Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Eros In The “Me Too” Age

The “Me too” movement is a long delayed reaction to libertinism, which is not ordered liberty, liberalism or even libertarianism. The father of libertinism was French revolutionist and eros anarchist the Marquis de Sade, an aristocrat gone bad.  His erotic works, many of them written while a prisoner in the Bastille, combine philosophical discourse with pornography and depict in an approving manner violence, crime and blasphemy against Christianity. A man much ahead of his time, de Sade was among the first notable Europeans to propose abortion as a means of population control. He favored unrestricted freedom free of morality, religion and law. In the 21st century, he might have been richly rewarded as a Hollywood film producer.

Monday, November 20, 2017

2018, The Cast Of Characters

No one quite knows for certain how the play will unroll during the upcoming 2018 elections, but the cast of characters is slowly taking shape.

Last April, Governor Dannel Malloy announced he would not be running for a third term. Said Malloy, a rare emotional hitch in his voice, “I am today announcing that I will not seek a third term as governor. Instead, I will focus all my attention and energy – I will use all of my political capital from now through the end of 2018 – to continue implementing my administration's vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy."

Malloy’s announcement opened a Pandora’s Box.  Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who rode shotgun on Governor Dannel Malloy’s coach for eight years, has only recently bowed out of the race. Wyman, it appears, has children and grandchildren whose company, she has belatedly said, she at long last would like to enjoy. Her bow-out, we are to understand, had nothing to do with Malloy’s failed policies.

Comptroller Kevin Lembo, a young progressive relatively unbesmirched by the failed Malloy regime, considered running for governor but, on second thought, bowed out. Mayor of Hartford, Luke Bronin, also has had second thoughts since Wyman’s announcement; he’s back in consideration. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, the focus of an ethics complaint, is still plugging away, though one of his wings may have been clipped. Mayor of Bridgeport Joe Ganim, an ex-felon who very well might be the poster boy for Malloy’s “second chance society” is making noises. West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris, former prosecutor Chris Mattei, former Wall Street finance executive Dita Bhargava and former State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly are all teasing us.

“On the Republican side,” a Hartford paper advises, “Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Trumbull first selectman Tim Herbst, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, former federal official David Walker, state Sen. Toni Boucher and Shelton mayor Mark Lauretti are among a large field.” Peter Lumaj, who has managed to light up conservatives, is yet in an exploring stage, and somewhere off in the distance Joe Visconti, who has described himself as “Trump without the millions,” is breathing heavily.

Most of the chaff will be sifted during the Democrat and Republican nominating conventions, after which the wheat will lie exposed. Until then, opinionators are keeping their powder dry, though it is not difficult to deduce their preferences from editorials and opinion pieces. In the recent past, editorial boards in Connecticut have voted more or less straight Democrat; endorsements of Republicans have been rare. The betting from political watchers outside the magic circle is that editorial boards will by Election Day have learned nothing and forgotten everything. “The land of steady habits” is an expression that may no longer apply to voters, whipped as they have been by progressive lashes, but it still applies in spades to some editorial boards and fake reformers who have committed themselves to an ancient dying creed. 

The truth of the matter is that modern progressivism of a kind practiced in Connecticut -- which favors high taxes, the slavish support of state worker unions, an expansion of the role of government in business decisions, excessive regulations as a means of controlling unsavory business ethics, a view of state government as the principal business investor, a “forward looking” vision that discounts tradition and what G. K. Chesterton used to call “the democracy of the dead,” a utopian outlook that blithely ignores the real-world consequences of superficially appealing policies – is a demonstrable and disastrous failure that has, in the land of steady bad habits,  reduced the prospect of business growth, job creation and most other joys that a pragmatic and realistic polity is heir to. And the people in Connecticut most severely impacted by utopian progressivism are the poor who live in the state’s corrupt and deteriorating cities.

Politicians in the state are no longer in the saddle directing events; indeed, it is events that are now riding politicians – and the rest of us.

The way out of this dark and unwelcoming wood, far more menacing than anything one meets in fairy tales, is the way in – in reverse. You begin to work your way out of the enchanted wood by stopping your advance, reversing course and marching towards the beginning of your journey with a view toward progressing in an opposite direction.

Focusing all his attention on his visionary schemes for Connecticut and spending his depleted political capital, Malloy recently effectively vetoed the efforts of both Democrats and Republicans to restore in a bi-partisan budget crippling reductions in state aid to municipalities he had previously imposed, a provocative move that elicited from mild-mannered State Representative Tami Zawistowski, “Outrageous that the Governor unilaterally cut $91 million from education aid to our towns - well beyond the reductions in the legislatively approved budget.” The larger part of Malloy’s legacy when he finally leaves office will be that he had his way with both Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Reformers Club, A Satire

Overheard in the MidRoad Diner during a meeting of the Reformers Club

The difference between God and Governor Malloy --“God is less concerned than [Dannel] Malloy when people question Him.”

Those early body-building pics of Republican House leader Themis Klarides circulating in the desk drawers of oppo-researchers -- “I’m still waiting for one of Connecticut’s opinionators to write, maybe in a column, that Klarides can easily bench-press many of her political opponents. She likes sports, contact sports too. Otherwise, why would she have gotten involved in politics?”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Associate Justice McDonald Should Have Recused Himself

Sir James George Frazier, author of “The Golden Bough,” an examination of pre-literate, pre-Christian social mores among primitives, tells the story of a ritualistic punishment involving a murder. The foul deed was done with a knife. The village elders gather together in a hut and call witnesses to give testimony. First the presumed murderer is closely interrogated, then the family of the victim. Last of all, the knife is called to testify. Closely examined, it is pronounced guilty and suitably punished by the elders, who execute the weapon by throwing it in the river. Scapegoats are sometimes used for the same purpose; they are guilt receptacles that receive blood-guilt and are afterwards destroyed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump And the Upcoming Connecticut Campaigns

President Donald Trump does not like the press he is receiving. The press – we now call it the media, because bloggers and ideologues with knives in their brains have been folded into it – convinced of its moral rectitude, begs to differ. Trump’s press notices would be very much different if he were the media, and his twitter activity has been taken by some as an attempt to offset this lamentable deficiency. Trump has been setting the day’s press calendar by tweet-twerking. He is, his Democratic and Republican opponents insist, the presidential equivalent of the-guy-in-a-bathrobe-in-his-mom’s-cellar turning the world upside down by loosing upon it nuclear tipped declarations. To Trump, tweets may be no more than a new colorful crayon in his box of tricks. To the contra-Trump media, they are a threat that must be disposed of, as the sixties radicals used to say, “by any means necessary.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Progressive Scorpions, Republican Frogs

Democrats, the ruling party in the General Assembly for the past thirty years, have been very hard on Connecticut. Most economists worth consulting agree that the state is under water, blowing bubbles, and all the usual stratagems to which Democrats have in the past resorted to pull the near corpse aboard – tax increases, more regulations, moving budget money from one or another “lockbox” in order to cover deficits, plundering the rich – have only made festering problems worse.

The General Assembly now has produced a compromise budget, and some thoughtful analysts have argued that this compromise will compromise a winning Republican campaign in 2018.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Why Texas Matters

Almost immediately after a gunman entered a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and mowed down the congregation with what the media refers to imprecisely as “an assault weapon” – what weapon used in the commission of a mass murder is not an assault weapon? -- Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut unscrolled their pitch: 1) assault weapons are murderous, 2) prayer is pointless and 3) send campaign cash our way.

Prescinded from their analysis was the nub of the matter – the truth which, like the devil, lies in the details.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Malloy Court

Chief Justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court Chase Rogers is retiring after 11 years. There are murmurs at the State Capital that Associate Justice Andrew McDonald might fill the vacancy. When all vacancies are filled, Governor Dannel Malloy will have appointed 6 of 7 Justices to the Court.

McDonald, the youngest Justice on the court, was the lame-duck Governor's Chief Legal Counsel before he was appointed to  the Court by Malloy in 2013. McDonald had been with the Governor since Malloy’s salad days as Mayor of Stamford. Malloy’s Chief Counsels and political staff have been particularly favored during his administration. Luke Bronin, presently Mayor of Hartford, a city teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and in need of frequent cash transfusions from the state, also had served as Chief Counsel to Malloy.

Birds Of A Feather, Weicker And Malloy

“He deserves a going-out a lot more glorious than the one that the Democrats handed him,” former Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker said of Governor Dannel Malloy, who had been disinvited to budget talks between legislative Democrats and Republicans. “The legislature dumped him,” Weicker added. “I don’t think that necessarily stands to the glory of the Democratic legislators.”

Birds of a feather flock together.

There is little difference in governing style between Weicker and departing lame-duck Governor Dannel Malloy. Both are autocratic and manipulative; both relied heavily on tax increases to fill budget deficit holes; and both claim not to be guided by popularity polls, lofty governors transcending the grubby hoi-polloi. Both were highly unpopular as governors, Weicker because he muscled an income tax through the General Assembly, and Malloy as the author of both the largest and the second largest tax increases in state history. The tax hike in the current budget – which, for the first time throughout the Malloy administration, bears Republican fingerprints -- is a, relatively speaking, modest $1 billion.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Malloy Crowded Out: We Have Lift Off

When Democrat and Republican leaders announced they had produced a bipartisan budget, details to be released in two days, a Hartford paper lamented in a page one, top of the fold headline, “State Budget Negotiations: Talks Turn Bitter.”

Sorry, but no. Virtually all Democrat and Republican caucus leaders, closeted together for more than a week hammering out a compromise budget, agreed that their talks were cordial, business-like, productive and remarkably free of animosity. The compromise budget passed the Senate by a veto-proof majority of 33-3, and there was much fist-bumping in the House when the budget passed in the chamber by a veto-proof 126-23 majority.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ground Hog Day In Connecticut: Why Republicans Should Reject The Compromise Budget

Writing in National Review,  Red Jahncke, president of Townsend Group International and a Connecticut political columnist, advises that Republican members of the General Assembly should not sign off on what is being called a compromise budget, because a solution to long-term financial obligations -- AKA “fixed costs” -- has been excised from the only budget to have passed in both Houses of the General Assembly, a Republican production.

“There is actually one document,” Jahncke writes, “which provides insight into the fundamentals driving the state’s fiscal deterioration: the Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan for Fiscal Year 2018 by which Malloy has been running the state since July 1 in the absence of a budget.” 

The figures Malloy relies upon in this document are stark and brutal—but they are reliable:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Murphy s Law

Fact Check recently examined a proposition put forward by U. S. Senator Chris Murphy who, according to some of his gun toting critics, will not rest content until he has repealed the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolished the National Rifle Association (NRA), and confiscated every "assault weapon" – assault guns, assault knives and, especially prominent just now in Europe, assault vans – from sea to shining sea. “What we know, Murphy said, "is that states that have tougher gun laws, that keep criminals from getting guns, that keep those dangerous weapons like AR-15s out of the hands of civilians, have dramatically lower rates of gun violence."

Fact Check found that while Murphy was entitled to make up his own mind on assault weapons, he was not entitled to make up his own facts, and the Junior Senator from Connecticut was given three Pinocchios.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Fifth Democrat Budget

“When the enemy is making a false movement we must take good care not to interrupt him” -- Napoleon

That the compromise budget is predominantly a Democrat production should come as a surprise to no one. Weighing gains and losses in the scales, the left in Connecticut, best represented by Speaker of the State House Joe Aresimowicz, a union employee, has prevailed over its opponents.

The state’s Capital City, Hartford, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, will receive a bailout from state taxpayers, at best a temporary solution to long- brewing, unresolved problems centering on the city’s hegemonic political structure, and a virtual guarantee that the city’s political shakers and movers will be bellying up to the bailout bar again in the not too distant future. UConn funding, cut in the Republican budget that had passed both Houses of the General Assembly, has been restored. Major changes in employee pensions, a prominent feature in the Republican budget, were dropped – but not, Republicans remind us, as a campaign issue.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Government By Gimmick: Malloy Republicanizes His Fourth Budget

Shortly after Democrat and Republican leaders in the General Assembly announced they were close to reaching agreement on a compromise budget, Governor Dannel Malloy offered his fourth budget, Republicanized, some believe, to make it acceptable to the “turncoat Democrat legislators” who had rejected Malloy’s third budget and embraced a Republican offering, the only budget so far accepted by both Houses of the General Assembly.

Malloy pitched his fourth getting and spending plan to querulous reporters as a "lean, no-frills, no-nonsense budget,” inviting comparisons to his previous offerings, which were, one is entitled to presume, fat, union-friendly, and replete with the usual frills and nonsense. Malloy’s third budget factored in a SEBAC deal that assures state union workers raises of 3.5 percent per year, following a temporary 3 year wage freeze, until the expiration of union favorable contracts in 2027. The SEBAC deal also prevents future Governors, Democrat or Republican, from discharging deficits through lay-offs, the most overused implement in Malloy’s own gubernatorial tool box.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Malloy, Odd Man Out

Just a gigolo, everywhere I go
People know the part I'm playing
Paid for every dance
Selling each romance
Every night some heart betraying
There will come a day
Youth will pass away
Then what will they say about me
When the end comes I know
They'll say just a gigolo
As life goes on without me

Approaching the end of his second term as Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy has been bounced from the budget negotiating room. In some quiet corner of the Connecticut political barracks, Republicans must have been murmuring to each other, “How does it feel?”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Fall Of The House Of Weinstein

Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a libertine -- like the Marquis de Sade, who also was an amateur revolutionist -- or perhaps they wish to emulate ex-Presidents John Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Kennedy was a tolerable Catholic because Catholic dogma did not live loudly in him, and the husband of Hillary Clinton was permitted indiscretions with cigars and interns because he was a hale fellow well met with a photographic memory, whereas ordinary politicians rely on Google and an expensive staff of brash know-it-alls.

To be an artist, after all, is to be in perpetual revolt against the usual pieties, conveniently listed in the Decalogue. Marriage among the Hollywood elite, for instance, is considered but a temporary interruption of multiple liaisons, and adultery, sex outside the boundaries of marriage -- “You shall not commit adultery” -- is rampant.  Andy Rooney, whom everyone will admit was a nice guy, had eight wives, the same as Henry VIII, none of them executed fortunately, twice as many as ex-Connecticut Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. The second commandment – “You shall not make yourself an idol” -- is in Hollywood incompatible with Oscar Night. Few are the Hollywood twinkling stars unwilling to rally round the partial birth abortion flagpole. A caricaturist neatly summed up the ethos of the Hollywood mega-stardom when he said about his own profession, “What is the point of having absolute power, if you are not prepared to abuse it?”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Malloy, The Man From Mars

Soon to be former Governor Dan Malloy might easily imagine himself in the role of the man who fell to earth from Mars.

Here is Malloy speaking about the “gridlock” in the General Assembly: “We have discussions that are on hold with companies that want to enlarge their footprint or move to our state who said, ‘Hey, listen, when you get a budget, we’ll have further discussion,’” Malloy said. “We’re going to lose thousands of jobs, potentially, because we can’t do the hard work that we were elected to do? That makes no sense at all.’’ The clanging irony in these lines – Malloy has chased more jobs and money out of Connecticut than any other Governor in recent memory – no longer shocks people stunned by his reckless policies.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Columbus And The Anarchists

A Boston Paper reports, “Authorities say the statues [of Christopher Columbus] at Harbor Park in Middletown and Wooster Square in New Haven were vandalized overnight Saturday. The paint has been cleaned up.”

On August 21st, the Baltimore Sun reported that a monument to Christopher Columbus had been vandalized by vandals, a perfect word to describe the members of Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist, but does not scruple to employ the methods of fascists, including the beating of non-violent protesters by masked, black-clad brownshirts.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Connecticut Senators Tap A Blood Money Vein

It’s OK apparently to offer false solutions to serious problems – a national replication of Connecticut’s gun restrictions will not prevent mass slaughters such as happened at a Country and Western concert in Las Vegas – but profiting politically from wading in blood may be a bridge too far.

Concerning U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy’s most recent campaign money grab, Kevin Rennie writes in a Hartford paper, “If a politician is going to try to raise money off the dead and wounded of the Las Vegas slaughter only hours after the attack, be honest about it. U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy wants the money but wrapped his fundraising appeal in a deceptive request of support for control advocates. Murphy’s Monday email sought contributions for Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, Everytown and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. When supporters clicked through to the Act Blue donation site, there was a fourth organization splitting contributions, Murphy’s re-election campaign.”

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Current Crisis, October Soundings, A Self Interview

Q: You believe the state of Connecticut is in crisis.

A: Yes, and I’m not alone. There are two crises; the state itself, by which I mean its people and businesses, is in crisis; and state government, sometimes mistaken for the state, also is in crisis. To a certain extent, the first crisis is driven by the second.

Q: These two are not the same?

A: They are never the same. Lincoln spoke of a government of, by and for the people, but if you pause over that formulation and think about it, you will discover the two are not the same. In a perfect representative system, differences between the two are slight; state government and the larger, real state are close cousins. But that can never be the case in a republic in which government operates by force. This is the present condition in Connecticut, and the state has been in this mode for a long while. We have had single party government in the General Assembly, Connecticut’s lawmaking body, for almost half a century. When the founders of the nation tired of single party government, they threw it off. When Dannel Malloy, Connecticut’s King George, first occupied the governorship, he effectively served eviction notices on Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly, the body constitutionally invested with budget making authority. Republicans had played no role in forming budgets during the entire Malloy administration – until now. That is a long time for a near majority in a representative assembly to spend in the wilderness.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where There’s A Hole, There May Be A Loop

There is a hole in the state’s clean election law. Rigorously observed, the law is supposed to prevent state politicians from wresting campaign contributions from contractors and other business associates whom political officials oversee. The hole is quite legal, but it violates what ethicists sometimes call the “spirit of Connecticut’s clean election law.” The clean election law was adopted in Connecticut soon after then Governor John Rowland was sent packing to prison for the first time on corruption charges.

The hole most recently became apparent when Attorney General George Jepsen, once Chairman of the state Democratic Party, persuaded a host of Connecticut lobbyists, business executives and deep pocket one-percenters to cough up campaign contributions for Mark Herring, a friend of Jepsen who finds himself in a tight race for Attorney General of Virginia. The controversy surrounding Jepsen and Herring may or may not be – the reader must forgive the irresistible pun -- a red-herring.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

“The future ain’t what it used to be,” an often quoted remark by the irrepressible Yogi Berra, might very well be the new guiding principle of a recovering Democratic Party that, during the administration of lame-duck progressive Governor Dannel Malloy, leaned a bit too far left and fell into a dizzying abyss.

Some Democrats – one thinks immediately of Senator Paul Doyle – have not yet fallen away from right reason and prudent moderation. Along with other moderate Democrats, Doyle voted against his party in favor of a Republican budget that was affirmed by the State Senate on September 15 and the State House on September 16.

Neither the Governor nor his partisan generals in the field -- among whom David Collins of The Day newspaper numbers President of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Susan Herbst -- are comfortable with the only budget presented to the General Assembly that yet had passed on a bi-partisan vote.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Would Webster Do?

Xiomara Rivera, mother of first-grader Isiah Rivera, is understandably perplexed. Her e-mail to Glen Peterson, the director of the state’s Regional School Choice Office, is fairly straight forward: “I am aware that Noah Webster School is struggling to make its ‘reduced isolation’ quota of White and Asian students, but I do not think this is a compelling reason to justify ongoing discrimination against my son.  I respectfully request that the school system stop discriminating against Isiah because of his race and admit him immediately into one of the open 1st grade seats at Noah Webster so that he can attend school with his siblings in our neighborhood.”

Webster himself would not have understood the expression “reduced isolation quota,” but the great lexicographer, after whom the magnet school in Hartford is named, died in 1843, long before the age of doublespeak.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Malloy Hot Mess

Way late, lame duck Governor Dannel Malloy has discovered that the distribution of state funds to educational districts in Connecticut is "a hot mess. In the Republican non- partisan budget that passed both Houses of the General Assembly recently, the method by which the state ferries education tax money to municipalities has not been changed. That method of tax redistribution is wholly a product of the Democratic Party, which has maintained control of the General Assembly – the law making body in the state – for nearly half a century.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

First The Veto, Then The Discussion

“First the verdict, then the trial,” says the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Caroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.”

First the veto, then the discussion, said Governor Dannel Malloy following a Democratic Party reversal of fortune.

After being shunted off to a dark corner during Malloy’s two terms in office, the Governor resolutely refusing to allow Republicans any decisive part in budget negotiations, Republicans on September 15 finally earned a place at the table. In fact, they stole the table when a Republican designed budget had passed in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Clinton’s Lost Friends

Political friendships, as we all know, are not long-lived. They usually end when the political clock runs out and the favored politician, putting active politics behind him, enters into history. Hillary Clinton's time as an active politician – one who may run for public office again – is over; so at least she says. Her political friends, attentive while she was an active politician – a First Lady, a Senator from New York, a Secretary of State in the Obama administration -- will now recede into the background. Political friendships are temporary at best. Those politicians who prefer public adulation to the adulation of their wives and children, are trading permanent friendships for part-time working relationships; for that is what a successful marriage is – a permanent friendship, more reliable and steadfast than the affections of lobbyists or partisan political comrades.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie, 
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie! – “To A Mouse,” Robert Burns

Democrats, it should be obvious from the numbers, have been losing their grip for a while. The State Senate is now split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, 18-18; in the State House, Republicans now are four seats away from a tie. It was the lack of an edge in the Senate that provided a crack through which Republicans were able to pass their budget through the chamber, three moderate Democrats – Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg of Milford and Joan Hartley of Waterbury – voting with Republicans against a status quo Democratic getting and spending plan. The Democrats, in their own plan, got too much, spent too much, as always, and were inattentive to the signs of the times.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Signs Of The Times

“I have become a socialist. I love humanity, but I HATE! people” --  from Aria da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Headlines in Connecticut papers continue to show Democrats falling through the rabbit hole into their own progressive Wonderland.

Headline: “Sources: Alexion Leaving Elm City – Announcement Expected on move to Boston.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A friend In Need

We often think of news people cold-heartedly “making a record,” as they say, of our misery and tears, “pushing a microphone in my face,” as one harried survivor of Hurricane Harvey put it, rather than lending a helping hand, as any ordinary mortal might do.

Well then, here is a “man bites dog” story that almost certainly will not make the evening news.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Great Compromise

The Great Compromise will compromise everyone but Connecticut’s lame-duck Governor and an insensate Democrat dominated General Assembly.

A front page, top of the fold headline in a Hartford paper blares, “Time For Compromise,” and a sub-heading trumpets, “Malloy Offers Plan With New Tax Hikes, Republicans Scoff.”

Unsurprisingly – because Democrats are up to their old hat tricks – the Malloy plan includes onerous tax increases, the sort of whips and scorns that have made of Connecticut a no-man’s-land for companies that in the past have moved from high to low tax states. The “no tax increase,” lame duck Governor has, right on cue, called for “compromise.”  Said Malloy, after having successfully rebuffed during his entire two term administration Republican reforms targeting the state’s permanent, long-term spending problems, “The time for compromise is now” – now that dissenting voices have been rendered mute. “This,” Malloy said of his current budget iteration, “is the best attempt to resolve this year’s budget. It’s time to vote for a budget.”

Columbus And The New New World Of Anarchy

On August 21st, the Baltimore Sun reported that a monument to Christopher Columbus had been vandalized by vandals, a perfect word to describe the members of Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist but does not scruple to employ the methods of fascists, including the beating of non-violent protesters by masked, black-clad brownshirts.

The destruction of the oldest monument to Columbus in the nation occurred one week after city fathers had decided to remove “four controversial monuments: a statue of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate Women’s monument, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery.”

Friday, September 08, 2017

A Sense Of Urgency Sweeps Over Progressive Flim-Flam Artists

It was predestined to happen: Democrats suddenly are animated by a sense of urgency. Writing and passing a budget at the termination of Connecticut’s fiscal year on June 30, presumably with Republican legislative support, was not urgent because the deal concocted between Governor Dannel Malloy and state employee union leaders had not been presented to the General Assembly well in advance of the last day of the legislative session. Democrats in the General Assembly were unable to present a timely budget because – they had no budget to present.

First things first. State employee union negotiations between Malloy and SEBAC honchoes had not yet been completed. Democrats were waiting until the terms of the deal, approved a month later on July 31, could be baked into the biennial budget. Even then, Democrats did not present a budget to the General Assembly.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Sale Of Governors

I can’t imagine how you can think philosophy and wine are similar—except in this one respect, that philosophers sell their learning as shopkeepers their wares; and most of them dilute it, too, and defraud customers — Lucian, “The Sale Of Philosophers”

The Democrats' problem in Connecticut is simple: you can’t sell a failure to someone who has experienced the failure. Working class citizens in Connecticut are poorer now than they were before Dannel Malloy became governor in 2011 and after more pending tax increases, they will be poorer still. The assets sunk in their property have been devalued; workers in the private marketplace haven’t had raises in years; college tuition for their children has increased, along with their inability to pay metastasizing tax increases; despite the insistence of reigning politicians that the future will be rosy under an enlightened, progressive administration, their recent, remembered past has been a nightmare. The clunker doesn’t move forward or backwards, and the guy and gal yelling in the front seat – buy, buy – have by now lost all credibility. Promises have become pretentions – diluted wine, false philosophies.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Election Front

So then, everyone knows that Governor Dannel Malloy will not be on the ticket in 2018. Like another big tax and spender before him, former Governor Lowell Weicker, Malloy has chosen to skedaddle after having imposed on possible voters both the largest and second largest tax increases in Connecticut history. But – where to?

Rumor, the Hartford Courant said, is now moving like a raging fire among “lobbyists, state employees and political insiders that Malloy would step down before his term ends in January 2019 and allow Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to become governor. Malloy, under the scenario, would then take a high-ranking position at the University of Connecticut or another college.”

Malloy was called upon to deny these possibilities, and he did so with his usual aplomb.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Friends Of The First Amendment Should Oppose SEEC Citation

The charge made by Connecticut’s  State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC ) against State Representative Rob Sampson and State Senator Joe Markley is that the two made statements in joint campaign mailers that, according to a story by Christine Stewart in CTNewsJunkie, “were cast in such a way to oppose an individual [Governor Dannel Malloy] who was running for statewide office in 2014. He said by joining the Citizens Election Program and receiving tens of thousands of dollars to run their campaign meant they agreed to restrict their spending to candidates who were in the race.”

Examples of the offending statements were listed by Sampson and Markley in a media release:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Connecticut And Pimlico

People in Connecticut may be suffering from something worse than progressives who are striving mightily to destroy the state. They may be suffering from a sort of moral atrophy.

G.K. Chesterton addressed the question of moral atrophy in the following few lines about Pimlico, a town in England that, in Chesterton’s day, was what we might call a hopeless case:

“Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing – say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne of the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico; in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico; for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico; to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles… If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence. Some readers will say that this is mere fantasy. I answer that this is the actual history of mankind. This, as a fact, is how cities did grow great. Go back to the darkest roots of civilization and you will find them knotted round some sacred stone or encircling some sacred well. People first paid honor to a spot and afterwards gained glory for it. Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Education Of Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy began his education reform proposals by challenging the usual pedagogical assumptions. He likely will end his term as governor by supporting a union led, reform-resistant status quo.

Malloy is at swords' points with Democratic leaders in the Democrat dominated General Assembly on the matter of tax increases. Progressives in the General Assembly want a bevy of tax increases. They have proposed toll taxes, an increase in the progressive tax on Connecticut’s idle rich and an increase in the sales tax, among others. Democrats are now touting the benefits of a sales tax increase. Without such as increase, progressive Democrats in the legislature and Malloy now say, fire  and brimstone resulting from Malloy’s cost reductions will reign down upon the heads of every man, woman and child in Connecticut who has not yet fled for other less punishing states.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Malloy Administration, An Autopsy

It may not be too early to provide a brief autopsy on the Malloy administration, even though the patient is still flopping on the table.

After two terms in office, Governor Dannell Malloy has decided to throw in the towel. He will not be running for re-election in 2018, which is not to say Republicans and Democrats will not be running against Malloy. Some Democrats will be running away from Malloy with their pants on fire, and he likely will serve Republicans as a bludgeon deployed against Democrats in the campaign.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Connecticut’s Flawed Moralists

Lincoln quoting Jefferson: “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!'’

During his long political career, which spans four decades, Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal has been storming moral mounts and shaking his fists at the gods. At some point, the gods of Western morality may respond.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Government By Suit

Connecticut’s Attorney General's Office long ago overflowed its statutory and historic banks. The office, one of the oldest in the state, evolved from what had been known in the colonial period as the king’s lawyer. Leaving aside for the moment the recently accrued kingly powers of Governor Dannel Malloy – the inability of the Democrat dominated General Assembly to cobble together a budget within the prescribed time period has bestowed on Malloy plenary powers once associated with royalty – the Attorney General’s Office was, before the advent of Attorney General Joe Lieberman, a relatively modest affair.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Antifa Fascists, Klu-Kluxers, White Separatists And Other Cultists

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me

They call themselves Antifa, meaning “antifascists.” George Orwell would have been the first to point out that the antifascists are, in fact, a modern offshoot of the brown shirts one associates with Mussolini and Hitler, violent fascists pledged to break the bones of those who disagree with them so that by means of force their intellectual opponents may be silenced. A broken bone is a very convincing argument, as any thug well knows.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Log In Malloy’s Eye

The “concession” agreement fashioned between Governor Dannel Malloy and SEBAC that recently was approved on a narrow partisan vote in the Democrat dominated State House and Senate was, most people would agree, beneficial to unions. The agreement was quickly adopted by rank and file state employee union workers and, following its passage in the General Assembly, union lobbyists vigorously cheered the union-favorable pact.

The concessions made by union negotiators during the secret conclave were the usual give-backs made by union leaders in the past. In return for temporary concessions – wage freezes that thawed after two years and increased thereafter by 3.5 percent– the SEBAC deal was pushed out 5 years to 2027, after which it might be re-negotiated or not. The two-year wage freeze was accepted by unions in exchange for four years without layoffs. The putative concessions, we are told, might save $1.57 billion over the next two fiscal years. However, nagging problems persist.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Blumenthal v. Trump, The Twitter War

A twitter war has broken out between Connecticut Democrat U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal and President Donald Trump. Following Blumenthal’s early denigration of Secretary of State Jeff Sessions – prior to his interrogation of former Senator Sessions, Blumenthal broadly hinted that Sessions and the KKK were on friendly terms – and following Blumenthal’s not so subtle hints that Trump may have collaborated with the Ruskies to damage the presidential prospects of Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Trump, never one to suffer fools gladly, struck back, using twitter as a rhetorical cattle prod.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Leveraging Connecticut’s Democrat Produced “Crisis”

Here is an addendum to Rahm Emanuel’s now infamous apothegm, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” especially when you are responsible for having produced the crisis: to leverage the crisis you have caused so that it will be politically useful, it is vitally important to fob-off on the opposition the logical and inevitable consequences of your own failed policies.

Emanuel, once a Barack Obama campaign maestro, is now the Mayor of shoot’em up Chicago, a failed Democratic city in a failing state.

Politics, in both our state and nation, has become a Darwinian struggle among political insiders in which the most fit rise to the top. And the fittest are those whose narratives, partly fiction, are the most compelling; the narratives themselves occasionally have only a remote connection to a) the truth, and b) objective reality; i.e. the real-world consequences of prevailing political programs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Morning After

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce” – Karl Marx 

The labeling worked. Almost immediately, contract negotiations between Governor Dannel Malloy and SEBAC head honchoes were tagged “union concessions.”

There were, to be sure, some concessions made by unions in the final agreement, but these concessions were offset by positive union gains. And in the end the gains considerably outweighed the concessions, mostly because the gains were permanent, while the concessions were, for the most part, temporary. Unions, for instance, agreed to forgo raises for three years; on the third year, however, 3.5 percent raises would kick in, and likely remain kicking well beyond the termination of the contracts in 2027. Most working stiffs in Connecticut, who doubtless will be tapped to pay for future union wages and almost inevitable tax increases, have not seen raises for years, and their medical and prescription co-pays are much higher than the co-pays written in contract-stone in the union’s  “concession agreement.”

Monday, July 31, 2017

Democratic Fault Lines In Connecticut

The SEBAC-Malloy-Aresimowicz agreement passed in the state House, moved to the State Senate and was affirmed there on a party line vote, Republicans opposing the backroom deal in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Hours before the Senate vote, leading Democrats, who have not  yet  submitted a budget, warned opposition party members that the earth would tumble into the sun if the SEBAC “concession” deal did not pass.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Party Of Liberty

Below is a key note address delivered to the Bethel Republican Town Committee during their lobsterfest. My thanks to Bill Hillman, who invited me to speak, and everyone present who was kind enough to hear me out. A good time was had by all, except for the lobsters.

Atheists In Ireland

When Bill Buckley – who lived in Connecticut nearly all his life, first in Sharon and later in Stamford – went to Ireland for the first time, he did what most Irish Americans do on their first trip to the land of saints. He visited dusty old churches and examined dusty old records to uncover his family’s roots.

Then he went on a pub crawl.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

In Memoriam, Doug Hageman

Doug Hageman died on July 28, within spitting distance of his birthday, and those who knew him needn’t wonder how he managed that. He was an honest and good man and, as a thoughtful and active Republican in the land of Democrats, something of a wonder.

Encountering Doug for the first time – as I did many years ago, at a net-working meeting held in the rooms of Associated Builders of Connecticut (ABC) in Rocky Hill – was a bit like catching a glimpse of a unicorn in a dark glade. First you saw the white flashing flanks, then the flowing mane, and then, shockingly, the improbable white horn.   And you thought to yourself – it CAN”T be. But it is.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Are Democrats Running Out Of Tricks?

For more than a month, Democratic leaders in Connecticut’s General Assembly had been able to postpone a vote on a two year Democratic budget. Democrats did not bring their own budget to the floor for consideration, debate or a vote because they had no budget. Indeed, legislative Democrats avoided presenting a budget until the completion of secret so called “concession” talks with the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) had been concluded.

The legislature officially closed down for business on June 7 and no budget had been brought forward, even though Republicans had been pressuring Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz to bring to the floor their own budget, which contained some impressive reform proposals. The fiscal year ended on June 30 without debate on a budget. On July 18, Democratic leaders bestirred themselves hours after rank and file members of the state’s employee unions had voted favorably on the concession deal struck between Malloy and SEBAC. The rapidity with which the deal had been accepted was taken by some analysts as a measure of both its favorability to union workers and the inordinate influence Connecticut employee unions exert over solicitous Democratic legislators.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Democrats, Party Of The Status Quo

Quite suddenly, the enabler for the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) in Connecticut’s General Assembly, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, has contracted a wicked case of ants in his pants.

The state legislature closed for official business on June 7, nearly two months ago. But Aresimowicz, the gatekeeper in the House without whose approval no bill may reach the floor of the General Assembly, dawdled delinquently and brought no budget to the floor. In truth, the Democratic leader in the House had no budget bill in hand to present to the legislature – none. Aresimowicz was waiting for state employee rank and file union members to vote on a closed door deal being shaped by Governor Dannel Malloy and union chiefs.