The Two Faces of  Governor

Chris Christie

Is he a Bully, a New Jersey Crime Lord,  A Stupid Koch Minion, or a Traitor to American Family Values?

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Senator John Barrasso

Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast

Senator John Barrasso

Bush and Wicca and Doreen Valiente

Bush and Wicca and Doreen Valiente

Thank You for Whatever you can do.

Question:  "Separation between Church and State."  Who coined the Phrase?  Give up?  Answer:   Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding fathers of this great Nation and a creator of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment to that same Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Dansbury Baptist Convention, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  In it he said:

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

Extremist Republicans are the enemy.


Click on the Underlined Below or scroll down

New Jersey loses millions in federal Obamacare grant money

Christie tries to work the room and fails

Christie tied to scandalous private prison company and its former vice president Bill Palatucci

Baroni was Worried about his 'Performance' -- until the Christie Crew gave him a 'Passing Grade'

Governor Chris Christie betrayed by his staff yet again

The Other Side of the Christie Story -- the Patrick Foye side

RETRACTED: Christie refuses to allow members of his office testify before legislative committee

Rachel Maddow Destroys Any Credibility Chris Christie Might Think He Still Has.

Did Chris Christie do a flyover of the George Washington Bridge during Bridgegate traffic jam?

18 new subpoenas for Gov. Christie associates including helicopter logs during lane closings

NJ Investigation turns up the Heat; Issue 18 New Subpoenas; Here are the Names

MSNBC confirms NJ Senator Gordon says no members of Christie's office will appear before committee

Christiegate: N.J. Fires 2nd Sandy Contractor

AP finds Bridgegate bottom-feeders dodged a bullet by not causing anyone to die

What was it that Christie 'Vetoed' anyways?

Chris Christie Speech Blasted As 'Off-Key' By Chris Wallace

Christie Has Made Errors In Judgment! Well Duh!!

Christie Stunner: NJ Gov Met With Pollutocrat Koch Before Pulling Out of Successful Carbon Pollution Reduction Program

Chris Christie Sued Over Communication With Roger Ailes

Chris Christie Thinks Parenting Question Isn't Constituent's Business, But He'll Answer Morning Joe.

Gov. Chris Christie Claims Fox News Chief as Confidential Adviser

Rachel Maddow on Chris Christie's Brand: "I'm the Guy Who Will Scream at My Constituents"

Gov. Chris Christie Considers Defying Court Order

NJ voters by a 2-1 margin say Gov. Chris Christie should not run for President in 2012

Chris Wallace begs Chris Christie to run for President in 2012

Gov. Chris Christie: Screwing State Workers, Meeting With Koch Partner. No Wonder Republicans Love Him!

Presidential Hopeful NJ Gov. Chris Christie: Where Wall Street Leads, He Follows

Chris Christie's Bullying Style is Inuring Americans to Ugly Discourse

Gov. Christie Thinks Being a Bully to Constituents Makes Him Huggable!

NJ's New State Motto for Gov. Chris Christie: Why Drive When You Can Fly?

NJ Judge rules against Chris Christie: Budget cuts left N.J. schools unable to provide 'thorough and efficient' education"

David Gregory Says Gov. Christie Got Rave Reviews in AEI Speech, But From Who?

Collective Amnesia Strikes Swooning Media As Manly Gov. Christie Blames Public Unions For State Deficits

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.
Not a bully, he claims.

"I am who I am, and I'm not a bully," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insisted at his marathon January press conference on the politically motivated George Washington Bridge lane closures. The claim raised more than a few eyebrows at the time, and on April 1, Christie really undercut himself on that front. Ryan Lizza reports that, at a celebrity roast for the birthday of former Gov. Brendan Byrne, Christie himself came in for a little roasting and ... he didn't take it so well:

The Newark roast wasn’t going well, either. The speakers aimed much of their fire at Christie. “You knew whose ass to kiss,” Stone said, referring to Christie’s trip to Vegas. “ ‘Whatever you say, Sheldon! Whatever you say!’ ” Vince August, a New Jersey judge turned comedian, noted, “It really is an honor to be standing next to what could be the next President of the—.” He shuffled some papers on the lectern. “I’m sorry, these are the wrong notes. I’m doing a roast next week with Jeb Bush.” Even Byrne got in a dig, about Christie’s waistline. “Somebody referred to that bronze statue of me that’s in the courthouse,” he said. “Actually, that was supposed to be Governor Christie, but they didn’t have enough money to pay for all that bronze.”

Joy Behar, the former co-host of “The View,” was even more pointed. “When I first heard that he was accused of blocking off three lanes on the bridge, I said, ‘What the hell is he doing, standing in the middle of the bridge?” After another barb, Christie interrupted her. “This is a Byrne roast,” he said. He stood up and tried to grab her notes. The audience laughed awkwardly. “Stop bullying me,” Behar said as he sat down. Christie said something out of earshot and Behar responded, “Why don’t you get up here at the microphone instead of being such a coward?” Christie stood up again and moved in front of the lectern as Behar retreated. “At least I don’t get paid for this,” he said.

Christie sat down and Behar continued, though she was noticeably rattled. “I really don’t know about the Presidency,” she said. “Let me put it to you this way, in a way that you’d appreciate: You’re toast.”

Way to prove you're not a bully, governor! Just stand right up and try to take away the comedian's notes. The woman comedian, by the way. While, according to Lizza, Christie "glared at the comedians as they delivered their lines," he seems not to have tried to physically intimidate and interrupt the men.

Christie has long appreciated being publicly challenged just enough to look like a tough guy when he takes advantage of the fact that, as governor, he usually controls the microphone and the stage and can really go to town on whoever has criticized or challenged him. Apparently, sitting quietly and taking it when other people have the stage is not so comfortable for him. Well, it wouldn't be so comfortable for anybody to hear a series of fat jokes and accurate observations about his cratering political future. But what distinguishes a bully is the fact that he gets up in someone's face to try to shut them up.

Reality Slaps Chris Christie in The Face as Feds Convene Grand Jury

Excerpts from an article by in on Friday, April, 4th, 2014, 10:15 pm


Chris Christie and the Republicans have been desperately trying to wish the George Washington Bridge scandal away. However, despite their efforts to minimize the scandal and to deride their political opponents, the scandal is not going away.

The US Attorney’s federal investigation into Bridgegate has turned into a criminal probe as the feds begin to close in on Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Today should serve as a reality check to Governor Christie, as ABC News reports that a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey has convened a grand jury to investigate the involvement of Governor Chris Christie’s office in the George Washington Bridge scandal. This signals that the investigation has moved from a mere inquiry into the criminal phase, meaning that criminal indictments could be forthcoming in the near future.

ABC News reports:

Twenty-three jurors convened in a federal courthouse in Newark today to hear testimony from a key staff member, Christie press secretary Mike Drewniak, whose lawyer, Anthony Iacullo, said Drewniak was not a target of the investigation.

The convening of the grand jury is evidence that the U.S. Attorney’s investigation has progressed beyond an inquiry and moved to the criminal phase.

This marks for the first time confirmation that what started out as a preliminary inquiry into the governor’s office has now become a criminal investigation into the activities that led to gridlock traffic across the bridge from Manhattan in Fort Lee.

The grand jury will have the authority to indict, subpoena, and interview witnesses as they probe the scope and the motives of the Chris Christie administration surrounding the politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. The grand jury could indict Chris Christie or other government officials if they determine that crimes were committed.

Gov. Christie might want to put those 2016 presidential campaign plans on hold. While Bridgegate gets all the headlines, this may not be the only federal investigation that Christie will have to deal with. The feds are also looking into the New Jersey governor’s handling of Hurricane Sandy relief funds.

The investigation has morphed from an inquiry into possible wrongdoing to a grand jury investigating potential criminal activity surrounding Bridgegate. No wonder, Christie, was in such a hurry to release his own report where his lawyers declared him innocent.

Bridgegate is not going anywhere. Christie can hold all of the press conferences that he wants. The governor can spend millions more in taxpayer dollars on sham investigations, but this scandal is not going to go away in time for him to run for president in 2016.

Governor Christie is hoping that the scandal will blow over so that he can go back to work without being dogged by questions about Bridgegate, but with federal attorneys convening a grand jury, the New Jersey Governor should be more concerned about facing criminal charges than about fielding annoying questions from the press.

Chris Christie was once considered the probable GOP front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. His blunt style and supposedly moderate politics made him a Beltway media favorite and an attractive candidate for Republicans interested in retaking the White House in 2016. However, Christie’s bullying tactics and political vindictiveness have all but destroyed his odds of becoming the GOP nominee in 2016, much less winning the presidency. The Governor’s hubris may have lead him to authorize the lane closures that now seem destined to undo his presidential ambitions. As Chris Christie’s hopes for higher office continue to unravel, the only question that remains is whether he and his top officials will be able to avoid criminal convictions when the grand jury has completed its investigation.

Christie is beyond politically damaged. Even if he did by some miracle win the 2016 Republican nomination, there is no way that he could win a general election contest against Hillary Clinton. Even the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson don’t have enough money to solve Christie’s image problems.

Forget the Republican nomination, Chris Christie will be lucky to avoid federal prison time.

Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:57 AM PST

Newly Released Emails Bolster Zimmer's Case That She Was Being Strongarmed by Christie

Excerpts from and article by Christian Dem in NCFollow

Today's New York Times has a front-page story (below the fold) that offers what seems to be the strongest evidence yet that Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer was the victim of ugly, nakedly aggressive, and blatantly illegal extortion from the Chris Christie administration.  It seems that state officials displayed a very keen interest in a development project being planned for Hoboken--the same project that Zimmer says Christie wanted approved as a condition of getting more money for Sandy relief.
Last May 8, a severe rainstorm left the streets of this city flooded once again, causing the mayor, Dawn Zimmer, to recall the inundation from Hurricane Sandy.

So she dashed off a letter to Gov. Chris Christie, imploring him to help with Hoboken’s “ongoing flooding emergency,” and attached photos of cars in water up to their hoods. She was due to meet the next day with officials of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, when she hoped to talk about protecting Hoboken from the next catastrophic deluge to come.

But according to newly obtained emails sent among the participants, the first topic of discussion on the agenda was “review of concepts for flood control measures at Rockefeller property,” a reference to a billion-dollar office complex proposed at the north end of town. The developer, the Rockefeller Group, which had long been trying to gain approval from local officials, sent two executives, two lobbyists and an engineer to the meeting.

You may remember that Zimmer released the text of that letter last week.  She wrote that at the time, Christie had advanced Hoboken a low-interest loan for improving the city's pumps, but wouldn't go any further.  Now we know that this project was such a high priority that it took precedence over protecting Hoboken from future floods.  That's bad enough by itself.  But executives from Rockefeller Group just happened to be at the meeting?  To put it mildly, that adds to the already rank odor surrounding this affair.

But it gets even juicier.  It turns out that one of the lobbyists at that May 9 meeting was Lori Grifa, a lobbyist with Wolff & Samson, the Rockefeller Group's legal advisers.  Grifa is also a former member of Christie's cabinet, and Wolff & Samson has long been very close with New Jersey Republican leaders.   When city officials learned that Grifa was coming, they were so alarmed that one of Zimmer's aides emailed Grifa's firm demanding to know what she was doing at what was supposed to be a meeting between city and state officials.  If that wasn't enough stew in the pot, want to know who the "Samson" in Wolff & Samson is?  None other than David Samson, the chairman of the Port Authority.

The timing of this looks even more suspicious when you consider that a day after that meeting, Zimmer was told Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadogno was coming to town the following Monday.  As we now know, this was the day of the infamous meeting in a ShopRite parking lot where, according to Zimmer, Guadogno laid down the law--if Hoboken was to receive more Sandy relief money, the project had to go forward.  But even if that meeting didn't happen, there is no good-faith explanation for why a megaproject should have taken priority over flood relief.

For those who don't know, Zimmer has been somewhat less friendly to development than past Hoboken mayors have been.  Almost as soon as she took office in 2009, talk about the proposed $1.1 billion mixed-use project in north Hoboken slowed down considerably.  She felt that any talk of a large-scale project was premature without a comprehensive planning study for the north end.  According to Zimmer, this didn't sit well with the Christie administration.  By her reckoning, the pressure started ramping up in April, when Samson and Grifa asked for a meeting with Hoboken's planning lawyer.  According to an email from the planning lawyer, he was getting a "full-court press" on the Rockefeller project.

In the end, it turned out to be a wasted effort.  A planning study had determined that the Rockefeller Group-owned blocks were the only ones in north Hoboken that qualified for development.  But on the day before Zimmer went to Trenton, the study's planner told the Hoboken planning board that only one block met New Jersey redevelopment guidelines after the Rockefeller Group demolished several buildings that were in danger of collapse on its land.  The planning board voted to designate the entire north end as a "rehabilitation" area--effectively deep-sixing the project in its original form.

So now we know that the Christie administration's priorities were severely warped--to the point that it should disqualify him from running for president.  But if I were one of the participants at that May 9 meeting in Trenton, I'd have a lawyer on speed dial.

12:54 PM PT: At least one commenter's wondered why the Old Grey Lady didn't provide any copies of the emails.  I wondered that as well--makes me wonder if Fishman already has his hands on them.  Thoughts from those better versed in this?


U.S. Subpoenas Port Authority Records Tied to Chairman, a Christie Ally


David Samson Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for records related to potential conflicts of interest involving its chairman, David Samson, a prominent New Jersey lawyer and close political ally of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The business dealings of Mr. Samson and his law firm, Wolff & Samson, have come under intense scrutiny as a result of the politically charged closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September and the scandal that ensued. The lane closings are the subject of a separate inquiry by federal prosecutors in New Jersey, who are examining the roles of several current and former aides and allies of Mr. Christie.

Neither of the federal prosecutor’s offices would comment on the subpoena nor on its possible connection to the bridge inquiry. But an examination of possible conflicts of interest involving Mr. Samson would appear to represent a significant widening of the scandal.

In addition to the inquiry into the lane closings, which is being conducted by the office of the New Jersey United States attorney, Paul J. Fishman, the scandal has already led to at least one other investigation by his office, focused in part on members of Mr. Christie’s administration. That inquiry is examining allegations by the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, that Mr. Christie’s lieutenant governor threatened to withhold hurricane recovery funds if the mayor did not support a development project favored by the governor.

New Jersey loses millions in federal Obamacare grant money

Excerpt from an article on on Feb 21, 2014 by Joan McCarter

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives a news conference in Trenton January 9, 2014. Christie on Thursday fired a top aide at the center of a brewing scandal that public officials orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washington Bridge


Gov. Chris Christie's administration has lost out on big federal dollars again, this time losing the state $7.67 million in Obamacare grants because Christie changed his mind about setting up a health insurance exchange in the state after the grant to do so had been made.
The state received the grant in February 2012 for use in building a state insurance exchange. After Gov. Chris Christie announced a year later that the state would opt for a federal insurance marketplace, rather than a state-run one, state and federal officials began discussions about how the money could be spent.

Yesterday was the deadline for the state to come up with an acceptable plan for using the money. [...]

Federal officials would have approved a range of uses for the grant, including marketing the insurance marketplace to the public, a use supported by a coalition of advocates for expanding healthcare access, as well as by the state’s Democratic members of Congress and the Legislature.

Raymond J. Castro, senior policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, said [Department of Banking and Insurance] officials failed to make significant changes in its plans for the grant months after they knew the federal government wouldn’t approve the plans. [...]

“We have reached out to the state numerous times over the last few months in order to avoid a last minute scramble, but unfortunately the state has yet to send us a request to re-scope their grant for any allowable activities,” [HHS spokesman Fabien] Levy wrote in an emailed response to questions.

All of the proposals the state submitted for using the money were not allowed under the regulations guiding the release of the grant money, with the state's final proposal being rejected in December. Christie's administration didn't want to use the money for what it was intended—expanding outreach to the state's uninsured. That, policy analyst Castro estimates, could have brought in 95,000 additional uninsured New Jerseyans.

This could be another instance in which Christie's too-cute politics ends up hurting his state. He was roundly criticized by conservatives for accepting the Medicaid expansion, and maybe to appease some of those far-right critics, ended up changing his mind about setting up a state exchange, burdening the Obama administration with having to add one more state. Now he can point to his administration's refusal to use the grant money to bolster enrollments in Obamacare as his bit to sabotage the law. And to keep 95,000 of his uninsured constituents in the dark about their new opportunity to get covered.


Christie tries to work the room and fails

Excerpts from and article by middlegirl


In his latest townhall, Chris Christie tried to resort to his old style of working the room. This time his ability to charm, deflect, intimidate and obfuscate didn't have that same old Christie magic. Here's why: people are no longer afraid and they are pissed.

The Reviews are in:

For Christie, Awkward Return to a Setting He Once Ruled

When Chris Christie started to talk over a complaining questioner, a signature tactic of the bellicose, pre-scandal governor, the audience here briefly turned on him.

“Answer the question,” some shouted.

When he took a microphone from a long-winded speaker, the man startled Mr. Christie by snatching it right back.

And when he singled out a young woman as his inspiration for repairing the Hurricane Sandy-battered coastline, he failed to grasp that the girl’s mother — sitting just a few feet from Mr. Christie — was angry with him for not doing enough.

“He’s full of it,” she said.

Monmouth Sandy victims voice frustration, disappointment at Christie town hall

Isabel Newson, a Keansburg resident, arrived at the meeting with a sign calling for the governor’s resignation, which she said was promptly confiscated by a staffer.

“I believe people’s opinions are changing, the longer they or their neighbors are kept out of their houses, the worse they feel about (Gov. Christie),” Newson said. “After the storm, people really believed in him at the beginning, but he hasn’t owned up to anything.”

At the meeting, there were still signs that Christie enjoys strong support in Monmouth County. Republican Rhoda Chodosh, of Manalapan, said that New Jersey’s federal representatives should be answerable for the recovery’s issues.

At Chris Christie town hall, woman says officials confiscated her 'Resign Christie' signs

But one woman sitting at the front of the bleachers came with a message, typed in capital letters on a piece of white computer paper: "Resign Christie."

It wasn’t met warmly.

Isabel Newson, 48, of Keansburg, said members of Christie’s staff told her twice that if she "didn’t remove the sign," she’d "have to leave."

Both times, Newson said, she refused, and the staffers took the sign from her hands.

Newson, one of the hundreds of New Jersey residents at the public event, said she remained in her seat and held up a third copy of the sign as Christie finished speaking in the center of the room.

"I invoked my First Amendment right," she said

Stile: Frustration boils over at Christie's town-hall-style event

Recast by scandal as a bully whose aides closed off part of the George Washington Bridge as a political revenge plot, Governor Christie strode before a crowd filled with Superstorm Sandy victims, and offered empathy and his undivided attention.

It worked — at least for a while. Christie entered his 110th town-hall-style event in Port Monmouth, a blue-collar Shore town battered by the storm, without his self-promotional video. The Springsteen soundtrack was dialed down. So was the Christie swagger and sarcasm.

But then Tom Largey, a Sea Bright resident whose home was badly damaged by the storm and who is living with relatives, confronted Christie.

Why was so much money, Largey asked, being spent on private contractors to handle the storm recovery, particularly Hammerman & Gainer, the Louisiana-based company that was quietly let go by the administration in December? After all, New York did just fine without hiring outsiders.

The crowd lustily applauded Largey, not Christie. The calm empathizer was now seething, defensive.

"What's your suggestion on how I should have done it?" Christie shot back. "Should I have hired thousands of new government employees to be able to administer these programs?"

"Answer the question!" barked one woman. Heads turned in irritation. Two men loudly cleared their throats

10:38 AM:

Update:  Oh, this is rich, the master of intimidation at work:

Gov. Chris Christie Posted His ‘Four Rules’ Days Ahead of Today’s Town Hall.

Rule # 4:  

“If you give it, you are getting it right back."

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

Baroni was Worried about his 'Performance' -- until the Christie Crew gave him a 'Passing Grade'

Excerpts from and article by jamess Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 6 years. by pierre9045

Yesterday I summarized the sworn testimony of Patrick Foye as to lack of any evidence for any legitimate Traffic Study at Fort Lee; nor was there even any legitimate need for such a study, according to this NY Chief Executive of the Port Authority (given the traffic load numbers he presented).

Today, I will take a look at the dodging and posturing, that occurred only a few weeks early before the same NJ Committee, as performed by Chris Chistie appointee, Senator Bill Baroni. Also of interest, is the immediate end-zone celebrating by the Christie 'insider crew' -- after this fast-talking presentation by Baroni -- which was prior to the Patrick Foye hammer, yet to fall into the "Traffic Study" evidence mix.

Bill Baroni's testimony today on GWB lane closure: "Smug" and "the dog ate my homework"

by Rosi Efthim, -- Nov 25, 2013

The NJ Assembly Transportation Committee requested that several top execs of the Port Authority come before it, and answer their questions about the sudden lane closures on the GWB, and 5-day dangerous traffic snarl that caused. But in the end, only one showed up. Port Authority sent its Jersey politician, Bill Baroni -- Christie appointee, Deputy ED, and the highest ranking Jersey bureaucrat in the joint.

It did not go well. Chair John Wisniewski complimented Baroni on his ability to dance past direct questions, and called him smug. Linda Stender got into a shouting match with him. And Senator Loretta Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee, the town that figures into both the massive traffic jam and allegedly its reason, says the explanation amounted to  "the dog ate my homework."[...]

Baroni, who came with props, but not copies of the traffic study he says was the reason for the closures, blames miscommunication. And officials are ready to call him on that. Weinberg has drafted a  FOIA request for documentation for the "so-called traffic study," including the authorization and role of PA officials in the chain of command. And she warns the authority can't "lawyer up" to refuse to comply. She is particularly unimpressed with Baroni's claim of lack of communication. Complete failure to notify other PA officials, the affected towns, and the public is "an understatement, she says, "that falls far short of credibility." Weinberg attended a Port Authority Commission meeting a few days ago; officials initially tried to keep her out of the room.  [...]

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on GWB Lane Closures

link to video

Published on Nov 25, 2013

Lawmakers held a hearing about a five-day lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in September. Some believe the closures were deliberate because the Fort Lee mayor chose not to endorse Gov. Chris Christie for reelection. For more New Jersey news, visit NJTV News online at
Baroni Testimony

link to video

Published on Nov 25, 2013  -- No Description.

Never mind that -- Fort Lee has the appropriate number of lanes (3 of 12), for their proportion of interstate traffic, when you include the traffic from the surrounding communities that egress there -- "about 25 percent to 26 percent of the traffic" according to the sworn testimony of the Port Authority NJ Chief Executive, Patrick Foye.

Never mind that --

Baroni was the authority's deputy executive director at the time of his testimony, which was not under oath. He was also the authority's top executive appointed by Christie.

Baroni resigned three weeks after testifying, following sworn testimony by authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and other authority officials.

They said there was no study, the closures were unlawful and Baroni and David Wildstein, who ordered them, had violated protocols and sought to hide their plans from officials.

WSJ: Christie ally prepped official before bridge testimony -- Feb. 3, 2014

Despite the obvious obstruction of justice, that Baroni's "un-sworn" and "well-coached" testimony represented in actual fact -- the hubris-filled Christie Administration, initially interpreted that "blatantly false" testimony -- as a HUGE WIN ... for their side.  

Or so they told their good-soldier Bill ...

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

Governor Chris Christie betrayed by his staff yet again

Excerpts from and article by HoundDog   Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

May I call your attention to Joe Coscarelli's amusing observations in a New York Magazine article, Chris Christie Betrayed by Staff Again? Coscarelli may have discovered why Chris Christie is such a sad fellow.

According to Chris Christie, the entire bridge scandal happened because "completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge." In the course of damage control, however, his staff continues to make ill-advised decisions without his knowledge. From Politico's check-in this afternoon with Christie's "mood": "The memo from Gov. Chris Christie’s office attacking former appointee David Wildstein’s credibility landed with a thud. It was a striking and deeply personal broadside coming from a chief executive of a state, and even his allies called it a mistake."

But, according to two people who claim to know, the governor didn't see the "5 Things You Should Know About The Bombshell That's Not A Bombshell," memo ahead of time.

And yet, Politico reports, "Christie's aides did not run the document ... by the governor before they sent it out, according to two people familiar with the matter. Instead, someone tucked the high school lines into a daily briefing email to the governor's supporters, and blasted it out earlier than planned. Another round of unflattering news coverage ensued." Why are Christie's people so intent on continuing to make him look bad? If only the governor could get his rogue staff under control enough to ask.

This is yet another example of a Governor in way over his head, with too many distractions to stay focused on the important work. Yet, he continues to make weekly forays to other states to fund raise, through back doors, for the RGA when no politicians in any state, so far, want to be seen with him. Or, more likely, a sign of how deep of a hole Christie has dug for himself as he tries to lie his way out of a dead end, and criminal indictment.  Time will tell.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

The Other Side of the Christie Story -- the Patrick Foye side

Excerpts from an article by jamess Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 6 years. by pierre9045

Patrick Foye was subpoenaed to appear. He did so willingly. He did so seriously. Unlike some of his associates from his workplace -- this unique Intrastate Agency with quite the sizable budget:

your budget is bigger than 26 U.S. states
according the Chairman of that investigation committee, NJ Assemblyman John Wisniewski (on pg 190).

The testimony of Patrick Foye starts on page 140 of
this Document, which is the transcript of Committee Meeting of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works And Independent Authorities Committee (NJ), which happened on December 9, 2013.

Patrick Foye provided his testimony, without the benefit of an attorney present, as was his right. As was explained to him here:

ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI: Do you understand that you have certain rights under the Code of Fair Procedure, including the right to be accompanied by counsel who would be permitted to confer with you during the questioning, and advise you of your rights, and submit proposed questions on your behalf?

MR. FOYE: Yes, sir.

So without further introductory-setup, here are some of the more interesting highlights, from the sworn testimony to that NJ Committee, from Patrick Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (appointed by New York Governor, to his 'top dog', "the buck stops here" position.)

[pg 144]

MR. FOYE: [...]

Regarding the decision to restrict access from local roads in Fort Lee from three lanes to one, let me start by laying out the standards we employ when a traffic alteration is contemplated at any of our facilities. First: Written sign-off by the Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminals Department, as well as by Traffic Engineering and the Port Authority Police Department. Second: Prior discussion with the local governments and host communities, a communications plan, and plenty of advance notice to the commuting public. Third: Consideration of the effects on emergency vehicles. And fourth: Consideration of the financial impact on the Port Authority in terms of additional costs, including overtime, given the public we serve.

While my review of the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge for four days during the week of September 9 is continuing, it is clear that the closure met none of these conditions. After inquiring with Bridge personnel on what I deemed an ill-advised operation, I ordered the immediate reopening of the lanes as quickly and safely as possible. I also made clear that changes to Fort Lee access lanes would require the same due diligence we apply throughout our facilities.

In the time that has lapsed since the unannounced closures, I have learned, as has this Committee, that the agency’s Director of Interstate Capital Projects, David Wildstein, made the decision on or about September 5 to restrict local access lanes to the upper level toll plaza in Fort Lee from three lanes to one. Wildstein failed to provide notice to the leadership of our Public Safety Department, including our Chief Security Officer and the Chief of the Department, or to the Borough of Fort Lee, Fort Lee Police and first responders, other Bergen County communities, the commuting public, or senior leadership within the Port Authority, including me.

As a result of his decision, commuters entering the George Washington Bridge that week were subjected to hours of gridlock, and the Borough of Fort Lee was, for all intents and purposes, shut down during the morning rush. Drivers complained of up to 4-hour commutes, and Port Authority Police expended significant resources to create traffic diversions to safely control the massive back up of vehicles on Fort Lee roads. September 9 was also the first day of school for many children in the surrounding communities, and we now know that there were reports from parents and local schools that many school buses were delayed due to the unnecessary gridlock that engulfed the Borough of Fort Lee.

Most alarmingly however, it has been reported that ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and other public safety vehicles were also needlessly delayed, putting the public’s safety at risk. Thankfully, it appears there was no resulting loss of life due to the closures. However, that is of little comfort to me or my colleagues at the Port Authority who believe that the safety of the traveling public is the Port Authority’s number one priority.

Let me be clear, the decision to restrict local access to the George Washington Bridge during the morning rush bypassed normal operating procedures, without proper transparency and openness. And it directly violated our agency’s primary responsibility to protect our customers and personnel.

[pg 166]

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Okay. You said you’ve had a number of conversations with Mr. Baroni regarding this incident.

MR. FOYE: Yes.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Did he, at any time during those conversations, explain why this decision was made on the part of Wildstein to do these lane closures?

MR. FOYE: Traffic study.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: And that was the best he could give you, or gave you, in terms of rationale for causing all of this?

MR. FOYE: That was the rationale.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: Okay. You know there’s been a lot of speculation that these lane closures were done for political purpose because of the issues with the Mayor in Fort Lee. And when you’ve had these conversations with Wildstein, did he make any reference to his decision having to have political purpose?

MR. FOYE: So, Vice Chair, just to be clear, I’ve had no conversations with Wildstein. I’ve spoken with Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. And the answer to your question is no.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: So you accepted their statement, their rationale that they put people at risk, and spent money, and created tremendous upheaval solely for the purpose of a traffic study?

MR. FOYE: I don’t.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN STENDER: You don’t. Why do you think they did it?

MR. FOYE: I’m not aware of any traffic study. I don’t know why it was done.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

RETRACTED: Christie refuses to allow members of his office testify before legislative committee

Excerpts from an article by HoundDog Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

I am retracting this story with apologies as I see no second source, or even mention of it by 11:37 p.m.  The "supposed" NJSpotlight story must be a punk, as it is inconceivable to me that this news could be a real annoucement last night of the NJ Senate co-chair of the investigative committee Robert Gorden announcing that the Governor's office was not going to allow its members to testify, without dozens of other news organizations reporting it by now.  My deepest apologies. I started another post announcing this retraction, and will report progress in investigating what happened there.

As of now, however, I believe I have been duped and reported a false story, which regrettable made it to our Daily Kos rec board. I am very sorry.


Update: I see no other source picking up this story by 11:00 pm EST, which is inexplicable. I hope I do not have to retract this story, reported late last night by NJSpotlight which still has it up.  I am investigating this and will report back as soon as I can figure out what is going on.  Sorry, if I jumped the gun on this report.


The NJSpotlight is just breaking a story reporting that Senator Robert Gordon, chairmen of the legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures announced tonight that Christie's office has informed them that they will not allow any members of its office to testify before the committee, in Gordon: Governor’s Office Refuses To Appear Before Legislative Committee.  So much for "full cooperation."

In an announcement that could set the stage for a constitutional showdown, the Christie administration informed Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, that it is Christie administration policy that no members of the governor’s office are allowed to appear before legislative committees.

“This is a Christie administration policy. There was no such policy before this in previous administrations,” Gordon said yesterday on the eve of his committee hearing focusing on the months of delays by the Department of Community Affairs in getting $600 million in Sandy aid out to homeowners. “This is a huge disadvantage for our inquiry when so many of the decisions are made in the governor’s office.”

It would be an even larger disadvantage for the Joint Legislative Select Committee on Investigation that is probing the Bridgegate scandal, considering that 10 subpoenas issued by the panel -- including three new subpoenas issued yesterday -- went to current members of the governor’s office and two to former governor’s aides who have since been fired or resigned.

Bill Stepien's lawyer also reiterated his intention not to comply with the subpoena. The committee voted this morning authorizing their attorney to use whatever legal means necessary to force compliance.

This Nixononian escalation by the Governor is bound to provoke much protestation after his earlier pledge to cooperate fully with the committee's investigation.  


Rachel Maddow: “The Governor has absolutely and blatantly not told the truth about what was going on in his office.”

The opening segment of Tuesday night's The Rachel Maddow Show is an outstanding example of why Christie’s Bridge-Gate Scandal Boosts Rachel Maddow To Ratings Victory Over Fox News. I wonder what cable news channel Christ Christie watched tonight? Was he curious enough to sit through what Rachel Maddow had to say about him and his disproved denials?

Needless to say, it was must see t.v. and something wonderful to behold. With the skills of Sherlock Holmes, she identified every discrepancy in Christie's assertions and tore apart every inkling of credibility that he might have hoped to retain. She flat out said that statements he has made are provably not true. She might as well have just used the word liar. And then she went on to prove it.

If you weren't glued to your television when it aired, here is the video at MSNBC. And if you are not able to watch video, the transcript is below the orange mangled traffic cone. (H/T to NYFM for that description.)

All roads lead to Christie’s inner circle
Rachel Maddow points out that several statements made by NJ Governor Chris Christie about the bridge scandal are demonstrably false given newly revealed facts.

P.S. If you can't get enough of the juicy details of this scandal and have some time, check out a diary I read earlier that was written by Demeter Rising, who obviously did a lot of research to find just about every instance that Mayor Sokolich was quoted or mentioned in an article going back to September about the Bridge closing and whether or not it was a punishment coming from the administration: What's up with Mayor Sokolich?


Rachel Maddow: "[T]he reason this photo is particularly awkward for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is because the guy he is interacting with in this photo, the guy in the dark coat and the white shirt and the red tie is David Wildstein; the Chris Christie administration political appointee to the Port Authority who personally organized the shutdown of the bridge lanes. "

This is awkward. This is a photo taken on 9/11. It was taken this past September 11th, 2013 and it’s at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. This photo was published today in this morning's Wall Street Journal. Now, one of the ambient things about the New Jersey bridge scandal that has always been particularly disgusting about this scandal is the fact that the bridge shutdown happened on the week of September 11th. I mean, if there are dirty tricks going on in politics somewhere, even in the New York City area, it's not like everybody expects September 11th to be an Armistice Day for politics or anything. But grid locking a town in northern New Jersey and portions of the George Washington Bridge on September 11th was particularly nasty. Not only for people in New Jersey who might have wanted to use the bridge to get to 9/11 commemorative events, this was, after all, a very hard hit area of the country; but also because, frankly, the bridge, itself, is seen as a potential terrorist target. It's not just a landmark. It is the busiest bridge in the world. And on the anniversary of 9/11, you worry, right? The mayor of Fort Lee told The New York Times this week that while the bridge lanes were closed, quote, his blood pressure rose “two ticks each day.” But he says it, quote, went up twice that on September 11th, specifically. [See A Bridge to Scandal: Behind the Fort Lee Ruse by N. R. Kleinfield, The New York Times, 12 Jan 2014]

But the reason this photo, which was taken on September 11th during the traffic jam, the reason this photo is particularly awkward for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is because the guy he is interacting with in this photo, the guy in the dark coat and the white shirt and the red tie is David Wildstein; the Chris Christie administration political appointee to the Port Authority who personally organized the shutdown of the bridge lanes. When the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff ordered, quote, Time for Some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee  (PDF), it was David Wildstein who responded, Got It. And it was then David Wildstein who over the course of the next few weeks at the Port Authority secretly organized the traffic engineers, and maintenance department and the bridge general manager and everybody else who had to be in on it, to get those lanes shut down. And then he swore them all to secrecy in terms of not letting anybody in Fort Lee know what was about to hit them.

That was David Wildstein who was calling the Fort Lee mayor that little Serbian. It was David Wildstein the guy who said don't feel bad for those children who are stuck in those traffic jams, in the first day, in the first week of school in Fort Lee because, quote, those are the children of Buono voters, Buono being the Democratic candidate who was running against Chris Christie. That was David Wildstein who ordered radio silence as the response to complaints from the mayor and other Fort Lee officials, even when what they were complaining about was delayed ambulances trying to get to injured people and people who were having heart attacks. That's David Wildstein, and that's David Wildstein with Chris Christie during the bridge shutdown on September 11th. And for a governor who is desperately trying to distance himself from the scandal, trying to say he had nothing to do with it, I mean it is awkward enough for there now to be photographic evidence that he was with the guy who shut down the bridge while the bridge was shut down. But it's even worse than that for Governor Christie because of the Governor's insistent, even over the top, efforts to try to deny any connection with David Wildstein; to try to deny personal history, any past association, even any real current familiarity with the guy who he is seen talking to right there.

Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press Conference:
Question at press conference: [inaudible] … friend David Wildstein?

Chris Christie: Let me just clear something up, okay? About my childhood friend, David Wildstein. It is true that I met david in 1977 in high school. He's a year older than me. David and I were not friends in high school. We were not even acquaintances in high school. I mean, I had a high school in Livingston, a three-year high school that had 1,800 students in a 3-year high school in the late '70s/early 1980s. I knew who David Wildstein was. I met David on the Tom Kean for Governor Campaign in 1977. He was a youth volunteer and so was I. Really after that time I completely lost touch with David. We didn't travel in the same circles in high school. You know, I was the class president and athlete. I don't know what David was doing during that period of time. [Break in Tape] I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time; a long time. Well before the election. You know, I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I've had with David since he worked at the Port Authority. I did not interact with David.

Rachel Maddow: "A couple of months before the traffic jam, there again is the Governor interacting with David. This is in June at another Port authority event."
I did not interact with David. During the traffic jam, there is the Governor interacting with David. [The 9/11/13 picture is shown on screen again.] A couple of months before the traffic jam, there again is the Governor interacting with David. This is in June at another Port authority event. In case you're interested, the guy on the right, that's David Samson, the Port Authority Chairman. And the guy on the left, that's Bill Baroni, the other guy who had to resign along with David Wildstein. But in the middle there, that is our hero Governor Chris Christie and, again, David Wildstein. The governor says he can count on one hand the number of times he has interacted with David Wildstein since David Wildstein  was hired at the Port Authority back in 2010. Well if Mr. Christie has the expected number of fingers, that would mean it has only happened five times and, hey, there just happens to be photographs available of two of those five times, including one taken during the shutdown on September 11th.

There's something else going on, too though, that does not jibe with how the Governor has explained this scandal and his knowledge of if and his role in it. The day after this picture was taken of Chris Christie and David Wildstein together during the traffic jam on September 11th, the day after that, that was a Thursday, the day … so that was a Wednesday. The day after that was a Thursday which is while the shutdown was still going on. And on Thursday, the day after that photo was taken. Thursday. This email was sent between two people who work in Governor Christie's office; between two of his top staffers. Christina Genovese Renna. She’s the Director of Departmental Relations for the State of New Jersey. I know it’s obscure. A lot of people have job titles like that in New Jersey. It can be confusing. In this case what it means is that she worked in the Governor's office and she reported to Bridget Kelly, who’s the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff who we now know is the person who ordered Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee, to which David Wildstein responded, Got it. So during the shutdown, while it was still happening before the Executive Director of the Authority intervened and forced them to stop doing what they were doing, Fort Lee was into its fourth day of gridlock because of this manmade shutdown. And on that fourth day, on Thursday, Christina Renna wrote to Bridget Kelly this email about the Fort Lee traffic disaster and the mayor of Fort Lee.

Dear Bridget, this afternoon Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich. The Mayor’s extremely upset about the reduction of toll lanes from 3 to 1. Not only is it causing horrendous traffic backup in town, but first responders are having a terrible time maneuvering the traffic because the backup is so severe. The Mayor told Evan he has no idea why Port Authority decided to do this, but there is a feeling in town that it is government retribution for something. He simply can't understand why that would be the case however, because he has always been so supportive of the Governor. Evan told the fine Mayor, he was unaware the toll lanes were closed, but would see what he could find out.

This is an email during the bridge shutdown. It's to Bridget Kelly who ordered the bridge shutdown. It is from Christina Renna, who worked in the Governor's office. The Evan who is referenced in the email, we think is probably Evan J. Ridley, who also works in the Governor's office. Nobody seems to know what his exact job title is other than Aide to the Governor. Public payroll information shows that he works in the Governor's office as an Aide and gets paid $52,000 a year. Other than that, all we know is that he works in the Governor's office. All of them do. And that means that during the shut down, three people who work in the Governor’s office are emailing about the ongoing bridge lane shutdown and the disaster that it's causing and the allegation that it's politically motivated. There’s no discussion whatsoever about there being some traffic study which the Governor says was the prevailing belief about what was happening with that bridge. And this was contemporaneous to the problem. This wasn’t long after the fact when there’s some newspaper article about it in retrospect that alerted everybody that in fact there had been some problem that’s now resolved. This was during the event. And that means that the Governor has absolutely and blatantly not told the truth about what was going on in his office.

Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press Conference:

Question: What about the cover-up piece of this?
Chris Christie: Yeah, well that's your characterization, not mine. But there is nobody on my staff who had any knowledge of this issue until after the issue was already done.

That is not true. But here's the other part of this that makes no sense against the Governor's description of what happened here and why nobody should believe that he was not involved. Remember, Governor Christie's defense, in part, is that this sort of thing, the shutdown of the bridge couldn't have been done to punish the Mayor of Fort Lee because Governor Christie says he didn't even know who the Mayor of Fort Lee was. He couldn't pick him out of a lineup. This guy was not on his radar. Pick your metaphor for “I don't know the guy.” Governor Christie has insisted on it.

Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press Conference:
Chris Christie: The other part of this that just shocks me is, as I said to you all many times before, Mayor Sokolich was never on my radar screen. [Break in tape.] I don't remember ever meeting Mayor Sokolich. [Break in tape.]  Until I saw his picture last night on television, I wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a lineup. [Break in tape.]

Reporter: Did any one say to you, well the Mayor of Fort Lee he’s going with your opponent?

Chris Christie: He never men… His name was never mentioned to me. His position was never mentioned to me. [Break in tape.] I never heard the Fort Lee mayor's name, Mark Sokolich, his name until all this stuff happened. And so he was not on my radar screen at all. Plenty of other mayors were. [Break in tape.] I don't know this guy. [Break in tape.] I mean, I don't know this guy. [Break in tape.] But I'm telling you, until yesterday when I saw his picture on tv, I wouldn't … if he walked in a room, I wouldn't have been able to pick him out.

That's a big part of the governor's defense. I've never heard of this guy. Nobody's ever heard of this guy. Why would anybody bother to try to hurt this guy who nobody's heard of in his town that nobody's ever heard of? Right? But then look at the first line of this email sent from two of the Governor's top staffers, while the shutdown was still under way.

Look. This afternoon, Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich. Not Evan received a call from a Mayor named Mark Sokolich from Fort Lee or from the Mayor of Fort Lee, a man named Mark Sokolich. No, it’s this afternoon, Evan received a call from Mayor Sokolich. No further explanation needed.

And then look at this in the same email, It came from a number he was not familiar with that was actually a secretary who patched the Mayor through to Evan. That's the way the email to Bridget Kelly starts. Essentially saying, Hey, don't be mad. Right? I'm really sorry to tell you Evan took a call from Mayor you know who.And then the closing line of the email is this: Evan told the fine Mayor he was unaware that the toll lanes were closed, but would see what he could find out. Now undoubtedly, Mayor Sokolich is a fine mayor. He's very fine. I'm no expert. Fine. But why the snark? Right? The fine .. why the fine Mayor snark here? If this is some anonymous mayor who nobody in the Governor's office has ever heard of, why the implicit apology for having taken his call? Oh, Evan didn't recognize the number. That's the only reason he took it. The number was a secretary's number. Implicitly, otherwise he would have known not to take the call. And then in closing, this backhanded fine Mayor, like ah, this jerk complaining about the first responders not being able to get to people having heart attacks. Right?

The Governor's top staff were discussing the shutdown, the effect of it, the allegations of political retribution and the Mayor of Fort Lee in provocative terms while the shutdown was still happening. Despite Governor Christie's denials, it seems like something was going on between the Governor's office and that specific mayor; that specific man. And lots of people who work directly for Governor Christie and who work in the Governor's office and who are in the Governor's inner circle were in discussions about that shutdown while it was happening.

Rachel Maddow: "The Governor's top staff were discussing the shutdown, the effect of it, the allegations of political retribution and the Mayor of Fort Lee in provocative terms while the shutdown was still happening."
Obviously, Bridget Kelly, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the one who said Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. Now we also know Christina Renna, the Governor's Department of Departmental Relations who send sent the email about the mayor to Bridget Kelly while the shutdown was still happening. We also know involved in that email, one of the Governor's Aides, Evan J. Ridley. We also know the Governor’s Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien, a few days after the shutdown he wrote to David Wildstein, quote, the mayor is an idiot, talking about the Mayor of Fort Lee. Regina Egea, who was the Director of the Authorities Unit on Chris Christie's staff when the shutdown happened and who’s now next in line to be his Chief of Staff after the one that he had before is promoted to Attorney General. Well the morning that the toll lanes were opened up again, she got sent the angry letter from the Port Authority Executive Director who had been kept totally out of the loop of the shutdown and who reacted with fury when he figured out what was going on, saying he, quote, believed this hasty and ill-advised decision violates Federal Law and the laws of both States. The Governor's soon to be Chief of Staff Regina Egea got that email sent to her marked with high importance on the last morning of the shutdown as the lanes were finally being reopened.

The [Governor’s] spokesman Michael Drewniak, just days after the shutdown, he’s fielding inquiries from reporters who are starting to call about it. When the Christie appointees at the Port Authority start to freak out about the press, this is how it goes. David Wildstein texts Bill Baroni, hey,  the Wall Street Journal just called my cell phone. Bill Baroni responds, Jesus. Less than a minute later, Call Drewniak. Call Drewniak, Mr. Drewniak, Mr. Christie’s spokesman. The Governor’s spokesman, the Governor’s campaign manager, the Governor’s deputy chief of staff, his top two appointees at the Port Authority, an aide to the Governor, the governor's new chief of staff, the Governor’s director of departmental relations; they are all in the loop on this crisis while it's still under way and immediately thereafter.

Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 9 Jan 2014 Press Conference:
There was nobody on my staff who had any knowledge of this issue until after the issue was already done.
That is not true. Provably not true. Today, remarkably, the gods of timing blessed us with this. Governor Christie had to give his state of the state address in New Jersey today because it is the start of a new legislative session. His very first words in the state of the state address were about the scandal. Even know he never described it directly.
Video of Chris Christie at Thursday 14 Jan 2014 State of the State Address: The last week has certainly tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we're entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better; much better. I'm the Governor and I'm ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch, both good and bad. Now without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again. But I also want to assure the people of New Jersey today that what has occurred does not define us or our state.
Not to be blunt, but nobody thinks that shutting down that bridge as an act of political retaliation is something that defines the people of New Jersey. Nobody I know from New Jersey did that, except maybe Chris Christie or at least the people who work for Chris Christie. This is an opposite of an I feel your pain moment. This is a don't you feel my pain moment. I want to assure you that this doesn't define us. Nobody’s worried about it defining anybody except you. We'll see.

Substantively, what the Governor said there about the ongoing investigation into this matter may end up being important. What he said specifically, I'll quote him directly was, quote, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.

Well, in order to make sure this does not happen again, we still need to know what happened here in the first place, and why it happened, and who did it. Whether or not the Governor thinks that is an appropriate inquiry or not, that's what he said, we'll cooperate with all appropriate inquiries [air quotes], whether or not he thinks that inquiry is appropriate, it happening. In an ongoing way in terms of a potential criminal investigation being looked into by the federal prosecutor in New Jersey but also aggressively in the New Jersey state legislature; both in the Senate and in the Assembly. Tomorrow they're going to be convening to define and vote for the remit and the powers of these new investigative committees that they are putting on this scandal. Heading into that new phase of the investigation that starts tomorrow is the uncomfortable fact for Governor Chris Christie that his own assertions thus far about what he knew when, and who he was in contact with, and who was involved in his direct staff, all of those assertions are looking pretty wobbly at this point.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

Did Chris Christie do a flyover of the George Washington Bridge during Bridgegate traffic jam?

Excerpts from an article by Armando Reposted from Armando by pierre9045

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reacts during a news conference in Trenton January 9, 2014. Christie on Thursday fired a top aide at the center of a brewing scandal that public officials orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washingto
What did Christie know and when did he know it?

The Newark Star Ledger reports:

The New Jersey legislative committee investigating the Bridgegate scandal will probe records of helicopter rides Gov. Chris Christie took to see if he flew near Fort Lee while lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed, sources told The Post ... Sources in the governor’s office said that Christie took a ferry to Ground Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then flew back to Trenton, but that Wildstein was not on board.

I was particularly struck by the reference to the helicopter ride on 9/11, because I was recently told by an informed source that "if the records are subpoenaed for the governor's trip back from the 9/11 Memorial event, they will demonstrate that the governor flew over the George Washington Bridge" on that day. It appears that those records have been subpoenaed and the governor's office has not issued a denial that the flyover occurred.

If this is true, then Christie will have to explain why he was flown over the bridge on the third day of the politically motivated traffic jam that was engineered by officials in Christie's office and the Port Authority, to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor.

Was it because he wanted to see how Bridgegate was panning out? Had David Wildstein—the former Christie crony at the Port Authority who is now looking for an immunity deal and who was with Christie at the 9/11 event, told the governor that Fort Lee was having some traffic problems? Was Christie lying when he denied knowing about it until after the fact? I have reviewed Christie's public schedule that day and he had no events scheduled in Northern Jersey. Indeed, Christie's office told the New York Post that "Christie took a ferry to Ground Zero from Jersey City on the 9/11 anniversary and then flew back to Trenton." (Note that the George Washington Bridge is in the opposite direction from Ground Zero to Trenton.)

And could this be the smoking gun Wildstein hinted at last month?

... evidence exists ... tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference he gave immediately before Mr. Wildstein was scheduled to appear before the [New Jersey House] Transportation Committee.

Did the plot just get thicker ... again?

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM PST

18 new subpoenas for Gov. Christie associates including helicopter logs during lane closings

Excerpts from an article by HoundDog Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

Brent Johnson, of the Star-Ledger, just published, Christie bridge scandal: Panel looking into whether governor flew in helicopter over Fort Lee.

TRENTON — The state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal is looking into whether Gov. Chris Christie flew in a state helicopter over Fort Lee at the time of last year's controversial lane closures, according to a source with knowledge of the probe. ...

Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie's office, confirmed today that the Republican governor did fly in a helicopter from New York to Trenton on Sept. 11 of last year — the third day of the closures. But asked whether the aircraft passed over the bridge, Reed declined comment.

"Anonymous" speculation is loudly wondering if this could be the "evidence that exists" according to David Wildstein. Christie's helicopter logs are included in the announcement of the 18 new subpoenas just announced in the last hour.

The legislative committee is looking into any conversations Christie may have had with Wildstein on Sept. 11 — the third day of the five-day closures — after pictures surfaced showing them together that day, according to the report by the Post. ... Reed said the governor traveled via ferry from Jersey City for a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and flew back to Trenton via helicopter.

"David Wildstein did not ride with him that day, or any day, as he has never flown in the helicopter with the governor," Reed said.

Two years ago, Christie was criticized for using the State Police helicopters to travel to his son's baseball games.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM PST

NJ Investigation turns up the Heat; Issue 18 New Subpoenas; Here are the Names

Excerpts from an article by jamess Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 6 years. by pierre9045

Sorry for the lack of pithy commentary, BUT since this is BREAKING News -- Here ya go:

Christie bridge scandal: Recipients of 18 new subpoenas revealed

by Christopher Baxter, The Star-Ledger, -- Feb 10, 2014 at 6:00 PM

TRENTON — The state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal will issue 18 new subpoenas, including to Gov. Chris Christie's office, his inner circle and officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Star-Ledger has learned.

Recipients include the State Police aviation unit, which oversees Christie's helicopter travel, four new members of Christie's office, and his failed state Supreme Court nominee, Phillip Kwon, who now works as deputy general counsel at the Port Authority.

The full list of those to be subpoenaed is:

  * Chris Christie for Governor, the governor's re-election campaign
Christie's office
Regina Egea, director of the authorities unit, governor's office
Nicole Crifo, senior counsel to the authorities unit, governor's office
Jeanne Ashmore, director of constituent relations, governor's office
Rosemary Iannacone, director of operations, governor's office
Barbara Panebianco, executive assistant to Bridge Anne Kelly, governor's office
Custodian of records
, State Police aviation unit
William "Pat" Schuber, commissioner at the Port Authority
Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director at the Port Authority
Custodian of records
, Port Authority
Steve Coleman, deputy director of media relations, Port Authority
Phillip Kwon, deputy general counsel, Port Authority
John Ma
, chief of staff to Executive Director Patrick Foye, Port Authority
Matthew Bell, special assistant to former Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Port Authority
Gretchen DiMarco, assistant to Baroni, Port Authority
Arielle Schwarz, special assistant to former Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein, Port Authority
Mark Muriello, assistant director of Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals, Port Authority

The heat just got turned up by about 18 degrees in the Christie Kitchen, a few times over ... or so it would seem.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM PST

MSNBC confirms NJ Senator Gordon says no members of Christie's office will appear before committee

Excerpts from an article by HoundDog

Reposted from HoundDog by pierre9045

Finally, MSNBC comes to the rescue with, Let Me Start: Christie keeping some GOPers worried

PLAYING HARDBALL: As the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures continues, you can count on one thing: the top dog isn’t giving in that fast. Reports today reveal that the Christie administration has informed Senate Legislative Oversight Committee chairman Sen. Robert Gordon that no members of the governor’s office will appear before any legislative committees. Will this policy hurt the Christie administration’s defense? Or will it only hurt the investigation to be met with a wall of silence?

Meanwhile, new subpoenas were issued this week in the investigation, and the big question now is whether those members of Christie’s circle will comply, or plead the Fifth. This web is getting more and more tangled as the weeks drag on, and you can be sure that this will have a lasting effect on Christie’s legacy as New Jersey governor–and as a potential presidential candidate.

Programming note: Sen. Robert Gordon will join Hardball tonight at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC. .

This morning I wrote this:

This morning, I retracted last night's story, RETRACTED: Christie refuses to allow members of his office testify before legislative committee, I reported from the NJSpotlight which reported that Christie's office had told NJ Senate co-chair that it would not allow members of his office to testify. Although, that story is still being reported, no second source has emerged, even at this point, so I issued a retraction and apology this morning.  No second source emerges for story about "Christie's office" refuses to let members testify.
Thanks also to agiftagain for finding three other sources for this while I was out to, and down in, the dump.  Two more sources

So now I retract my retraction this morning of the report of last night's NJSpotlight story because I couldn't find a second source this morning.  Plus Senator Robert Gordon will be on Chris Matthews Hardball.

So now I can say I reported this story, before I retracted it, and then retracted it before I'm reporting it again, now. Sheesh! Sorry for being sorry about this before. This will teach me a valuable lesson about getting too far ahead of a breaking story.  

I still can not figure out why this hasn't been the major headline all day, as it has such rings back to the Nixon Watergate scandal. Many here are too young to remember this was the mother of all the "gategate" scandals and terminology. For Christie's office to not allow his office staff to testify after promising previously to cooperate with the investigations seems to me to be bigger news than we've seen from today's few reports.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM PST

Christiegate: N.J. Fires 2nd Sandy Contractor

by ericlewis0 Reposted from Animal Nuz by ericlewis0

Excerpts from an article at

The Christie administration is cutting its ties with a second contractor involved with managing a Sandy rebuilding program that has been the target of blistering criticism by stymied homeowners.

Word of the impending termination of the $20 million URS Corp. contract, first reported Thursday night by WNYC public radio, came two days after dozens of distraught homeowners described inexplicable delays and a stalled rebuilding process - even after being approved for grants.


It has been beset by controversy, including the quiet firing of another contractor paid to set up the entire program, a contract worth $68 million. That company, Hammerman & Gainer Inc., was terminated last month and paid a $10 million settlement in addition to work completed.

Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 11:04 AM PST

AP finds Bridgegate bottom-feeders dodged a bullet by not causing anyone to die

Excerpts from an article by Christian Dem in NC

Yesterday, the AP completed an exhaustive review of emergency communications that took place while Bridgegate was underway.  The results?  As much of a headache as the three days of gridlock on the George Washington Bridge caused, nobody died as a result.

The AP's review sought to identify any emergency situations within a roughly 5-mile radius of the bridge closings where a person's life or urgent medical care appeared to have been directly endangered by stalled response times attributable to the traffic jams - and whoever was responsible for them. The review doesn't suggest who was ultimately responsible for ordering the two lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge.

The 911 records, obtained over several weeks through public records requests, included reports of chest pains, traffic collisions, false fire alarms and a dead goose in a parking lot. Officials in Fort Lee, N.J., the epicenter of the serious traffic problems, have yet to release audio from radio traffic among emergency workers during the week of the lane closures, but the AP's review included the dispatch logs of 911 calls that would have been affected.

In other words--the people who orchestrated this stupid, dangerous and criminal stunt are really lucky they aren't facing charges of manslaughter.

Some of the calls highlighted in the review would send a chill down anyone's spine.  As early as 6:20 am on September 9, a 911 dispatcher reported that a woman had fallen and cut up her face at a nursing home--and was still waiting for an ambulance an hour after calling for one.  By then, the backups were already spilling into nearby towns.  At 9 am, a first responder reported that the bridge was "totally gridlocked."  Minutes later, a man called 911 to report chest pains.  The dispatcher in Edgewater, which handles 911 calls in the area, said that emergency crews were already delayed.  This adds to the one near-catastrophe that can be definitively blamed on Bridgegate--the search for a missing child that was delayed because it took time to find officers who could be spared from directing traffic.

The mere fact that such a review was necessary--and indeed, the fact we even had to question whether anyone died because of this stunt--illustrates just how outrageous it was.

Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 03:55 PM PST

What was it that Christie 'Vetoed' anyways?

Excerpts from an article by jamess Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 6 years. by Louise

After I read about Steve Kornacki's latest reporting on Christie's refusal to allow independent and transparent "accounting oversight" which would detail how the Sandy Recovery Billions were being spent by his administration -- it got me thinking: "This is the smoking gun of graft (or incompetence) if there ever was one."

After reading the following post (and watching the Kornacki clip) -- it left me thinking -- "There's got to be 'more there' there ... more to the story of the Chris Christie single-handedly vetoing the need for public oversight, of the Sandy 'Recovery Business' of New Jersey."

If you haven't seen this earlier DailyKos post, I recommend it highly:

Steve Kornacki: monitoring of Sandy projects has been inadequate (updated w/video)
by Christian Dem in NC -- Feb 01, 2014

Now for my perfunctory 'drilling into' the details behind the headlines ... it's what I do, for what it's worth to the detail-oriented folks, who occasionally frequent my "redundancy" reports ... for whatever notable facts they might glean from them.

Christie vetoes Sandy oversight bill, calling it redundant and wasteful
by Jenna Portnoy, The Star-Ledger, --
April 25, 2013

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed a bill requiring oversight of billions of dollars in federal aid for Hurricane Sandy, despite Democratic objections, calling the measure redundant and wasteful.

“While I thank the sponsors for their efforts, and for sharing in my commitment to the transparent and efficient administration of Sandy recovery funding, this bill would produce unnecessary redundancies and waste government resources,” Christie said in the two-page veto message.

The bill (A61) would have required the treasurer to set up a website to track contracts by county and municipality, issue quarterly reports on recovery dollars and put out “expedited priority reports” explaining any problems the administration encounters.

ASSEMBLY, No. 61  [Bill A61]


215th LEGISLATURE[...]


SYNOPSIS   Imposes oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funds.[...]

An Act imposing oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funds, supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

      1.   a.  The State Treasurer shall maintain a public website dedicated to the dissemination and transparent administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.  The State Treasurer shall make available on the website New Jersey’s Comprehensive Quarterly Report on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funding, as constructed pursuant to subsection b. of this section.[...]

      The State Treasurer shall have ten business days within which to update the website relative to the receipt of information concerning the award of a State contract or State grant or distribution of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.

      b.   The State Treasurer shall provide a report to the Legislature, in accordance with section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), and the Governor concerning the receipt, distribution, and administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding, which report shall be due on the first business day of each calendar quarter commencing after the date of enactment of this section and shall be entitled New Jersey’s Comprehensive Quarterly Report on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funding.

      The report shall contain detailed information concerning:

 the amount of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding the State has received,

  the manner in which Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is received,

  the processes by which Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is distributed upon initial receipt,

  State operating plans for Hurricane Sandy recovery funding projects and administration,

  the award of State grants or State contracts using Hurricane Sandy recovery funding,

  the identity of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding State grant and contract recipients,

  analysis of whether the use of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding is accomplishing its intended purpose,

  the number of jobs created by Hurricane Sandy recovery funding State administered projects,

  recommendations for enhanced efficiency and transparency in the administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding,

  recommendations for enhanced coordination in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts,

  and any other information the State Treasurer deems relevant to the transparent administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.


     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.


     This bill imposes oversight upon Hurricane Sandy recovery funding by: (i) establishing a Hurricane Sandy recovery funding transparency website; (ii) requiring comprehensive quarterly reports on Hurricane Sandy recovery funding; and (iii) requiring expedited priority reports for administrative problems encountered in Hurricane Sandy recovery funding to enable prompt responses.  The purpose of this bill is to ensure the transparent and efficient administration of Hurricane Sandy recovery funding.

Who needs all that "detailed information," when we already got all THESE others ... these other "Recovery Accountability" agencies, that Governor Christie seemed to imply, already have "his commitment to transparency" covered ...

Chris Christie Speech Blasted As 'Off-Key' By Chris Wallace

Excerpt from an article on
Chris Christie Fox News


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Fox News host Chris Wallace had nothing but nice words for Ann Romney's speech at the GOP convention on Tuesday night, saying that it was "effective" and that "everyone afterward was buzzing" about it.

But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) convention speech? Not so much.

"I have to say, personally, I thought it was one of the most off-key keynote speeches I ever heard," Wallace said.

He noted that Christie said the word "I" 37 times, "Romney" seven times, and "jobs" one time.

"[I]t seemed sometimes as if he was promoting his own candidacy more than he was Mitt Romney's," Wallace added. "People liked the speech, but not nearly the kind of intense reaction to it and intense listening to it that there was for Ann Romney."

Speaking to the New Jersey delegation on Wednesday morning, Christie actually addressed why he mentioned Romney so infrequently.

"My job last night as I saw it, and I spent a lot of time talking about the speech before I gave it because, nobody would show up," Christie joked. "I really felt that my job last night was to lay out the stakes in this election and the choice in this election. And as it turned out, with Mrs. Romney going first it freed me up -- remember she was supposed to be going Monday night and because of the hurricane it was canceled -- so instead both of us were on the same night."

Wallace, however, said Christie's explanation is further evidence of his failure to do his job on Tuesday.

"If you're explaining the day after, that's never a good sign," Wallace said. "Obviously he's not going to tell stories about life with Mitt Romney, but it seemed to me he could have done a better or more effective job. What's the central issue in this campaign? Jobs, the economy, getting it started. But he never went after Barack Obama's economic policies. He talked about a failure of leadership. I don't know that that's even the right critique of Barack Obama. It seems to me, for Republicans, it's not that he's failed to lead, it's that he's led in the wrong direction."


Christie Has Made Errors In Judgment! Well Duh!!

Excerpt from an article on

We will leave it up to the reader to determine whether Chris Christie has made serious errors in in judgment and is a  liar.  It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from their past and future actions.

The Problem with Christie is he is in Bed with the Koch machine which is anti Union, anti EPA and Environment, anti Public Schools, and anti anything that supports the Middle Class.

His offices like others we called, stated that their position is that Moslems, Hindus, Shintoists and Witches are not "Real" religions" and in fact are evil cults.  What is a real religion?   What they have been practicing?  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  This is a summary of information collected from several sources about Christie and his Koch support.  EVIL!!!

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.     Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the First Amendment Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process.  )

Christie Stunner: NJ Gov Met With Pollutocrat Koch Before Pulling Out of Successful Carbon Pollution Reduction Program

Excerpt from an article on by Stephen Lacey and Joe Romm Sourced from ThinkProgress on September 8, 2011

NOTE: The audio featured in this post was obtained by Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog, whose reporting on the Koch confab is also featured at Mother Jones. The post that appears below was originally published on the Climate Progress blog of ThinkProgress.

In late May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he was pulling his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, explaining that it was "not working." Now a stunning tape of a secret meeting between Christie and Charles Koch sheds light on the governor's inexplicable decision to abandon a program that was not only cutting pollution, but was funding clean energy and, as it turns out, reducing New Jersey's budget gap.

David Koch, introducing Christie: Five months ago we met in my New York City office and spoke -- just the two of us -- for about two hours on his objectives and successes in correcting many of the most serious problems of the New Jersey state government. At the end of our conversation, I said to myself, "I'm really impressed and inspired by this man. He is my kind of guy."

Koch is the biggest funder of climate disinformation in the country, a billionaire pollutocrat who pulls the string of the Tea Party, which in turn is driving the country to a ruined economy and an unlivable climate. And Christie is his kind of guy. You can see why they wanted to keep this behind closed doors.

Koch has more to say on his budding bromance:

Another example of Governor Christie's commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause], which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]

Yes, Christie showed his "commitment to the free enterprise system" by pulling out of a market-based system invented by Republicans and economists, championed by President George H. W. Bush, and originally supported at a regional level by GOP Governors like Pataki of New York.

At the time of Christie's move, people monitoring RGGI were baffled. The program had raised tens of millions of dollars for clean energy projects without noticeably raising rates. But after acknowledging that climate change was real and then raiding $65 million from the program in order to close a budget gap, Christie actually had the gall to say the program was "gimmicky."

But now the reasons for Christie's awkwardly hypocritical stance on RGGI are becoming more clear. Perhaps the program wasn't "working" for the Koch Brothers, the oil billionaires who have spent of millions of dollars trying to tear down cap and trade and any other programs related to clean energy?

Here's the audio tape of Koch introducingChristie:

The audio was taken outside the political retreat, where static was reportedly being played in order to block anyone from recording the event.

This is the first time that Christie's participation in the Koch-funded retreat has been publicly reported. The trip, which was paid for by the New Jersey GOP, was never written in the governor's public schedule.

Related Posts:

Again, the above was by Stephen Lacey and Joe Romm of | Sourced from ThinkProgress

Chris Christie Sued Over Communication With Roger Ailes

Chris Christie Roger Ailes
BETH DeFALCO   07/25/11


Here is another nail in the Republican/Koch/Fox News Coffin.  TRENTON, N.J. — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey on Monday said it will likely drop a lawsuit filed earlier in the day against Gov. Chris Christie for records that confirm he met with the head of Fox News last year.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on Monday on behalf of a reporter for Gawker Entertainment LLC, saying the governor's office had issued a blanket refusal to release any records pertaining to the meeting.

After the governor's office confirmed the September 2010 meeting, the ACLU relented.

"We're happy to see the matter resolved quickly but remain concerned that the governor's office initially issued a blanket executive privilege claim in response to Gawker's request for records," said ACLU-NJ president Frank Corrado, who is representing Gawker reporter John Cook. "Is the governor's office actually reviewing records requests from the public, or is it simply using executive privilege as a carte blanche to deny access to all correspondence with his office?"

Citing the state's Open Public Records Law, the lawsuit sought all correspondence between the president of Fox News and the governor or his staff after a report that the head of the network tried to persuade the first-term GOP governor to run for president in 2012.

Fox News President Roger Ailes has denied urging Christie to run for president, but speculation continues over whether Christie would jump into the race, even though he has repeatedly said he will not.

Christie's appearance Monday in Iowa at an education conference and a political fundraiser for a congressman did little to quell the presidential talk.

The governor's office initially refused to confirm any records existed and said that, if they did, they would be exempt from state's open records law based on "executive privilege" – intended to protect the governor and other elected officials from disclosing records that contain advice to them about their official public duties – as a reason to withhold records from the public.

But after the lawsuit was filed Monday, the governor's office provided a redacted calendar entry confirming that Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, attended a private dinner on Sept. 11, 2010, in New York but declined to comment beyond the letter.

"Please be advised that this office is in possession of no other records responsive to your request," Raymond Brandes, an attorney for the governor, said in a letter sent to the ACLU and Cook on Monday.

Asked about the lawsuit at the Iowa event, Christie said, "I hear they're dropping it because we have no documents between Roger Ailes and myself." Christie said the only record pertaining to the meeting was the calendar entry.

A New York Magazine story in May reported that Ailes, like many others, tried to persuade Christie to run against President Barack Obama in 2012. Following that article, Gawker's Cook filed the public records request.

Ailes, who created Fox, the network of choice for many Republican viewers, in 1996, is a former media consultant for Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

"The public has a right to know whether the head of America's most-watched cable news channel is advising a sitting governor on state matters," Gawker's Cook said in a statement.

Emails sent to Fox News seeking comment were not returned on Monday.

Associated Press reporter Mike Glover in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this story.


Chris Christie Thinks Parenting Question Isn't Constituent's Business, But He'll Answer Morning Joe. O'Donnell Wonders Why

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 06:00 AM PDT

Lawrence O'Donnell Slams Chris Christie for When He Thinks it's Appropriate to Discuss His Parenting Skills in Public

Christie's Ego knows no bounds.  His constituents are of no value to him.  Lawrence O'Donnell last night ran through Chris Christie's various excuses for his decisions about using taxpayer resources for his family time, and wondered about when it is that Christie will deign to discuss his family and his parenting skills in public. It seems the only people worthy of asking him such questions are his fellow Republicans.

First there were the trips -- such as going on a vacation to Disney World while New Jersey was digging out from a blizzard (which Lawrence O'Donnell defended him for), using the state's helicopter to watch his son's ball game (which he did not defend him on). Then Christie told a constituent that it was "none of your business" where he sent his children to school, which Christie defended this weekend on Meet the Press.

O'Donnell wound up his Rewrite segment by slamming Christie for who he thinks it's appropriate to discuss his parenting skills with, and it's not his constituents. After all, Christie appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe the day after his appearance on Meet the Press and answered a similar question from Joe Scarborough on sending his children to private schools, which O'Donnell showed a portion of. Then he went after Christie for his double standard on who he thinks is worthy of his respect.

O'DONNELL: So Joe Scarborough quickly and smartly goes straight to what Chris Christie had declared a forbidden zone on Meet the Press the day before and asks Chris Christie why he doesn't send his kids to New Jersey public schools. Are they not good enough for your kids? And Chris Christie doesn't dare say to Joe Scarborough, “it's none of your business.”

He simply answers the question, says he wants his kids to go to religious schools and be taught religion every day. And he says that, he gives that answer, to that question, about his parenting decisions the day after telling David Gregory, “I'm not going to let people question my parenting decisions in public.”

He had no problem allowing Joe Scarborough to question his parenting decisions in public and last week on the Today Show, he had no problem allowing Matt Lauer to ask about that same parenting decision about where he sends his kids to school.

In Chris Christie, the Republicans' dream candidate for president, who will never be president, we can now see the inconsistent, temperamental man, who is capable of showing flashes of anger at his constituents like Gail, the woman who asked him about his children not attending New Jersey public schools, but is very well behaved in formal interview settings.

Now that we know that Christie has no rule about discussing his parenting decisions in public, let's look at how he treated Gail one more time.

So now we know what Christie really was thinking. Hey Gail, you know what? First off, it's none of your business, because you're a nobody. You're just a constituent. If you want me to actually answer your question get your own T.V. show. Who do you think you are? Joe Scarborough?

You can watch the entire segment here.

John Amato: It's OK for someone other than Gov. Chris Christie's constituents to ask about his family except when he uses them for cover. Typical coward.

The Bully in Chief appears to really love verbally smacking around NJ voters too. However, if you're an ex-Republican politician or current TV host, asking about his family is just fine.


Excerpt from an article by John Cook on Jun 17, 2011


Extremist Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the people. The Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not have to put on helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies to start wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands of our own military service people. They love massive war-time profits, unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.

Those Extremist Republicans hate the rest of us, which they must, in order to pass away from themselves and onto us, the financial burdens and losses their crimes, schemes and thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant, and destructive liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.

There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them for the nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.

Rachel Maddow on Chris Christie's Brand: "I'm the Guy Who Will Scream at My Constituents"

Excerpt from an article on  by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd Posted June 29, 2011

Rachel Maddow's a super talented host, but sometimes it's nice to see her out of her environment -- particularly when she's relaxed enough that it seems like she's bantering with friends. Which is what happened this morning on the Today Show, in which Ann Curry and Maddow have a really chill but smart conversation about the presidential frontrunners. She was characteristically pragmatic and analytical about Pawlenty, Bachmann and Palin, but when it got down to extreme New Jersey governor Chris Christie, she definitely loosened up a bit. "Chris Christie is auditioning for vice president. Chris Christie would like to be taken seriously on a national stage," Maddow said. "That's why he's embarrassing himself in his own state, leaving his son's baseball game in a state helicopter so he can go meet with Iowa Republican donors when he's not running for president. And his brand is 'I will be rude.'" Watch here, via Mediaite:


Gov. Chris Christie Considers Defying Court Order

Chris ChristieLast month, a New Jersey state judge struck down Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) $820 million cuts in education because they disproportionately affected low-income students in violation of the state constitution. That case is now pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

In an interview with radio host Eric Scott today, Christie suggested that if the state’s highest court hands down a decision that he does not like, he may simply defy the court order:

HOST: In all seriousness, governor, what if the ruling comes down, and [the state supreme courts says] you’ve gotta spend $1.7 billion, and you just say “no”?

CHRISTIE: Well, that’s an option too.

HOST: You’ve considered that? You’ve considered actually saying we’re not going to do it? . . .

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I’m not going to sit here and speculate. Um, have I thought about that? Of course I have. You asked me if I was coming up with a contingency plan. Yeah, there’s a whole bunch of options in the contingency plan and we’ll see what happens.

Watch it:

Sadly, Christie’s apparent belief that the law only applies to him when he feels like it is shared by many of his fellow conservatives. Indeed, the New Jersey governor is only the latest conservative leader to claim that the courts can be ignored — or even punished — when they hand down decisions that the right doesn’t like:

At the end of the day, conservatives don’t want to live under the rule of law — they want a veto power over any attempt to make them follow the parts of the law they don’t like.

NJ voters by a 2-1 margin say Gov. Chris Christie should not run for President in 2012


The Republican Governor of New Jersey and resident conservative heavyweight champion of bullying got knocked down for the count when a new poll by Survey USA News in New Jersey told him to stay out of the 2012 Presidential election.

By 5:1, NJ Voters Say Governor Christie Should Not Run for President in 2012:

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, beloved by some and despised by others for his bluntness, has a Minus 18 job approval today as speculation continues about whether Christie should run for President. 38% of NJ adults approve of the job Christie is doing, 56% disapprove.

You can imagine how bad Christie's polling numbers are by households that have teachers and union members in them, but check out the data coming from Republicans in the state:

Republicans and Conservatives have mixed feelings about whether Christie should stay focused on the Garden State or allow himself to be talked into putting both feet onto the national stage.

* Among Republicans, Christie's job approval is Plus 29. But: by 2:1, Republicans say Christie should not run for President.

* Conservatives by 2:1 and Republicans by 3:2 say Christie is qualified to be President.

* Conservatives and Republicans by 3:1 say Christie would make a better President than Obama.

* Even among the state's comparatively few Tea Party members, where Christie's approval is Plus 49, there is division: 38% say Christie should run for the White House, 39% say he should not.

* Among Independents, Obama's job approval is Plus 7, Christie's is Minus 11.

* Among Moderates, Obama's job approval is Plus 28, Christie is Minus 23.

* Among lower-income voters, Christie is Minus 32. Among upper income voters Christie is Minus 5.

This is the man that the conservative movement is trying to build into a national powerhouse, but he can't even get good "poll" from his own state. (h/t Atrios)

Here's a few of his other greatest hits:

Chris Christie urges reporters to 'take the bat' to 76-year-old widow

Gov. Chris Christie Takes Care Of His Buddies, Puts His Personal Chiropractor On State Licensing Board

NJ Judge rules against Chris Christie: Budget cuts left N.J. schools unable to provide 'thorough and efficient' education"

Ed Schultz Talks to New Jersey Policemen and Firefighters About 'Tough Guy' Chris Christie

Presidential Hopeful NJ Gov. Chris Christie: Where Wall Street Leads, He Follows



Chris Wallace begs Chris Christie to run for President in 2012


Gov. Chris Christie is the GOP's new Great Hope to overtake the White House and on FOX News, Chris Wallace was practically begging him to run for President in 2012.

From Lexis Nexis:

WALLACE: You have repeatedly rejected calls to run for president in 2012. In fact, you said, short of suicide, you don't know what you could do to convince people that you're not running.

But I want to put up -- because I'm still not convinced, I want to put up a poll, a new poll of all the potential GOP candidates. And the only one who currently beats President Obama is a fellow named Chris Christie, 43 percent to 40 percent. Don't you think you're up to being president?

CHRISTIE: Listen, the president, rather, can rest easy, because the only guy who is beating him in that poll isn't running.

I have a state to run. I love New Jersey.

WALLACE: But why not? You obviously feel strongly about this. You think you have got a better way to do it and that everybody else is messing it up. Why not go for it?

CHRISTIE: Listen, two reasons. One, I have a commitment to my state. I have been governor for a year. New Jersey's problems are not fixed. We have a lot of hard work to do.


WALLACE: You don't think you could help more in the White House than in the state house?

CHRISTIE: No, I don't think I can help New Jersey more in the White House than I can help it in the state house. And secondly, you have got to believe in your heart that you're personally ready to be president, and I'm not there.

WALLACE: Why not? I mean, seriously. You say you answer the questions. In what way are you not ready to be president?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I think every year you have as a governor in an executive position in a big state like New Jersey would make you better prepared to be president. And after one year as governor, I am not arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor of New Jersey and seven years as the United States attorney that I'm ready to be president of the United States, so I'm not going to run.

WALLACE: Yes, but you know, and I heard you say it might make more sense somewhere down the line, 2016, 2020, whatever. But one of the things that Obama learned and showed us all in 2007, when it's your moment, you have got to move.

CHRISTIE: Listen, that is a decision that he made. And he's obviously was successful in winning the presidency. My view is I want to, if I ever would have run for the presidency, if I was ever to do it, I want to make sure in my heart I feel ready. And I don't think you run just because political opportunity is there. That's how we wind up with politicians who aren't ready for their jobs. WALLACE: Governor Christie, we want to thank you so much for coming in. And please come back, sir. It's a pleasure to talk to you.

CHRISTIE: I will. Thanks, Chris.

Their love affair with Christie is rooted basically in only two facts I can see at this time.

A) He's a good communicator on TV. He's fairly articulate and appears like a guy you'd want to have a beer and a hot dog with.

B) He loves bullying state and union workers around during town halls while canceling a major tunnel project that would have meant many jobs for NJ. The Teachers Union is in line this time for his authoritarian act. He loved to tell this teacher that if she didn't like his merit pay idea it she could stop teaching. And the Tea Party loves him because of this.

Already the merit pay scheme has been discredited. Education experts say Gov. Christie's teacher merit pay can do more harm than good for students

And here's a study that proves the point of the useless merit pay scam he's trying to pull on teachers.

Paying teachers bonuses to improve student test scores may not work after all, according to a new study researchers say is the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay.

Vanderbilt University researchers studied a program in Nashville that offered bonuses of $5,000 to $15,000 to middle school math teachers if their students scored higher than expected on a statewide exam, according to a report released today.

After three years, the program proved to be a bust, the study said. Except for some temporary gains, students did not progress any faster in classrooms where teachers were offered bonuses.

Christie and NJ are in crisis and he hasn't fixed a thing there yet except making job cuts and refusing tunnel projects. He's also didn't distinguish himself with his latest showing of arrogance when he stayed on a Florida vacation instead of helping NJ when the snow came. Rudy Giuliani blasted him for it.

On Morning Joe today, Rudy Giuliani looked back at Chris Christie's much-discussed absence from New Jersey during the snow storm.

"Chris should've come back.

I mean, if he asked me my advice, I would've said 'They elected you governor, they've got an emergency, they expect you to be there.'

You know, you've got to be there if you're a governor, a mayor, or even a president, if it's important enough."

The Zogby poll which shows Christie beating Obama 43-40 has FOX and their friends in a dizzy. Funny how they didn't mention the PPP poll which shows that Obama whipping Christie in NJ, 55-38. Expect to see more FOX News love heaped upon Christie. If they could get away with it, he'd probably be on their payroll already.


Gov. Chris Christie: Screwing State Workers, Meeting With Koch Partner. No Wonder Republicans Love Him!

NJ Gov. Chris Christie, the hero of the anti-tax activists, continues his relentless attack on labor with the cooperation of the state senate's president. The state Assembly? Not so much:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney were poised to announce an agreement on a plan to overhaul health and pension benefits for public employees but were stymied Wednesday after the compromise received a chilly reception in the Assembly.

"We are not there yet," said Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who found herself wedged between two of the state’s most powerful politicians.

Word of the agreement also drew quick opposition from public labor unions across the state, who said it represented an attack on collective bargaining rights by taking away their ability to negotiate health benefits.

The plan would require the state’s 500,000 public employees to contribute more money for their pensions and health benefits than they currently do, sources said, and freezing cost-of-living adjustments for retirees until the pension funds stabilize.

The overhaul, which lawmakers have agonized over since Christie took office a year and a half ago, would address two of the most costly issues facing the state.

New Jersey has promised $66.7 billion in medical benefits to current and future retirees — the highest price tag among the 50 states — but has not set aside a single penny to pay for it.

A little background on that. Another Christie, former Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, decided to fund tax cuts for the wealthy by deferring the state's mandated pension payments with pension-obligation bond issues. Guess how that turned out when the market tanked?

So most NJ voters aren't even aware that the Republicans basically borrowed huge amounts of money to fund tax cuts.

Oh, and remember Christie's recent helicopter ride? From Adam at Blue Jersey -- guess which donor Chris Christie was flying to see the day of his famous helicopter ride?

As noted recently at Blue Jersey, the lead Iowa Republican funder who Governor Christie met with during “CopterGate” was Koch business partner Bruce Rastetter.  There is a very interesting history between Rastetter, the Koch brothers, their business interests and Chris Christie – and given Christie’s history of rewarding his cronies with lucrative contracts, this more than bears watching closely.

Let’s connect some very big dots.

Rastetter is a major early seed money donor to the very shady “American Future Fund”(“AFF”).  In 2010, both the AFF and the Koch Industries PAC were involved in the Adler/Runyan Congressional race, as was Christie, who recorded an ad for Runyan in the closing days of the campaign.

Earlier this year, a Koch subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources Renewables LLC acquired Rastetter’s ethanol plants in an all cash deal.  At the beginning of this past May, it was first reported that Rastetter, among others, would be coming to New Jersey in order to sweet talk Christie.  As part of the report, Rastetter said the following about Christie:

"There isn’t anyone like Chris Christie on the national scene for Republicans," Rastetter said. "And so we believe that he, or someone like him, running for president is very important at this critical time in our country."[snip]

"He clearly understands smaller government, less government spending, job creation, and how to create a better education system — certainly, all the things I and those accompanying me care about."

Around three weeks later, Christie, in an about face from his lies campaign talk, decides to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”).  This is also on the heels of a year-long multi-million dollar campaign by the Koch front group “Americans for Prosperity” to derail RGGI.  Christie also announces that he will come out with his own “alternate energy plan”.

Over the next two weeks, Christie gets the visit from Rastetter and his delegation, and releases his energy plan, which lowers New Jersey’s goal for renewable energy by almost 1/3.

Imagine that. Just more of those coinky dinks that dog those hard-working Republicans...


Even though cable news shows and political pundits swoon all over NJ Gov. Chris Christie, Dean Baker is exactly right: Christie displays "follow-ship", not leadership. He is completely a creature of the Republican establishment. Yet he likes to paint himself as a regular guy and even an outsider.

"Outsider"? Don't make me laugh. At yesterday's speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Christie said he'd never been to Trenton until he was elected governor. (As the nuns would say, "That was a bold, brazen lie!")

Married to an investment banker, he worked as a securities lawyer and then as a statehouse lobbyist representing the Securities Industry Association, Wall Street's trade association.

Appointed as a U.S. Attorney with no prosecutorial experience, his appointment was approved by Karl Rove because Christie, his stockbroker brother Todd and their wives donated a half-million dollars to Bush's campaign. Todd also spread some cash compost around the Republican Governor's Association, which used to money to run ads supporting Christie's gubernatorial race.

Oh yeah. About Todd: He was one of 20 specialist stock traders charged with civil fraud for cheating customers. Funny thing, though: 14 of those traders were also charged criminally, many for lesser infractions than Todd Christie. But we can rest easy, since Gov. Christie assures us his brother got no special treatment -- even though he awarded a lucrative, no-bid state contract to the federal attorney who investigated his brother after his brother was cleared. Christie insists there was no connection, and I'm sure he wouldn't lie, right?

You got a problem with that?

POLITICO's blog, The Arena, recently asked:

In a Wednesday afternoon speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for raising the retirement age on Social Security. His willingness to tackle politically delicate entitlement programs follows his approach in New Jersey of taking on teachers’ unions and other groups. Can Christie portray himself as a teller of difficult truths and become a credible White House candidate in 2012 or 2016? Or will his YouTube-friendly shtick soon wear thin and render him largely irrelevant in Democratic-leaning New Jersey?

The fact that Gov. Christie is willing to do whatever Wall Street and the elite media tell him does not suggest that he has strong leadership qualities. If he had strong leadership qualities, he might take a moment to look at the Social Security trustees report himself, or at least talk to someone who had.

He would discover that the program can pay 100 percent of all scheduled benefits through the year 2037 and nearly 80 percent of scheduled benefits after this date for the indefinite future. After 2037 retirees would always get a larger benefit than current retirees even if Congress never does anything.

If Mr. Christie did the sort of basic research that we would expect from someone proposing to raise the retirement age he would discover that nearly half of older workers work in physically demanding jobs. It will be difficult for these people to stay in these positions well into their sixties. The share of non-college grads in physically demanding jobs is close to 60 percent.

He would also discover that that there has been relatively little increase in life expectancy for workers in the bottom half of the wage distribution, so further increases in the retirement age (we just raised it from 65 to 67) would likely mean a shorter period of retirement for low and moderate income workers.

Christie would also discover that most middle income workers have almost nothing besides Social Security to support themselves in retirement. This is due to the fact that they don't have traditional pensions, never accumulated much money in 401(k)s and just saw much of their home equity disappear with the collapse of the housing bubble.

Unfortunately Mr. Christie shows little interest in learning about Social Security, the country's most important safety net program. He just wants to do what the Washington Post tells him. That probably means he is electable, but that doesn't suggest he will be a very good president.


Digby caught this bit of bizarre right-wing behavior from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this weekend:

Keith Chaudruc, of Madison, got the final question of the night.

The Livingston school district elementary teacher launched into a list of complaints about drops in municipal aid, increasing NJ Transit fares and tax cuts for those making more than $1 million.

His question: How could Christie sign off on a tax cut for the most wealthy, ignoring the regressive nature of the sales tax, while those at the bottom were getting squeezed with increases like the transit fares?

The two adversaries went back and forth for a few minutes, until Chaudruc, a Republican, interrupted the governor.

"You want to come up here?" Christie shouted. "You come up here ... Let’s have a conversation.."

Chaudruc, who stands 5’6" and weighs about 160 pounds, backed away until the governor insisted "bring him up here," and a state trooper escorted him to the stage.

Christie, a few inches taller and several pounds heavier, loomed over Chaudruc as he launched into a tirade.

"Your wonderful increase in taxes would have killed jobs in this state," Christie said pointing his index finger at Chaudruc. "You and I have different ideas of what being a Republican is all about because I’m not going to raise taxes."

Before he could get another word in, Chaudruc was ushered off the stage and out of the room by a trooper.

It looks like the schtick is wearing thin in New Jersey, at least:

By bullying a citizen, hogging the microphone and condescendingly dismissing him, Christie was the rude one. But it’s nothing new.

Christie has turned state politics into one never-ending yo’ mama joke. It doesn’t matter who you are — school superintendent, teacher, student, U.S. senator, state Assembly leader, former education commissioner or just a regular guy trying to have a conversation: If you disagree with him, Christie will try to humiliate you publicly.

Some find Christie entertaining, but his combativeness is counterproductive and breeds the kind of hate speech that plaques the nation.

However, as Alex Pareene at Salon observes:

But some people find this totally delightful, because Chris Christie is basically an amusing comic television show character, like Charlie Sheen or Pat Buchanan. Whether it helps Christie politically depends on whether New Jersey residents find it funny or get bored with it. But Christie will continue doing it, because it's a major part of his "brand."

In lieu of class solidarity, which is a privilege only afforded to the wealthy these days, American politics are mostly about tribal self-identification. Most Republicans get this, and that's why being a shouty asshole doesn't hurt Christie. Democrats -- with a couple of exceptions, like Anthony Weiner -- are not so good at this, which is why MSNBC's liberal hosts whine about how Obama needs to "get tough" all the time without ever explaining how that would help him achieve policy goals and not just make them feel like they're backing a winner.

Like Digby, I find his bullying behavior clearly fascistic -- this is how real fascists, the kind you get in Hayden Lake and at Joe Arpaio rallies, behave. I guess Americans are getting accustomed to that and a lot more approve of it. And that may be the scariest aspect of Chris Christie.



Gov. Christie Thinks Being a Bully to Constituents Makes Him Huggable!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie revels in his bullying style, as do most conservatives, but it's really starting to backfire on him. Verbally beating up on teachers and school administrators and other public servants makes him huggable with the psychos who watch John Stossel, but to the general public it makes him about as huggable as Lotso.

This is being reflected in the polls of New Jersey voters. And he's losing women at a very fast rate.

One example came back in April, when Chris Christie urged reporters to 'take the bat' to 76-year-old widow.

Isn't he so sweet? Earlier this week, Christie took more flack for the way he treated a woman who called in complaining about the way he's slashing funds to public education while sending his kids to private school.

He told Gail it was none of her business.

On the Today Show this morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended his belittling of a constituent who asked the governor if he sends his kids to private or public school. Christie has slashed public education spending so severely that the state Supreme Court overruled him.

However, when the woman called into a local TV interview Christie was giving this month to see if he understood first-hand the devastating effects of his cuts, the governor went off on the woman, angrily saying, “Hey Gail, you know what, first of all it’s none of your business.” Christie sends his kids to private school. This morning, Today Show host Matt Lauer brought up the incident, asking, “Why isn’t it a fair question?” “Her point is completely ridiculous,” Chrisitie snapped, calling the woman “nonsensical.”

On Meet The Press, Christie tried to downplay the exchange with Gail by telling David Gregory he's just a huggable and loveable guy.

GREGORY: Now I'm familiar with the substance of you what said, which is you're a taxpayer. You pay-- property taxes. You're the governor of everybody. You're working for the best public schools for everybody. For religious reasons-- you and your wife decided to send your kids to parochial schools. My question is more about your temperament. Is-- should the chief executive speak to people that way?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Damn right he should. You know why? Because this is who I am. And the public knows they get it straight from me. And so what I said to her was, "Don't question my wife and my-- and my parenting decisions." That's the most personal thing that you can say to someone. You're a father. You know this.

These parenting decisions we make from the heart. There's no one more precious in my life than my wife and my four children. And when we make those decisions, that's not appropriate for public inquiry. I made that decision because I believe, David, in my heart, that's the right thing.

And so you know what? I am very blunt, I am very direct and you know what? So was she. And you look at her tone and her demeanor in that question, so was she. She's questioning my ability as a public officer holder to make decisions about every child in New Jersey and their public education because my children go to parochial school? Well, I went to public schools in New Jersey. I'm a product of the public schools. And so you're-- you know what? Absolutely. I wish more people in public life would respond just that way.

DAVID GREGORY: But authenticity is one thing. But we all can be better in the public square -- how we interact with people. Are you too abrasive? Are you too stubborn? Are you too-- tough when it comes to people questioning you?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: I'm huggable and loveable, David. I am not abrasive at all. I-- listen, I'm honest. And I wish we had more of it in politics. You know what people are tired of in politics? They're tired of blow dried-- tested answers that are given by political consultants to politicians and everybody sounds the same. (BABBLING) And everybody sounds the same.

He's just lying when he says he's not abrasive and he knows it. Conservatives love a mean-spirited bully as a politician and that's why they've been begging him to run in 2012. He can't hide from ugly incidents like this even if the national press has been slobbering all over him.

Eric Boehlert writes:

I realize much of the D.C. press corps is crushing on Christie. But before they announce that "people" are responding to the governor's "plain talk," pundits might want to find out if that response extends beyond their professional class.

Everybody remembers how Toy Story 3 ends, right? Lotso's new home is on the front grill of a truck. And the entire audience cheers.



NJ's New State Motto for Gov. Chris Christie: Why Drive When You Can Fly?

Records Show 31 Other Christie Trips:

You have to admire the sheer audacity of Chris Christie. He blows up a deal for a tunnel that would have eased the commuter crush from New Jersey into New York City, and now we know why: Because he isn't commuting by car like the peons!

PHILADELPHIA - Flight logs obtained by show New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used state police helicopters 33 times since January 2010, mostly for official functions.

Link: List Of Trips (As PDF File)

Christie will repay taxpayers for two recent trips on the helicopters, when he used the state-owned vehicles to attend his son's baseball games.The other 31 flight logs show that Christie used the helicopters to attend official functions, such as Rep. John Adler's funeral and the announcement of the Bayonne Bridge improvement project.

But other trips were to Manhattan to discuss Christie's political agenda with the national media, and to have dinner with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On one trip, Christie used the helicopter to talk with The Wall Street Journal and New York Times in January 2011. Another flight log, from April 11, 2011, listed "transport home" as the reason for the helicopter trip.

In April 2010, Christie flew to meet with the owners of the New York Giants and New York Jets. Both teams play in New Jersey. In all, Christie used state helicopters nine times to fly to Manhattan for various reasons.

And in August 2010, Christie flew to Newark to meet with Mayor Cory Booker and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Christie and the State Republican Committee are reimbursing New Jersey for the governor's personal use of a state police helicopter for the two trips to watch his oldest son's baseball games, a spokeswoman for Christie said Thursday.



(Check out the above video from a post I wrote last year to get an idea how explosive this situation is and how angry students are. It's always the poor, the elderly and the students who get harmed the most by conservative ideology. Back in April there was a massive student walkout protest over his sweeping state aid cuts in education. Gov. Chris Christie says protesting students 'belong in the classroom')

Tea Party favorite Gov. Chris Christie received a severe blow to his education budget cuts by a Superior court judge:

Gov. Chris Christie's deep cuts to state school aid last year left New Jersey's schools unable to provide a "thorough and efficient" education to the state's nearly 1.4 million school children, a Superior Court judge found today.

Judge Peter Doyne, who was appointed as special master in the long-running Abbott vs. Burke school funding case, today issued an opinion that also found the reductions "fell more heavily upon our high risk districts and the children educated within those districts."

"Despite spending levels that meet or exceed virtually every state in the country, and that saw a significant increase in spending levels from 2000 to 2008, our 'at risk' children are now moving further from proficiency," he said.

“The difficulty in addressing New Jersey’s fiscal crisis and its constitutionally mandated obligation to educate our children requires an exquisite balance not easily attained,” Doyne wrote. “Something need be done to equitably address these competing imperatives. That answer, though, is beyond the purview of this report. For the limited question posed to the Master, it is clear the State has failed to carry its burden.

Ouch. Chris Christie has spent only enough time to drink a cup of coffee in New Jersey as its governor so far, but since he's very good at bullying people, FOX News pundits just love him. He has yet to solve any problems there and when it comes to education, has refused to meet with protesters after he slashed education funding. Now he has to deal with this ruling.

Think Progress:

As the article notes, Judge Doyne was appointed as a “special master” in this case, and so his finding today will go back to the state Supreme Court, which can choose to act on it. This seems likely to happen. “A special master’s report like this carries great weight with the higher court,” said David Sciarra, the executive director of the Education Law Center. “The evidence was exhaustive, detailed thorough and its conclusions are sobering about the impact of the funding cuts on students across the state, particularly poor students, regardless of where they live.”

Christie has not yet responded to the finding. If he is required by the state Supreme Court to find more funding to at-risk districts, perhaps the governor could reconsider some of his proposed tax cuts for corporations and millionaires.

Here's a few other Christie stories from C&L:

Chris Christie's bullying style is inuring Americans to ugly discourse

NJ Gov. Chris Christie Kills Major Transit Infrastructure Project

Collective Amnesia Strikes Swooning Media As Manly Gov. Christie Blames Public Unions For State Deficits

Where to begin? Is it more egregious that Gov. Chris Christie is trying to pin NJ budget woes on public workers' unions (and models his solutions on Grover Norquist) -- or that a "60 Minutes" producer allowed his misinformation to go unanswered?

First of all, New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.

In other words, she and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)

This was a radical idea for the time, and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor of Edison N.J. filed a lawsuit to stop it. The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point was moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond authority was merely a legal shell created to get around the state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public vote.

And of course the inevitable happened: Whitman's pension obligation bonds (and just about every other state's) became a ticking time bomb.




David Gregory Says Gov. Christie Got Rave Reviews in AEI Speech, But From Who?

Since Conservatives love a good bully, Chris Cristie has become a favorite among them, but how does that justify David Gregory's claim about him on Meet The Press?

MR. GREGORY: And you're teeing up -- Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey , talk about austerity . He gave a speech here in Washington this week that got rave reviews in part because of his plain language about taking on issues like Social Security . Here's what he said.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): You're going to have to raise the retirement age for Social Security . Ho , ho! I just said it, and I'm still standing here. I did not vaporize into the carpeting, and I said it.

MR. GREGORY: He didn't vaporize into the carpeting, Rick Santelli . I mean, this is the kind of plain talk that people are responding to. And yet, you just heard from Senator Durbin , you know, they want to take Social Security off the table right now in terms of dealing with that debt reduction.

The only people giving him rave reviews are Conservatives, so why did Gregory frame it in a way that appears all Americans are digging Christie's shtick? You would think that in NJ, Christie would have a 70% approval rating, but the fact is he's only a tad over fifty. Wow, you may not have known that because of all the positive media fanboy love going around.

Eric Boehlert:

For instance, if you look at the polling, a small sliver of potential Republican primary voters are responding to Christie in that they pick him as their first choice for a 2012 candidate. But that sliver hardly represents any sort of national response from the "people" to Christie's partisan rhetoric. Meanwhile, in his home state Christie enjoys decent support, with an approval rating of about 50 percent. Although if you only listened to the Christie media chatter from inside Beltway you'd assume his poll numbers were in the sky-high, 60 or 70 percent range.

Perhaps more telling though, is the recent poll that showed if Christie ran against Obama in 2012, the governor would lose his home state by nearly 20 points. That's right, Christie would get trounced by Obama in N.J.

I realize much of the D.C. press corps is crushing on Christie. But before they announce that "people" are responding to the governor's "plain talk," pundits might want to find out if that response extends beyond their professional class.

President Obama trounces him by twenty points now. Christie can gab with the best of them, but why does the Beltway elite class immediately transfer what the AEI crowd thinks of him over to all Americans? It's ridiculous. And getting back to reality, it's a complete fallacy that raising the age of Social Security has to happen for Social Security to remain solvent forever. It's a Conservative lie and C&L readers and Dems all over the country know this except for the Villager class.


I'm never quite sure if Villagers are just unable to distinguish "the GOP operatives and other Villagers we talk to" from "the people" or if they truly believe (perhaps correctly) that they are just the only people who matter.

I think it's kinda of both, but if I had to make a choice I'd tell Duncan that they believe that they are just the only people who matter.


Collective Amnesia Strikes Swooning Media As Manly Gov. Christie Blames Public Unions For State Deficits


Where to begin? Is it more egregious that Gov. Chris Christie is trying to pin NJ budget woes on public workers' unions (and models his solutions on Grover Norquist) -- or that a "60 Minutes" producer allowed his misinformation to go unanswered?

First of all, New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.

In other words, she and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)

This was a radical idea for the time, and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor of Edison N.J. filed a lawsuit to stop it. The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point was moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond authority was merely a legal shell created to get around the state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public vote.

And of course the inevitable happened: Whitman's pension obligation bonds (and just about every other state's) became a ticking time bomb.

From I've read, the Whitman bonds made no payments for the first 12 years and then, during the last 18 years, they were supposed to pay both the deferred interest and the current interest. Whitman assumed that the irrational exuberance of the market would continue to generate high returns -- in other words, the state of New Jersey was looking at a massive balloon payment.

Just to make things interesting, average annual returns on the bonds haven't even been enough to cover the interest payments.

Let me point out the obvious: This is how politicians have passed the buck for decades, simply because the Reagan years made them so wary of the political fallout from tax increases. See how well that worked out?

When a state is in debt and cuts taxes, the cost of the tax cut is actually a loan that taxpayers will pay interest on, sooner or later.

Now on to the second part of the story -- namely, that 60 Minutes didn't bother to get another side to this story.

Jamison Forer at Media Matters notes:

Did Chris Cristie's speechwriters script this CBS report on state budget deficits? It certainly reads that way.

In 2,600 words about state deficits, you won't find the phrase "tax cuts." Instead, CBS adopts the Republican framing that deficits are all about spending -- frequently with loaded phrasing like "gold-plated retirement and health care packages." And throughout the report, CBS allows Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics.CBS quotes Christie declaring: "We have a benefit problem. … It's not an income problem from the state. It's a benefit problem. And so we gotta change those benefits." No contrary view is included.Then there's this passage:

Then there's New Jersey. It has the highest taxes in the country, a $10 billion deficit and a depressed economy when first-year Governor Chris Christie took office. But after looking at the books, he decided to walk away from a long-planned and much-needed project with New York and the federal government to build a rail tunnel into Manhattan. It would have helped the economy and given employment to 6,000 construction workers. Gov. Christie acknowledged that's a lot of jobs. "I canceled it. I mean, listen, the bottom line is I don't have the money. And you know what? I can't pay people for those jobs if I don't have the money to pay them. Where am I getting the money? I don't have it. I literally don't have it."

You'd never know from CBS's handling of the tunnel that there are people, like Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who argue that the tunnel would have had a stimulative effect on the economy, and that killing it was therefore shortsighted, as a stimulated economy produces more tax revenue. No, CBS simply presented Christie's opposition to the tunnel as gospel.And here's how CBS addressed New Jersey's pension problems:

It's also the truth that some of the responsibility for New Jersey's pension woes lie at the doorstep of the governor's mansion. Christie and his predecessors have failed to contribute to the state's share of its pension obligation in 13 of the last 17 years, one of the reasons the fund is going broke. Christie says it's ancient history."We spent too much on everything. We spent too much. We spent money we didn't have. We borrowed money just crazily. The credit cards maxed out, and it's over. It's over. We now have to get to the business of climbin' out of the hole. We've been diggin' it for a decade or more. We've gotta climb now, and a climb is harder. Gotta do it," he said.

You'd never know from CBS' report that a big part of the reason that "Christie and his predecessors" failed to make required contributions to the pension fund is that they decided to use the money for tax cuts instead. (Like I said, the CBS report takes the GOP-friendly stance that deficits are all about spending, not revenue.)

As the New York Times noted on August 19:

Christine Todd Whitman became governor in 1994, and to balance out her deep tax cuts, she reduced the payments to the state's pension funds. That contributed to the growth of the unfunded liability.

If Christie didn't get a producer credit on the 60 Minutes segment, he should have.





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