Yes, and a top Menendez advisor and a top Christie advisor too. What are the people who guide the political lives of the state’s top elected officials doing in a firm that works for an Islamist strongman like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey? Once upon a time, there were campaign managers who came up through the ranks alongside the politicians whose careers they helped to manage.
In Great Britain, they call them election “agents” and this is how they once operated in this country too — wedded to the ups and downs of a particular political personality, often finding a job in the bureaucracy in between campaigns. From these manager/agents came the first campaign consultants. Regional or statewide at first, but with the centralizing power of the national committees and national money there soon came to be the “national” consultant — recommended by one of the party committees or put in place by them.
We recall a list, circa 1994, that the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) gave out, with the names of those “recommended” media consultants and pollsters on it. There were about a dozen names in all. But as more money washed into DC and was funneled into campaigns, that changed. Consultants proliferated and firms became larger. Following the money, a few either merged with or morphed into public relations and lobbying (government relations) operations. Why not?
Corporations paid big for access to politicians and there is nobody politicians love more than the person who got them elected. It was only a matter of time that things went global. And that is how three New Jersey political operatives became members of an international firm representing the interests of the Turkish government. This firm itself is a subsidiary of an even larger international firm that handles the image-making for Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving credit for, among other accomplishments, getting Putin’s face on the cover of Time magazine — as the “Person of the Year” for 2007. The three are Mo Butler, United States Senator Cory Booker’s campaign consultant, former chief of staff, and “longtime advisor”; Michael Soliman, United States Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations Robert Menendez’s political advisor and former State Director; and Michael DuHaime, Governor Chris Christie’s campaign consultant and someone who has worked on several Republican presidential campaigns. Two Democrats and a Republican. Their firm is called Mercury Public Affairs.
Began in 1999 as a decidedly Republican shop with connections to the RNC and politicians like John McCain and Mitt Romney, around 2013 it embarked on a mission to “diversify” — meaning making the firm “more bipartisan and full-service.” Mike DuHaime joined the firm in 2009, first as a “managing director” but swiftly rising to partner. Michael Soliman joined Mercury in 2013 and became a partner this year. Mo Butler joined as a “managing director” earlier this year. Mercury Public Affairs has 10 partners and 160 employees. Omnicom purchased Mercury in 2003. Mercury Public Affairs has 18 offices worldwide — including London; Mexico City; Washington, DC; New York; and Westfield, New Jersey. The New Jersey offices (a satellite operates out of Trenton) of Mercury are the haunt of Messrs. DuHaime, Soliman, Butler, and other connected operatives like “seasoned lobbyist” Connor Fennessy, newspaperman Darryl Isherwood (former top political reporter for the Star-Ledger and editor of PolitickerNJ), and “Christie campaign vet” Mark Mowers. Mowers, who testified before the Legislature’s BridgeGate inquiry, has recently joined the Trump campaign.
In January 2015, Michael Soliman registered with the United States Justice Department, pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as a person representing the Embassy of the State of Qatar. You must have read about Qatar in the news…Amnesty International has accused Qatar of being complicit in human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Yes, slavery. In fact, in March of this year, the United Nations gave Qatar one year “to end migrant worker slavery” or face an international investigation. Qatar is just one of freedom’s garden spots represented by Mercury. Remember the controversy in Uganda, when the President of that country decided that homosexuality was a crime that should be punishable by death? Well, the law he wanted passed was “moderated” in December 2013, substituting life imprisonment for the death penalty. In 2015, Mercury was brought on to provide public relations, lobbying, and media monitoring services with regards to the Office of the President and the Ugandan government
“A new survey says N.J. has America’s most miserable town, but it’s also among the state’s 100 “kinkiest” communities. Below are both lists.”
Guess what they all have in common?
“America is facing an infrastructure crisis. CNBC reveals which states have the worst roads, bridges, ports, airports and rail lines.”
Public authorities have become too powerful, having control over the private sector. Another dagger in New Jersey’s reputation. No wonder businesses are hesitant to relocate here.
“Federal authorities have charged former state Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox with conspiring to commit bribery, in a count tied his role as a lobbyist for United Airlines and the case against…”
A compelling case to get debt under control and not raise the “gas tax.” Murray Rothbard made the case to repudiate the national debt in 1992.
The failure of Governor Christie and the Legislature to come to an agreement to fund the Transportation Trust Fund is another example of why government in general is a dysfunctional organization populated by feckless individuals who have abrogated their responsibility to the public. Our elected officials have demonstrated they are poor stewards of taxpayers assets. No private enterprise firm could survive if they treated their customers with such contempt.
“New Jersey taxpayers may face more than $60 million in added costs due to a pending shutdown of transportation projects.”
Gov. Christie and legislative leaders are at impasse. They could not agree on a package of tax cuts and a hike in the “gas tax”, a user fee, (which is the only “fair” way to fund roads and bridges in today’s political environment) provide tax relief for the people of New Jersey and fund the depleted Transportation Trust Fund. The governor has ordered transportation projects halted as of today even though there appears to be enough money to fund projects until August 1.
Rather than go over all the details in the Sarlo-Oroho compromise that appeared to have enough bipartisan support to pass both houses of the legislature with enough votes to override Gov. Christie’s veto, the governor at the last moment calls for a 1% drop in the sales tax to 6% in the name of “tax fairness”.
If Gov. Christie wants more “tax fairness” in New Jersey, he should reduce all taxes for individuals and businesses. All taxes are unfair because they are coerced from the people who earned the income being taxed in the first place. In other words, all taxes should be cut, anytime not only for “fairness” but also to provide more of the resources people and businesses need to achieve their goals in life.
The income tax is the root of all evil, so wrote Frank Chodorov in 1954. We have seen it here in New Jersey for four decades. The Supreme Court is responsible for forcing the State of New Jersey to expropriate more of the people’s income in the name of “fairness.”
“When the income tax was passed back in 1976 the Republicans could have forced real property-tax reform; instead they got outsmarted by the Democrats – and not for the last time”
The annual kabuki dance in Trenton known as the budget negotiations is a mixed bag as usual. Reducing the sales tax is long overdue. The income tax should be reduced as well. The passing out of the estate tax is off the table as well as the charitable deduction. Deductions are good; they reduce taxes. Spending is increasing. We will see how much spending Gov. Christie will eliminate from the proposed budget.
“Governor Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto on Monday upended the plan to fund transportation projects and instead tried to pass their own: Raise the gas tax by about 23 cents per gallon, and in exchange chop the state sales tax over two years from 7 percent to 6 percent.”
David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, asserts that the “needs” of so-called at risk children trumps the needs of income earners who are forced to subsidize government (taxpayer funded) schools in urban and some rural low income districts. Mr. Sciarra claims that Gov. Christie’s proposal to provide equal state funding for all school children is a reverse Robin Hood policy, because it would “take” funds away from “high needs” children and redistribute it to middle and upper income school districts.
Mr. Sciarra is unabashedly echoing Karl Marx’s dictum that “society” should be based on “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” Whether he knows it or not, Mr. Sciarra has internalized the key principle of socialism, government–in this case the State of New Jersey–should tax people who earn sufficient incomes that make them financially independent to support so-called underprivileged or disadvantaged children whose families earn relatively low incomes. (However, in income “rich” Hoboken, state education aid dwarfs that of many modest suburban school districts. That’s fairness?)
The bottom line is that public education has created unnecessary financial, cultural and political conflicts. Gov. Christie’s proposal treats all children “equal.” But the governor’s proposal does not go far enough. We should have that much needed and long overdue conversation about education that would in Mr. Sciarra’s words lead to productive individuals. The current funding formula and structure has been a failure for students who barely graduate high school in four years and leave with poor skills that they should have mastered in 12 years of schooling.
“The governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’ school aid plan would end the Garden State’s longstanding commitment to giving all children an education that will prepare them for good citizenship, civic responsibility and productive participation in the state’s economy.”
Governor Christie’s public school aid funding proposal would treat each child “equally,” that is, the state would send every school district the same amount for each child in its school district. Most school districts would get a huge increase in state aid so that should mean substantially property tax relief for suburban taxpayers, assuming of course the school districts pass along the new aid in the form of lower property taxes. The criticism from the usual suspects is disingenuous. Instead of applauding the fact that many of their constituents would finally get property tax relief, which was the goal of the 1976 income tax, suburban legislators are voicing their objections, because urban districts would be “shortchanged.”
Despite what the state constitution regarding education funding and a series of state Supreme Court rulings, there is no reason education should be provided by the government. In fact, education should be provided by teachers, parents and others, without the need for taxpayers to shell out an obscene amount of money for an education monopoly. The case for delinking government and education has been made by several analysts such as Sheldon Richman, John Taylor Gatto, and Samuel Blumenfeld, among others.
Education socialism is expensive and has failed to educate urban students effectively. It is time for education freedom. Christie gets us one step closer.
Seeking to bypass the state Supreme Court, upend three decades of education funding and lower property tax bills, Governor Christie will spend the summer campaigning for a sweeping new plan to spend the same amount of money on every student in the state — regardless of where they live.
Government officials have lied thorough their teeth about the income tax (rates would not go up, Ha), Federal Reserve (the dollar’s purchasing power would be stabilized), Social Security (rates would never go up, income subject tot the tax would never up), Medicare (future costs would be reasonable, doctors would be fairly compensated) and Medicaid (costs would be reasonable, doctors would be paid fairly) over the past 100 years to get their big government legislation passed. If you believe government officials about the future costs about any new tax or social program, I have a bridge to sell you.
Six months in advance of a planned exit from NJ, UnitedHealthcare no longer covers care provided at Hackensack University Medical Center for people who bought coverage on healthcare.gov.
If you believe government should provide education to all youngsters, then you have lost the argument against the proponents of socialism. If you support taxpayer-funded education, why then shouldn’t the government provide health care, transportation, housing, energy, banking, food, etc.? In fact, government has been heavily involved in virtually every aspect of our economy and our lives. In short, America is already heavily “socialized.”
The Democratic Party controls both houses of the New Jersey state legislature. Yesterday, in a procedural maneuver, the Democrats prevented Gov. Christie from reducing the onerous requirements to legally carry a firearm in the state. Although the Democrats are congratulating themselves for blocking Gov. Christie’s desire give New Jersey firearms owners the right to protect themselves and their families in public, the obvious take away from the Democrats’ actions are simple: they do not want people to be able to defend themselves in public venues like Orlando nightclub where 49 innocent souls were defenseless because it was “gun free zone”. Gun free zones are invitations to any one bent on committing mass murder.