If you are anywhee near Trenton on Thursday, August 26th, at 3 o’clock, and you wish to make your displeasure with the current Mess known, head over to the Statehouse and join other like-minded Garden Staters.
August 24, 2004
It was reported today that Governor McGreevey (Yes, he is still in office) met on Friday with FBI agents at the Governor’s Mansion, in connection with the investigations into charges of extortion brought by McGreevey against his former gay lover (presumably Golan Cipel).
McGreevey previously had been interviewed by FBI agents approximately six months ago in connection with the investigation of McGreevey’s former friend and fund raiser, David D’Amiano, who has since been indicted on bribery and extortion charges. It was during that interview that McGreevey conceded that it was his voice (saying the code word “Machiavelli” among other things) on the tape that was made by the victim of the alleged bribery and extortion scheme who was cooperating with the FBI.
During the interview on Friday, McGreevey had his lawyer by his side. That’s a good thing for McGreevey, because as we know from television detective shows (and from law school), anything he might have said during that interview can be used against him, even though the interview on Friday focused on his claim of extortion. (Note: No Miranda warnings would have been necessary, as the interview was most certainly not a “custodial interrogation.”)
Meanwhile, Golan Cipel’s attorney insists that, in addition to possibly suing the Governor for sexual harassment, he may toss in a claim for slander as well, stating, “If the governor was talking about Golan in his resignation statement and referring to Golan as the guy he had an affair with, then the governor was slandering him.”
…and da beat goes on.
August 23, 2004
NJ Politics has a table that shows results from a Bergen Record survey with 51% in favor of “resign now” and 52% in favor of “resign Nov 15″. NJ’s the first state with 103% people — no wonder the traffic’s bad.
I can’t top that.
August 21, 2004
One of PRS’s operatives attended a veddy, veddy posh, veddy veddy exclusive seaside cocktail party in the Hamptons and recorded the following conversation between Paris Hilton (cradling her pet Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, dressed in doggy mink) and presidential hopeful John Kerry:
Kerry: “Those Swift Boat guys are making my life miserable. The are all liars. Every single one of them. It’s nothing more than a republican- organized smear campaign.”
Paris: “Did you hear that I found my dog, Tinkerbell? The poor thing was lost, and I, like, offered a reward, but I, like, found her. I was sooooooooo happy. I was, like, yippeeeee, I have my doggy back. Isn’t that, like, really great?”
Kerry: “Please listen to me. These guys are all lying through their teeth. Nothing they say is true. Nothing at all, I tell you. Can you believe that they actually questioning my heroism in the war. I was in Vietnam, you know. Bastards. Traitors. Every damned one of them.”
Paris: “Let’s get out of here, Tinkie. This man is frightening me.”
……..Later that day…….
John Kerry: “Dan! Hello there. Nice to see you here.”
Dan Rather: “Hi, John. Great party, no?”
John Kerry: “Sure is. Have you tried the Brie? It’s marvelous. Listen Dan; I want to talk to you about this John O’Neill guy and his Swift Boat buddies. Those bastards and their damned ads are a royal pain in my ass.”
Dan Rather: “Don’t worry about a thing. We’ve got your back on this one.”
John Kerry: “Thanks. I knew I could count on you.”
Dan Rather: “I talked to Tom and Pete, and they told me to tell you that they’ve got the Swift Boat thing covered too.”
John Kerry: “That’s wonderful. Please tell them thanks for me.”
Dan Rather: “No problem. But, speaking of ‘pain in the ass,’ I am curious about one thing.”
John Kerry: “What’s that, buddy?”
Dan Rather: “The shrapnel in your ass – Is it true that really was rice? Off the record, of course.”
John Kerry: “Not funny, Dan.”
As of Friday, the Good Guys were ahead.
Dr. David Miller, who a couple days ago got his fifteen minutes of fame by claiming to be an ex-lover of Golan Cipel, yesterday was ordered by an Essex County Superior Court Judge to have his head examined.
It seems that, in addition to claiming to be Golan Cipel’s former lover, he also stated that he is a CIA operative, that he takes special pills to make his skin appear darker (thereby permitting infiltration of “unnamed groups”), and that his tenant in his home has al-Quaida connections and is planning to blow up the Essex County Courthouse and nearby Hall of Records.
He was charged with impersonating law officers and public officials, making a false public alarm and a false report to law enforcement.
The prosecutor stated that the charges “are not related to Golan Cipel.”
…and the beat goes on.
August 19, 2004
Jim McGreevey’s resignation and decision to stay in Drumthwacket until November 15th, no matter what the consequences to the state, or to us sorry asses who live and pay taxes here, has caused much of the crap that is New Jersey politics to float to the top of muck for all of us see. The entire mess has made New Jersey a national joke.
Nevertheless, I would like to publicly thank Jim McGreevey, because, but for the latest disgraces, I would not have taken the time to see how truly rotten-to-the-core the political system in this state is. I have lived here all my life, and I am embarrassed to say that it was not until the last few days that I fully appreciated the extent to which we are being royally screwed by the unholy alliance that exists among our state legislature, the governor and a handful of well-moneyed political bosses.
You (especially if you live in Jersey) absolutely have to read “How Many NJ Legislators Exploit the System.” The information was originally published about a year ago, although I have absolutely no reason to believe that it remains anything other than an accurate description of the current state of affairs in Trenton. The reader can see how our “representatives” (of both parties) have constructed and/or have benefited from a legislative scheme in which financial disclosure is a joke, nepotism is the rule rather than the exception, and conflicts of interest are relegated to little bits of scrap paper. You will have to bookmark the site, because there is too much information for one sitting, and more than fifteen or twenty minutes of reading will be hazardous to your health.
Here are a few snippets:
Behind the scenes, powerful unelected political bosses from the Democratic and Republican parties — many of them beneficiaries of millions of dollars in government contracts — work to re-elect their legislative allies and maintain the status quo in Trenton. These bosses raise multimillion-dollar campaign war chests for state legislators.
Nepotism is not only legal in New Jersey, it is practiced by almost one in five lawmakers who have put family members on their payrolls. For example, Democratic Assemblyman Gary L. Guear of Mercer County hired his wife to a $55,000-a-year job to run his district office. Nepotism is banned in Congress and 19 states.
Lawmakers operate almost free of ethical scrutiny because there are virtually no laws to prevent conflicts of interest in the state Senate or Assembly. A member who could profit from a bill can absolve himself by simply sending a note to the secretary of the chamber saying he can still cast a fair vote. All the notes are tucked away in paper files in Trenton, which are beyond the reach of public inspection by all but the most determined voters. The lawmakers’ own ethics oversight committee has been called a “damage-control” board by its former chairman.
The public financial disclosure forms lawmakers are supposed to fill out each year are so vague they get an “F” from the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit government watchdog group. The forms, approved by the Legislature, are riddled with loopholes that allow members to hide their business clients — and even the names of spouses on the public payroll.
With regard to the joke that is Jersey’s Financial Disclosure Law, be sure to check out the left side of the site under “Personal Disclosures.” In order to get a real flavor for just how “seriously” our elected representatives take the issue of financial disclosure, I recommend that you go here and take a look at the form submitted by state senator Raymond Lesniak (see District 20).
It is time to drain the Swamp.
But, how? Surely, the well-entrenched beneficiaries of the putrid system will not step to the front of the line to change things. I’m not even sure that genuine “reform candidates” could get it done (assuming that such candidates could ever be elected, given the current Swamp Rules).
Maybe we’ll have to turn to the feds.
August 18, 2004
This year’s Olympics brings us synchronized diving, which I suppose is a natural outgrowth of synchronized swimming. Of course, that got me to wondering whether this might signal a future trend in Olympic sports. We at PRS like to stay ahead of the curve on such important issues, so it is with that in mind, that I would like to suggest other synchronized sports that the Olympic Committee might wish to consider for inclusion in future Olympic Games:
Basis for Judging: The team’s performance will be judged based upon volume, timbre, duration, wetness, and bouquet. The scoring will also take into account the degree of difficulty. For example, an unadorned, single, monotone bowel wind will garner few difficulty points, but a high-pitched staccato gaseous release, replete with interesting rhythms can be a big winner here. Aesthetics notwithstanding, harmony gets the contestants nothing. Synchronicity is key here.
Suggested US Team: Michael Moore and Al Sharpton.
Basis for Judging: The team’s performance of three minutes in duration will be judged according to the extent to which it demonstrates a complete lack of substantive knowledge of their chosen subject matter, coupled with the arrogance with which their stupidity is conveyed (in perfect unison, of course).
Suggested US Team: Linda Ronstadt and Barbra Streisand.
Basis for Judging: In order to score high points with the judges in this event, the partners must tell the world a completely outlandish story (again, in unison), which could only be believed by someone with the maturity of a three-year old and yet maintain a straight (non-red) face for the duration of the event.
Suggested US Team: Bill and Hillary Clinton. (Possible Alternates – Johnny Cochran and OJ Simpson. Other alternates, if necessary, can be chosen from a large pool of New Jersey politicians)
Synchronized Drunken Ranting
Basis of Judging: The team’s performance will be judged based upon their degree of intoxication, the mindlessness and general unintelligibility of the subject matter and the extent to which they can be thoroughly obnoxious in their delivery. Extra points can be earned with well-placed belches and hiccups.
Suggested US Team: Ted Kennedy and Ted Turner. (Possible alternates – Courtney Love and Sean Penn)
Synchronized Vulgar Gesturing
Basis for Judging: A team will be awarded points based on the number of vulgar gestures that can be exhibited in this three-minute event, with extra points being given for creatively combining gestures.
Suggested US Team: The US should not enter a team, as the Italian Team has a lock on this event.
In a Star Ledger op-ed piece, Bob Braun urges that New Jersey’s form of government needs a major overhaul. The author claims that this can only be accomplished by convening a state constitutional convention to change the state constitution to provide for statewide elections for the positions of state controller (who could act as a “fiscal cop”) and lieutenant governor (who would be elected by the people, not by senators, to take over as governor in the event that the governor can no longer serve because of resignation or otherwise).
Braun opines that, most critical of all, is a change in the state’s constitution that would require the election of the state attorney general. Braun states:
Ponder this: We have a governor who quits because, he implies strongly, he faces blackmail from a former aide because he is gay. The FBI is on the case.
But, whoa! Doesn’t New Jersey have a criminal justice system? The same system that tried to intimidate [Robert] Martin? [a republican state senator who, according to Braun was paid “an early-morning visit by State Police detectives for voting against a governor's choice for attorney general”] And isn’t extortion — blackmail — a state as well as federal crime?
So why haven’t we heard of a state investigation into the political self-destruction of Gov. James E. McGreevey? A call to Peter Harvey’s office elicited only that our attorney general is not investigating anything about our governor.
What a shock!
Braun’s position with regard to the need for a state attorney general who is not beholden to the governor for his job is bolstered by a demonstrated lack of anything resembling vigorous law enforcement efforts against corrupt state-government officials.
Rather than immediately jumping on the bandwagon for a constitutional convention, I have to give Braun’s proposals a bit more thought. However, I have to say that it seems obvious to me that the current political system is broken.
It’s Their Business.
I was disappointed upon seeing the headline on today’s Star Ledger, which screamed, “The Day McGreevey Shocked his Wife.” The article details an interview with a friend of Mr. and Mrs. McGreevey, who states with apparent certainty, that it was not until a few days before the governor’s resignation announcement that Mrs. McGreevey learned of her husband’s sexual orientation.
While I find it a bit difficult to believe that Mrs. McGreevey knew nothing of the governor’s sexual preference until a few days ago, I do not believe that the story was at all newsworthy, much less deserving of the headline. Indeed, in my view, the interactions between Mr. and Mrs. McGreevey concerning this matter are no one’s business but theirs.
Here is an excellent rundown of some of the more notable convicted, indicted (or under investigation), and ethically challenged New Jersey political “success stories”.
August 17, 2004
John O’Neill: “Hello.”
John Kerry: “May I please speak with John O’Neill?”
John O’Neill: “Speaking.”
John Kerry: “Hi, John. This is John Kerry.”
John O’Neill: “I recognized your voice.”
John Kerry: “John. I have to tell you that you and those Swift Boat guys are really giving me a hard time, and I was wondering whether you might be interested in establishing some kind of truce.”
John Kerry: “Let me be frank, John. You know — sailor to sailor.”
John Kerry: “OK, well, I’m putting together a list of people I would like to have serve in my administration, if I win this thing in November. Seeing as how you are a former Navy officer and a Vietnam Vet, I was wondering whether you might be interested in serving as my Secretary of the Navy.”
John O’Neill: “‘Sailor to sailor’ did you say?”
John Kerry: “Absolutely.”
John O’Neill: “Shove off, asshole.”