you have behaved.  You are not a Nice Jewish Boy.

OK, so not everybody loves him…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/meet-josh-mandel-rising-ohio-jewish-gop-rock-star/2012/03/08/

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