Month: June 2015

Christie’s “Denial Habit” Runs Amok


Chris Christie has a problem.  No, not that.

His problem is that he’s in a constant state of denial, brought about by the whole Bridge-gate thing. He’s gotten so used to denying things that now he is denying that he will announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination on Tuesday at the high school he attended in Livingston, N.J.

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post and a slew of other publications tell us he does plan to announce.  Even Fox News is reporting that a Tuesday announcement is imminent.

But reports from CNN and others say he’s not going to announce.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie refuted reports that he has made the decision to run for president during a radio interview on Thursday night.”There’s been absolutely no final decision made by me,” he said during his monthly “Ask the Governor” radio appearance on NJ101.5. “There’s lots of people who speculate lots of things, and I can’t be held to account for every bit of speculation that’s in the press.”

The fact is, Christie has been on a pretty long “denial streak.”  This is a guy, remember, who even denies hecklers the right to heckle.

Only one active politician has a comedian’s disposition when it comes to hecklers. Lucky for us, he’s announcing for president next Tuesday. “Sit down and shut up,” Chris Christie told one heckler last fall. When campaigning with Meg Whitman in 2010, he interrupted a heckler who was harassing her, saying, “You want to yell, yell at me.” “Either sit down and keep quiet or get out of here,” Christie told a protester last spring. “We’re done with you.” Just four months ago, after being heckled in Iowa, Christie so cheerfully acknowledged that the jeering was a plus that you almost wonder if the hecklers were planted. “My people follow me everywhere…it’s fabulous,” he said. “I’m magnetic.”

And denies earlier positions.

Gov. Chris Christie’s shifting positions on education, immigration reform and other policy issues as he contemplates a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination are supplying fodder for critics, who accuse the second-term governor of being a flip-flopper.

And acts as if obvious problems don’t exist.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has said little in recent months about roads and transit even as his own transportation commissioner, Jamie Fox, has forcefully called for revenue for the state’s depleted transportation trust fund. Despite the governor’s relative silence, the troubles of the state’s transportation agencies have emerged as a grinding issue for him, including the scandal involving his appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the growing backlash over his decision to halt construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

There is one thing Christie hasn’t denied or said no to, however.  No, not that.It was Sandy relief funds from the federal government.


Yes, the Democratic Long Shots Are Talking, but Is Anyone Listening?

k1610354Candidate-talk is filling up the talk shows and online and old-school news pages.  The Republican nomination is up for grabs, so GOP candidates naturally are receiving more extensive coverage. Over on the Democratic side, however, it’s a different story.  All Hillary.  All the time.  Or so it seems.But the fact is Bernie Sanders is being noticed and, in some polls, there is a meaningful increase from what was, admittedly, a low starting point.  And that’s good, because he deserves to be heard, and we deserve to hear what he says.

Other Democratic hopefuls are talking, too.  And it’s at least somewhat worthwhile to pay a visit to the bottom of most polls where three men — Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee — collectively hold about a 6% position.

O’Malley, the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, has been trying to get noticed for weeks — make that months.  Not surprisingly, he embraced the gun control issue this week.  He probably was drowned out, however, by the bigger names.

He kicked off what his aides describe as a “major push” on the issue last week with an email to supporters where he declared he was “pissed” by the mass shooting in South Carolina.Gun control has long been something of a political lightning rod and President Barack Obama suffered one of the biggest defeats of his administration when he made a major push for a package of gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook elementary School shooting in late 2012. While some politicians have been reluctant to confront guns, O’Malley campaign spokeswoman Haley Morris told Business Insider he has been “fearless” on the issue and plans to make it a prominent part of his 2016 platform.

“Governor O’Malley was fearless in taking on gun control in Maryland and ­standing up even to members of his own party to get results. This is an issue you will be hearing more about from him,” Morris said.

O’Malley sent an email to his supporters and said he was frustrated some people wait for “the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking” rather than “jumping to act.””This is not the America we want to be living in,” O’Malley wrote. “I’m pissed that we a€™re actually asking ourselves the horrific question of, what will it take? How many senseless acts of violence in our streets or tragedies in our communities will it take to get our nation to stop caving to special interests like the NRA when people are dying?”

Meanwhile, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who has not announced his candidacy, decided to underline the complicated history of the Civil War€ when he chimed in on the Confederate flag issue.  His comments were more than the generic talking points used by many others.

œ”This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War,” Webb wrote in a post on Facebook.

“The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades,” Webb said.  “It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.”Webb also took the time to dig more deeply into the issue.

“We should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.””This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect,” he said.

Meanwhile, there’s also former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee. The ex-Republican is the only Democratic candidates to actually do an interview with The Skimm. More important, he tells is in another interview he isn’€™t worried about losing to Hillary Clinton.In a recent interviewwith Jorge Ramos, Chafee was asked if he believes Hillary Clinton’s vote for the Iraq War disqualifies her from running for the White House.

“Yes,”€ Chafee answered. “€œIt’€™s a huge mistake. $6 trillion, over 4,000 dead Americans. I think it’s a disqualifier.”Chafee was in fact the only Republican senator to vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein in 2002. “€œI did my homework, I didn’€™t vote for it. I didn’™t see the evidence of weapons of mass destruction.”

Ramos reminded Chafee that though he stands confident against Clinton, the numbers say otherwise: “I’€™ve seen the polls, and you’™re dead last. What’s your plan to win the Democratic nomination?”

“Well my premise has been that Secretary Clinton is not going to be the nominee,” Chafee asserted. “Then it’s down to Governor Chafee, Governor O’Malley, and Senator Sanders. And I’ll compare my record, my character, and my vision for the future very favorably. Even with Secretary Clinton, if you put her in the mix.”

GOP Bloviators Go Silent on Middle Names

2016Candidates-GOPRepublican-Attrib-Flickr-DonkeyHotey-15812860637-640x360So, remember that whole kerfuffle two campaigns ago about the presidential candidate whose middle name was Hussein?

Those who were worked up about Barack Obama’s middle name – and what they said it told us about the real nature of his character – certainly were loud. Time after time, they transparently included his middle name is any and every discussion about him. It did, they told us, prove a good many of the assertions they were making about him.

Fast forward nearly eight years, and those same “middle-name” evaluators have gone silent. Even as the 2016 presidential campaign begins to take shape, it’s interesting to note how the loud voices of the past have gone mute.

Despite all they could work with …

Ted Cruz (full name Rafael Edward Cruz) – Rafael? As in Rafael Trujillo, El Jefe himself? Yes, the same Dominican strongman, who ruled that country for 30 or so years. During that period, estimates are that more than 50,000 people lost their lives to his barbaric regime. By the way, Rafael translates to “God has healed.” Meanwhile, Ted, the name he chooses to use (Ted Bundy, anyone?), means “wealthy guardian.” Interesting.

George Pataki (full name George Elmer Pataki ) – Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. is a convicted American serial killer, currently serving six life sentences in a Texas prison. Elmer was convicted in 1974 for his role in a series of 1970-1973 murders (the “Houston Mass Murders”), in which at least 28 teenage boys were abducted, tortured, raped and murdered by another man, Dean Corll. Many of the victims were lured to Corll’s home by Henley or another teenage accomplice. When Henley was 17, in 1973, he shot and killed Corll. And let’s not forget the fictionalized Elmer Gantry created by Sinclair Lewis in 1926. The tent-revival preacher formed his own church and radio empire. Must be a Republican thing.

Mike Huckabee (full name Michael Dale Huckabee) – We’ve got William Dale Jennings, a co-founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the earlier (founded in 1950) gay rights organizations in the U.S. And then there’s Dale Christopher Cregan, a convicted British drug-dealer doing life in prison. He was convicted of four counts of murder – including killing two police officers – and three separate counts of attempted murder. Among other things, in September 2012, Cregan made a hoax emergency call to the police. When two officers arrived, Cregan shot them and threw an M75 hand grenade at them. Both officers were hit by at least eight bullets as Cregan fired 32 shots in 31 seconds.

Marco Rubio (full name Marco Antonio Rubio) – So, Antonio Gransci was an Italian Marxist theorist who has his own commemorative plaque – at Mokhovaya Street in Moscow. The inscription reads: “In this building in 1922-1923 worked the eminent figure of international communism and the labor movement and founder of the Italian Communist Party ANTONIO GRAMSCI.” While Gransci might not be a famous name to you, you probably are familiar with Antonio Raimundo “Tony” Montana, the murdering fictional character played by Al Pacino in the 1983 film Scarface.

Ben Carson (full name Benjamin Salomon Carson) – The corrupt Solomon Pross, a character in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” steals from his sister, becomes an informer in England, and later shows up as a spy in France. The Bible, meanwhile, tells us that King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The foreign wives apparently pulled Solomon toward idolatry because they worshiped other gods. The Hebrew Bible depicts a visit to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba and tells us that, when Solomon gave her “all her desire, whatsoever she asked,” she left satisfied. Hmm.

Lindsay Graham (full name Lindsay Olin Graham) – Olin is a Swedish name (wait, isn’t Sweden a socialist country!!!) Oh, and it means “to inherit,” which, I suppose, makes it OK. And then there is Nelly Olin, French Minister of Environment. (French!! France!! Environment!!). From 2004 to 2005, Olin was the Minister-Delegate for Social Security. (Social Security!!! She!!)

Jeb Bush (full name John Ellis Bush) – Fittingly, we need not look beyond Jeb Stuart Magruder, who was convicted of conspiracy in the Watergate affair. But there’s also Ruth Charlotte Ellis, the African-American woman who became widely known at 100 as the oldest surviving open lesbian and LGBT rights activist. And Walter E. Ellis, also known as the Milwaukee North Side Strangler, who was an American serial killer who raped and strangled seven women in Milwaukee between 1986 and 2007.

And, lastly, we the Donald, Mr. Trump himself. Middle name John. Not much there. But, in the past there have been multiple bankruptcies involving someone by that name, so maybe … wait a minute, it’s the same guy. Oops. Never mind. Let’s just skip him.

So, wail away, all you talking heads. Treat this next batch the same way you treated that skinny guy with the middle name of Hussein, which, of course, translates to “good,” “handsome” or “beautiful.”

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