Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rowland Rising

Convincing businesses to move to depression lite Connecticut may be a punishment more exquisite than any suffered so far by ex-Governor John Rowland. The coming recession will not make the job arranged for him by Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura any easier, and it will spur on his critics who just might consider passing in the legislature a one strike and you’re out bill for delinquent politicians, provided they are a) Republicans who are named b) John Rowland. A bill so limited just might pass the sniff test of Democrats who cannot abide three strikes and you’re out legislation for violent criminals.

The Hartford Courant, at least editorially, has given a green light to the appointment. Rowland, like any other ex-felon, deserves a chance to make good, the paper averred in an editorial: “Mr. Rowland has a second chance. We hope he uses it wisely and well.” But the Courant also warned, “The job does carry liabilities. Mr. Rowland's administration set the standard for political corruption in Connecticut. He will be scrutinized for signs that he has returned to his old unethical ways.”

Aye, there’s the rub. Rowland’s critics in the media and in other quarters outnumber those in Connecticut who think the ex-governor, having ascended from Hell after his release from prison, would be a little cautious in the company he keeps.

Caution may not be enough. Among his critics will be business competitors and FBI agents armed with RICO legislation that makes it fairly easy to set up and catch former felons in their toils. Former Waterbury mayor Joseph Santopietro, newly released from prison and working as a consultant for Diversified Waste Disposal of Danbury, was very quickly pressured in a plea bargain to admit that he had participated in a scheme in which trash haulers conspired with each other to arrange routes that would not overlap each other’s territory. The prison doors he walked through after having done his time and paid his dues to society now once again have clanged shut on the former mayor, who seemed startled by his arrest.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Swallow hard says the Hartford Courant? Be serious! There are plenty of better choices for this
position. Jarjura hiring Rowland is like a pharmacy hiring a
convicted heroin addict. And for those of you who say he deserves a
second chance, tell it to former State Senator Ernie Newton who got
five years for shaking down some of his constituents for $5,000
dollars. Rowland only got ten months for one count of corruption in exchange for admitting on the federal court record that he committed eight separate felonies. And this is only the tip of the Rowland corruption empire! Reference the website Rowland, Inc., and remember his $200 million dollar loan to Enron, his $300 million dollar shower
on Phizer and his convicted Treasurer Paul Silvester's $500 million steerage of state monies to favored investment firms, to say nothing about the hundreds of millions Rowland gave out to O&G Industries and the Tomasso Family. And on top of all that his Chief of Staff Peter Ellef and Ellef's son (Peter Ellef II) were indicted and convicted along with William Tomasso for running a criminal enterprize out of Rowland's Governor's Office. So to say Rowland deserves a second
chance because he served his time for one count of corruption is like saying Al Capone deserves a second chance for serving time for one count of income tax evasion. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Rowland crookedly steered these hundreds of millions for free. He most likely got his cut kick backed to an off-shore bank account that's beyond the scope of a state or federal audit. So what's really going on here? It's not so much that the system is corrupt as corruption is the system. Too many businessmen love a crooked politician and too many newspapers are indebted to these same businessmen for advertising dollars. That's why the Hartford Courant, like a prison bitch, has to swallow hard. The business corporate class controls the government and the media...and John Rowland & Michael Jarjura know this...that's why they have no shame.

Don Pesci said...

Pretty good commentary. I don’t know why you’re doing it anonymously though. Why not take credit for your ideas?

Just a few small quibbles. Beyond leaving the state for greener pastures elsewhere, I’m not quite sure that the business community controls the government and the media. The media, at least in Connecticut, is controlled by liberals who are incapable of thinking outside the liberal box. Rowland didn’t, in fact, enrich himself very much in office, though I’ve no doubt some of his associates did – or tried to before the FBI interrupted their day dreams.

The problem with the state is that its government is driving EVERYONE away. Try telling that to the Courant and you will get frozen smiles in return, followed by an editorial that recommends more spending and “smart growth” – i.e. no growth. The last pre-income tax budget under the late departed O’Neill was $7.5 billion. This year’s budget is twice that and growing. Not very smart.

Anonymous said...

and someone from the good old boys club is going to save us!!!!!!

Don Pesci said...

No one I know seriously expects salvation from government; and if they did, I'd pray for them.

Anonymous said...

Don,

My anonymity is really just reflexive as it gets me passed a lot of the usual mass media’s arbitrary 30 day rules for posting letters and commentary.

That said, sure the business community controls the government and the media via campaign contributions, kick backs and advertising dollars. Sure you might be able to point out a few exceptions to the rule, but that’s it otherwise it’s a matter of those who have the gold rule.

Your claim that the media is controlled by liberals is nonsense. Sure many of the power elite in this country subscribe to a kind of nobless oblige liberalism (i.e. pro-welfare for the poor to keep them from revolting) but the usual major mass media is typically itself big business in bed both commercially and politically with other big business. Not so much a conspiracy as it is a coincidence of interests. And this is true even on a smaller local scale as can be seen by the Waterbury Republican newspaper trumpeting Mayor Jarjura’s selection of John Rowland as Economic Director and the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce’s approval of same.

Rowland never admitted to enriching himself very much in office but do you really believe him? Do you really think he and his underlings crookedly steered $1.5 billion dollars to their powerful corporate patrons for free? Where is there precedent for crooked politicians anywhere working altruistically on behalf of their corporate pimps?

That’s why I say watch for Caribbean and Alpine skiing vacations because that’s where the off-shore banks are and a lot of unaccountable wealth outside the scope of state & federal auditors.

And what do you mean by Government? For me, government is whoever controls the government. Hence all those de-regulation, tax breaks and liberalized trading policies are all sponsored by big business on behalf of big business. The fact that Connecticut’s budget is now twice what it was under O’Neil is just an indication of how powerful big business is at getting government (Rowland, Rell, Clinton, Bush, etc) to line it’s shareholder pockets. Milton Friedman said it best: “No business monopoly can exist without government intervention.” And he is right. But no government operates in a vacuum. Governments everywhere are the tool of very wealthy power elites acting mostly purposefully for their own benifit.

Don Pesci said...

Anon,

First of all, I want to compliment you, because I think you really are struggling with some large ideas here. But lets just zero in on a few things. You cite the Waterbury Republican American as surety that the media here in Connecticut is not liberal. But you are citing the exception that proves the rule. Point out to me one conservative writer on the editorial board of any major daily in Connecticut. Now, it happens to be true that most of the media supports what we both might call the reigning power elite; these, at least politically, are incumbents. If you really want to see incumbents scorched, place the word in the search engine on this site, and watch what happens. Old businesses – we might call them business incumbents – fall under the same rubric. The fact that the budget is twice what it was under O’Neil has little to do with the size and influence of business. That figure can be laid wholly at the door of big government, which consumes half of my paycheck and still cannot teach English and Civics to urban school children. If smaller businesses would contribute to a lessening of the bite big government takes from my paycheck, I’d be quite willing to strangle big business in its crib. But it doesn’t. Milton Friedman was right, but he also proposed a flat tax, which would remove the influence of big government over big business. Who needs a congress that does not apportion tax dollars through a series of preferences and progressive rates? No one, says Friedman. His revolution would remove the undue influence of big business by undermining the preferences accorded incumbent businesses by big government. I’d join that revolution in a minute. I hope you would too.