The Only Solution is To Take Their Power Away

Give people power and they will abuse it.  I don't care if it is Chicago Democrats or New Jersey Republicans.  Most recent example:

A top aide to Gov. Chris Christie told an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" before the authority closed lanes onto the George Washington Bridge in September, triggering a week of massive traffic jams, documents show.

The aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, sent the email, dated Aug. 13, to David Wildstein, a political ally of the governor who was the authority's director of interstate capital projects.

Mr. Wildstein, replied: "Got it."

Apparently this conversation occurred in response to Fort Lee's mayor Mark Sokolich refusing to endorse Christie in last year's governor race

[Mr. Wildasin said] in an apparent reference to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich: "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian."

Mr. Sokolich said in an interview Wednesday, "I didn't sign up for this petty political insanity."

Mr. Sokolich said he was now convinced he'd been the target of retribution for not endorsing Mr. Christie. "I've been punished not for something I've done, but for something I didn't do," Mr. Sokolich said. "This is the behavior of a bully in a schoolyard. It is the greatest example of political payback."

Also, Mr. Sokolich said he is Croatian.

Mr. Wildasin seens to have been teleported out of a Sopranos episode.


  1. NL7:

    Shockingly incompetent and arrogant of them to leave an email record of their corruption. They need to use unrecorded communication when conspiring to abuse their power against the residents of their political opponents.

    Was this at all a story at the time it happened? Seems bizarre (but predictable) that they can block off lanes without some pretense of activity, given that the mayor complained. I assume this is common enough in NJ that politicians restrain their complaints in the absence of evidence.

  2. Nehemiah:

    Wait just one minute. Did you say, "New Jersey Republican"? Oxymoron, no? New Jersey is the operative descriptor to explain the above behavior. Warren likes to describe the parties and pepsi and coke, a distinction without much difference. When it comes to NJ, it is more like Jack Daniels versus Jim Beam, too much of either will leave you with a hangover.

  3. Griffin3:

    Chicago machine == Jersey machine == Republicans == Democrats == ...

    Although, I think it also points to changes in American people. Once upon a time, people had the sense to move their cars off the road after a fender bender. Some persons were known to move traffic cones out of the road when the construction workers left them up for the weekend ... which would probably get you a visit from dark sunglasses and menacing briefcases, these days.

  4. Steve Merryman:

    "I've been punished not for something I've done, but for something I didn't do," Mr. Sokolich said. "This is the behavior of a bully in a schoolyard."

    Welcome to the ObamaCare fine, er, I mean "tax".

  5. Elam Bend:

    I law school classmate posted this story on Facebook as proof that Republicans are evil. When I pointed out that both parties are apt to pull this kind of stuff, he wouldn't hear it. Proof, he said. A frustrating thing for someone living in Chicago to hear. This is why I don't like politics on Facebook, for the most part, all people are really interested in is defending their team; often in the starkest teams (aka 'evil').

  6. markm:

    Elarn: The Obama administration has several scandals that, are just as bad as this, and on a larger scale: IRS targeting of Tea Party nonprofits, Fast and Furious, selective hate crime prosecutions, etc. Obama is responsible for these: he picked the men in charge, he failed to supervise them, and he has consistently avoided holding them accountable even after the messes were exposed. Likewise Christie is responsible: he picked these _horrible_ people*, and if he did not know what they were doing, it was because he utterly failed to supervise them. It seems more likely that he did not _want_ to know what nastiness they were up to than that he was incompetent to find out, but either way firing them after the damage was done is insufficient.

    And the real trouble is all the Democrats and Republicans that will condemn the other side while ignoring the festering pond-scum on their own side. Christie and Obama BOTH need to go. It's called "command responsibility". Ignorance is no excuse - not knowing what your own staff is up to is gross incompetence. Once shit like this happens, the boss is either criminal or utterly unqualified for his job.

    * One of Christie's people is on record in an e-mail rejoicing over delayed school busses, because the children's parents had mostly voted for his opponent. It's not actually as bad as handing guns to Mexican gangs, which were used to kill American cops as well as a whole lot of Mexicans, but it shows lack of caring about others at a sociopathic level. If Christie is competent enough at dealing with people to have reached his position, he knew what he was hiring.

  7. markm:

    The mayor and other locals suspected this all along. It just took a while to find the proof - but no one expected that these hacks would have been so stupid as to leave direct proof that the traffic disruption was intentional, and that they did not give a damn who was hurt!

  8. stevewfromford:

    Have you actually read the documents in this "scandal"? I read them all and outside of the quote you cite, which read in context does not give the impression it was an order to close the lanes but rather a comment upon the potential effect, the docs reveal that there WAS a planned study from the Traffic Engineer. There is a 14 page letter which is included in the docs the WaPost linked to which, written before this became a scandal, gave the reasons for the study, how they were going to run it and what the results were! There is also a letter from the Head of the Port Authority Police Union, written December 4 before this became a national controversy, which states that there was NO coercion by Christie appointees or aides and that he thought this was orchestrated by NY state appointees in order to gain power in the constant struggle over Port Authority resources. He said the internal workings were most like gang warfare between the states! Read the Docs because they reveal something that, to me, looks very different than how they have been characterized by the media.