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Showing posts from June, 2009

Dodd and Big Pharma

Don Michak, a reporter for the Journal Inquirer, asks “If it looks like a campaign contribution and acts like a campaign contribution, is it still a campaign contribution?”

He’s referring to what can only be regarded as a piece of campaign literature supporting Sen. Chris Dodd. A fine line in the in the slick brochure reads “Paid for by America’s Pharmaceutical Research Companies and FamiliesUSA.”

Since Edward Kennedy’s brain tumor had incapacitated Massachusetts’ longs serving U.S. Sen., Dodd, a good friend, was more or less delegated by the senator to press forward Kennedy’s health reform bill, a piece of legislation that many on the right consider a first step toward universal health care.

According to Michak:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group whose 30 members include some of the nation’s biggest drug companies, and Families USA, a liberal health care advocacy organization, are sponsoring a glitzy television and direct mail campaign lauding the fiv…

HEALTHCARE, CAP & TRADE

Last week by a thread, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi won their Climate-Change Cap-and-Trade bill, by 2l9 to 212. The bill was designed to decrease Greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy. Eight Republicans voted for it, 44 Democrats voted against it. (All five Connecticut representatives voted for it.) One hundred amendments were submitted, only one was allowed. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Misnamed “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” HR 2454 is about four words, announced Nancy Pelosi celebrating the victory, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” But it is not a green jobs bill. Millions of additional jobs will be lost, according to the Heritage Foundation: In an average year, 844,000 jobs will be lost. In a peak year two million jobs will be lost.

Over 1,000 pages long, HR 2454 has another 300 pages in an amendment drafted overnight and submitted Friday morning at 3:09 a.m. Minority Leader John Boehner for an hour read aloud from it on the House floor. T…

Soaked Rich Swim to Safety in Maryland, Picasso's Budget

Maryland tried to soak the rich, but they swam off.

Trying to settle what liberals here in Connecticut call “a revenue problem,” a cash shortage in their budget, Maryland legislators enacted a higher tax bracket for “millionaires.” Here in the land of steady bad habits, Democrats are seeking to plunder “millionaires” who earn more than $750,000; call them mini-millionaires.

Democrats hope to raise $1.5 billion in increased income taxes and $125 million in new fee increases to pay for their improvident spending. The Democrat plan, almost certain to face a gubernatorial veto, would raise the state income tax on couples earning more than &170,000 by 7.5%, a 50 percent rate increase.

Maryland boosted its top bracket to 6.25 percent.

Result?

One third of Maryland’s “millionaires” disappeared from the tax roles and took up residence in Virginia, Delaware and Florida, all less tax punishing states.

And now, even though Maryland is colleting more money from its vanishing “millionaires,” it is h…

Big Pharma And Dodd

Who Paid For This Dodd Ad?

Dodd’s Way

What percentage of the Connecticut Congressional delegation is Catholic?

Some orthodox Catholics would say zero percent. To turn a phrase, it depends on what you mean by Catholic.”

Sen. Chris Dodd is a well known Catholic.

At least, he was baptized into the Catholic Church. His immediate family – Sen. Tom Dodd and his mother Grace – were indisputably Catholic. We all were in the early 40s when baby Dodd was received into the Catholic communion.

But there is a question mark hanging like a Damoclean sword over Chris Dodd’s head. Being Catholic is similar to but not exactly the same as being a member of the Democrat Party.

Catholics have a thing called communion which, in addition to being a sacrament, also points to the unity of the church. In fact the words “unity of the church” are pronounced in the liturgy when the faithful take communion. And if you are not in doctrinal unity with the faith, you ought not to take the sacrament which, in any case, will not be efficacious.

Sometimes when p…

Paper Reports Obama Administration Sent Letter to Khamenei Prior to Election

In a recent sermon (read: potboiler political address), Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made an oblique reference to a letter sent to him before the elections in Iran by President Barack Obama, according to a report in the Washington American Spectator.

Khamenei said, misquoting the American president, "The American president was quoted as saying that he expected the people of Iran to take to the streets. On the one hand, they [the Obama administration] write a letter to us to express their respect for the Islamic Republic and for re-establishment of ties, and on the other hand they make these remarks. Which one of these remarks are we supposed to believe? Inside the country, their agents were activated. Vandalism started. Sabotaging and setting fires on the streets started. Some shops were looted. They wanted to create chaos. Public security was violated. The violators are not the public or the supporters of the candidates. They are the ill-wishers, mercenaries and agent…

Obama Finds His Tongue

Better late than never, but the extended pause that preceded President Obama’s statement during his last news conference suggests a compromised will. The next time Amadinijad appears anywhere in the West, he should be greeted with protestors bearing aloft the word “Neda” — that’s all, just that. We can no longer depend on presidents and White Houses anxious to rub noses with murderers to represent the best in us.

Politico reports: “Obama borrowed language from struggles throughout history against oppressive governments to condemn the efforts by Iran’s rulers to crush dissent in the wake of June 12 presidential elections. Citing the searing video circulated worldwide of the apparent shooting death of Neda Agha Soltan, a 26-year-old young woman who bled to death in a Tehran street and now is a powerful symbol for the demonstrators, Obama said flatly that human rights violations were taking place.

“‘No iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protes…

The Revolution This Time

President Obama’s muffled response to the revolution in Iran -- and it is a revolution – is due to his perception that Iran might possibly use strong statements supporting those who resist oppression in that country, mostly Western oriented young people and intellectuals, to effect its own purposes: He does not wish, by imprudent statements, to allow the United States to become “a foil” used by oppressors to snuff out the resistance.

There is a serious objection to this diplomatic nonsense: The oppressors in Iran – and they are oppressors – will seize on any pretext to accomplish their purposes. Even Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon’s mild retorts, paralleling those of Obama, have been used by the oppressor regime to suppress the revolution. To the oppressors in Iran, all words are fighting words. All words are foils.

Obama’s excessive caution is a double-edged sword. It is also used by the oppressor regime as a permission to commit violence on the resistance.

When a victorious …

Towards the 4th of July

According to an AFP report, State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said earlier this month the United States “would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"’There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,’ State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

"’We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran,’ Kelly said. ‘We tried many years of isolation, and we're pursuing a different path now.’

Why let a bloody revolution get in the way of “hot dog diplomacy?”

No Meddling Please, The Iranian Revolution

It is uncertain at this point whether President Barack Obama would subscribe to Iran’s official assessment of Ban Ki-moon, the United Nation’s Secretary General.

On Monday, Ban called on the Iranian authorities to stop resorting to arrests, threats and the use of force against civilians in the post-election unrest that has gripped the country for more than 10 days, to which ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi responded, “Ban Ki-moon has damaged his credibility in the eyes of independent countries by ignorantly following some domineering powers which have a long record of uncalled-for interference in other countries internal affairs and colonisation.”

The overlords in Freedom loving Iran have not been entirely successful in smothering the revolution in silence. The truth continues to trickle out in bloody streams that soon may be staunched with the complicity of those who do not wish to interfere in Iran’s domestic affairs.

Obama Zeros Out

The latest Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows President Barack Obama zeroing out:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 33% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-three percent (33%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0 (see trends).

The number of respondents who blame former President George Bush for the dismal economy has fallen 8 points to 54%, and a growing number say it’s Obama’ economy now.

Friends Of Dodd (FOD) To The Rescue

The Hartford Courant, assaulted by the paper's columnist and ex-radio talk show host Colin McEnroe as being insufficiently empathetic to Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, invited Friends of Dodd (FOD) to weigh in on the senator’s sterling virtues.

The shade of former Gov. John Rowland, towards whom all the commentators celebrating Dodd’s spotless career in the U.S. Senate were insufficiently empathetic, hovered over the whole enterprise like Banquo’s ghost.

McEnroe wrote that the Courant had “engaged in an unattractive feeding frenzy,” displaying “a tabloid-style headline that was so garishly loaded as to constitute a real lapse in journalistic standards.” The “political establishment, with one or two exceptions, has shown itself to be utterly without spine.” They have repaid the kindnesses shown them “by treating him like a pin pulled hand-grenade. They stand 80 yards from the blast site feebly waving.”

A lament for Connecticut's beleaguered ex-governor perhaps?

Nope. It’s Dodd be…

North Korea to Fire Missile Towards Hawaii

According to a Japan news report, North Korea early in July “may fire a long-range ballistic missile toward Hawaii,” one of President Barack Obama’s hometowns.

But, not to worry, North Korean missiles won’t be striking the United States this Fourth of July: “U.S. officials have said the North has been preparing to fire a long-range missile capable of striking the western U.S. In Washington on Tuesday, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the U.S. west coast.”

Amadinijad Had His Day Of Fear

Both the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post have published pictures that prompted President Barrack Obama to say he was disturbed by the violence in Iran.

The photo below shows a crowd of young Iranians bearing the bullet ridden body of a protestor.

When Iranian police elsewhere fired upon a crowd of protestors, the crowd began to chant in unison, “Don’t be scared. We’re all together.”

The president had been criticized as being tardy in his response to the Iranian election (read-- fraud).

On Sunday, according to a report in Politico, Vice President Joe Biden expressed “doubts” about the election, and on Monday, press secretary Robert Gibbs was battered by a reporter:

"... State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the U.S. is 'deeply troubled' by events in Iran but stopped short of condemning them.

“'I haven’t used that word, condemn,"' he [Gibbs] told the State Department press corps. 'We need to see how things unfold.'

“'You need to see more he…

Their Constitution, And Ours

No doubt about it, the antics of the co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald, are enough to drive a saint to drink or, at the very least, to intemperate language.

Radio host and blogger Hal Turner clearly went over the edge when he said about the two, "It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die."

Exclamation point!

"Or die?" a Hartford paper remarks in an editorial. "Turner defends his passionate beliefs not with a copy of the Constitution, but with the promise of ‘bullets.’”

“That would be wrong at any time, but especially now, when hate speech, mostly from the far right, and incitements to violence are so prevalent.”

To these reasonable objections, one can only reply "Here, here" -- and then proceed to quibble with some minor reservations.

Turner…

Dodd Unconcerned With Housing Values

In a front page above the fold story, The Hartford Courant is reporting that Sen. Chris Dodd’s Irish Cottage on Inishee island in County Galway, a picture of which is here included, has jumped in value since Dodd reported it on previous financial disclosure forms.

The 1,200-square-foot cottage was valued at about $190,000 in 2002. The most recent appraisal placed the value of the cottage at $658,000. In annual Senate financial disclosures, Dodd claimed the value of the property at never more than $250,000, an undervaluation of $408,000.

Explaining the disparity in valuation, Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said, “The value of the cottage — or of Irish real estate, generally — isn't something that the Dodds have thought much about. However, questions have been raised and they recognize that it's important to make a good-faith effort at valuation for the Senate financial disclosures. Obviously, they [the senaor and his wife Jackie Klegg Dodd] have operated well within the Senate r…

Iran elections, Hope, Change

For many years, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has presented the face of Iran to the world. That scowling, embittered face is little more than a pasteboard mask. The two clips from Christiane Amanpour of CNN below, not seen much here on American television, show the slumbering reality that lies beneath the mask. They show young Iranians, protesting against the grey beards and the socialist, command economy. This is the Iranian street:

Embedded video from CNN Video

Embedded video from CNN Video

HEALTH CARE BULLDOZED BY PUBLIC OPTION?

Not only will the new program become the default coverage for the uninsured, but Democrats intend to game the system to precipitate—or if need be, coerce—an exodus . . . of private insurance. Soon enough, that will be the only “option” left. -- The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2009

A new report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers warns that the increasing cost of health care is not sustainable. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that individual and corporate income taxes would have to rise through 2050 by 90 percent even without “public option,” the new middle-class entitlement.

The CEA Report, titled, The Economic Case for Health Care Reform, mentions among its solution: People should get used to less medical care. Betsy McCaughey, long-time critic, argues that a superior way is to reduce government’s share of the costs, which will not be done by ousting the private health-care insurers through the new radical public option.

President Obama wants the healt…

Lein on Kerry

The IRS has slapped a tax lein of $819,848 on Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, according to a report in the Boston Herald.

"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," says the taxman.

Kerry has responded that it’s all a clerical error.

“The IRS contacted us last year about data they lost from the 2004 campaign," said Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith. "We gladly resubmitted all the forms needed to fill in the gaps, end of story."

Permanent Spending Cuts, Temporary Taxes

In adjourning without having submitted a budget to a legislature that technically could pass a budget over Gov. Jodi Rell’s veto, Democrat leaders of the state House and Senate were simply following Mark Twain’s axiom: Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow.

The problem is: The day after tomorrow invariably arrives the day after tomorrow. And on that day, the problems you’ve bid goodbye to return, sometime with a vengeance.

Connecticut ’s problem is a massive 8 or 9 billion dollar deficit, but the problem is multi-faceted.

Now, there are three ways a government may discharge a deficit: It may raise taxes, cut spending or combine the two. Each of these methods of discharging deficits has consequences, some of which may worsen the economic condition in which we find ourselves.

It is very much an open question whether one of these solutions, raising taxes, is possible without inducing something very much like a heart attack in the body politic. People …

Switching Fates

President Barack Obama has now left a Europe that is becoming more conservative under the lash of the recent economic difficulties and returned home to change the economy of the United States so that it becomes more like the Europe now being rejected by voters.

According to an Associated Press report, conservatives are racing towards victory “in some of Europe’s largest economies Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere.”

Not to worry, Europeans dissatisfied with Europe’s turn to the right can always move to the Unites States, the land of the subsidized and the home of bailed out.

Powell, Bastiat, a Republican Resurgence?

I have no idea how many editorials and columns were written by Chris Powell, Managing Editor and former Editorial Page Editor of the Journal Inquirer, during the course of his long and eventful career in journalism; certainly more than a thousand which, to date, is the number of blog entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State. Most of the entrees here were columns printed in one or another of Connecticut’s small but vigorous and independent minded papers.

Shortly after he started in the journalism business, Powell became the youngest Managing Editor in Connecticut. I can testify from my own personal experience that he is a) unflappable, b) very much the hound of heaven in pursuit of a story and c) of indeterminate political persuasion.

But Powell’s most endearing characteristic may be his jolly spite, which keeps him going to the office every day with a dagger in his hand and bounce in his step.

I suppose if one has to force Powell into a procrustean formulation, rad…

Democrats to Rell –Jump!

The National Conference of State Legislatures’ report on how well drafters of state budgets read the recession’s economic tea-leaves is now in.

The results are dissappointing, according to a report in the New York Times.

“Thirty-one states said estimates about personal income taxes had been overly optimistic, and 25 said that all three major tax categories — sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate taxes — were not keeping up with projections.

“Three states, for example — Alabama, Colorado and North Dakota — said personal income taxes were coming in higher than expected. But they said they had seen declines in other tax categories, like corporate taxes (down 33 percent in North Dakota), severance taxes from oil and gas (down 51.8 percent in Colorado) or sales tax (down 8.5 percent in Alabama.)

“Hardest hit on the income tax collection front was New York, where revenues were off 48.9 percent compared with the last fiscal year. Corporate income taxes plummeted most in Oregon, down…

All The President’s Crises

Bob Woodward, author of “All the President’s Men” and several other political bodice rippers, is at work on a book about President Barack Obama. The White House, according to a story in the New Republic, is understandable nervous.

Why?

Well, because Woodward has been in the habit in a few of his books of introducing unverifiable dialogues and other Balzacian devises to pad his narratives.

Woodward’s books are only incidentally historical narratives. They are, in reality, narratives that prove a thesis, sometime foreshadowed in their titles – “slants,” in Emily Dickenson’s luminous phrase, that tell a poetic truth: Nixon was a crook; Bush was befuddled; Obama was...

Some in the Obama administration no doubt are thinking : Who needs this?

As we all know, the Obama administration has enough problems to contend with – what with the great mess he has inherited from former President George Bush: two wars , one of which, thanks to Bush, is winding down; a collapsed capitalist economy; ownership…

IS RULE OF LAWYERS REPLACING RULE OF LAW?

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male (as a jurist) who hasn’t lived that life -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 2001

Some decisions she’s made do raise questions about whether she will decide cases based on the law or her personal outlook and feelings and preconceived notions. We will want to examine that carefully, to make sure she will decide cases based on the law, not on how she feels about them -- Senator Jon Kyl

President Obama agrees with Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy. He disagrees with Senator Kyl. He believes personal experience is a way of understanding what the world is like. He has criticized the Warren Supreme Court because it failed to do things for the disadvantaged like redistributing income. He believes the Supreme Court should be doing things for people and not just safeguarding them from negative things. There are disadvantaged classes, and the court …