Monday, May 07, 2007

Political Skullduggery in Trenton Over Budget Battle.

A lot of computer harassment today makes writing difficult. The following essay should be sufficient explanation for these familiar developments.

Ronald Smothers, "In a Return to Normal in Trenton, Sniping Over Ethics in Budgeting," in The New York Times, May 6, 2007, at p. 38.
David W. Chen, "Corzine Plans to Resume His Duties Tomorrow, 25 Days After Crash," in The New York Times, May 6, 2007, at p. 39.

It is alleged by some that the motive for any attempt against Corzine or the undisguised delight on the part of many of his fellow Democrats after his recent accident had to do with the upcoming budget battle and expected indictments by federal prosecutors of numerous New Jersey machine politicians. Two billions dollars have been "misplaced" in budget calculations. New Jersey is painfully "short," financially speaking. Yes, that is 2 BILLION guacamoles.

The Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court faces mandatory retirement on June 17. The Jersey Boys are dreading the possibility that someone outside their "family-like" group will be appointed to that office. The goal, allegedly, was to keep Corzine out of the picture until after the budget "shenanigans" and appointment of a new Chief Justice. Perhaps Wayne R. Bryant might head the court. Good old Wayne takes care of his friends. "Just let us wet our beaks a little," the Jersey Boys say.

An honest or competent person in charge of New Jersey's judiciary would be highly dangerous to "their" interests. Luckily for the Trenton Syndicate, this possibility has always been remote in the past. With Corzine returning to office today, such a thing might actually happen.

"Honest judges in Jersey? Nah ... Wadda-ya-kidding? Badda-bing, badda-boom."

"TRENTON, May 4 -- On both sides of the political divide, Gov. Jon S. Corzine's life-threatening injuries from his traffic accident three weeks ago seemed to suck much of the energy from the everyday political battles here -- except for a few stray elbows thrown among the staffs of the governor and his stand-in, Senate President Richard J. Cody."

I have attached a safety belt to every seat in my home, including my toilet.

See what I mean? Corzine's people did not take kindly to the smear campaign against their boss while he was incapacitated, a campaign which was allegedly orchestrated by "fellow-Democrat" Richard J. Cody. Questions have been raised concerning the shifting facts in the story about the Ford pickup truck that turned out to be a Dodge Ram, allegedly, or the hyping on the lack of a seatbelt, while downplaying the causal factors in the accident: careless driving either by a state trooper or by another driver, not by Corzine. Hints that Corzine was not competent or never remained in the state on the weekends were salt on Corzine's wounds and offensive to many citizens, regardless of party affiliation.

If only they can get a picture of Corzine with a woman wearing a beret, they'd have it made.

"If accusations of Christmas tree spending sound familiar, it may be because such charges are at the heart of an investigation by the United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie, into possible corruption."

"The subpoenas served by Mr. Christie on legislative offices, however, indicate that he is looking only at items inserted in the budget after 2004, when Democrats controlled the Legislature. Republican lawmakers have taken great pleasure in pointing to those subpoenas as evidence of what they say is ethical bankruptcy among their Democratic colleagues."

The smear campaign against Christopher Christie to one side -- Mr. Christie is an "equal opportunity corruption buster," as Republicans in Monmouth County discovered -- this limitation of the inquiry may be only a result of scarce resources. No help from the N.J. Attorney General is likely to be forthcoming. Stuart Rabner continues to "demur." Needless to say, Mr. Rabner is a leading candidate to be appointed as new Chief Justice upon Mr. Zazzali's forthcoming retirement from the bench. Hey, let's send Zazzali a fruit basket. Whatta-ya--say?

The smears against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may not be entirely unrelated to these events. Every U.S. president seeks to appoint U.S. attorneys whose politics are compatible with his or her own. Persons tend not to be shocked at the allegation that politics entered into the decision to fire U.S. attorneys, which is wrong and inexcusable.

When a Democrat is in the White House the same political firings will occur in a more subtle form. People will use code words to get rid of those suspected of disloyalty to any Administration's agenda. The struggle for legal independence is unending. The best policy is to do what Mr. Christie is doing: be very effective at getting important convictions, regardless of politics, and you are sure to be reappointed.

Bluster among the Jersey Boys has led to the confident pronouncement from Roberts and Cody that it's all "business as usual." Whenever you hear that from Jersey politicians, hang on to your wallet.

"Mr. Corzine said that before the crash, he was not aware of the vehicle's speed because he was working on some papers."

" ... 'I was engrossed in that which I typically am, sending off a to-do list to whoever I happened to be picking on at that moment, and editing papers,' he said, 'I trust the people who are driving the car, so I wasn't paying attention to what [the driver] was doing.' ..."

Trust in people around him may be unwise in Trenton. Mr. Corzine may wish to hire some personal bodyguards and to avoid prolonged visits to the Camden Area in the future. This time it was Corzine. Who will be the next target of the Jersey Boys? A federal prosecutor? An honest judge? You? Me?

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