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Newark Star Ledger Endorses Political Corruption

8:42 am in Uncategorized by DSWright

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South Jersey Boss George Norcross

“we said to Harry, wait a second, JCA was going to be the engineer of record. I don’t care about your f—— review process“…

” I sat him down and said ‘ [Assemblyman Conaway] Herb, don’t f– with me on this one. You know, don’t make nice with Joe Doria cause I’ll tell you if you ever do that and I catch you one more time doing it, you’re gonna get your f–king balls cut off.’ He got the message.”

- George Norcross, FBI Informant recording

As anyone who has watched Boardwalk Empire knows New Jersey has a venal political culture. Things have changed since Nucky Johnson’s days, somewhat.

But even in darker days it was never the practice of the press to endorse corrupt political bosses – until now courtesy of the Newark Star Ledger:

George Norcross, the political boss of South Jersey, has taken his share of knocks over the bare-knuckled game of politics he plays. If there were still smoke-filled rooms in Trenton, he would be at one head of the table opposite Gov. Chris Christie almost every time.

But there’s more to the Norcross story. He is making a genuine difference in the lives of impoverished people in Camden, the most desperate corner of this state. And his efforts seem to be growing every year….

For Camden’s parents, this is the best deal Norcross ever made — back-room or not.

Let’s stop right there for a second. Why? Why is Camden impoverished and desperate again? Oh, George Norcross and the political machine that has had absolute control over Camden City since 1991.

Chris Hedges, while writing a book on Camden’s fall, interviewed Norcross and wrote on Norcross’ influence in Camden:

The city is dominated by an old-time party boss, George Norcross III. Although he does not live in Camden, his critics contend that he decides who runs for office and who does not, who gets city and state contracts and which projects get funded. Tens of millions in state funds have been used for city projects, from an aquarium on the waterfront to a new law school to an expansion of the Cooper University Hospital and construction of a medical school. In 2002 the state approved a $175 million recovery package to save the city, but according to a yearlong investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer, only 5 percent had been used to combat crime, improve schools, provide jobs or bolster municipal services.

Norcross has run the city from behind the scenes for a generation and recently was caught snagging over $400,000 out of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) in a kickback scheme. Norcross made a call to a still unnamed official in the McGreevey administration who threw an insurance contract to a Norcross partner – who then paid Norcross’ insurance company Connor Strong a “referral fee” which Connor Strong listed on their books as a payment for “North Jersey Marketing.”

This scheme was uncovered by the State Comptroller’s Report on DRPA Corruption. And guess who condemned the Norcross’ backroom practices? The Star Ledger again:

The political boss George Norcross holds no job or title at the Delaware River Port Authority. Yet in the state comptroller’s scathing report about financial mismanagement there, guess who plays a starring role?

Turns out, Norcross got kickbacks for steering insurance contracts from the state agency, according to the report…

Not surprising, since the Democratic power broker runs South Jersey — but prefers to do so behind the scenes. Norcross, also the biggest name in the state’s insurance brokerage business, allegedly orchestrated a payment of $410,000 to his own company in return for recommending another insurance broker for the authority.

An additional payment went to a second broker, Michael Martucci, who happens to be an acquaintance of Norcross’ wife. When asked by the comptroller exactly what work he did to deserve his $45,000 cut, Martucci was succinct: “I performed nothing.”…

It took a two-year probe to pull the curtain back on these South Jersey shenanigans. Now imagine how many other backstage handshakes we pay for in this state.

Yes. That is the same editorial board under the direction of amnesiac Tom Moran. Condemning corruption uncovered in one report and citing Norcross as a wonderful benefactor in the next. But not only contradicting the initial overall portrait of the political boss – suddenly reversing itself on “backstage handshakes.”

The message from the Star Ledger is clear: it’s OK to be corrupt if your corruption leads to things we agree with.

What could go wrong?

Occupy Z-Day: New Jersey Edition with Live Stream

10:01 am in Uncategorized by DSWright

Today, unbeknownst to many, is “Z-Day.” What is Z-Day?

“Zeitgeist Day”, or ZDAY for short, is an annual, global event day which occurs in the middle of March, each year. The goal is to increase public awareness of The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project. If you are not familiar with the tenets and goals of The Zeitgeist Movement and its relationship to The Venus Project, please see the following information:

Which begs the question, what is the Zeitgeist movement?

Please explore the link for a full detailed explanation, though I’ll put some points together after the stream.

To celebrate Z-day the Zeitgeist Movement Chapter in New Jersey has teamed up with Occupy Newark and Occupy Trenton to offer a presentation of ideas – here is the event info:

The New Jersey Chapter of the Zeitgeist movement will celebrate “Z Day” A Town Hall Meeting, on Saturday March 10th 2012 at 1PM.

The event will be held at the NJ Naval Museum (featuring the WWII era submarine, the USS Ling), at 78 River St. Hackensack NJ 07601. Members from Occupy Newark and Occupy Trenton will speak.

Fortunately for those not in the area a live stream of the event will be broadcast, starting at 1pm (see below)
 


Video streaming by Ustream

Live Stream

 

The discussion is focused on freedom and sustainability.

More info on the participants:

 

The Zeitgeist Movement

 

The Zeitgeist Movement is an explicitly non-violent, global sustainability advocacy group currently working in over 1000 Regional Chapters across 70 countries. The basic structure of The Movement consists of Chapters, Teams, Projects & Events. Overall, the Chapters are essentially what define the Movement and each Chapter works to not only spread awareness about the roots of our social problems today but also to express the logical, scientific solutions and methods we have at our disposal to update and correct the current social system and create a truly responsible, sustainable, peaceful, global society. Working through global and regional educational projects and community programs, the intermediate goal is to obtain a worldwide movement, essentially unifying the people, regardless of country, religion or political party, with a common value identification that we all invariably share, pertaining to our survival and sustainability.

It is the assumption of The Movement that the educational/activist pressure generated, coupled with what is currently a failing social system, will inhibit and override the established political, commercial and nationalist institutions outright, exposing and resolving the flaws inherent. It is our view that the traditional mediums of politics and commerce as forces for change will not obtain the goals needed to make our social system sustainable and humane for they appear to be born out of the same traditionalized flawed logic that has created the problems as they stand.

The transitional goal, once such a global presence and pressure is obtained, is to implement an economic model that follows a truly scientific train of thought with respect to the technical factors that allow for human propensity, public health and environment responsibility over generational time. This new model, since it is based upon Resource Management and Natural Law (Science) as the logical starting point for all decisions and processes, is often referred to as a “Resource-Based Economic Model”. However, the realization of this direction is not that of an institution but of a train of thought – the train of thought of objectively applying The Scientific Method for Social Concern and allowing its natural emergence to flourish without limitation as new efficiencies present themselves.

For more info go to thezeitgeistmovement.com

 

Occupy Newark

 

#OCCUPYNEWARK is a leaderless people powered movement for democracy that will began in America on November 18th with an encampment in downtown Newark, New Jersey’s Military Park. Inspired by Occupy Wall St, the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and the Spanish acampadas, we vow to end the monetary corruption of our democracy … join your local #OCCUPY!

For more info go to Occupy Newark

 

Occupy Trenton

 

World War II Memorial
136 – 140 W State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
(609) 222-4790

For more info go to Occupy Trenton