Monday, December 29, 2014

What The New Year May Hold: More Malloyalism


Democrats in Connecticut do not have an identity crisis. If it is proper to judge a political party by its programs, they are progressives. Some Democrats, of course, are more progressive than others, but what Generalissimo Richard Nixon said of the Republican Party of his day – “We are all  now” – is certainly true of the Democratic Party in the northeast.

The essence of Keynesianism is government control of the economy, usually through regulations that large enterprises may avoid by beseeching the government for special favors and deferments. What former President Dwight Eisenhower used to decry as “the military industrial complex” has been broadened in our day to include a convoluted collusion between large capital rich firms and/or state and federal governments made possible through regulations that may be waved for a fee or a consideration.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive



In silent watches of the night,
The whirlwind passed me by.
Attention will demand no less
Than imitating holiness.
I heard the turning of an angel’s wing  
And felt a feathered kiss upon my cheek.
It’s You who watches with me in the night
You who made sublime the day.
No less than You I waited for.
Repaid a hundred times, Your love
Will silence every fright. Tireless,
That whisper few can hear
Will someday stranger all my fear.



A Brief History Of Italians In America, Don Pesci c2014

Dedication -- To My Nieces and Nephews

Prologue: A Little Knowledge

I want to warn you from the very beginning: A memoir is very much like a confession, and you must be wary of people who write confessions. They are rarely sincere about their failings or themselves in their narratives because they cannot bear to be sincere about themselves in their lives.

Everyone quotes Socrates’ famous apothegm: Know thyself. Few are willing to trace his self-knowledge to its bitter end in forced suicide, and fewer still practice what he preached. In the 21st Century – Your century, my dear nieces and nephews – it may not be necessary to know oneself at all. In any case, perhaps it is better to concentrate on others. My century – the 20th, the bloodiest in the history of the world, full of introspective maniacs – had its fill of self-regarding “men like gods.”

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Umberto


Umberto Pesci, my grandfather, owned a small shoe and boot making shop in Windsor Locks. One blustery winter’s day, when the snow was piling up in the still unpaved Main Street, he looked out his window and saw a familiar sight, a clubfooted man, the subject of some raillery in the town, painfully making his way through the snow. The man – let’s call him Julio – was terrified when, passing the Pesci boot making shop, the door opened and he was collared by Umberto, who dragged the astonished Julio into a large, warm room. It was the Saturday before Gaudete Sunday.

The Shape Of Things To Come

"The esthete stands in the same relation to beauty as the pornographer stands to love, and the politician stands to life” – Karl Kraus.

It’s a great puzzle for those who think seriously about getting and spending. During his second winning campaign for governor, Dannel Malloy took tax increases – but not increases in borrowing, the last refuge of spending scoundrels -- off the table. Echoing George H.W. Bush’s boast at the 1988 Republican National Convention, Mr. Malloy invited Connecticut voters in so many words to read his lips: NO NEW TAXES.

And yet, even Mr. Malloy’s own Office of Policy Management guru, Ben Barnes, has told us that we shall have to get used to sluggish tax receipts, at least for the foreseeable future. Mr. Malloy has pledged to hold Connecticut’s Municipalities harmless, and so it will be difficult for him to pass the state’s budget woes to towns by reducing their revenue allotments. He has pledged not to renegotiate state contracts; no spending cuts there. He plans to increase or maintain educational spending at its current levels. For progressives – and we are all progressives now – education is a near sacred fetish. Nothing must be done to deprive even those who are ill prepared for college of an increasingly expensive education. No savings there.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


At the coming of the night, the harsh defining edge of all that is
Disappears in the folds of night’s robes, and thought flies to You,
A child ensnared in its mother’s embrace, plenteous, round as a world.
Lovely is the night that swallows all in love. To think here
On this familiar ground, once love gave all that we might live
Is thought too large to think this night, this holy night.
When stars retreat and bow in courteous welcome of the day,
A child’s voice, eternity within it, rings a warning bell of weeping
Yet to come. But on this holy night, this night like banished love
Returned, a mother’s touch, for once, is sufficiency love accepts.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Malloy To Voters: The Joke’s On You


There is no danger anyone will read into the remarks made by Governor Dannel Malloy to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce (MCC) a gubernatorial resolve to reduce Connecticut’s burdensome taxes or regulations.

Just the opposite; even reporters “got” the joke made by Mr. Malloy towards the end of his MCC speech when the Governor was asked, following his remark that he had “righted the ship” of state, whether he feared he was raising expectations that could not be met, in view of Connecticut’s still doubtful economic rebound.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


It steals among us, creeps into our daily cares,
That whisper in the whirlwind you always knew was there.
However high the walls, how indifferent we are to hear,
Beauty comes, insidious in its mercy, and lodges in the ear,
From there to spread its glory, hold prisoner our dead resolve.
Now we are free and large enough to attend on God.
Others will say I dream. But no, I have heard the familiar
Music of my soul rising to splendid and abundant life.


On The Real Health Care Front: Bye Bye Tenet


At some point in the regulatory process, the business being regulated decides that the regulator – federal, state or municipal – exerts such control over the business or property that “ownership” reverts from the nominal owner to the regulator. At this point, the business begins to look for the exit sign.

Karl Marx and his students, among them “A” student V. I. Lenin, may have thought it was necessary for the proletariat to wrest ownership from capitalists so that their ill-conceived profits might revert to the proletariat. That is the central doctrine of The Communist Manifesto, with its stirring opening: “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains, and a world to win.” Mr. Marx may have been a poor economist, but he was a superb ideological terrorist.

It turns out the Marxists were wrong: It is not necessary for the proletariat  -- in reality, the fascist state -- to seize the means of production so they might “own” property and businesses once directed by greedy capitalists who, following the revolution, would be dispossessed of their property by the state – i.e. the Communist Party – and sent packing to the Gulag.

None of this was necessary. There is a “Third Way” to “seize the means of production,” through the regulation of contracts, while leaving nominal ownership in the hands of capitalists.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Day Of Joy Will Arrive


This is how the day of joy approaches:
On cat paws, quietly, quietly… building and building,
Delighting old women and young boys who have climbed lampposts,
The better to see and hear music that might have been written by choirs of angels.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Patriots During The American Revolution


The first shots of the Revolution, we are told, were fired at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. But the blood of patriots had begun to stir long before then. Samuel Adams, called even in his own day “The Father of the American Revolution,” was stoking revolutionary fervor twenty years earlier.

Adams, primarily a pamphleteer and journalist, was quotable. Indeed, one of his quotes serves as the banner of Connecticut Commentary:

 “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Grubertruth, Abortion And Crime


As many students of politics know, there are two kinds of truth: political truth, and all other varieties. Political truth, unlike scientific truth, need not be connected verifiably with objective reality. Political truth sometimes dresses up in the robes of science, but bad science also leaves objective reality behind at the altar.

Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Cassandra of Obamabots, was one of the architects of Obamacare who, unlike many proponents of President Barack Obama’s “Affordable Care Act,” went off script and, in venues he may have thought were off record, simply laid out the truth about Obamacare in such unvarnished terms that even those overfriendly to President Barack Obama in the media could not easily misunderstand Mr. Gruber’s essential message – which was: Obamacare, right from the get-go, was intentionally misleading. More importantly, he noted, it was of necessity misleading. The sales pitch of the used car salesman who wants you to buy the lemon on his lot, likewise and for much the same reasons, is misleading.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

State To LOWER Educational Testing Standards -- Pedagogical Gobbledygook


The following lede paragraph below in italics appeared in a Hartford newspaper under the heading, “State Working On New Rating System For Schools That Goes Beyond Test Scores.”

“State officials are seeking to broaden the measurement of school performance, often criticized for over-reliance on test scores, to include the arts, civics, physical fitness, attendance, and even qualities such as student persistence and personal development.”

Here is a re-write that accurately reflects both the intention and the outcome of the state’s effort to lower the measurement standard:

“State officials, attempting to readjust federal standards concerning test measurements  so as to satisfy Connecticut’s reform averse teacher unions, are seeking to dilute the measurement of school performance in core subjects by including among them the arts, civics, physical fitness, attendance, and even qualities such as student persistence and personal development.”


As my late father-in-law – without doubt the best malapropist in Connecticut -- might have said, “If the truth pinches, wear it.”

Educational reformers in the state who had hoped to reform education by creating a standard according to which the pedagogical chaff would be separated from the pedagogical wheat, particularly in underperforming urban public schools, had better hope that the Feds, who must pass on this nonsense, have the wit to see through politics as practiced in Connecticut. Here, somewhat like the Aztecs of old, we throw our children on the pyre to placate Union gods.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Could This Be The End Of Education Reform?


Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor will be retiring, according to a news report, in January, just as the New Year begins. When Mr. Pryor first entered the Malloy administration, he was warmly received by the newly elected governor, who was dissatisfied with the quality of public education in Connecticut’s urban areas. Mr. Malloy made it plain that students in low performing public schools were not dispensable.  Students in Connecticut’s larger cities may have languished in under-performing schools during the administrations of less solicitous governors; but, in Mr. Malloy’s view, such students, whose futures had for years been blasted by inadequate education, were no less precious than the children of more prosperous parents in West Hartford, Avon or New Canaan.

Mr. Malloy was to be an education governor. It did not take Mr. Malloy long to discover that it was nearly impossible to purge bad schools of bad teachers. To redress this socially destructive inequity, he backed a series of pedagogical reforms that tied teacher performance and hiring to educational outcomes, thereby richly earning the contumely of bad teachers and supporters of the pedagogical status quo such as Jonathan Pelto.

Monday, December 01, 2014

NARAL For Donovan, The Democrat’s Nixon

The picture shows former State House Speaker Chris Donovan smiling broadly and sporting new hair on his face, a white trimmed beard and moustache. He is chatting with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who is smiling and appears to be sharing a humorous confidence with Mr. Donovan.

Could she be remarking on his spiffy new look? Or perhaps she is congratulating the recipient of NARAL’s (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) attentions at having escaped the prosecutorial noose that hanged his campaign finance director and other staff members who worked on Mr. Donovan’s failed U.S. House bid in Connecticut’s 5th District.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Grumpi Interviews, November 28

Girolamo Grumpi, obviously not his real name, is a retired journalist who lives north of Hartford and who wishes to remain anonymous.

Q: It appears that the skeletons came out of the closet a few days after the election. Ben Barnes, the Head of Governor Malloy’s Office of Policy Management, said that Connecticut should perhaps expect chronic deficits in the future, and this thunderclap caught the notice of some papers.

GG: Yes, Barnes may have been, if only for a moment, the Jonathan Gruber of Connecticut. Gruber, an MIT Don dripping with ivy and one of the architects of (President Barack) Obama’s Health Care initiatives, is on record as having said in various venues that Obamacare was intentionally deceiving, and necessarily so because most Americans, who are far less bright than MIT professors, would have rejected Obamacare had its architects been more honest than either Gruber or Obama. It’s true that Henry Mencken once said no one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people, but one expects that sort of thing from a scourge of democracy. One expects genuflections in the direction of all things democratic from office holders, particularly presidents and their Ivy League supporters. Gruber is to be congratulated for blurting out the truth about Obamacare. In a like manner, Barnes blurted out the truth about Connecticut’s budgets when he said he state’s deficits had become chronic.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Connecting Connecticut’s Dots


The deficit is back. Like an aging coquette, it appears and disappears around corners, smiling fetchingly at us: Here today, gone tomorrow, back again the next day.

It appears that the skeletons came out of the closet a few days after Governor Dannel Malloy, the seven members of  Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation, members of the all-Democratic State Constitutional Offices and Democrat legislators who dominate the General Assembly were returned to office. Faced with an “unexpected” state deficit, Ben Barnes, the Head of Governor Malloy's Office of Policy Management, said that Connecticut should perhaps expect chronic deficits in the future, a thunderclap that caught the notice of some papers.

Mr. Barnes may have been mistaken by some, if only for a moment, for Jonathan Gruber, an MIT Don dripping with ivy and one of the architects of President Barack Obama’s Health Care initiative. Mr. Gruber is on record as having said in various venues that Obamacare was intentionally deceiving -- necessarily so because most Americans, who are far less bright than MIT professors, would have rejected Obamacare had its architects been more honest than either Gruber or Obama.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Porcupine Cometh


Thanks Jeff Cohen
“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election” – Otto Von Bismarck

“I am a porcupine” – Dannel Malloy

The endorsements of Governor Dannel Malloy prior to Vote Day (VD) were not full throated. In fact, many Malloy endorsements made by editorial boards the members of which could not bring themselves to recommend as governor a guy who owned a yacht named "Odalisque" were so hedged about with thorns that the rose was barely visible among them.

A Hartford paper’s editorial endorsement was typical of most. The paper mentioned some minuses and pluses, added up the sums and endorsed the incumbent governor. Over the years, the paper had fallen into the bad habit of reflexively endorsing incumbents, and in Connecticut all the leading positions in government – the governor’s office, the constitutional offices, the members of the U.S. Congressional delegation and the leadership of the state’s General Assembly – are held by Democrats, which makes endorsements a snap for left of center editorial boards. Most editorial endorsements of Mr. Malloy were re-writes that required little independent thinking.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Republican Battle In Connecticut: Try Fighting


"The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood." - Otto von Bismarck

A Hartford paper’s Sunday edition crackles with a front page story that asks and answers the tormenting question: Is progressivism dead?

The paper’s emphatic answer is – no, not yet, certainly not in Connecticut.

The paper notes in passing the whupping progressive Democrats took in the off year elections, though the account spares the wounded the most important details.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Importance Of Being Chairman


State Senator Joe Markley of Southington lately has expressed an interest in heading the state Republican Party as its Chairman, which is on the order of Custer expressing an interest in leading the 7th Calvary against a Cheyenne and Sioux encampment near the Little Big Horn River. Why would anyone want to do that?

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Compromising Election


During the midterm elections of 2010, President Barack Obama invited members of the U.S. House, then controlled by Democrats, to join him on a plank hovering above shark infested waters. They did so and lost the House. The loss was substantial. Regaining control of the House they had lost in 2006, Republicans picked up a net total of 63 seats, the greatest party loss for Democrats in a House midterm election since 1938. In yet another off year election, Democrats have now lost the Senate in what some are calling a Republican sweep.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Grumpi Interviews, November 9, 2014

Girolamo Grumpi, obviously not his real name, is a retired journalist who lives north of Hartford and who wishes to remain anonymous -- November 9, 2014

Q: By Sunday November 9, most journalist morticians in Connecticut and others had turned in their reports. Among them was Lowell Weicker, who left the Republican Party to run as an Independent for Governor in 1990.

GG: The Weicker response to the current elections was a reprise of a column written by him and printed in the (Hartford) Courant last May. Even then, there were serious problems with the Weicker analysis. Weicker argued that the Republican Party has declined since he left it to run as governor. A careful historian may want to pause here to note that Weicker did not leave the parry of his own accord when he lost his seat to then Connecticut Attorney General Joe Lieberman. He was not able to garner a sufficient number of votes to win re-election, possibly because the Republican Party in his own state had grown tired of his destructive hectoring. He is hectoring still; his analysis, as applied to the National Republican Party is all wet.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

How Dietrich Won The War



Will it strike anyone as odd that the best war song of WWII was also a love song? Here is Marlene Dietrich singing Lili Marlene:


And in German:


A captain in the U.S. Army, she won the war.








Friday, November 07, 2014

The Grumpi Interviews, November 8, 2014


Girolamo Grumpi, obviously not his real name, is a retired journalist who lives north of Hartford and who wishes to remain anonymous.

Q: It’s the day after the day after in Connecticut. On V-Day (Vote Day) everyone marched to the polls and reelected Dan Malloy governor. Since then, we’ve been pelted with the usual after the vote analyses, all suspiciously similar. I was hoping you might be able to offer a fresh light on the winners, almost all Democrats, and the losers. In Connecticut, very little has changed politically – not so in the nation.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Where Have All The Moderates Gone?



 The morticians are palavering over the corpse of the Foley campaign. Two of them, former U.S. House Representative Chris Shays and former Republican U.S. Senator and Maverick Governor Lowell Weicker, are quoted in a story in a urban newspaper.

Mr. Weicker, who declined to run for a second term as governor after he had fathered Connecticut’s income tax and who as a Maverick Republican Senator often described himself contentedly as a “turd in the Republican Party punchbowl,” thought his former party had pandered to the National Rifle Association (NRA). He said, “I absolutely reject the pandering to the NRA and the gun lobby in Connecticut. They didn't want to rock the boat. Well, Jesus, the boat needing rocking, if you look at what happened up there in [Newtown] with that nutcase.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Why Republican Losses In Connecticut Will Lead To More Corruption


“You don’t have to love me. I’m a porcupine” -- Governor Dannel Malloy

There are two ways to lose an argument: by not saying enough or by saying too much. Likewise, there are two ways to lose an election. The Republican nominee for Governor, Tom Foley, cannot be accused of having said too much in his attempt to wrest the gubernatorial office from Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. Mr. Malloy, on the other hand, has never in his long political career said too little.

Mr. Malloy’s second gubernatorial campaign and President Barrack Obama’s second presidential campaign were remarkably similar. Of the two, fortune -- as well as lots of money, a suburb ground game, sharper demagoguery, a media used to genuflecting before incumbents and a progressive ideology that has not yet wearied the general public in Connecticut – smiled broadly on Mr. Malloy, while baring its teeth towards Mr. Obama. National progressives lost the Senate and sent Joni Ernst to the chamber where she will no doubt “make the pigs squeal.”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Malloy Truth Gap


The Malloy-teacher gap just got wider. According to a “factcheck” story in CTMirror , claims made by Governor Dannel Malloy concerning his role in protecting teachers’ pensions are a bit of a stretch.

The leadership of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), one of Jonathan Pelto’s targets before the penniless Mr. Pelto withdrew from the gubernatorial race, has been touting Mr. Malloy as the “first governor in Connecticut’s history to annually fully fund teacher pensions during his first term in office and guarantee full funding in the future.” Other governors certainly have short-sheeted the teachers’ pension fund. However, CTMirror notes, the leadership “doesn’t mention that Malloy had little choice but to do so. His hands effectively were tied by legal guarantees put in place by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the 2007 legislature.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Second Malloy Administration


It may not be too soon to consider, if only as a hypothetical exercise, what a second Malloy administration might be like.

There is a short and a long answer. A second administration would look very much like the first. Republicans, kept idle on the back benches, would be curtly cut out of governing. During his first administration, Governor Dannel Malloy simply waved Republicans away from the budget negotiating table and formed a tax and spending plan through secret, closed door negotiations with Democratic General Assembly party leaders.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Do Political Endorsements Matter?


First Lady Michelle Obama has endorsed Dannel Malloy for governor. In a picture worth a thousand words, Mrs. Obama was shown on “Capitol Report” being bussed robustly by U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, who no doubt would endorse Mr. Malloy were Mr. Blumenthal a newspaper; some would argue that Mr. Blumenthal IS a newspaper. The winner of the Malloy- Tom Foley contest will become governor of a state first in the nation in progressive governance and crony capitalism and last in almost every other important measurement of prosperity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visconti, Spoiler?


The charge that by remaining in the gubernatorial race as an independent Joe Visconti may be a spoiler was always a bit fudgy; after all, anyone in a gubernatorial race seeks to spoil the race for his competitors. Republican gubernatorial contender Tom Foley would be quite happy to spoil Governor Dannel Malloy’s gubernatorial bid, and likewise Mr. Malloy is doing his best to spoil Mr. Foley’s reelection chance.

The most recent Quinnipiac poll continues to show Mr. Visconti drawing votes equally from both Mr. Foley and Mr. Malloy. However, Mr. Visconti has now seized 16 percent of the independent vote which ought to worry the usually unflappable Mr. Foley.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Survivor Of the Republican “War On Women” Endorses Foley

Formal endorsements may not mean very much in the modern political theater, which tends to rely on political hype produced by paid assassins, Twitter feeds and political Facebook sites, but this one might prove to be the exception that proves the rule.

Reticent former Governor Jodi Rell has fulsomely endorsed Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley.

“For far too long,” Mrs. Rell wrote, “Connecticut has been under one-party rule — not the balanced two-party system our founders intended. Governor Malloy, with the support of the Democrat-controlled legislature, enacted the largest tax increase in Connecticut history — a tax increase that has acted like a brake on the economy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Republican Chances: Hopkins-Cavanagh in the 2nd

Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh ,  a Republican running for the U.S. House in Connecticut’s sprawling 2nd District, is uniquely situated to unleash a thunderbolt against supporters of President Barack Obama such as U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, who wrested the seat from former Republican U.S. Representative Rob Simmons in 2006.

Mr. Simmons lost to Mr. Courtney by a heart thumping 167 votes of more than 242,000 cast. An automatic recount concluded early in November showed Mr. Courtney winning by a slender 91 votes. Since then, Mr. Simmons has moved on to other pursuits: Yes, Virginia, there is life after Congressional politics. Now the Chairman of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a flickering conservative-libertarian candle in Connecticut’s bleak mid-Winter, Mr. Simmons  recently was appointed to the Board of Selectmen to fill a Republican vacancy in his beloved hometown of Stonington.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Malloy The Campaigner

It has been said of President Barrack Obama that he is a perpetual campaigner, a remark not intended as a compliment. The charge has been made in connection with Mr. Obama’s foreign policy. To cite but one example, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan was an early campaign promise the consequences of which have proven to be exceedingly dissapointing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Taking The Fifth, Rich Incumbents, Poor Challengers


Incumbents are much favored and pampered creatures. The Captains of Industry throw dollars their way, and major media outlets pet them shamelessly. It is not at all surprising then that U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty should be richer than Republican challenger Mark Greenberg in campaign donations, even as the supporters of Mrs. Esty chide Mr. Greenberg for being a wealthy and successful businessman. In American politics, with precious few exceptions, incumbency trumps personal wealth. Of course, some politicians -- U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, both millionaires many times over, come to mind – are fortunate enough to be both wealthy and incumbent progressives.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Prominent Democrats Steer Paths Around Anti-Corruption Campaign Finance Regulations


Some people – the Kennedys are among them – consider rules and regulations merely as obstacles to be surmounted on the path to political glory. It is a well-worn path often trodden by the great and near great. In Connecticut, the path offers special immunities from criticism for incumbent Democrats.

Gore Vidal, who left us more than two years ago, memorably described the Kennedy clan descending on Washington D.C. after John Kennedy had been sworn into office as president. He said it was like watching the Mafia descend on a small, northern Italian town, and his was a friendly voice. First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Mr. Vidal shared a stepfather, the stockbroker Hugh Auchincloss.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fox Meet Henhouse: Promises, Promises, More Taxes On The Way


The Hartford Courant has only recently discovered the vital connection between taxes and spending: The more you tax, the more you can spend.

For many years, stretching back to the administration of maverick Governor Lowell Weicker, the father of Connecticut’s income tax, the paper argued in countless editorials and op-ed pieces that Connecticut did not have a spending problem; it had a revenue problem. Translation: The state needn't worry about the level of taxation or spending or regulation, a hidden tax on the cost of business in the state, for as long as Connecticut was viable enough to continue to increase taxes. Any bumper stickers from the failed anti-income tax years reading “I survived the Weicker income tax” are, this year, 23 years old. In two years, Connecticut will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Weicker income tax – which, during its day, was thought to have solved Connecticut’s revenue and tax problems.

Monday, October 06, 2014

DeLauro’s Alternative Ways


Remarking on the guilty verdict in the recently concluded trial of former radio talk show host John Rowland, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney noted, "It's very sad to see.” Mr. Rowland’s fall from grace was due “at least in part” to arrogance, but it was also related to the fact Mr. Rowland “never learned to find alternative ways of earning a living other than through political influence."

Mr. Rowland may or may not be arrogant, an attribute usually associated with politicians; what is the difference, for example, between arrogance and self-assurance, and is it possible for politicians who lack self-assurance to be effective in office?

It is undoubtedly true that Mr. Rowland was inept in earning a living when he was a politician.  Other politicians are far smoother in the gentle art of making politics pay.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Dannel vs. Dan

Roy Occhiogrosso, now back in the fold as a top adviser to Governor Dannel Malloy, has taken a bullet for the boss.

Mr. Occhiogrosso was plucked from Global Strategy Group (GSG)  to work as a flack catcher during Mr. Malloy’s first term, left the administration after a few years and returned to his roost, was rewarded for his tireless work in the Malloy vineyards with a Managing Director’s post at  the Hartford office of GSG, and now is making his second official tour as a Malloy “top adviser,” according to a Connecticut Post story.

Way back in the day when Mr. Malloy seemed to be anxious to reform public school education in the state, most especially in Connecticut’s consistently failing urban schools, Mr. Malloy turned upon teachers resisting his reforms. The newly ensconced governor told the General Assembly on the opening day of their session that “… to earn that tenure -- that job security -- in today's system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours."

Saturday, October 04, 2014

African Americans, Crime, Guns And Race


When Regina Roundtree, the Chair of the Urban Affairs Coalition at Connecticut’s Republican Party, was assembling a roster of speakers and participants for Crime, Guns and Race: A discussion on today’s civil rights issues,” she settled upon former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, among others.

The event, sponsored by The Connecticut chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation and its parent organization, CT Black Republicans and Conservatives (CBRAC), will be held on Saturday, October 11 from 9AM to 12PM at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Foley’s “Plagiarism,” Connecticut’s Plummet, Yankee’s Light

Republican Gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley has been accused of plagiarism in an attack ad endorsed by Governor Dannel Malloy. Should there be an FBI investigation?

Knowing the ways and means of powerful political incumbents, an investigation of some sort may be in the offing. Incumbents have a way of turning the great water cannons at their disposal against their, relatively speaking, inoffensive challengers. When Hartford Courant columnist Robert Thorson protested that innocent plagiaristic-like slip-ups were common in this the era of “copy and paste,” he risked being set upon by the righteous forces supporting Mr. Malloy, who has not yet been accused of plagiarism, though in this regard he is guilty as Foley.

Mr. Malloy’s recent Bibb ad, in which former workers at the Bibb factory step before the cameras to accuse Mr. Foley of snatching food from the mouths of their children, was plagiarized from an earlier assault on Mr. Foley produced by Jamestown Associates and endorsed by then Republican primary opponent Mike Fedele.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Governor’s Race And The Correlation Of Forces


Most commentators in Connecticut seem to trust the Quinnipiac Poll. The latest Q poll shows Republican gubernatorial challenger Tom Foley leading Governor Dannel Malloy by about six percentage points. The same poll shows Independent gubernatorial challenger Joe Visconti capturing about seven percent of the vote, and that seven percent represents the ants in the pants of Foley supporters who point out that, during the last gubernatorial go-around, Mr. Foley lost to Mr. Malloy by a very thin margin. The Q poll also points out that Mr. Visconti appears to be drawing equally from Republicans and Democrats, so that his effect on the general election would appear to be a wash.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Barkhamsted Prelude


Juliana Simone, for nine years the host of the Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee's political interview show "Conservative Chat and Chairman of the BRTC since 2009," has invited me to make a few impromptu remarks during the town’s biannual fundraiser on September 30. If anyone following Connecticut Commentary attends the event, please coral me and say hello.

I’ll be touching briefly on a few topics I’ve written about recently. There are some things I will not have time to address. Allow me to do so here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Taking the Fifth, The End Of Rowland


Following the John Rowland guilty verdict, a great number of Connecticut’s left of center media adepts were popping champagne corks. Colin McEnroe, whose Christian sympathies appear to have withered on the vine, was not among them:

“So the sentence he [Rowland] will get is implicitly heartbreaking unless you factor in your own outrage at the way things went down in 2004, when a charming (and easily charmed) old softy named Judge Peter Dorsey handed Rowland a year when 5 to 8 would have been generous.

“So I had a glass of red wine at the end of this day, but not a split of champagne.”

Mr. McEnroe also let it be known he was outraged that he was let go from WTIC talk radio some years ago after having given the station fourteen of the best years of his life, and so…

“WTIC was hoping Rowland would be cleared. The opposite has happened. If an underling had handled things so horribly, with such disastrous consequences for the company, the underling would be fired. Management rarely plays a comparable price for its dreadful judgment.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Extremists Among Us


Somewhere along the line, national and state Democrats discovered that most Americans do not cotton to extremists. For this reason, progressives in the state of Connecticut – nearly all politically active Democrats -- have taken to calling “extremists” those who oppose some of their more radical political positions.

V. I. Lenin, an extremist of the first water, knew that if you effectively labeled an opponent or an idea, you did not have to argue with either. If you have successfully identified in the public mind as an extremist anyone who disagrees with you on a political or social point, you need not address his nuanced arguments. You need not bother to confront his arguments at all; the mud you throw – knowing full well that some of it will stick – will be sufficient to convince a majority of people that your position is superior to his, because you are superior to him: He is an extremist, and you are not. In cases such as these, arguments are won not through debate or the presentation of compelling evidence, but rather through the brute force of demagoguery.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Buckley Center At Yale Welcomes Ayaan Hirsi Ali


“Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence” – Louis Brandeis

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s appearance at Yale in New Haven was preceded by the usual fuss. But she did appear, and that in itself was a minor triumph.  An earlier appearance at Brandeis at which Hirsi Ali was to receive an honorary degree was shut down by protesters who argued that the speaker was anti-Islamic, and Brandeis, a university named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, covered itself in dishonor by acceding to the protesters.

Louis Brandeis, whose path to the Supreme Court was littered with anti-Semitism, knew that those opposed to free speech usually succeed in their aims by stirring up fear: “Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is Elizabeth Esty Turning Into A Mud Wrestler?


Connecticut’s 5th District has always swung like a pendulum between Democrats and Republicans. This election year, Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty will be facing Republican challenger Mark Greenberg in what promises to be a bruising contest.

Democratic Party ghouls already have put together a campaign dirt book on the inoffensive Mr. Greenberg. No doubt the load of dirt already has been sifted by the Esty campaign; in every political pig heap one may expect to find at least one salient point of information.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Suzio to Governor – “Suspend “Early Release,” Convene Special Legislative Session Now!”


The following was released to the media by Len Suzio


Former State Senator Len Suzio, Connecticut's leading critic of the Early Release program, called upon Governor Malloy to immediately suspend the controversial Early Release program and convene a special session of the Legislature to repeal the law as it pertains to criminals guilty of violent crime or crimes related to sex and drug dealing.

“Today we witnessed court proceedings of a criminal (Arthur Hapgood) who had participated in the notorious "Early Release" program who is now charged with the murder of a one-year old infant in Bristol. Nearly 50,000 criminals have been let out of our prisons prematurely to terrorize our neighborhoods and families. We have seen murders, carjackings, sexual assaults and all sorts of crimes committed by criminals who have not reformed their lives and who have been let out of our prisons early because of the reckless and irresponsible ‘Early Release’ law conceived by Mike Lawlor and approved by the Legislature in 2012. The murder and mayhem must stop now”, said Suzio.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Republicans And Social Issues


For thirty years and more, Republicans in Connecticut have been fleeing with their pants on fire what the Democrats call “social issues,” a flight from the political battlefield – and reality – that has abandoned all the social turf to progressives, some of whom are radical social engineers with knives in their brains.

It is a serious mistake to suppose that President Barrack Obama has twice won office because his economic vision was superior to that of his Republican opponents, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama’s two elections were won on social issues, largely because Republicans refuse to engage Democrats on matters other than the domestic economy.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Connecticut’s Independentistas


Jonathan Pelto, the once and future Democratic stalwart who had vigorously challenged Governor Dannel Malloy from the left, has closed up shop and is now considering shutting down his blog, Wait What?

Mr. Pelto’s campaign for governor has ended with both a whimper and a bang.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rowland And The Perry Mason Moment


Somewhere in his voluminous writings, criminal defense attorney Norm Pattis, a very “good” – quote marks intended – lawyer, makes the case for jury nullification. His argument runs along these lines: We trust jurors with our property, our lives and our sacred honor, why then should we not trust them to bring in a just verdict athwart the instructions of a judge or the presentation of highly edited evidence?

In the modern (Kafkaesque?) trial, the defense and prosecution are permitted to argue during various sidebars and out of the hearing of a jury the fine points of law according to which this or that piece of evidence, germane or not, should or should not be presented to the jury. Why not allow all evidence, save fictional evidence, to go to the jury and allow lawyers to argue at trial whether or not the data is pertinent?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Foley s Reticence


Some Malloy Democrats are convinced that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has his foot caught in a bear trap. On Mr. Malloy’s gun control bill, for instance, Mr. Foley has been deemed reticent on the question of adjustments to the bill that had criminalized the ownership by non-criminals of certain kinds of weapons that had been legal before its passage. Other Malloy Democrats have asserted as hotly that Mr. Foley is sadly side-stepping the bear trap because he has refused to say exactly what in the bill he would repeal or change.

At least one “national GOP strategist,” unnamed in a CTMirror report, thinks vagueness on some issues in a campaign may be a plus. Registered Republicans in Connecticut represent only 21 percent of the electorate. They are outnumbered by Democrats (37 percent) and Independents or unaffiliateds (42 percent). In order to reach beyond Republican precincts into unaffiliated territory, a Republican candidate must retain his base and soften its contours so as to appeal to the larger 42 percent.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Suzio: "Early Release" Criminal charged with Murder of Infant


This is a media advisory released by Len Suzio

Len Suzio (b. January 4, 1948) is a 2014 Republican candidate for District 13 of the Connecticut State Senate. He previously served in the chamber, representing the same seat from 2011 to 2013. He was elected in a special electionon February 22, 2011, to fill the vacancy created when Thomas Gaffey (D) left office after pleading guilty to misdemeanor larceny charges Ballotpedia

Suzio: "Early Release" Criminal charged with Murder of Infant

Arrested suspect charged with murder of 1 year old girl received "risk reduction credits"
"Risk reduction credits don't work and don't correlate with reduced risk" - Len Suzio


Date: August 22, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Is Obama An Asset? Note The Subtle Shifts Of Supple Politicians


There is no question that President Barack Obama is a money magnet for Democrats on the campaign trail this election season. The smiles of both Democrats and Republicans broaden considerably whenever they hear the click of coins tumbling into their campaign coffers. Vice President Joe Biden recently visited Connecticut to boost the financial prospects of Governor Dannel Malloy and assorted Democrats. All Democrats in the state were pleased to see him come and go. Sharp-eyed Democrats, however, could not help but notice, to vary a phrase used effectively by Lloyd Bentsen in his 1988 Vice Presidential contest with Dan Quayle, that Biden is no Obama.

Recent polls indicated that former Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney is more popular than Mr. Obama, and the grumblings within Democratic Party ranks are ominous. The New York Times has reported that Speaker of the U.S. Senate Harry Reid, “and other senators have been dismayed by President Obama’s attitude toward concerns of Democrats.” Gone are the days when all Democrats who had hoped to ride the Obama coattails into office uncomplainingly walked the plank.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Malloy Drops Seven Points


Vice President Joe Biden came to Connecticut for two reasons: to raise money – this is, after all, election season – and to fist bump Governor Dannel Malloy. Mr. Biden had hardly arrived in the state when some faithful Democrats began to wonder whether Mr. Malloy had fallen out of favor with the White House. Why dispatch to such a faithful state a second string, gaff prone VP? Where was President Barack Obama?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rob Kwasnicki Interview



Rob Kwasnicki is a young Republican – a minor confession: Anyone younger than I, most of the planet, I regard as “young” – who is challenging incumbent state Representative David Kiner in Connecticut’s 59th District, which comprises a portion of Enfield and East Windsor.

Prior to the interview below, I asked Mr. Kwasnicki to provide a brief biography.

The son of Polish immigrants, whose background was in farming, Mr. Kwasnicki was born in Hartford and raised in East Hartford. His father, uncles and grandfather were all blue collar workers. Others in his family were entrepreneurs and small business owners. One was a contractor, others owned a hardware store, a machine shop and a small restaurant in Warehouse Point CT, Village Luncheonette.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Dirtbag Book On Mark Greenberg


For those familiar with the politics of personal destruction, it will not come as a surprise to learn that the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has compiled a “Dirt Book” on Mark Greenberg.

Mr. Greenberg is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Connecticut’s 5th District, a seat presently held by Democrat Elizabeth Esty, the wife of Daniel Esty, appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to head the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).  Mr. Esty arrived at DEEP from Yale University and announced his intention of returning there in January. He was replaced by Rob Klee, chief of staff of DEEP under Mr. Esty. Mrs. Esty defeated Andrew Roraback, since appointed by Mr. Malloy to Connecticut’s Superior Court.  Mr. Greenberg engaged in the 2012 Republican primary but stepped aside after the his party’s nominating convention had settled upon Mr. Roraback, a fiscal conservative whose positions on social issues were left of center.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Nader's Nattering


Ralph Nader once again is prowling the countryside saying things that are not so much wrong as passe. He does this because he himself is passe. Consumer advocacy, Mr. Nader’s specialty, reigns supreme everywhere in Connecticut, which only a short while ago sent to the U.S. Congress the nation’s first consumer protection senator, Dick Blumenthal, a little stiffer than Mr. Nader, but made from the same ideological cloth.

Not having kept up with the times, Mr. Nader seems to be laboring under the illusion that both major political parties in the United States “continually reject even considering cracking down on corporate crimes, crony capitalism or corporate welfare.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Après Le Primary, Le Deluge

Former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley ran a soft primary campaign. Indeed, during the Republican nominating convention, when it appeared certain that potential primary challenger John McKinney would not have sufficient votes to wage a primary, the Foley forces intervened and convinced enough nominating delegates to switch their votes so that Mr. McKinney might enlist in the primary.

Concerning the delegate swap, there are two schools of thought.  According to the first, Mr. Foley was a gentleman and much too mild mannered to participate effectively in Connecticut’s political mosh pit. According to the second, the delegate swap gambit was a stroke of pure genius. In one bold move, Mr. Foley had split his primary opposition between Mr. McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton who, unlike Mr. McKinney, had rounded up enough Republican delegates to force a primary.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

After Sandy Hook: Are You Safe?

On December 14 of this year, a month after Connecticut’s general elections, people in the state will be memorializing the second year of the Sandy Hook slaughter. On that occasion in 2012, Adam Lanza carried with him to Sandy Hook Elementary school an arsenal of weapons: an Izhmash Saiga 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun, a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, a Glock 20 10mm semiautomatic handgun and a Sig Sauer P226 9mm semiautomatic handgun. He had taken with him to the school two 12-gauge shotgun magazines, ten 30-round .223 magazines, six 30-round 9mm magazines and six 30-round 10mm magazines. All the weapons and magazines had been lawfully purchased.

Leaving in the car the shotgun he had illegally appropriated from his mother, whom he had just murdered with a Savage Mark II bolt-action .22-caliber rifle, Mr. Lanza shot his way into the school and methodically murdered 26 people with the Bushmaster rifle. Having killed 20 young children and 6 staff members of the school, he then committed suicide with a pistol he had appropriated illegally from his mother. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What To Do About…




This is what a problem solver and an independent thinker sounds like



>

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Is There An Iraq?


The headline on the story was: “Blumenthal, Murphy Issue Statements On Iraq.”

But in fact, there is no more Iraq. The country, etched out by British colonialists in 1920 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, has been partitioned, somewhat like Ukraine, by principalities and powers that never were and never will be friendly to the United States.

President Barack Obama some time ago, leaning into then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s air space, clasped him him robustly on the arm, and advised, unaware that his mike was hot, that following the election, he would have much more “flexibility” to decide, among other things, whether or not to place defensive  missiles in Eastern Europe.  It was a schmooze moment, and Mr. Medvedev promised to carry the message to Vladmir Putin, Czar of all the Russians.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Twerking The Media


It’s not often reporters feel compelled to lift the veil and show the general public how politicians massage the message. This was done recently in a Hartford Courant Capitol Watch piece, and the resulting story, written by dogged investigative reporter Jon Lender, presumably with his tongue tucked far back in his cheek, is hilarious:

“Pull back the curtain as top aides in the Malloy administration shape the messages that get fed to the taxpaying public, and you see how much calculation, editing and rewriting happens before a statement is finally issued — and how high up the ladder they go for approval.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lift Off: The Malloy Campaign


Governor Dannel Malloy thinks he is at least as courageous as former Governor Lowell Weicker, the father of Connecticut’s income tax.

“People said we need someone to be as brave as Lowell Weicker, to do what they believed was necessary to save the state,” Mr. Malloy told CTMirror.  “I’ve done that. I’ve done it in all earnest, regardless of what the political consequences were.”

Mr. Weicker is on record as having said he believes Mr. Malloy is courageous. Both governors discharged large deficits through large tax increases. Both suffered criticism, most of it coming from ordinary people rather than politicians or left of center political commentators who ply their trade in Connecticut’s reportorial-political complex.

Newtown Massacre & The Courant’s Endorsement of McKinney

According to the August 2nd article in the Hartford Courant titled McKinney Over Foley in Republican Primary for Governor, McKinney is the paper’s choice to remain in the Capitol because, among other things, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook, McKinney voted for the controversial and intrusive gun safety bill.

The Hartford Courant has thrown its endorsement to McKinney because the Senate Minority leader ignored the Republican base and voted with the Democrats where, “he could engage in the process and try to influence the drafting of the law.”

It is unclear how McKinney influenced that legislation and, actually, it would be of some interest to the voters to know what specific role McKinney played in crafting the sweeping legislative language. While the gun restrictions are repugnant to many, Ablechild is more concerned about the other legislative measures included, specifically the costly increases in mental health services forced on taxpayers.