Thursday, January 19, 2017

Murphy, Guns And Education

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, looking for all the world like a poker player holding four aces, leaned in as he put his question to Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the U.S. Department of Education. Did she believe guns belonged in or around schools?

Mr. Murphy and his counterpart in the Senate, Dick Blumenthal, are both anti-gun veterans of the Sandy Hook slaughter, though one suspects that even before a gunman entered the school, both were afflicted with a mild case of “hoplophobia,” a political neologism coined in 1936 by military officer Jeff Cooper to indicate “an irrational aversion to weapons" and also “the fear of firearms and armed citizens.” 

Ms. DeVos, whose appointment is opposed by most Democrats tied to the apron strings of powerful teachers unions, replied, “I think that’s best left to the locales and states.” And indeed most decisions bearing on education are still left to municipalities and states, even though the federal government is able to bend states to its will by withholding education funding.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It’s The Spending, Stupid

Governor Dannel Malloy has vowed several times not to raise taxes. There is no third act in Connecticut for a governor who has raised taxes twice in an effort to discharge repetitive deficits and failed conspicuously to balance budgets. Mr. Malloy and his Democratic confederates in the General Assembly have imposed on Connecticut the largest and the second largest tax increases in its history, with little amelioratory effect. Budget analysts project a $1.42 billion deficit in 2017-18 and a $1.60 billion shortfall in 2018-19, according to a CTMirror report, and revenue tributaries that in the past have washed away Connecticut’s deficits have diminished.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Democrats Walking The Plank, Last Chance For Connecticut

It’s always possible for politicians to learn from current events, mend their ways and move on. Owing to the failure of questionable progressive policies, national Democrats this election year lost the House, the Senate and the presidency, a dramatic reversal of fortune. Republican gains have brought to a full stop a serious progressive entente that began when Barack Obama assumed office in 2009. Flush with success – Democrats that year captured both houses of the U.S. Congress and the presidency – Mr. Obama ran a progressive plank above shark infested waters and invited Democrats to take a stroll. They did. Eight years later, Democrats have lost 12 governorships, 13 Senate seats and 69 seats in the House of Representatives.

The losses cut deep and will be long remembered. During Mr. Obama’s two terms, according to MarketWatch Democrats lost more than 1,000 seats at the state and national level, leaving Republicans in control of 4,170 state legislative seats. The GOP holds 33 governorships and in 25 states controls both the governorship and two houses of the state legislature, whereas Democrats hold five. Clearly, the Democratic political trek from the heights to the depths is the most dramatic rejection of a nascent progressive movement in living memory.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Media And The Cluster-Muck

Mark Twain used to say that a lie can fly half way around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.

Almost from the beginning the “dossier” on Trump – actually, a cluster-muck put together by a paid opposition researcher, apparently an ex-British intelligence officer -- was rejected by news outlets that like to think of themselves as champions of truth. Good for them. It had been shopped around to various newspapers that had declined to bite because much of the information in the cluster-muck seemed either implausible or unverifiable.  Even BuzzFeed, which printed the damning dossier, had doubts. But the news outlet was determined not to let doubt kill a good story. And so, along with feeble disclaimers, BuzzFeed provided the dossier to the general public.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Marry An Older Woman

“The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections,” Ben Franklin wrote to a friend in 1745, “none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.... [and Lastly] They are so grateful!!”

It probably is not true that older wives are by nature more grateful than, say, Melania Trump, soon to be the nation’s  First Lady. But, true or not, Franklin’s whiplash wit helps one to understand why the American ambassador, who lived in France for nine years, was so joyously received in French salons.

The Republican Party in Connecticut has for a long while been the old wife voters do not wish to marry. Registered Democrats in the state still outnumber Republicans by a ratio of two to one, and Democrats are outnumbered by party averse Independents, who, hopping from bed to bed, apparently do not believe in political marriages. This may be changing. Republicans will be very grateful if it does.

Friday, January 06, 2017

How To Pass A Tax And Spend Measure Without Voting On It

The trouble with voting on a measure that may later on require you to impose a tax to pay for the measure or, if you are striving to maintain current spending levels, cut spending to the deserving poor is that voters may notice the vote. During a campaign, your opponent may bring up your vote to discredit you. Here in Connecticut, voters have become mighty touchy about multiple tax increases and cuts to the deserving poor that are now necessary to balance chronically out of balance budgets.  

There is, however, a way to wrap yourself in a cloak of invisibility so the voting public may not be able to attach a legislator's name to legislative assent or dissent.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Fox, Meet Henhouse

Here is the lede graph of a story, Ethics opinion: Aresimowicz can be House Speaker, union stafferfound in CTMirror: “The Office of State Ethics has advised Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, that nothing in the state ethics code bars him from continuing his job as education coordinator with AFSCME, an influential public-employee union, once he becomes Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

The Office of State Ethics (OSE) decision was in reply to a query put to it by the Office of the House Majority Leader: “… let us know whether there are any apparent ethical issues arising from his [Aresimowicz’s] employment, including a conflict of interest with his legislative duties? If there are any further actions that Rep. Aresimowicz should take to protect himself from ethical concerns, we would appreciate that advice.”

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year Felicitations – 2017

Image result for new year 2017We have passed the barrier to the New Year. We are leaving behind the old year and, with it, an eight year old national Democratic administration. President Barack Obama has left the stage snapping and growling – at Israel, among others. The question of the day is: How will things shape up in the New Year?

An old saying has it, let no man count himself favored by fortune before he is tucked safely into his grave. Time always conceals under its wings some world-changing surprises. For instance, Russia will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in the New Year.  At the butt end of the 19th century, very few people could have imagined six decades of Communist rule. The rule mentioned above – don’t count your chickens before they hatch – applies as well to the new administration, which will not officially begin until January 14.

The truth is no one knows what will happen, until it happens. Donald Trump has been comfortable most of his life inventing and re-inventing himself as he goes along, escaping snares along the way. Politically, the direction he will take is uncharted territory.  But there is little doubt that the Trump victory puts an end-point on the Obama legacy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Winter Soldier Kerry Cuts Off Israelis' Ears

When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hobbled out of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, Mr. Obama found the perfect replacement in John Kerry, who believes that one cannot be both a patriotic Israeli Jew and a democrat; the reader will please note the lower case “d” in democrat. Mr. Kerry would not wish to suggest that individual Jews cannot be Democrats, because that would cost the Democratic Party of which he is a member both patronage and votes.

Saying just the right thing at just the right moment is not Mr. Kerry’s strong suit, nor for that matter is diplomacy, effective in foreign policy only when it is attached to strength and honor. In this, Mr. Kerry is a chip off his chief’s block. Having failed diplomatically in Iraq, Mr. Obama withdrew American troops from the country, creating a vacuum that eventually was filled by what Mr. Obama called “a JV team.” That would be ISIS, which now has a presence in multiple countries in the Middle East and the North African continent.  Additionally, ISIS inspires Islamic terrorists – what else to call them? – to kill civilians in France, Belgium, Great Britain and the United States, having perfected their murderous ways by burning Christian churches and slicing Christian throats in the ravaged Middle East.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Obama To Israel: Submit

The Associated Press called it “a striking rupture with past practice.” But it was more than that. It was an intentional slap in the face to Israel, President Elect Donald Trump, and all prior presidents who had manfully resisted the recent UN declaration made possible by lame-duck President Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from a UN Council vote that condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

Mr. Obama’s decision to abstain from the council’s 14-0 vote, the AP reported, “is one of the biggest American rebukes of its longstanding ally in recent memory. And it could have significant ramifications for the Jewish state, potentially hindering Israel's negotiating position in future peace talks. Given the world's widespread opposition to settlements, the action will be almost impossible for anyone, including Trump, to reverse.”