Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chris Christie: A gift that keeps on giving

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, R-N.J., loves to give New Jersey bloggers somethin' to talk about.

This time, it's because he may be getting gifts -- tickets to Bruce Springsteen concerts in London and in Paris, and plane fares and hotels for six, count 'em six. The Star-Ledger's Auditor column says Christie "scored the tickets courtesy of Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg, whose late father was an assistant U.S. attorney before Christie took over the office in 2002."

Christie, the federal prosecutor who earned the seal of approval from disgraced ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, told The Auditor the source of funds for his vacations is none of our damned business:

"Your readers should not be concerned about who paid for the concerts or my vacation."
Take that, constituents!

But, wuh? Since when is a federal political appointee not required to report gifts? Apparently all this wasn't on Christie's personal tab, or he would have just said that a week ago and averted speculation.

I guess since George Bush started making the laws in his kingdom of America, the "unitary executive theory" now extends to every Republican who can get away with similar arrogance.

Thank you, Blue Jersey, for being the only media in New Jersey to care about the news rather than the fiction about crusading corruption-buster (only Democrats need worry) Christie. Another fine job by huntsu:
" ... We now have, in just a month, Christie twice responding to media inquiries with the equivalent of a slimy used car salesman saying, 'Trust me.'

"So I am pretty sure this is more of Christie's arrogant, egotistical indignancy, the same personality trait that caused him to lose his Freeholder seat in a Republican primary.

"But the other reading, that there is something a little off happening here, is also a reasonable one. Christie opened the door himself by admitting he received a personal favor from the son of a former assistant US Attorney and then hiding the source of funding for his trip. ..."

Catching up on sleep for New Year's

Have you ever heard a snoring cat?

Enemy combatants not all that's "disappearing"

Birds are disappearing across North America, which could spell bigger environmental devastation than the climate crisis caused by greenhouse gasses.

See the CBC News video here.

It's a devastation that could be harder to reverse, too, especially because no one seems to know why birds have gone missing. It's not unreasonable to wonder if the climate crisis is a cause.

And don't forget recent news accounts equally disturbing about disappearing bees and disappearing butterflies." In fact, Korean scientists link the loss of butterflies to global warming. If you Copernic search on disappearing birds, bees and butterflies, you'll read concerns around the world.

Look to Brattleboro for some balls

Finally, some common sense and a bit of spunk.

Brattleboro, Vt., may consider a petition for the town to make President Bush and Veep Cheney subject to arrest and indictment for "crimes against our Constitution" if they step foot in town, which Bush never has as president, anyway.

"This petition is as radical as the Declaration of Independence, and it draws on that tradition in claiming a universal jurisdiction when governments fail to do what they're supposed to do," said Kurt Daims, 54, a retired machinist leading the drive.

... Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, a Democrat whose office has repeatedly sued the Bush administration over environmental issues, called the move "of very dubious legality."
"Dubious legality"?

The Boston tea party and the Declaration of Independence were of "dubious legality."

The fundamental promise of the Declaration of Independence is the right of the people to redress grievances. The U.S. Constitution lays the groundwork for redress. Nothing in it prohibits radical avenues to achieve the promise when the Constitution fails.

The very point of the measure is the Constitution has been perverted and is failing to serve its purpose. Isn't it better a town uses judicial means to protect its people from virtual dictators rather than taking up arms, as the Second Amendment provides?

If that shocks anyone, consider changes in our "laws" under the Bush administration and Bush's extralegal adaptations of it allow him to pluck any or all Brattleboroans off the street and imprison them secretly, without allowing them to speak to anyone -- even a lawyer or their family, to tell loved ones where they are -- simply if he and he alone were to decide they are "enemy combatants." He and his corporate buddies can and do spy on their communications, "papers and property," without the warrant required by the Fourth Amendment.

And, so far, the offices of POTUS and VPOTUS are getting away with their perverted notions they don't have to explain what they do to anyone, ever. When challenged in the now-impotent federal judicial and legislative branches, they simply tell judges and Congress, "National security"; case closed. Or lose those public records in mysterious office fires and seven-layer computer wipes.

Radical times call for radical solutions.

(Flickr pictr by Professor Bop)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hitting the nail on the head

Or is it the hammer being hit on the head?

Politicker's Year in Review describes Boss of the Year U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, R-N.J.

"Christie's ability to deliver no-bid contracts worth huge amounts of money to his friends and former colleges -- like a deal worth up to $50 million for John Aschcroft, and mega million dollar contracts for Herbert Stern and John Inglesino at UMDNJ, GOP ex-N.J. Attorney General David Samson and David Kelley, a former U.S. Attorney in New York -- might make party leaders like George Norcross, Glenn Paulsen, Charlotte DeFilippo and Joseph Ferriero envious. It's possible that Christie gives out more contracts than several of the party bosses.

"Like an effective boss, Christie has been able to avert public criticism -- maybe because his name doesn't actually appear on a ballot (although that may change in 2009.)"
Politicker forgot to give a kudo to brother Todd Christie for moving the Christie money into the right (pun intended) coffers to keep Chris' clandestine gubernatorial campaign going without revealing the appearance of violating quid pro quo and the same anti-corruption laws Chris Christie is using to get powerful Democrats out of his way.

Indeed, Chris Christie may be the new Norcross and beyond, because Christie holds the powerful tools of a potential coming autocracy that'll sell New Jersey to his party's benefactor contractors.

Hat tip and good discussion going on over at Blue Jersey. And congratulations to its editor, Juan Melli, for making No. 17 on Politicker's N.J. Power List and Asbury Park Press editor William "Skip" Hidlay, No. 39. Well earned.

There's also an interesting comparison of Gov. Corzine to former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley on page 25 of the Year in Review.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"No Muslim can attack a woman."

Update Dec. 30: Fox News, of all sources (credit where credit is due), is showing a video still of the gunman or woman shooting at assassinated one-time elected prime minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. The trumped-up official account that Bhutto died merely after hitting her head on the car casts suspicion on dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government. UK Channel 4 TV ran fuller video:

Benazir Bhutto, the world's first elected Muslim woman head of state, was assassinated today at an election rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

In an interview with Sir David Frost on Nov. 2, Bhutto mentioned "anti-democratic forces" including someone who "had dealings with Omar Shiekh, the man who murdered Osama bin Laden." Could the Omar Shiekh she referred to be the British MI6 agent convicted of killing Princeton-born Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl?

I wonder why this hasn't been on network TV in America:

The "man who murdered Osama bin Laden" is at minute 6:10. Some say she must have misspoken. That's almost impossible to imagine, first because she was an expert on the radical Islamic militant underground, and second, neither she nor Frost appear to have attempted to retract, correct or clarify the statement.

Blue Jersey has New Jersey leaders' words about the assassination and what it says about the Bush administration's post 9/11 failure. Are Bush and his crew perpetrating a hoax on the American public with frequent "new videotapes" they say are bin Laden to create a perpetual boogie man to terrorize us, so we'll continue to relinquish our civil liberties and let him operate as a dictator, himself?

And with Pakistan's political turmoil spiraling, the prospect of a nuclear war becomes more foreboding as radicals come closer to having control of nuclear weapons.

Bhutto preached what it means to be Muslim after a failed assassination attempt:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Defensive Voting 101

If we ever get secondary schools to renew teaching civics, they should include "How to Avoid being Duped as Voters" in the curriculum.

Allen Raymond, one of the Republicans who went to jail for phone jamming on election night 2002 in New Hampshire to block the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, while the Republicans conducted their GOTV, is publishing a confession book, "How to Rig an Election."

Figures Raymond would be proud of smacking democracy in the face. He's miffed the GOP "threw me under the bus," but, really, when you sleep with snakes you have to figure you're going to get bit, no? So, Raymond seems to be dishing some dirt that includes duping New Jersey voters, too. Jamestown Associates employed Raymond to use phone dirty tricks in the barely failed attempt to get Dick Zimmer into the House seat Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., won.

"Back in 2002," he writes, "just about every Republican operative was so dizzy with power that if you could find two of us who could still tell the difference between politics and crime, you could probably have rubbed us together for fire as well."
It has hit my radar a time or two that former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman's daughter, Kate, who now has put her hat in the political ring, was the communications director for the N.H. GOP at the time the phone-jamming crime took place. And I remember Mamma's campaign director Ed Rollins paid black ministers to supress minority voters who typically vote for Democrats to win her squeaker '93 election.

Paul Kiel put pieces together in a 2006 post at TPMcafe. It's time to revisit some of that, particularly how the matrix moves around Raymond's work for the convicted U.S. Senate candidate James Treffinger, the only big GOP kill wannabe caped crusader U.S. Attorney Chris Christie wants to give himself credit for even though it most likely was a done deal before he and brother Todd bought Christie's job to boost his own political career.

(Flickr photo, right, by kelldar)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ending ignorance of historical wrongs

The Lakota tribe has withdrawn from all U.S. treaties, calling them the worthless pieces of papers they are. Long overdue. I'd love to see all native American tribes follow suit, quickly.

I predict you won't see this news in prime time, though, unless it's to put the tribe up for ridicule and to villify Venezuala President Hugu Chavez and other South American leaders not exhalted by our CIA.

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,'' long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means (right, Flickr photo by Allan Vogue) said.

A delegation of Lakota leaders has delivered a message to the State Department, and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the U.S., some of them more than 150 years old.

The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months.
Ready for a third battle of Wounded Knee?

Don't forget Leonard Peltier remains unjustly imprisoned.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just in time for Christmas

This is interesting. Abotex Enterprises of Michigan has come up with a do-it-yourself Lead Inspector Test Kit. It probably would be a good investment for parents who couldn't wean themselves from cheap and colorful Chinese merchandise again this year. Sigh.

National Public Radio interviewed the inventor last week.

Questioning the questioners

Back in August, On Our Radar linked to reporting on what seems to be the U.S. Justice Department's atrocious political prosecution of Alabama's ex-Gov. Don Siegelman, a rare popular Democrat there. Corporate media apparently has decided its news teams can't compete with Raw Story in reporting this news. The funny thing is, it's not even "investigative reporting," because the facts are all right there, so it's hard to digest why MSM has such a hard time ferreting out this remarkable news.

Now, a reader of Joe Cannon's Cannonfire blog anonymously posted he or she has inside knowledge of the case and made two claims that raised my eyebrows.

... (T)he three largest newspapers in his own state have been a big part of this conspiracy. The newspapers are owned by the media giant, Advance Publications Inc. Whose writers have (specific) orders on how to write news articles that involve Democrats. These newspapers are feeding this same false information to the AP Associated Press and the TV and radio media. ... I have requested that the FBI conduct an investigation of Advance Publications Inc.
The Newark Star-Ledger is an Advance company. I don't see any attributed source for the above claim, but at a minimum it raises a separate issue on media consolidation. If one company owns all the biggest news outlets in the state, only one corporate voice is making it to the outside traditional media via Associated Press wire service, which itself operates today without viable competition. The FCC will vote tomorrow on another disastrous foregone move to relax limits on corporations owning both newspapers and broadcast outlets with the same audiences.

Then this:
2002 election night. All the polls had reported in and Siegelman won by over 6,000 votes. Dan Gans, who had programming, computer system administration training and trained to work on the Diebold Election Systems Inc and the ES&S central voting tabulator, was about to be fired by Bob Riley when he decide to get online with Bay Minette located in Baldwin County, Al. He made several attempts to take votes from Siegelman’s total vote count and switch them to Riley’s; however, there was a third candidate that was running for governor that he forgot about. Gans had trouble making the total votes equal the number of voters that had voted.
Aren't Ocean County's voting machines counted on ES&S tabulators? I wonder if New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, who is now scrutinizing voting machine company equipment to comply with a new law requiring paper proofs of each vote, is aware of this alleged vulnerability. I wonder if she has looked into how much of those companies' proprietary information might ever have been available to New Jersey election law experts, such as Angelo Genova and John Carbone. Carbone is the Republican lawyer Brick's GOP-controlled council hired to ensure Ocean County GOP boss George Gilmore would remain township attorney, and that town's political control flunks any smell test.

Just pondering food for thought. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good Christmas list

But her support of this was uncalled for, I think. I don't see anyone persecuting Christians in America. If anything, it's the other way around.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A tribute to Michael Vick

Why is it American soldiers and mercenaries in Iraq can amuse themselves killing dogs, but Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick goes to jail for almost 2 years in America for deadly dog fights? Is it that Vick is a black man who had the audacity to get rich?

Vick's sentencing reminded me of Dr. Demento, thanks to Mike Malloy's background music on the Vick news. Thank God for YouTube.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A word on feeding the hungry

A group,, has put together this nifty vocabulary quiz that lets you send 20 grains of rice where it's needed through the United Nations. The advertisers on each quiz answer page pays for the rice.

You may have seen it already, because it seems to be a hit in the blogosphere. I acquired more than 6,000 grains of rice in about 15 minutes. I suppose that's only a couple of cups, actually, but the quiz is fun and educational -- and endless.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Too little, too late

The Record's Herb Jackson, formerly of the Asbury Park Press, gives the best rundown on Thursday's 235-181 energy bill vote in the House that would move a little -- not enough -- money from oil subsidies to renewable fuel incentives. Senate gamesmanship on Friday seemed pretty clear it won't get through there unless Big Oil gets its payday, so it's anyone's guess this where it will stand now. I'm not optimistic.

Also will update what whistleblowing FBI translator Sibel Edmonds knows and why it matters to New Jersey.