As a strengthening Hurricane Isaac takes aim on The Big Easy, seven years to the day of Katrina’s catastrophic devastation, an even bigger bag of wind is set to be unleashed tonight in Tampa as NJ Governor Chris Christie takes the podium as the GOP’s Presidential Convention keynote speaker.
For the past week Chris Christie has been the topic du jour of all the news shows. Morning Joe, Good Morning America, News 12 New Jersey and the front pages of the local press have paraded and fawned over the GOP’s ascending star as if he were the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.
Journalists ask Christie if he intends to unleash his “fire and brimstone” Jersey hubris during his keynote speech. His tough talking, take no prisoners’ attitude seems to be all the rage in Republican Party circles these days. When GMA host George Stephanopoulos asked Christie if he represented the GOP mainstream Christie answered, “I’ve been to over thirty states since my election as Governor and everyone has welcomed me with open arms. With me you know who you’re buying.” Indeed Christie’s value as a political celebrity is rising. In his brief tenure as Governor he spends a lot of time jetting about the country, politicking for himself and the GOP. He’s been out raising funds for his reelection campaign and his coffers are overflowing with out of state money from his well heeled big time 1% contributors. Mr. Christie’s discerning buyers know what they are purchasing. His hubris is a nice word for his arrogance and opacity that are the hallmark of the political deals he’s cutting for his out of state friends when he arrives back home in the Garden State.
Christie’s supporters love his tough talking style but his tough talk is nothing more than the arrogance of power, the political and economic elites employ to cover their back room deals. Christie’s tough talk is nothing more than a front to deflect. When a reporter asked Christie about failing water delivery infrastructure and its impact on public health, the tough talking Governor answered “Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic, on topic. Next question,” Christie said to the reporter. “Thank you all very much and I’m sorry for the idiot over there.” Christie also scored big with anti-union and privatization of education supporters by calling public school teachers, “drug mules”. Its a denigration unworthy of a governor and a damaging characterization of professionals working within a systemically challenged public school system.
Yeah Christie’s a real bad ass tough guy. When a Navy veteran asked for more details from Christie about the proposed merger between Rutgers Camden and Rowan University, he called the gentleman an idiot and used the power of his pulpit to brow beat and insult the man; who had every right as a citizen and taxpayer to receive a respectful reply to his question. This week Christie is crowing that he finally closed the Rutgers/Rowan deal with the bipartisan help of his lap dog democrat friends; as details concerning the financing and costs of the project remain obscure. It will be left to vigilant citizens to follow the money and see where and how state funds will flow into which private hands.
Yes Christie and his GOP supporters may love his tough talking but I suspect they pay a premium for the Christie brand because he knows when to keep his fat mouth shut. Sure their thankful when Christie refuses to shed any light on his business dealings and political moves. Christie’s less then transparent appointments of commissioners to the NJ Highland Commission allowed the governor to pack the oversight board with pro-development interests. The NJ Highlands is a sensitive watershed region for millions of state citizens. In a densely populated state like New Jersey, protection of water resources and environmental conservation should be priorities but out of state El Paso Corp has eminent domain to dramatically expand its pipeline through the ecologically sensitive area to deliver natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale deposit. Is this the fruit of Mr. Christie’s cross country road show to interested buyers? Christie’s short term profit is New Jersey’s long term problem.
In another strange case of the bloviating governor going mute is his refusal to provide insights into his interests and practices in a privately run prison halfway house business that regularly receives state funded taxpayer money. Governor Christie, “the entrepreneur” catches a bad case of laryngitis when asked to provide insights into his cashing in on the privatization of the prison system and the rent seeking practice of his company using government funds to provide substandard service.
Yeah they’ll be a big wind blowing through Tampa tonight that will rival anything Isaac can throw at New Orleans. Christie will crow about the New Jersey miracle since his governorship began but statistics show that the state is lagging its Mid-Atlantic rivals. Facts and politicians seem to be two mutually exclusive matters so it shouldn’t present an obstacle for Christie to say or claim anything the tough talking Jersey Dough-boy claims as truth.
This is particularly true of a fact based, reality challenged Republican Party that believes there is no science to support climate change, the idea that public schools are a liberal conceit, the notion that women rape victims can’t get pregnant, progressives are enemies of the state and to preserve the constitution we must withhold the rights of some citizens. If you think that this is an unfair shot at the GOP mindset, did you see the GOP California poster of Chris Christie riding a surfboard? Talk about a problem with the concept of reality.
Music Selection: Beach Boys, Surfin Safari
Risk: truth, transparency, civil discourse, consensus
When Joe Wilson belched his infamous catcall “lair” during President Obama’s address to a joint session of the legislature, he revealed himself to be a poor example of a mature adult. Puddenhead Wilson’s emotional outburst may have played well with die hard Obama haters, indeed the next day his campaign war chest swelled by a million dollars; but it also sent a terrible message to America’s youth that its acceptable to disrespect your teachers, coaches, police officers or parents if you disagree with what they are saying. The fact that his campaign coffers swelled with contributions as a result of his offense compounded the power of the negative message it sent to youths and to the perpetrator himself. Awarding Puddenhead Wilson for his bad conduct only encourages him to repeat his offensive disrespectful behavior. It also sends a very poor message to America’s youth that bad behavior is OK and childish emotional outbursts may in fact find reward from enabling adults.
New Jersey Governor and emerging GOP superstar Chris Cristie, recently revealed himself to be a poor role model for the youth of America when he told a gathering of students that teachers greed was to blame for the lack of supplies and educational resources available for public schools. The Governors injection of politics into his presentation to Trenton students is a bit ironic. In his crusade against the teachers union, Christie has charged educators with using school children as “drug mules” to carry the message about the danger of funding reductions for public education. It would seem that the good Governor Christie needs to deliver a couple of kilos of his own to his adoring fans in the Tea Party and his financial backers in the GOP.
Putting partisan politics aside Christie’s message to public school students is extremely damaging. The public schools are under incredible pressure. All social institutions are engulfed in severe challenges and are fully engaged in crisis management mode. America’s public schools are not exempted from these pressures. The complex confluence of political, cultural and economic factors plaguing society are acutely manifested and constantly working to undermine the public school system. Governor Christie’s political rant to students throws gasoline on a combustible pile of institutional challenges confronting teachers and administrators. Like Puddenhead Wilson, the Jersey Doughboy gives tacit approval and encouragement for students to question the authority and motives of their teachers. Christie has just provided under-performing students a ready made excuse for failure and disruptive malcontents a lit match to throw onto a gasoline soaked pile of kindling encircling our public schools.
Christie’s partisanship places the context of his egregious mismanagement of the Race to the Top DOE grant in a new light. Perhaps Christie’s $400 million blunder was an intentional action to reduce resources to the public schools to undermine greedy teachers and their gluttonous union. Why would Christie enable the funding of whip cracking greed driven drug mule drivers? And like his killing of the DOT funded ARC tunnel project, Christie enhances his conservative street cred by punching the construction unions in the nose and telling the socialist government in Washington to spend its money elsewhere.
Like Puddenhead Wilson, Christie is cashing in on his actions and is building a nice portfolio of economic and political capital for himself. His remarks about the greedy teachers provide a convenient cover and solemn absolution for the grand practitioners of greed and avarice that have led this country to the brink of fiscal insolvency, cultural destitution and political bankruptcy. Christie’s narrative of blaming the needy plays well with large contributors who will be moved to put good 527 Corporation resources at his disposal to underwrite his political rise.
Christie’s midterm election barnstorming tour in service to the GOP booked him on a coast to coast tour that even his hero Bruce Springsteen would envy. Though Christie’s mojo clearly failed in helping Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina win election, the Jersey Doughboy’s political stock has risen so quickly that he felt compelled to send out a few tweets to deny he would run on a ticket with Sarah Palin for president in 2012.
So New Jersey is stuck with the doughy mess of big money winner take all partisan politics of Christie’s ideologically driven governorship for at least the next two years. Enjoying popular support for now, Christie’s considerable body mass currently displaces enough water to ride the wave of Tea Party conservatism. But if the fickle citizens of New Jersey make a slight left turn off Exit 16E on Thunder Road, Christie’s fortunes will drop faster then a lead sinker placed into the rancid brew seeping to perfection in a gaudy Royal Dalton Tea Pot.
You Tube Music Video: Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (Live Acoustic Version)
Risk: political, labor unions, public education, consensus
We thank you for your activism and energy. We thank you for the passion. We thank you for your professed love of country. We thank you for showing us how to spend the piles of corporate money on disgusting attack ads in service to our great democracy. We thank you for reminding us that the US Constitution is America’s most precious asset even if you sometimes miss the point about what it actually says.
We thank you for returning the country back into the hands of the GOP. After two years of living under the fascist hell of the dictatorial regime of Barack Obama the endurance of the people could suffer it no longer. We long to enjoy the freedoms that tax cuts for the rich, corporations freed from regulatory shackles and the old time religious revival of laissez-faire capitalism offers as the only way to assure the social uplift of all citizens.
The GOP thanks the Tea Party for returning the country to their control. The GOP appreciates the Tea Partys expeditious return to their local districts so Republicans can get on with the serious business of government. The serious business of government is working seriously with serious business people with serious money to address the serious problems of these serious constituents. In all seriousness the GOP will tirelessly labor to solve the serious problems for these serious constituents.
The nation thanks you for the lively political theater you presented during the election. Your eccentric cast of characters,dressed like Nazi enacters,wacky witches, militant militiamen, Adolph Hitler lookalikes and long dead patriots in tri-corner hats added some much needed levity to the weighty matters confronting the nation.
We thank the Tea Party by supporting a field of candidates that had the courage to publicly speak their convictions to raise the specter of prejudice and fear. The Tea Party’s religio-political fundamentalism raised the fear bar to heights that dwarfed even the three lanterns glowing in the Old North Church. Like Paul Revere before them, Tea Party patriots road across the land alerting kin and countrymen to the dangers of secularism, recalcitrant Islam, liberal government, homosexuality, Charles Darwin and evolution, foreigners or any Mexican immigrant idling too close to our southern borders.
The Tea Party has given us pause to reconsider our addiction to caffeine fueled government spending and a lavish lifestyle and choice of coffee as national drink. If you pardon the French, chai is now the preferred brew du jour. So with pinky up we lift a tiny cup to celebrate the day by swilling a mouthful of Red Rose with the fervor of an Afghani, Ottoman or Brit.
Thank you Tea Party. Thank you.
You Tube Music Video: Sly and the Family Stone: Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again
Risk: consensus, political, pluralism
Political operatives circulate this photo in an attempt to taint the reputation of candidates running for office in highly contested elections. It has surfaced again in the Nevada Senate election campaign of Harry Reid and Sharron Angle.
I recently received an e-mail with this lovely image. The e-mail states that this is a photo that captures the 1889 public execution of Remus Reid for horse stealing and other crimes in the Montana Territory Prison. Remus is an ancestor of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mr. Reid is running for reelection and is locked in a campaign battle with Teabagger darling Republican Sharron Angle.
The e-mail stated that a professional genealogy researcher (read: political hack) discovered this photo and asked Harry Reid if he cared to comment on it. Mr. Reid’s reply maddened the author of the e-mail, stating that Mr. Reid’s reply is a typical example of his Bull Shit. To quote the e-mail on this disingenuous genealogical inquiry:
“Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:
“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honour when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
NOW THAT’s how it’s done, Folks! That’s real POLITICAL SPIN, or typical Reid “BS”
The real BS of this story comes from Sharron Angle and her political propagandists. This Teabagging wind bag asserts that she has been anointed by God to save Nevada and the Union from socialists, liberals and terror loving anti-Americans (read democrats). God officially came out for Ms. Angle’s candidacy a few weeks ago. Not surprising since Jesus Christ has been the unofficial head of the GOP since at least the Reagan Administration. The breaking news of God’s endorsement of Sharron Angle was scooped by that hard hitting team of journalists at the 700 Club. You can see the story here:
Interesting this deeply Christian women says nothing about repealing gambling or legalized prostitution in her state or ending the wars but will make it her first order of business if elected to repeal the health care bill that extends coverage to all citizens. Curious that God would direct this deeply religious woman to deny health care to the poor and give a free pass to the wealthy riding their camels through the golden eye of the needle. Somehow I don’t think Ms. Angle’s positions are something that Jesus would support.
To make a point of righteous indignation, we get Ms. Angle circulating photos of a public hanging of Mr. Reid’s ancestor. I don’t believe Jesus would approve of this either but Ms. Angle no doubt knows a side of Jesus Christ I have yet to discover. So Mr. Reid responds with some amusing political satire to the inanities of Rovian inspired Teabagger politics and the point becomes the political spin of Mr. Reid.
I imagine Ms. Angle is trying to hold Mr. Reid accountable for the crimes of a distant ancestor that was dead before he was born. Theologically this is not very Christian of Ms. Angle. According to Jesus everyone is responsible for their own salvation. The sins of my father and great great uncles may be visited upon me but I am not responsible nor accountable for those sins. Christianity teaches people are active agents in their own salvation. Ms. Angle should go back to Sunday School. There are loop holes to this belief. According to Pat Robertson, the CEO of the 700 Club, the only exception to this New Testament precept is if you are Haitian and your ancestors made a pact with the devil to rid Haiti of French colonial rule. But as far as we know Mr. Reid is not Haitian (though at press time we understand that Rush Limbaugh is reviewing Reid’s birth certificates) and so would not fall under this rule of being guilty for your ancestors sins.
This e-mail campaign is typical reactionary Rovian electoral tactics. It is born from the same virulent partisan attacks of Andrew Breitbart that demonstrates no allegiance to truth and less to the guidance of any moral compass in journalistic pursuit. Again in my estimation a most Un-Christian practice. Attack an opponent to raise an emotional response using lies and racist symbolism are Tea Party practices that is rife throughout the movement of these little neo-fascist Christian Falangists.
The less said about issues and substantive programs to address the deep rooted problems of our country the better for the Teabaggers and the GOP. The Party of No got their Brown Shirt Shock Troops motivated around no taxes, no social welfare, more guns and prayers. It is the sycophantic mantra for a white middle class movement that patronizes class distress and offers no solutions to their pressing economic and cultural constriction. Nothing about issues. All about raising an emotional response with cliche, platitudes and negative symbolism.
Many of the original western settlers had a hand in the violent displacement that stole land from the Native Americans. Did Ms. Angle’s ancestors occupy Native American land as they colonized the West? Did Ms. Angle’s ancestors rightly compensate Native American’s for their land when they took control of the hood? If Remus Reid horse stealing ways is a valid campaign issue perhaps we should examine the genealogical lines of other westerners to determine how they got control of the land that they currently occupy.
One last point about the e-mail that I found curious was that “Politically” was misspelled in the subject line. The subject line read: Politicaly correct? I wonder if the ignorance born from people who quote words like “refudiate” are seen as badges of honor. These badges (kind of like Rush Limbaugh’s imaginary medals of honor that adorn his puffed up chest) are worn only by True American’s who hate pin headed liberal intellectuals who know how or care enough about the quality and “correctness” (there’s that word again) of communication to use a spell checker. Correctness, accuracy, truth and morals means little to the authors of these e-mails and the Andrew Brietbarts of the world. Its all about the preservation of their cosmology that protects the fundamental truths of political party, social class an eroding culture of privilege and a warped theology.
Who ever is sending this stuff out, Joseph Goebbels would be proud of you. Keep repeating the Big Lie. Pretty soon you’ll begin to believe it yourself and swear its true.
My response to this dangerous nonsense:
You Tube Video: Paul Robeson, Ballad of Joe Hill
Risk: culture, politics, religion, truth
The deal is closed. American democracy has been sold. The US Constitution, discovered in a discount bin at a cheap dollar store at the Mall of America will now be fully privatized to serve the greater corporate interests of America. The deal will enable the global fraternity of capitalists to finally unlock and fully realize the hidden value of an unencumbered American dream. Profit-Us-Maximus will replace E Pluribus Unum as the national slogan. Undoubtedly it will appear on our national currency for the freedom of commercial interests and the uninhibited power of capital has triumphed. Commercial interests have trumped “we the people”. American liberty, a political currency once recognized as the worlds leading example of representative democracy has been severely devalued.
The Supreme Courts decision overturning laws that restrict corporate freedom of speech now allows corporations the unrestricted right to financially support candidates for public office. This paves the way for an installation of a more corporate friendly oligarchy to rule over the citizens of the worlds first and now defunct representative democracy. The courts ruling in the Citizens United vs. the US Federal Election Commission overturned existing laws that prohibited corporations from exercising free speech. The ruling now sanctifies the corporate purchase of air time to fund media campaigns that support or attack candidates running for public office. The wisdom behind the overturned law was to protect the interests of citizens from a corporations ability to use its considerable capital resources to finance and influence the election of political candidates favorable to their corporate interests. That law is yesterdays newspaper.
The decision opens the possibility that the governance of our nation, states and townships will be administered by elected officials financed and paid for by corporate largess proffered with the proviso to do their bidding. America risks becoming one giant company store. Once free citizens endowed with the protection and empowerment of a Constitution and a Bill of Rights will become beholden to the whims of corporate paternalism.
If your a shareholder in one of the corporations this is a bullish market event and your equity position has surely appreciated in value. The special dividend of political power born from purchased access to legislators will accrue favorable returns to investors in The United Corporate States of America. No longer will senators hail from the great state of Georgia or the Live Free or Die State of New Hampshire. It’ll be the senator from “Do No Harm” Google or “Have It Your Way” Burger King.
There will be a million unintended consequences resulting from this decision. How government administers and delivers services and how institutions fulfill their social mission will drastically alter. Institutions and functions that serve and support education, military, roads and infrastructure, health care, consumer and environmental regulations, labor protection laws and provision of social services will be transformed. The very nature of the liberal nation state will change.
This decision will create conditions for the privatization of governmental assets and institutional service structure to accelerate at mind numbing speed. The New Jersey Turnpike can now be sold to a private equity firm from China. Drilling and the exploitation of resources found on National Parks will proceed without prohibition. Public schools will be offered on a Dutch Auction hosted on e-bay; attracting the participation of a well capitalized confederation of publicly traded Charter Schools. The mission to acquire the listless brick and mortar carcass of a once venerated public school system will commence. The promise of the systems renewal with the breath of a new life fired by entrepreneurial zeal and taxpayer support will create a new Dow Jones Index constituent, Education Inc. Many functions of government will be downsized and outsourced to sophisticated data processing and business process companies. Military units will also be privatized, becoming mercenary divisions of corporate security firms. This will enlarge their market opportunities because they will no longer be beholden to exclusively serving the needs of a single client, the USA.
As Keith Olbermann pointed out in his Special Comment concerning the Supreme Court decision, the parallels with Dred Scott Decision are ironic. The decision ruled that Dred Scott was not a man, but merely a commodity to create wealth for a person with full rights of citizenship. Now corporations are blessed with all the rights and privileges of a person and the rising ascendancy of their power will soon supplant the interests of individuals. In so doing, the Supreme Court has once again proven itself to be an activist political tool to protect the interests of political and economic elites.
We can at least be thankful that the Supreme Courts decision allows us to dispense with the charade of participatory democracy. Rampant cynicism about the unfair influence of money on the political process has always been understood as a problem. This has undermined the people’s trust in the electoral process. It has eroded a collective sense of political enfranchisement. It has contributed to creating a pervading malaise of ambivalence within the electorate. The monied interests with fathomless pockets can now come out into the open and make their presence plain for all to see. It remains to be seen how this will alter the structure of K Street.
A new business model for how money is dispensed to politicians will need to be considered . Perhaps a new derivative called a PIMP, (Politician In My Pocket) should be considered. A PIMP Exchange could be set up in Washington DC. This future exchange would surely prosper and would propel Washington DC as the fast rising global financial center on the come. PIMP trading would be recognized as a fast growing emerging market. The trading in PIMPs would attract capital from all over the world and may even rise to supplant the future pits in Chicago as the place “where the world goes to manage risk.”
The PIMP Exchange will add that much needed transparency on how the political influence market is performing and what the going price is to buy and sell politicians. We should be grateful to the Supreme Court Decision that laid the judicial foundation that will finally shine light on this aspect of our political process. Now that its out in the open its all above board. No more under the table deals will be necessary. This ruling and the PIMP Exchange makes it very easy to follow the money. Perhaps legislation should be considered that require senators and congressmen to wear the corporate logos of their three largest sponsors. If a corporation wishes to remain anonymous feeling that the interests of their shareholders are better served they can continue to operate under the radar. A Generic Omnibus Politician In My Pocket or a (GO PIMP) will be designed specifically for this purpose.
The laissez faire approach to freedom of speech unfortunately confers all the power to those with the deepest pockets. “Politicians will be bought and sold by the gross”, according to Alan Grayson a congressman from Florida. Mr. Grayson is proposing legislation to protect citizens rights from being trampled by an avalanche of corporate money. The first amendment guarantees citizens that no one shall abridge or prohibit the free and open expression of ideas. Unfortunately money speaks the loudest and facilitates access to media channels and distribution. The free and open internet provides an individual little protection. The tussle in China between Google and the government is an instructive warning of what we can expect to occur as corporate control of the internet grows. It is an indication of a growing rift born from competitive postures of power capitalist institutions.
Our birthright of liberty was orphaned by a pervading cynicism and the seeming ambivalence of citizens who cared little for the rights democratic republics confer and understood less about the responsibilities required to guard them. The decision by the Supreme Court is a watershed event. Our political culture has changed. The United States model for governance is moving closer to the Chinese model of governance. The state capitalism of the United States is is a mirror image replication of the Chinese model. A ruling oligarchy of economic interests acting in concert with its hand picked governmental representatives is common to them both.
Did we awaken this morning to the sober realization that American’s best hope is a trust in a benevolent corporate paternalism? Can we believe that the rule of unencumbered enlightened capitalists is the way to realize the promises of a post scarce society? Can we still believe in the promise that innovation and social progress and our democratic impulses will continue to inform America’s historical evolution? Has America and the rest of the world arrived at a tipping point, a harbinger of a dystopian future where property right trumps human rights and the hard edges of economic deprivation, class marginalization and political disenfranchisement are ills that continue to infect society. We need a doctor. We need a strong antibiotic to cure this disease metastasizing in the body politic.
You Tube Music Video: Tennessee Ernie Ford: 16 Tons
Yesterdays “We Are One” concert was a joy to watch. It was an event that sought to celebrate America’s rich political and cultural history. The exuberant crowd that gathered to celebrate the incoming Obama Administration reveled in the message of optimism and hope for a rebirth of an inclusive America. It was a celebration that could only occur in a country with a deep abiding commitment to democracy and the belief of a people who still believe in Americas promise and its highest ideals.
The celebrants stood near the monument honoring the “father of our country”; who led a band of revolutionaries to struggle in the cause of liberty thereby birthing the world’s first constitutional republic. The gathered stood facing the monument of ‘The Great Emancipator.” They stared into the eyes of our republics greatest sentinel that stood watch, guarding the door of liberty during its greatest time of peril preserving our more perfect union of free people who freely give their consent to be governed.
The people stomped, swayed and boogied to the music around the great malls reflection pool. Hopefully, some paused to take notice that the pool reflected an image of a great people, comprising a much greater nation. It is a nation only made whole and enriched by the wide diversity of its many parts, perplexing complexity and splendid contradictions. These are the universal characteristics that Americans share and it is how “out of many, becomes one.”
You Tube Video: Aaron Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man
Risk: democracy, a more perfect union
For the Republican Party and their supporters we offer the hand of hope
that can heal our nations wounds and unite us to set our country on a course
to undertake the work to rebuild and reconstitute our beloved republic.
“With Malice toward none,
with charity for all,
with firmness in the right,
as God gives us to see the right,
let us strive on to finish the work we are in,
to bind up the nation’s wounds.“
Blues heals the soul and helps to over come life’s difficulties.
You Tube Video: