2014 January


From New Jersey’s Star Ledger:

And now, we are reminded of the accusations of Ben Barlyn, a former Hunterdon County prosecutor who says he was fired because he refused to drop a case against a Christie ally. For the past year, he’s been striving to prove his story, paying through the nose for a civil lawsuit against the state while telling it to anyone who will listen.

Barlyn says that after he secured an indictment in 2010 against Hunterdon County Sheriff Deborah Trout, a Republican with political ties to Christie, he was fired and the case hastily killed by Christie’s appointed attorney general at the time, Paula Dow. The real story isn’t the mundane crimes that were alleged: hiring without proper background checks, making employees sign loyalty oaths, threatening critics and producing fake police badges for a prominent Christie donor. It’s the possible abuse of power by the administration’s head prosecutor.

Barlyn is now trying to compel the state Attorney General’s Office to release the grand jury transcripts to prove his case had legs.

He’s not the only one who says so: Four grand jurors and other dismissed prosecutors have come forward to agree. A judge even ordered the release of the transcripts — yet still, the state is refusing to comply. It has filed a torrent of briefs in an effort to suppress the grand jury record, and will continue this fight at a hearing Tuesday.

Christie’s appointed attorney general is also seeking a gag order on Barlyn and his lawyer, in the event these transcripts must be handed over. Which makes you wonder: What is the administration trying so hard to hide? And just as important, why aren’t other people looking?

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In my grandmother’s day the standard method of paying household bills was to use a set of empty envelopes. On each envelope you wrote the name of the person or entity to be paid (mortgage $40, Joe – hay & feed $12, Ed the grocer $8, etc.). In those days pay packets came in the form of cash. On receipt of each pay packet, you would distribute the cash between the envelopes.

As each bill became due, if there wasn’t enough cash in the envelope or if an emergency arose that needed to take precedence you would simply would be to take a bit of cash from one or more of the other envelopes to square your immediate obligation. This system was quickly dubbed robbing Peter to pay Paul.

It seems this old-fashioned system of budgeting is how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has approached his state budget in order to keep his campaign promise to the Republican Party of not raising taxes.

He simply worked out which Peters he could rob in order to pay the Pauls of his choice.

In order to follow along with the current investigations flooding Castle Christie, it’s going to be very important to understand the origin, history and end result of a 2010 transportation project that was intended to upgrade the infrastructure and keep traffic flowing between NY and NJ.

In this (22 min) segment of Up With Steve, Kornacki introduces and explains a $3 billion (partially federally funded) called the A.R.C.

Trust me when I say this is 22 minutes that will put you head and shoulders above the rest in understanding the Port Authority players and their roles in Christie’s administration – and why the handling of this project is going to expose Christie’s true political colours.

Project A.R.C. and The Politics of Port Authority

*UPDATE

Second MSNBC post on A.R.C.

Christie had pledged during his first gubernatorial campaign that would not raise New Jersey’s gas tax under any circumstances. That meant the only way he could pay for upgrading infrastructure was by issuing more debt and raiding the Port Authority’s ARC tunnel funds. According to a recent report from investigative journalist Andrea Bernstein, that may have been the plan all along.

“According to documents and interviews with more than a dozen top-level sources, the governor made clear from the get-go that the agency would be the source of cash for New Jersey’s hard-up infrastructure budget,” writes Bernstein. “And he and his team proceeded to wrangle billions from the bi-state authority to further his political goals—much of that for projects that had never been under the Port Authority’s jurisdiction before.”

Wildstein and Baroni allegedly worked within the Port Authority to kill the tunnel project so they could redirect the money toward New Jersey road projects.

Although the ARC project may be dead and buried, New Jersey may still eventually get its second rail tunnel to New York. Last May, the Department of Transportation offered New York $185 million for a project known as Gateway, which would serve the same needs as ARC. But the project is still not fully funded, and it could be years before construction begins.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority’s $1.8 billion is set to run out in 2016, leaving the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund in much the same shape it was before.

Some people will do anything to get into the White House. Remind you of anyone?

This from Facebook today…

Courtesy of Upworthy:

Courtesy of The Other 98%\

lazies

No no no not the idiot, Sarah Silverman!

Best 5 minute video on the internet – guaranteed!

MSNBC’s Weekend Morning Show – Up with Steve Kornacki is set to deliver a piece of evidence on his Saturday Morning Show Today – actually, as I write this his show is on air – which promises to shed light on what Gov. Christie ‘knew’ about the bridge closures even though he remains firmly rooted in a puddle of denial.

The show is not available to me live so I have to wait until someone on the MSNBC editorial staff decides to post it online. However – I will share with you the lead-in to this story which I found utterly fascinating. It’s all ab out how Gov. Christie has used the excuse of ‘nobody tolkd me anything’ in the past – fired his perceived scapegoat and stood in front of the camera insisting he had been lied to by an important member of his staff.

In fact, the incident sparked the Governor’s 2010 motto of Don’t Lie To The Governor.

[Click here for the video list]
then select the video titled: Christie’s comment that jumped out at Steve

In a nutshell, back in August of 2010, Gov Christie promised his constituents a pile of federal dollars that he ended up niot being able to deliver. But rather than admit his office hadn’t provided all the necessary financial records, he dumped on the man in charge – called him a liar and fired him.

The man wasn’t an idiot however – and put together all the documentation to prove he hadnt lied to the governor but Christie didn’t budge.

As Steve Kornacki put it: Be wary when you watch Christie in action this coming week – he’s danced this dance before.

Anyone else feeling a bit of Deja`vu watching a governor dodge questions and insist his version is the only version you need to know? (Just buy what I’m selling and move on dammit!)

DontLieToTheGov

Can’t wait to view his latest show!

====== UPDATE ======

AND HERE IT IS!!! Oh I’m not sure I have enough popcorn to last the weekend!

Click here for the Breaking News]

If the mice inside Christie’s fragile walls keep turning into lions and speaking out… well we can probably bid the jolly giant a fond farewell 🙂

If only it had been this easy to fell another lying, cheating. greedy governor…

From CNN:

NJ-Gov-Christie

(CNN) — Give him a position at the top of the agency; he’s a good friend of the governor.

That’s how David Wildstein was introduced to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2010, according to a former employee with extensive knowledge of the agency’s hiring practices.

Soon after, Wildstein was named the director of Interstate Capital Projects, a title that previously had not existed at the bi-state agency, setting in motion a career that would eventually place the former political blogger at the center of the lane closures controversy at the George Washington Bridge…

…The Newark Star Ledger reported in February 2012 that critics accused Christie of turning the Port Authority into a patronage mill. Citing a document titled “NY/NJ Executive Referrals” the newspaper showed there were 35 new Port Authority hires directed by Christie during his first year in office. That’s more than the last four governors combined, according to the paper.

Lane closures on the bridges/tunnels connecting New Jersey and New York have evidently occurred more than once since David Wildstein took his created for the governor’s convenience job position at Port Authority. Miraculously, Gov Christie was kept in the dark because we believe him when he says ‘he knew nothing’.

*cough*

When Watergate hearings were televised, the nation was frozen in place with everyone glued to their TV sets. I remember my boss bringing a set in from homw so we wouldn’t miss anything at work.

We don’t need to bring TV sets to work in 2014 but I’m guessing the Bridgegate hearings are going to be just as engaging. I – for one – am going to livestream every available moment.

The significance of this photo is the date: 11 Sept 2013. This was day three of the lane closures on George Washington Bridge and complaints were well under way for creating their own pile-up.

At an event to honor those who died on 9/11, Gov. Christie and his then appointee to Port Authority NY and NJ David Wildstein were photographed yukking it up at this oh so public event.

No one has come forward with any information as to what discussions might have been overheard between the governor and his appointee, but that’s not the issue at the moment. What is an issue is that Gov. Christie, in his two-hour mea culpa press conference last week repeatedly denied having any contact with Wildstein or anyone else from Port Authority during the time of the closures and therefore could not have been a party to or received any information about the lane closures and their horrific effect on the public.

Yes governor, we believe you! Because this is your definition of not having contact with anyone from Port Authority the week of Sept 9 thru 13, 2013. Well, except for your main guy David. You remember David right? The one who authorized the closures and fielded the complaints?

Nice tie. Goes with the yellow streak down your back.

Full story here.

Christie Wildstein 11 Sept 013[photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal]

Gov. Christie said during his press conference on 9 Jan 013:

“I had no knowledge and involvement in this issue, in its planning and its execution,”


“I was told it was a traffic study,” he said. “And there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday.”

“I am not a bully.”

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