Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another Republican, Another Bridge to Nowhere

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” -Former Chris Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, pictured above, returning to the scene of the crime
      It's tough, if not outright impossible, to provide additional news or even original commentary to the Bridgegate episode of September 9-13, 2013 that Rachel Maddow hasn't already covered since she's been screaming about this from the rafters of MSNBC's sound stages. Suffice it to say that while the 2000 pages of documents consisting of damning emails and text messages sent between Christie loyalists and his toadies in the Port Authority paint a picture of petty political comeuppance against a Democratic mayor who'd committed the unpardonable sin of withholding his endorsement of Christie during his re-election bid.
     There's nothing in the thousands of pages of documents recently made available to the New Jersey legislature that directly implicates Christie and that's important to remember. At this juncture, it seems Christie's biggest crime is being his usual bellicose self last December when local journalists had the audacity to confront Christie about it during his pressers. Christie sneered and jiggled with self-righteous outrage that it was all about partisan politics (Yeah, huh? Define "irony"), that the state legislature's Transportation Committee, headed by Rep. John Wisniewski, had nothing better to do.
     But it seems these high-ranking officials in Christie's administration used state resources, on state time, to engineer one of the worst traffic jams in American history, one that possibly resulted in the death of a 91 year-old woman suffering cardiac arrest, one strategically planned back in August and timed to coincide with the first day of school. If any one incident shows the sheer sociopathy and (no pun intended) fatuousness of the Republican mindset, it's this.
     Because Christie staffers pulled this off, for several days running, with literally shit-eating grins on their faces (“Is it wrong that I’m smiling?” asked Kelly to David Wildstein, the Port Authority executive and a former classmate of Christie's) without any thought as to the pressure put to bear, without even advance notice, on police, firefighters and EMS services, not to mention children on their first day of school and commuters trying to get to work. In their sociopathic minds, their thinking, if it could be construed as thinking, never got that far. 
     In fact, Daily Kos, via Business Insider, reported on documents showing the Transit Authority Police were even made complicit in being sent out with marching orders to blame Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich for the traffic jam! Also largely if not totally ignored by the MSM is this smoking gun showing that one of the two people charged by Gov. Christie with investigating the traffic jam and its origins, Chief Legal Counsel Charlie McKenna, had been in on the toll both lane closures at least since November and quite possibly even before that.
     The flurry of emails and texts recently made available to the NJ State Assembly prove, if nothing else, this was engineered between senior Christie staffers and some of the highest-ranking members of the Port Authority, which makes it a conspiracy. They prove this was set up a month in advance and by singling out Fort Lee and sending out the Port Authority police to blame it all on its mayor, it also all but proves this was carried out for political purposes, as petty vengeance on a Democrat for not giving a Republican his endorsement.

Do What I Do, Not as I Say
     Political staffers, especially Republicans, are like children. Constantly seeking reassurance and pats on the head, they get their cues on how to treat people and act from the grownups. At least half their existence is spent in a vicious, neverending cycle of currying favor in the interests of career advancement or just reassurance to fill an aching void going all the way back to childhood. They earnestly say, like Stuart Smalley, "Gosh darn it, people like me."
     These toadies never seem to have any political ambitions of their own and live to carry around clipboards and file folders for greater men and women than they, their actual importance, in their own minds, bloated beyond all sensible proportion. They are virtually the ultimate authoritarian personalities, which isn't how it sounds. Authoritarian personalities are those who live to serve A Type personalities like Christie. They do not see things in terms of light and shade but Republican and Democrat (The victimized kids trying to get their education were called "children of Buono voters"), red and blue.
     These staffers and appointees like Wildstein are the ultimate parasites, feeding off the state and federal coffers like partisan swine bellying up to a constantly replenished trough. They honestly think they will get an "Attaboy" from their master when they see their actions are perfectly in harmony with a brash, rude, disrespectful bastard like Christie who sneers and slangs when reasonably asked legitimate questions or expected to take any accountability.
     As I'd stated, there is no evidence to even suggest that Gov. Christie played any part in this SNAFU on the GWB. I'd like to think Christie is a more pragmatic man than that and that even were he to hatch such a monstrous scheme affecting countless tens of thousands of motorists and schoolchildren between New York and New Jersey, he'd immediately come to his senses and realize people could get fired from their jobs for being late day after day, children could have their educations interrupted, or, as in the case of that 91 year-old woman, people could die. Only a dyed-in-the-wool cynic would claim Chris Christie was faking it when he'd showed compassion to the people of New Jersey and bipartisan cooperation with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy.
     Christie, however, deserves to be held up to ridicule on a variety of other fronts, starting with his typically brash attitude toward local reporters who wanted some clarification regarding the three lane closures. It continued with Christie swinging brickbats at Democrats who wished to investigate a major, four day-long traffic jam that paralyzed EMS services and left the Port Authority Police with no honest answers and no way to prepare for this manmade disaster.
     Christie is responsible for hiring staffers and making appointees of people who were plainly politically-motivated operatives, people working literally in Christie's office and were hatching this scheme a month in advance to coincide with the first day of school for maximum effect.
     Finally, Christie is indirectly culpable for setting a belligerent tone during the first term of his administration, a tone that staffers noted and saw as perfectly consistent with a man who brooks no criticism and scorns expectations of accountability. Christie brought this on himself just as Hitler encouraged, through his example, anti-Semitic psychopaths to seriously broach things like "the final solution" and the death camps.
     Does that sound unnecessarily harsh, in my realizing Godwin's Law so readily? I don't think so. Because when you treat other human beings as if they're beneath you, when you dismiss them with scorn, more feeble-minded people currying favor will act likewise toward those same people with every reasonable expectation, however unreasonable, of pats on the head and Attaboys.


At January 12, 2014 at 7:48 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"If any one incident shows the sheer sociopathy and (no pun intended) fatuousness of the Republican mindset, it's this."

And Karl Rove said today that this is exactly the kind f person the GOP needs to run for President: A total asshole that's not afraid to commit impeachable crimes and endanger the lives of thousands (millions!) to exact petty political revenge.

At January 12, 2014 at 8:56 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Among Christie's examples of "leadership":

Not knowing what his own senior staff was cooking up for a month right under his porcine snout.

Screaming at reporters asking for clarification.

Denying everything.

Appointing two people to do an internal investigation when one of them had been in on it since at least November.

Never apologizing for the jam or the petty motives behind it.

We had enough of that shit under Rove and W for eight years. We don't need more of the same. Closing a major bridge on the first day of school is EXACTLY the kind of thing Rove would've dreamed up.

At January 13, 2014 at 8:57 AM, Blogger Mithras61 said...

I honestly don't know that Christie was in on it, but I find it almost beyond belief that a man so obsessed with being in charge wouldn't ask, "What the f*** is going on in Ft. Lee?" by the second or third day of the jam, and expect real answers to the question. As a former prosecutor, he would certainly be able to have a sense of whether or not he was being misled or lied to about the situation. I find it difficult to believe that he evinced so little curiosity about a major event in the state he is supposed to be running that he would just brush it off as a "traffic study" being conducted during the first week of school and during the period leading up to the anniversary of 9/11.

At January 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM, Anonymous CC said...

If Christie can't see his shoes, he probably couldn't see what his lackeys were doing under his porcine snout.

But that doesn't mean he couldn't smell it, as those who are fast for food tend to have an enhanced olfactory system.

Then again, the simplest explanation was that he was in on it.

At January 14, 2014 at 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful about giving CC a pass on the evidence at hand. The subpoenas in question were jurisdictionally confined to contacts between his staff and the Port Authority. Future subpoenas will be directed at inter office communications. We will know that CC is up to his neck if he invokes executive privilege. Keep your powder dry!

At January 14, 2014 at 9:10 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

At the time this was written, several revelations and pieces of evidence had yet come to light.


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