Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Fashionably Minded

According to a study by, women think about clothes 91 times a day, or about once every 11 minutes.  That means women think more about dresses and shoes than men think about sex, which is about 20 times a day.

The poll surveyed 1,000 young British women  between the ages of 18 and 25, the demographic most likely to think about clothes.  Older women still think about clothes, too.  It’s just that they add food and children later on as they marry and start families.

Dresses topped the young British women’s list of fashion items, followed by shoes.  They would be at the age when dresses are at their most flattering and when they would want to show off their legs to those young British who must certainly think about sex more than 20 times a day.

In total, women spend an hour and 15 minutes of every day thinking about clothes.  A British events administrator scoffed at the research, calling it offensive nonsense.  Anna Wintour probably doesn’t think it’s nonsense and certainly hopes the information is correct.

Respondents were directed to count every time they thought about fashion, from going to online retail sites, to window shopping, to quizzing the outfits of other women.  My former female co-workers were ardent fashionistas.  Shoes were the top item for them.  Psychologists say it has something to do with the nesting instinct.  In the animal kingdom, it is the male who sports the attractive feathers or fur, to lure other females and to distract predators from the nest.

I was a fashion maven in my younger days.  I was very proud of my wardrobe – my dresses, skirts, blouses, and yes, shoes.  But the fashions changed to a hideous degree, my job demanded that I pay more attention to other’s wardrobes more than my own, and I ceased to find any fascination with fashion.  I’m more like my old schoolgirl self, when fashion was the last thing on my mind.

My mother was fashionable in her day, too.  By the time I came along, she was running a household and had no time for fashionable dressing.  I had no role model for femininity until my ex-sister-in-law came along.  She’s no longer a member of the family, and I’ve reverted to my old ways, much to the distress of my family.  They’ve given me all her fashionable suits, pocketbooks, cosmetic products, and dainty knick-knacks.  Alas, they’re all moldering in my basement.  My brother won’t let me get rid of them (Nephew, I could use your help here.  Would F. like your Mom’s pocketbooks?  Your mother bought only the very best, you know.).

I’d trade all those pocketbooks for a library full of books or good marks on the GRE.  I’d have twice the basement space if I could get rid of all that stuff.  What a waste to give me pocketbooks and suits.  Well, I might have to wear the suits (which fit), but the pocketbooks will never see the light of day again if I keep them.  I probably would have been given her shoes, too, except my feet are two sizes larger than hers.

The study was a bit unfair to Tea Party women.  Oh, they like clothes as much as any woman, but there’s something else on their mind:  their children and their children’s future.  Ordinarily, politics probably wouldn’t have interested them.  But when they realized the Progressives were threatening their children, they put their clothes in the closet and came out in numbers to set things right.

As Ilsa Lund says in Casablanca of the blue dress she wore the last time Rick Blain saw her, “Yes, I put that dress away.  I’ll take it out again when the Germans march out of Paris.”

Friday, June 08, 2012

A Force to Be Reckoned With

 After Gov. Scott Walker’s victorious vindication in Wisconsin on Tuesday, no one is laughing at the Tea Party anymore.

Once we’d gotten the public’s attention with the rallies, Tea Partiers wanted to go on to the next step – getting involved politically.  The rallies were fun, they said, but a lot of wasted effort when the real job was getting out the vote.

Looking back on its origins, it’s easy to see now that was exactly the Tea Party’s purpose, right from the beginning – getting people to come out and vote.  We didn’t need statistics to tell us how suppressed the Conservative vote was.  We already knew family and friends who refused to vote because they thought it didn’t matter.  The Republicans were just as bad as the Democrats, they said, so why bother?  They were right.

So the Tea Party had a two-fold purpose:  to get Conservatives out of their shell and see that it was only hopeless if they gave up and didn’t vote, and to give them someone to vote for.  I recall an early meeting, when a passionate Tea Partier cried, “We’ve got to do something more than just put on rallies!  We’ve got to be active politically.”

He looked around the room in a mixture of passion and supplication.

“Who are you asking permission of?” I asked him.  “Whose permission do you think you need to do this thing?  If you think it’s the right thing to do, then do it.”

And he did.  He went on to organize small groups in every town.  They took my early advice and started with their “familiars,” people they know – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and urged them to solicit others.  It was, as a savvy politician told me once, all about the people.  The connections are stronger and more influential than trying to persuade an entrenched, Moderate politician to change his view.

The Tea Party is definitely on the right track.  They’ve been on the right track since that first summer.  They still must beware of that word “partisan”.  Neither party particularly represents American values anymore, but there is still the matter of ideology – Progressive or Liberal versus Conservative.  The Progressives have a decidedly socialist bent.

For years, no one would believe it.  They thought such accusations were a remnant of the McCarthy era, and Socialists themselves would deny it.  They claimed they were as red-blooded as any other American.  Unfortunately, the only thing “red” about them was their politics.

Drawing them out took years of pre-Tea Party work to get them to admit that they were Socialists and even Communists.  ‘If you think it’s so great, why don’t you just come out and say so.’  ‘You’re so ardent about it, you must be Socialists.  Why not just admit it and be proud of what you are?’

It worked.  They started coming out of the closet and admitting their Socialism.  Conservatives could no longer hide behind doubt.  Here were the Socialists, admitting themselves that they were Socialists.  Ohmming at the Capitol in Madison, Wisc., was probably the last straw for Wisconsin Conservative voters.  Traditionally, “ohmming” is an evil practice in which you call the spirits of the Underworld to join with you through the base of your spine (hence, the cross-legged, seated position).  But the Beatles did it in the Sixties, so how evil could it have been, right?  Well, pretty evil, as we saw this week.

The Tea Party still has a lot of work to do, with the presidential election coming up.  Don’t be fooled by the Media’s predictions of Obama’s loss.  It’s a feint so we’ll let our guard down.  They have a lot more money than they’re acknowledging and many willing foot-soldiers.

Still, well-done, Tea Parties.  There is hope on the horizon.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Anna Wintour - The Devil in Prada

What are the odds that having Anna Wintour’s name on the title of this post would garner about 100 hits, even though she’s a miserable person with a terrible reputation?  But a far better person, also an editor, but not particularly wealthy, would garner very little interest except from those who knew him?

Having a famous name and millions of dollars doesn’t make you one jot more worthy of notice than your better counterpart – who held a similar position to yours, was a better person a million times over, was a better boss, and a better citizen.

But since only Anna Wintour’s name would attract you heathens to this post, here she is:  the Devil in Prada shoes herself.

So now that I’ve gotten your attention, go back and read the previous post, about a truly good person, who's far more worth of your notice.  And ask God’s forgiveness for counting the wicked above the good.

Howard Ball - Man About Town

Last month, our band played a concert at the New Jersey Fireman’s Home in Boonton.  Howard Ball, long-time editor of the local newspaper, The Suburban Trends, and one-time trumpet player on our band, had just taken up residency there.  But that morning, the very day of his admittance to the home, he had to go to the hospital.  We were very disappointed but hoped we would get to see him this weekend at our next concert.

But alas, it was not to be.  Howard died at the Fireman’s Home this past Saturday at the age of 83 from pneumonia.  It was the best place for him to end his time, with other fireman.  Next to being a newspaperman, being a fireman was his life.

If you want the definition of a “community organizer”, Howard was the definitive community organizer.  A newspaper editor by profession, he was also a clergyman, volunteer fireman and chaplain, teacher, and mentor to dozens and dozens of up and coming reporters.  And of course, he was a musician.

Howard was that rarest of all newspaper editors – kind, patient, and good-natured.  He could be tough, they said, but never mean or unfair.  He held his reporters to high journalistic standards, whether it was a story on how a national event affected local citizens, or the dance at the local Senior Citizens center.  He thought of himself as a teacher and mentor first.  He was kind enough to give this writer a chance when no one else would because her “grades” weren’t good enough.  Ultimately, he was replaced by the more typical kind of newspaper editor, which was a loss to the Trends, and so was the writer.  One of his successors was practically a card-carrying communist, or might as well have been.  Thanks to Howard, I had enough of a portfolio to show to the next editor, J.D., who was kind enough to hire me when, again, no one else would.  My job there was my dream job.  I did exactly what I had always wanted to do for the Trends, although it was for the company’s internal publications.  Close enough.
He was also a truly objective editor when it came to politics.  In the midst of the Watergate Era, he was friends with the local Republican parties.  Howard’s paper reported the news and the politics, but his first love was the community itself.  That’s what made – and still makes – The Trends such a beloved paper.  He received a Lifetime Award from the Pompton Lakes Republican Club.

One of the editors wrote that he was “Pompton Lakes” but Howard was all the towns the paper serves – from West Milford to Wayne and all the little towns in between.  No story was really considered “too small” for the Trends.  Residents from the city scoffed at its small-town feel, but The Trends had a heart – Howard’s heart.

Having grown up reading The Trends, I wanted to be a reporter just like the reporters he hired to write the news of the towns.  They were all local people who knew everyone.  Some people called it gossip, but I thought it was wonderful that someone cared enough to write about the “little people” of our “little towns”.  Howard published stories about the local garden clubs, the ecological committees, the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.  He published stories about new little businesses opening up and town pride days.  The mayor of one town asked him to publish pictures of animals in need of adoption and he did.

Howard was an expert on local history.  Even after he retired, he continued to write a column about the local history of the area until just a few weeks before his death.  History wasn’t about some far off place in Virginia or Texas; it was right underneath your feet.  This was where the Pompton Mutiny happened.  That was where the Indian village was located before the high school was built.  Look down in the Wanaque Reservoir when the water is low; you can still see the old bridge.  Howard was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and could trace ancestors back to the Minutemen who fought at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Howard had his problems early in life.  But he found help through God and spent the remainder of his life, which was quite a span of time, serving others.  Not just through the newspaper, but through the fire department and police department and through numerous charities and organizations such as the Passaic County Mutual Aid Society and the Passaic Head Start program in upper Passaic County.  He served as executive director of the Upper Passaic County Community Action Program, which ran the local Meals-on-Wheels program.  Howard was also a pastor at the Assembly of God Church in Butler and was an advisor to the church’s 12-Step program.

The one thing The Trends neglected to mention was how long Howard served with the Trends or when he became editor.  I know it dates back at least to the Sixties, when their offices were on the Riverdale Circle (which is no longer a traffic circle).

The Trends quotes Harry Hicks, Kinnelon’s Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, as saying, “Howard Ball set the standard on being nice – he had plenty of opportunity to say nasty things about people, even some politicians who had done some nasty things, but he never did.”

Recently, the talk of the pundit world has been Anna Wintour’s (pronounced “winter”) commercial for the Obama campaign: an invitation to the hoi-poloi (that’s a fancy, Anna Wintour word for the little people) to express their support for Obama and win a chance to have dinner with Anna and Mee-chelle (some people make fun of her accent; they think it’s an affected upper class accent, but she is actually British; born in London, the daughter of a famous publisher).

Wintour is the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, just THE most influential publication in the fashion world.  Wintour is so notorious for chewing up interns and spitting them out that she’s earned the nickname “Nuclear Wintour.”  Her reputation is so bad that she was supposedly the inspiration for the character Amanda Priestly in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada (as Glenn Beck notes wryly, she’s the “Devil”; Prada is a brand of shoe).

I never worked for Wintour and hope I never do, though I might just submit my resume to Vogue, for laughs,  However, I’ve worked for Anna Wintours.  They’re horrible people who scream at people until they shake, kick cabinet doors, and make their subordinates perform menial task as a demonstration of their power.  They inspired the creation of Prozac.

That an editor of high fashion magazine is a demanding, snobbish task master should come as no surprise.  While her British accent is not affected (as a connoisseur of accents, and having studied the British accents while I was on vacation in England, I could tell it was real), her manner certainly is.  She’s the very last person I would ever want to sit down to have a meal with, and I’m sure she would share the sentiment, if she knew me.  She’s traveled the world and lived a rootless, although lucrative, existence.  She – and others like her – have spent so much time jet-setting and living in ivory towers that she’s become disconnected from humanity.  That detachment has made her the cold, heartless, but successful, woman she is today.  The very opposite of Howard Ball.   She’s probably given away millions to charities and community organizations but, unlike Howard, never put her dainty foot in one of their neighborhoods, unless it was for a photo-op.  Can you imagine Wintour trying to put out a house fire or riding on the top of a fire truck?  Or marching in a three-mile parade playing trumpet?  In Pradas?

I will certainly give a pass to her “invitation” (“And don’t be late,” she snaps at the end of the commercial.)  I would have much rather have been able to sit down to a picnic this weekend over a plate of hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and root beer with Howard Ball (the standard fare of fireman and parade musicians, like us).   Since he can’t be there, those of us in the band who knew him – MC, DH, DR, myself and others – will raise a glass of root beer to Howard.

Thank you for being so kind, Howard, and giving me a chance (you, too, J.D. – I just hope third time is the charm).  I’ll never forget you!  God bless you, Howard!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The D-Day Invasion - 68 Years


One can only imagine what the brave young soldiers felt as the gang planks of the Higgins boats dropped into the water, revealing to them the Atlantic wall – a fortress of barricades, barbed wire, 40-foot cliffs, and machine-gun bunkers.  As soon as they jumped out, a hail of bullets rained down upon them.
Soldiers whose boats couldn’t get any closer because of the mines dropped into 6 feet and more of water, drowned with their 50-pound packs still on.  Others were blown to pieces at the water’s edge.  Still, the young men came.  There was no going back.  They were not only obliged legally to go on, but morally.  The 50-foot cliffs were an exemplar of the Nazi foe – menacing, hard, and fortified.  The Nazis had spent years infiltrating Europe with their minions.  Dollfuss, the president of Austria was murdered in his office.  The editor of Berlin’s leading newspaper and his wife were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and butchered in the street.

England, our ally, was alone in the fight.  She needed help.  We’d provided material support but it wasn’t enough; she needed manpower.  If France wasn’t liberated, eventually Germany would be able to mount an offensive against England from France’s shores and Europe’s last free democracy would fall.

Our American soldiers – along with their British, French, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and other allies, the cream of the free world – demonstrated a courage we can’t begin to imagine today.  We must watch such films as The Longest Day, Wake Island, Saving Private Ryan, and Tora Tora Tora to believe it.

We have heroes today, just as we did then, but the word has lost some of its shine, dulled by indifference, diffidence, and the propaganda of anti-war sentiment.  Shame plays its part as well, knowing that we probably wouldn’t have the courage the men on the Normandy beaches displayed.  We hope the surviving veterans of that war, and subsequent wars, will excuse if we pin the moniker of hero on their chests.  Wear it for your fallen comrades, if for no other reason.

But courage seems to have experienced a rebirth yesterday with Gov. Scott Walker’s win in the disgraceful recall election in Wisconsin yesterday.  Conservative voters in Wisconsin, it is said, turned out in record numbers to support their governor, while the opposing supporters wept with unmanly bitterness.  Wisconsin demonstrated to the nation that with courage, common sense can win out over the mania for entitlements.  They demonstrated that Wisconsin still believes in earning your way, being fiscally responsible, and freedom of choice.

The right to vote is a precious given earned in with the blood of over half a million men (and women) since the nation’s founding.  The right to vote is what freedom is all about.  It is not a chip to be thrown into a collective pool, bargaining itself away for the sake of free health care, pensions, education, or vacation homes in Florida.

Wisconsin (of all places!) demonstrated to the world what freedom truly means and what you can achieve with courage.  Congratulations to Gov. Scott Walker and our gratitude to the state of Wisconsin.  It’s been a tough climb for you, but you proved yesterday that freedom and courage did not perish 68 years ago today.  Your heroism may very well prevent another half million young men from dying in arms to preserve freedom.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Can You Spare the Time to Vote?

War                            No. of  Years              No. Killed

Revolutionary                 8                                   4,435

War of 1812                    3                                 2,260

Civil                                4                              140,414 (North only)

WW I                             1,5                              53,000

WWII                             5                               291,557

Korean                           3                               33,739

Vietnam                      11                                47,434

Gulf/Iraq/Afghan          8+                               3,662

                                    40.5+ years                576,501            

Forty plus years out of America’s 236 years as a nation.  Over half a million lives – 576,501 – given in the cause for freedom.  Never mind that malarkey from Hollywood about how the soldiers were only giving their lives for each other.  What a dishonor to every soldier who ever fought for our country to say such a thing.  Only since the Vietnam War, which the Media and Walter Cronkite helped us lose, have veterans uttered such disgraceful words.

They gave their years and their lives for freedom.  Think you can spare about 15 minutes to go and vote?

Why You Should Vote

Sports fans wear their hearts on their sleeves.  And their hats, bumpers, screen savers, and even their babies.  For the true Yankees, Steelers, Giants, Devils, and Cubs fans, the devotion is 24/7.  They never miss a game and sneer at slackers who only cheer the team on at the Super Bowl.  You couldn’t pry them away from their television on game day if you wanted to.

Yet where are these people on Election Day?  They’re too busy.  They’ve got to go shopping.  They’ve got a meeting.  They’ve got to coach their kid’s soccer game.  They’ve got to mow the lawn.  They’ve got a million excuses why they can’t spend that 60 seconds in the voting booth.

I timed myself.  That’s how long it took from the moment I entered the booth until the time I pressed the “Cast Vote” button.  Of course, there’s also the formality of signing your name – about the same amount of time it takes to swipe your credit card and sign the slip at the grocery store.

Slackers will tell you they don’t bother because they don’t think it matters.  There’s nobody they like on “the team.”  It’s not their team, so they don’t really care.  The primaries?  Fuhgeddaboudit, buddy.  They only tune into the Big Game.  They’ll be there on Nov. 6th; that’s when their vote “really” counts.

Really?  Nov. 6th is when your vote has the least meaning because by then it’s already too late.  The die is cast.  By that time, some Moderate you “really” don’t care about or like will be preparing to change the curtains in the White House.  Or worse, Obama will be re-elected because a bunch of dithering fuddy-duddies thought going to the supermarket was more important than going to the voting booth.

The younger the voter is, the less likely it is that they’ll enter the voting.  My 23 year-old nephew is on the other side of the world, in China, of all places.  Since he can’t be bothered with voting, that’s the place for him all right.

Well listen up, you Sports Fans, because here’s the score:  only one side of this political football game “really” cares about America and freedom and by not voting, you’re forfeting the game.  Do you understand that?  “Our” side, the side of liberty and prosperity, is going to lose if you don’t get out there and do your part for the team.

No one can carry the ball for you.  If you drop the ball, the whole team is going to suffer.  Have you got that message yet.  We’re at the fourth down and they’ve already blown the whistle for the four-minute warning.  You’ve got that much time to get to the voting booth, do your job, then get down on your knees and pray that all the other losers like you woke up in time and ran for the polling place.  Now.  Today.  Not November 6th.

We’ve heard you soundly boo professional football and baseball players who let you and their team down.  That’s nothing compared to what we’re going to call you if Obama and the Socialists win and we wind up having Coach Communist breathing down our necks every day for the rest of our lives, telling us where to live, what to eat, what to drive, and what to think.

So now you know what today is in New Jersey:  that’s right, June 5th, Primary Day.  Do you know what tomorrow is?  Tomorrow is June 6th.  Duhhh, what’s that, you ask, you stupid jocks?  It’s the anniversary of D-Day.  Tomorrow, 68 years ago, thousands of guys lost their lives fighting to free Europe from the grip of National Socialist Democracy, otherwise known as Nazism.

Sounds like it was a hundred years ago, does it?  Ancient history?  Is that what you think of freedom?  Is that what you think of their sacrifice?  You think that their courage was nothing compared to the spirit of those overfed, overpaid, uniformed refrigerators out on the football field every Sunday in the autumn, getting paid to bash each other’s brains in?  You’d willingly go out and get paid that much to have your brains bashed in.  You couldn’t get paid enough to storm the beaches of Normandy, the way they did.  And indeed, we don’t pay our military heroes enough to put their lives on the line for people who can’t take that 15 minutes to go to the polling place and vote.

After all, you have more important things to do.  Right.

Tell it to the Marines! Now, get off your lazy butts and get to that voting booth, you good-for-nothing sheep, and cast your votes!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Balkanization of New Jersey

For years, the eastern districts on New Jersey’s electoral map snaked around in a ridiculous configuration, with sections completely divorced from the main body of the snake.  The districts east of the New Jersey Turnpike and north of the Raritan River are basically Democrat.  So why all the crazy contortions?  How many Democrats does a state need?

If you’re the Democrat Party, as many as you can pencil in, artificially or otherwise.  The more districts the Democrats can claim, the merrier for them.  While the Republicans have a fairly good hold of vast swaths of the northwest and southern sections of the state, the masses of Democrat voters live – with the exception of Trenton and Camden, in the northeastern cities.  Divide and conquer.

Still, the most recent redistricting has put my town in the much safer hands of Rodney Frelinghuysen.  The 8th District has been reshaped, pitting Steven Rothman and Bill Pascrell against one another, with no visible Republican choice candidate in sight.  Gee, where is GOP Strong in that district?  Where’s their candidate?

Frelinghuysen is up for election in the 11th District.  He’s been a Congressman for many years and it’s been my pleasure to know him, from my former photographer days, for many years.  His history with our family dates back to the Seventies when he was a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders.  My mother drove the group on a tour of Morris County and when she was asked to introduce them, she transliterated their name to the Board of Frozen Cheese holders.  He met with our Tea Party and assured us he will work for what is right.

Another important race – indeed, a critical race, in addition to the presidential election – is the race for the Senate.  We only get this opportunity every six years and it’s time to retire Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg.  The House of Representatives deals with economic issues. The Senate is responsible for foreign policy and the confirmation of Supreme Court judges.

Our economy is a disaster, and this is a year when New Jersey not only chooses, along with the rest of the country, the next president of the United States, but its Senators and Congressional representatives as well.

My mother found herself confounded by the ballot.  For the sake of expediency, I told her to just push all the buttons for Row C, which on our district ballot is the generally accepted, mainstream Republican row.  Mom was confused because there are seven Republican rows.  There are three Democrat rows, by contrast, but two are completely empty, leaving only the Obama Row.

One thing the paper ballot shows that I don’t recall in previous years is for the delegates to the respective conventions.  The names are very tiny, but they’re there.  Maybe they were there in the past, and like other people, I hadn’t paid attention.  This time, I took a good look at the names, among who are Chris Christie and Tom Kean.

Because this is a primary, Republicans do still have a choice for presidential candidate.  If Mitt Romney isn’t your cup of tea, you still have the choice of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.  By contrast, Democrats only give their voters one choice – Obama.

Aren’t you glad you aren’t a Democrat?  If you don’t want to become a Democrat someday make sure you, your family, friends, and neighbors get out to vote tomorrow, and vote Conservative, or at least Republican.  Another four years of Obama may very well mean no more years of the United States of America.  Every year since the Roosevelt administration, pundits have warned that if we don’t vote Republican (i.e., Conservative), there won’t be a United States.

Dire predictions didn’t come true, at least not immediately.  But we’re running out of road and in hindsight, we see only too well how right those pundits were.  Progressives all along had a nefarious plan for transforming the country gradually, so their enemies wouldn’t notice.  Few Americans are left alive who remember America as she was, primarily the World War II generation.  However, since the advent of the Tea Parties, more younger Americans are educating themselves and, examining the record, realize just how far we’ve come and how little time we have left.

It may not be time to press the panic button.  But it is time to press the button for real Conservatism and real American values.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

GOP Strong-Arm Tactics

The Bergen Record has finally exposed a phony GOP Organization in Passaic County.  Their tactic is to gain control of the GOP County Committee by infiltrating the primary with party-switching Democrats as challengers to the real and official Republican Party organization members.

The Bergen Record ran an article last Thursday outlining how dissident GOP candidates – who aren’t really Republicans at all - are waging primary election challenges to seize at least some control of the Passaic County Republican organization just weeks after party leaders publicly announced they had united.

“More than 150 challengers are on Tuesday's primary ballot in Clifton, Wayne, Paterson, Prospect Park, and West Milford, seeking to unseat regular party committee members. That represents 41 percent of all the candidates in those towns.

The committee consists of 546 members elected by voters neighborhood-by-neighborhood on primary day   Its job is to set GOP policy and nominates candidates to local, county, state and federal elected office.

The Bergen Record reports that “Party leaders worry that the rival candidates for committee seats could undo a fragile truce between warring Republican Party camps forged only two months ago.”  A truce?  “Challengers include party-switching Democrats and adversaries of the GOP leadership. In certain towns many of the new candidates seem to coalesce around a Republican splinter group headed by former party head Peter Murphy, a fierce rival of GOP Chairman Scott Rumana.”

“Murphy's group, GOP Strong, agreed to unite with Rumana's regular Republicans in March under the condition that Rumana step down as chairman and make way for former Ringwood Mayor Scott Heck in June. For the first time in recent years, the party had a unified ticket for freeholder and congressional races.”

Well, gollee, that’s some deal.  Why on earth the regular GOP committee should have agreed to any unification with committee members whose signatures on their  party affiliation cards, designating them newly-minted Republicans, are barely dry defies any sort of logic or common sense. 

Then, on April 11, a slew of challengers for party committee seats surfaced on the primary registry.

“I don't think anyone saw this coming,” said Thom Ammirato, a consultant to the county GOP. “Suddenly, the deal was off the table.”

Rumana still plans to step down.   Uh – why?!  He called the committee challengers “disgruntled, hostile public employees and Democrats” who he said are bent on undermining "Gov. Christie’s and the Republican Party agenda.”  And apparently Rumana just plans to step out of their way.

According to Heck, the dissident challengers, “should stand down” and that he wanted “to move past feuds.”  He also wants to move past legitimate elections, evidently.

The  Bergen Record reports that, “In Prospect Park, regular Republicans in all four committee districts face primary challenges from candidates who were Democrats until last month when, all at once, they filed with the county to switch party affiliations to Republican a week before the April 11 registration deadline, according to election records.

“Muinder Matari, one of the challengers running under the banner Prospect Park Republicans,
had been a registered Democrat since 1998. On April 2, Matari, Anilda Santiago, Carmen R. Cruz, and Nelson Perez III — who had been a Democrat since 2004 — registered as Republicans to run for GOP committee seats.

“Carlos Alejo, who notarized the four challengers' petitions, is running this year for a committee seat in Paterson under the slogan Republicans for a Better Passaic County — the same banner Murphy used to run candidates in the June 2009 primary.

“Ellen DeLosh, a longtime regular Republican committee member, thinks most of the dissidents who make up 41 percent of the candidates in Clifton are organized by GOP Strong.  “There was supposed to be nobody running against anybody in the primary,” she said referring to the unity agreement. “The Democrats are laughing at us.”

“Even in Wayne, Rumana's stronghold as a former mayor, one in four committee candidates is a primary challenger. One of them, challenger Rosa A. Filomeno, once a Democrat, crossed over to become Republican on April 2, and Edward Casper swapped affiliation in March.

“We're treating this like a partisan election,” said Carner Washburn, a regular Republican committee candidate and the township party treasurer.

“Joseph Bubba Jr., a candidate under Wayne Republican Party for the People, said he formed the faction against regular Republicans with “friends of mine” in order "to give the public a choice."

“Bubba is the son of former state Sen. Joseph Bubba, who in the 1980s helped lead a coup against GOP chairman Rocco Motta that ushered Murphy's father, Anthony "Red" Murphy, to the helm. The younger Bubba denied that Peter Murphy is involved in the current splintering in Wayne, saying he is running the challenge himself.

“The years-long power struggle between Rumana and Murphy, who stepped down as county GOP chairman after his 2001 federal conviction for mail fraud, has led to previous challenges to the party establishment.

“GOP Strong strong-armed its way into county politics in 2009 promoting a slate of candidates to challenge Rumana's regular party line. The organization pulled off an upset with Kristin Corrado's primary win, and she went on to be elected county clerk. But the slate faltered with defeats of three GOP Strong freeholder candidates. That year, at the height of discord in the party, 202 candidates challenged regular Republicans for committee seats.

“This year, about half the candidates seeking committee seats in West Milford aim to dislodge GOP Strong, which is seen as the established party.

“I just want to break up some of GOP Strong and get people who are interested in working for the township and not for favors for friends,” said Marilyn Lichtenberg, a former councilwoman who started the opposition group dubbed Golden Rule Republicans.

Someone should inform Bubba that Passaic County already has a choice – Republican or Democrat.  Voters have a right to know if Democrats are masquerading as Republicans in the primary on Tuesday.  Voting for a Republican who’s actually a Democrat is no choice at all.  It’s fraud.