Thursday, August 10, 2006

Democracy "sleeps with the fishes" in New Jersey.

David Kocieniewski, "Cost of Inquiry in New Jersey Draws Criticism," in The New York Times, August 9, 2006, at p. B1.

The federal monitor appointed to set finances in order for New Jersey's troubled medical school -- where a $1.5 billion budget was used as a source of political patronage and graft -- has now billed the state $5.8 million dollars for his services. The residents of that "hapless" jurisdiction (as described by The New York Times) will now have to shell out this sum. The cost of this federal monitor's services is money well-spent:

"Lawyers involved in the investigation said on Tuesday that the monitor's charges were justified because of the size of the university, which considers itself the nation's largest health care university. It has 15,000 employees, more than 5,000 students and a $1.5 billion dollar budget, and bills patients for hundreds of thousands of medical procedures each year."


"John Inglesino, a lawyer who works for Mr. Stern [the federal monitor], has said that the monitor's investigation has uncovered $100 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL FRAUDULENT BILLING and wasteful spending at the school, and that calling attention to the practice will spare tax payers from that kind of financial abuse in the future." (emphasis added!)

The Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) had no questions about this bill or the hefty legal bills for services "provided" to the university by lawyers, or to other quasi-public entities by connected law firms, because the office was too busy asking a Latina solo practitioner somewhere in Hudson County why she charged $500 as a deposit for a no-fault divorce.

It took a federal monitor to straighten out this mess because New Jersey's politicians and hacks (redundancy?) in state government were probably "dipping their fingers in the pie" or too incompetent to do anything about theft of public money adding up to millions of dollars. The typical response in Trenton to allegations of disappearing public money is: "Can I get some?"

Many records at the university were destroyed or lost as a result of the efforts of convenient computer hackers, possibly paid for by "behind the scenes political operatives" shielding -- and shielded by -- elected officials. (See "Same Old, Same Old," at Philosopher's Quest.)

I was not surprised at the unpleasant experiences of Senator Lieberman in the recent Connecticut primary, running against a candidate supported by the same faction of the Democratic party, which is allied (it is said) to the boys from New Jersey. Birds of a feather run for office together, especially if they're self-proclaimed "Democrats" from Jersey clubhouses or their friends from neighboring states or allies in the mob.

"When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's campaign web site crashed in the hours leading up to yesterday's Democratic primary election, it was hard not to read some deeper meaning into the problem."

Michael Cooper & John Markoff, "Claim of Dirty Tricks Fuels Web Volley," The New York Times, August 9, 2006, at p. B5.

Senator Lieberman's campaign complained of tactics identical to what I experience nearly every day: "... we believe this is the result of a coordinated attack by our political opponents." You don't say?

I think Senator Lieberman is right to suspect foul play. Political bosses hire Internet goon squads to harass opponents or do worse. I have probably been victimized in this blog (and elsewhere) by the same hired geeks. Evidence of this sort of crime is now in possession of more than one state Attorney General, which may explain calls by some in New Jersey's political circles to use A.G. attorneys to help with the federal monitor's work. Allegedly, this will cut down on costs. More likely, the crooked politicians' goal is to distract Trenton's outnumbered honest prosecutors from any on-going inquiry into cyber-political-crime or other graft by the Jersey boys. Unfortunately -- for them -- (I hope) neither Ms. Farber, her likely successor, nor Govenor Corzine can be easily distracted. I said "I hope."

Complaining of "insults" (I know about that!) and "partisan polarizing," Senator Lieberman vowed to run in the Fall, as an independent. He should. Patrick Healy, "Lamont is Victor," The New York Times, August 9, 2006, at p. A1.

Meanwhile, back on the home turf of the Trenton Syndicate: "People inside the university have been used to doing things their own way for years, and have been accountable to no one regarding the waste, fraud and abuse that went on ..." Times, August 9, 2006, at p. B6. Appointed judges could not comment, of course, and the state Supreme Court justices are busy scheduling new appointments to have next year's portraits painted at taxpayers' expense. Business as usual.

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