Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Sanders-Blumenthal Utopia


“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever” – George Orwell.

CBS News has announced that Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ "Medicare for All" bill would, according to Sanders himself, "get rid of insurance companies and drug companies making billions of dollars in profit every single year." The bill is a universal health care, one size fits all, tax financed, proposal. Connecticut's U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, CTMirror reports, was one of 14 co-sponsors of Sanders’s bill.

“In my view,” Sanders said of his bill, “the current debate over 'Medicare for All' really has nothing to do with health care. It’s all about greed and profiteering. It is about whether we maintain a dysfunctional system which allows the top five health insurance companies to make over $20 billion in profits last year.”

But, of course, the Sanders bill has everything to do with health care. If adopted into law, it would effectively abolish insurance companies. Sanders himself has said that his "Medicare for All" scheme would "get rid of insurance companies and drug companies making billions of dollars in profit every single year.”

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Progressive Prohibitionists And The Politics Of Vengeance


Government begins to be a bother when it uses the power of the state to prohibit normative behavior. The primary instrument of compulsion in this case is – and should never be – the tax code. Ordinary people who would not know a political ideology from a lamppost may be forgiven for reacting normally to a government that uses the tax code to shape behavior.

And yet this practice has become as common as table salt, which some people believe should be taxed exorbitantly because it isn’t good for you.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

The Tweeting 21st Century, A Meditation


One of my college professors – let’s call him Stringfellow – spoke in long, flowing sentences, each of which might easily have been parsed into sparkling separate mini-poems. He liked Faulkner, disliked Hemingway, and tolerated Tennessee Williams for two reasons. Williams consciously structured some of his plays on classical Greek models – compare “Suddenly Last Summer” with Euripides’ “The Bacchae” – and Tennessee, he thought, was a name one could conjure with, as Wallace Stevens did adeptly in "Anecdote of the Jar," the first line of which runs, “I placed a jar in Tennessee/ And round it was, upon a hill …”

One day, a student asked Stringfellow – this would have been in the middle 60’s – “When do you plan to join the 20th century?’ to which Stringfellow replied, “It would be a very wicked thing to wish to be a part of the 20th century.”

Thursday, April 04, 2019

MeToo In Connecticut


Image result for JIm Himes + Joe BidenThe MeToo movement has arrived finally in Connecticut, the land of steady habits. “Biden accuser rips Democrats,” an April 3rd, above the fold, front page headline in The Hartford Courant screeches.

And the story, written by Neil Vigdor, bulges with quotes.

“The Democrats definitely don’t like to hold their own accountable,” said Amy Lappos, referring to an awkward incident that occurred in 2009, ten years ago when she was a congressional aide to U.S. Representative Jim Himes, during a $1,000 per plate fundraising luncheon held at the home of affordable housing developer Ron Moelis, a Greenwich moneybags.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Legislative Attack On Connecticut Faith-Based Health Centers

The devil lies in the definitions provided in House Bill 7070. In 1991, a constitutional amendment providing for an income tax and a cap on spending narrowly passed in Connecticut’s General Assembly. The income tax, for good or ill, passed muster and was soon applied; not so the cap on spending. Nearly thirty years later, Attorney General George Jepsen advised that the spending cap was void because legislators had not provided needed definitions to activate it.

The title of House Bill 7070, introduced by the Public Health Committee, is “AN ACT CONCERNING DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING PRACTICES OF LIMITED SERVICES PREGNANCY CENTERS.The bill addresses the alleged deceptive advertising practices of “limited services pregnancy centers,” more commonly known as “faith-based pregnancy centers,” and the legislation is outrigged with a full array of definitions that miraculously do not apply to so called “health centers” providing abortion, even though, as some have pointed out, abortion providers may engage in misleading advertising.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Zawistowski Rights A Wrong



The little Pink House in New London was moved to another location after a long, unsuccessful protest by its owner, property rights advocate Susette Kelo. The property upon which it rested was seized by eminent domain so that it could be made available to Pfizer Inc. It was a rare seizure. Usually, property seized under eminent domain is made available for some public purpose. In Kelo, the Fort Trumbull Property was transferred from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. The property was seized by the state because New London wished to induce Pfizer to set up shop on the property. Pfizer moved on; nature soon reclaimed the vacant property.

Kelo lost her battle when the US Supreme Court shamelessly decided in favor of the City of New London, Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

The case produced two notable dissents, one written by Justice O'Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas, and a separate, originalist dissent written by Thomas.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Real Cost Of Tax Increases


Arguing against a legislatively imposed minimum wage increase, Brian Jessurun, co-owner of four northeastern Connecticut restaurants, writes in an op-ed in a Hartford paper: “By all accepted accounting metrics, this state is virtually bankrupt. Reputable estimates place Connecticut’s unfunded liability debt at $70,000 per taxpayer, more than many of them have set aside for their own retirements. The only chance we have of getting out from under that burden is a burst of prolonged prosperity, which would increase state revenues without significantly increasing the taxes that are already driving away job creating businesses and tax paying residents.”

At last, some readers of the paper in which the op-ed appeared might exclaim – light!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blumenthal As Trump’s Victim


CTMirror tells us that President Donald Trump has “attacked the credibility of Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and several other Democrats, warning television networks against booking them on their news shows.”
                              
Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for the Trump campaign, wrote to the television networks, “You should begin by asking the basic question: Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past? Murtaugh pointed to “reckless” and “outlandish, false claims” made by Blumenthal; among them “was Blumenthal’s statement in October on MSNBC that ‘the evidence is pretty clear that there was collision between the Trump campaign and the Russians.’”

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blumenthal, Mueller and Trump



“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men/ Gang aft a-gley” -- Robert Burns

We can no longer pretend, after the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the findings of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation, that the more important findings mean nothing at all and may be safely ignored.

The leaders of what Victor David Hanson called back in February a “dead coup” will of course seek to minimize the import of the concluded investigation in their rush to continue their coup. However, without scouring the details of the investigation, two things are indisputable: 1) that Mueller’s two year probe is over —future indictments are not in the offing -- and 2) that Mueller did not cite anyone in the Trump administration, including the president himself, with conspiracy, a crime, or collusion with the Putin regime in Russia to win an election against then Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Mueller’s two year investigation has been both exhaustive and exhausting. It unfolded under the dread suspicion, promoted by Democrats, that Trump would try to interfere with Mueller’s efforts, a suspicion that has proven to be a mole hill blown up to mountainous proportions by friends of Hillary Clinton such as Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal.