Posts Tagged ‘Chris Christie’

Trump’s transition troubles

November 16, 2016

The shakeups and struggles in President-elect Trump’s transition team are a foretaste of what his administration is likely to be.

Look for four years of struggles for influence among courtiers chosen on the basis of personal loyalty, not competence, all competing for the approval of a strong-willed ruler who is ignorant, but susceptible to flattery.


The Republican scene – August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015

The War Against Change by John Michael Greer for The Archdruid Report.

Greer argues that the Democratic Party is the party of a failed status quo, except maybe for Bernie Sanders, who wants to restore a few of the New Deal programs of the past.  It is the Republican Party that is the party of change—change for the worse.

Inside the GOP Clown Car by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

RepublicanpartylogoThe Republican candidates in Iowa are trying to out-crazy Donald Trump, and failing.

The 10 Trump Rules by Barry Lefsetz for The Big Picture.  [Added 8/14/2015]

Donald Trump understands how American politics has changed, and the other candidates don’t.

Jeb Bush and Carlos Slim by Steve Sailer for The Unz Review.

The foreign policies of George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Jeb Bush are all shaped by the Bush family’s business ties with Mexican business and political dynasties.

Election 2016: Jeb Bush Leveraged Political Connections for Clients and Allies After Leaving Florida Governorship, Emails Show by Andrew Perez, David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook for International Business Times.  [Added 8/15/2015]

Scott Walker Gets Schooled by His Neighbor by Eleanor Clift for The Daily Beast.  [Added 8/14/2015]

Democratic Minnesota outperforms Republican Wisconsin.

Scott Walker wants to fire academics with whom he disagrees politically by Michael Mann and Randi Weingarten for The Guardian.

Chris Christie vs. Rand Paul by Andrew Napolitano for The Unz Review.

Chris Christie doesn’t care about the Fourth Amendment or the rest of the Bill of Rights.

How Bobby Jindal Broke the Lousiana Economy by Stephanie Grace for Newsweek. [Added 8/14/2015]

Ted Cruz Wants to Subject Supreme Court Justices to Political Elections by A.J. Vicens for Mother Jones.

Rick Perry Is on the Payroll of His Super-PAC’s Biggest Sugar Daddy by Patrick Caldwell for Mother Jones.

Sam Brownback guts Kansas even more: This is life under America’s worst Republican governor by Paul Rosenberg for Salon.  [Added 8/14/2015]


GOP wants to raise Social Security benefits age

July 20, 2015

Almost all the Republican candidates—including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, but not Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump—want an increase in the age for receiving full Social Security benefits.  This is a bad idea.

They are using Social Security as a wedge issue to divide the old from the young.  But in fact, the longer us old-timers are forced to work, the fewer jobs there are for young workers and the less opportunity for young workers to rise.

berniesandersAs Bernie Sanders has pointed out, the Social Security trust fund, which is invested in interest-bearing Treasury bonds, is sufficient to ensure that full benefits will be paid for many years to come, and full benefits can be continued indefinitely by raising the income ceiling on Social Security taxes.

Until recently, there was a bipartisan consensus on reducing Social Security benefits.  Benefits are already being cut by means of a law now in effect that gradually raises the age for full benefits from 65 to 67 (it’s now 66).

President Obama’s budgets called for calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases by means of something called the Chained CPI, which discounts actual price increases when meaning inflation.

He dropped the idea when he proposed the current 2015 budget after opposition from liberal Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren.

Hillary Clinton said she is opposed to plans to privatize or “undermine” Social Security.   So far as I know, she hasn’t said anything more specific.  Two other Democratic candidates—Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley—think Social Security benefits should be increased.  I agree with Sanders and O’Malley.

I say—hooray for partisanship.  It is better than bipartisan agreement on bad ideas.


Election 2016: Hillary Clinton’s head start

April 20, 2015

This chart, despite its headline, is good news for Hillary Clinton.


True, she is a controversial character.  About 48 percent of those polled look on her favorably and 45 percent unfavorably.   But she has a better favorability rating than any of the plausible Republican candidates, especially Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie.

She also is a superstar.  Almost as many people recognize her name as recognize the name of the sitting President of the United States.  No Republican candidate is anywhere near as well known as she is.


Chris Christie and the abuse of power

January 10, 2014
Chris Christie

Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is in trouble over his administration’s orders to close three lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York City, without prior notice, creating enormous traffic jams for four days last September.

E-mails indicate that the traffic problems were created deliberately, evidently to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for supporting Christie’s Democratic opponent in the November election.

Christie has denied personal knowledge of the lane closings.  But, as Scott Galupo of The American Conservative pointed out, this would make it even worse.  It would mean Christie’s top people thought they didn’t need clear something like this with Christie.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

“Got it.”

So ordered (now former) Christie aide Bridget Kelly, and so responded Port Authority official David Wildstein.

That’s about as direct and cursory a conversation as two people can have. It’s the kind of missive I get from my wife when I’m in the grocery store: “one more thing: milk” … “Got it.”

No further explanation was necessary.

Kelly said “traffic problems,” and Wildstein, apparently, knew exactly what she meant.

There was no “It’s time to create some traffic problems.” Or “What can you do to cause headaches in Fort Lee.” Or, in response, “What do you mean?” Or, obviously, “Are you crazy?!”

This strongly suggests a couple of things:

1) This kind of thing was routine business for Kelly and Wildstein and perhaps others in the governor’s inner circle.

And, worse, 2) Gov. Christie has either directly cultivated or is himself accustomed to a culture in which such behavior is routine business.

Imagine somebody like this in the White House, in control of the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency[1].   And Christie is considered the favorite candidate of the moderate wing of the Republican Party.


Voter’s choice: The sleazies vs the crazies

November 8, 2013
Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe

Back in 1991, the ex-Klansman and neo-Nazi David Duke ran for governor of Louisiana against the colorful and corrupt incumbent, Edwin Edwards.  Supporters of Edwards put up billboards saying: “Vote for the crook, not the kook.”

It seems as though this is the kind of choice we are offered today (although few candidates for high office are as extremely corrupt as Edwards and none that I know are as extremely extreme as Duke).

Democrats and mainstream Republicans, even though they may be personally honest themselves, are committed to propping up a corrupt financial system and an out-of-control surveillance-covert action-police complex.  The main alternative is the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party, which expresses the justified anger of the American middle class but is out of touch with reality.

We had an example of this in the recent Virginia governorship race, in which the sleazy Terry McAuliffe defeated the  Ken Cuccinelli.  Our leading Presidential candidates at this point are Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie, candidates of the corrupt status quo, and Ted Cruz, the right-winger.  I won’t say Cruz is the candidate of the lunatic fringe because his following is too strong to be considered just a fringe.