Why is a journalist on a sexual-identity “power” list?

Some people still subscribe to newspapers in the hope of providing themselves with basic information on the current events of the day.  And once upon a time, newspapers did just that.  Older journalists worked very hard to keep their personal opinions, emotions, feelings, and biases away from their job of reporting the news. 

Not anymore.  Now newspaper reporters publicly celebrate their biases – flaunt them – and, as a result, journalism as a career is on life support. 

Readers today expect reportage to be grossly untrue and biased and they are guided accordingly.  More and more, newspapers bore voters.  Most voters can tell you today how the newspapers will report on each and every debate next year between Donald Trump and whoever the Democrat candidate is.  You could place a bet on it if anyone would take a bet on it but nobody will because everybody knows.  So very predictable.

What happened to intellectual curiosity?  Back during the day before yesterday, a reporter approached a story with an open, interested mind – excited by the prospects of where the story might take it.  Not today.  Now it is “time to make the donuts” – the work of drudgery – a fine cabinetmaker reduced to nailing together crates.  Reporters have everything arranged in advance.  The story is written before they write it.  There are those with the white hats and them with the black – with 95 percent of the story slanted against the designated “baddies” and praising the “goodies” – and 5 percent reserved for a “response” from the “baddies” (which, in the course of a conversation with the reporter, is often turned into the worst bit).  Journalism today is like writing while sleepwalking.  A fiction produced through automatic writing.   

Many reporters – the Star-Ledger’s Jonathan Salant comes to mind – cannot get their brains out of their comfortable suburban surroundings, the cozy press club, the shared prejudices and opinions.  Never meeting another soul who is unlike them, they cannot imagine any way but their own.  A machine stuck at one speed, one function, doing the same thing, grinding on until it burns out. 

Then there are the activists.  These are the so-called journalists who think it cool to show that they are compromised from the start, their minds made up.  The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran laid in out last year when he wrote:  “Voters will be standing in the booth Tuesday, and our core mission is helping them decide which lever to pull.”  Sounds more like the “core mission” of a political operation than of journalism.

Of course, there still are some genuine journalists out there.  A month before Moran wrote that stunning admission, the Atlantic City Press published an editorial which included these reassuring lines:  “Telling readers how to vote, however, is contrary to the mission of newspapers and other media, which is to extend the public’s experience and perspectives.  Newsgathering organizations give the public eyes, ears and memory beyond the capability of an individual.  

People want them to be reliable and credible.  When the media start making judgments, their audiences wonder if they’re altering their content to support that judgment too.”

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Which brings us to Matt Arco of… you guessed it, the Star-Ledger.  Why is Matt Arco number 34 on a list of 100 “LGBT Power” brokers?  Why is that kind of self-defining celebrity necessary for a journalist?  We thought he was covering the news, and here he is a power broker making the news.  What is a journalist doing cheek-by-jowl on a list of politicians, lobbyists, and political operatives?  

And why is he described as a “voice” when he should be a conduit of information, which is the heart and soul of journalism.  Is anyone really looking for another celebrity “voice” shouting to be heard, telling us their feelings, thoughts, opinions – or do we want to be informed about what’s really going on?  The title “political reporter” shouldn’t be meant literally. 

How can a journalist who allows himself to be placed on a celebrity “power” list be taken seriously?  As one of the top named members of a political identity group, how can we expect Matt Arco to fairly and honestly cover stories concerning religious groups with theological traditions that don’t line up with the policy agenda of his political identity group?  Groups such as Biblical Christians, Torah Jews, and adherent Muslims. 

How can Matt Arco be expected to fairly and honestly cover a candidate or  political organization whose positions or platform is not in agreement with the positions and platform of his political identity group – of which he is the 34th most powerful operative in the state?  Having Matt Arco cover the Republican Party is like sending Ann Coulter to cover the Democrats.  It’s not fair or honest.

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Clergy calls out State Democrat Chairman’s attack on religion

In an open letter to State Democrats, a member of the New Jersey clergy questioned Democrat Chairman John Currie’s motives for encouraging the media to attack religious leaders…

Chairman John Currie

NJ Democratic State Committee

196 W State Street

Trenton, NJ 08608

Dear Chairman Currie:

I am writing to you because I am disgusted with the offensive way the state Democratic Party, of which you are Chairman has used Matt Friedman and the Politico website to smear, attack and denigrate people of faith.  You seem to think that you are above God, that in order to achieve salvation, we need only drink the Koolaid offered by the State Democratic Party and its allies in the media. 

To be a Christian is to follow The Christ. That means to order your life to the discipline of the Word of God – not the word of your political party.  We take our instruction from the Bible and not from the Star-Ledger or the Record or a political blog or a political party.  When we follow the tenants of our faith, you and your allies in the media should not try to label us as “haters”.  

My faith tells me that the “LGBT lifestyle” is wrong and that it is contrary to the Word of God.  That does not make me a “hater” like you and your friends like to call us.  It makes us Christians.  Please let me share this story with you, a story from my life, and then you can decide whether you and your party and the Matt Friedmans of the world should call me a “hater”.

I am a nurse. As the AIDS epidemic hit Dayton, Ohio, in the early 80’s I volunteered for the Dayton Area AIDS Task Force.  I personally cared for many men as they were dying of AIDS.

The only medicine available at the time was the toxic, previously banned for human consumption, AZT.  From the disease and medicine, these men could barely take care of themselves. As a nurse, I helped take care of their daily needs, including bathing, toileting, dressing, and feeding them.  I wiped their bottoms, gave them their medicine, took them to their doctors.  I also did their eulogies and officiated over the memorial services.

Many clergy and church people stepped up to take care of these men and minister to their families.  The accusation that the clergy is “hateful” towards LGBT people is false.  I remember when the late Cardinal O’Connor was alive, he would go to the AIDS wards in New York hospitals, not just to pray for these men, but he helped feed them. He would take off his clerical robes, roll up his sleeves, and help bathe them.  But your party and agenda driven reporters want to accuse all clergy of being haters bigots and homophobes. In so doing you show your hatred and bigotry to Biblical Christians, Torah Jews, and adherent Muslims. That’s a lot of people.

In New Jersey, LGBT identified persons have been given more rights, more protections, more attention than any other socioeconomic group in the state, with the possible exception of illegal aliens.  This has all been done at the expense of the 1st Amendment rights of people of faith. This is by design. The New Jersey legislature has passed a plethora of bills in the last several years that deal with alternative lifestyles. Including enabling children to change sexual identity, mental health services, without parental consent at the expense of the taxpayer. They are now forcing children and teachers to be indoctrinated about the contributions of LGBT identified persons in every subject beginning in eighth grade.  The contributions of other citizens perhaps even more qualified and more accomplished will not be taught because they’re not LGBT.

You and your media allies with your hate, will not rewrite Holy Scripture or destroy our faith.  Political parties will not be allowed to intrude into religion and make it bend to their political will. 

I am here to tell you today that your politics is intruding into our religion.  You cannot judge us by your political yardstick which is your faith.  When we don’t comply, you should not set your Matt Friedmans upon us to mock religion and call us names. 

If you don’t know the difference between theology and politics, then perhaps we can teach you.  We preach against adultery, but we encourage adulterers to attend our church.  We preach against substance abuse, but we minister to those who suffer from it.  We preach against sodomy, but all are welcome in our church. We stand with the Bible, but we do not treat any “sinner” different than another.  And rest assured, that begins with the sinner in the mirror every morning.  The ground is level at the foot of the cross. 

To this end, I would like to invite you to attend a public discussion on this subject.  We can work with your schedule. 

Please let us know what week works best for you. 

Thank you,

 Rev. Greg Quinlan

Will S-1500 force Sen. Singleton to resign from his job?

New Jersey Democrats are in the process of making a pig’s breakfast of efforts to reform the use of “dark money” to influence elections, as well as the operations and processes of government.  Legislation proposed by Senator Troy Singleton (D-07) seeks to require “disclosure by independent expenditure committees; raises certain campaign contribution limits; repeals ban on certain intraparty fund transfers.”  The Bill is S-1500.

We strongly support full disclosure and are great fans of groups like Common Cause and RepresentUS, which campaign for transparency and honest government.  That said, along with open government comes the need to enforce laws against those vigilantes who use the data from such to harass and harm those who chose to financially support a political candidate or committee. 

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that making a political contribution to a candidate of your choice is a form of free speech – protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.  Disclosure should not be a means by which thugs can target the homes, families, and employment of individuals who exercise that right.  From the NAACP seeking to protect its donors from southern KKK groups to Christian groups seeking the same protection from wealthy LGBT activists, disclosure will soon lose its popular support if it becomes a means to vengeance or violence. 

Particularly as some Democrats are seeking to recruit and politicize the actual criminal class (including violent criminals), S-1500 should include tough sanctions to protect the free expression of political choice.  And this is just as important for Democrat Party primaries as it is for General Elections, if you get our drift… so don’t cut your own nuts off just to spite someone else.

S-1500 amends existing law to increase campaign contribution limits, but neglects to address the glaring deficiencies in the rules enforced by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJELEC).  Take this portion of the bill as a for instance:

“No individual, other than an individual who is a candidate, no corporation of any kind organized and incorporated under the laws of this State or any other state or any country other than the United States, no labor organization of any kind which exists or is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining, or of dealing with employers concerning the grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment, or any group shall: (1) pay or make any contribution of money or other thing of value to a candidate who has established only a candidate committee, his campaign treasurer, deputy campaign treasurer or candidate committee which in the aggregate exceeds [$2,600] $3,000 per election… No candidate who has established only a candidate committee, his campaign treasurer, deputy campaign treasurer or candidate committee shall knowingly accept from an individual, other than an individual who is a candidate, a corporation of any kind organized and incorporated under the laws of this State or any other state or any country other than the United States, a labor organization of any kind which exists or is constituted for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining, or of dealing with employers concerning the grievances, terms or conditions of employment, or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment, or any group any contribution of money or other thing of value which in the aggregate exceeds [$2,600] $3,000 per election…”

Why is it a bigger deal for a labor union to contribute $3,001 to a candidate or incumbent, but no big deal to throw a six-figure job, benefits, and a pension at him?  Because that’s what is being done.

Let’s look at the case of Senator Troy Singleton as an example.  On his personal financial disclosure statement covering 2017 (the latest available), the Senator lists that he was paid in excess of $50,000 by the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.  This was the largest portion of his income.  His personal financial disclosure statements (2011-2016) all list the same source of income.  

And it’s not like Singleton was a union carpenter who worked his way up through the ranks and was rewarded by his brothers and sisters.  Singleton was a political operative a lieutenant in the regime of south Jersey political boss George Norcross.  Singleton worked for Norcross captain Joe Roberts, a Camden County Assemblyman who was made Speaker of that chamber.  His hiring was a straight political act.

So let’s get serious.  If you want to take out the corruption, dry up the money, stop ignoring the elephant in the room. 

But hey, if you are looking to put out press releases that congratulates yourself on some bullshit tweak that will go the same way as all the other bullshit tweaks… well, this is the kind of legislation that will accomplish that.  Just like old Joe Roberts’ “Clean Elections” b.s. of more than a decade ago.  Yep, old Joe was so committed to the people of New Jersey, that the moment he retired he got out of the crap hole he helped to create and moved to a low tax Red State.  Joe Roberts might be a hypocrite, but he was no fool.

The Democrat Party vendor blog, InsiderNJ, recently reported that Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-03) was in support of S-1500.  This is curious, given his own sources of income.  In an ethics case from 2013, documents from the United States Labor Department were entered into the record, stating the following:

“As Senate President, Steve Sweeney is paid $49,000 per year, plus an “allowance equal to 1/3 his compensation” ($16,333) for a total of $65,333.

Steve Sweeney is also an official with the Iron Workers union.  As a general organizer paid through the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Sweeney received a base salary of $165,264 in 2012.  In addition to his base salary, Sweeney also received compensation in the form of allowances and disbursements for expenses. His total compensation through the International in 2012 was $206,092.

In addition, Sweeney received allowances of $21,351 as President of Iron Workers District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity. In 2012, Sweeney's total compensation through the Iron Workers was $227,443.

The Department of Labor requires public disclosure by labor unions of how union dues are spent.  These disclosures list union employees, their salaries and allowances.  The disclosure also includes the allocation of time by union officers and employees estimating the amount of time spent on various activities such as organizing or administration.  One of the purposes of this disclosure is to show how much the union has spent on its core activities: collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment.  Non-members working in a union environment are obligated to pay dues, but only to support these core activities.

According to disclosure filings by the International, Sweeney spends a considerable amount of his time as a union official on activities described as ‘Political Activities and Lobbying.’ (LM-2, Schedule 12, Disbursements to Employees, Line I, Schedule 16)

What political activities did he engage in and on behalf of which candidates and causes? The explanation offered as part of the disclosure describes political activity as ‘to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of anyone to a Federal, state, or local executive, legislative or judicial public office, or office in a political organization, or the election of Presidential or Vice Presidential electors, and support for or opposition to ballot referenda.’ (Instructions for Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report, page 27)

Lobbying is described as ‘associated with dealing with the executive and legislative branches of the Federal, state, and local governments and with independent agencies and staffs to advance the passage or defeat of existing or potential laws or the promulgation or any other action with respect to rules or regulations (including litigation expenses).’ 

Senator Sweeney is not registered as a lobbyist with the United States Senate or House of Representatives.  He is not a registered lobbyist in Pennsylvania.  The union that pays Sweeney's salary does not use outside lobbyists.  Instead, it uses an employee as its primary lobbyist – registered with both the House and Senate.  It is interesting to note that the primary lobbyist in Washington allocates only 50% of his time to political activity and lobbying.

New Jersey state law does not appear to allow legislators to simultaneously serve as lobbyists. 

Questions concerning Senator Sweeney's political activity and lobbying for the Iron Workers union become a more serious matter when the amount of time allocated to these activities is noted.  Calculating the value of that allocation as a portion of Sweeney's compensation adds further emphasis. 

Sweeney spent 30% of his union effort in 2012 on political activity and lobbying.  In 2011 and 2010, the amount was 38%.  In 2009, the amount was 34%.  There is no indication of the actual amount of time Sweeney devoted to these activities, only the proportion of the whole.

Placing dollar amounts on Sweeney's activity helps put matters into an easily understandable form.  In 2012, Sweeney's gross pay was $165,264, and his total compensation was $227,443.  In simple terms, Sweeney was paid $49,579 of his gross, or $68,233 of his total compensation, to engage in political activity and lobbying for the union.  In 2011, Sweeney was paid $62,141 of his total compensation for political activity and lobbying.  In 2010, $58,377, and in 2009, $56,669.”

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In Senator Sweeney’s defense, it must be said that he started his career as a blue collar man.  Sweeney was an actual ironworker, served his apprenticeship and earned his way.  He wasn’t a fake like Troy Singleton.

As for the ethics complaint.  It was brought before the New Jersey State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ethical Standards, that august body where ethics goes to die.  They duly heard the complaint, killed a few chickens, and closely examined the entrails… before the Norcross lieutenant who chaired the committee delivered a lecture to the complainant about daring to bring such affronts before them.  Don’t you know man, this is New Jersey!

And it’s not just these guys.  Most of the Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature are in hock to some machine, serving some master, living off pay checks courtesy of some regime.  Do they recuse themselves when presented with a conflict of self-interest?  Of course not!  That’s why they are there.  People like Senator Nick Sacco (with three public jobs and collecting a public pension) and Teresa Ruiz (two public jobs, with a third for her spouse) routinely vote on legislation that directly benefits the political machines that pay them.  That’s why they are there.

David Goodman, a spokesperson for Represent New Jersey, recently had this to say about political reform in New Jersey:  “Partisan Gerrymandering serves to strengthen the forces and effectiveness of dark money.  What it really amounts to is rigging elections—politicians prioritizing big donors to get elected, and then redrawing their districts to stay in office. They are picking their voters, instead of the other way around.”

He noted that just a month ago, Represent New Jersey alongside coalition partners, like the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, organized the fight against the partisan gerrymandering bills with action alerts, countless calls to legislators, impromptu hallway lobbying and in-person advocacy at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Facing massive grassroots pressure, the Senate President and Assembly Speaker pulled the amendment.  RepresentUs members showed that this movement is ready to fight against corruption by those in power—regardless of party affiliation.

Goodman says he is excited that the state Senate is holding hearings on S-1500, on January 17th.   He should temper that excitement with realism and know that they are playing him and RepresentUS.  And that’s okay, so long as he knows, and then uses that knowledge to turn it around… and play them.

Blame Trenton Democrats for making Cory Booker discuss his sexuality

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Writer Matt Katz recently tweeted: “Cory Booker confirms his heterosexuality (which he has to do, because opponents have stirred rumors about this from the beginning) & says he sees a pathway to becoming the first unmarried president since 1884.”

Well lucky Cory Booker… at least he is alive to confirm his sexuality.  That’s not the case with James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, and someone whose sexuality has been the center of endless speculation – in an attempt to codify same and to teach children that he was America’s “first gay president.”

See, the LGBT movement has become a kind of religion… well, not kind of, it is a religion.  This new religion has adopted, as one of its core beliefs, something not unlike the Mormon Church’s “baptism for the dead” – also known as vicarious baptism or proxy baptism.  In the new LGBT faith, living people speak on behalf of those who are dead and ask on their behalf to become “gay” so that they may be added, posthumously, to the fold. 

Once added to the LGBT “sainthood” their life “stories” are then taught to children in the didactic manner, much as children in religious schools are taught about the lives of saints or martyrs or prophets.  In New Jersey, with yesterday’s passage of S-1569, the Legislature has made this an unfunded mandate – with the scrapping of old textbooks and their replacement with new “religious” tracts that focus on the lives of said “saints”. 

Strange how things go.  That we are back to this again.  It is like the ring-around-the-rosy in Poussin’s “Dance to the Music of Time”.  There is no such thing as progress… we just get stupid again, profligate, dissolute. 

But the religion bit is for real.  No less than Atlantic magazine and New York magazine have today unveiled stories that paint Cory Booker as the candidate of a “new” religion.  Atlantic calls it the “theory of love”, while New York magazine plumps for “candidate of the Christian Left”.  No kidding.  So it’s here.  Welcome to the new paradigm.  The religion of the Trenton Democrats is no longer Roman Catholic or Jewish or Protestant… but that of the golden ass, the most holy orgasm, and the sacrament of abortion.  These are not matters of policy… but of faith.  Not open to debate.

Writing in the Star-Ledger yesterday, reporter Jonathan Salant (pronounced Slant) noted that when Booker first ran for the Senate and was asked about his sexual orientation, Booker answered, “What does it matter?” 

We could not agree more.

But that was back in those quaint times of long ago… 2013.  Today, in today’s politics, religion matters – and nothing matters more than how you reach orgasm and with whom.  Piss on policy… today’s religious leaders in politics, corporate America, and academia want to know how you get down.  Just read S-1569.  It is the most important thing about you.

Poor Cory Booker.  He wants to run for President, so he has to declare a side.  And in the America of today – the America fostered by legislation like that passed yesterday in Trenton – it is a conundrum as great as that faced by any Irish politician in the midst of The Troubles.  What are you?  Who are you?  It’s all that matters.

The illusion of LGBT’s power to help Republicans…

Yes, we know it’s about the parties.  Who wouldn’t want to be invited?  The music is cool, the drinks well poured, the energy is just… better.  But none of this is about politics.

Once again we must, sadly, point out that Republicans do not benefit by currying favor with Garden State Equality and the state’s LGBT political bosses.  To have GSE high priest Chris Fuscarino’s benediction means nothing in a General Election and even less in a Republican primary.

Two incumbent Republican congressman came to an understanding with GSE that meant keeping social conservatives at arm’s length.  In return for dissing their base, their Democrat opponents lost Fuscarino’s blessing – but won (or appear to have won) their elections anyway. 

As with the case of Bob “I am a different kind of Republican” Hugin, wrapping oneself in a rainbow flag meant not a jot on the profit side – but very much depressed the base on the debit side.  Conversely, the one unabashedly social conservative Republican in the congressional delegation – the one specifically targeted for defeat by Garden State Equality – won re-election without much difficulty.  It appears he will now be New Jersey’s only Republican member of Congress. 

We suspect this is why the ever watchful David Wildstein placed GSE’s Chris Fuscarino in the losers column on Friday, over at NewJerseyGlobe.com.  Wildstein noted that the portly Fuscarino “missed the boat” by failing to endorse the Democrat challengers to the two GOP incumbents and instead “making his top target the only Republican congressman who won.”

Sigh… When will Republicans learn that the only sure way to earn the support of people who vote like LGBT is their top priority is by executing a change of registration form and running in the Democrat primary.  It’s all about the shoes, and red is just so out of fashion.