Sgt. Clinton for President

By Scott St. Clair

I’ll admit I didn’t suffer through the entirety of yesterday’s testimony by Hillary Clinton before the House Select Committee on Benghazi – I had far better things to do with 11 hours of my time than go gavel-to-gavel listening to her. But I saw enough to conclude that the former secretary of state and the Democratic front runner for president is running on a Sgt. Schultz platform: “I know nuzzing…I see nuzzing…I hear nuzzing.”

You remember Sgt. Schultz, the bumbling German soldier who was a guard at a World War II POW camp in the 1960’s TV sitcom, Hogan’s Heroes. Ostensibly in charge of keeping an eye on Col. Hogan and his crew, he instead drifted through his job remaining blissfully ignorant and ignorantly blissful about the shenanigans they were pulling. For example:

“I did not even get up this morning,” he says, which is about what Madame Secretary said about Benghazi. While proclaiming that she lost more sleep over the killing of four American officials than anyone on the committee {How much sleep did the families of the four lose?), she was somnambulant in her non-denial denials that she did anything wrong before, during or after the fact.

When confronted with a series of emails she sent to her daughter, Chelsea, the Egyptian prime minister and the Libyan president while events were still unfolding on the ground in Libya, she was clear and unequivocal that a so-called “video defamatory to the Prophet Mohammad” had nothing to do with the attack on the Benghazi compound. Instead, in the email she sent to her daughter, she wrote at 11:12 p.m. her time while the attack was still ongoing that “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda (sic)-like group.”

When asked during the hearing why it was that she later flogged the meme that a video was the cause, including to the families of the four dead Americans and to the American people while President Obama was at her side nodding his head knowingly moments before he jetted off to Las Vegas for political fund-raising frolics, she talked her way around and around and around the question almost to the point of exhaustion.

And she stuck to that story for days afterward, a story that she knew was false, untrue and fake because it started with her, even letting National Security Advisor Susan Rice go on five Sunday news shows to unequivocally flog it.

Watch her gloss right over it despite an intense grilling from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH (It’s 11 plus minutes, but well worth every second):

In the words of the old Paul Simon song, Madame Secretary was “Slip sliding away…you know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away.” Admittedly, she was smooth and unflappable, but she never really answered his question nor responded to his assertion that the phony internet-video meme started with her.

Fox News’ national security correspondent, K.T. McFarland summed up her testimony as well as anyone when she said that, in Madame Secretary’s view, “Mistakes were made by others, the fault lies elsewhere.”

Harry Truman’s desk-top plaque proclaiming “The Buck Stops Here” has been replaced by one reading, “Buck –What Buck? I Don’t See No Stinking Buck.”

And why? Per McFarland:

Because the Obama administration had an election to win eight weeks later, and a terrorist attack that killed four Americans didn't fit into that plan.

President Obama asked voters to reelect him because he had killed Usama bin Laden. Al Qaeda was on the ropes. Qaddafi was dead and the Libyan war a success. The wave of war was a receding. President George W. Bush's War on Terror was over because Obama and Clinton had won it.

A terrorist attack that killed Americans at Benghazi did not fit into that campaign narrative, so it had to be retold and spun into a different story. It wasn't radical Islamist terrorists, but a spontaneous demonstration that got out of control in reaction to an obscure  Internet video.

Politics – pure politics – that’s what drove what Madame Secretary did. Not since the days of Richard Nixon and the post-Watergate cover up have we seen such craven and crass calculation all done in what McFarland called the “relentless pursuit of power.”

To paraphrase Nixon’s comment to interviewer David Frost during the famous 1977 Frost-Nixon debates, “When Madame Secretary does it, it’s not illegal.”

 A sense of responsibility-free, above-it-all entitlement for a long-suffering past – for 20 years in a hellhole called Arkansas, for having to subsume her ambition to promote her infinitely more talented husband, despite his canoodling and cavorting through and including being humiliated by him over Monica Lewinsky. It all nets out that she firmly and sincerely believes that she has an unfettered right to do anything and say anything because she is owed a pass no matter what. 

Whatever she does, according to her and by definition, is without stain or sin because she is without stain or sin -- according to her. She paid up front for the right to do whatever now.

While Hillary Clinton knew the truth personally, officially she “knew nuzzing…saw nuzzing…heard nuzzing” except for the narrative of the moment, which will last until the next narrative of the moment.

Besides, when it comes to telling the truth to, and being square with, the American people, “What difference, at this point, does it make?

On Jim Sauro, Matt Friedman is more t-w-i-s-t-e-d than a corkscrew

By Scott St. Clair

The low-blow hits against Republicans in Legislative Districts 1 and 2 keep coming. We’ve seen them from the corrupt  General Majority SuperPAC and its Lady Macbeth-wannabe head honchette, Susan McCue,  their bar-brawling, do-nothing dilettante Democratic opponents and now they’re coming from the supposedly objective media.

Political reporter Matt Friedman, who learned his “trade” at the knee of Wally Edge (AKA the disgraced David Wildstein) and, since this past summer, has been hanging his hat at Politico New Jersey, spewed out a nasty hit piece on Cumberland County Freeholder and Assembly candidate, Jim Sauro.

Sauro, together with running mate and incumbent Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, are running in the 1st District against Democratic incumbent Bob Andrzejczak, who was appointed to the Assembly in 2013, and his running mate, Bruce Land, a retired Corrections Department official.

In the piece, Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d remarks Sauro made on his weekly South Jersey talk-radio show completely out of context by going out of his way to focus on the irrelevant while ignoring an incongruous herd of Democratic-scandal elephants in the room.

From the headline down, Friedman portrayed Sauro as fixated on a “race war” because of conversations he had with listeners over the #BlackLivesMatter movement and an emerging national rush to judgment to lay the blame for every death of a young black man on police misconduct.

Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d Sauro’s words to make him look as though he wanted to foment a race war when what he was actually doing was reporting on and discussing what some in the #BlackLivesMatter movement are doing and how it’s affecting the public perception of, and reaction to, law enforcement.

Per the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald inThe Wall Street Journal:

The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.

Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today.

Doesn’t this track pretty much with what Jim Sauro said – what Friedman t-w-i-s-t-e-d out of context?

It’s not like it’s a big secret, either. At least since last year’s riots in Ferguson, Missouri, many associated with #BLM have openly proclaimed their desire to wage war on whites and police officers of any race. 

Consider how the most wanted person in New Jersey, convicted cop-killer and prison-escapee Joanne Chesimard, has emerged as a poster-girl for #BLM, with many of its followers wearing T-shirts proclaiming “Assata Taught Me” (Chesimard changed her name to Assata Shakur after she escaped from prison and sought refuge in Cuba). At many, if not all, #BLM events, it’s Chesimard’s exhortations to violence and revolution that are read, not Dr. Martin Luther King’s entreaties to peace and brotherhood that America embraced and that resulted in real change in our society.

(FYI to Freidman: you can order your own “Assata Taught Me” tee here so you won’t feel left out when next you hang with your #BLM crew.)

Listen for yourself to a #BlackLivesMatter activist: “It’s open season on killing whites and white police officers, and probably killing cops period – it’s open season…Today we live in a time where the white man will be picked off, and there’s nothing he can do about it.”

That the impetus for #BLM came from notorious left-wing moneybags George Soros should also be taken into account.

Then there’s DeRay Mckesson, who has emerged as a, if not the, public face of #BLM and whose stated mission is to sow discord and conflict. Quoted in The New York Times, he said, “The heart of the movement is in the actions. It’s in shutting down streets, shutting down Walmarts, shutting down any place where people feel comfortable. We want to make people feel as uncomfortable as we feel .”     

A veteran of the protests in Ferguson and Baltimore, Mckesson tried taking his travelling trouble-making show to Charleston, the scene of a racially-motivated killing at a black church, only to be run out of town -- #GoHomeDeRay – because the people there choose dialogue and reconciliation over hate, anger and division.  

Mckesson was recently a guest lecturer at the Yale Divinity School where his students read and discussed In Defense of Looting. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Dr. King meant when he proclaimed, “Free at last!”

Yet Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are eager to kiss his ring and anoint him Dr. King’s successor when he’s really the Millennial generation’s version of Al Sharpton.

Ask a question or make a controversial statement about the racial divide in America and you run the risk of getting socked in the face as one reporter painfully learned recently in Alabama.

If you dare say that ALL lives matter or otherwise question #BLM ideology, you’re shouted down as a racist and, if you’re a Democrat running for president, you’re humiliated and made to grovel and apologize for trying to affirm the principle that all men (and women) are created equal.

And if you’re Bernie Sanders, you’re given the bum’s rush off a platform and denied the right to speak.

It’s not like Jim Sauro is the only one discussing these issues, but in Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d reporting, you wouldn’t know it.

In an extremely balanced analysis, which means it was withering, The Economist was sharply critical of #BlackLivesMatter for its dubious statistics on how many young black men are killed by cops and its wholesale condemnation of all police as racist killers, a point Sauro sought to make when he insisted that the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle should still mean something in America.

Mean something unless, like Friedman, you’re looking to score t-w-i-s-t-e-d political-correctness points by implicitly declaring criticism of #BLM off limits with borderline, if not outright, racist remarks like when Friedman insinuated that what Sauro said won’t cause him trouble in his mostly-rural and conservative South Jersey district – Red necks, hicks and rubes, after all – but statewide it will cause Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick loads of grief by association.

Were that the case, then civil rights activists and veterans like grandmother Barbara Reynolds, who is in her seventies and who echoes many of the concerns mentioned in The Economist, are in Jim Sauro’s boat, too. She called #BLM activists “motley-looking,” and said their “ confrontational and divisive tactics make it difficult” to support them.

At protests today, it is difficult to distinguish legitimate activists from the mob actors who burn and loot. The demonstrations are peppered with hate speech, profanity and guys with sagging pants who show their underwear.

Touching on a point Sauro made about the erosion of values in American, Ms. Reynolds pointedly remarked:

 The 1960s movement also had an innate respectability, because our leaders often were heads of the black church, as well. Unfortunately, church and spirituality are not high priorities for Black Lives Matter, and the ethics of love, forgiveness and reconciliation that empowered black leaders such as (Martin Luther) King and Nelson Mandela in their successful quests to win over their oppressors are missing from this movement.

Without a moral or ethical underpinning, she says, what’s the point? How can you achieve what is needed to make things better – in her words, “love, forgiveness and reconciliation” – when all you do is shout, scream and burn down your town?

Which brings us to Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d dismissal of a purported quote by former Soviet dictator and world-class mass murderer – up to 49 million deaths can be directly attributed to him – Joseph Stalin, another Friedman cheap shot.

The quote – "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within" – is attributed to Stalin all over the Internet at countless quote sites – see here, here, here, here,  here  and the widely-read 2010 essay by attorney and talk-show host Kelly O’Connell entitled Joseph Stalin: Memoirs of a Leftist Madman..

You might want to forgive Jim Sauro, who sees the need to create jobs in jobless South Jersey and who successfully runs a couple of businesses, has a weekend radio show, is active in his church, has a strong record of public service, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics and is a solid family man, for not also being a perfect Stalin scholar.

Neither is Friedman, who, in a classic case of what’s good for the goose gets t-w-i-s-t-e-d by the gander, seems to have dug no deeper than the imperfect Snopes.com to verify the quote rather than going to original source material himself. (Don’t you think if he had done so he would have said so?) If he’s going to stand there and cast a lot of stones, maybe he shouldn’t commit the same sins as the one toward whom he’s casting them?

There’s no such thing as Snopes-al infallibility, so putting all your eggs in its basket may see some of them end up t-w-i-s-t-e-d on your face.

But the underlying point Sauro sought to make that, in Friedman’s words, “the nation’s patriotic, moral and religious underpinnings were being undermined,” is given no credence whatsoever, which is breathtaking in its condescension and arrogance and demonstrates an appalling ignorance of a major issue to conservatives, including probably a majority of voters in LD 1.

In fact, according to Gallup, 72 percent of Americans believe the state of moral values is “getting worse,” with that issue expected to play a major role in the national debate leading up to the 2016 presidential election. 

Part of what’s getting worse, according to a Rasmussen poll, is that the 71 percent of American adults believe that the country has become too politically correct. – that, according to one poll question, “Do Americans have true freedom of speech today, or do they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble?”

It’s obvious by the responses that well over two-thirds of Americans no longer believe they have real free speech.

Did Friedman take this into account – did he explore the issue with Sauro? From the looks of the very    t-w-i-s-t-e-d portrait he painted, the answer is, “No.”

Where is this coming from? If you do some research, you’ll find there are scholars and social commentators who believe that the same Marxist ideology that gave rise to Joseph Stalin also is at the heart of today’s political correctness, including #BlackLivesMatter intolerance.

Conservative writer and cultural critic Bill Lind explained in remarks he made 15 years ago that the root cause of political correctness was Marxist ideology that had, as its endgame, the cultural demoralization, destabilization and eventual destruction of the West.

“The great obstacle to the creation of a Marxist paradise was the culture: Western civilization itself,” he said in paraphrasing the 1919 thinking of Hungarian Marxist, Georg Lukacs. To orthodox Marxists, then:


The workers will never see their true class interests, as defined by Marxism, until they are freed from Western culture, and particularly from the Christian religion – that they are blinded by culture and religion to their true class interests.

Eventually, this thinking led to the creation of “Critical Theory”:

The theory is to criticize. The theory is that the way to bring down Western culture and the capitalist order is not to lay down an alternative. They explicitly refuse to do that. They say it can’t be done, that we can’t imagine what a free society would look like (their definition of a free society). As long as we’re living under repression…we can’t even imagine it. What Critical Theory is about is simply criticizing. It calls for the most destructive criticism possible, in every possible way, designed to bring the current order down

Compare what Lind said to what Stalin purportedly, but may not have, said and to what too many representatives of #BLM assuredly said (they stand condemned out of their own mouths), and then ask who has the better understanding of the issues – Matt Friedman and his t-w-i-s-t-e-d and snide take on the world, or down-to-earth Jim Sauro who sees things as they are?

But why is Friedman so t-w-i-s-t-e-d?  Is it because he’s afflicted with the well-known phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect where “people who are unknowledgeable or incompetent about a topic hold an unjustifiably elevated estimate of their own knowledge base on the topic”?

Friedman’s blatant Dunning-Kruger effect is evidenced by his cognitive bias in favor of dismissing traditional values and those who, like Jim Sauro, espouse them while embracing every new fad on the block. It can’t be hidden when it’s so blatant and t-w-i-s-t-e-d. Indeed, Assata must have taught him.

You have to ask: Is Matt Friedman really that Dunning-Kruger clueless, or is he toting water for the Democratic slate? It can’t be that it was a slow news day when he wrote the piece that slimed Sauro, because in an election cycle with less than four weeks before the November 3 General Election, there’s plenty of South Jersey political news to report like:

·        The absolute failure of Assemblyman Andrzejczak, regarded by many as the dimmest bulb in New Jersey’s legislative chandelier, to deliver on his promise to create jobs in his or any other district – a complete and utter fiasco;

·        How Andrzejczak and his running mate Land run from their opponents by refusing to debate them, despite repeated requests from the GOP slate – here’s another one – to do so, and how their legislative patron, the always obfuscating Sen. Jeff Van Drew – how’s Nelson Albano’s legislative career doing, Jeff? – shields them from public scrutiny and never allows them out in public unless he’s there to pull their strings (Admittedly, Friedman did one soft piece on this);

·        Bruce Land’s false claims that he’s running to prevent tax hikes when both Van Drew, Andrzejczak and Democrats generally routinely vote to raise them; and

·        The scandal surrounding absentee-ballot “messenger applications” in favor of Democrats in LDs 1 & 2 that were sent to voters by corrupt SuperPAC General Majority and the astonishing depth of involvement and probable coordination between it and the Andrzejczak and Land campaign, including Andrzejczak’s refusal to disavow its lies and false defamatory accusations.

If Dunning-Kruger t-w-i-s-t-e-d Matt Friedman wants to be a surrogate for South Jersey Democrats’ embracing #BlackLivesMatter – and, by logical extension the cop-killing Jersey fugitive Joanne Chesimard (Don’t forget to order your “Assata Taught Me” tee, Matt) – and tossing police under the bus all in the name of Marxist-driven political business, that’s his business.

But South Jersey voters, who, if you look at the numbers, share Jim Sauro’s traditional and conservative perspective aren’t buying the t-w-i-s-t-e-d product Friedman is selling. According to a Press of Atlantic City reader poll,  over 87 percent of them (at last count) think it’s up to them to decide or that it’s a lot of hooey. 

 AndSauro and Assemblyman Fiocchi gave Andrzejczak and Land  2-1 shellacking in September’s primary, so there’s that, too.    

Given Friedman’s t-w-i-s-t-e-d smear of Jim Sauro coupled with his new employer Politico’s high-turnover, mysterious-circumstances track record, maybe when next he shows up for work he should tell the cabbie to keep the meter running because he may not be there long. 

The Bono-fire of McCue’s Vanities (Apologies to Tom Wolfe)

By Scott St. Clair

Who will decide who is to represent New Jersey’s Atlantic County in Trenton this November: voters who live there or a jet-setting glam-gal-pal of rock superstar Bono, who doubles as an inside-the-beltway big-bucks high-profile SuperPAC power player and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s BFF?

The voters in Legislative Districts 1 and 2, or Susan McCue, who could have stepped out of the pages of Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s classic novel about the greed and shenanigans of New York’s beautiful people in the 80’s?   

At the rate things are going, it may well be the latter, since turnout for the general election is expected to be pretty poor.  In an effort to control the outcome in favor of Democratic candidates, the lovely and talented Ms. McCue, whose day jobs include heading Democratic SuperPac General Majority, running her own public relations firm, Message Global and, until she opened MG, serving from 2007-2008 as the founding president and CEO of Bono’s ONE super-charity that’s supposed to, but doesn’t, reduce global poverty has flooded the districts with anti-Republican Internet ads filed with lies and distortions.

It gets better – or worse, depending upon how you look at it – since McCue and crew have moved to bypass the people altogether – who needs them? – by filling out absentee ballot applications for targeted Atlantic County voters and accompanying them with a letter from a prominent local Democrat urging recipients to toe the party line and vote a straight ticket.

Complaints that this violates a New Jersey law requiring that those who assist in filing out what are called “messenger applications” must be either a family member or a registered voter in Atlantic County and identify themselves on the application are dismissed by General Majority as so much legal mumbo jumbo. To quote another prominent Democrat who is well known for wiping away complaints about violating the law, “What difference at this point does it make?”

General Majority’s hack-and-flack crew are all-hands-on-deck to stonewall official complaints.

That Atlantic County has a long and sordid history of exactly this type of messenger application abuse and corruption doesn’t seem to matter.

McCue’s kind of help Atlantic County’s 275,000 residents don’t need. Especially since she’s like her pal Bono, whose “help” makes things worse, not better in Africa and elsewhere. 

She’s also great pals with Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, known recently for running the venerable liberal commentary publication The New Republic into the ground and almost killing it.  Described as having “ do-gooder rock star status in tech circles,” he founded Jumo.com and brought Ms. McCue in as vice-chair of the board to “catalyze individual participation in causes.”  Jumo was subsequently acquired by GOOD, a publication for "people who want to live well and do good."

 Live well and do good – heavy on the former, but results-light on the latter. They are what travel writer Paul Theroux, in a famous 2005 op-ed in The New York Times critical of Western, mostly white, rock stars like Bono, who take it upon themselves to “fix” third-world problems, described as “Mythomaniacs, people who wish to convince the world of their worth.”

But what will the vanities of Ms. McCue and Bono  do if they can’t tell lesser beings how to vote or vote for them or how to live as they “Ah-tch-tch-tch-tch” chuckle over $5,000 plates of pate, tinkling of glasses of an indifferent vintage white wine while they open their checkbooks to make the largest political contribution allowable by law?

She mysteriously ranks 27th on PolitickerNJ.com’s list of South Jersey’s 30 most influential figures even though she hasn’t lived in the state since God only knows when (our guess is 20 years). Instead, her digs are a posh, Washington, D.C.-area townhome valued at over $712,000, like the ones you see on House of Cards where SuperPAC scalawags, nasty lobbyists and sleazy politicians cavort, connive and conspire.

 (She owns another townhome in Alexandria, VA valued at well over $557,000 with a rental-income value of $2,700 per month – the lady is property rich!)

In the meantime, Atlantic County ranks near the bottom of all U.S. counties in financial outcomes – down there with those in the poverty-stricken Deep South. Over a quarter of the kids who live there live in poverty, and the family unemployment rate in 2014 was well into double-digits at 11.4 percent. 

As the Press of Atlantic City said, if you grow up poor in Atlantic County it means you’re likely going to stay poor.

What is Ms. McCue doing to alleviate Atlantic County’s miseries – other than  SuperPAC lies on the Internet and her generous willingness to come very close to casting absentee ballots on their behalf? In those ads – see them here and here – she extols the virtues of Democrats like bar brawler Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo in LD 2, who recently got into a nasty scrape – “drunken nincompoopery” is how one wag described it – with several union ironworkers after they demanded to know why he was selling out South Jersey interests by backing a statewide expansion of casino gambling. He never did say.

The same ad, with the names changed, boost Bungle Brothers-Democrats Senator Jeff Van Drew and Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak in LD 1. Their so-called “Economic Development Task Force” hasn’t met but three times in 16 months without public input or a semblance of discernible results.  So much for helping struggling South Jersey families.

The vanities of Susan McCue are intertwined with her bosom buddy and former boss, Bono, whose ONE mega-bucks charity rakes in millions of dollars. In 2010, The New York Post uncovered that, “only 1 percent of its funds were reaching charities and that of the $15 million-plus collected in 2008, about $5.1 million went to pay foundation salaries.”       

So, what is the worth of Bono (As opposed to his net worth  of $700 million, some say over $1 billion)? To a great many critics, not much. If anything, he causes more trouble than he’s worth by distracting attention from real solutions, sucking the air out of any discussion of a particular problem and diverting donated funds that, instead of going to the people in need in the places where they need them, go to enrich Susan McCue, now ONE’s PR flack, to “raise awareness” and to the aforementioned high-paid staff so they can live well and claim to do good.

Typical left-wing largesse light: Breeze in on a private jet (creating a long, deep and wide carbon footprinthyper-progressives are livid at Bono in this regard) with promises of front-end money, schmooze with the corrupt government of the moment (never mind its atrocious human-rights and economic-development records), create fawning media buzz, get yourself nominated for scads of humanitarian awards and then flit on to the next project never bothering to look back at the mess you’ve created, the absolute lack of progress and, frankly, how you’ve made things worse than they were before you got involved.

Nice work if you can get it, and Bono has: tugging on heart strings at his and his group U2’s concerts with “an emotive one-minute (video) montage simplifies, even trivializes, a complicated situation” that induces people to part with lots of cash he uses to hire expensive consultants like Ms. McCue and pay staffers to talk about problems but never solve them – a ONE spokesman was quoted saying, “We don't provide programmes on the ground. We're an advocacy and campaigning organisation.”

Bono’s vanity wants “programmes on the ground” to be funded by governments – read “taxpayers.” To that end, he twisted the arm of Canadian PM Stephen Harper, all in a very public, Bono-first way, to finagle more money from the Canadian government at a time when the country’s economy was trending downward to the point where it recently officially entered a recession.

In the meantime, rich-beyond-the-dreams-of-avarice Bono and his U2 mates shift personal assets from Ireland to the Netherlands to dodge the taxes he wants others to pay to fund his projects.  Not that this is illegal, or even wrong per se. Instead, as one critic noted:

No one had accused U2 of committing the crime of illegally evading taxes. Corporations move their operations to lower-tax jurisdictions all the time.

The real issue is hypocrisy. When U2 band members lobby governments to increase their taxpayer-funded contributions to humanitarian relief while pursuing a strategy to minimize their own tax rates, they appear not to be practicing what they preach.

But they do live well, which is half the equation.

Meanwhile at Media Global, Susan McCue, whose lockstep support -- $21,700 in personal campaign contributions over the years – goes exclusively to Democrat political candidates who take it as an article of faith that Wal-Mart and cable television companies are akin to the devil, takes on the corporate behemoth and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, among other like-mindeds, as lobbying clients.

Another live well hypocrisy? (All that real estate!)

Substitute Susan McCue for Bono and LDs 1 & 2 for Africans in this blistering critique of his methods and you could say the same thing about her:

Bono and others like him have seized the political space which might otherwise have been occupied by the Africans about whom they are talking. Because Bono is seen by world leaders as the representative of the poor, the poor are not invited to speak. This works very well for everyone – except them.

Bono claims to be "representing the poorest and most vulnerable people," while Ms. McCue claims to be the SuperPAC voice of voters in Atlantic County with neither arrogant presumption having any validity. He speaks for mythomaniacs, a post-modernversion of “the white man’s burden,” while she speaks for inside-the-beltway liberal Democrats who know better than the people how they should live, think and vote.  

If you want to make a difference in Africa or among the 275,000 who live in Atlantic County, move there, live there, get to know the people there, become one of them, borrow your neighbor’s lawnmower, loan him your power tools, start up a business, hire local people and otherwise be hands-on there. Celebrity fly-byes by rock star and SuperPAC mythomaniacs whose primary purpose in life is to live well, however, won’t cut it.

What Ms. McCue is not is a “sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and then you will have treasure in heaven” kind of woman – it’s more give me all you have and I’ll use it in South Jersey to tell lies about Republicans.

Whether the skim is “carrying charges,” “leakage,” “messenger applications” or “We don't provide programmes on the ground,” the bottom line is that little goes to the benefit of the people who need it, but plenty goes to “raising awareness” by an “advocacy and campaigning organization” whose people live well and boast about how they do good as they corrupt the democratic process by stifling the voice of the people.

 The vanities of Bono and Susan McCue – is there a bonfire close at hand onto which we can toss them?

Conservatives look at the State Budget

By Dr. Murray Sabrin and Rev. Greg Quinlan

The State Budget put forward by the Democratic Majority in the Legislature is an indication that New Jersey is no longer a representative democracy.    Only a handful of insiders benefit from its high taxes, “public-private partnerships” and pay-to-play politics.

New Jersey is caught in an Establishment Continuum.  Its elements are high taxation, crony capitalism, political corruption, and an economy that fails its people.   

While both established political parties are responsible for New Jersey's plight, because the Democrat Party has controlled the Legislature for over a decade their responsibility is acute. More pointedly, it is the "bosses" who select the pawns who run the Democrat Majority who bear the greatest responsibility.  The responsibility of individual legislators depends, more or less, on how they empower these bosses or slavishly follow the leadership selected for them.

With this Budget, the Democrat Majority has again failed to tackle the important issues of high property taxes and a low job growth economy.  Instead, this Budget feeds the appetite for power of party bosses like George Norcross by wresting control over a vital community service from a non-political vendor and handing it to one controlled by Norcross.  A more blatant example of a process for hire would be hard to find.

New Jersey has a lot of problems -- from being the last place in America where you would want to start a business to having the highest property taxes in the country.  Because the Democrat Majority can't seem to get out of the way, our economy has not reached its full potential.  As a result we suffer from  high unemployment, more dependency, unmanageable debt, and widespread foreclosure. 

Whether on purpose or just plain stupidity, the Democrat Majority can't figure out how to allow businesses to create jobs in New Jersey.  And because of this the Democrats' harvest is record poverty and growing numbers of children who  must depend on government for the basic necessities of life. 

Ignoring the needs of people, the political bosses who run the Democrat Majority have turned New Jersey into a kleptocracy.  Special interest legislation -- like the bill turning a birth certificate into a kind of vanity license plate -- go to the front of the line based on the wealth and power of the interested.  And what gets pushed to the back of the line are all those things that matter to most people, like reducing the barriers to job creation and property tax relief.

New Jersey has had the highest property taxes in America for so long that the Democrat Majority no longer offers even "make-pretend" attempts at doing something about it.  Who would believe them?

A solution has existed for several years now in Senator Mike Doherty's Fair School Funding bill.  But instead this budget takes millions in taxpayers' money that should go towards the education of children throughout the state and hands it to urban machine bosses as a form of "mad money" to play with it as they like.  Why should seniors on fixed incomes pay higher property taxes to subsidize those of rich professionals and corporate cronies in Hoboken and Jersey City?  It isn't fair, and it doesn't make sense.  Maybe it is time to think about repealing the income tax altogether?  The voters who passed it were lied to.  The state's political establishment -- in the form of the unelected Supreme Court -- pulled off a bait and switch rip-off worthy of American Greed.

The Democrat Majority has failed to honestly discuss the gasoline tax.    Although our gas tax is lower than in neighboring states, we often pay more for gas at the pump here even though we have worse roads and more tolls than most states.  That is because New Jersey’s higher property and business taxes and costs of doing business here offset the lower gasoline tax.

Currently the gas tax raises $1.6 billion each year—more than enough to build and repair our roads and bridges.   But to fund crony projects, Trenton borrowed$15.6 billion against future gas tax collections for 30 years.    This is not a binding debt because it did not receive voter approval as required by the state constitution.  Why should we double the gasoline tax to bail out Wall Street again?

The entire New Jersey Assembly is up for election this November.    Now is the time to fully and openly discuss these issues.

Dr. Murray Sabrin, a libertarian author and lecturer, is professor of finance in the Anisfield School of Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey.

docm303@gmail.com

Rev. Greg Quinlan, a social conservative leader, is with the New Jersey Family Policy Council.

quinlan_greg@yahoo.com

People don't vote because they know it doesn't matter

By Dr. Murray Sabrin

The New Jersey Legislature recently proposed legislation that is supposedly designed to make it easier to vote.  They act as if voting required some herculean effort in the first place, which of course it doesn't.  Nothing will change all that much and in a year or so, Trenton politicians will be looking for other "solutions" to declining voter turnout. 

That's because they have bought into the lie that New Jersey is a representative democracy when, in fact, the elected members of the Legislature count for very little.  The average person understands this.  That is why he and she have given up on anything ever being done to lower property taxes.  They understand that taxes will only go up and jobs will continue to be tougher to come by.  Things are never going to get better -- and so they don't vote.

Let's say you are an idealistic citizen who wants to do something to improve your community.  You decide to run for the State Assembly, the lower house in the New Jersey Legislature.  The first thing you have to do is talk with your local party boss, because most of the county party organizations, Democrat and Republican alike, have something called "a line".  It's a thumb on the scale that is actually part of the official legal ballot -- explaining who among the primary candidates has been approved by the party organization.  It's done so all the party insiders -- those who depend on government for their living -- know who to vote for.  It wouldn't pass muster in any third world election run by the United Nations, but it's how things are done in New Jersey.

When approaching party bosses, do not think in terms of the old paradigm of Republican = conservative and Democrat = liberal.  Instead, do some research because many party bosses are lobbyists and get paid by clients to push legislation that doesn't always fit the assumed ideologies of their party.  Others act as informal lobbyists at the county and local level.  Still others are vendors holding contracts directly with county and local governments.

A great many party bosses are members of business organizations (legal, lobbying, corporate, consulting) with affiliates in both parties.  Take South Jersey Democrat party boss and insurance magnate George Norcross as an example.  His business was formed through a merger of two companies that sell insurance to county and local government.  One was Norcross' personal company, which controlled the insurance business in Democrat towns, the other was the company of a Republican Party boss who controlled the insurance business in GOP towns.  Now they are all one company. 

This is why you have Democrat Party bosses lobbying for Wall Street bankers and Republican Party bosses lobbying for same-sex marriage.  And it's why the NJGOP has never formally endorsed the National Republican Platform.  Why close off options?  Without principles, a party boss is free to work for whomever will pay.

These party bosses have relationships in Trenton and they raise the money their chosen candidates spend to get their name known.  Others, off-line candidates, are pretty much on their own -- unless they attract the attention of another party boss who is looking to expand his territory.  Ideology isn't usually a factor because most of the nationally-connected ideological groups are controlled locally by a party boss.  Those that aren't controlled -- those that believe in anything besides the almighty dollar -- are generally shunned by the establishment bosses.

So here you are, an Assembly candidate.  You have managed to get the endorsement of your party boss.  He's taken you to Trenton, raised you some money, and you have his party "line" on the primary ballot.  You haven't been asked for anything yet, so you don't realize how in hock you are to this boss, who is also a lobbyist.  You easily win the primary and because most of the state's legislative districts are gerrymandered to be either Democrat (in most cases) or Republican, and you live in one of these, you win the General Election too. 

Congratulations, you are now a member of the Legislature.  Now you are going to do big things, right?

Wrong.  The party bosses have chosen the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President and they control all the legislation that comes to a vote.  Some of the other 118 legislators are also party bosses -- like Nick Sacco or Ray Lesniak -- but if you are just a legislator, you don't count for much.  This isn't Congress or like most of the other legislatures in America -- there is no such thing as a discharge petition to bring  votes to the floor that leadership doesn't want.  You had better practice crawling and asking "please" and maybe you will get a bill posted (but more likely they will take it away from you and hand it to one of their friends).

So you can't get an idea debated and voted on, so how about blocking things you don't like?  You can try, but remember that the legislative leaders of both parties control special PACs that allow them to raise ten times the amount you can raise from a single source and it allows them to spend an unlimited amount against you should you get out of line.  They also can take away your committee assignments and even block you from traveling outside the state.  That's right, you actually lose freedom as a member of the New Jersey Legislature.  And if you complain to the ethics panel about it -- well they control that too.

This is why all the Republicans in the Assembly vote for the Democrat Speaker.  GOP legislators in other states wouldn't consider it, but in New Jersey they are too afraid not to.  That's also why the Senate Republican Caucus won't talk about the Democrat Senate President being paid to lobby while holding the top job in the Legislature's upper chamber.  Too afraid. 

But let's say you organize an incredible grassroots effort -- with phone calls, emails, and letters coming in to drive the bosses crazy.  Let's say that you force the Legislature to consider something.  The bosses still have the Courts -- the failsafe of the establishment -- unelected, each and every judge proposed and appointed by politicians.  They will simply overturn what the Legislature does, what the people voted for, what the voters want, what the law reads.  They don't care.  In New Jersey the Judiciary represents the people who put them there.

New Jersey is an organized kleptocracy structured to appear like a representative democracy.  It requires a veneer of decency to provide a cover for its operations. Bribery is called "access".  The buying and selling of political favors is "advocacy". 

The people understand this and don't feel a need to take part in the political process. It doesn't matter and besides, it is dirty.  Until New Jersey makes up its mind to enact real reforms, that won't change.  People will vote when they know in their hearts that the process is open, fair, and democratic.  Then it will matter.

Dr. Murray Sabrin, a libertarian author and lecturer, is professor of finance in the Anisfield School of Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey.

docm303@gmail.com

As Watchdog resigns, DRPA goes from bad to worse

The DRPA has made headlines again:  DRPA resignation a sign things haven't changed (Asbury Park Press); DRPA watchdog resigns, alleges board meddling (Philadelphia Inquirer); DRPA inspector general to resign, cites interference with job (NJ.com); DRPA Inspector General Resigns (NJTV); DRPA watchdog quitting (Courier-Post); Del. River Port Authority's Internal Watchdog Resigning (CBS); DRPA watchdog to resign (KYW)...

You can watch the latest installment of this corrupt soap opera here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TYtCvXsHc0

We've been here before.  In an April 27th editorial on reforming the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the  South Jersey Times asks:  "Aren't South Jersey politicians interested in restructuring the agency and cutting perks so bridge users can save money?

Of course, we all know the answer to that one:  Saving money for taxpayers is not what the DRPA does.

In April 2013, we learned that the DRPA was under investigation by a federal grand jury and last December, we read that the investigation had been expanded by federal prosecutors and that members of the DRPA Board, including Senate President Sweeney's brother (who holds an appointed position on the Board courtesy of...) had been served with subpoenas and ordered to produce records, etc.

Despite all the action by federal prosecutors, the Legislature has been largely kept in line when it comes to ignoring the open corruption going on at the DRPA.  In January, the State Senate meekly confirmed the appointment of South Jersey Democrat Party Boss George Norcross'  most prime piece of Republican manhood to a judgeship on the Superior Court.  The move stunned the New York Times, which wrote:  "In New Jersey, Leader of an Agency under Investigation is given a Judge's robe."

While George Norcross owns the board, his brother, Senator Don, makes out by using one of the DRPA's controversial developments to be his home-away-from-home as his fig-leaf "residency".

The DRPA is a huge source of patronage and fundraising for the Democrat machine.  With its direct political appointments and vendors it represents a means to reward loyalists and to extract contributions to campaigns, party committees, and PACs.

This has been a particularly bad year for the DRPA.  First are the ongoing law enforcement investigations and civil lawsuits concerning the DRPA and other aspects of the Norcross empire.  As if the amount of information coming out of the Ironworkers' criminal case and Inquirer-related legal actions wasn't enough, two DRPA Board members, including Sweeney's brother, Richard, are up for reappointment.  Will Senate Republicans step up and do what is right for honest government?

So far the State Senate has not examined the role a DRPA board member played in getting Casino Control Commission approval on a construction company founded by Mafia figure Yogi Merlino?  After being denied approval over the course of two decades, in 2010 the company got the go-ahead to work in the gaming industry.  A big part of the reason for that was Robert Sweeney's testimony in favor of Yogi Merlino's son, Joseph Merlino, and that of DRPA board member Al Frattali, who runs the Ironworkers' pension fund.

Testifying on behalf of Joseph Merlino, Ironworkers Local 399 President Robert Sweeney told the Casino Control Commission:  "I have four successful sons; one of them died.  I wish (Merlino) could take his place."

DRPA board member Frattali seconded that with:  "He's the kind of guy I wish my daughter would bring home to marry."  We shit you not, he actually said that.  Isn't that a line from the movie Goodfellas?  The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement called it "a travesty".

The terms of Richard Sweeney and Al Frattali are up this year.  So far, the Governor hasn't announced plans to replace them.  It's time for Senate Republicans to fill the vacuum of leadership.

Sweeney’s cronies: Taxpayer rip-offs?

Pocketed more than $1 million as a political consultant while employed by the county.

Call them his SUPERMEN.

They’re Senate President Steve Sweeney’s cronies who get paid for the work of two or three or even four people for jobs done simultaneously.  These cronies are truly amazing – one even has three careers – and when they attract the attention of the media, Senator Steve Sweeney is there to defend them with always the same claim:

“They work nights and weekends.”

Take the case of Mr. Robert N. DiLella.  He has an important job.  Not only is he supposed to maintain records on everything the Freeholder Board does, he is supposed to supervise other public employees – and he is the county’s public information officer – responsible for handling open records requests from citizens and journalists alike.  His responsibilities don’t end there.  Along with the Director of the Freeholder Board, the Clerk of the Board is authorized to execute agreements, contracts, and administer funds.

As Gloucester County Freeholder Director, Senator Steve Sweeney appointed DiLella to the job of Clerk of the Freeholder Board.  It should be a full time job, according to DiLella himself his 2012 salary was $83,326.  Unfortunately for the taxpayers who pay him, being the Clerk of the Freeholder Board isn’t really what DiLella does.  In 2006, the Courier-Post reported on how DiLella was doing political work for the same politicians who were supposed to be supervising him on the Freeholder Board.  The Courier quoted an ethics expert who said it was a “conflict” and noted that DiLella had pocketed $654,621 in fees for his political work.

Go to DiLella’s twitter page and it explains that he is a “Political Consultant” who is “President/ CEO Strategic Message Design Group”, a political consulting firm with clients from around the United States, in China, and from the Caribbean – including the Prime Minister of the Island of Aruba.  His corporate clients include Valero Energy, the Palm Beach Civic Association, and the Aruba Hotel &Tourism Association.

Looking at DiLella’s recent “tweets” gives you no idea that he holds an important county job paid for by Gloucester County’s taxpayers:

“SMDG Client has passed Miguel Pourier was of great significance for our Country – Curaçao Chronicle:http://www.curacaochronicle.com/main/miguel-pourier-/#.UVJM3hyAob4.twitter …

Florida elects their judges have signed 3 for the 2014 cycle … Still not sure this is the best way to seat judges!

At Emerald Society Breakfast in Ft. Lauderdale honoring SMDG clients Mayor Jack Seiler and Judge Dale Ross

From his Florida clients alone, DiLella pocketed $723,191.

Before you wonder how someone with the responsibilities of the Clerk of the Freeholder Board can also manage a pretty happening political consulting firm – stop, because that’s only half the story.  Robert N. DiLella is also the Chairman of the Gloucester County Pollution Authority AND the owner of a business called Cruise Outlets & Travel.  All of this is what DiLella himself lists on the personal financial disclosure statement he is required to file each year, under penalty of law.

What is Cruise Outlets & Travel?  Well, according to the information it provided a business website, it takes in between $1 million and $5 million each year – and DiLella is the owner!

How does he juggle a full-time job paid for by the taxpayers, a lucrative political consulting career, a second government appointment, and a second business too?  Well, it’s that same old story Sweeney likes to tell.  In 2006, DiLella told the Courier-Post that he worked “nights and weekends” to do it all.

That doesn’t seem to ring true though.  For one thing, in DiLella’s biography on the Cruise Outlets & Travel website it brags that he has vacationed in Aruba “over 100 times”.

You do the math.

——————————————

As Clerk of the Freeholder Board, one of Bob DiLella’s more important roles is to oversee county employees like Michelle Coryell.  She’s paid $90,000 a year as a full-time county employee while being paid $50,000 a year to be the District 03 legislators’ chief-of-staff.  On top of this, she gets another $33,000 to run Senator Steve Sweeney’s political operation.

It’s clear somebody isn’t getting what they paid for… any doubt that it’s the county taxpayers who are getting ripped-off?

Somebody has got to look into the kind of operation being run out of the office of the Clerk of the Gloucester County Freeholder Board.  A complete review of how their time is being spent and on what – for the money the taxpayers pay them – is called for.

NJ SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY’S ATTACK ON CIVIL RIGHTS

Once upon a time America lived under the threat of international Communism.

Evil men used that threat to strip their fellow citizens of their constitutionally protected rights.

Today we live under a new threat… and there are new evil men.

Sixty years ago Democratic Party Senator John McClellan schooled his colleagues about due process and the rule of law. The venue was the McCarthy hearings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGH-7pyh-Ng

Senator Steve Sweeney has obviously forgotten the lesson.

As Senate President, Sweeney pushed through legislation that strips people of their civil rights simply because they have been placed on a government “watch list”.

Senator Sweeney says that these citizens are not entitled to their rights and, like the evil men of yesteryear, Sweeney uses an external “threat” as his trumps-all reason. Instead of international Communism, Sweeney brandishes international “terrorism”.

The media shouldn’t let Senator Sweeney get away with it. They should remember the words of Edward R. Murrow spoken over a national CBS television broadcast on March 9, 1954:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

And just who makes it onto Senator Sweeney’s list of those undeserving of civil rights?

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was on Sweeney’s list – courtesy of an evil apartheid regime – and he remained so until public pressure forced our government to take him off the list. Civil rights campaigner Congressman John Lewis was on Sweeney’s list too, a carry-over from the FBI’s list of “subversives”. All kinds of innocent men, women, and little children are on Sweeney’s list.

Now Senator Sweeney is engaged in a smear campaign against those who stand up for the rights of their fellow Americans. In language borrowed from Senator McCarthy, Sweeney calls them extremists.

It was not long ago that Senator Sweeney co-chaired the state’s gun caucus, but as with same-sex marriage, Sweeney flipped his position to appeal to those who write the checks to fund his party’s campaign accounts. Big out of state interests with fat checks have trumped the average men and women who voted for Senator Sweeney.

Senator Sweeney is a sell-out. That is common with venial politicians. But Sweeney went too far when he stripped innocent people of their civil rights.

As Senator McClellan said 60 years ago, “That is the evil of it.”