Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Jersey and You -- Perfect Together!

I believe that the true number of visitors to the site where my book is available is not being reported accurately. Numerous copies of the book have been sold in the past few days, but the listed number of visitors to my page has not changed for about week. This is intended to discourage or insult me, possibly, but since new copies are being sold all the time and interest is expressed from many quarters, I am not discouraged. You can help by visiting that site (a link is provided at the conclusion of this paragraph), so that the failure to record your presence will make it obvious that "something is wrong" in the "cyberstate of Denmark."

"The former fire marshal of Monmouth County was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison and five months of house arrest for having taken a bribe while in office. Under a plea deal in United States District Court, the fire marshal, Patsy R. Townsend, 59, of Neptune admitted in March that he accepted $1,000 from an agent posing as a developer seeking help in obtaining emergency demolition contracts, said the United States Attorney, Christopher J. Christie. Mr. Townsend was also fined $2,000."

John Holl, "Newark: Ex-Fire Marshall Sentenced," The New York Times, August 2, 2006, at p. B6.

Sending someone to jail in New Jersey for taking bribes is like punishing an eskimo for wearing a coat in the wintertime. What do you expect? Like censorship of uncomfortable opinions and the torture of mental patients -- as well as anyone deemed an inconvenient or overly independent person -- these are the tried and true tactics of Trenton's power-structure.

"Patsy," the aptly named and now disgraced official, is "alleged" to have asked: "What did I do wrong? Geez ..."

The subtle, mostly behind-the-back machinations concerning cable and telephone company rights as well as the (possibly related) shenanigans over the merger of big power companies hint at the thirsty evil slithering through the darkened corridors of power in the Garden State. The prize is billions of dollars, this time, so that the crooks are out in force. They've got company.

Needless to say, it was not state authorities who caught up with Patsy. In fact, New Jersey would probably appoint Patsy to an ethics committee in recognition of his restraint in stealing only a thousand dollars. If he shared his thousand dollars with colleagues, then he'd get a judgeship. Eventually, he might wind up on the New Jersey Supreme Court, posing for his portrait.

The thousand smackers is what he was "caught" stealing, of course, so that Patsy (like any true artist), allegedly, would not wish to be judged by such a theft. I am sure that he can do better, as it were. No doubt he will.

After all, many New Jersey crooks point out, "everybody in politics does the same." Perhaps Patsy's mistake was in not taking enough money. After all, $1,000 is not a big enough bribe to become a player among Jersey's politicos or judges.

The troubled "system" of that pestilent jurisdiction located west of Manhattan -- and far south of any decent morality -- now amounts to an entire culture of corruption and secrecy, where what happens "on the record," in courtrooms or legislative sessions, is a kind of theater to hide what's really going on, which is about taking care of the powerful, even as political leeches abscond with the goodies when no one's looking. In New Jersey, they also abscond with the goodies when people are looking.

In one way or another most of the players in New Jersey's legal and political spoils systems are on the take, with the exception of this new Governor and a few key players in his administration -- maybe a few others too -- who are trying to limit corruption at the margins. Some legality is better than none.

Until these crusading reformers are destroyed in the media or otherwise, there may be some action towards halting or limiting the theft and incompetence, nepotism and cronyism, secret torture and cover-ups, that is New Jersey's daily desecration of both the flag and U.S. Constitution. (See "Is New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz unethical or only incompetent?" A little of both?)

New Jersey is an embarassment to the nation. The state judiciary is paralyzed or incompetent, subject to control by politics or money, while law is what these men and women in black robes mostly avoid or ignore.

Beyond anger and a sense of outrage at years of flagrant illegality and blatant cruelty by hoods, usually operating with the blessings of New Jersey law enforcement -- sometimes as members of law enforcement agencies, where it is also true that one finds many honest and good cops -- one feels overwhelming disgust and sadness. Picture the state's Supreme Court justices and remember the old saying: "A fish stinks from the head."

The ethical opinions of the sold-out or incompetent persons wielding power in the vicinity of the "old Raritan river" are discredited at the outset. They should not trouble anyone too much, for we must take them for what they are -- either attempts to change the subject, in what is now the most corrupt jurisdiction in the nation, or hypocrisy and self-justification. (See "Even in New Jersey there comes a time when silence is betrayal.") A comedian gets a laugh these days merely by saying "New Jersey."

New Jersey is to legality and ethics what a three dollar bill is to U.S. currency.



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