Thursday
Jul052018

NJ.com strains its sphincter with Independence Day editorial

Someone should tell brother Tom Moran that babies don’t come out that end. 

The day before yesterday the editorial board of what used to be the Newark Star Ledger gathered in the staff convenience to have a collective dump.  Yesterday they published their incitement to (riot?/ do someone bodily harm?) and titled it:  “On this Independence Day, striving for a new birth of freedom.”  

No, this isn’t the second coming of Thomas Paine.  What they offered up was a collection of selective complaints, some of which they have loudly supported when applied to those they don’t approve of.  For instance, the editorial board cheers on a global corporation like Facebook when it refuses service to those it disapproves of… but let some small-time baker do it and it becomes something to start a civil war over.  There’s no logic or balance to these guys. 

For Tom Moran and his bunch, “freedom” is a subjective construct limited to people who they like.  If they don’t think you are a “good” person, as they define it, then they sincerely believe that you shouldn’t have “freedom”.  Heck, they don’t even believe you should have the right to speak or earn a living to sustain yourself. 

They cry about ICE sending parents who break the law to one detention center and juveniles to another but ignore the fact that everyjurisdiction in America does the same thing every day.  An ACLU study from 2017 shows that of the 219,000 women incarcerated in the United States – 80 percent are mothers.  And here is something even more shocking:  60 percent of the women behind bars in America have not been convicted of any crime but are simply awaiting trial. 

Where is the outcry about separating them from their children?  Where are the rallies?  

The reason for their incarceration is the biggest threat to Freedom in America today:  Money.  Those women don’t have any or enough to count for anything in our judicial process… and so they rot in jail… separated from their children. 

The NJ.com editorial board – part of a corporation owned by two of the richest billionaires in the world – conveniently left out how the accumulation of wealth and power serves to undermine and destroy democracy.  Sure, they quoted President Ronald Reagan (who they hated, by the way).  It was Reagan who reminded us that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Well, a recent Princeton University study concluded that America has already passed from being a democracy and is now in the ranks of oligarchy.  What?  You didn’t read about it in the Star-Ledger or any other of the organs owned by the oligarchs who the NJ.com editorial board work for?  There is only one battle worth fighting but Moran and his buddies dare not speak its name...

If you want to resist something… resist this! 

Of course, it has nothing to do with President Trump or any of the issues being pushed on us by NJ.com.  We’ve been on this trajectory for 40 years.  The oligarchs who own NJ.com want us to ignore what they’re up to.  They want to keep us fighting each other.

Their campaign of illusion and distraction – to pit working Americans against each other – is designed to keep their wealth and power secure.  Now they want to abolish ICE!  Isn’t it time we abolish the power they use to shout down democracy?

President Reagan reminded us that we don’t pass freedom down to our children through our bloodstream.  “It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  The oligarchs who own NJ.com, the power they represent, and their ability to pervert democracy is an existential threat to freedom in America today.  We should reject the attempts to distract and divide us put forward by the amanuenses who do their bidding.

Tuesday
Jul032018

New Jersey GOP: Don’t be afraid to be Republicans.

By Rubashov

A weekend before the NJGOP held its Leadership Summit in Atlantic City, New Jersey, two contributors to this website attended a gathering of conservative academics and writers and journalists, hosted by an organization founded by the late William F. Buckley Jr.  The 500 present where in Philadelphia to enjoy a nice dinner and listen to a lecture by a writer named Rod Dreher.

Rod Dreher is the senior editor of the national magazine and website, The American Conservative.  This is the publication that predicted the fall of the Bush dynasty and the rise of Donald Trump.  They wrote about the populist shift in GOP politics when most Washington-based journalists were confidently predicting that Paul Ryan was the next big thing.

Dreher wrote a book last year that set the academic world talking.  It was debated in all those places that thoughtful Republicans go to figure out what the world is, and how they – and what they believe – fit into it.  Conservative journalists and think tanks debated the vision Dreher presented – and the book was a popular success, a “New York Times Bestseller”, in fact.

The book is called The Benedict Option (A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation).  It calls for Christian conservatives to reassess their relationships with the outside world – with institutions like the Republican Party and corporate America. 

Once upon a time, conservatives gave their votes to “pro-business” corporatists and in exchange received their “protection” on policies impacting traditional values.  The battle over same-sex marriage ended all that, exposing the business community as cheerleaders for the materialistic “sex and shopping” culture that sustains their short-term profits.  

In response to this and other betrayals, Dreher suggests that believers prepare themselves for a hard time, for a period not unlike that suffered by eastern Christianity during the Communist occupation of their nations and cultures.  The idea is to hold oneself apart, become stronger in belief and in practice, and build new institutions outside the hubbub and the madness.

David Brooks of the New York Times wrote that The Benedict Option was the most important and discussed book in a decade.  Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the book prophetic and something every Christian should read.  Many have.  And they are starting to look at things differently, and beginning to reassess.

It's not only conservative Christians who are recoiling from a betrayal by the Establishment of which they once thought themselves a part.  Working class Americans of all ethnicities, creeds, and genders have given up on a Democratic Party obsessed with global capitalism and a Labor movement that threw them over for an immigration agenda that bloats the gray economy and threatens their jobs.  In his book, The Unwinding, An Inner History of the New America (2013), George Packer extended this loss of connection and idea of betrayal to the broader American middle class.  Meanwhile, libertarians are aghast at the growing regulatory police state and endless “war” economy.  While the election of Donald Trump has left many old-time, business-centric Republicans wondering who is who and what is what. 

Since Rod Dreher's lecture, there have been two regional meetings to discuss the practical implications of The Benedict Option on a state by state, party by party basis.  In each case, an individual reassessment is being made.  One political party organization that appears disconnected to its natural electorate is the Republican Party in New Jersey.  Indeed, it is such to the point of it being said not to possess an electorate at all, but rather a collection of voters who still notionally respond to the word “Republican”.

In arriving at this assessment, the discussion focused on what is a political party and how does it devolve the further it gets from its center.  In other words, everyone knows what it means to be a Republican and this reflects the generalizations held about the party nationally or globally.  But the further away you get from the center the greater the opportunity is for that message or "brand" to be corrupted, and its meaning lost. 

So what is the Republican Party – once we get down to the state level or county level – in a place like New Jersey?

(1) Is it the sum of the beliefs and aspirations of its members, as expressed every four years in a party platform?

(2) Or is it the network of profitable business interests of those who occupy leadership positions within the party?

This isn't a gibe at the leadership of the New Jersey GOP but rather a basic philosophical question.  Those engaged in this discussion are strongly influenced by Edmund Burke, who wrote:  "The principles of true politics are those of morality enlarged."

Burke considered politics to be a branch of ethics.  This separated him from Machiavelli and the modern political tradition which holds that "power" is supreme.

In light of this, the question above is posed.

So, will the NJGOP be guided by morality and ethics – and a written set of principles – or will it merely be a vehicle for men seeking power and the financial opportunities that flow from it?

Once upon a time, a certain Assemblyman – as Chairman of the NJGOP – came in for some very rough criticism because he would not formally endorse (or allow the Republican State Committee to endorse) the platform of the Republican National Committee, which had been debated and democratically approved in the summer of 2008.  

He was criticized for the part he played in leaving the New Jersey Republican Party without a set of written principles, but after he was removed as State Chairman by Governor Chris Christie, there was a new platform, adopted in the summer of 2012, debated and democratically approved as was the one before.  Sure enough, the NJGOP didn't adopt it either.  A new chairman, installed by Governor Christie, ignored the new set of party principles as had been the old.

And now there's been another platform, debated and voted on in the summer of 2016, by delegates from all across America.  And it too, has suffered the same fate as the others.  It has not been endorsed by the NJGOP – leaving the Republican Party in New Jersey without a set principles, a road map by which to judge its success or failure. 

Why?  Any poll will show you that most registered Republicans in New Jersey uniformly support the platform of the Republican Party.  So what makes it so difficult for the members of the New Jersey Republican State Committee to simply say, yes, we are Republicans and we support the democratically approved principles of our party as set down in the Republican Party Platform of 2016?

Well, in most cases, those state committee members are selected by Republican County chairmen in counties that have what is called a "party line".  This is s thumb on the scale at elections that enables a county machine to note who the "official" candidates of the party are. 

It is a system not unlike that practiced in less democratic nations and is thoroughly disreputable.  If New Jersey was a third world country organizing its first elections and it proposed such a thing, the United Nations would be bound to declare those elections rigged and undemocratic.  But New Jersey is part of the West and was established before the founding of the U.N.  So the political parties here are fortunate in that they do not fall under the scrutiny of international law. 

Most New Jersey Republicans are unaware that their state and local party organizations do not operate under a set of principles – or indeed any moral or ethical guide at all.  99 percent have no idea that the national Republican Party platform isn't used as a guide when recruiting potential Republican nominees for public office.

You see, most registered Republicans in New Jersey assume that there is one long chain of command leading from the White House of Donald Trump all the way down to the county committee level.  Republican voters believe that when the county party says that so and so is the "official" party candidate, they are hearing the word of the Republican National Committee.

Of course, this is not true.  That’s why there is so much confusion when state and local Republican leaders in New Jersey fail to match the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC.  There is no direct line from the White House to the office of the local party boss.  And without a set of principles – a written standard by which to judge good from bad, success from failure – local party organizations are left with nothing but the will and wishes of a controlling party boss or cadre.

The employment and economic interests of many state and local Republican leaders tends to complicate things further.  Many county chairmen function as lobbyists or hold business connections and loyalties that are very much at variance with those principles of the Republican Party and the aspirations of ordinary Republicans.  This leads some party organizations to operate as for-profit mutual benefit societies or in some cases, sole proprietorships.  While some operate as entrepreneurs, others are more like placemen – granted patronage jobs or vendors contracts or some gift of status with which to do business. 

This is a surprise to many ordinary Republican voters in New Jersey, who still believe that their local party stands for the Republican platform.  In reality, when they vote Republican, they are not voting for who they think they are, but rather they are voting for the candidates put forward by what could be described as  independent operators, with agendas often at odds with the Republican Party platform. 

A review of the candidacies put forward by New Jersey Republicans in the last decade clearly shows that the Republican Party platform plays no role in the selection process.  What that means for average Republican voters is that instead of being a members of a party of ideas, of values, of right and wrong -- they are merely facilitators of what are often independent operators, who at times conduct themselves in ways that are more along the lines of an entrepreneur than an ideologue. 

A person’s vote is a very valuable thing.  Voters generally don’t treat it so, but it is.

Recently, Princeton University concluded a study that confirmed what many already feared – America is not a democracy.  How can we be?  Our precious votes are artificially funneled into two silos: Democratic or Republican.  If you want to look past those two, the media, academic, legal, and political powers of the Establishment won’t provide you with much.  “Pick one,” they tell us. 

We pledge our collective votes to one of two political parties with the understanding that we are going to get something in return.  That even if they try and fail, at the very least, they are going to stay somewhat true to what they say they are.  After all, we are voting for a national “brand” and we expect the candidates we vote for to reflect that.  We do not want to buy a new Ford only to learn that in New Jersey, a “Ford” is an aging Datsun.

If average voters think they are voting for a national Ford but instead get a local Datsun, then there really isn’t anything in it for the average Republican voter.  All they are doing is giving away their collective votes so that some local boss can harvest them to use to make money.  They think they are voting for people who believe in the platform of the Republican Party – of that thing they read about every four years and that largely reflects their values.  But it turns out to be just an illusion.  Someone has captured the Republican "brand" and monetized it. 

So voters turn-off, tune-out, and fail to turn-out to vote.

Voters are told how important it is to vote… by the guys who get jobs and contracts and status by monetizing other people’s collective votes. As for the average voter… maybe he or she loses a day’s wages by getting hauled up for jury duty (a delightful by-product of registering to vote).

And if you question how a new Ford is really an old Datsun… well then they call you names.  The true-believer is told he or she is some kind of freak for believing in the party platform.  What is wrong with you for thinking it was on-the-level?  Why would you ever believe that we actually believed in what we said we believed in?  Are you some kind of arsehole?

At the NJGOP Leadership Summit in Atlantic City, it was evident that very few could articulate what the Republican Party stood for.  The talk was all about the new technology available to communicate a message, rather than what that message is.  People who get paid to win campaigns in New Jersey were there to explain tactics and polling but not how to define and sell what we are burdened with… that word “Republican.”

The leadership of the NJGOP is now faced with the task of reconnecting a party with its voters.  To convince the one percent who profit from politics – and who control the levers of power – to allow a space for the 99 percent who simply want to vote for people they believe represent the values and principles of the Republican Party.

This will require patience and understanding – and will be made more difficult by the attitudes of some who use polling to determine political positions, rather than as a means to test arguments with which to convince.  The Democrats are in a position of hegemony because they invited in their true believers, gave them a seat at the table, and reaped financial benefits and grassroots activism by doing so.  They refused to follow public opinion. Choosing instead to make it

The career of Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein should be studied by every aspiring Republican activist.  At the start of his long march, when confronted with disheartening and frankly abysmal polling data, he did not jettison his principles, he shifted the conversation.  He used polling – not as a revelation to tell him what to believe – but as a tool for convincing others.

Remember that no more than 1 percent of those who vote are there to make money off the system.  99 percent show up to vote because they believe Republican means Republican principles and ideas and policies and the platform.  They are not in on the deal.  They get no cut.  So let's build institutions that these people can trust and that – more importantly – earn their trust.

So... which will it be?  A party based on ethics and morality – with a set of principles by which to judge its success or failure?  Or every man for himself, the pursuit of power, the worship of greed?  It is a time for choosing. 

The Republican Party in New Jersey can choose to open itself up to ideas and nail its colors to the mast and say "this is who we are and this is what we stand for!"  Ideas have brought the national Republican Party far – so why are they resisted in New Jersey?  Instead of avoiding issues, embrace them, use them, figure out ways in which to explain them and do so artfully to win the debate. 

For New Jersey Republicans, it is time to remember who you are.

Tuesday
Jun262018

NJ Assembly: Child Protective Services (DYFS) a cause of heart disease

About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – one out of every four deaths.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. 

18,597 New Jerseyeans died of heart disease in 2016.  In comparison, there were 255 gun murders in New Jersey that year. 

So you would think that heart disease would be a subject taken seriously by those elected members of the New Jersey Legislature.  Think again.

We need to examine the causes of heart disease and address them.  We should not obfuscate those causes with a lot of political clutter.  If anything can be said to cause heart disease, then what earns our attention? 

Enter the New Jersey Legislature.

In order to claim political points against the administration of Donald Trump, the New Jersey Legislature passed a resolution on Monday, June 25th, declaring that it is “sanctioned child abuse” for a government entity to separate a child from its parent or parents.  It went on to declare that the policy of separating a child from its parent or parents causes “long term health concerns such as heart disease and morbid obesity.” 

The resolution – Assembly Resolution 175 – originally made the claim that this policy caused “cancer” as well, but when ridiculed for it on these pages, they removed “cancer” from the resolution.  When removed so easily, one can only ask why it was there in the first place?

AR-175 was specifically directed against the federal bureaucracy, as it is under the administration of the current incumbent, President Donald Trump.  Apparently, the honorables in the New Jersey Legislature believe that the presence of Mr. Trump in the White House has triggered among children a genetic predisposition towards heart disease and cancer.  Of course, this is nonsense.

If there is scientific evidence that the forcible separation of children from their parent or parents causes heart disease or cancer, then it matters not what agency is doing the separating, but simply that the separation occurs.  The disease does not differentiate between President Obama and President Trump or between a federal bureaucrat or one from the state.  If separating a child from its parent or parents raises the likelihood that the child will suffer heart disease – AS IS NOW CLAIMED, OFFICIALLY, BY THE NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE – then it is the case ALWAYS, not just when President Trump is in office or when a federal agency is doing the separating. 

So here we are.  In its attempt to label Donald Trump with “child abuse”, the New Jersey Legislature has labeled itself with “child abuse” – because there are a host of laws, all passed by the honorables, that give state and local authorities the power to separate children from their parent or parents.  And it is all now, per the New Jersey Legislature, “sanctioned child abuse.”

Are we about to see a host of “corrective” measures by the Legislature to allow juveniles to be housed with a parent in places like Trenton State Prison?  They must know that every day, law enforcement separates family members when they are arrested for breaking the law.  Adult males are housed with adult males, adult females with adult females, and minors/children in juvenile facilities.  That’s a lot of heart disease.

Sadly, it must be pointed out, that it wasn’t only Democrats who participated in this strange formulation.  About half the Republicans in the Assembly jumped at the chance to condemn Donald Trump and those federal agencies involved in border control.  Do they really believe this nonsense or were they just up for a spot of virtue-signaling?  

Are we to presume that they too applaud the current dysfunction at our nation’s borders?  Why has there been no resolution calling for a hardening of border security against the modern-day slavery caused by human trafficking?  Do those Republicans who voted for AR-175 not care about the ease with which narcotics, opioids, illegal firearms, and sexually abused women and children (even infants for purchase) freely flow through our porous border?  Are they not concerned about the threat of terrorism?

Those libertarians among us might want to thank the New Jersey Legislature for officially stating what they have long believed:  That the biggest abuser of children in America is the State.  We don’t know if that’s what they intended, but that is what they have done.

So look out DYFS – those lawsuits are coming!  The State of New Jersey gave me heart disease when they arrested mom for something illegal and shipped me off to a foster home.  I got heart disease and the State Legislature said it was because of what the State did.  Here it is… in black and white.  They say so.

The docket backlog for lawsuits will be measured in decades.  The state will need to double the size of its courts to handle it.

The State House is a closed society, mired in groupthink.  What you get from that is Assembly Resolution 175.  Poorly worded, emotion trumping reason… deadly in a primary and a real pain in the ass in a general.

Monday
Jun252018

Democrats, their Media, and how they got us Vietnam

The Establishment media talks endlessly about being the sole source of “real” news. These massive corporations – with financial holdings and economic interests that go well beyond “media” – are really just part of the larger entertainment industry. 

Of course, this is just a sales pitch to buy their products.  Establishment media claims it is the best or the only source of reliable news.  And it claims that all “alternative” sources (non-corporate/ non-Establishment/ or in New Jersey, non-subsidized) are so-called “FAKE” news.  That too is a form of advertising – a negative attack on a competing product – not unlike the advertising campaign used to promote this product…

The truth is that Establishment media long ago lost its credibility with the American public.  It happened when it got involved in politics and allowed the desire for a particular electoral outcome to trump its integrity.  It happened in 1964, when Establishment media traded intellectual curiosity (going where the facts took you) for partisanship (presenting the “facts” to achieve a desired end).  You can see the effects today, as in this exchange between two reporters…

The one seems ready to swoon, almost sexually aroused by the pronouncements of the other.  And to what end?  Rasmussen recently released polling numbers indicating that 54 percent of American voters buy Trump’s story on illegal immigration and the treatment of children at the border, while just 35 percent have swallowed the Establishment media’s version.  This is what happens when you sell bullshit for so long.  People turn you off.

***

The 1964 presidential campaign between Democrat incumbent Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) and Republican Barry Goldwater was as contentious as the Clinton-Trump race of 2016.  The Establishment media and entertainment industry overwhelmingly supported LBJ against Goldwater, a populist right winger.

The Establishment pulled out all the stops, even lining up more than a thousand psychiatrists to publicly question the Republican’s sanity…

 

So much for Establishment media and “fact-checking”.   

Long after the election was decided and the Republican safely defeated, the American Psychiatric Society ruled that what had been done to Barry Goldwater was “unethical” and to prevent it from happening again, passed Section 7 in its Principles of Medical Ethics.  Informally called “The Goldwater Rule”, it states that it is “unethical” for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public. 

What the Establishment media perpetrated was so egregious that the Courts allowed Goldwater to sue Fact magazine.  Editor Ralph Ginzburg was sued for libel and Goldwater collected $75,000 (approximately $592,000 today) in damages.Now that is “FAKE NEWS”! 

Of course, all the major newspapers – led by the New York Times– endorsed LBJ.   

Hey, how old are you if you were a voter the last time the New York Times endorsed a Republican for President? 

Answer:  At least 82 years old! 

Yep, the New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for President since 1956!  How is that for fair and non-partisan?

In its 1964 endorsement of LBJ, the New York Times raised some themes that we recognize today:

“In fact, of the Goldwater-Miller campaign, the less said the better.”

“…if the wrong choice is made, the nation will face foreign disaster and domestic chaos.  The choice is not what it usually is in American Presidential elections: a choice between two variations of the middle.  This time the choice is such that if President Johnson and his administration are defeated, and Senator Goldwater and his adherents are elected, the country will be facing an upheaval of major proportions in both foreign and domestic policy.”

“Defeat of the Goldwater-Miller ticket will help restore control of the Republican party to the ranks of reason and moderation and thereby strengthen a two-party system that has been seriously endangered by their nomination.  But more important than this consideration is the fact that a Goldwater-Miller victory would divide the United States from its allies, would hearten and solidify its enemies, would represent a triumph for the radical right, a defeat of liberalism, a retrogression from the domestic policies that during the past generation have brought this country to its present state of prosperity.  We hope and believe that the American electorate will give the Johnson-Humphrey ticket a resounding victory.”

In aid of achieving this “resounding victory”, the Establishment media went all out… to the point that they willingly shilled for LBJ when he sold the Congress and the American public on the need to provide him with war-powers to pursue a broader conflict in Vietnam.  

Later this summer, will fall the 54th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident – which directly led to America’s war with North Vietnam.  In fact, today we know that the incident was almost entirely fabricated.  That there was, in fact, no “incident.” 

But the media was on a “mission” to elect a Democrat President and elect him they did.  Lyndon Baines Johnson won with 43 million votes and 486 electoral votes.  He won 44 of the 50 states and control of both Houses of Congress.

But the lie that helped him win continued to haunt America. 58,000 dead American soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen later – after a decade believing what the Establishment media had been too partisan to question – the facts began to emerge.

Only a fool would trust the Establishment media on any issue in which they have a partisan interest.  It is the same as in 1964, when they lied… and we died.

Thursday
Jun212018

Democrats silent on locking child in cage with sex-offenders

Trenton Democrats have been curiously silent on liberal activist and Democrat campaign contributor Peter Fonda’s call to have the President’s child put “in a cage with pedophiles”.  Especially given their over-the-top behavior when it comes to band banners or photos of men in high heels or Facebook posts comparing Democrats to Fascists or mere humor of any kind (except Trump jokes, those – like the Bush jokes of yore – are permitted).

Where is Lorretta Weinberg (does grandma approve of Fonda’s plan?) or Tom Moran (would he want to climb into that cage too?) or Britnee Timberlake or Ben Silva or NJTV’s Michael Hill or Jersey City’s Michael Maddalena or Michael Billy or Green Party moe Kenneth Collins… Where is the outrage?  Where are the demands that he be fired or that his business enterprise be boycotted?

Can we assume that “silence equals consent”?  Isn’t that what the idiots above claim?  Silence = Consent… correct?  So YOUR silence means… what?

A couple Wednesdays ago, local Democrat Party officials, the National Organization for Women, and some LGBT activists – led by Democrat-turned Green Party-turned Republican-turned Green Party activist Kenneth Collins – showed up at a meeting of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders to demand that Freeholder Carl Lazzaro, an ordained Christian clergyman, apologize and resign for expressing the following opinion:

Yes, they wanted the man’s head for writing that.  Yep, that’s it.

But from their SILENCE can we gather that they approve of this…

Where is the outrage?  Where are the demands that something be done?

Do they approve?  Or are they just engaging in a sneaky bit of schadenfreude?

Where is the National Organization for Women on this???  Why isn’t the Green Party’s Kenneth Collins organizing a rally on Newton Green?

MEMO to Loretta, Tom, Britnee, et al… Don’t ever bring up “hate” again until you face this head on, openly discuss it, and state your opinions publicly.