Entries in threats (5)

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...

Thursday
Nov162017

Candidate McCann faces accusations of bullying

The candidacy of John McCann is uncomfortable to watch.  Starting with the candidate.  McCann is obviously one of those politicians who thinks he is "good with people" -- a "people person" -- when his discomfort is all too apparent.  We'll let Mitchell and Webb take it from here... 


Apparently, when his overtures don't quite work out -- when a target doesn't swoon at his advances -- McCann can get a bit testy.  Well, that is what he is being accused of by two local Republican officials.  The officials -- Joseph Hakim and Mike Ghassali -- claim that John McCann threatened them with information he said he could obtain through the Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County.  The complaints appear below:


Of course, we offer to candidate McCann and/or his campaign the opportunity to address this matter and we will be happy to publish his side of the story.


Wednesday
Aug302017

Democrat official part of effort to destroy Space Farms

Sussex County Democrats have fully embraced the ANTIFA practice of destroying their target's livelihood.  This was posted on a New Jersey Herald story today:

Democrat State Committee member Ben Silva is using ANTIFA tactics in an attempt to damage the Space family farm and business.  Silva, who identifies himself as the campaign manager for Democrat candidates Kate Matteson & Gina Trish, has been part of an effort to give Space Farms negative reviews on Facebook.

 

There have also been harassing calls made to family members and people who work there.  These have included threats of violence. 

 

Even the animals have been threatened... over their names.

 

One Matteson-Trish activist who admitted to calling and harassing employees actually compared Assemblyman Parker Space to Charles Manson. 

 

All this over a photograph from a tailgate party at a Hank Williams Jr. concert, in which a photograph was taken of the Assemblyman and his wife in front of a Hank Williams Jr. band banner called "The Hank Williams Jr. Rebel Flag."

 

What is happening to the Space family is happening all over America right now.  It's the most recent face of the old anarchist-communist movement -- now calling itself ANTIFA.  As the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, " Antifa activists also search for and publicize damaging information on their targets or opponents, or launch campaigns pressuring their bosses or companies to fire those opponents."

 

What Democrat Party officials like Ben Silva are doing to the Space Family and their farm business is right out of the ANTIFA playbook.  Here is more from Monday's Wall Street Journal report:

 

Antifa activists believe in censorship and don’t rule out violence, as they showed again Sunday.

 

...They’re mostly anarchists and anarcho-communists, and they often refer to fellow protesters as “comrades.” Adherents typically despise the government and corporate America alike, seeing police as defenders of both and thus also legitimate targets.

The anti-fascist anarchist website CrimethInc.com recently summarized its philosophy: “In this state of affairs, there is no such thing as nonviolence—the closest we can hope to come is to negate the harm or threat posed by the proponents of top-down violence . . . so instead of asking whether an action is violent, we might do better to ask simply: does it counteract power disparities, or reinforce them?”

Antifa’s activists use the Orwellian-sounding notion of “anticipatory self-defense” to justify direct confrontation. That can include violence, vandalism and other unlawful tactics. Many draw a false moral distinction between damaging private property and “corporate” property.

Antifa activists have also developed their own moral justification for suppressing free speech and assembly. As anarchists, they don’t want state censorship. But they do believe it’s the role of a healthy civil society to make sure some ideas don’t gain currency.

So they heartily approve of the heckler’s veto, seeking to shut down speeches and rallies that they see as abhorrent. Antifa activists also search for and publicize damaging information on their targets or opponents, or launch campaigns pressuring their bosses or companies to fire those opponents.

Words don’t constitute violence, despite what Antifa activists believe. But there are dangerous ideas and practices, and the radical left has embraced several of them. Democracies solve conflict through debate, not fisticuffs. But Antifa’s protesters believe that some ideas are better fought with force, and that some people are incapable of reason.

Implicit in this view is that Antifa alone has the right to define who is racist, fascist or Nazi. It’s a guerilla twist on the culture wars, when a microaggression must be met with a macroaggression.

 

To read the entire Wall Street Journal report and view an interesting video on the subject, visit: 

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-bedlam-in-berkeley-1503961537?mod=e2fb

 

CNN has an excellent report called "Unmasking ANTIFA".  You can access it here:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/18/us/unmasking-antifa-anti-fascists-hard-left/index.html

 

Kate Matteson and Gina Trish have gone too far.  They should step away from these tactics and condemn them.  Their failure to do so counts as an endorsement of them.

Wednesday
Aug302017

Are Democrats Matteson & Trish part of ANTIFA?

Democrat State Committee member Ben Silva is using ANTIFA tactics in an attempt to damage the Space family farm and business.  Silva, who identifies himself as the campaign manager for Democrat candidates Kate Matteson & Gina Trish, has been part of an effort to give Space Farms negative reviews on Facebook.

There have also been harassing calls made to family members and people who work there.  These have included threats of violence. 

 

Even the animals have been threatened... over their names.

 

One Matteson-Trish activist who admitted to calling and harassing employees actually compared Assemblyman Parker Space to Charles Manson. 

 

All this over a photograph from a tailgate party at a Hank Williams Jr. concert, in which a photograph was taken of the Assemblyman and his wife in front of a Hank Williams Jr. band banner called "The Hank Williams Jr. Rebel Flag."

 

What is happening to the Space family is happening all over America right now.  It's the most recent face of the old anarchist-communist movement -- now calling itself ANTIFA.  As the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, " Antifa activists also search for and publicize damaging information on their targets or opponents, or launch campaigns pressuring their bosses or companies to fire those opponents."

 

What Democrat Party officials like Ben Silva are doing to the Space Family and their farm business is right out of the ANTIFA playbook.  Here is more from Monday's Wall Street Journal report:

 

Antifa activists believe in censorship and don’t rule out violence, as they showed again Sunday.

 

...They’re mostly anarchists and anarcho-communists, and they often refer to fellow protesters as “comrades.” Adherents typically despise the government and corporate America alike, seeing police as defenders of both and thus also legitimate targets.

The anti-fascist anarchist website CrimethInc.com recently summarized its philosophy: “In this state of affairs, there is no such thing as nonviolence—the closest we can hope to come is to negate the harm or threat posed by the proponents of top-down violence . . . so instead of asking whether an action is violent, we might do better to ask simply: does it counteract power disparities, or reinforce them?”

Antifa’s activists use the Orwellian-sounding notion of “anticipatory self-defense” to justify direct confrontation. That can include violence, vandalism and other unlawful tactics. Many draw a false moral distinction between damaging private property and “corporate” property.

Antifa activists have also developed their own moral justification for suppressing free speech and assembly. As anarchists, they don’t want state censorship. But they do believe it’s the role of a healthy civil society to make sure some ideas don’t gain currency.

So they heartily approve of the heckler’s veto, seeking to shut down speeches and rallies that they see as abhorrent. Antifa activists also search for and publicize damaging information on their targets or opponents, or launch campaigns pressuring their bosses or companies to fire those opponents.

Words don’t constitute violence, despite what Antifa activists believe. But there are dangerous ideas and practices, and the radical left has embraced several of them. Democracies solve conflict through debate, not fisticuffs. But Antifa’s protesters believe that some ideas are better fought with force, and that some people are incapable of reason.

Implicit in this view is that Antifa alone has the right to define who is racist, fascist or Nazi. It’s a guerilla twist on the culture wars, when a microaggression must be met with a macroaggression.

 

To read the entire Wall Street Journal report and view an interesting video on the subject, visit: 

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-the-bedlam-in-berkeley-1503961537?mod=e2fb

 

CNN has an excellent report called "Unmasking ANTIFA".  You can access it here:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/18/us/unmasking-antifa-anti-fascists-hard-left/index.html

 

Kate Matteson and Gina Trish have gone too far.  They should step away from these tactics and condemn them.  Their failure to do so counts as an endorsement of them.


Tuesday
Jan102017

Andover Township contradicts itself

A recent Facebook post from a high-ranking Andover Township official called out this website for its practice of constitutionally-protected anonymous speech.  In reply, we will once again take a moment to explain that anonymous speech is an American tradition and a bedrock of American freedom.  America's founders practiced anonymous speech.  Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers using anonymity.

 

Since the beginnings of our Republic, anonymous speech has been protected under federal law.  The United States Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  A frequently cited Supreme Court ruling is McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, in which the Court wrote:

 

"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society."

 

The United States Supreme Court has extended and protected the right to anonymous speech well beyond the printed page.  In 2002, for example, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the mayor's office before going door-to-door.  Such  long standing rights to anonymity and the protections it affords extend to the Internet.  As the Supreme Court has recognized, the Internet offers a powerful democratic forum in which anyone can become a "pamphleteer" or "a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox."

 

Anonymous speech is protected for a variety of reasons.  These include concerns about political or economic retribution, harassment, or even threats to life and liberty (false imprisonment).  Whistleblowers who report on private companies or government organizations are often targets for suppression and need anonymity.  Victims of domestic violence use anonymity to rebuild their lives where abusers cannot follow.

 

The suppression of anonymous speech is of great concern today.  Some local government officials do not understand the Bill of Rights as well as state and federal organizations do.  As in the recent case in Hudson County, when local officials break the law in an attempt to suppress the civil rights of anonymous bloggers who criticize them, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department will take note and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will investigate.

 

A nasty reference was made to this website's "high priced attorney."  We do not have an attorney, high priced or otherwise, but refer any problems we encounter to a legal foundation concerned with Internet freedom.  Remember, when you question our freedom, you question the freedom of everyone who uses the Internet. 


Further reference was made to an incident at that favorite Andover Township venue -- the old American Nazi beer hall at the former Camp Nordland.  The incident involved three elected officials from Sussex County (a freeholder and two members of Andover Township's local government) who accosted a guest at a county GOP event over what they accused him of writing on a blog.  

 

In contrast to Watchdog, Andover Township's Deputy Mayor has a very expensive attorney.  We have obtained a copy of a retainer agreement from another case, signed by the attorney in question, in which a $25,000 retainer is required "prior to any brief being filed."  Ouch!

 

We certainly hope that the taxpayers of Andover Township won't get stuck with any of the bill as a result of this ridiculous incident.  It wasn't too long ago that a certain Freeholder and former Andover Township Mayor hired this same attorney and then asked the County to pick up the cost. 

 

As for who was where, when?  Well that allegation was made by the Andover Deputy Mayor and his, rather pricy, attorney.  Before getting all angry with your humble scribes here at Watchdog, you might want to get hold of the copy of the documents that the New Jersey Herald and Star-Ledger have in their possession.  It was the Star-Ledger that printed that the Andover Township official in question was a witness -- and it did so nearly a month ago. 

 

Andover Township should have informed the Star-Ledger that what it reported was inaccurate (and made a lot of snarky remarks about "fact-checkers" and paying them).  Of course, the Star-Ledger would have argued that they got those documents slipped to them by someone from Andover Township, so why was the allegation there in the first place?   


Still,  Andover Township should have demanded that the Star-Ledger correct what it so obviously believes to be untrue.  Instead, Andover Township has once again contradicted itself at the top of its lungs.  It's like issuing a press release and then a rebuttal to your own release.  Ouch!