BlueWaveNJ has submitted the testimony below in support of a New Jersey bill, S2676/A4389, that would replace the national ACA tax on health insurers repealed by Congress late last year with a state tax that would raise some $300 million per year. The bill dedicates the funds to improving health insurance affordability, focusing mainly on low-income New Jerseyans. The bulk of the money will likely be used to add state subsidies to federal subsidies for health plans sold in the ACA marketplace, with a portion going to fund the existing reinsurance program that reduces individual market premiums for those who earn too much to qualify for subsidies. Conceived when unemployment was at an historic low, the measure is all the more vital now as hundreds of thousand of New Jerseyans lose their employer-sponsored health insurance in the wake of the pandemic.
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are just the latest in a long line of senseless killings that have exposed America’s centuries-old institutionalized and systemic racism. In the case of George Floyd, the video of his slow and deliberate murder is impossible to watch without dissolving in anger. The question is, will this and the other recent murders finally be the catalyst for fundamental change?
Small “d” democracy
By Mark Lurinsky
Late Sunday night, President Donald Trump shocked the nation by suggesting on Twitter that he may shortly reassess encouraging the social distancing measures meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, measures that only became widespread a little over a week ago. He argued that the economic impact of the various emergency measures could “be worse than the problem itself”. On Tuesday he suggested that the U.S. economy will be “open” by Easter Sunday. Media reports suggest that influential members of the Trump administration are now prioritizing the concerns of certain corporate entities over the consensus advice of public health experts inside and outside government who have been adamant that more time is needed and many more resources have to be made immediately available before we can begin to consider relaxing any containment measures.
President Trump needs to be reminded: everyone’s life now depends on listening carefully to the science.
Please join BlueWaveNJ’s environmental committee, which is doing extremely important, time sensitive work this year. We need your help and engagement.
Politically, on the federal level, we will be expanding the successful program we started in the 2018 mid-terms to do issue-oriented canvassing in swing districts to make sure voters know of the stark choice they have between candidates such as Tom Malinowski, Mikie Sherrill and Any Kim, who recognize the urgency of climate change, and their opponents who support the agenda of climate change deniers. Climate change advocacy can play a huge role in keeping our Congressional districts blue.
On the State level, BlueWaveNJ is one the groups taking the lead in attempting to obtain a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects. We have already been partly successful in having the Murphy administration agree to the regulation of greenhouse gases. However, without continued grassroots pressure there is the risk that these regulations will not be enacted in the first term and they may never get enacted if there is a change in administrations. We are organizing a hopefully enormous Earth Day rally in Morristown on April 25 to support our goals.
All of you know we cannot wait another year, month or day to take the action needed to minimize the catastrophic impact of climate change. If you want to be an effective part of that effort, please join us and sign up for our committee by March 27th. We can’t do this without you.
Small “d” democracy
By Mark Lurinsky
There are two likely reasons we are not in a full-blown war with Iran in the wake of Donald Trump’s assassination of General Qassim Soleimani, neither of which the president can take any particular credit for: First, the leaders of the Islamic Republic seem to have been careful to limit their immediate reprisals to targets that would result in a low number of U.S. casualties. Second, the Tehran regime stonewalled and lied for three critical days before admitting responsibility for the accidental shooting down of a civilian Ukrainian airliner with 176 people aboard, and the revelation of its cover-up attempt caused a massive new wave of internal protest and also canceled out much of the sympathy the Islamic Republic had received from the world community in the immediate aftermath of the assassination; the fallout from that incident further limited the regime’s options for violent moves. Only time will tell if additional reprisals from Iran and/or Trump will further escalate the conflict.
This week President Trump held a rally in Wildwood New Jersey.
During this rally in our own state he said horrible things about immigrants, muslims, journalists, Democrats, and our country's democratic principles. In addition to his usual racist and xenophobic statements, he continued his streak of lying about every aspect of his administration. Politifact broke down many of the outrageous claims he made in Wildwood.
Small “d” democracy
By Mark Lurinsky
Two momentous pieces of news in the final weeks of 2019—one, a piece of House legislation and the other a crucial Court of Appeals ruling—tell us what the headline issue of the 2020 national elections should be: once again, healthcare.
With the Assembly elections fast approaching now is your chance to get involved and help us flip a few districts blue! Follow the below links to get involved in a campaign.
In alignment with our goals, BlueWaveNJ is endorsing four incumbent and five non-incumbent candidates for New Jersey Assembly. This includes candidates in the 40th, 35th, 34th, 27th, 26th, and 25th legislative districts.
A Clear and Present Danger
Outrageously, President Donald Trump, without informing Congressional leaders or his own Departments of Defense or State, has just told the Turkish autocrat Recep Erdogan that he will remove the small number U.S. forces protecting our Syrian Kurdish allies and permit Turkish tanks to enter northern Syria. At this juncture the prospect for the Kurds, who sacrificed thousands of lives to defeat ISIS terrorists, looks bleak, since the Erdogan regime has vowed to confront, and likely massacre the Kurds. In addition, there is the danger of setting loose thousands of Islamic State detainees that the American-backed Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons. The terrible message this sends to our friends and our adversaries around the world is that America can’t be relied on when it counts. New Jersey’s Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has concluded that the president’s action will “invite a fresh wave of terrorism, insurgency and chaos in the Middle East, providing conditions for ISIS to regenerate and allowing Iran and Russia to further entrench themselves in Syria.”