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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘primary’

Results in from Labor Primaries

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Results are in from the Labor party primaries held on Thursday.

On Wednesday we published Shelly Yechimovitch’s blacklist of Labor party members she didn’t want to see high up in the party.  Three of them made the top five positions.

1. Shelly Yechimovitch
2. Isaac Herzog
3. Amir Peretz
4. Eitan Cabel
5. Meirav Michaeli
6. Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer
7. Chilik Bar
8. Omar Bar Lev
9. Stav Shaffir
10. Avishai Braverman
11. Arel Margalit
12. Itzik Shmuli
13. Miki Rosental
14. Michal Biran
15. Nachman Shai
16. Moshe Mizrachi
17. Dani Atar
18. Nadia Hilo
20 Nino Absadza
21. Yossi Yona
22. Daniel Ben-Simon
23. Over Kornfeld
24 Chili Tropper

28. Yariv Oppenheimer

UPDATED: Likud Primaries Extended to Monday

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Due to computer glitches that have prevented many Likud members from voting, Likud primary elections which were originally extended until midnight on Sunday, have now been extended to 9 PM on Monday.

Only 16% of Likud members were able to vote by 4 PM on Sunday and only 40% succeeded by 9 PM. Some Likud MKs have demanded this primary election be called off and rescheduled.

AARP Throws Granny Under the Bus

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

If any single business lobby—yes, business lobby—stands as an obstacle to entitlement reform, it is the American Association of Retired People [AARP]. There is nothing wrong with being a successful business, and the AARP should be credited for being just that. But there is something unsavory, at least, about being in the business of duping the elderly. Dissimulating—even to the elderly—is not illegal, nor should it be. A government powerful enough to prevent the AARP from duping old people is a more powerful government than any of us should want. There is no evidence that the AARP is technically breaking the law. But what they are doing is exploiting the elderly for a fast buck while lobbying—consistently—for the massive expansions of the federal government.

Let’s start with this statement from the AARP’s website:

Barry Rand is chief executive officer (CEO) of AARP, the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to social change and helping people 50 and over to improve the quality of their lives. Mr. Rand is a dynamic leader and change agent who brings to AARP a proven track record of leading both multibillion-dollar businesses and smaller, private equity-driven businesses. He has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Avis Group Holdings, CEO of Equitant Ltd., and executive vice president, Worldwide Operations, at Xerox Corporation. He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard University.

That’s a a heavy-hitting resume for the head of “a non-profit, non-partisan nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives,” isn’t it? It should be a clue. It is. Barry Rand is the CEO not only of a non-profit organization, but a very profitable organization that is also called the AARP.

The AARP, in principle, is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt non-profit association. The (c)(4) designation is reserved for “Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees;” the key constraint upon its operation is that its net earnings must be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.

What is poorly understood—particularly by the elderly—is that there are eight entities linked to the AARP label, of which five are taxable, for-profit companies: AARP Insurance, AARP Services, Inc., AARP Global Network LLC, AARP Properties LLC, and AARP Financial, Inc. The profit-making and non-profit AARP entities are not only linked by their name—there is a great deal of overlap among boards of directors.

This is not illegal, but it is clearly unethical, in so far as these companies are using AARP’s reputation as a neutral advocate for the elderly to sell stuff to the elderly. Given that only the Catholic Church has a larger American membership, the AARP’s endorsement is to the old-people market as a Papal indulgence is to sinners.

To put it crudely, the non-profit part of the AARP is a front. The non-profit arm, as advertised, “provides a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members.” If you join the AARP for a low annual membership fee, you get discounts on hotels and cruises, and lots of magazines and newsletters about graying gracefully and staying spry. You can even listen to AARP radio and watch AARP TV—in Spanish, too!

But the media organs are the loss leaders: The revenue comes from the massive mailing list and the AARP name, which it licenses to for-profit companies—health insurers, in particular. In other words, it uses advocacy for the elderly as a sales tool. And indeed, AARP does conduct useful research and provide useful services to the elderly. But this is not its primary function. Its primary function is to sell stuff to old people via AARP Services Inc., which is not only a profit-making company, but a very profitable one: supplemental health insurance, discounts on prescription drugs, entertainment and travel packages, long-term care insurance, and automobile, home and life insurance, anything old people like—that’s what AARP sells. If you want to speak to the elderly, sell anything to the elderly, or get the elderly to vote for you, the AARP is the gatekeeper. This gives AARP an almost unrivaled power to blackmail Congress—which it does.

The profit and non-profit parts of AARP combined amount to an organization that in 2009 enjoyed gross receipts of $2.2 billion. The NRA—the second-largest officially non-profit advocacy group—is only one-eighth this size, financially speaking. The highest-spending lobbyists in Washington are, in descending order, the US Chamber of Commerce, General Electric, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the AARP. They are all business lobbies, whether or not they claim non-profit status. Only the AARP, however, has managed to persuade the public that it is not.

There can be no entitlement reform unless a barrier is placed between the AARP and the legislative process, and so far, no politician has figured out how to do this without looking as if he is throwing granny under a bus. This is an immensely difficult problem: The elderly cannot be disenfranchised, nor can the AARP be deprived of its First Amendment rights.

There is only one realistic solution to this. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children. They also have a responsibility to protect their parents. Just as it is up to parents to protect their kids from exploitation by industries that are fundamentally unconcerned with their welfare, it is up to parents to protect their parents from exploitation by the AARP. It is even more difficult to persuade stubborn, aging parents to listen than it is to get through to recalcitrant teenagers. But it must be done. How? I suggest they follow the AARP’s advice. In its eldercare literature, it advises children to:

* Talk to your parents about scams that target the elderly.
* Educate yourself on current scams.
* Warn your older family members not to sign any forms or documents without reviewing the materials with another family member or attorney.
* Contact the media and the police about any fraudulent activity.
* Close any bank or credit card accounts that were involved in a scam.
* It is also important to remember not to blame your parent or older relative for falling victim to financial fraud. Be sure to explain to them what happened and the steps they can take to prevent against future scams.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Jewish Press Endorsements

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

For the New York State Legislature in the September 13 primaries for the Democratic designation in the November general election:

Assembly:

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
(Assembly District 42)

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, the assistant speaker of the Assembly, has fought hard for her Brooklyn community, leading successful efforts to strengthen social services. She helped establish parameters for the Community Services Block Grant program, which provides for food and nutrition programs, job training and other services. She is a member of the board of the Hillel Foundation and a member and past officer of the National Association of Jewish Legislators. A strong advocate for the Jewish community, Ms. Jacobs has also been at the forefront of issues relating to Medicaid and has authored legislation that has served as a national model for preventive health care for women and children. She has earned renomination.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz
(Assembly District 45)

We urge Democrats in the 45th Assembly District to support Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who has represented the district since 2000. He has always been an important voice for the Jewish community. He is a staunch advocate for Jewish social service organizations that provide legal and financial services and help feed the hungry. He played a leading role in legislation, signed into law last year, requiring insurance companies to provide the same coverage for prescription fertility drugs purchased in local pharmacies as those purchased via mail order, something of great concern in the Jewish community. The son of survivors, Mr. Cymbrowitz has been a leader in educating children about the horrors of the Holocaust and he has been a great friend to other survivors and their families. He has always been a reliable ally in the fight for the rights of Jews as members of a religious minority. Ben Axelrod, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s opponent in the primary, brings much to the table but has simply not made the case against Mr. Cymbrowitz’s long record of service.

Assemblyman Michael Miller
(Assembly District 38)

Assemblyman Miller, a lifelong community activist, has made public safety a priority during his career in public service. He has pushed legislation to crack down on drunk and distracted drivers, urging a ban on the use of electronic devices while driving. Miller is one of our state’s great advocates for the disabled, founding an organization for adults with mental disabilities and consistently leading efforts to bring more resources for the disabled. He has shown sensitivity to the importance of protecting the rights of Jews as a religious minority.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
(Assembly District 48)

Dov Hikind is a 30-year incumbent who has been publicly identified with almost every issue of importance to the Jewish community. He has kept the issue of anti-Semitism on the public radar and has been a forceful advocate for Jewish rights generally and for Israel. In the last general election a virtual unknown named Doherty ran against Mr. Hikind on the Republican line in the mostly Jewish district and secured a remarkable 40 percent of the vote. This time he will have no Republican opponent but is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Moshe Tischler, a spirited young man of 20 who claims he would do better on the issues of importance to our community. As the incumbent, Assemblyman Hikind ordinarily would presumptively deserve community support unless compelling reasons surfaced to the contrary. To this point, this has not occurred. However, even if Mr. Tischler loses the primary election, he has secured and will run on the School Choice line in the November general election and have another, broader opportunity to make his case against Mr. Hikind.

Jerry Iannece
(Assembly District 25)

Jerry Iannece, the chairman of Queens Community Board 11, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run in the November general election for the Assembly seat being vacated by Rory Lancman. Iannece has a long record of public service and is the paradigm of the indefatigable civic activist dedicated to addressing the needs of the community. He reached out to The Jewish Press to present his positions and impressed us with his sensitivity and grasp of the Jewish community’s special concerns. He deserves the nomination.

Running For Judge With An Orthodox Background And A Universal Perspective

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Just days before the entire world stands before the great Judge on Rosh Hashanah, Democrats of the 5th district of Brooklyn will be casting their votes in the primary election for civil court judge. Shlomo Mostofsky, private attorney and former president of the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), is currently campaigning to secure the post as judge.

“I always wanted to be a judge,” Mostofsky told The Jewish Press, “[and now] was the best opportunity to do so.” Mostofsky explained that there was a seat that had recently been vacated and that because there was virtually no Republican opposition, winning the primary would effectively mean winning the general election as well. Additionally, Brooklyn’s 5th District encompasses “key areas” in which he could serve the local communities, neighborhoods such as Boro Park, Kensington, Bay Ridge, and Sunset Park. Recalling his 11 years as president of NCYI, Mostofsky said that he believes his previous projects and experiences would help him in his new position.

He also said that he’s confident his countless meetings with politicians and citizens from countries around the world would provide him with a larger, more wholesome perspective on the diverse ethnic, religious, and immigrant groups that are in the district than those of the traditional attorney or judge. Additionally, Mostofsky met the chief justice and the associate justices of the South African Supreme Court and of the International Court of Justice. “These are [unique] life experiences to bring to the court that others may not have,” Mostofsky said. He also mentioned that during his tenure as president, he succeeded in “taking the [NCYI] from the red to the black.”

“Brooklyn is the melting pot of New York City,” Mostofsky said. Although many people have endorsed Mostofsky, some are hesitant to elect an Orthodox Jew to the court system. Mostofsky, however, believes that becoming judge will benefit both the Jewish community and the Brooklyn community as a whole. “I’ve worked in court for 12 years and many of my clients have been Orthodox Jews.” Although halachah allows and requires Jews to go to court under specific circumstances, Mostofsky doesn’t “believe that our community is comfortable in court.” He hopes that a “Jewish presence” in the court, although it won’t affect the court’s decision, will help Jews become less wary with the American justice system. He stressed that the civil courts, known as “the peoples’ court,” is usually a person’s “first contact” with the courts.

Additionally, Mostofsky explained that he would “have the opportunity to make a Kiddush Hashem” working as a judge. A single courtroom is filled with judges, court officers, litigants, and lawyers. He hopes that when people see a Jewish person treating every person, regardless of his or her background, fairly and equally, they will carry that image with them as they “move on to other places [in life].”

Originally, the primaries were supposed to be held on September 11, but were postponed to September 13.

Anti-Israel, ‘Amsterdam News’ Favorite, Charles Barron Loses Vote

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

It looks like someone went up to Charles Barron and slapped him.

The former member of the City Council and the Black Panther party was handily defeated by Hakeem Jeffries for the newly redrawn 8th Congressional District. The new district is mainly African-American, with a significant percentage of Russian Jews and Hispanics. Jeffries won in a landslide with more than half the precincts reporting, taking 75 percent of the vote.

According to The Daily News, Barron is demanding a recount.

“When we launched this campaign we knew we were going up against … the entire New York Democratic political leadership,” Barron said. “You know you good when you made the governor do a robo call for a primary.”

While not the most intense election, the contest between the two candidates may have been the most interesting. Barron is better known for his derogatory comments about Jews and Israel. Among what he considers his best achievement in his three-term tenure in City Council was hosting Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe. He called Gaza a “concentration camp” and eulogized Muammar el-Qaddafi as a “freedom fighter.”

(As a parenthetical note, Barron called a proposal by a board member of the CUNY school system to have students take remedial classes in the high school “ethnic cleansing.” When I asked him about it a year later, he seemed puzzled. “I said so much stuff, I’m not sure,” he told me.

While some predicted that it wouldn’t be much of a contest, the election achieved notoriety by the sheer number of endorsements that Jeffries received. He was endorsed by The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News. The New York Observer didn’t actually endorse Jeffries, but instead shrilly begged for President Obama to step in and stop Barron.

Virtually the only paper of note to endorse Barron was the Amsterdam News. (Note: The link to the AN endorsement will take you to the Barron website, because the original endorsement on the newspaper’s site has been scrubbed. JP)

“The man is a hater and a bigot whose only redeeming quality is his candor,” the Observer wrote about Barron. “The man makes no attempt to hide his loathing of white people, Israel, his colleagues and anybody else who doesn’t share his demented views.”

In terms of fundraising, Jeffries managed to rack up over $350,000 compared to Barron’s measly $50,000.

Barron did manage to get the endorsement of the city’s largest public union and Congressman Ed Towns, the previous holder of the seat. Barron also unwittingly received a toxic endorsement from David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan. In the video, posted on Youtube, in between bouts of anti-Semitic paranoia Duke stuck out an olive branch in the style of the late Rodney King.

“Black leaders like Barron should work to lessen the enmity between blacks and whites and realize that the Jewish extremists in America keep the whites and blacks from mutually solving our interests and differences,” Duke says in the clip.

During the election itself, Barron supporters clad in yellow faced off against a virtual army of Jeffries supporters.

“The election results prove that the Jewish and African American communities are more united than most people would assume,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander group, a public and government relations group based in DC and New York. “The voters rejected a divisive demagogue and elected a bright, talented and forward thinking individual who has the potential to develop into a star.”

The question has also become what to make of former Congressman Ed Towns, long thought to be a strong supporter of Israel, who nonetheless endorsed Barron.

“I voted for Charles Barron,” Harold Mansfield, 77, told the Bayside Patch. “I vote every year, every chance I can get. I always voted for Ed Towns because he takes care of us seniors, and he said Barron was his man, so that’s my man.”

Jonathan Noble, a former District Legislative Director for Rep. Towns and an Orthodox Jew, said he was surprised by the Towns endorsement. But he added, “I hope this does not diminish Towns’ legacy as a bridge-builder. I’ve always admired him for that.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: An Open Letter to Congressmen Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Dear Steve and Bill,

Many of us have watched with amazement and dismay the increasingly bitter primary battle ensuing between you. You were once close friends and allies. Now that you are contesting the same Congressional seat, the natural affection that once bound you has come undone.

This is a shame, both personally and collectively. Personally, because friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings, and collectively, because Americans are sick and tired of rancorous, scorched-earth politics, which has given Congress a nine percent approval rating.

Let me be clear that I am not passing judgment. I recognize the stakes are high in your primary as they are in the current Republican primary. But I am saying that there is a better way, a more magnanimous manner in which to run for office, where personalities are kept out of the race and where issues are the focus.

Congressman Rothman, was it really necessary to put out a mailer that said of Pascrell, “With friends like this, who needs enemies?” Was it essential to say of your fellow Democrat that he is guilty of peddling “UGLY… BASELESS… CRAP” (Your own emphasis).

Congressman Pascrell, did you really have to say of your fellow Democrat, “I lived in Paterson all my life. I didn’t have to move. You moved twice. If you’re such a progressive, why didn’t you take on the leader of the Tea Party instead of your ‘friend’ Bill Pascrell.”

Come on, guys! You’re in the same party. And you’re both elected officials representing New Jersey and the nation. While that doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, it does mean that you should be according each other some basic civility.

I know something about this because I do family conflict resolution for a living. My TV show on TLC, Shalom in the Home, had me living with families across America for up to a week to try and get husbands and wives to stop fighting, parents and kids to stop arguing, and brothers and sisters to stop squabbling.

The ABCs of conflict resolution involve human empathy – an ability to see the matter from the other person’s point of view. Surely you can both appreciate that after spending sixteen odd years in Congress.

Winning is great, but not at any cost, and certainly not at the cost of your integrity. While I disagree with both of you substantially on the issues, I do not question that you are both devoted public servants and it’s for this reason that the increasingly bitter tone of your race doesn’t accord with your own values. You’re both better than this.

Imagine two good friends at High School who do everything together but then begin to fight over the same girl. Surely, as they abuse and taunt each other in her presence, they will not only fail to win her hand but will instead alienate her completely. That’s what’s happening with the electorate as they watch the two of you assail each other.

Even the Star Ledger Editorial Board has commented on the vitriolic nature of the campaign by stating “it is particularly appalling to see Rothman take such cheap shots at Pascrell” and “a pity that he’s (Rothman) choosing to tarnish his long-standing reputation for integrity by running a campaign like this.”

Look, I shouldn’t be saying this. The two of you bludgeoning each other works to my advantage. I hope to win the Republican nomination for Congress on the very same day – June 5th – that you hope to win the Democratic nomination. And when people see what you’re doing to each other, they might just decide to give the other party the chance to represent them in Congress with values they can respect. But I don’t want to win this way. I don’t want to get votes because the Democratic primary has become a fratricidal war of Cain and Abel in a duel to the death. I don’t want to win based on something like The Hunger Games. Rather, I want to win based on the issues and on values.

It is my belief that my ideas and policies are better for America than yours. I may be wrong. That’s why elections exist, for the electorate to determine whose ideas will best steer the country. But we have to take personality, bitterness, and bile out of the equation and make this a policy-based dispute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rabbi-shmuley-boteach-an-open-letter-to-congressmen-steve-rothman-and-bill-pascrell/2012/05/30/

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