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“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly emailed at 7:34 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2013.

The recipient, a Christie troll at the Port Authority named David Wildstein, emailed back at 7:35 a.m., only a minute later.

“Got it.”

In New Jersey, There’s No Exit for Chris Christie’s Bridge Trolls – The Daily Beast – 1/9/2014.

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From August 2008 to July 2009, over 4,200 Zimbabweans died in one of the worst recorded cholera outbreaks in Africa.

The high death toll – far beyond the worst case UN scenario – was the result of collapsed water and sanitation infrastructure and state health services rendered dysfunctional by political tension and hyperinflation.

” . . . rendered dysfunctional by political tension and hyperinflation.”

I would have imagined that “political tension” leads primarily to heart attacks and nasty rhetoric as opposed to interference in the delivery of basic public services.   Taking down water sanitation stations, however, has to do with chemicals and some routine maintenance, which may be withheld or denied by removing their funding.

I recall the Zimbabwe’s 2008 cholera outbreak as tracing back to Mugabe’s efforts to sabotage the reputation of a district-level election opponent — and I can’t find the online source for that.  This may do:

Before the ZANU-PF government nationalized municipal water authorities in 2006, water treatment and delivery systems worked. The Mugabe regime, however, politicized water for political gain and profit, policies that proved disastrous, and which have clearly contributed to the ongoing cholera epidemic.  All Harare residents PHR interviewed reported that trash collection has effectively ceased. Throughout 3 Harare, and especially in the poor high-density areas outside the capital, PHR investigators saw detritus littering streets and clogging intersections. Steady streams of raw sewage flow through the refuse and merge with septic waste. A current Ministry of Health official reported to PHR: There is no decontamination of waste in the country.

www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/center-for-public-health-and-human-rights/_pdf/PHR_HealthinRuins_Zimbabwe_Jan09.pdf – December 2008.

While the consequences differ quite between New Jersey and its governor and Zimbabwe and its President for Life (so far), the manner of control — for the malignant among narcissists, “control” over others is what it’s all about — seems dreadfully similar.

In addition to sabotaging basic services to smear opposing district politicians, we know what goes on in President Mugabe’s invention of a state inside his head that, unfortunately, has been imposed on the Zimbabwean experience of reality.

President Mugabe, this with little thanks to the hated white man — and not only white men but people of color everywhere may be thankful for that —  has led Zimbabwe on a lifelong tour into the dismal regions of widespread disease, hunger, poverty, and political subjugation.

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Apart from screwing up some east coast traffic royally, as may befit his self-concept, we don’t know what else Governor Christie may be pursuing or thinking about as regards his political enemies.  What we do know — what New Jersey’s constituents may know or come to recognize — is a signal from leadership associated with venturing on to a bad track (first the poo bah slows down some traffic . . . ).

USA Today decided to have a little fun with the George Washington Bridge scandal this morning.

The newspaper offered 10 lessons Gov. Chris Christie can learn from fictional mob boss Tony Soprano in the wake of Wednesday’s news.

10 lessons Chris Christie can learn from Tony Soprano courtesy of USA Today | NJ.com – 1/9/2014.

Related: 10 lessons from ‘The Sopranos’ for Chris Christie – 1/9/2014; Punchlines: Traffic jams Chris Christie in corruption? – Comedy video (5:13) compilation – 1/9/2014.  The video features the denial of responsibility well known to dictators.

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▶ Chris Christie Press Conference VIDEO Q&A Christie Denies Knowledge Of Bridge Payback Scheme – YouTube – 1/9/2014.

“How did this happen?” Christie asks.

Damage control follows scandal.  Christie’s conversation may well involve “credible denial”, and that’s far from Mugabe’s reflexive finger pointing at Great Britain for all of Zimbabwe’s failure, which is really the expression of his guarded inner state and his manner of responding to that turmoil.

Operating in so scathing an open democracy and with military and treasuries separate from the grasp of a governor, Christie’s political environment may have developed its share of corruption and dirt, but it’s not going to give him the excess of power that may channel into real trouble.

Whatever the trouble, Christie can still clean it up.

That’s more than one might say for “Bobby” Mugabe and a pretty good cast of well established dictators (with far greater powers and reach) worldwide.

Related on the Reestablishment of Cholera in Zimbabwe

IRIN Africa | ZIMBABWE: The politics of suffering | Zimbabwe | Economy | Food Security | Governance | Security – 10/11/2012.

Case Raises Questions About U.N.’s Role in Zimbabwe – 2/22/2010.

Letter to African Union Chairman Jean Ping to Address Key Concerns During the African Union Summit | Human Rights Watch – 1/22/2009.

Zimbabwe – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – n.d.

Underlying causes of cholera in Zimbabwe remain unattended to | Sokwanele – 6/30/2009.

When the affected state causes the crisis the case of Zimbabwe – Issue 43 – Humanitarian Exchange Magazine – Humanitarian Practice Network – June 2009.

Cholera Epidemic Sweeping Across Crumbling Zimbabwe – NYTimes.com – 12/11/2008.

Zimbabwe: Cholera, Dictatorship, Ignorance – Oppenheim Arts & Letters – 12/9/2008.

Zimbabwe on brink of collapse as outbreak of cholera spreads | World news | The Guardian – 11/24/2008.

Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic spreads | Video | Reuters.com – 12/7/2008 or 2009.

The 2008 Cholera Epidemic in Zimbabwe: Experience of the icddr,b Team in the Field – 10/29/2011.

Update – 1/9/2014/1650: Chris Christie did everything right today. But Bridge-gate is still a very real problem for him. – by Chris Cillizza – The Washington Post.

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