Entries in First Amendment (11)

Friday
Jun082018

Is Freeholder Graham opposed to the First Amendment?

The Skylands blog is a sort of quasi-government mouthpiece for the Freeholder Board majority of Boss George Graham, Jonathan Rose, and Carl Lazzaro.  During the primary, Bergen County’s John McCann had the support of Graham, Rose, and Lazzaro.  Apparently, McCann paid Graham for services of some kind, as well as county lobbyist Virginia Newman Littell, who served as his campaign’s co-chair. 

These folks just concluded a primary campaign in which they described their fellow Republican, a woman, as everything from a “pole dancer” to a “terrorist” – and suggested she “belonged in a cage” like an “animal”.  Real gentlemen, this lot. 

Now these politicians are suggesting that the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America be abrogated because they don’t like the Sussex County Watchdog website.  As Graham, Rose, and Lazzaro constitute a clear majority of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders – and as they exercise control over the Skylands website – this could be construed as an act of county government.  More on this later… 

The McCann team (Graham, Rose, Lazzaro, and Littell) is suggesting that having won the Republican primary on June 5th, that their candidate be immune from any negative commentary from this website.  In reply to this we suggest that you look carefully at our name.  Where do you see the word “Republican”? 

Sussex County Watchdog is not an organ of any political party.  Unlike the Skylands blog, it is not under the control of any elected official or party.  We are an agency of reform.  Any member of the public may contribute an article to Watchdog and we will publish it.  We do not ask if they belong to the Republican Party or to indeed any party. 

We find it curious that these elected Republicans are making this point.  After last year’s primary for freeholder, these elected Republicans refused to support the Republican nominee, Herb Yardley.  Instead, they provided support to the liberal Democrat nominee, Dan Perez.  

At the time, John McCann was asked to assist Republican Herb Yardley in his campaign.  Unfortunately, McCann was employed by the Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County and he wasn’t allowed to help a Republican.  

Their blog, the Skylands blog, ran a vicious campaign of personal smearing against Assemblyman Parker Space, Republican State Committeewoman Jill Space, the Space family, and the employees of Space Farms.  For this, Watchdog dubbed them “the creatures from the toilet” and so they remain.  Did it never occur to these elected Republicans that their campaign against Assemblyman Space was conducted concurrently with the Democrat Party’s campaign to unseat him and replace him with a far-leftist?  If it did, they apparently didn’t care.

So we find it humorous that these politicians suggest that a non-partisan blog be more loyal to the Republican Party than they have ever been.  

Of course, if they would like to make their arguments in writing, we would be more than happy to furnish them space on this website to do so.  Again, we are open to all points of view, all opinions.  

John McCann, as a licensed attorney in several states, should know better than to try to muscle or muzzle or restrain in any way the exercise of constitutionally protected civil rights.  This is not his first attempt.  We caution him.

Thursday
Apr122018

Extortion isn't the American way, but that doesn't stop some.

Sussex County Watchdog has been around since the spring of 2012.  Over the years, our efforts have stopped or brought to light many instances of public corruption.  These have included attempts to sell the county dump, the premature forcing of some county employees into retirement in order to use the money for new patronage employees, the corruption at the Sussex County Community College, the use of toxic chemicals near county employees, county spending and borrowing practices, county vendors and lobbyists, the county Solar scam, and the county's poor history with OPRA.  

Along the way, we've uncovered inside deals in the awarding of tax breaks and vendors' contracts, and the purchase of land.  On several occasions, Sussex County Watchdog led the way by contacting state and federal law enforcement, as it did during the solar scam -- when this website provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Attorney General's Office with background and material information. 

From time to time, our activities have made some insiders less than happy.  There is an all-too-cozy corruption at work at the county level.  Most counties in New Jersey are actually much more corrupt than Sussex is -- but, as in the Solar scam -- our county is being colonized by other counties interested in expanding their corruption here.  

Watchdog is important because we will act when corporate media is afraid to act because some important advertiser is at the core or connected with a matter.  We are anonymous because, in a county as cozy as Sussex is, it prevents direct retribution for exercising our First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.  Anonymous speech is as American as our Founders and has been protected through the centuries by the United States Supreme Court.

Nevertheless,  our efforts have been the target of extortion attempts -- of threats designed to coerce us to stop writing in a way that offends the extorter or to write in a way more favorable to the extorter.  We have always rejected such attempts, because extortion is not only a criminal act but an existential act.  As an act of coercion, it is designed to kill free will, and so is an enemy of freedom itself. 

Extortion is the crime of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion.

Most states define extortion as the gaining of property or money by almost any kind of force, or threat of 1) violence, 2) property damage, 3) harm to reputation, or 4) unfavorable government action. While usually viewed as a form of theft/larceny, extortion differs from robbery in that the threat in question does not pose an imminent physical danger to the victim. 

Extortion is a felony in all states. Blackmail is a form of extortion in which the threat is to expose embarrassing and damaging information to family, friends, or the public.  Inherent in this form of extortion is the threat to expose the details of someone's private life. 

Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats or force.   It involves a set of various types of actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response.  These actions may include, but are not limited to: extortion, blackmail, torture, threats to induce favors, or even sexual assault. In law, coercion is codified as a duress crime.  Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests. 

These crimes can take place over the telephone, via mail, text, email or other computer or wireless communication.  If any method of interstate commerce is used in the extortion, it can be a federal crime. 

As believers in the First Amendment and of the Bill of Rights, Sussex County Watchdog has always offered the liberty of our pages to any opposing point of view.  Write what you wish, and we will publish it.  We are an open forum, accessible to all.  And we offer anonymity to all who wish to publish.  We always have, and a few have made use of the liberty of our pages.  Some have stayed on as regular contributors.  

Unfortunately, there are many who don't want to be part of a free and open discussion.  They want to be able to exercise power, gain material benefit from the taxpayers, or seek power -- without scrutiny.  They don't want a discussion, they want power or a contract or taxpayers' money or status and they don't want to hear about it or have anyone asking questions.  These are the kinds of people who opt for extortion over the liberty of our pages. 

As one can readily appreciate, extortion is the realm of thug life, of wannabe Il Duces and Mafioso -- not of old political organizations and political families.  At least, it shouldn't be.  We have been surprised at some of the names connected with the latest attempt. 

Please allow us to provide counsel to our wannabe extorters, to those making the threats.  To those enemies of freedom, we say this:  The best way to address writing that you do not like is with more writing.  

Speech should be met with speech.  Not with threats, intimidation, coercion, and extortion.  Once you take that road there is only one way forward... as someone  who fears words, as the enemy of freedom, the book-burner, the hater of words and of journalism and of writing.  And where does it end?

It is a bloody path that you are choosing...

Friday
Feb092018

McCann doesn't do primaries but works for Democrats

Every Republican with a pulse knows what happens in a primary.  Two or more candidates duke it out -- sometimes it gets downright nasty -- but after the votes are counted and the dust clears, all sides get together behind the winner of the Republican primary and go and beat up the Democrat and win the election in November. 

That's how it was in 2016, when a lot of good conservatives worked for presidential candidates like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie, among others.  They fought for their candidates and against Donald Trump, but then got behind Donald Trump once he became the Republican nominee at the convention. 

Some Republicans, like Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, said that they couldn't support Donald Trump for President.  But at least they didn't support the Democrat ticket led by Hillary Clinton.   Later, Guadagno would be forgiven by many Republicans, including Mayor Carlos Rendo, who agreed to serve on her ticket in last year's gubernatorial race.

A very few Republicans, like candidate John McCann, continued to serve their Democrat paymasters (in McCann's case, Bergen Sheriff Michael Saudino) while Saudino was running for re-election as a Democrat on Hillary Clinton's ticket.  In our view, this is unconscionable.  Any Republican with a spine and worthy of the name should have campaigned against Michael Saudino in 2016.  He shouldn't have been taking a check from him.

But maybe John McCann doesn't understand the primary process too well because he doesn't vote in Republican primaries too often.  If his voting record is correct, McCann has showed up for one Republican primary in the last decade.  That's pretty darn lame.

For so many reasons, John McCann is a non-starter.  And this being America, we thought that we were free to express our opinion under the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.  Apparently, there are those who believe these rights should be suppressed by political power.  To this end, the first threats have arrived, from elected officials and those who are employed by elected officials.  We will be collecting them, so please, feel free to keep sending them.

Of course, those who wish to suppress us could send along their thoughts and ideas and join in the discussion that is democracy.  We would be happy to publish their thoughts and ideas if, indeed, they have any thoughts and ideas.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday
Sep272017

Public shaming is bullying. Treat it the same.

The attempt by the powerful -- in the form of the corporate media and the dominant political class -- to force others to conform to their social values or face the loss of employment, economic security, and status is textbook bullying.  In the case of Assemblyman Parker Space, it is clear that the Republican holds tastes in music and is of a socio-economic class different from that of the dominant establishment class. 

 

Space is a country boy, a blue-collar farmer, a Trump supporter, and a believer in traditional values.  This makes him a target for establishment bullying.  As for the establishment's complaints that Space used a five-letter word in private conversation, this is simply a case of rank hypocrisy by individuals who use the same words and far-far-worse in private and in public, as evidenced below.

 

Again and again, we are told that in America, we are a nation of laws.  But this is being steadily eroded by corporate media and their puppets in the political class.  With the connivance of establishment political figures the corporate media are attempting to create an extra-judicial method of determining everything from whether or not you can hold a job or operate a business to serving in public office.

 

Under this informal, extra-judicial system, the accusers do not need to produce proof of their accusations, neither does the accused have the opportunity to refute the charges made in any legal setting.  In this bullying culture, corporate media whips up a frenzy of bullying -- mobbing -- in order to indict, convict, and punish someone. 

 

The accusers simply need to "feel" that someone has done something for reasons that they disapprove of.  Of course, these "feelings" must conform to the social norms of the establishment.  Conforming to establishment norms allows some people to believe that they have the right to fire someone from his or her job, or put someone out of business, or overturn the will of the voters.

 

This is a form of technological vigilantism -- a post-modern lynch mob -- with elements of religion to it.  For "apologize... apologize... apologize," read "repent... repent... repent."  And it was specifically warned against by prescient writers like George Orwell, with the neo-religious fervor whipped up in a shaming exercise very like the two-minutes hate he describes in his great work, 1984:

 

Think of it.  Political figures like Democrat Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg actually suggested that they could reach into another person's soul to determine evil there, adjudicate on said evil, and then demand that the will of the voters be overturned and said person be stripped of public office.  Mind you, the office-holder in question -- Assemblyman Parker Space -- is one of the most popular elected officials in New Jersey, as determined by the number of votes he receives, and gets more votes than any Republican legislator in the state.  So it does take a particular kind of philosophy, distinctly undemocratic, to suggest such a thing.

 

Also remember that no laws have been broken.  Unlike Senator Robert Menendez or Assemblyman Neil Cohen or Assemblyman Raj Mukerji or any one of a hundred New Jersey Democrats who actually broke the law, but who nevertheless enjoyed and enjoy the steadfast support of fellow Democrats, Assemblyman Parker Space did nothing even remotely illegal.  Fashion was breached perhaps -- the fashion held by some elites in a few, well-to-do enclaves -- but no laws were broken.  For the moment, our Bill of Rights and our First Amendment are holding firm -- but for how long?

 

If the media can use extra-judicial shaming to deny employment, ruin a business, or overturn an election, then they will have successfully undermined the Bill of Rights without recourse to a legal challenge before the United States Supreme Court.  It is a subversion of the law, and the imposition of punitive sanctions, through the use of fashion and media technology.  Through the use of it, America will no longer be a nation of laws, but rather a nation of fashions, manipulated by a corporate media controlled by the likes of Jared Kushner, the Newhouse brothers, and the corporate racists at Gannett News.  A bullying culture in which anyone who wishes to work, own a business, or hold office will have to conform to the establishment norms of the bullying class.

Sunday
Sep242017

Public shaming is the road to Fascism

We are told that in America, we are a nation of laws.  But increasingly, we are not.  With the connivance of political figures like Senate Democrat Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assembly Democrat Executive Director Mark Matzen, the corporate media are attempting to create an extra-judicial method of determining everything from whether or not you can hold a job or operate a business to serving in public office.

 

Under this informal, extra-judicial system, the accusers do not need any proof -- as we recognize that term in our legal process -- to indict, convict, and punish someone.  The accusers, who are generally the media and political figures like Weinberg, simply need to "feel" that someone has done something for reasons that they disapprove of.  It can even be as simple as saying that you are personally "tired" of someone, as was done in a recent Star-Ledger column.  Just being "tired" of someone makes some people believe that they have the right to fire someone from his or her job, or put someone out of business, or overturn the will of the voters.

 

This is a form of technological vigilantism -- a post-modern lynch mob -- with elements of religion to it.  For "apologize... apologize... apologize," read "repent... repent... repent."  And it was specifically warned against by prescient writers like George Orwell, with the neo-religious fervor whipped up in a shaming exercise very like the two-minutes hate he describes in his great work, 1984:

Think of it.  Political figures like Weinberg and Matzen actually suggested that they could reach into another person's soul to determine evil there, adjudicate on said evil, and then demand that the will of the voters be overturned and said person be stripped of public office.  Mind you, the office-holder in question -- Assemblyman Parker Space -- is one of the most popular elected officials in New Jersey, as determined by the number of votes he receives, and gets more votes than any Republican legislator in the state.  So it does take a particular kind of philosophy, distinctly undemocratic, to suggest such a thing.

 

Also remember that no laws have been broken.  Unlike Senator Robert Menendez or Assemblyman Neil Cohen or Assemblyman Raj Mukerji or any one of a hundred New Jersey Democrats who actually broke the law but who, nevertheless, the Weinbergs and the Matzens dutifully stood behind, Assemblyman Parker Space did nothing even remotely illegal.  Fashion was breached perhaps -- the fashion held by some elites in a few, well-to-do enclaves -- but no laws were broken.  For the moment, we still have our Bill of Rights and our First Amendment.  But they are working on it.

 

If the media can use extra-judicial shaming to deny employment, ruin a business, or overturn an election, then they will have successfully undermined the Bill of Rights without recourse to a legal challenge before the United States Supreme Court.  In their minds, that is the beauty of what they are trying to do.  It is a subversion of the law, and the imposition of punitive sanctions, through the use of fashion and media technology.  Through the use of it, America will no longer be a nation of laws, but rather a nation of fashions, manipulated by a corporate media controlled by the likes of Jared Kushner, the Newhouse brothers, and the corporate racists at Gannett News.  Pleasant thought?