Saturday, September 16, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust.

If more than two days pass and I am unable to change the picture in my profile or to post something new, then you can be sure that my silence is not voluntary.

David Kocieniewski & Andrew Jacobs, "McGreevey Finds Revising An Image is Not So Easy," in The New York Times, September 15, 2006, at p. B5.
Laura Masnerus, "New Jersey Opposition Leads to Utility Merger's Collapse," in The New York Times, September 15, 2006, at p. B5.
David Kocieniewski, "Guilty Plea Expected From Former Senate Leader in Trenton," in The New York Times, September 15, 2006, at p. B1.
David Kocieniewski, "Ex-Leader of New Jersey Senate Is Guilty of Corruption," in The New York Times, September 16, 2006, at p. B2.
David W. Chen, "A Legal and Political Force: U.S. Attorney Emerges as Factor in Campaign for the Senate," in The New York Times, September 16, 2006, at p. B2.
David W. Chen, "A Push for $3 Billion for New Jersey School Projects," in The New York Times, September 15, 2006, at p. B5.
Andrew W. Jacobs, "Aide McGreevey Cited Says They Never Had an Affair," in The New York Times, September 18, 2006, at p. B3.

New Jersey is a place that should serve as a warning to other states. It is the example of what can happen when some of the worst tendencies in American political culture are allowed to get out of control and to metastasize, becoming an enormous tumor that devours the political body. Drug money, legally protected prostitution syndicates that exploit young women and men, illegal gambling operations that hurt tax paying Atlantic City casinos -- all have excellent representation in Trenton. Residents of New Jersey often have no such representation.

For decades a partnership developed between New Jersey's organized crime "families" and local politics, where all mechanisms of the state -- including courts, police, public educational institutions and medical facilities, social scientists and other "experts" on the public's tab -- were regarded as a treasure chest to be emptied of contents, looted, by a cabal of political operatives or "made men" of the organization, playing musical chairs with appointed positions in government and judgeships, even as their buddies arranged to get themselves "elected" to office. A sign on the New Jersey Turnpike should read: "Everybody's on the government tit in this state." ("New Jersey is the Home of the Living Dead" and "Cement is Gold.")

Voters are given few options. Many are pressured to vote "a certain way" in order to keep their public jobs or to make extra money to support their families. Others -- usually minority group members, who do not know any better -- are used, as front persons, to convey a false impression of "diversity" and (conveniently) to take the fall when the feds get a little unhappy. Corrupt politics and incompetent courts are a way of life in New Jersey.

There is no Xanadu mall, but Bergen County politicians are debating whether -- "if and when" such a mall exists -- blue laws should be suspended. The Garden State is the Mafia's version of Wonderland.

Public education budgets, including the gimmicks surrounding school construction projects, are seen as sources of revenue by politicians on the take. Out of the $3 BILLION to be allocated for construction of schools at least one billion will "disappear," in one way or another, probably in consulting "fees" that are likely to be shared with politicians and judges in under the table payments. The money will not reach those who need it. (See "New Jersey's Mafia Culture in Law and Politics.")

Political ideologues or persons committed to specific policy issues are duped into serving power-brokers by being told that struggles are about contested policy issues. Machinations and political wars in New Jersey are never about anything but political power for the "Jersey Boys," who have no beliefs or political ideals other than a firm commitment to their own enrichment -- preferably at the expense of the taxpayers, better known as the "chumps."

A case in point is the trajectory of former Senator John A. Lynch, Jr. and his one-time "apprentice" and side-kick, former Governor James McGreevey. Lynch was Batman; McGreevey was Robin. These two were made for each other. Their counterparts are still out there, in the aromatic marshlands where political bosses and operatives, along with their media friends, are still found "scheming" about how to steal more public money. Right, Debbie?

If you get past the cigar smoke (though never in public places), you will find these hacks plotting to put "Joey in there" or to take "Richie" out of there. "There" is New Jersey government. These are the soldiers and crews selecting cadidates for judgeships, representative office, public committees, zoning boards and all other "spots" where money flows -- flows right into their pockets.

The recent collapse of a proposed utility merger that might well have resulted in much cheaper and more efficient energy for suburban communities -- communities now losing power every time there is a rain storm -- was said to have been derailed by so-called "connected" officials, following orders from "bosses" to flex their muscles.

The idea, allegedly, is to let Governor Corzine and others know that the "Machine" can control such matters. The public and the corporate interests who might have benefitted from this transaction -- including those in states who approved the deal -- will be "screwed," as it were, unless the Syndicate gets what it wants, which is absolute power in New Jersey and a license to steal. Actually, they already steal without a license.

I don't care if McGreevey or anyone else wants to have sex with a moose or an advark. I don't care about anyone's sexual preference. I am in favor of same sex unions receiving due recognition from the legal system. People's sexual lives are not the state's business. Putting your "main squeeze" on the public payroll for a six figure salary, so you can have little "afternoon delight" whenever you want it, that's not so cool.

"Golan Cipel, the man with whom Mr. McGreevey says he had a two-year affair, said in an interview from Israel yesterday that he wanted to set the record straight and dispute Mr. McGreevey's memoir, 'The Confession,' which is to be released tomorrow. He said the book was simply an attempt to rehabilitate Mr. McGreevey's public image."

"He was the victim of unwanted advances, 'I was not his lover,' said Mr. Cipel, 37, an Israeli citizen who was New Jersey's homeland security adviser. 'I've never met a liar like Jim McGreevey.'" The New York Times, September 18, 2006, at p. B3.

Let's all chip in and get McGreevey a copy of Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

I fully expect a barrage of viruses and other difficulties in posting immediately after I write this essay. Hackers may alter this text. They like to take words or letters out of what I have written in an effort (I guess) to frustrate me. I don't know why. Maybe they're upset about something. I wonder what it could be? McGreevey's patron and (allegedly) one of the traditional "five bosses" running state politics, offered a ...

"... public apology for adding another chapter to New Jersey's storied history of political corruption, [none other than] the former Senate president, John A. Lynch, Jr. -- once the most influential power broker in the state -- pleaded guilty on Friday to charges of official misconduct and tax evasion." Ex-Leader of New Jersey Senate is Guilty of Corruption, p. B2.

In addition to a tax evasion charge,

"Mr. Lynch, whose political machine once gave him the power to appoint judges, shape legislation and pave James E. McGreevey's path to the governor's office, admitted that in 1998 and 1999 he used his public office to help win permit approvals for a mining company that eventually funneled more than $25,000 to him as a 'success fee.' ..."

It was a "success" all right. Is this unusual? No. I bet Lynch was a lawyer and the OAE didn't see a thing, until after the feds caught up with him. Lynch is probably better than most of the goons in New Jersey politics, some of whom probably work for the OAE. What does a Superior Court fix go for now, $15,000 in a criminal case?

"Although the plea involved only one deal in a career that spanned nearly three decades, lawyers familiar with the case said that after scouring Mr. Lynch's business and political records for more than four years, investigators were preparing to push for indictments on a wide range of charges involving at least six different transactions."

The typical response by the Machine to the daily reality of corruption charges against their own is to destroy honest prosecutors or judges in the media, so as to intimidate people. Media people are always on the payroll. Hence, all the "happy news" in New Jersey's "free" community newspapers. Legal ethics committees are often staffed by "politically active" members of the bar who can be used -- sometimes unknowingly -- to hurt political radicals or others not "playing ball" with the powers that be. None of this is on the bar exam. What is on the bar exam is mostly bullshit.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is an equal opportunity corruption buster. He doesn't care if you're a Republican or Democrat. He objects to theft or "misuse" of public funds by anybody, even during election season. Hence, the recent subpoenas served on Menendez in connection with $300, 000 in rents received by Menendez over ten years from a public interest group that happened to receive federal funds. Coincidence? There's more coming on this.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is no joke. You don't "make a phone call" to fix things with them. This makes the office incomprehensible to people in New Jersey. "What's with this guy? Who do we gotta talk to about about this trouble maker? Geez. Nothing's easy no more."

Suggestions that Mr. Christie is politically motivated are nonsense. I sure hope that Christie becomes and remains governor. Christie is hoping to destroy or damage a system of political corruption that has destroyed lives for decades, that threatens the legitimate political system of that jurisdiction, the U.S. Constitution, together with your rights, if you live anywhere near the "old Raritan." Attempts to smear or threaten Mr. Christie are a final indication of both desperation -- among the machine's "players" -- and their utter lack of scruples.

It is said that additional resources will now be directed to New Jersey because U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a tad "miffed" that U.S. Attorneys doing their job are getting indirect smears in the media from corrupt politicians. The United States Justice Department is not subject to intimidation or political pressure. I hope.

"... two former federal prosecutors in New Jersey [Democrats] said in interviews on Friday that investigations and subpoenas are driven from the ground up by career prosecutors, not from the top down. 'If Chris Christie went into a section chief's office and said,' 'I saw this in the paper and I want you to drop subpoenas,' the guy [or gal] would resign,' said one former prosecutor, a Democrat who deals regularly with Mr. Christie's office. 'In my experience with the U.S. attorney's office, timing is not something that they care about.' ..."

Finding himself described as "the one-eyed man who is king," will not deter Mr. Christie from going after the bosses telling judges and justices as well as other legal players what to do in New Jersey. Christie's "one eye" seems to work pretty well at spotting corruption.

Corruption is costing the people of New Jersey BILLIONS of dollars, reducing the quality of public services, destroying the professional reputations and lives of many honest people in government (take a look at my writings concerning Ms. Farber), intimidating law enforcement and turning New Jersey into an Orwellian nightmare. Political hacks are using public information and power for nefarious purposes at the behest of unelected "big shots." It also makes New Jersey's Supreme Court look incompetent and ridiculous, which it is. ("Law and Ethics in the Soprano State" and "New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System.")

They have finally shown Deborah T. Poritz to the door, but only to be replaced (for the time being) by former Attorney General and now "Chief Justice" Zazzali, allegedly, an architect of the racial profiling by New Jersey's state police. I hope not for long. No wonder there are hackers altering and destroying my essays here. My opinions are not welcome. "Forget the Constitution," say the Trenton boys.

I am not willing to forget the Constitution or to stop writing. If a fraction of the $3 billion for school construction were spent on paying teachers a salary comparable to what judges are paid ($141,000. 00 per year), you would see even more intense commitment by teachers putting in extra hours, retention of good professionals, and more excellent teachers attracted to the system. What teachers do is worth as much as what judges do, compensation is a lot less. Many teachers are far better educated than the judges I knew. Teachers are grotesquely underpaid by comparison with other professionals in New Jersey. And the same is true elsewhere, including New York. Eventually, the state's fiscal troubles may produce a crisis in the education system, as many lawyers and educators have warned. You can't keep stealing forever, fellas.

It is time to recognize this need for thrift and to pay people what they deserve for teaching in public schools or any schools. Supplements to parochial school teachers, doing tutoring or earning advanced degrees and education certificates, has been discussed in state legislatures and school settings. Good teaching can take place in old buildings, if people are paid adequately.

It is those "big shots" who are finding it difficult to sleep easily these days, since the bells that toll in Trenton are tolling for them. There will be a day of reckoning. Soon.

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