Wednesday
Mar302016

An ex-convict talks about the police

An interesting perspective from Amiri King, and ex-convict who went straight over a decade ago.  Fair warning:  This video isn't for anyone who objects to strong language.  Watchdog apologizes in advance to anyone who is offended by Mr. King or his earthy delivery.


Tuesday
Mar292016

More safety for women and girls -- not less!

Jersey Conservative has pushed back against the economic and political establishment and their lackeys in the mainstream media who want to allow people who are anatomically male, but who claim they are female, into toilets that are reserved for the use of women and girls.  The fact that this would allow a host of convicted adult male sex offenders and pedophiles who claim they are now women into these currently female-only safe zones doesn't seem to bother the establishment and some in the mainstream media.

The threat posed by men who have been convicted of sexual abuse, harassment, violent assault, rape, and even murder is too high a price for innocent women and girls to pay to make some people feel "more positive" about their adopted sexual "identity".  We should not sacrifice a single woman or young girl on the altar of political correctness.  Their safety should come first!

People like the billionaires Samuel Irving Newhouse (estimated net worth:  $9.5 billion) and Donald Edward Newhouse (estimated net worth: $10.5 billion), who own the Star-Ledger, want New Jersey to go backwards.  They are very powerful, have influence, and are used to getting their own way.  But just because Donald is the 2nd richest resident of New Jersey and the 56th richest person in the United States, that doesn't mean he should get to squash the rights and will of the millions of average people who live in New Jersey.

All over the world we see responsible governments and businesses putting the safety of women and girls first.  In cities around the world -- in Cairo, Delhi, Tokyo, and Mexico City -- responsible government leaders have responded to sexual harassment against women and girls by providing them with the option of using female-only public transportation subway cars and buses.  Here in New Jersey, they want to take away the option of women-only toilets.

Now Germany has announced that it will be running women-only trains.  Here is a story that appeared yesterday in a European newspaper, the Daily Mirror:

German train operator introduces women-only carriages amid fears over 'migrant sex attacks'

A German train operator has announced it is introducing women and children-only train carriages amid fears over sex attacks in the country.

The Regiobahn line between Leipzig and Chemnitz will introduce the carriages to increase security for women.

The carriages will be next to the train conductor in a bid to make women feel more safe.

 

A spokesman for the railway said: “The local proximity to the customer service representative is chosen deliberately.”

Germany is still reeling from a string of sex attacks in Cologne on New Year's Eve, allegedly carried out by dozens of migrants.

In total more than 800 complaints were made to police and the incidents have sparked criticism over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to refuse to limit the number of refugees allowed into the country.

But the railway has said the measure is not a direct reaction to the Cologne incidents but is about increasing security generally.

The idea of gender segregated carriages was suggested by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last year as a measure to reduce sexual harassment on public transport.

He said: “Some women have raised with me that a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport could be to introduce women-only carriages. 

“I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and if piloting this at times and on modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”

The measure is also currently in place in countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Egypt.

Saturday
Mar262016

Of Rat Finks and Know-Nothings

In Sunday's Bergen Record, columnist Charles Stile wrote touchingly about how the patricians of an earlier incarnation of the GOP used to put down internal dissent.  Yes indeed, that class of folks well described in Tad Friend's memoir, Friendly Money, who in politics are epitomized by former Governor Christie Todd Whitman, certainly did dominate the Republican Party before the likes of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich came along.  They also lost pretty consistently and were responsible for that long dry spell without power in Congress. 

The decline of the GOP's dominance by its patrician class tracks what Friend, a staff writer at the New Yorker, calls "the last days of WASP splendor."  And while we can understand how Stile may long for those days of certainty -- for there is a kind of comfort in knowing who is who and where you stand in relation  -- we think that such a class system, one where the leadership is based on inherited status and wealth, ultimately fails.  In fact, one of the great concerns about this presidential cycle is that the role of unlimited money has led to a new order based on such a system -- where family name (Bush, Clinton) is half the battle.

It's an old debate here in America:  Should a Republic have an aristocracy and, if so, what is the selection process?

Writing in the Spring edition of the Hedgehog Review, the University of Virginia's quarterly on culture, Johann Neem makes a few points about presidential candidate Donald Trump, the voters he has energized, and the 19th century political party they are sometimes compared with.  Neem is Professor of History at Western Washington University and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture of the University of Virginia. 

In contrast to Stile, Neem makes the case for some serious soul-searching to understand how the GOP -- and the country -- got to where the Trump candidacy "dismissed initially as a joke" became the phenomenon it is.  Neem makes some points worth considering:

"To many Americans facing a changing world and fearing that globalization is depriving them of a fair shot at the good life, not to mention basic security, Trump's promise to do something makes him stand apart from a political establishment, right and left, that seems clueless and adrift."

"The (anti-immigration) Know-Nothings displaced the Whigs as the Democrats' primary opposition in parts of the nation, and elected seventy-five representatives to Congress."

"As the historian Tyler Anbinder makes clear in his book, Nativisim and Slavery (1992), many supporters of the upstart party voted out of frustration and disgust with the political system.  As Trump would do 175 years later, the Know-Nothings promised to do something.  They appealed in particular to antislavery voters who felt that neither the Whigs or Democrats were willing to address what they considered America's most pressing problem."

"But if Know-Nothings focused on immigrants as the main cause of America's ills, they gained a broad following because they tackled problems and concerns that went well beyond the immigrant question.  In Massachusetts, Know-Nothing legislators who sought to encourage unity among Americans mandated racial integration in the same schools in which they had imposed Protestant Bibles.  They passed laws to protect people from creditors and, in Massachusetts, abolished imprisonment for debt and passed child labor legislation.  In Connecticut, they passed a law stating that ten hours was the de facto workday."

"Know-Nothings also pushed for greater regulation of banks, railroads, and other corporations.  Whether successfully or not,  Know-Nothings brought working people's concerns to the legislative floor.  They also sought to render government more accountable to voters by making more offices elective, increasing punishment for corruption, and promising to curb patronage."

"Know-Nothing legislators came through with their promise to back U.S. Senators who opposed slavery's expansion. . . In Massachusetts, Know-Nothing legislators passed resolutions calling for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise (to prevent slavery's expansion) and repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act."

In the presidential election of 1856, "most Know-Nothings sided with the new Republican party's candidate John C. Fremont because they considered the issue of slavery more pressing" than the issue of immigration.  Essentially, the Know-Nothings helped destroy the old Whig Party, so that a new Republican Party could emerge.

Neem ends with this salutary warning:

"To the extent that Trump's supporters represent a new Know-Nothing movement, the lesson is clear.  Globalization has resulted in significant cultural and economic changes that many Americans feel have been hurtful not only to themselves but also to the nation as a whole.  Those same voters feel betrayed by a political elite that seems, in their view, more committed to cosmopolitanism and the international order than to national self-interest. "

"The loss of jobs and even of whole industries, drug use, violent crime, the spread of terrorism, and the challenges of an increasingly diverse society -- all of these can be connected with some of the disruptive and dislocating effects of globalization.   Trump's brand of nativism shifts all the blame for these and other problems to people and nations beyond our borders.  But it would be wrong to see his supporters' attraction to such nativism as simple xenophobia, though of course it can easily become that.  Above all, Trump's supporters want someone who will do something, almost anything, about problems they think are growing worse."

Monday
Mar212016

The county freeholder who opposes democracy

Freeholder Richard Vohden never held public office before becoming the hand-picked candidate of county insiders in 2010.  He should never have survived the primary for freeholder, but for the steadfastness of his very honorable running mate, who both underwrote the campaign and took considerable damage on Vohden's behalf. 

Without the guidance of that running mate, Vohden fell under the influence of two of the county's most accomplished operators -- Freeholder Richard Zeoli and County Administrator John Eskilson.  With Vohden's running mate gone, Zeoli became the "big man" on the Freeholder Board.  As a county employee, Eskilson had always worked for the Freeholders, but with Zeoli, they formed a partnership.  Zeoli's wife found employment at Eskilson's wife's company.  They began making deals, one of which -- the solar deal -- haunts Sussex County to this day. 

After Zeoli moved to Philadelphia and decided it was too far a commute to run for re-election, Eskilson found that he could convince those remaining board members to let him run the show.  Gone were the days of Freeholders like Oroho,  Wirths, Chiusano, Parrott, Vetrano, and Zellman.  In Vohden, John Eskilson found someone who not only would believe his bullshit, he would preach it.  And to this day, he does.

Reporter Vera Olinski of the Advertiser News ran a story on March 21, 2016, that covered the recent meeting of the Freeholder Board at which, and we quote:

"Freeholder Richard A. Vohden read portions of the administrative code aloud to the board. Vohden said he wanted the administrator to do his job and for freeholders to only be liaisons, including on the Engineering Committee."

It appears that Vohden mistakes the administrative code for the State Constitution.  Heck, he mistakes it for the Constitution of the United States of America. 

Vohden, who has no legal background that we are aware of, fails to understand that the Freeholder Board is the Legislative AND Executive branch for Sussex County.  It is the same in most counties although, in a few, they have decided to have an ELECTED County Executive.  In those counties, the Freeholder Board is the Legislative branch only. 

In no county -- anywhere in America -- is an UNELECTED BUREAUCRAT the Executive and Legislative branches of government, with the elected members merely serving as his "liaisons" to various parts of the bureaucracy.  That's just undemocratic -- and it is also deeply authoritarian.  It is the philosophical redux of the Fuhrer Principle. 

"The Führerprinzip was not invented by the Nazis. Hermann Graf Keyserling, an ethnically German philosopher from Estonia, was the first to use the term Führerprinzip. One of Keyserling's central claims was that certain 'gifted individuals' were 'born to rule' on the basis of Social Darwinism.

The ideology of the Führerprinzip sees each organization as a hierarchy of leaders, where every leader (Führer, in German) has absolute responsibility in his own area, demands absolute obedience from those below him and answers only to his superiors. This required obedience and loyalty even over concerns of right and wrong.

...This principle became the law of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (Nazi Party) and the SS and was later transferred to the whole German society once the Nazis took power. Appointed mayors replaced elected local governments. Schools lost elected parents' councils and faculty advisory boards, with all authority being put in the headmaster's hands.  The Nazis suppressed associations and unions with elected leaders, putting in their place mandatory associations with appointed leaders.

In practice, the selection of unsuitable candidates often led to micromanagement and commonly to an inability to formulate coherent policy... Rules tended to become oral rather than written."

(Wikipedia)

With Vohden and at least seven others having announced or considering a run for the two freeholder seats up this year, a discussion on how each of them view the governing relationship between the elected Freeholder Board and the appointed county bureaucracy is important.  We will be reaching out to each candidate to get their thoughts.

And while we are at it, we would like to urge two advocates of reform not on that list of seven to consider adding their voices to this election:  Independent Harvey Roseff and Democrat Bill Weightman.  Both would elevate the level of discourse and add to the debate.

Freeholders Zeoli, Crabb, and Vohden with then County Counsel McConnell

Friday
Mar182016

CD05: Eustace vs. Garrett

Assemblyman Tim Eustace is a self-professed "gay" member of the New Jersey Legislature.  It is enough for us to know that he is a Democrat and that, when a member of the town council in Maywood, he sneered at those "hillbilly" taxpayers who wanted to maintain the town's rural character.  Eustace was pro-development, pro-corporate development, and opposed to allowing Maywood to remain (How goes the taunt?) "Mayberry."

These days, instead of focusing on his job as an Assemblyman -- instead of doing something about record child poverty, foreclosure, unemployment and underemployment, public debt, and the highest property taxes in America -- Eustace is protesting businesses that have contributed to Congressman Scott Garrett, a Republican from Sussex County.  You see, Tim Eustace is an old-fashioned bigot in a new-fashioned way.

Assemblyman Eustace pours the old wine of intolerance into the new bottle of the LGBT movement.  Eustace is intolerant of Christians who practice their beliefs in the same way they have done for over 2,000 years.  If Eustace had his way, he would label the Gospel as "hate speech" and then criminalize it.  Eustace is so self-absorbed that he can only tolerate being around people who agree with him one hundred percent.  Everyone else must be suppressed.

Last year, Assemblyman Eustace was on the ballot and he had a lot of negative things to say about his opponents.  An intriguing question about Eustace's own background came up, but true to the self-absorbed homunculus that he is, Eustace refused to answer any questions.

Here's what prompted the question:  On the New Jersey Court's public ACMS website, are two "active" judgments against a Timothy J. Eustace: 

 

A search of the details reveals that two civil cases filed in Bergen County are connected with these judgments.  They are dockets DC-624821-89 and DC-625025-89.  These cases refer to civil actions taken by the Leonard Shaw Bail Bond Agency against Timothy J. Eustace of 453 Golf Ave., Maywood, NJ 07607.  

453 Golf Ave., Maywood, NJ 07607, is the same address used by Assembly candidate Timothy J. Eustace.  Could the Timothy J. Eustace with the two outstanding judgments be Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace?

Who is the other party in the case?  Who or what is the Leonard Shaw Bail Bond Agency?  Well, they are now known as Kirk Shaw Bail Bonds.  The company website advertises that they are "directly across from the Bergen County Jail" and have "24-hour service."  Here is a look at their website:

 http://www.kirkshawbailbonds.com 

Who uses a bail bond company?  To explain that, here is a video by a well-known New Jersey attorney:

 

So what we have here are two outstanding judgments against a Timothy J. Eustace, by a bail bond company.  These relate back to two civil cases in which, apparently, Timothy J. Eustace owed something to the bail bond company.  This could relate back to a criminal case, for which the bail was needed.

Now it is important to understand that these court records are maintained by the same entity that has taken it upon itself to dictate the education funding formula in New Jersey.  These people are idiots, so there is every possibility that the Court's records -- just like the Court's judgments -- are full of crap.  On the other hand, it could point to a very serious case of wrongdoing.

Of course, Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace of 453 Golf Ave., Maywood, NJ 07607, can probably set the record straight.  So, Brother Eustace, if you would like to, we'd be happy to.