Tag Archive: Koch Brothers

Is the Philadelphia Inquirer Trying to Emulate The Onion?

When I opened up today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, my eyes went to a headline that read: “A Republican greens can support” accompanied by a photo of Chris Christie. Even before I read the column, I checked the date to make sure I wasn’t reading the April 1 issue.

As the headline indicates, the columnist tries to convince the reader that Chris Christie is a friend of the environment. He mentions that New Jersey is among the nation’s leaders in deployment of solar energy (true), and that the governor opposed offshore liquefied natural gas terminals (a.k.a. highly explosive and dangerous potential pollution factories).

Cherry-picking some positive steps that have been made by the governor does not make him a friend of the environment. Christie has still refused to say that human activity contributes to global climate change and that most reputable scientists have concluded that events like Hurricane Sandy are exacerbated by global warming. The columnist does not mention that Chris Christie unilaterally, over the objection of the legislature, pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. And Christie’s pro-fracking stance does not exactly jive with promoting clean drinking water supplies.

The author misleads the reader by stating that “in 2009, leading environmental groups … backed Christie over incumbent Jon Corzine.” Yet, the leading and most credible environmental group, the Sierra Club, took a pass in that election, endorsing a third party candidate over both Christie and Corzine.

The column ends with a swipe at Barbara Buono’s campaign, so one has to wonder what the motivation of the author was. Was it to really tout Christie’s environmental record? Or was it just another instance of the Norcross Newsmedia working to re-elect their friend?

Christie’s Crassness

Either Governor Christie thinks New Jersey residents are stupid, or he just enjoys kicking them in the groin.

Ever since the start of his reign in Trenton, Chris Christie has balanced the state budget on the backs of our children and those who could least afford it. Now that it’s an election year, he’s used sleight of hand to make election points. His latest obfuscatory move has been to increase state aid to public schools – aid that he had previously slashed. But the increase for dozens of towns has been the grand total of one dollar. Now, Christie can use his Koch Brothers backed TV ads and his taxpayer-funded town halls to spout out that he has increased aid to public education.

Even this one dollar increase is a lie, as explained by one of Christie’s victims, Hawthorne Superintendent of Schools Robert Mooney. As Mooney describes, additional state assessments have eaten away the one dollar increase and much more from aid to his district.

So while Christie pals around with billionaires like Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Koch Brothers, just remember school districts like Hawthorne that don’t even get enough increase in aid to fill the coffee pot in the teachers’ lounge while millionaires and polluters are riding the Christie wagon to further riches.

Christie’s Latest YouTube Video Relegates Thousands of New Jerseyans to Second Class Citizenship

Governor Christie’s latest publicly-funded campaign video is entitled “The Greatest Social Program in the World is A Job.” This video is mind-boggling on so many levels.

As he is wont to do, Christie starts out the video with a lie. Well, not technically a lie, but an extremely misleading twist of words that conveys false information.

He says that under his administration, state taxes have not gone up. What he fails to mention is that due to his policies, property taxes have exploded. While these are strictly not state taxes, the rise in property taxes is inexorably linked to Christie’s policies, and under his rule, fees and tolls have gone up also. There’s no question that the tax burden on the middle class is directly attributable to Christie’s right-wing agenda.

But that’s not the worst aspect of this campaign commercial. By saying that “the greatest social program in the world is a job”, Christie relegates thousands of New Jerseyans who receive some sort of assistance to second class citizenship.

Take, for example, my friends Mike and Kathy Pollock. Mike wrote about his wife’s illness, his battles with the medical-industrial complex, and how Christie’s policies have made their already difficult lives even more difficult. Mike is the embodiment of the American Dream – the owner of a mom and pop hardware store in rural New Jersey. But that dream took a terrible turn when Kathy developed a debilitating illness and was written off by her doctors. Through Mike’s tenacious efforts, Kathy is alive today. Christie has severely cut the social programs that help Kathy, and those programs are denigrated by Christie by this video.

And if jobs are the greatest social program as Christie espouses, then why has he cut jobs across the state throughout his reign? He’s cut teachers’ jobs. He’s cut tens of thousands of construction jobs with his cancellation of a much-needed tunnel which would facilitate New Jerseyans to get to well-paying jobs. He’s cut thousands of green jobs with his Koch Brothers anti-environmental policy.

If jobs are his priority, why did he veto the minimum wage? Does he endorse the fact that families on the minimum wage are still living in poverty? Again, his “Jobs are the Greatest Social Program” mantra is insulting and mean-spirited.

There are thousands of New Jersey citizens like Mike and Kathy. Working hard to survive, but either fully or partially reliant on a social safety net. The vast majority would like to work, but for one reason or another, either can’t or still need assistance. None of them are second-class citizens.

Christie’s mentor, George W Bush, proved conclusively that “trickle-down” economics do not create jobs – quite the opposite. But Christie never learned that lesson and that’s hurting all of us. Yet he continues to espouse these lies on the public dime. There hasn’t been a more insidious institutional propaganda machine since the KGB.

GOP Assemblywomen Handlin and Casagrande – Socialists?

In a press release today, GOP Assemblywomen Amy Handlin and Caroline Casagrande showed us how they can oversimplify complex issues by unequivocally saying “a thousand times NO” to a proposed rate increase by Jersey Central Power & Light.

There’s no question that JCP&L’s performance in the lead-up and aftermath to Hurricane Sandy was disastrous. From all accounts, customer communications and speed of response was the worst of all of the utilities serving New Jersey.

But as a publicly-traded utility, JCP&L deserves to make a fair profit, and they have an obligation to plow some of that profit back into infrastructure maintenance and improvements.

If Democrats had called for controls on the profit of a publicly-traded corporation, it would take the GOP about a half a nanosecond to accuse them of being Socialists.

Utilities are highly regulated. Yet the Republican Tea Party mantra is to eliminate regulation and let the “free market” take care of things. Handlin’s and Casagrande’s statements are simplistic at best and disingenuous.

Some of the questions that need to be asked of JCP&L are: Has it invested enough in redundancy and resilience of the power distribution infrastructure? How much of its Sandy failure is due to insufficient investment and how much is due to mismanagement? How much of the problem is due to the BPU’s driving of how the utilities operate?

Of course, the status does not have to remain quo. There are alternatives to the way power can be generated and distributed in the state. We could go back to the days where the utilities were owned and operated by the government. Even today, there are some small utilities that operate this way and their rates are generally lower. But hey, that’s Socialism.

Or, we could look forward. Forward to the day when power is not generated by multi-billion dollar plants that pollute our air and water, or leave radioactive waste for future generations to worry about. We could produce power closer to the consumer, by solar, wind, and geothermal plants distributed across the state, all interconnected by a highly redundant grid – similar to the way the Internet is resilient to local outages. Of course, that investment would not be looked upon kindly by Chris Christie’s Koch Brothers benefactors, but maybe a new governor would be more open to changing the status quo. She’d be labeled a Socialist because a radical change would truly result in “power to the people”, but at least the lights would stay on.

The Smoking Gun and the Media

Prodded by the right wing truth-challenged propaganda machine, the mainstream media are relentlessly looking for a smoking gun in the dealings of Senator Robert Menendez. Now that the prostitution allegation has been shown to be a false sensationalistic report promulgated by the Breitbart Bunch, the media have shifted their attention to campaign contributions and a grand jury investigation, implying that Senator Menendez granted a quid pro quo to a longtime friend, ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.

Melgen is not only a contributor to Menendez, but also has given money to many other politicians. Like it or not, that’s the way the system works. Until we get rid of Citizens United and enact public financing of election campaigns, the money will flow to both parties. And a lot of that money, especially from big donors, is not for altruistic purposes, it’s there to buy influence.

There’s no clear dividing line between ethical and non-ethical behavior. Every elected official spends a lot of time on constituent relations. Where the quid pro quo starts along that ethical spectrum is not always clear.

Educating America About Chris Christie

The American people are being sold a bill of goods. Make no mistake about it – the upcoming New Jersey gubernatorial election is a national event. Not just because Chris Christie is leading the diminishing sane wing of the Republican Party for the 2016 presidential nomination, but also because he will be using his media-induced star power to raise tens of millions of dollars for his gubernatorial race this year.

The problem is that Christie’s record is painted by his handlers and the media as a tough-spoken, hard-driving manager who has put New Jersey on the road to economic salvation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yet, most people outside of New Jersey and even many in the Garden State don’t see it that way.

No doubt, the Democrats led by Senator Barbara Buono will work hard to get out the message that the effect of Christie’s policies are not much different than those of some of the more extreme GOP governors like Scott Walker, Rick Scott, and Rick Snyder. And if Christie is re-elected, it will embolden him to move even closer to a dictatorship of the wealthy.

Christie is running a national campaign for the New Jersey governorship. This is exemplified by his fundraiser with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his cozying up to the Koch Brothers and their billions of dollars of stealth campaign contributions.

No Democratic candidate would be able to match the GOP’s Citizens United juggernaut of campaign dollars. Environmental and gay rights groups can’t match the fortunes of the polluters and the education/military/insurance industrial complex.

Because a significant portion of Christie’s campaign dollars are coming from outside the state, it’s important to educate America about Chris Christie. The nation needs to know the truth about his infrastructure blunders, his anti-equality stance, his dealings with his cronies, his dubious budget manipulations, and his politicizing just about everything from the Supreme Court to the Rutgers Board of Trustees.

We can’t stop the flow of right-wing dollars into the Christie campaign, but by taking Senator Buono’s message nationwide, we can help to work to mitigate the Christie dollar advantage. Talk to your out-of-state friends about the truth about our governor. Make them understand that this election is not just about New Jersey, but it’s for the future of our kids, minorities, and women’s rights. Having them send a few bucks to Buono’s campaign would be nice, but educating them about the real Chris Christie is essential.

Lick the Lame Duck Rally in D.C.

Duck at Rally
No, you didn’t miss the Lick the Lame Duck Rally yet, and I did not photoshop this. But isn’t it perfect?

Far be it from me to poke fun at the intended seriousness of a Tea Party gathering in our nation’s capital. After all, they’re currently feeling the shock not only of a botched GOP fight for the White House (Romney was so not the right candidate, they say, and well, duh), but also the loss of Chris Christie and the wonder-rays of conservative goodness that emanate from his very fingertips (okay, that might be overstating).

And so, like the fabulous Kill the Bill Rally they threw in D.C. as a more equitable health care system was rising, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), lead here in NJ by Steve Lonegan, is inviting its minions to yet another D.C. rally. The scare this time? President Obama and “Taxmageddon”.

Stop the Liberal Lame Duck Madness!

Register NOW to Lick the Lame Duck Rally with AFP on Thursday, December 13 in DC!

Really? You don’t like the president’s “radical agenda” or “Big Government” so you’re going to go lick a duck? This might be a poor choice. Duck might not like it.

The rightiest of the right wing has a history of embarrassing nomenclature. After all, these are the good folks who brought you the teabagger movement before somebody finally … Ermahgerd – that means WHAT with a scrotum??

Perhaps they weren’t familiar with John Waters’ Pecker. BONUS: Famous teabagger scene from John Waters’ Pecker, below the fold!)

3313864503_16bcc382faOf course when teabagger finally clicked into place (roughly 2 minutes after they looked up Santorum on teh Google) they fervently denied they ever called themselves teabaggers, willfully denying their own history. But I kid, because I love.

And now, just because I love you people so much, here’s the teabagging scene from Pecker. Jump!

Lick the Lame Duck Rally in D.C.

Duck at Rally

Far be it from me to poke fun at the intended seriousness of a Koch brothers-fueled gathering in our nation’s capital. After all, they’re currently feeling the shock not only of a botched GOP fight for the White House (Romney was so not the right candidate, they say, and we tend to agree), but also the loss of Chris Christie and the wonder-rays of conservative goodness that emanate from his very fingertips (okay, that might be overstating).

And so, like the fabulous Kill the Bill Rally they threw in D.C. as a more equitable health care system was rising, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), lead here in NJ by Steve Lonegan, is inviting its minions to yet another D.C. rally:

Stop the Liberal Lame Duck Madness!

Register NOW to Lick the Lame Duck Rally with AFP on Thursday, December 13 in DC!

Really? You don’t like the president’s “radical agenda” or “Big Government” so you’re going to go lick a duck? This might be a poor choice. And the duck might not like it.

The rightiest of the right wing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Brothers Industries, has a history of embarrassing nomenclature. After all, these are the good folks who brought you…………….

suggests they’re not familiar with John Waters’ Pecker. As it were.

Teabagging is forbidden here at The Fudge House.

willfully forgetting their own history.

bags

Let the 2013 Games Begin

Why Sheldon Adelson Cares About who Builds Burlington County’s Roads

There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about a potential Christie-Booker gubernatorial race next year. Booker has the star power to match the outside money that Christie will be receiving from the unlimited bank accounts of the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson.  The Newark Mayor is also one of the few contenders who would receive the same type of fawning coverage from the mainstream media that the governor enjoys.  But a post-mortem of some local election results indicates that the right wing oil barons and religious extremists may have their eye on another prize as well.

In an article buried on NJ.com, it was revealed that Sheldon Adelson’s comrades pumped $112,000 into misleading and untruthful negative ads supporting the two losing candidates in the recent race for Burlington County Freeholder. Now that amount of money is chump change for Adelson, but the fact that he’s interested in Freeholder races is important. Not that he’d make a ton of money off of the roads and hospitals that the Freeholders control, but because Freeholders are one of the farm teams for potential legislative candidates. The more fellow travellers that Adelson can put on Freeholder boards, the more potential candidates he grooms for legislative positions.

Chris Christie’s Crossroads Conundrum

Chris Christie is at a crossroad in his career.

The candidate that he so vociferously supported for President was overwhelmingly defeated. Christie, who has angered the Democrats and a few moderate Republicans with his words and deeds, has been the target of similar vitriol from the mainstream GOP for embracing President Obama and big government in the hurricane relief effort.

His brusque style, while endearing to some, diverts attention from his agenda.

He embraces right-wing extremism by drinking from the teat of the Koch Brothers and supporting wacko candidates like Steve King in Iowa. Yet he pisses off those same extremists by appointing a Muslim judge, walking hand-in-hand with a black president, and extoling the big-government virtues of FEMA. He preaches bipartisanship while holding a lock on most of his GOP legislators.

Unlike those who only espouse family values, he actually practices them. I don’t think you’ll see Chris Christie join the litany of many GOP powerful politicians who hold back false tears while confessing to an extra-marital affair. Yet his ethical behavior leaves many questions unanswered, such as his friend’s dealing with the lucrative halfway house privatization business or his questionable “charity” to help hurricane victims.

He claims he’s a friend of the environment while simultaneously and unilaterally waiving environmental regulations. He vows to rebuild the Jersey Shore while ignoring the root cause of the magnitude of the destruction – man-made global climate change.

Unlike Mitt Romney, who had multiple and changing positions on just about everything, Christie invariably stands firm on the issues. Once he makes up his mind, he rarely changes it. And that, in a nutshell, is Christie’s problem.

There’s a difference between flip-flopping and evolving on one’s position. President Obama and New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney evolved on their position on gay rights and marriage equality. They weren’t for it one day and against it the next. They moved slowly along the continuum toward the side of tolerance and then equality.

Chris Christie can leverage his popularity to fill the post-election void in Republican party leadership. If he does, how will he use that power? Will he continue to allow the party to slide down the abyss created by the extreme right wing? Or will he lead the charge to form a neo-moderate power base within the party? Will he embrace the thoughts of Michelle Bachman and Steve King, or will he move the party toward the more moderate positions of former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and State Senator Diane Allen?

His actions over the next few weeks and months should provide us with a hint. Now that Obamacare has been affirmed by the Supreme Court and the popular electorate, will Christie finally sign the health exchange bill? Now that the influence peddling of the Koch Brothers has been neutered, will Christie evolve into a friend of the environment? Now that both polls and referenda have shown that marriage equality has the overwhelming support of the population, will Christie release the lock he has on GOP legislators and allow them to vote their conscience? All of this will play out over the next twelve months as New Jersey elects its Governor and legislature in what we hope is the post-Tea Party era.

Make no mistake about it – Christie is governed not by ideology, but by his supersized ego. He craves power and attention. The question is, will he achieve his goal by creating a winnable scenario as a neo-moderate, or will he continue down the destructive path of allying himself with Tea Party and corporate extremism?

Cross-posted from deciminyan.org