Saturday, July 24, 2004

Maloney the Phoney

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Democrat - 14th District NY) has recently garnered headlines (along with Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson, Corrine Brown, Julia Carson, William Lacy Clay, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Danny Davis, Raul Grijalva, Michael Honda, Barbara Lee, Jerrold Nadler & Edolphus Towns) for requesting the Electoral Assistance Division of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs to send election observers to monitor the presidential election in the United States scheduled for November 2, 2004.

While I applaud this pro-active attempt to preserve our crumbling democratic system, I am deeply disturbed about a recent development concerning Rep. Maloney's upcoming (Sept. 14th) primary battle against Robert Jereski.

I received the following letter from the Jereski for Congress campaign:

On July 15th, we announced that we had obtained enough signatures to get on the ballot to challenge the Bush Agenda in New York City. Four days later, we received word that our petitions were being challenged by people working closely with the Maloney campaigns.

Maloney recently expressed support for U.N. oversight of the U.S. presidential elections. How ironic that she is trying to avoid a primary election in our own District. We issued a press release the following day condemning this undemocratic challenge to our ballot access (see below). The press has steered clear of informing people about this story.

Press release issued on July 20th condemning ballot challenge: Insurgent Candidate Condemns Ballot Challenge from Congress Member Carolyn Maloney From Florida to NYC, Democracy Under Threat

Robert Jereski, candidate for Congress (Dem NY 14th Dist), condemned the challenges to his effort to get on the ballot in the September Democratic primary and offer voters a choice against the Bush Agenda.

Although the Jereski campaign filed almost twice the amount of signatures required to gain ballot access, a number of vague "General Objections" were filed at the Board of Elections yesterday afternoon. One hour before the challenges were filed, Representative Maloney's election lawyer was spotted on site. "This is a blatant, and coordinated attempt to deny the voters of the 14th District a choice. I represent a challenge to the Bush Agenda that many people in our district are demanding elected officialdom stand up to." Jereski noted.

Officials at the Board of Elections confirmed that six challenges were filed against Jereski before the deadline of midnight July 19th. The list of challengers included top Democrats aligned with the Kerry Presidential Campaign, Delegate David L. Cohen and New York State Democrat Committee Member Trudy L. Mason, as well as Heather K. Leifer, John Mills, Alexander Tisch, and Micah Kellner.

A Campaign spokeswomen noted the irony of Ms. Mason's involvement in this kind of crass machine politics. "Maloney's own Lexington Democratic club threw Mason off the ballot in an election for the City Council seat, Maloney vacated when she became a Congressperson 12 years ago." Mason, and many others, originally wouldn't support Maloney because of profound questions and denying voters a real contest in the City Council race was seen as petty revenge by most observers.

"I am especially disappointed that a Delegate for Senator Kerry would be involved in this attempt to avoid a primary in the 14th District. Just as I joined the call to count all votes in Florida, we ought to demand that those Democrats in our district demanding a contest in the 14th be heard. This is clearly coordinated by people very close to Representative Maloney. I call on Senator Kerry and her to allow the voters a choice, rescind the inappropriate challenges and engage me in three debates before the election." Jereski challenged.

The Jereski campaign asserted that this was just one more hurdle to surpass as they engage in a vigorous outreach effort. "We will be on the ballot. When the voters learn about some of her shocking votes to enable the Bush Agenda, I am confident that they will vote for someone who better represents their interests." Jereski said.

While Congresswoman Maloney has received mostly high marks for her 12 years in Congress from liberal groups such as the ACLU and Emily's List, she has also voted in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) [Star Wars] and a national identification card. In November of 2003, Rep. Maloney sponsored and introduced a bill, HR 3439, which seeks to embed CIA agents within local police departments (though thanks to the work of the "The Campaign to Demilitarize the Police" Link the bill has supposedly been revised a bit).

Maloney's actions and statements regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are extremely disturbing. Especially in light of the 9-11 Commission Report which states that "right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world."

The purportedly liberal Rep. Maloney is to the right of Resident Bush on this issue. She has actually written "that the United States can learn a lot from the Israeli approach to security.” On June 10, 2003 Israel made an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hamas political leader Abdelaziz Rantisi which "deeply troubled" Dubya (at least, publicly). Maloney signed a letter to Bush along with 33 House Democrats that basically justified assassination "as an application of Israel's right to self defense." I can only assume that - four months ago - Rep. Maloney must have been pleased as punch that a second attempt on Rantisi's life proved successful (just weeks after he was chosen to head Hamas, in the wake of a prior assassination).



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