By: Ted Lang

Whether it was New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey’s gaffe in hiring and appointing an Israeli national, former aide Golan Cipel, as head of the state’s new Homeland Security agency, or the flap involving the former Poet Laureate of New Jersey, Amiri Baraka, or the taxpayer-funded vacation trip for him and his family and friends to Ireland, or the Puerto Rican sojourn involving the use of union funds, the administration of this Democratic governor has been fraught with signs of a greater corruption beneath the surface where the press never seems to be able to penetrate.

There were scandals involving McGreevey’s appointment of the Superintendent of New Jersey State Police, Joseph Santiago, who resigned under media pressure over ethics violations inquiries, and another involving billboard rentals and installations on restricted highways. And the State Superintendent position required two tries before it was finally filled.

New Jersey has reputation for political crime and corruption that easily exceeds that of Cook County Illinois. The seven newspapers of the New Jersey Gannett chain ran a complete expose earlier this year documenting political favoritism and extra-curricular employment and contractual arrangements on the part of many of the members of the New Jersey State Legislature. Infractions and questionable ethics were exposed that involved both sides of the aisle.

With this as a backdrop, the current scandal involves a Charles Kushner, a wealthy real estate developer and political fund-raiser easily worth $1 billion. Kushner has been McGreevey’s top political campaign contributor. Employing the rewards of the political spoils system, McGreevey tried to arrange a payback for his number one contributor and attempted to appoint him as head of the Port Authority.

Back in October 2003, Terry Golway, writing for New Jersey Monthly magazine in his article "Grounded," offers: "In the nearly two years since his election, though, McGreevey has suffered through a lifetime’s worth of missteps, blunders, and just plain bad decisions. Observing this superb retail politician and voracious fund-raiser as he attempts to govern has been a painful experience—like watching Geraldo Rivera lobbying to be the new Edward R. Murrow…. McGreevey’s pick of fund-raiser Charles Kushner to head the Port Authority led to, of all things, a verbal brawl at a wedding."

Golway continues, "As if to illustrate McGreevey’s shaky balancing act between theory and execution, many of his critics can be divided into two camps: those who say he was too close to Democratic warlords John Lynch, a former state senator from Middlesex County, and south Jersey business executive George Norcross; and those who say he should be getting more counsel from them. One Democrat insists the Kushner debacle never would have happened had McGreevey listened to Lynch, who opposed Kushner’s nomination to chair the Port Authority." Keep in mind these observations were made almost a year ago.

The specifics of this latest embarrassment to the governor’s office, a scandal-plagued position that caused former Governor Christie Todd Whitman’s shoe-in Republican replacement, former State Senator and Senate President Donald DiFrancesco, to drop out of the governor’s race amid charges of ethics violations in attempting to fix a sour real estate deal involving his relatives, are summarized in this account from Globes [online]:

"New Jersey-based real estate tycoon Charles Kushner, who heads a consortium formed to bid for the acquisition of Israel Discount Bank, was arrested on Tuesday [July 13, 2004] in Newark. Kushner is suspected of hiring prostitutes in an effort to suborn potential witnesses in an investigation into suspicions that he made illegal contributions to political candidates."

According to The New York Times, among other politicians who benefited from Kushner’s wealth include: U.S. Senators from New Jersey, Jon S. Corzine, Frank R. Lautenberg; former Senator Bill Bradley; former Senator Robert Torricelli; former Vice President Al Gore; and U.S. Senators from New York, Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Kushner and Corzine were involved in an unsuccessful deal to acquire the New Jersey Nets basketball to prevent a competing buyer from moving the team to New York.

When McGreevey tried to place Kushner as chairman of the Port Authority, Republicans in the NJ Senate blocked his nomination. He hesitated to answer questions when, during the nomination inquiry, he was asked about charges that he had deliberately mishandled and misrepresented campaign contributions. In a CNN.com account, "New Jersey fund raiser charged," the article offers: "In February 2003, [U.S. Attorney, Christopher J.] Christie’s office began investigating Kushner for alleged violation of federal tax and fraud statutes and for the purported violation of federal campaign contribution laws. According to the indictment, two of the cooperating witnesses in the investigation – a married couple described as close relatives of Kushner – provided information against him to federal investigators."

CNN continues, "The indictment alleges that Kushner initiated ‘a scheme to orchestrate a covert videotaped seduction’ of the cooperating male witness in an attempt to thwart the investigation. The indictment says Kushner recruited two individuals to hire a woman to have sex with the male witness and later instructed them to mail the videotape to the man’s wife, who was the other cooperating witness in the investigation."

With the Gannett newspaper campaign, the Torricelli affair, and now the Kean Commission fiasco, all roads seem to lead to the Garden of Evil State: New Jersey! The administration of Governor James McGreevey is easily one of the most scandalous in memory. And as I have pointed out so often in this space, show me a really corrupt politician, and I’ll show you a gun controller. Kushner has funded heavy-hitter gun controllers: Corzine, Lautenberg, Torricelli and Schumer.

In the August 2004 edition of America’s 1st Freedom published by the NRA, in an article entitled "New Jersey Guv Shoots Blindly," in a quarter page segment entitled "Ban-Demonium Award," the designee was McGreevey, "For slapping New Jersey gun owners in the face by writing a fact impaired Mother’s Day editorial in the Ocean County Observer." The article relates, "Touting the so-called ‘Million Mom March to Halt the Assault,’ which was actually nothing more than a gun-banning hate fest that came up 997,000 marchers short, McGreevey said, ‘Thousands of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters now gather annually in the nation’s capital for the Mothers Day March to Halt the Assault. As governor, I wholeheartedly endorse this grassroots effort to prevent gun death and injury, support victims and survivors of gun violence, and advocate for sensible gun laws.’" There’s that Sarah Brady and Bill Clinton-created phrase again: "sensible gun laws." That’s the camouflage wording to "…get ‘em all!" [Feinstein]

The article continues, "McGreevey also pontificated, ‘In New Jersey, we have a long and proud tradition of taking on the gun lobby to protect our children, our families and our neighborhoods.’" That statement is not only utterly silly, it’s a bald-faced lie, something that politicians like McGreevey do best.

There are parts of the State of New Jersey you don’t want to be caught in. I was in places like that twice, and let me tell you, it’s real scary. You don’t want to be racist, but when you’re in a dimly lit neighborhood, with every door and window open because no one can afford air-conditioning, and with the boom boxes blasting, and young, idle, unemployed kids hanging around staring you down, many on drugs, and virtually all armed to the teeth, and when you and your family have lost your way and wind up in one of these wrong neighborhoods, you pray real loud. Conservative columnist Paul Mulshine once wrote of such an experience and wished he had a gun. Not me – you really wouldn’t stand a chance in such a neighborhood.

There are parts of New Jersey that look like parts of Dresden after World War II. Take a ride to Washington, D.C. from Newark’s Penn Station, and you’ll see what I mean: burnt-out, abandoned slums, rusted-out old cars sitting on sidewalks and in vacant lots and wooded areas strewn with junk and garbage, children dressed looking like hookers, and on and on.

Are these the neighborhoods McGreevey is talking about? Is this where there is safety because of the gun control that he and Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg and her League of Jewish Women rammed through the "girlymen" New Jersey Legislature? It is in these inner city poverty-choked neighborhoods where the drive-by shootings occur. This is where gun violence really occurs, and if you find one gun permit, or NJ Firearms ID card, or even a bill of sale for a legally transferred and acquired gun, I’d really like to hear
about it.

"Taking on the gun lobby," huh? I’m the gun lobby! And there are another four million just like me! But McGreevey’s boy Kushner and his friends Schumer, and Torricelli, and Lautenberg, and Corzine don’t listen to four million law-abiding citizens – they listen to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, with only 60,000 members.

But with guys like Kushner funding them, and guys like Senator Corzine buying his US Senate seat through the media for $62 million, what chance do honest American citizens have to defend their rights and protect their families, and dump lying, corrupt and inept politicians? And let’s remember the great job the politicians did on September 11, 2001. Another great job by our protectors and public servants, hey Governor?

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Ted Lang is a columnist for the The Patriotist and the Sierra Times.  He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Ted Lang can be reached at: tlang1@optonline.net

Published in the July 27, 2004 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2004 Ether Zone.

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