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Christie Inaugural – Republicans Invade Trenton

January 19th, 2010 No comments




Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D), in hostile terrority

Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D), in hostile territory
















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Inaugural Echoes

January 18th, 2017 No comments

Trump ramps up repression of dissent from checkpoints to “pre-emptive arrest”

[Update: 1/26/17 – As expected, serious repression, but notice how the story is limited to the journalists, and not the protesters:

We are by no means trying to “normalize” Trump, but as we – cough, cough, “lace up our boots” – for the trip to DC to protest the Trump Inaugural, we are hearing echoes of days gone by.

As we predicted, the militarized police will be harassing and suppressing protesters under the guise of security – but the “pre-emptive arrest” bullshit is new to me and obviously totally unconstitutional:

The protesters are being marginalized (protest zones, et al):

Trump is winning the visual propaganda war.

We hear these echoes of our quotes – from not one, but two page one NY Times stories on the second Bush inaugural (2005):

Bill Wolfe, 47, who made his way from Ringoes, N.J., to protest the inauguration, took one hour to go 50 feet in line, and when he got through expressed his anger with the entry procedures.

Holding a “War Mongers” sign, he yelled, to no one in particular, “You don’t need a ticket for democracy, folks.”

“They got us compartmentalized like rats in a cage,” he said, gesturing to the line of shoulder-to-shoulder police officers who far outnumbered the spectators at 11:00 am when thousands were still waiting to get through security.

“It’s overkill to the extreme,” he said. “I think it was designed specifically to suppress dissent and keep out protesters. They want to control the visual image, it’s part of a coordinated effort to mislead the American people about the level of opposition to this administration. They’re trying to make it a coronation and it’s not.”

Protesters lamented the restrictions.

“They got us compartmentalized like rats in a cage,” said Bill Wolfe, 47, who came from Ringoes, N.J., carrying a “War Mongers” sign. Mr. Wolfe looked at the shoulder-to-shoulder wall of police officers, blocking his way as he inched along. “You don’t need a ticket for democracy, folks,” he hollered, to no one in particular.

We are not afraid, but we would be foolish not to expect violence.

We strongly doubt we’ll get the money quotes again in 2 NY Times page one stories, but we’ll keep you posted.

[End note: we have room for 2-3 passengers, leaving Thursday morning from central NJ. Let me know if you’d like a ride – ask for help with gas and tolls, and must be able to tolerate my stinky dog!]

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Trump Following In Gov. Christie’s Footsteps

November 12th, 2016 No comments


[Update below]

Conventional wisdom (CW) is that Donald Trump just threw Gov. Christie under the bus by demoting Christie from head of his Transition Team in favor of VP Pence.

CW is wrong – again.

Trump has paid Christie the ultimate compliment: emulation. (can you imagine what a Trump Inaugural will look like? – hit link – photos below from Christie’s first Inaugural, Trenton, NJ, Jan. 19, 2010)


Trump is following the same strategy Christie used in NJ. Christie’s fingerprints are all over the Trump strategy.

Now that the press has framed the post election narrative as  “Trump won due to support of the working class that was betrayed by Democrats”, the stage is set for Trump to forge the same “bi-partisan” “Christie -Crat” coalition of timid corporate Democrats that Gov. Christie did.

Buyers remorse set in early. May 2010, Trenton NJ protest

Buyers remorse set in early. May 2010, Trenton NJ protest

(CAPTION: tens of thousands of protesters came out early against Christie, on May 20, 2010)

This manufactured political dynamic will enable Trump to impose a corporate right wing agenda (tax cuts, privatization, deregulation) under the guise of promoting jobs and working class interests – all with “bi-partisan” support in Congress.

The first issue to cement this coalition and illustrate this strategy is likely to be infrastructure, where timid corporate Democrats will be promised union infrastructure jobs in exchange for huge corporate tax cuts.

Of course, the Trump infrastructure deal will include privatization (“public-private partnerships”) and unrelated items like deregulation, attacks on unions, Wall Street financing giveaways, and environmental rollbacks too. (Obama already set the stage for all that with his Executive Orders to “streamline” NEPA and environmental reviews of infrastructure projects. Congressional Democrats – including corporate Wall Street Dems like Cory Booker – have already introduced “public private partnership” infrastructure bills, just like NJ State Democrats supported Gov. Christie’s privatization of water infrastructure and anti-democratic elimination of prior local voter approval requirements).

Just to show that Trump is not serious and is playing the same divisive political games Christie played, take a look at how Trump’s “100 Day Action Plan” proposed to pay for infrastructure:

  • SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

Of course there are no UN Black Helicopters, just like there is no “billions in UN climate change payments” honeypot (while Trump doesn’t mention that the cost of infrastructure upgrades is in the trillions).

The same emulation of Gov. Christie’s strategy can be seen in Trump’s pledge to repeal Obama Executive Orders and take bold Executive actions in the first hour of his first day in Office –

That’s exactly what Gov. Christie did by issuing Executive Orders #1 – #4 – declaring a moratorium on regulations and granting “regulatory relief”. At the time,  Christie bragged about this to the NY Times.

Just like Christie abandoned the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Trump will exit the Paris Climate accords.

Just like Christie scrapped the Corzine Energy Master Plan renewable energy goals to promote fossil power plants and pipelines – all with the support of Democrats –  Trump is all in for fossil:

  • ★ FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.

  • ★  SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

Just like Christie, shifts in billions of dollars to corporate cronies and deregulation will be real, while the promises to Democrats never materialize.

Trump will play the Democrats, just like Christie did.

Trump will act the authoritarian, “conservative without conscience“, just like Christie.

The strategic, political and policy parallels with Gov. Christie are striking and far too strong to be random.

With the press corps focused on “horse race” vapid coverage – and Democrats immersed in identity politics to battle the Right wing cultural warriors – Christie has done his work quietly behind the scenes and laid the foundation for Trump’s “transition”. He was not thrown under the bus by Trump.

Trump’s reactionary agenda will be imposed very quickly – it is imperative that national Democrats not repeat the NJ Christie-crat experience.

The media, under withering criticism for having missed the rise of Trump and ignored all those working class people that support Trump, will be tripping all over themselves to frame a pro-working class Trump manufactured narrative.

Progressives need to quickly organize and not only protest in the streets, but tell Democrats not to sell out.

The Left must rebut CW and the misleading and rapidly solidifying media narrative about the duped “working class” supporters and tell the truth about who will benefit from Trump’s policy agenda..


[Update – 11/16/16 – We told you exactly this was coming – and it sure didn’t take very long (NY Times story):

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats, divided and struggling for a path from the electoral wilderness, are constructing an agenda to align with many proposals of President-elect Donald J. Trump that put him at odds with his own party.

On infrastructure spending, child tax credits, paid maternity leave and dismantling trade agreements, Democrats are looking for ways they can work with Mr. Trump and force Republican leaders to choose between their new president and their small-government, free-market principles. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, elected Wednesday as the new Democratic minority leader, has spoken with Mr. Trump several times, and Democrats in coming weeks plan to announce populist economic and ethics initiatives they think Mr. Trump might like. ~~~ end update]

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Gov. Christie Uses The Environment To Bash Public Workers

January 13th, 2016 No comments

Groundhog Day on “Regulatory Relief” – Echoes First Official Act: Executive Order #2

Christie campaign veto record didn’t mention legislative veto day before speech

Christie's first Inaugural, Jan. 19, 2010

Christie’s first Inaugural, Jan. 19, 2010

In one of the more despicable and hypocritical moments – and there were many – of his State of the State address, Gov. Christie used the environment in a divisive way to bash public sector workers:

Because none of that [public employe pension] spending is guaranteed by the Constitution.  All of those issues; education, health care, crime, our environment, support for the poor, protection for our children would be subject to elimination to pay for the pensions of 800,000 current and former public employees. 

… We cannot deny funding for health care, education, criminal justice, the poor, our environment, our children and our infrastructure to pander to pensioners.

I don’t know whose environment the Gov. was referring to in his ironically cruel but correct characterization of the collective nature of “our environment”.

It’s always comical when right wing, market fundamentalist, anti-government ideologues try to frame “collective” public goods or common pool resources with possessive personal pronouns like “our”. And it always begs the same question: Cui bono?

Contradicting his collectivist characterization of “our environment”, Christies’ administration has waged a war on “our environment”, making Governor Christie the worst Gov. in modern history on the issue of protecting public health and the environment.

That horrendous legacy is magnified by Christie’s: policy denial of climate change; dismantling of NJ climate change programs; diversion of over $1 billion of clean energy funds; roll back of NJ’s renewable energy goals; failure to honor his promise to develop offshore renewable wind power; slowdown on expansion of solar power; promotion of construction of new fossil power plants and pipelines, including one through the Pinelands; attack on Obama EPA’s Clean Energy/climate plan; and total lack of any new environmental accomplishment over his 6 year tenure.

In just the most recent examples of Christie’s war on the environment:

  • the day BEFORE the Gov.’s State of the State address, the Legislature moved to veto a massive 936 page overhaul by DEP of regulations that provide protections from flood risks (along the coast and inland rivers and streams) and NJ’s few remaining streams, lakes, and rivers that provide “exceptional” water quality.

We all know that Christie micro-manages the Port Authority (is there an email bragging: “time for some pollution problems in Newark”?), and that the Port asks Christie’s permission before flushing the toilets.

While building on his horrendous legacy and ignoring environmental issues, the Gov.’s unusually long 50 minute speech used the word “environment” exactly 3 times – twice to attack public sector workers and once to pledge “regulatory relief” for Charter Schools:

This is what I heard. Charter schools in New Jersey have been successful in spite of our regulatory environment – not because of it. 

The Gov. attacked regulations with fervor:

Instead of giving charter schools the autonomy they need to deliver great education outcomes, we’re regulating them using almost all of the same regulations that apply to traditional public schools. It’s not good for innovation and it’s not good for attracting more innovative charter school operators to our state.

Today, I’m announcing that my administration will aggressively prioritize regulatory relief for charter schools.

The policy of “regulatory relief” echoed that exact same regulatory policy Christie established by Executive Order #2, his first official act as Governor, taken in the first hour of his first day in Office.

For immediate relief from regulatory burdens, State agencies shall:

EO#2 even pledged three distinct forms of “regulatory relief”: “immediate” “intermediate” and “long term”.

Finally, again playing to the Republican primary voters of New Hampshire and Iowa, on the day of his SOS address, the Christie campaign bragged that Gov. Christie’ 400 vetoes had never been over-ridden by the Legislature.

Funny, he didn’t mention the legislative veto the day before the speech.

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Corporations Concocted The Christie “Faith and Freedom” Slogan Long Ago

July 6th, 2015 No comments

Gov. Christie the latest in a long tradition of corporate sponsored charlatans, frauds, and demagogues 

(Source: I think it was NJ.Com, not my photo)

(Source: I think it was NJ.Com, not my photo)

In an amazing example of serendipity, I had just begun reading Princeton University historian Kevin M. Kruse’s timely and marvelous new book: One Nation Under God – How Corporate America Invented Christian America when the Christie photo above caught my eye the other day.

Kruse is intrigued by the fact that the consensus among scholars is that the Founding Fathers established a wall of separation between church and state, yet that consensus has had little impact on popular opinion. Kruse asks why that is the case:

Like most scholars, I believe the historical record is fairly clear about the founding generation’s preference for what Thomas Jefferson memorably described as a wall of separation between church and state; a belief the founders spelled out repeatedly in public statements and private correspondence. This scholarly consensus, though, has done little to shift popular opinion. If anything, the country has more tightly embraced religion in the public sphere and in political culture in recent decades. And so this book begins with a different premise. It sets aside the question of whether the founders intended America to be a Christian nation and instead asks why so many contemporary Americans came to believe that this country has been and always should be a Christian nation. (page xiii)

Professor Kruse challenges the conventional historical interpretation that the rise of the Cold War is what explains the rise of public religion in the early 1950’s – those godless Soviet communists, their possession of the A-bomb, and all that.

Instead, Professor Kruse argues:

…  the postwar revolution in America’s religious identity had its roots not in the foreign policy panic of the 1950’s, but rather in the domestic politics of the 1930’s and early 1940’s.  Decades before Eisenhower’s inaugural prayers, corporate titans enlisted conservative clergymen in an effort to promote new political arguments embodied in the phrase “freedom under God”. As the private correspondence and public claims of the men leading this charge make clear, this new ideology was designed to defeat the state power its architect feared most – not the Soviet regime in Moscow, but Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration in Washington DC.  With ample funding from major corporations, prominent industrialists, and business lobbies such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce in the 1930’s and 1940’s, these new evangelists for free enterprise promoted a vision best characterized as “Christian Libertarianism”. (page xiv)

Corporate slogans – “Freedom Under God” (circa 1950) – “Faith and Freedom” (Gov. Christie today) – an unbroken chain of corporate economic propaganda.

Kruse then proceeds  – in meticulous and at times shocking or amusing detail – to dismantle that conventional historical account and document how corporate interests manufactured and funded huge national religious propaganda campaigns as a cynical ploy to discredit and roll back the New Deal and capture government to promote corporate interests.

The corporate agenda was motivated by pure greed and economic self interests, not religion of patriotism.

The corporations knew that if they were publicly identified as the sponsors of these crude economic arguments, that they had little credibility with the American public, particularly given the popularity of the New Deal and welfare state.

So they cynically used religious leaders and religious institutions to mask their covert corporate economic agenda.

Business leaders had long been working to “merchandize” themselves through the appropriation of religion. In organizations such as Spiritual Mobilization, the prayer breakfast groups, and the Freedom Foundation , they had linked capitalism and Christianity and, at the same time, likened the welfare state to godless paganism.  After decades of work, these businessmen believed that there efforts had finally paid off with the election of Dwight Eisenhower. Watching him enthusiastically embrace public faith, these supporters assumed that the national religious revival was largely a means to a more important end” the rollback of the New Deal state. ( page 86)

Kind of like today’s “dark money” and the Koch Brothers and ALEC and the religious right.

While the corporations were not successful (in the 1950’s) in their primary objective to roll back the New Deal welfare state (that had to wait for Democrat Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform”), one policy area where the corporations were successful was in rolling back government regulations:

Eisenhower did agree with his [corporate] supporters  about the need to reduce the regulatory role of the federal government, especially in oversight of the business world.  “I feel this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of government functions,” he wrote his brother in 1954. “When we came into office there were Federal controls exercised over prices, wages, rents, as well as over the allocation and use of raw materials. The first thing this Administration did was to set about the elimination of those controls. (page 86)

Fast forward 60 years and note that – just like Eisenhower – one of Gov. Christie’s first moves in Office was to issue a series of executive orders designed to rollback regulations and provide “regulatory relief” to corporations.

And Gov. Christie’s recent comments about his 5 year effort to “dismantle” environmental protections is a clear echo of Eisenhower.

Seen from this historical vantage point so wonderfully painted by Professor Kruse, Gov. Christie is just the latest in a very long line of corporate sponsored charlatans, snake oil salesmen, fakes, frauds and demagogues.

Kruse’s book is timely, I highly recommend it. The parallels to today are stunning.

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