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The intense reaction of disgust and horror that I experienced while (and long after) watching that notorious clip of Pat Lynch blaming de Blasio and the peaceful protestors for the murders of the two NYPD police officers... that intense reaction motivated me to do a Google search for online petitions addressing the situation, and I found one on MoveOn.com:  http://goo.gl/...  

Having already shared it on Twitter and FB, I figured it makes sense to share it here as well -- doing my part (still fueled by that intense reaction to Pat Lynch's obscenely inflammatory declarations about "blood on their hands" etc.) to make sure this petition gets as many signatures as possible.

Unlike most online petitions I've signed, with this one I took the time to go deep in contributing my own thoughts (in the Comments section) prior to submitting my signature.  Those thoughts added up to, essentially, a letter to Mr. Lynch.  I doubt it would see the light of day if I were to simply send this letter directly to him.  Instead, embedded in the Comments in the petition package, it will at least be on record... and may even be read by someone who would be in the position to pass it on up the chain.

Please please please, check out the petition: http://goo.gl/... , SIGN it, and then SHARE it generously!

As for my own Comments to Mr. Lynch, proceed beyond the orange squiggly thing below.

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These revelations will probably be explored extensively on MSNBC in the coming days.

As one of those who've been following Bridgegate closely, I believe that this report by The Star-Ledger represents a turning point in the Bridgegate investigations.

Port Authority officials: Battle over toll hikes was all for show

Six Port-Authority insiders (five of whom no longer work there, but one of whom still does) shared some jaw-dropping details with The Star-Ledger, regarding the 2011 PATH toll hikes.

From the start, the fix was in, said that former official and five others who occupied key Port Authority posts when the toll hike was rolled out and eventually approved.

The whole process, the authority officials said, was orchestrated from the outset to make the governors look good even as they reached deeper, through the long arm of the authority, into the public’s pockets.

The former Port Authority officials (five who are no longer with the agency and one who is still there) outlined the strategy and execution of the plan in separate interviews with The Star-Ledger. Each asked that their names not be used because they feared repercussions from speaking out even after they had left the agency.

The 2011 Toll Hikes vs. The 2013 Lane Closures -- What's the connection?  
One source said complete responses to the latest subpoenas from the legislative committee would reveal that the bridge closures and the toll hike were engineered out of much the same playbook.

A minimum of agency officials were made aware of what was happening with the toll hike and sworn to secrecy under the implied threat of losing their jobs, the six sources said. And both actions included some of the same players.

“He’ll find emails,” the official said of Wisniewski, who co-chairs the joint committee with state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). “And he’ll find the emails between Baroni, Wildstein and the governor’s office. And he’ll also find emails between Baroni and Cuomo’s office.”

It would seem only fair to somehow reimburse all those commuters.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the key players wiggle their way out of this now.

Maybe they're hoping the Oscars will make the whole country forget about New Jersey.

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Yet another dimension in the fascinating Christiegate saga, reported this morning in The Star-Ledger:

In bridge scandal, one lawyer could topple Christie

This opens a window into one more of Christie's long-standing 'relationships' with The Rest of The World.

Turns out Chris Christie and Alan Zegas (Wildstein's attorney) and go way back.  At least back to 2008, during Christie's infamous stint as U.S. Attorney.

Let's just say that history didn't exactly produce a friendship between these two attorneys.

And Christie will find no comfort in Zegas, who has battled him in court, accused him of playing politics with criminal prosecutions and written scathing op-eds about his attacks on judicial independence, once comparing him to King George III of England.

“I don’t know Mr. Wildstein, but he seems wily, so it’s possible he was sending a message to the governor, that I’m going to choose someone you might not like,” said Nancy Erika Smith, an employment lawyer and friend of Zegas. “Sometimes lawyers just act and don’t think. Alan plays chess.

(bolding mine)

It's definitely not Karma's first visit in this saga.

But I find it to be one of the most interesting so far.

Poll

The Zegas advantage will

61%40 votes
13%9 votes
7%5 votes
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| 65 votes | Vote | Results

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NorthJersey.com article as of 1:52 EST today, Wed. 2/19/2014:
GWB scandal: Wildstein redacted name of state Sen. O’Toole in text message

Chime in on this, please!

Do you have any info or insights that pertain to Kevin O'Toole and his possible role in Bridgegate?

Is it possible that O'Toole not only played a role in the lane closures and/or the cover-up, but also (inevitably) has been somehow covertly helping Christie throughout the Legislative investigation?  The implications, if this is the case, would be dramatic.  No?

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Most of us are probably already familiar with Bennet Barlyn, the Hunterdon County assistant prosecutor who was suspended and ultimately fired in 2010 after complaining about the state's interference in the investigation he had worked on.

Barlyn has been fighting to get the issue resolved, but the state has been stonewalling on document requests for months and months and months.

Well, the AP reported yesterday in this article that one of Barlyn's colleagues on that 2010 investigation is also stepping forward:

Former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Charles Ouslander asked in a letter to the legislative panel to investigate whether politics informed the decision by then-state Attorney General Paula Dow to drop a 43-count indictment in 2010 against the county sheriff, Deborah Trout, a Christie backer.
I'd been wondering when this issue would reach this stage, and it seems like it took too long -- but maybe that's because the legislature has been overwhelmed with the unceasing onslaught of allegations.

Barlyn's and Ouslander's efforts are finally bearing fruit, while simultaneously adding to the credibility of the other allegations in the Bridgegate saga.  (emphasis mine)

Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Democrats who co-chair the legislative panel looking into the bridge scandal, said Friday the request would be reviewed.

"The pattern we're seeing is you are rewarded for saying 'yes' and something seems to happen if you say 'no,'" said Weinberg, who ran against Christie as a lieutenant governor candidate in 2009 and was later on the receiving end of a Christie rant during which he suggested the press "take a bat" to the 79-year-old legislator.

As one would expect given what we've heard from Christie about everything else,
Christie has denied any involvement in the decision to drop the indictment.
Is it possible (though it makes no sense to me) that he's telling the truth about this one?

Public opinion polls suggest that the average person in NJ and beyond appears to have a hard time buying the "I didn't know" claims about the other big allegations.  The denials don't seem to make sense to most people.

So why is the NJ Governor continuing to respond this way?

For some reason it's bringing to my mind other instances of politicians appearing to be completely untethered to reality.

Anyone have any explanations?

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On MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Wednesday night (2/12/14), as part of discussion about the Star-Ledger editorial urging Christie to resign his RGA post and focus on NJ:

(note the lack of quote marks; that's because the Question and Answer are not word-for-word, but just the gist of it.)

Question (by O'Donnell):
Is there someone, anyone, ho can successfully sit Gov. Christie down, talk some sense into him, and get him to resign his RGA position?

Answer (by Brian Murphy, who struggled to think of someone, and then, more-or-less thinking out loud, offered):
It may be Palatucci.

So it piqued my curiosity about Palatucci.  What's so special about him?

Not much has been discussed about him over the past few weeks.  I won't be able to do my own research until the afternoon.  But I have a hunch that at least a few Kossacks already have a working knowledge about Palatucci and his long-term friendship with the NJ Governor -- and how/whether he might have a role in how the scandals unfold.

Anyone have any insight into why Murphy believes Palatucci can talk some sense into Christie?

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... for the (surprisingly early) timing of the debt-ceiling outcome this evening.

They wanted to vote and finish it up -- several days prior to the target date -- so they could all rush home before the epic storm hits Washington DC this week.

Seriously. (?)

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... was aimed at finding all drafts of Bill Baroni's 11/25/13 testimony about "The Traffic Study."

This is per Rachel Maddow tonight.

Haven't seen anything online yet.

Analysts interpret this as a way of "backing into" the answers to the questions of Who Knew What When about the cover-up.

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... that HoundDog discovered last night.

Newsworks.org

NBC 10 Philadelphia

Update at 12:42 pm (Pacific):
There was actually an earlier story on PolitickerNJ.com, at 5:41 pm (Eastern) yesterday, Feb. 10.  It looks like that earlier story only mentioned the Hurricane Sandy oversight hearing, and it only stated that Christie staff declined to attend the hearing -- without mentioning anything about the so-called "policy of the Christie administration" that supposedly justifies their decision to not attend the hearing.

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... he wouldn't have had as much power as he does in NJ.  That's the thought that kept swirling in my mind as I read this AP article, posted this morning on TheDailyJournal.com:

Christie's eyes and ears at Port Authority holds key answers

I'm by no means an expert on any of this, but it's a logical conclusion based on some of the stuff I've learned over the past month -- most notably the characterization of the NJ governorship as far more powerful than the same position in all the other states.  Within his or her respective state, all the other governors operate within boundaries that have somehow been loosened far more in NJ than any in other member of the United States of America.

As the NJ scandals continue to unfold, something we've all suspected since the beginning of time is coming into clear view.

It is the unfortunate reality that power without checks and balances will. always. inevitably. lead to corruption that, given enough time for the spiral to spin downward, decimates the Middle Class.

The revelations (aside from the allegations that have not yet been proven) regarding Christie's Sandy recovery funds shed light on just one such incident among an untold number of abuse-of-power transactions; it just happens to be huge and very high-profile.  Note that several other greed-and-power-driven incidents attributed to Christie's regime have been reported over the past month, but the ones that get the most media attention are the big ones, to the tune of Four Million Dollars and above.  It's not a stretch to extrapolate that collectively, corrupt power plays are grossly under-detected and mostly under-reported in the media.

My point is that all of these transactions, despite differences in the unique circumstances of each, involve diversion of wealth into the hands of the 1% from a vastly larger number of people in the 99%.  

Further extrapolation leads to a hypothesis that this is simply an inescapable phenomenon, a manifestation of one of the less-pretty facets of human nature.  Therefore, corruption can creep into Democratic circles, not just Republican ones.  I believe there have been many cases that support that hypothesis.

So the bottom line is that the NJ scandals should be raising a huge, bright-red flag to the people of this country.  Something is fundamentally out of synch in our Government for The People, leaving it constantly vulnerable to that not-so-pretty facet of human nature.  We need to figure out how the downward spiral managed to keep spinning for so long and so fast in NJ.  If we don't figure it out, if all we aspire to do is to complete all the investigations and "close the case," then the spiral will go out of control again somewhere else.

And I'm curious whether anyone else agrees with this line of reasoning.  My default guess is that a lot of people have already expressed the same concerns; if you've seen an article somewhere that speaks to this, please share in the Comments!  Thanks!

Poll

The NJ scandals will be fully addressed and resolved if...

24%9 votes
8%3 votes
43%16 votes
18%7 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes

| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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It was a real struggle for me to read this clearly RW viewpoint (link below the orange squiggle), because I can't reconcile the intelligence that the author appears to possess with the clearly absurd content.

The way it's written -- maybe it's not the best writing in all time, but it's definitely way above average -- suggests strongly that the author possesses a good amount of at least some forms of intellect.

But the content, for an article written today, Feb. 8, 2014, bears so little resemblance to the picture that's been emerging from the vast collection of facts already uncovered -- which anyone familiar with the entirely non-fictional NJ drama has come to suspect is just the tip of an iceberg too large to contemplate.

There's a live, intelligent person writing stuff that is so delusional that it becomes really interesting to ponder the question: how can it be?  Is it a hoax?  And if it's not a hoax, I would love to find some explanation of this phenomenon.

Continue Reading

Pardon the lack of anything but the link...

I first saw the news via a comment by AnetteK in a diary about Sandy aid mess.  It's just now starting to show up on Google searches.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...

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