Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chris Christie gave top donor hidden millions from state pension system: report

by David Sirota (with permission from International Business News - April 22, 2015)

New Jersey rules require Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration to cancel investment contracts with firms whose officials raise or donate money to the governor’s political campaigns. But his administration has paid more than $16 million in pension fees to the financial firm that was led by Christie’s chief fundraiser and top donor, Jon Hanson. 
The money -- far more than previously disclosed -- flowed to Hanson’s company, Prudential Financial, and its related funds that the state pension system has invested in. The new information, obtained through an open records request by International Business Times, comes as the Christie administration is facing a government investigation into whether it has fully disclosed all fees paid to financial firms -- some of whose executives have made donations to GOP groups backing Christie. 
That investigation follows a recently concluded “pay to play” probe of the state’s pension system, and comes as Christie must decide whether to sign or veto a bipartisan bill to strengthen the anti-corruption laws governing the state’s investments. The new investigation was launched last week in response to IBTimes reporting that showed a significant spike in disclosed fees in 2014.
'Enhanced Transparency'
New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff has said the higher fees reported this year were the result of a decision to publish performance fees, suggesting the public should “recognize that as enhanced transparency.” His statements -- and those of other Christie appointees -- suggest that the state had not acknowledged hundreds of millions of dollars in pension fees, despite state reports saying all fees were being disclosed. New Jersey statutes say that it is illegal “to make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit” key details in financial statements about securities.
Tom Bruno, who chairs the pension’s board of trustees that is launching the probe, said the new Prudential numbers provided by the Treasury Department “validate the decision of the Board of Trustees to get to the bottom of this so that we might take the necessary measures to ensure the integrity of the Fund and its management.”
Last week, a study by an industry-friendly financial consulting firm showed that more than half of all fees that pension systems are paying to private financial firms are being hidden.
The new data about the fees paid by the Christie administration to Prudential Financial and its subsidiaries appears to exemplify that kind of discrepancy about disclosure.
New Jersey's pension system has invested in three Prudential funds, and one other fund that is part-owned by the company. Currently, the state has nearly a half-billion dollars invested in three of the funds. In response to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s request for all performance and management fees associated with those investments in Hanson's firm, Christie officials in September provided documents asserting that between 2010 and 2013, the state paid just $6.5 million in fees. But the documents just obtained by IBTimes show the state actually paid $13.8 million -- more than double the amount previously disclosed -- for those investments.
Christie’s office referred IBTimes’ request for comment on the new data to the New Jersey Treasury Department. Spokespeople there did not respond.
SEC Concern
In 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission expressed concern about undisclosed fees being paid by institutional investors to private money managers. That followed the agency’s actions against the Christie administration for failing to adequately disclose financial information about the state’s pension systems.
A spokesperson for Hanson, who has reportedly been fundraising for a political committee to back Christie for a potential 2016 presidential campaign, referred questions to Prudential and Christie’s office. Hanson left Prudential's board in 2011.
The New Jersey State Investment Council’s rules say pension management contracts must be terminated if “any person associated with an investment management firm" raises funds for or donates to a governor's campaign. Prudential has asserted that even though Hanson served as the lead director of the company’s board until 2011, he wasn’t covered by those rules.
Scot Hoffman, a spokesperson for Prudential, reiterated Wednesday that “we have made all the disclosures required by the state.” Hoffman said that Hanson “was not an investment management professional employed by Prudential” and thus the firm did not have to disclose his financial support for Christie to the Investment Council.

Friday, January 29, 2016


EVEN WORSE THAN RICK SNYDER. This is DARNELL EARLY. Why is he worse than Rick Snyder.......he is the one who helped Snyder poison the people of Flint, Michigan, but he went one step further, that wasn't enough. He is also the man responsible for the deterioration of Detroit public schools, filled with mold, rats and roaches. You would think that this would never be done by a black man to black would be wrong.

Monday, January 25, 2016

An open letter to Senators Corey Booker and Robert Melendez

  In my lifetime I have been made aware of the most heinous acts committed against black and Hispanic people: an eleven year old boy Emmett Till was grossly disfigured and killed by a few racist white men who were never punished for their crime. A twelve year old African American child was murdered while playing with a toy gun and the trigger  happy policeman in Cleveland, Ohio walked away. Amadou Diallo was killed in his own place of residence and shot at 41 times by
white police officers who had the audacity to claim they couldn't distinguish between a gun and a wallet…once again the white policemen get no type of punishment whatsoever, in fact one of them was even promoted.
   Anthony Baez was a police officer, his crime was letting his football hit another white police officer’s car, he paid for the mistake with his life. A black man in Texas was beheaded by racist whites for no apparent reason except for being black. Ten year old Clifford Glover committed no  crime yet he was shot in the back and killed by a white policeman who like so many other white policemen avoided any punishment whatsoever. Patrick Doresman was minding his own business when an undercover cop became infuriated when Doresman told him he didn’t have any drugs and couldn’t tell him where he could go to buy drugs. This policeman killed Patrick Doresman, and l have not heard of any action being taken against this assassin. Then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had the nerve to say the crime was the result of Doresman’s upbringing when both he and Doresman attended the same Catholic school. Another unarmed African American man Sean Bell suffered a similar fate when he was shot at 50 times by police officers on the day prior to his wedding. 
    African American teenager Trayvon Martin was stalked by white vigilante George Zimmerman and was killed when this teenager adequately defended himself to the extent that cowardly Zimmerman felt he had to use his gun. Martin was killed and Zimmerman was exonerated. Teenager Laquan McDonald may not have had a spotless record, but he did not deserve to be shot in the back while walking away from a police car. This was all shown on the dash camera in the officers police car. The administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel deliberately withheld this information until the end of the Chicago mayoral election. Unarmed teenager Mike Brown was murdered by a white police officer who was exonerated on the testimony of "one" avowed racist white female. In the San Francisco Bay Area African American Oscar Grant was shot in the back while handcuffed. This was recorded by several people with cell phones. With all of the witnesses against him the cop only got 11 months in jail on a technicality. In Staten Island New York Eric Gardner was put in an illegal lethal choke hold which eventually lead to his death. Ramsey Orta was the young man who captured the entire incident on his cell phone has been the victim of continued police harassment ever since. Let us not forget the state sanctioned assassination of Nobel Prize winning African 
American author and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. orchestrated by J. Edgar Hoover, who stained the legacy of an innocent man James Earl Ray, while the actual killer was Edward Jowers.
    All of these outrageous blatantly racist murders pale in comparison to what has been done by Governor Rick Synder of Michigan, appointing an unelected supervisor responsible for the poisoning of the water supply of Flint Michigan and then appointing that very same unelected supervisor to facilitate the physical destruction of the Detroit Public School System, doing absolutely nothing about the continued decay of school buildings and the continued presence of rats and roaches. Governor Snyder’s action is worse than any of those previously mentioned because in those cases as horrid as they may be “one” person was unjustly killed. In the case of Governor Snyder, hundreds, possibly thousands will be killed and they will suffer a painful death caused by the after effects of dangerous chemicals in the toxic Flint river. Governor Snyder and his staff were well aware of state of the Flint river for almost a year, so he has no excuse. 
    It would be a crime if Governor Snyder does the same thing as most of the other white individuals that I previously mentioned. Removing him from the governor’s office is a step in the right direction but it’s not enough. Mr. Snyder should stand trial for attempted murder, or negligent homicide at the very least. 
    I am asking you as an elected official of my area to do the right thing and not be a participant in the 
mockery of our judicial system. It is my understanding that members of congress can play a role in 
the impeachment of governors who have committed unlawful acts. All politicians should promote the 
will of the people who made it possible for them to be elected. I, and people like me are responsible 
for your having the distinguished office that you now hold because of our votes. As soon as possible I would like to know what you are doing and what future position you will be taking on this matter. As the old adage goes “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem” 

                                                                                                            Claude Chaney

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2015 The Year In Review (music)

     In 2015 I spent more time making music than listening to music. I am sure that there was some
outstanding music made in 2015, unfortunately I wasn't able to hear it. The world was impressed by British singer Adele and so was I. This was a beautiful voice making beautiful music that reminds
the listener of and earlier time. It seems as if the rest of the popular music listening world agrees with
me because today's record sales dwarf in comparison to those of the 80s, 70s and 60s. Vinyl made
a huge comeback in 2015 as did the sale of turntables.

2015 The Year In Review (Sports)

         Although I may watch other sports from time to time my primary interest in baseball
and for me 2015 was a fabulously unforgettable year. After decades of mediocre play the
New York Mets became the best team in the National League. No one would have predicted
this at the beginning of the season. The four frontline line pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom,
Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Matz dominated the league, all four with sublime earned run
averages for the major part of the 2015 season. All four young pitchers avoided arbitration Bartolo Colon surprised many becoming a 15 game winner at an advanced age for the sport. Jeurys
Familia and Addison Reed provided excellent relief from the pen. Daniel Murphy set an all time
record by hitting seven consecutive home runs in seven post season games. The biggest surprise
was Yoenis Cespedes who immediately changed the team into an immediate contender with his
offense (17 home runs in half a season). Lucas Duda went long 29 times, and altogether five of
the eight starting players had ten or more home runs.
          For awhile it appeared as if the Chicago Cubs would be the favorite to take the 2016 NL
crown with the addition of Justin Hayward and Ben Zobrist, but with Yoenis Cespedes returning
to the Mets with the return of Jenry Mejia, the addition of Antonio Bastardo in the bullpen and
Asdrubal Cabrera and Alejandro De Aza to strengthen the infield and outfield the Mets must be
considered the strongest team in their division, if not the entire National League.  Yoenis Cespedes
after having a spectacular regular season only batted .222 in the post season, but what most people
did not know was that he was injured and preferred not discussing his injuries. The future looks
very good for the New York Mets, who lost the World Series to the Kansas City Royals, but just
like the Royals returned after losing to the Giants in 2014, the Mets are looking to triumphantly
return to the World Series in 2016.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Black Voters Drop Hillary Clinton for Bernie Sanders

Anne Coulter, The Goddess of Misinformation

by Claude Chaney

       95% of talk radio is conservative, mainly because liberal entities cannot afford the high cost
of being on the air, while conservatives continue to saturate the airwaves because of billionaire
donors with very deep pockets. When I was driving in rural Alabama I was shocked by the
huge number of Rush Limbaugh ads. This oxycontin addict gives his opinion on major issues
without rebuttal so the people who listen to him believe what he is saying because they haven't
heard a differing opinion. This would not have been a problem before Ronald Reagan became
president because of the "fairness doctrine" which compelled broadcasters to present both sides
of issues crucially important to the US populace. Reagan eliminated the Fairness Doctrine.
The right has a tremendous influence on what is heard and seen in US media. I am not speaking exclusively about FOX, although it might be the most egregious, I am also including ABC, NBC, CBS and even PBS.
      Print media is slowly but surely evaporating. Rupert Murdoch has bought National Geographic
and the first thing he did was lay off a substantial number of his journalists. Multibillionaire
Sheldon Alperson secretly purchased the largest Nevada daily and followed Murdoch's example.
This makes it extremely difficult for the writer whose particular political perspective that might
be just slightly left of center to find employment. Those who find themselves gainfully employed
must embrace the right wing rhetoric or present themselves as apolitical if they want to feed their
families and keep their jobs.
      In these type of media atmosphere it is particularly dangerous the media exposure of Anne
Coulter, who has become a best selling author allegedly because 1% billionaires are purchasing
huge quantities of her books that have disinformation or misinformation that the uninformed are
excepting as "truth" Just notice the numerous times she has been proven wrong and not once
has she acknowledged a mistake. She continues so say "I'll have to get back to you on this one"
but never does.
      This is the same person who exited an airplane when she found out that both pilots were
African-American female pilots, so besides being dramatically uninformed she is also a bigot. She is extremely dangerous because she is frequently seen on mainstream tv. It is only on cable where she is challenged and challenged so vigorously that you can't help but feel sorry for her. The dangerous is that unfortunately people who consistently watch TV make the tragic mistake of believing what they
see and from what I have seen there are few pundits who take Coulter to task for her erroneous statements to the detriment of the US television viewer.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bernie Sanders surges ahead

 by Claude Chaney
    There has been a seismic change on the 2016 presidential campaign landscape. Bernie Sanders trails Hillary Clinton by on 4% after trailing by 11% earlier. Sanders is now ahead in both New
Hampshire and Iowa. Quinnipiac polls show that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump by a thin margin if the election were held today, but Bernie Sanders would trounce Donald Trump by a landslide.
    The money of the Kochs, Schiafes and Alpersons have been rendered insignificant compared to the massive donations that Sanders has received in numerous small donations that average $43.
Of course it would be a mistake to underestimate Republican treachery as evidenced by the theft of
the Al Gore presidency and how the Democrats just laid down and played dead. What most people including ardent Sanders supporters don't seem to realize is that a Sanders victory will mean nothing if we don't have increased Democratic and Independent representation in the Senate and the House of
     Sanders policies are resonating with the people, most of whom are not depending on the TV
pundits but instead are turning to the internet and going out to see Sanders speak all across the nation.
At the this point Sanders has one big advantage over Clinton......he does NOT depend on Wall Street and the financial establishment the way Obama did and Clinton does. Sanders is talking about
breaking up the banks the way Iceland did to resounding success. Sanders is talking about seriously
reducing the prison population and encouraging divestment from for profit prisons.  Sanders is talking
about universal health care, which if put into effect will put more money in the pockets of the average US  citizen. These are the issues that the middle class public want to discuss and the very same issues the Republicans want to avoid.....they would much rather champion tax cuts for the rich,  prohibition of abortions, and breaking up unions. As of January 14, 2016 things look very good for a Bernie Sanders presidency but his adversaries are adept at making the low information voter vote against his or her self interest. Time will tell who will prevail.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


by Claude Chaney
   One more event to add to the long list of atrocities to show what appears to be a well orchestrated attempt to exterminate African Americans in the United States. The long string of police murders of innocent unarmed blacks in which white police officers are immediately exonerated is outrage enough (even murdering 10 and 12 years olds) but the deliberate dropping of chemicals into the river that supplies drinking water to Flint, Michigan is an atrocity that should not go unnoticed even though it is unreported or under reported in the mainstream media.
   During the right wing take over of the state of Michigan, a governor can put one official in charge that has complete control with no input or response from the citizenry. This is totalitarianism, the same type of totalitarianism US citizens in the armed forces are asked to give their lives to abolish in foreign countries. The hypocrisy is mind boggling. Governor Snyder has no excuse whatsoever because it was another right-winger in his own administration that brought this to his attention....and even complained in behalf of the people of Flint and this miserable excuse for a governor did NOTHING. As a result thousands of blacks and others ingested water with chemical wastes which will adversely affect the future health of babies.  Rmuse wrote the following in his Politics USA column "Now, although there were numerous warnings that people’s lives were being put at risk with an ALEC corporate tyrant running the show, Michigan’s governor can hardly deny that his ALEC-Mackinac tyrannical takeover is literally poisoning entire communities; all in the name of GOP and ALEC privatization and austerity madness."
     Mr. Snyder conveniently called a state of emergency requesting federal help "after the damage had already begun" Nowhere in the president's final State of The Union address was this matter even mentioned and once again the only presidential candidate that is taking on this issue is Bernie Sanders. These types of assaults on black and brown communities are becoming commonplace with little or any repercussions for the perpetrators. Governor LaPage made a blatantly bigoted remark about a mixed race couple implying that the white female was dysfunctional and the black male was a drug addict. Both members of this union were educators with advanced degrees. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel deliberately withheld evidence of a white policeman who deliberately killed black teenager Laquan McDonald who was unarmed and walking away from the white police officer. Millions of dollars have been spent in seven states to prove that welfare recipients (erroneously perceived as black) should be tested for drugs. The tests proved just the opposite....drug usage was found to actually "lower" among those on welfare compared to those who were not. Even a legislator who championed this project was found in possession of cocaine, making this expensive shot in the dark a complete waste of time. 
    I may be wrong, but to my knowledge I have heard next to nothing from our black elected
officials in congress, many of whom went right along with their right wing Republican colleagues who voted to give advanced military weaponry those who police predominantly black areas. A tragic mistake is being made by those blacks who mistakenly think that this has nothing to do with them because of their status or their income, nothing could be further from the truth. Keep in mind Trayvon Martin was killed in a well to do neighborhood in which one of his parents lived. If you are black and you live anywhere below the Canadian border you have to be concerned for the well being of YOUR family because in 2016 US racism knows no bounds and white bigoted murderers more often then not go unpunished.