Archive for March, 2020

Flashbacks of NJ Corruption

March 28th, 2020 No comments

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind! ~~~ Windmills of Your Mind (1968)

Solitude in the southwestern mountains allows the mind to wander.

Coupled with the quarantine and constant inescapable news reports of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mind wanders into some bleak terrain.

Yesterday, I flashed back to the political foundations of today’s Trumpers.

martinJust this morning, I flashed back again to the bad old corrupt NJ days.

Today’s flashback was caused by the NJ Sierra Club’s press release that criticized former Christie DEP Commissioner Bob Martin for joining former NJ Gov. Christie’s consulting firm.

In word searching Wolfenotes for some of the more egregious examples of Martin’s corruption, I immediately came across these two, just 2 among many:

Like Gov. Christie, Bob Martin is an example of a career bathed in Corruption.

Ironically, Martin was personally involved in the Bridgegate scandal that brought Gov. Christie down.

Before joining NJ DEP, Martin spent his private sector career at the consulting firm Accenture, as a vulture capitalist engaged in privatizing and selling off government assets in UK.

Accenture was spun off as result of the Enron scandal.

All that then started me down the corruption rabbit hole, were I came across stuff like this:

1. “Sustainable lies” – The Tale of Walmart and “Eco-Goats” – you can’t make this shit up:


2. The US Air Force needs “clear skies” to conduct pilot training.

So they burn forests to prevent fires, whose smoke reduces their ability to train.

The Pinelands Commisssion OK’s that, while NJ conservation group take money from the military to provide cover for these destructive projects, which increase carbon emissions while at the same time reduce the ability of forest to sequester (store) carbon.


3. Dupont Dictates NJ DEP’s Chemical Risk Screening Regulatory Methods 

The NJ DEP appointed a Dupont corporate hack to serve on their Science Advisory Board (SAB).

The DEP then accepted a SAB Report recommendation to use a Dupont chemical risk screening method for regulatory purposes. For that story, see:

Of course, NONE of this was reported by the NJ press corps or was the target of criticism by NJ environmental groups.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of corruption in NJ that is accepted as business as usual.

I have documented scores of examples of similar corruption.

It’s why I had to get the hell out of that sewer to preserve what’s left of my sanity.

The windmills of your mind, indeed!

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Putting A Face On The Ignorance And Hate That Brought Us Real Death Panels

March 27th, 2020 No comments

A Look At The Faces Of Hate And Ignorance – Tea Partiers Become Trumpers

these "ladies" had literature that claimed  “Obama is a Nazi” in their hands

these “ladies” had literature that claimed “Obama is a Nazi” in their hands

[Update – 6/13/20 – more evidence confirms my thesis: (Counterpunch):

Many of the same extreme right operatives who created the “Tea Party” are behind the anti-science and anti-intellectual spectacles opposing measures designed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. And with much the same agenda. (read the whole thing).

~~~ end update]

[Update – 4/17/20NY Times reports on outrageously irresponsible Trump Tweets makes same connection we did:

Echoed across the internet and on cable television by conservative pundits and ultraright conspiracy theorists, his tweets were a remarkable example of a president egging on demonstrators and helping to stoke an angry fervor that in its anti-government rhetoric was eerily reminiscent of the birth of the Tea Party movement a decade ago.

[Update – 4/15/20 – If you think I exaggerate about “Death Panels”, read this horrific account by a doctor. ~~~ end update]

As the exploding number of cases of COVID-19 outstrips the capacity of the private for profit US healthcare system, hospitals are now rationing health care to COVID-19 patients, e.g. see this Washington Post story:

Some have likened such rationing to the “death panels” that Tea Party protesters and Republicans claimed would result from Obamacare.

These same people, ideologies, ignorance, and political organizations have blocked Medicare For All and effective government pandemic preparation planning and regulation of the private for profit US healthcare system – including hospitals – that could have contained and mitigated the number and extent of cases and deaths we are now suffering.

Jeffrey St. Clair:

Alice Dreger, bioethicist and author of Galileo’s Middle Finger: “If you need a wake-up call, here it is: My husband was on a large conference call of American med school deans last night. One asked about legal coverage for pulling people off ventilators to give to others more likely to survive. i.e., not being charged with murder. Here we are.”

These people have blood on their hands. Their ideology and politics have proven deadly.

So, to put a face on this ignorance and hatred, we thought we’d repost photos from a September 7, 2009 post about a “Town Hell” by Tea Party Protesters at Congressman Holt’s district constituent meeting in Middletown NJ on August 26, 2009.

Take a good look at these people. Look at the hate on their faces. And don’t forget.



"Obamacare May Kill My Daughter"

“Obamacare May Kill My Daughter”

This hatred was expressed on the SAME DAY Senator Ted Kennedy died.

This hatred was expressed on the SAME DAY Senator Ted Kennedy died.

I'm almost certain that these hate filled hecklers are now Trump supporters.

I’m almost certain that these hate filled hecklers are now Trump supporters.

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Gov. Murphy Failed To Implement NJ’s Pandemic Preparedness Plans

March 25th, 2020 No comments

Media praise of “data driven response” provides cover for initial failure to act

Delays exacerbated panic and diminished NJ’s testing & treatment capacity

[Update below]

Once again, NJ Spotlight has acted as cheerleader for the Murphy administration’s response to COVID-19, instead of holding them accountable.

Once again, they have relied exclusively on statements made by the Governor and private sector instead of fact checking them against the actual text of the underlying State planning documents and laws.

Yesterday, NJ Spotlight wrote about “lessons from the past”, while completely ignoring existing State pandemic preparedness and response plans.

As I’ve written, those plans found that the current COVID-19 pandemic was “looming” and “inevitable”.

Those plans projected 50,000 deaths, a severe shortage of ventilators, and that the healthcare system would be “severely taxed if not overwhelmed”.

Those plans laid out a detailed strategy and programs to prepare for and respond to a pandemic.

Those plans were not adequately funded and staffed and invoked in a timely way. As a result, NJ was poorly prepared, the response was delayed and confused, and people needlessly died. 

NJ Spotlight ignored all that, while praising the preparedness and response of the Murphy administration and private sector medical facilities.

In today’s story, this one really set me off:

‘Informed decisions’ instead of ‘educated guesses’

“The more we have facts, the more we can make fully informed decisions as opposed to just educated guesses,” Murphy said at the state media briefing Tuesday. “Getting our arms around (the data) is going to be critical to winning this public health battle.”

If Gov. Murphy and his Commissioner of the Department of Health are so interested in “getting their arms around the data”, then why didn’t they adequately fund, staff, and immediately implement the laboratory coordination and testing provisions of their own 2015 Pandemic Plan?

That NJ DoH plan has a strategy and extensive technical requirements for, among other things, testing and laboratory reporting. Hit the link and read them, or just look at the table of contents:

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 8.40.10 AM

All these things should have been in place and deployed in NJ MONTHS ago, when the World Health Organization and US Centers For Disease Control (CDC) recognized the Chinese data and a pandemic flu.

Had these plans been implemented, NJ would have had scaled up capacity and equipment, and had testing and lab procedures in place. NJ would have had a sufficient number of masks, respirators, ventilators, and increased hospital ICU beds. NJ would have had public communication, exposure tracking, “social distancing”, quarantine, facility closures, and critical things like food distribution all in place before chaos set in and the pandemic exploded.

Again failing to hold State officials accountable while providing coverNJ Spotlight also quoted NJ Homeland Security Director, who invoked NJ law, the same law pursuant to which the State adopted one of it pandemic plans, known as  NJ Hazard Mitigation Plan:

In his letter Monday to all clinical laboratories authorized to perform COVID-19 testing, New Jersey’s homeland security director Jared M. Maples said the state’s Domestic Security Preparedness Act of 2001 allowed him to compel them to provide testing information the state needed to protect public health.

Yet, while giving the administration a softball, Spotlight failed to ask Director Maples about why that letter had not been written MONTHS ago, when the pandemic was initially recognized.

If Director Maples and the State DoH acted in accordance with the science and their own pandemic preparedness plans, procedures for testing people, laboratory analysis and data reporting would have been in place MONTHS ago.

With respect for the context of coronavirus testing and data reporting, in addition to failure to implement existing preparedness plans, there are key facts that are not being reported in US media or by NJ Spotlight.

For the national story of what went wrong in preparedness and response, listen to yesterday’s NPR “Fresh Air” program:

In addition, key facts are not being reported. They are:

1) the Chinese, while they engaged in a coverup domestically, were transparent on the science and early on provided important genome data to WHO in December.

2) Based on Chinese data, WHO published the coronavirus gene sequence on their website the first week in January, which enabled labs around the world to very easily and quickly develop test methods.

3) the Germans, South Koreans and others used WHO gene sequence data to develop test methods and field test hundreds of thousands of people, which enabled them to greatly reduce transmission.

The press has reported that the Trump CDC rejected WHO test in favor of developing their own test, which later failed.

Regardless, the delay by Trump CDC and others to test and implement existing pandemic preparedness plans is a crime.

This story from The Intercept is one of the better media reports, a highly suggested read.

I also wrote about how Trump’s reliance on a national security framework has suppressed science and blocked doctors and epidemiologists from doing their jobs.

Of course, the media is not writing about any of that either!

[Update 4/5/20 – Noam Chomsky agrees with my assessment – and he also notes China’s gene sequencing:

“This coronavirus pandemic could have been prevented, the information was there to prevent it. In fact, it was well-known. In October 2019, just before the outbreak, there was a large-scale simulation in the United States – possible pandemic of this kind,” he said, referring to an exercise – titled Event 201 – hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Nothing was done. The crisis was then made worse by the treachery of the political systems that didn’t pay attention to the information that they were aware of.

“On December 31, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of pneumonia-like symptoms with unknown origins. A week later, some Chinese scientists identified a coronavirus. Furthermore, they sequenced it and provided information to the world. By then, virologists and others who were bothering to read WHO reports knew that there was a coronavirus and knew that had to deal with it. Did they do anything? Well yes, some did.

“China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore began to do something, and they have sort of pretty much seemed to have contained at least the first surge of the crisis.”

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Year 4 On The Road – Quarantine Begins

March 22nd, 2020 No comments

Weird Scenes Inside The Pandemic

Drowning In Reagan’s Bathtub


We thought year 3 on the road began with a bang. But year 4 begins in Pandemic!

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and raped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down. ~~ The Doors, When the Music’s Over (1967)

Driver where you takin’ us?:

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend

The end
Of our elaborate plans
The end
Of everything that stands
The end
No safety or surprise
The end
I’ll never look into your eyes
Again. […]

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the king’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby~~~ The Doors, The End (1967)

This attracts law enforcement - guess its similar to SNCC in the south 1966. Stories to come pending exit from current jeopardy

This attracts law enforcement along the border – guess it’s similar to SNCC, MLK, LBJ and “Black Power” bumper stickers in the south in 1964. Stories to come pending exit from my current legal jeopardy

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National Security Secrecy Used To Suppress Science and Block Public Disclosure Of The COVID Pandemic

March 22nd, 2020 No comments

Once Again, The Media Misses The Point

Professional, scientific and medical ethics require disclosure

[Important Updates below – photo was inserted 9/13/20]

Senate Intelligence Cmte. briefing on COVID, Jan. 24, 2020 (Source: World Socialist Website, 9/11/20)

Senate Intelligence Cmte. briefing on COVID, Jan. 24, 2020 (Source: World Socialist Website, 9/11/20)

There has been an avalanche of media coverage of the Senate’s corrupt insider trading stock scandal, where at least 4 US Senators unloaded millions of dollars in stock following a January 24, 2020 briefing by the CDC and Trump administration officials, see:

As usual, all the major media outlets are tripping over themselves to write the same story.

And in their typical tawdry feeding frenzy on corruption, what the media are missing are the far more important public health and government policy issues:

Why was the January 24 Senate briefing by CDC confidential?

Why didn’t the CDC scientists disclose the information publicly and warn the American public about the risks they were aware of regarding the exploding Coronavirus Pandemic?

Why didn’t US Senators and other members of Congress and their staffs disclose this information and warn the public?

(at a recent press briefing (no links), government officials refused to answer a reporter’s question and provide national data on key public health concerns, including the capacity of the National Strategic Stockpile, number of hospital beds, number of ventilators, masks, or number of ICU beds. Why is all this classified information?)

These are critically important questions, especially in light of President Trump’s efforts on January 22 – just 2 days prior to the Senate briefing- to flat out lie about the risks:

JOE KERNEN: –are there worries about a pandemic at this point?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. Not at all. And– we’re– we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine.

Why didn’t US Senators and their staff’s disclose this critical CDC information so the American people could protect themselves and hold government accountable?

I did quick research to learn the Senate Intelligence Committee and Congressional rules that applied to that CDC Senate briefing, and discovered that Congressional rules allow public disclosure if “the public interest would be served by such disclosure.”

SEC. 8. (a) The select committee may, …, disclose publicly any information in the possession of such committee after a determination by such committee that the public interest would be served by such disclosure.

OBVIOUSLY, the public interest would have been served by warning people (and State and local governments) about the Coronavirus risks then known by CDC scientists and epidemiologists.

It gets even worse.

While National Security is used as a pretext to suppress science and public disclosure of public health risks, US National Security laws and policy framework do not include “health care” as a national security issue.

While the Congress covers up the COVID Pandemic using National Security secrecy, note this contradiction, according to the CDC’s  “Crimson Contagion” simulation:

the definition of national defense does not explicitly include health care resources, thereby highlighting the uncertainty of using the Defense Production Act to produce much needed medical countermeasures and matched vaccines in response to an influenza pandemic.

How twisted is that?

But it wasn’t only cowardly and corrupt US Senators and their staffs that withheld critical public health information from the American public.

I could find no laws, regulations, or policies that would restrict any CDC scientist, epidemiologist or other professional from disclosing this critical scientific, public health and epidemiological modeling information to the press and the public.

In fact, professional, scientific and medical ethics require such disclosure.

Where were all the scientists?

[Update – since I wrote this, media has reported that Trump received White House Daily briefings by national security and intelligence people on COVID risks as early as Jan. (likely earlier).  ~~~ end update]

Update: 4/28/20 – The door to the cover-up story finally opens a crack in the NY Times, but the coverup was underway long before the end of February:

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