We've had a lot of talk about "Culture" lately. We've had would-be MS Tea Party Senate Candidate McCarthy argue that Hip Hop culture is driving up Gun Violence, in Canada. Gun Violence in Canada is still merely a fraction of that in the U.S., but let's not quibble. The premise here is that beyond the choices and actions of a particular individual in a particular situation, there can be a culture of permissiveness for violent and hateful actions that can act as an enabling factor in the eventual outcome.
So most today are looking at Chris Christie in the wake of the revelations that his deputy chief of staff was engaged not only in a petty act of partisan retribution against a political rival, but also a massive cover up of that action so effective that the Governor himself was left clueless and in the dark about the entire thing until the revealing emails hit the press while he was working out yesterday. Or maybe the day before, or something.
Yet what we already knew about Christie was that he was a bully. That tendency to bash his ideological opponents into powder was one of the main things that made Christie popular among the GOP in the first place, even though it may now appear to be the first hymnal in his epitaph.
When we look at this picture of Christie rallying at a Teacher with the temerity to challenge his policies - it's not just the raw rage of his own face that is the most striking.
Just look at the uncontrollable GLEE on the face of
the staffer his wife standing right next to him. That is the most revealing about the culture that he, and in larger context the GOP, has been fostering in this country for several years now.
They just LOVE IT when they're DEM Bashing. Can't get enough of it, no matter who else it hurts in the process. And that's the bigger point, isn't it?
Beyond what Christie knew and when he knew it, this is going to be his standing legacy, because he's shown time and time again - THIS is who he truly is.
Teacher: How are your reforms going to help the middle-class when so many middle-class teachers have been laid of this year, and so many have been spending money out of their pockets for programs that were originally paid for by the school district. This Administration has done nothing but lambast us, and I feel this administration has alienated so many people with your rhetoric that we are "bilking the state" when I'm a tax payer, and because of the budget cuts you've implemented I'm going to have a hard time paying this year.Christie then went on to explain that the school budget cuts where all President Obama's and previous Democratic Governor John Corzine's fault. Because y,know - of course they were, how dare someone roll their eyes at him for saying it's all because of Democrats while he clearly had nothing to do with it and naturally his administration actually gave more to the New Jersey public schools than the previous administration.
Christie: Well, a few things, first of all I have not lambasted the public school system. What I have lambasted..
[Teacher Rolls her Eyes and reacts with incredulity]
Christie: Oh listen, let's start with this, I stood here an very respectfully listened to you. If you want to put on a show and giggle every time I talk, well then I have no interest in answering your question. So if you'd like to ...
[Crowd applauds, Christie pauses for effect]
Christie: So If you'd like to conduct a respectful conversation, I'm happy to do it. But if you don't please go and sit down and I'll answer the next question.
Yeah, and if you believe that I've got a GW Bridge on sale...
Another example: Christie vs. the Vet.
Former Navy Seal/Law Student: Governor. I'm a veteran. I'm a Rutger's student. I know that every one of my friends in the military, no matter what state they're from, respects the fact that I go to Rutgers. It's also true that all of my friends in the military, no matter what state they're from, have never heard of Rowan... I don't understand why you would limit oppurtunities for non-traditional students like myself in Southern New Jersey. My question for you Governor is: please consider non-traditional students and veteran students like myself who are proud to consider [Rutgers] home.In this imaginary courtroom, Christie seems to have elected himself to be both Judge and Jury, rather than a hostile witness who doesn't respond to the questions being put to him.
Christie: Sure. What year are you in?
Student: I'm a second year law school student.
Christie: Couple of things, first of all. For the plan that we have, maybe you're aware, or not aware of what we're talking about. I put forward a plan to merge Rutgers/Camden with Rowan University. Why am I proposing to do this? Before I get to that, I want to talk about a few things that we're going to do for current Rutgers students. Anybody whose at Rutgers now, will graduate with a Rutgers degree. So if you're a second year law student at Rutgers/Camden you're going to graduate with a Rutgers Law Degree.
[Student begins to respond, inaudible]
Christie: I understand, I get ya, huh? Well listen, we're not going to get into a debate here. I listened to you, you're unhappy about it. You don't want Rutgers to merge with Rowan, under any circumstances? Well, here's what's going to happen, Rutgers is going to merge with Rowan. And here's why.. here's why...
[Student responds again, inaudible]
Christie: Hey listen. pal. Either - I sat here and listened to your position - excuse me - without interruption - If You decide what you want to do is PUT ON A SHOW TODAY let me tell you I can go back and forth with you as much as you want. Yeah, well listen, what I'm doing is providing opportunities for a bigger and better University.
[Student Argues, also inaudible].
Christie: Well, you're wrong about that. You don't represent everybody at Rutgers and you don't speak for everybody at Rutgers. I'm not gonna get into a debate with.. do you want to hear the answer or no? Do you want to hear the answer or no? Cuz I'm not gonna - I've heard you. Ok, next question. [Christie walks away, crowd begins to applaud] And let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself in a courtroom that way your rear-end's gonna get thrown in jail, Idiot.
Could you imagine, just imagine if the President ever, Ever treated a U.S. Veteran like this during a Q&A? Woo boy. Yet he gets heckled with "You Lie" during a joint session of Congress and peppered with bogus questions during an announcement that wasn't even a Press conference, and still manages to keep his cool and his composure.
And it's not like Christie was ever apologetic for any of this. When asked about being "Confrontational" by a Reporter this is how he responded.
Reporter: Governor, do you think this type of confrontational tone will increase your odds of getting this measure through the legislature?And Conservatives Loved him for it.
Christie: Y'know Tom, You must be the Thinnest Skinned Guy in America. If you think that's a confrontational tone, you should really see me when I'm pissed [Note the giggling staffers in the background] That's not confrontational. Alright? So, I love when people say they don't want to have argument [Y'mean like YOU PAL in the last two clips?] That's what we were sent here for. They believe in certain things, they believe in bigger government, higher taxes, and more spending. Here it is, bigger government, higher taxes, more spending. I believe in lower taxes, lower spending, and empowering local officials who were elected by their citizens to be able to fix their problems. That may lead to a disagrement or two. [Yes, especially when you chose to "Empower" them, by Defunding them.]
Now, I could say it really nicely. I could go back to the last administration and say it in a way you wouldn't even understand it. [Laughter, cuz it's always funny to bash Democrats for daring to be smart, or literate.] But the Fact of the Matter Is, This is Who I Am, and this is who the people elected.
He was like a Male Sarah Palin who could actually string comprehensible sentences together. Just look at the New Republic Article on how Christie would be a Disaster for Liberals. because the fact that he's a social moderate would "soften" the edges of his fiscal conservatism.
This Shit Is what he was known for.
At least it was up until the point that Christie decided for once, not to be DICK to the President of the United States when he came to offer his help to New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. And then Convertives started saying he was a RINO, a "Closet Liberal" simply because he couldn't let his own state suffer in the process of Sticking it too Obama.
So of course, Christie had to later find some other way to stick it too Obama because how could he be a real Republican or Conservative without doing that? Everybody knows what happened to Charlie Crist, yes? And Lincoln Chaffe. And Arlen Specter.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of getting too cozy with President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy.This guy is and has always been a Partisan Bully.
But during a visit Friday to a Republican stronghold for one of his regular town hall meetings, the governor went out of his way to put some distance between himself and the Democratic president.
Before taking questions from the public, Christie spoke about the problems in Washington, appearing to place most of the blame on Obama.
"We look at Washington, D.C., and we shake our heads in wonder at a president who can't figure out how to lead, at a Congress that only 11 percent of the people in the last poll I saw approve of the job they're doing," he said.
Referring further to those low approval ratings, Christie said "that's what happens when you don't have a leader at the top."
How could members of his staff think it wouldn't be alright to pull this three-day traffic prank on the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee? HOW COULD THEY NOT?.
How could they not behave this way when even Jeb Bush - the supposed moderate - has to wonder aloud on twitter if the President closed the Vatican Embassy just to get Pay Back at the anti-Obamacare Nuns? Because that's the level of behavior they project on to Democrats when they aren't in position to twist things to their political advantage the way that Karl Rove's office manipulated the firing of Bush U.S. Attorney's who weren't sufficiently Partisan, and Lorita Doan at the GSA who helped manipulate government resources to help Republican Political Operatives in direct violation of the Hatch Act.
They can't imagine that Obama doesn't operate on this kind of petty level, it's beyond comprehension that he' snot as partisanly bigoted as they are, which explains their obsessions with Nontroversies like "Fast and Furious", "IRS-Gate" and "Benghazi" which have no connection to the White House, let alone the President. If he behaved like a Republican [Bush, Bob McDonnel, John Ensign], there would be some meat on those bones of government abuse and corruption, but he's not and there isn't.
I mean seriously, haven't we seen years of deliberate and obvious Republican Obstruction and Sabotage coming from the Hill? Don't we currently have dozens of Republican Governors who refuse to accept a fully paid for Medicaid Expansion that would give 5 Million People Heath Care?
How many of them, have had the fortitude of character to show even the momentarily lapse into comity or good grace that Christie demands of anyone who would questions him, but only himself displayed briefly after Hurricane Sandy devastated his State?
The idea that Christie would defy this stand, and allow for the Medicaid expansion in NJ, annoys conservatives.
Governor Christie is taking action to expand health care coverage for New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens through Medicaid. New Jersey already has one of the most expansive and generous Medicaid programs in the nation, including the second highest eligibility rate for children. Expanding Medicaid will mean that more New Jerseyans at or near the poverty line will have access to critical health services, while saving New Jersey taxpayers approximately $227 million in fiscal year 2014 alone.In fact when the Democratic Legislature moved to make this expansion permanent, Christie threatened to Veto it, a veto which the Democrats overrode - leaving us exactly where they were Christie started after all the dust cleared. Christie gets to Veto Healthcare and bolster his conservative bona fides, but Medicaid gets expanded anyway. So goes the Kabuki Theater.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/...
But in the midst of all this posturing and jockeying and fulminating, a tone gets set. A tone of "No Holds Barred", "Take No Prisoners", and there is NO LEGITIMACY to the Oppositions Position.
As we see here:
"They believe in bigger government, higher taxes, and more spending."This is a classic conservative fallacy. The ultimate straw-man, that the Democratic and even the Liberal Position is to grow Government, just to have bigger Government. That the goal from those who wish to implement and expand various government programs is to Foster and Spread Dependency on those programs and hence a perpetual stream of votes from those who benefit from them.
But That's. Just. Crazy. It's only natural to expect that in exchange for our trust and our tax dollars, we get a government that can get shit that needs doing done, as opposed to one that can't, or simply won't. We all should want good government, not fucked up dysfunctional government. Yet Republicans seem to prefer the latter, because being the Chief Engineer on a Rolling Train Wreck seems to give them a big, giant, Happy for some reason.
The alternative from Conservatives we hear constantly is that all our solutions to all our problems need to come from the "Free Market". However, we have had well over 100 years to see just how a free and unregulated market handled poverty and inequality and I think it's pretty fair to say that as of a century ago It Failed Miserably as we fell into the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
People like Rand Paul or Paul Ryan would like to argue that only through lower taxes would the engines of social charity be unleashed to protect the interests of the poor, yet that doesn't explain why so many nations with taxes higher than our own, give so much higher percentages of their money and time to charity because America only ranked 13th on the Index of World Giving in 2010, whereas in the latest report America now Ranks at #1 (pdf) which is the first report since the tax were raised on those earning more than $450,000 per year.
Here's a basic Tip the GOP has never figured out, when taxes go up on the Rich, they give more to Charity because doing so increases their deductions and lowers their overall tax burden. When you lower their taxes, they sit on the money and try to hatch it to the tune of $4 Trillion offshore accounts and corporate profits. They don't start businesses, they don't create jobs. The money sits and does nothing. We don't have to guess about this, we can count.
GOPers have continued to argue their Laffer Curve delusion that lowering taxes brings in greater revenue. Well here is the Revenue to GDP chart for the last few decades.
First you have the Big Dip when Reagan initially cut taxes in the 1980's and started us into a Deficit Slide. Then you notice the second BIG DIP right after 2000? That was when Bush's first tax cut went into effect. Then the Third Small Dip in 2003? That's his second cut. And then the GIANT DIP in 2008-2009? That's the economy tanking on George W Bush and the Conservative Congresses watch.
It's one thing to argue that people should be more self-sufficient, it's another to take the tools of their being able to implement that self-sufficiency out of their hands. The GOP oppose raising the minimum wage which is just about the only way that first line workers are able to raise their income vs. the ever rising cost of goods and services. They opposed Pell Grants and Loan Guarantees that help people pay for school and get a chance at a better job. They oppose worker safety and compensation. We have Republicans currently arguing that we should no longer have a Weekend and that Kids should start working at AGE 11!.
Because, Y'know, have we no Work Houses for the obviously Idle Poor?
They relentlessly bash Teachers and Public Worker Unions - as Christie has shown - because how can we possibly have people in the public sector earning a decent living? Clearly that has to stop because private companies might have to try and compete and provide equally good pay and benefits to their workers, and we can't have THAT anymore. Nooo.
Private Industry is motivated by it's own self-interest and the short term quarterly profit of it's stockholders, not the long-term well being of it's employees, nor their customers, nor the public good. It has never, and will not be able to serve the needs of the poor - nor will individual charitable giving close that gap.
The reality is that Government programs have to close that gap or it doesn't get closed.
The Poverty programs began by President Johnson have not been prefect, and certainly not 100%% successful but they've been a darn sight better than the reverse, which is to do nothing. Millions of Elderly have been lifted out of poverty and destitution or else a life of working themselves to death by Social Security. Their lives have been saved again and again by access to Medicare. The same is true of the Unemployed and the Poor with Medicaid, CHiP and SNAP, but all Republicans can do - is try to gut and cripple these programs, because only after they are rendered ineffective and inert will those mystical magical free market reforms appear and make everything all glowy and happy in exactly the way they never have been before.
There has been nowhere that they can point to where their so-called "Free-For-All Market" has produced the results they claim that it will, because it can't, it never has and it never will. Saying so isn't "anti-Free Market", it's just admitting the reality of it's limitations, just as government has it's own limitations.
We all know, or should know, that an estimated 45,000 Americans are dying every year from lack of Affordable HealthCare, yet what has been the Republicans raison d'tre for the past 3 years? Block, Sabotage and Repeal the Only Significant Health Care Bill that has passed in the last 40 years, then - for most of them- block the Medicaid expansion leaving 5 Million Americans out in the cold. And somehow they don't think is going to have a negative affect on anyone? Please, even they aren't that deluded. They know it's going to cost people's lives, they just don't care because most of those people - they think - are Democrats.
And so, when we read the emails about Children stuck in traffic unable to get to school being something a Christie Staffer and Appointee wonders "Is it wrong that I'm Smiling?" should we be shocked or surprised because it seems to me, as they block judicial appointees, cabinet and department nominees for years, as they threaten to smash through the debt ceiling, take us over the fiscal cliff and yet again block the extension of Unemployment insurance payments for the long-term uninsured - they certain don't seem to be able to contain much of their maniacal glee.
They're just like those Christie staffers and/or spouse with the huge wide Joker Grin, because why in the end should they really care - those are probably nothing more than "Obama Voters" out there suffering anyway, right? So who cares about them? No matter how much they claim to "Love America" the GOP repeatedly shows how much they hate nothing so much as their fellow Americans if they have the bold, outrageous temerity to be - Democrats.
This latest scandal with Christie's staff is nothing new, it's just more of what we've been seeing for years, every since Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich transformed the Republicans into the Party Of Hate.
But I don't hate Republicans, I feel sorry for them - but I'm pretty darn sure they hate me simply because, I'm not Republican.