Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The 12 Texts of Christie & Other Assorted American Chicanery

Records show Chris Christie sending multiple texts about Bridge Gate
Despite his repeated denials and insistence that he was the only human being in the entire New York-New Jersey area that was unaware of the massive traffic snarl on the George Washington Bridge last year, records show that NJ Governor Chris Christie was in the know.

As was widely reported yesterday, phone records supplied to a New Jersey legislative investigation by AT&T show that Christie and his  current chief of staff Regina Egea sent a total of twelve text messages back and forth during a December 9, 2013 New Jersey legislative committee hearing.

It was at that hearing that the political bombshell revelation dropped about the order to initiate the four days of traffic jams coming from Christie's own deputy chief of staff.

Christie claims not to recall any of the texts messages (three of which he sent...), but it's clear that both he and Egea did take care to delete all twelve of them from their phones.

The part of this debacle that insults the intelligence of New Jersey citizens is the idea of a vindictive, short-tempered egomaniac control freak like Christie trying to claim a low-level aide would call up the Port Authority and order lane closures of the GW Bridge without him ordering it.

There are numerous well-documented examples of Christie using his office to enact various forms of  retribution against those he considers political enemies and Bridge Gate is the most glaring example; but only time will tell whether anyone responsible for ordering the lane closures will be held accountable, or what the political blowback will be for Christie. 

Speaking of storms, it was pretty dark outside this morning when the sounds of the winds and rains from this Nor'easter woke me from a restless sleep.

In the same way the darkness of rampant police brutality against people of color has awoken a deep outrage amongst people of all races, backgrounds and religions in cities all across the nation.

As a Twitter post from a guy I follow named @AngryDemocrat suggested yesterday, maybe it's not that incidents of unjustified use of excessive force disproportionately used by police against African-American and Latino boys and men in this country have risen; more likely the media is just starting to treat them as stories that are actually relevant to the collective culturegeist of our nation.

It's not just white cops either. The NYPD officer who shot Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn stairwell the other week was Asian-American. There are plenty of ignorant black cops mistreating black folks too.
Miyekko Durden-Bosely after being punched by a cop
The June 22nd beating that a young woman named Miyekko Durden-Bosely (pictured left) took at the hands of African-American police officer Adley Shepard in the state of Washington this past summer is getting a lot of media coverage.

The story blew up nationally when prosecutors recently announced that (wait for it....) no criminal charges would be filed against officer Shepard for punching Ms. Durden-Bosley in the head and breaking the orbital bone of her eye socket.

He's on paid leave even though the incident was caught on video.

Or how about a recent arrest caught on video in Minneapolis, MN? If you've got three minutes, watch this video posted a couple months ago on YouTube as a black cop arrests a woman for asking him why he pointed a gun at her after he confronted her earlier for speaking with people about voting rights in public. 

Not all police officers are uncool. But the ones who are, seem to have aggravated racial tensions by criminalizing almost any behavior by people of color; walking down the street, sitting on a park bench, waiting for a bus, driving a car, or even trying to get inside your own home in the case of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. back in 2009.

President Obama isn't responsible for four hundred years of history, but he's facing media scrutiny after a recent national poll revealed the majority of Americans (of all races) feel racial tensions have gotten worse under the nation's 1st African-American president.

Though it's not his fault, I agree with the poll. Obama's election uncorked a toxic undercurrent of prejudice and bigotry that's been largely stoked by an assortment of right-wing media pundits, factually-challenged Fox News hosts, Tea Partiers, anti-government nut-bags and angry Americans who are still seething over the drubbing Senator John McCain and his totally inept VP candidate, former part-time Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, took in the 2008 presidential elections.

Don't think Republicans aren't busy at work trying to remedy that either. As you read this the GOP is trying to illegally manipulate the electoral college process, as in the state of Michigan, to make it easier for a numerical minority to win the 2016 presidential race.

Did you hear that one of the compromises Republican lawmakers insisted on in order to pass an upcoming temporary spending bill to keep the government open, was that the White House had to agree to scale back First Lady Michelle Obama's national nutritional guidelines for school lunches designed to help combat growing obesity and diabetes?

Seriously, how biased do you have to be to make rolling back healthy nutritional guidelines for school children a condition of passing a temporary trillion dollar spending bill?

It's as if years of cultural progress in America were moved forward with the election of a black president and simultaneously turned back with a resulting unsettling resurgence of openly accepted expressions of bigotry, ignorance and hate that had begun to slowly dissolve (on the surface anyway) in this country in the 80's and 90's.

Robert Keller, sentenced for threatening a black child
The story of Robert Keller (pictured left) offers a perfect example.

The disturbed 71 year-old Utah man was recently sentenced by a court to 12 months in prison for sending a threatening letter to a bi-racial family over his outrage after seeing their 13 year-old black son walking down the street with his white SISTER.

 Believe it or not, Keller actually insisted he was doing the family a favor by sending them a letter to illuminate them on the possible consequences of their son walking down the street with his sister who is white.

As RawStory reported, a portion of Keller's expletive-laden death threat to a child read in part: “There’s no little black girls to go out with, so our daughters are in line,” Keller wrote, according to court records. “I catch that n*gger around my daughter I’ll kill the assh*le and then go find what stupid person brought him here in the first place.”

It's as if being stupid in American has become something for people to stand up and proudly proclaim.

Like Republican Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, a scientifically-ignorant climate change denier who will soon be the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, blaming the "climate change hoax" on singer/actress/director Barbara Streisand in a recent interview. Really?

These are tough times for folks who appreciate things like truth, facts, justice and political integrity.

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