Archive for report

Ex-Christie aide: Gov's self-exoneration chock full o' holes (ENTIRE VIDEO)

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Bridgegate Christina Renna ex-Christie aide testifies

Video h/t: BlueJersey.com

ADDED: Here is the entire testimony via NJTV News:

UPDATE:

Original post:

Talking Points Memo is reporting on the testimony of an ex-Christie aide, Christina Renna, given to the New Jersey legislative committee investigating Bridgegate. She worked in the governor's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) under both Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly. Among her sworn statements were a few choice words about the slut-shaming gossip sheet whitewash in which Legal Team Christie cleared their client.

Here are a few of those words out of the very mouth of the very ex-Christie aide:

"'Mandatory directive' were not my words," Renna said. "If you notice, they are not in quotation marks. That was Gibson Dunn's words. That was their characterization. They are never words I would have used. I would never use 'mandatory directive,' except in one incident which we can circle back to. They were not my words." Weinberg asked Renna whether she had a chance to correct Gibson Dunn's characterization of her interview before it was released publicly. Renna replied that she had not been given the opportunity.

Christie's legal team had summarized it this way:

Renna believed Stepien kept track of mayors who were not in favor with IGA, but Renna was not privy to that process. But IGA staff would receive mandatory directives along the lines of “do not rush to return this mayor’s phone call.” Renna recalled an IGA staffer asking Renna, “Can we get a list of hands-off mayors?” Renna remembered responding, “You know we won’t get it, and it would change daily anyway.”

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led the internal "investigation" of Bridgegate, did say that his exoneration paper was his understanding, his recap, of the interviews he held. But if even an ex-Christie aide is poking holes in Mastro's findings, then it's further confirmation that the "report" was nothing more than a paper sieve. full of holesMore details at the link.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

al-gore-climate-changeal gore climate change hot in here

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst who's having a little fun with the unnerving prospect of living, and dying, with spot-on predictions about climate change by none other than Al Gore:

TINA TURNER, MAD MAX, AL GORE AND YOU

According to a new UN report, there’s good news and bad news about global warming. The good news is- it’s worse than we thought. Yeah. That’s the good news. The bad news- you don’t want to know. Because then there’s worse news and ultimately, “holy moley, is that an asteroid the size of a mini- mall crushing my house” news.

The same kind of news a doctor offers up after inviting you into his office, closing the door and advising you to sit down. Or your lawyer recommending a friend who “specializes in this sort of thing, but I warn you, he’s not cheap.” A mechanic walking slowly from your car, wiping his hands on a rag, sadly shaking his head. Or when a spouse’s packed bags are stacked near the front door and a voice from the kitchen intones: “We need to talk.”

After delivering their communiqué describing how not only has global warming already arrived, but it’s unpacked, made friends with the dog, is sleeping on the couch and drinking daddy’s bourbon that he thinks nobody knows is behind the Wheat Thins; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change threw up its hands and ran screaming from the room. The unreported nature of these actions can be chalked up to being considered normal activity at the UN.

Remember about 10 years ago, when the IPCC told the world that something had to be done soon or all hell was going to break loose? Well, guess what? Nothing was done and all hell has broken loose. You can actually see chunks of it littering the outskirts of Phoenix. With Lucifer himself haunting the halls of the Arizona State Capitol.

The gist of the statement is instead of wasting time on political gridlock strangling all efforts to diminish global warming, we need to learn to live with it. Seriously. That’s what they said. Their recommended strategy has evolved from halting climate change to surviving it. From mitigation to adaption. No more trying to keep gas out of the basement, now we concentrate on not lighting any matches. Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet.

Time to wave bye- bye to certain South Sea Islanders, unless they begin building a big bunch of boats real soon. Europe will need to increase flood insurance coverage exponentially. Sales of air conditioners in the US are destined to skyrocket like condom sales in a bus station brothel, and Australia might just want to pack up and move. Now.

Its not just increased temperatures and rising sea levels and more severe weather and ocean acidification and species extinctions and multi- ecosystem collapse and slathering on sunblock 8000 and polar bears wandering Winnipeg; they’re also predicting violent conflicts over dwindling food supplies and fresh water. Like the beer cooler at a 7- 11 on Bourbon St. the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

So for all you survivalists who have always imagined living like a post- civilization Mad Max fighting feral dogs for scraps while fending off leather- clad, Mohawk- sporting punks, your dreams may have finally come true. Hey, this could be fun. Especially if you’re Tina Turner. And secretly, who here among us, isn’t?

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh,” a calendar guide to personal appearances and info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing” in which he's one of the standing 3. Still.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Slut shaming, gossip: Chris #Christie's taxpayer-funded million dollar PR defense

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie report bridget kelly slut shaming

you're a whore case closed slut shaming

Yesterday Team Christie cleared Chris Christie in a "report" by a firm that donated to his campaign; it was a laugh out loud over the top PR document that repeatedly relied on slut shaming to make its case.

Rachel Maddow made mince meat out of it, as did Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

Why on earth would Bridget Kelly's personal life and how her love life was going and whether or not Bill Stepien dumped her be relevant to that political question? ...

Bridget Kelly never spoke to the lawyers doing this investigation...

So what they've printed throughout the report is gossip about what they heard about their relationship and how it was going. They just gratuitously bring that up as they blame the whole thing on her. In real life, this is called "slut shaming." I'm not sure what they call it in New Jersey politics, but it's amazing to see it in this report that New Jersey taxpayers have paid for.

$1 million in public money spent to produce this report which blames the bridge scandal without explanation on the fact that this lady in the office was having a tough time in her love life. Amazing.

... This is also the law firm that governor Christie's office has hired essentially to put together the governor's defense in this issue. The governor's defense as federal prosecutors continue to pursue potential federal criminal charges related to this scandal.

There's no indication right now that Governor Christie is going to be indicted in this matter, but today's report looks very much like a ready criminal defense if that would become necessary. A would-be defense prepared at taxpayer expense and previewed for all of us at a length of 360 pages today.

And as they have rolled out the governor's legal defense today, they also did it in conjunction with a public relations rollout, the governor granting his first one-on-one interview tonight since the scandal broke.

...They actually published no new documentation of the scandal at all....

This is called protesting too much. The guy who did the lane closures says Chris Christie knew about it while it was happening. He says he told him while it was happening. There are pictures of them together on the day and at the occasion where the guy says it happened.

There is still no purported explanation from the governor's lawyers or the governor, himself, as to why this happened if it wasn't political retaliation directed from the governor's office, and this is his million-dollar defense.

This is the best he's got. and New Jersey taxpayers, you paid for it. Well, they did get that incredible detail that Mayor Zimmer once yawned. So i guess there's that.

chris christie report christie crying

And as mentioned at the top, Lawrence O'Donnell had a field day with the report whitewash as well as with former two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien's response to it:

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Team Christie clears #Christie in report by firm that donated to his campaign

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

chris christie cartoon via FB team christie

chris christie bridgegate report by firm who donatedLink

Randy M. Mastro, the Team Christie lawyer who led an internal investigation of Bridgegate, held a news conference. In his self-serving little press event, Mastro pretty much laid out Chris Christie's legal defense. He also released a relatively meaningless, but lengthy, report by the gov's pals at the legal team of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher,. Christie hired them at the cost of more than a million taxpayer buckaroos.

The account was missing a little something though: It didn't include interviews with key players David Wildstein and Bridget Anne Kelly. But it does allege that the plan to close the George Washington Bridge lanes was orchestrated by Wildstein and approved by Kelly, Christie’s now-fired deputy chief of staff.

It also fails to reveal their motives.


The New York Times has the story:

The Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge said that he had informed Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey about it at a Sept. 11 memorial while the closings were occurring, according to the findings of an internal investigation released on Thursday by lawyers for the governor.

The official, David Wildstein, told Mr. Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, of the Sept. 11 conversation at a dinner in December just before his resignation from the Port Authority, according to the report.

The report said that Mr. Christie did not recall any such conversation, and it found no evidence that he was involved in the scheme, which snarled traffic for thousands of commuters in Fort Lee, N.J., from Sept. 9 through the morning of Sept. 12. [...]

At times, it reads like a point-by-point defense of the governor.

The old "I don't recall" defense. What's not to believe?

One reporter asked, “Why should this not be seen as a whitewash?” Indeed.

The New York Times has much more here. Click here for the full report.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Vice President Biden backs public disclosure of torture report

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

biden big f'ing deal

This is one of the reasons I'm a Biden fan. Roll Call:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Friday night that he supports making a classified Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and enhanced interrogation more available to the public. [...]

"I think the only way you excise the demons is you acknowledge, you acknowledge exactly what happened straightforward,” Biden said. He explained his position that issues related to torture must be laid out before a country can move beyond them, citing the war crimes committed in the Balkans and other acts of torture overseas.

“The single best thing that ever happened to Germany were the war crimes tribunals, because it forced Germany to come to its milk about what in fact has happened,” Biden said. “That’s why they’ve become the great democracy they’ve become.”

That's a whole lot saner than New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R) suggesting the use of torture on Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Now if only the vice president would back a full investigation and eventual prosecution of those in the Bush administration who “indisputably” practiced torture and had “no justification” for doing so.

Biden made his remarks at the same forum in Sedona, Arizona at which he said to John McCain, if the  2008 economy had been better “I think you probably would have won.”

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Worrisome South Carolina climate change report kept secret for over a year

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

what's the big secret

One of the nation’s most conservative states failed to release a 102-page report by scientists on how climate change is a reality and how the public should be educated about it. Or as I like to call it, cutting off their lives nose to spite their face.

Honesty, common sense, facts, and self-preservation. How novel.

The report includes studies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For example, they say, South Carolina "should prepare for increases in wildlife disease, loss of prime duck hunting habitat and the potential invasion of non-native species such as piranha and Asian swamp eels. Many such exotic species have taken hold in Florida, but as temperatures rise, could move into South Carolina."

Among other disturbing consequences that the state faces, the findings say that “dead zones” in the ocean will increase, as will droughts, flooding due to a rise in sea levels, and of course, disease that would affect sea life and vegetation.

Via The State:

A team of state scientists has outlined serious concerns about the damage South Carolina will suffer from climate change – threats that include invading eels, dying salt marshes, flooded homes and increased diseases in the state’s wildlife.

But few people have seen the team’s study. The findings are outlined in a report on global warming that has been kept secret by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for more than a year because agency officials say their “priorities have changed.” [...]

Authors of the November 2011 draft said global warming is a reality and the DNR should take a lead role in educating the public about climate change while also increasing scientific research. [...]

Team members left little doubt in the report that they believe rising global temperatures are linked to man-made pollution. That point is widely accepted in the scientific community. Data show sharp increases since the Industrial Revolution of pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, that cause global warming.

The Department of Natural Resources head, who had wanted the report released, retired after he and the then-board chairwoman Caroline Rhodes clashed. Guess which conservative politician promoted Rhodes to her position as board chair shortly after being elected governor? Hint: It rhymes with Schnikki Schnaley.

Here's an idea: Keep the public informed instead of failing to disclose pesky scientific facts that irk your fellow Republicans (Gov. Haley, I'm talking to you) and your corporate pals. Then again, nobody ever said Republicans had foresight, wisdom, ethics, or good judgment.

 cutting off nose to spite face smaller

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare