Did Chris Christie Lower Jersey Flags for Whitney Houston to Suck Up to Black People?


Chris Christie And Whitney Houston: Not Perfect Together

As published in Philadelphia Magazine…

With the sparse media coverage of Whitney Houston’s death and funeral, it’s not surprising that her years of military service have gone largely unnoticed, as were her activities as an undercover cop in New Jersey (was she really killed after a sting went bad?).  After all, she must have done these dangerous things to warrant all Jersey state flags being flown at half-mast in her honor, as ordered by Governor Chris Christie.


Because the opposite simply defies common sense.


If Houston was not a police officer gunned down in the line of duty, nor a military hero killed in a war zone, that means that the hugely significant act of lowering the flags in deference to her was because she was…. a singer?


Really, Governor?  A singer?  That’s what it’s come down to in Jersey?  Sure, Whitney Houston was a Jersey native, proud of her Garden State roots.  And undeniably, she was one of the most dynamic pop stars of all time, changing the musical landscape forever and inspiring some of the brightest performers of today.


But she was just a singer.  That’s not to minimize her accomplishments, as they are many, but let’s cut through the emotion and talk brass tacks.  She was a popular singer, past her prime, with a not-exactly stellar personal history. 


Play word association with most people about Whitney Houston, and they will tell you two things: great singer and crack addict.


That’s reason enough not to elevate Houston to god-like status.  While Christie can’t control the media’s nauseating coverage of all things Whitney, he certainly could have sent a message by NOT lowering the flags for her.  By doing so, Houston is now perceived, more than she ever has been, as a special role model, one for whom the Government has issued its seal of approval. 


And despite Christie’s protests to the contrary, that’s exactly what has happened as a result of his bad decision. Trite as it sounds that honoring Houston in such a fashion condones her behavior — both good and bad — it also happens to be true.


And where does it end?  What is the litmus test for getting flags lowered on your behalf? Once the hallowed territory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their countrymen, Christie has now changed the rules forever.  And is that really what we want from our governmental leaders — their interpretation of who merits the honor, and who doesn’t?


If Jon Bon Jovi — a Jersey Boy — happens to meet his Maker next week, will the Guv give him the same special treatment?  And what is the threshold? Record sales? Movie appearances? Rehab stints?

More ominous is to ponder Bon Jovi’s flag fate had he died before Whitney.  Would Christie have honored him the same way?  And if not, would that have been because Bon Jovi wouldn’t have provided the same perceived political benefit?


“Wow, what a callous, crass and out-of-line statement!” So will be the response of many Houston fans who will take such a possibility as a personal affront to Whitney and her family, but the point remains a valid one, and that bring us to two possibilities:


1) Is Christie’s move a political calculation, pandering to constituencies that are not in his camp? And if so, is the Governor’s attempt at making inroads with the black community and young hipsters done to seem more “moderate and compassionate,” both perceived necessities when running for President or Vice President?


If that is the case, it is a massive miscalculation on three counts.  First, he won’t win over those constituencies because he lowers flags.  He can only do so by sticking to his core convictions, explaining to them why his vision will benefit them more than failed Democratic policies.  Second, he has now alienated an influential part of his natural base — active and retired police and military personnel. In their eyes, his action has cheapened the sacrifices their fallen brethren have made, putting those fallen heroes on par with a drug-addicted millionaire Hollywood entertainer.  Last, such perceived political posturing doesn’t sit well with the vast majority of  regular, non-political citizens.  They may not see his motives as politically calculated, but many see his decision as a total lack of good judgment.


2) Of course, there may be absolutely no political calculation whatsoever, with Christie making his decision on a human level only.  This author, for one, would certainly like to think so, as no media commentator has defended Christie’s bulldog approach to tough issues more than Freindly Fire (and, to be fair, hammered him when he was wrong, such as “HelicopterGate”).


But that is exactly why politicians should not be lowering flags and honoring anyone they happen to like.  The nature of politicians is such that everything they do is perceived to be calculated, that their every move is an ulterior motive to curry favor with a particular constituency.


Why wasn’t the solemn act of lowering flags to honor real heroes left intact? Why is nothing sacred anymore? Why is common sense so incredibly uncommon these days, even by those from whom we expect more?


Perception is reality, and the growing perception — from both the media’s nonstop Whitney coverage and Chris Christie stamping his imprimatur on her entire life — is that she should be emulated and admired as one of the nation’s great role models.


To those entities, a suggestion.  If you want to honor her legacy, go buy her albums.  Otherwise, it’s time to exhale, come down from your drug-induced state, and realize that Whitney Houston is no…. Michael Jackson.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at




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February 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm Comment (1)

Tag Team: Christie, Corbett Vs. Corzine, Rendell


Success And Failure: A Tale of Two States

Day and night, black and white, right and wrong.

All describe what New Jersey is versus what it was

The difference?  Simple.  It’s Chris Christie versus Jon Corzine.

One presided over a legacy of abject failure, driving the state into near bankruptcy, while the other has taken the bull by the horns — READ: upending Business As Usual —- and is winning the day. 

Since Jon Corzine got trounced by Chris Christie in the governor’s race — once thought folly for a Republican — the answer of who’s who is obvious.

In taking on once-untouchable sacred cows, Governor Christie has redefined political leadership while reigniting faith in citizens not just in the Garden State, but around the nation.  Common sense, conviction and consistency are the hallmarks of the hard-charging former U.S. Attorney.  

Agree with him or not, Christie is universally respected for not doing the Political Two-Step. Instead, he has shown the remarkable ability to tackle the most controversial issues without regard to political consequences.

As a result, Christie has been so successful that a mere ten months after he was sworn in, he has rocketed to the short list of presidential contenders.

Not coincidentally, another law-and-order candidate is enjoying similar success — Pennsylvania Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett (also a former U.S. Attorney).  With just three weeks until Election Day, Corbett’s lead remains in double digits.

A major reason?  Corbett has charted a course totally contrary to the track record of outgoing Governor Ed Rendell.


The core belief of Corzine and Rendell is that Big Government — not the people — know what is best. Time and again, the two Governors cozied up to unions and political insiders, championing huge tax increases, toll hikes, industry-killing regulations, and class warfare.  To them, the answer to every problem is the same: more spending.

They never understood that increased taxes on already-overburdened people has the opposite effect of raising revenue.  Citizens and businesses vote with their feet, seeking more friendly locations.


Corzine’s tax-and-spend policies resulted in a mass exodus of taxpayers and revenue.

Despite the fact that New Jersey had the highest state and local taxes, the second highest business tax burden, and more property taxes per capita than any other state, Corzine proposed a $1billion tax increase!

Meanwhile, the out-of-control unions continued their unchecked greed, siphoning economic life out of the state with unrealistic salaries, and pension plans that made even Wall Street blush with envy. 

Corzine ignored the fact that the system was unsustainable, and proceeded to drive the state off the cliff.  Which is why he’s out of a job.

But with Christie pulling the state out of the abyss, and union leadership and special interests on notice that there’s a new sheriff in town, New Jersey is actually becoming — dare we say it — desirable.

And the people love it.


The only difference between Rendell and Corzine is that Pennsylvania’s Governor has had four more years to wreck his state.

From not signing a single budget on time to his….

Read the rest on Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

Freindly Fire now also on NEWSMAX:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX 29.  He can be reached at

Chris Freind discusses spending cuts with Gov. Christie and Tom Corbett

Chris Freind discusses spending cuts with Gov. Christie and Tom Corbett

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October 13, 2010 at 6:54 am Comments (0)