Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Journalists Fiddle While Benghazi Burns


It would be a disgrace to journalism in Connecticut if questions concerning the murder of a U.S. ambassador attached to the consulate in Benghazi were not put to all the members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, preferably before Connecticut voters march to the polls to decide who among the candidates for Congress this year are best fitted to represent them.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Courant Endorsements


The last of the Hartford Courant’s increasingly irrelevant U.S. Congressional delegation endorsements appeared in the paper on Friday.

The Courant -- shocking the entire state – endorsed U.S. Representative Chris Murphy over former soft-porn WWE impresario Linda McMahon who, in the course of her run for Joe Lieberman’s soon to be vacant seat, snubbed Connecticut’s left of center media.

Courant endorsements are “conservative” in the bad sense. Connecticut’s congressional delegation is non-diverse; all the members of the delegation are Democrats, and it is clear, following the paper’s endorsement of Elizabeth Esty over moderate Republican Andrew Roraback, that the publisher of the paper and its editorial board members prefer it this way.

Adding its endorsement of Democrat Elizabeth Esty’s to that of former Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi, the Hartford Courant in its editorial, “Democrat's positions edge Andrew Roraback's bona fides,” tipped its hat to moderate Republican challenger Andrew Roraback’s bona fides, but found that his fides weren’t bona enough.

Mr. Roraback has billed himself during his campaign against Mrs. Esty, the wife of Governor Dannel Malloy’s Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Daniel Esty, as a moderate Republican. In left of center editorial board lingo, “moderates” are much preferred over conservative and libertarian Republicans. Mr. Roraback earned his stripes as a moderate by setting himself apart from doctrinaire Republicans elsewhere in the country and flashing his bona fides as a “fiscal conservative,” code language to indicate his disassociation from disreputable “social conservatives,” not to mention toxic members of the much misunderstood – one might say purposely misunderstood – members of the Tea Party.

Perhaps if Mr. Roraback had billed himself as a “maverick Republican,” following in the footsteps of former U.S. Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker, his fides would have been acceptable to the Courant’s editorial board. A maverick, as opposed to a moderate, is a Republican whose active distaste for all things Republican  places him firmly in the Democratic camp.

Maverick Republicans are masked Democrats working within the party to subvert it. They are disguised sappers, ideological first cousins of the editorial writers at the Courant who generally advance super subtle reasons for bestrewing endorsements on leftist candidates.

Reason number one: The endorsed candidate has more practical experience than the challenger. Since Democrats in Connecticut, with invaluable assists from sappers, now command the governor’s office, the state House, the state Senate and the state Supreme Court -- Yes Virginia, the court is subtly affected by powerful partisan politicians, whatever you may have read about its vaunted courageous independence – the Courant’s rationale supports the present status quo Democratic hegemon.

The first casualty of this all too convenient rationale is the much cited journalistic doctrine that the proper mission of the media, when it is doing its job, is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Within Connecticut, comfortable Democrats-for-life occupying gerrymandered districts, such as U.S. Representatives John Larson and multimillionaire Rosa DeLauro, are among scores of incumbent Democrats unmolested by the state’s purported non-partisan left of center media. Consistently applied, the doctrine that one should always vote for the more experienced candidate is subversive of democracy, which depends upon a fluid and diverse governing class: It is an argument favoring permanent and unchanging governance – perpetual rule by incumbents.      

It should be noted that in its Esty endorsement  the Courant carved out an exception to its own general rule. Of the two candidates vying for the U.S. House in the 5th District, Mr. Roraback has more governing experience. And he certainly meets the paper’s second criteria without which candidates for office fail to receive its endorsements: The potential endorsee must forswear any political alliance with national Republicans on so called “social issues.” In this regard, true believing editorialists on the left reflexively support progressive Democrats.  

Mrs. Esty, more reliably left wing than Mr. Roraback, was blessed with the Courant’s endorsement -- because the paper’s principle ideological duty, now and forever, is to hold back a fictitious horde of conservatives from assaulting the gates of paradise, a utopian vision of governance in which the governing authority overwhelms what social scientists sometimes call mediating institutions: the family, the church, voluntary associations, independent business enterprises and, somewhere close to the top of the list, a reified Republican  Party dedicated to weaning the  individual from a paternalistic state.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Murphy, the Congressman from Planned Parenthood


President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards announced recently her intention to campaign for President Barack Obama FULL TIME, and no wonder.

Planned Parenthood -- the largest abortion provider on the planet, with the possible exception of China’s pro-abortion fascist state controlled facilities – is big business. Every single day, Planned Parenthood receives more than $1.34 million public tax dollars. Abortion procedures account for 46% of all Planned Parenthood clinic revenue. Ms. Richards last year pulled in a sumptuous $400,000 paycheck as her business systematically aborted over 320,000 children each year.

Here in Connecticut, the Democratic Party from Chicago has managed to tag as “extremists” politicians and potential politicians whose views on abortion fall short of those of Planned Parenthood.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What if She Wins?


Linda McMahon may or may not win her campaign to replace Senator Joe Lieberman in the U.S. Congress. Everyone agrees that her race with media favorite Chris Murphy is a close one. Although it is a presidential election year, Barack Obama appears to have lost some of his luster since his last election, his coattails having been clipped by four years in office during which the recovery promised by the president has yet to surface. The latest Gallup poll shows the president trailing Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney by seven points, not a propitious sign.

If Mrs. McMahon is elected to the U.S. Senate, her critics in Connecticut – pretty nearly every commentator in the state – will put down her win to dollars spent. In this regard, Mrs. McMahon is the exception in Connecticut.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prague’s Juvenilia


Apparently Edith Prague’s recent stroke has not affected her political prejudices. Here is Prague on Republican Chris Coutu,” who is running for the state Senate in the 19th District:

“He’s referred to by some colleagues in the House as cuckoo Coutu,’’ Prague said. “His votes clearly indicate he is not thinking through on the issues. … Certainly I would want somebody in my seat who has some of the same values that I have. Chris voted against the budget, and there were some very good programs in the budget. His voting record is very questionable.’’

Concerning Coutu’s positions, Prague said, “Pro-gun. Oh, man alive. God help us.’’

She added, “I’m very sorry that I’m not running for my seat. The doctor said don’t get yourself in a stressful situation. The job is not that stressful. It’s the campaigning. It would have been a very tough campaign. I didn’t want to take the chance of a second stroke, but I’m miserable not to be running. I love my job. I love being in the Senate. I love chairing the labor committee and the aging committee. I’m a social worker, and there I am, a social worker with power. That’s a social worker’s dream.’’

Ms. Prague’s “cuckoo Coutu” insult has been picked up by several news outlets whose reporters are not likely to note in their stories that name-calling is the lowest and most juvenile form of humor.  

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Clinton in Connecticut


Americans used to wait a decent interval before they set about re-writing history. An example of a recent re-write may be found in an op-ed written by Mark Bowen, who writes for the New Republic. The piece is a glowing review of Ben Affleck’s new film “Argo.”

In the course of his review, Mr. Bowen punctures what he understands to be two grave misunderstandings: 1) that former President Jimmy Carter was too weak to foresee and prevent the Iranian hostage crisis; “in fact, he prepared and launched one of the boldest covert military efforts in American history,” and 2) that President Ronald Reagan “proved to be a lot more willing to deal with the mullahs than Carter ever was.”

In other pieces written by Mr. Bowen,  the author of “"Guests of the Ayatollah" is constrained to mention in passing some similarities between the Iranian crisis and recent difficulties in Benghazi, the site of the murder by terrorists of American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Abortion and Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Races


One of Linda McMahon’s most insistent critics, Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer, noted in a post-debate column that Mrs. McMahon’s view on abortion was … ahem … “more nuanced” than that of Chris Murphy.

The views of President Barack Obama on abortion are, if possible, more extreme than those of Mr. Murphy. There are no circumstances in which the president would disallow an abortion. As an Illinois state senator, Mr. Obama had fulsomely supported legislation permitting abortion on demand, which would include the kind of sex selection abortion practiced in China and – this may surprise pro-abortion proponents – abortions condemned by the early church fathers in the late Roman Empire. The paterfamilias of a family in Rome at the time St. Augustine of Hippo was fulminating against the practice held life and death powers over his children, born and unborn. While infanticide was rare, in the Clintonian sense, during the reign of the Caesars, a father could not be punished under Roman law for committing infanticide, most often involving female infants, by exposing the born infant to the elements. Abortions were more common. The president also has opposed the so called “born alive” bill, a measure that would have extended to infants born alive during botched abortions the same legal protections afforded born babies.

It was Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, no tea partier, who declined to vote in favor of partial birth abortion because he regarded the practice as a form of infanticide.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lawlor’s Law


The whole point and purpose of the Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) is, as the title suggests, victim advocacy. Any defense lawyer or reporter will tell you that advocacy hurts and involves incalculable risks to the advocate. Such is the case with the OVA, which can most accurately be described as an independent in-house whistleblower operation.

A number of people who showed up on a blustery afternoon outside the Wethersfield Department of Corrections (DOC) on October 16 to protest the immanent firing of Michelle Cruz, Connecticut’s Victim’s Advocate, had use of her services. One of them was Elizabeth Barrett, whose daughter was murdered four years ago. She was accompanied by her husband who, with his close cropped white beard, looked for all the world like Ernest Hemingway.

Mrs. Barrett stepped to the battery of microphones, leaned into them and said in a crisp voice, “Four and a half years ago, we were fortunate enough to meet Michelle Cruz, Connecticut’s Victim’s Advocate. She has sat with us at our meetings with police, advised us of our rights, explained the judicial system, and explained legal terms in a language we could understand. Her empathy and knowledge have been indispensable, which brings me to the reason I’m here today.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Suzio and Crime Victims Defend Cruz


Sen. Len Suzio was joined by violent crime victims at a Tuesday, Oct. 16 press conference in front of the Connecticut Department of Correction in Wethersfield to call on Gov. Malloy to suspend the state's new policy which enable violent felons to be released from prison early.

Sen. Suzio also called upon the Malloy Administration to reappoint the state's non-partisan, independent State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz to another term. Cruz has been outspoken against the Malloy Administration's new early release plan, which enables violent felons such as rapists, arsonists, child molesters and animal abusers to become eligible for early prison release under the Risk Reduction Earned Credits program.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Presidential Debates and the Lincoln-Douglas Template


Presidential debates are important, but they may not decide elections.

It has been generally conceded that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won his first debate with incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama. The second debate is not a “debate’ in the Lincoln-Douglas sense of the term. It has been billed as a “town hall meeting” that pivots on questions taken from the audience, a format more nearly like a press conference, the audience playing the part of news interrogators.

The first Obama-Romney debate followed a similar format featuring a real reporter who failed to satisfy the modest expectations of the Obama camp: Any interrogation that does not result in a clear victory for Obama is by definition defective. In political contests it is fatal to attribute the loss of a debate to defects in the debator.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates were quite different, chiefly because the debaters, Lincoln more often than Douglas, shaped the format. The media of the day, highly partisan, was content to record the debates, the Republican press burnishing Lincoln’s remarks and the Democratic press touching up Douglas’ remarks to his benefit.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Good Reporting



Some good reporters still report. Lara Logan is one of them.

Politicians for Sale, a brief History of Connecticut Politics, with Apologies to Lucian


For those unfamiliar with the early part of the 21st century – perhaps you were watching sports on your 92 inch Mitsubishi DPL TV during the first decade of the new century – Connecticut, as predicted by prophets unloved in their own state, did finally go the way of Greece, Spain, Italy and much of Europe. The plane crashed into the mountain two years after the re-election of Governor Malloy the Minotaur, and the shock of the crash finally woke up the sleeping passengers. Thereafter, the state was administered by political technicians who had decided they must sell off their sole remaining assets. To this end, they held a state-wide sale of politicians.
 
Auctioneer: Alright, listen up. It’s a sad business indeed when a state once prosperous must sell off its politicians to satisfy creditors. In all ages, creditors are ever the same – single-mindedly vicious. It’s the prospect of a negative return on their investments that puts fangs in their mouths. But that’s where we are right now, so let’s get on with the business. No weeping and gnashing of teeth, please. First up is Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts (rustling and murmuring in the audience)… Well? What is it now?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

You Do Trust Us, Don’t You?


Here is President Barack Obama holding forth in an ad released in September: “Now Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.”

That is the core message of the Obama-Biden campaign. Mr. Obama has repeated the claim often, and Vice President Joe Biden took it for a ride around the block in his recent debate with Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Unfortunately, the theory recently collided with fact checker for the Washington Post Glenn Kessler, not a conservative or a member in good standing of the much abused and misunderstood Tea Party movement, who awarded the claim three out of four “Pinocchios,” which places the statement alongside such whoppers as “the earth is flat” and “Vice President Joe Biden is a gentleman.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Benghazi and the Silence Following the Attack by Terrorists on the American Consulate in Libya


I am about to compliment Fox News. And just to set the record straight before someone feels compelled to distort it, I should mention that “Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State” carries all the blogs and columns I have written  in the course of 18 years, some 1,947 separate entrees. Many of the columns have appeared in various Connecticut newspapers. A search for “Fox News” on that site produces a scant 11 hits. So then, this writer has not been much in the habit of citing Fox. That said, the Fox News reports on the destruction of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya by Salafist terrorists has been more than exemplary. These are the kinds of reports that occasionally are noticed by the Pulitzer board. And that is especially the case when good reporting is not picked up by other media outlets.

Several observations may reasonably be drawn from the information provided by the Fox news reports: 1) that the Obama administration knew or should have known on the second day following the attack that the attack was orchestrated by terrorists. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other Americans were murdered in the well-coordinated assault on the consulate; 2) that, despite data available to the White House, officials of the Obama administration declared unambiguously in several news venues that the attack on the consulate was precipitated by an amateur film that defamed the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him; 3) that for several days following the attack, the Obama administration, including the president, continued to cling feverishly to the fiction that a non-existent spontaneous demonstration outside the embassy provided cover for attackers the Obama administration repeatedly declined to identify as terrorists.

Esty the Grownup Democrat


The good news is that Bain Capital, associated with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was not asked by the owners of Deco Products of Iowa to intervene and streamline its processes at a time when the company was suffering business losses. Deco has for more than six decades been in the family of Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat in true blue Connecticut running for the U.S. Congress in the 5th District. The further good news is that, owing to a mishap involving the FBI in Chris Donovan’s campaign for the same position, Ms. Esty prevailed over Mr. Donovan in a democratic primary.

Mr. Donovan’s political parts were assembled in a union hall. One can only imagine what hash he would have made of Mrs. Esty had it been known during the Democratic primary that Mrs. Esty is the beneficiary of a family owned company that, way back in 2009 when times were tough, laid off 53 of about 225 NON UNIONIZED workers.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Skipping Class with DeLauro


Prior to her first debate with wannabe U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Linda McMahon was assiduously avoiding most invitations by editorial boards in Connecticut to step into the lion’s den. This infuriated the lions, always hungry for red meat.

If ask why she refused to submit to editorial board interrogatories, Mrs. McMahon might have replied honestly – though honesty is the first casualty of a political campaign – “I’m just tired of  defending WWE,” her former company “from the slings and arrows of outraged left of center editorial board members.” That would have been some sort of a rational answer.

Mrs. McMahon, however, is not the only candidate for election skipping class.

U.S. Representative for life Rosa DeLauro also has been politely refusing invitations from editorial boards. Indeed, she has been refusing to debate her Republican opponent, Wayne Winsley, an energetic, conservative African American who has been peppering Mrs. DeLauro with rhetorical buckshot.

One suspects the visuals would not be propitious for Mrs. DeLauro. Asked for an interview by a reporter, Mrs. DeLauro declined, issuing the standard pap: “Being elected to Congress is an honor. I take every campaign seriously and work hard to earn the trust of the people of the Third Congressional District.” When former Senator Ted Kennedy was challenged by an African American, he declined to appear with him in public venues. So far, Mrs. DeLauro has done the same http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-3rd-district-20121007,0,2996300.story.

 

The First Murphy-McMahon Debate


The following slug appeared on the front page of a Hartford paper the day after a Face the State debate between Democratic U.S. Representative Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon, both of whom are vying for U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s soon to be vacant seat:



“Another 90 seconds and no answers,'' he [Mr. Murphy] said, "not a single specific cut that Linda McMahon would support, and another example of fealty to a supply-side trickledown economics that just hasn't worked."

The statement bears close examination, but Mrs. McMahon did not during the debate force such an examination.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Get Michelle!!!


Any true victim’s advocate in Connecticut could not turn a blind eye to Michael Lawlor’s early release Earned Risk Reduction Credits program. The program awards get-out-of-jail early credits to inmates in Connecticut’s prisons. If prison is the stick the state may use to discourage serious crime, Mr. Lawlor’s program is the carrot that presumably will induce criminals to behave properly while in prison. Mr. Lawlor was once a prosecutor for the State's Attorney Office in New Haven and later co-chairman of the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2011 before he was tapped by newly elected Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as undersecretary for criminal justice policy.

Mr. Lawlor’s early release program was rushed through the General Assembly at the tail end of a hectic session the most prominent feature of which was the marginalization of the Republican Party. Mr. Lawlor’s program was not vetted in the usual manner: There was no public hearing during the course of which the Democratic dominated legislature might have heard – from the victim’s advocate, among others – objections to certain characteristics of Mr. Lawlor’s brainchild. Those objections were bound to come out in some venue, for the program remains seriously flawed.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

And The Winner Is…


Oh dear. Democrats in Connecticut who are hoping that President Barak Obama will be the tide that lifts all their campaigns boats had better hope that no one saw the first televised debate between Mr. Obama and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. Fortunately for them, campaign debates do not decide elections.

On the left in Mediaville, Chris Mathews’ former tingle turned into a knotty cramp that left him apoplectic with unsuppressed rage.

“Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed. He was, ‘Wait an hour and a half, I think I can get through this thing, I don’t even want to look at this guy.’ Whereas Romney — I loved the split screen, staring at Obama, addressing him like the prey. He did it just right. I’m coming at an incumbent. I’ve got to beat him. You got to beat the champ and I’m going to beat him tonight. And I don’t care what this guy moderator whatever he think he is because I’m going to ignore him. What was Romney doing? He was winning.”

Monday, October 01, 2012

Fast and Furious, More Dead Bodies


This is good reporting. None of it unfortunately will trickle down in the form of questions put to candidates for the U.S. Senate and House races. Still less will questions concerning Fast and Furious be asked of any current members, all Democrats, of Connecticut's congressional delegation. Too inconvenient.

Perhaps we should be thankful that one Spanish speaking station did its job.
 
“Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre.
 
See video here.