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Showing posts from January, 2010

Blumenthal, The Next U.S. Senator From Connecticut, Loses Another One.

In what Courant reporter Dave Altimari called “a stunning verdict,” a Superior Court jury in Waterbury yesterday awarded Gina Malapanis, owner of Computers Plus Center Inc., $18 million after finding that state officials had “ruined her business with false claims that she had broken her state contract.”

In a press release sent to various state newspapers in March 2003, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced that he was “pursuing law enforcement actions related to contractor irregularities” against Malapanis’ company.

Blumenthal claimed the company had installed generic memory chips in computers sold to the state rather than chips installed by the computer maker and demanded $1.7 million from Malapanis in a civil action. Blumenthal also worked in tandem with Connecticut’s Chief State Attorney and the Department Of Information Technology (DOIT). In a parallel criminal action, Malapanis was arrested at her home by Hebron police. But the charges were dropped after her business had …

Powell At The OK Coral

Chris Powell, the Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer and a columnist for the paper, comes down in a recent column on the side of liberty, the First Amendment and campaign finance competition.

The prospect of corporate money flowing through the campaign finance system, Powell notes, is no more frightening than “the huge amounts already entering politics via the Federal Reserve, which has created hundreds of billions of dollars and bestowed them in secret on certain financial corporations, which in turn have spent some of the money in ways that retain or build their political influence.

“As government becomes more pervasive, there may be public interest in allowing corporations, as representatives of the ever-diminishing private sector, to push back more in politics. Yes, now corporations may more plausibly threaten to ruin politicians who cross them, but then government itself long has been making and breaking corporations. These days there's not much of the private sector left…

Contra Courant

The Hartford Courant is frightened – very frightened. And it wants you to be frightened too. What spooked the paper is a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that prevented lower courts from slicing and dicing the First Amendment.

Of course, the Courant does not fashion its editorial in these terms. There would be no profit in it, no fright factor.

The 5-4 decision, the Courant writes, is “lamentable; it sweeps away a century of “practice and precedent” and allows “torrents of corporate money to flood elections threatens to make our political system even more the playground of the rich at the expense of the average citizen.”

The paper calls upon President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to “do all they can to temper or reverse the baleful impact of the decision by the court's conservative majority.”

It is the possible results of the decision rather than the decision itself, left unexamined in the Courant’s breathless editorial, that has…

The Citizen’s United Decision

In the quibble over whether corporations are persons – they are not – and whether as political or business entities they should not be entitled to full First Amendment rights, it has been forgotten how the Citizen’s United case arose.

In its decision, a lower court, averting to the McCain/Feingold and other restrictions, banned the publication of a DOCUMENTARY on Hillary Clinton that was to air prior to an election. The documentary, no less partisan than any created by Michael Moore, winner of the prestigious Palm D’Or award, was – no one will deny – political speech protected by the First Amendment.

In striking down the restrictive laws that banned the publication of the documentary, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the First Amendment’s protection of political speech. At a very basic level, the decision is a win for free speech rights. And those who have told us countless times that the First Amendment allows political speech that is offensive to some cannot plausibly argue that the Hil…

Martha Coakley = Dick Blumenthal = Chris Dodd

One might express mathematically a Republican strategy for winning departing Sen. Chris Dodd’s congressional seat in this fashion: Martha Coakley = Chris Dodd = Dick Blumenthal.

Coakley is the Massachusetts attorney general who lost to a relatively unknown Republican candidate her bid to occupy the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat. Towards the end of her failing campaign, Coakley brought in the once famously popular President Barack Obama to stump for her. After the stumping and the stomping, and following Coakley’s Daedalus like decline in the polls, the White House now seems particularly anxious to remove its fingerprints from the failed campaign.

The Massachusetts and Connecticut campaigns are eerily similar. Functionally – except for a gubernatorial office that occasionally floats between the parties – both are one-party Democratic states in which elections are determined by independents who collectively outnumber Republicans. In both states, Democratic candidates vying for the U.S…

Scott Brown And The Massachusetts Resistance

Assuming the dead don’t vote in Massachusetts, it is very likely that Republican Scott Brown will win the election. Just prior to the Massachusetts election, featuring heir apparent to the Kennedy legacy state Attorney General Martha Coakley and upstart Brown, The Hill reported that Dodd, “a longtime friend and ally of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), blasted the Republican candidate to permanently fill Kennedy's seat over Brown's stance against the health bill before Congress.
"’Health care was the cause of my friend Ted Kennedy's life,’ Dodd said in a fundraising letter for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

"’So it sickens me that the Republican running to take Ted's place is vowing to be the 41st vote to kill health care reform,’ Dodd added.”

Commentators and reporters who will in the short run determine the meaning of Brown’s successful capture of a seat that had been owned by Democrats for half a century will be chewing over the …

INTERPOL AND THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Shortly before Christmas, President Obama signed an executive order designating
Interpol as an International Police Force, above the law, above the Constitution, and immune from legal and constitutional restraints.

Interpol was started in 1923. It operates in 188 countries. President Reagan under Executive Order 12425 in 1983 gave Interpol the immunity accorded foreign diplomats, which is limited. President Obama’s Executive Order 13524 removes those limitations, giving Interpol complete immunity.

Executive Order 13524 is short. It was issued on December 16 without explanation. It is entitled “Amending Executive Order 12425 designating Interpol as a Public International Organization entitled to Enjoy Certain Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities.” It provides that property and assets of Interpol shall be immune from prosecution, its officers shall be free of certain taxes and customs duties, and its archives shall be closed to requests by law enforcement agencies and under the Fre…

Bysiewicz, For What?

Kevin Rennie, an ex-legislator (Republican) and Courant columnist, continues to trouble the reining kakistocracy – this time Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.

Noting that the Secretary of State recently switched races from governor to attorney general, Rennie credits lawyer Ryan McKeen, who blogs at A Connecticut Law Blog, with upsetting the Bysiewicz apple cart: It was McKeen who first discovered that Bysiewicz had not “practiced law” for ten years, a statutory requirement of aspiring attorneys general.

Last Thursday, Bysiewicz maintained she had supervised lawyers in her role as Secretary of State, claiming this sufficed to satisfy the statutory provision.

“ She is wrong,” Rennie commented.

“The secretary of the state is not ‘a Connecticut state employee employed as an attorney for the state,’ as she certified each year when she claimed an exemption from paying the state Attorney Occupation Tax. Plenty of state officials oversee lawyers in their offices — that doesn't mean they…

The Democrat’s Blue Ribbon Save Me’Arse Commission

The Harford Courant has gagged, editorially speaking, on a Democratic proposal to manfully discharge ever growing state deficits by – Who would have guessed? – assembling a blue ribbon commission to suggest ways the state may crawl out of the deficit hole fashioned by legislative leaders Speaker of the House Chris Dovovan and President Pro Tem of the Senate Don Williams.

The difficulty, according to the Courant, appears to lie in the composition of the commission:

“For one thing, the commission has 45 Democratic legislators and no Republicans, a needless and counterproductive exercise in partisanship that GOP leaders have rightly criticized.”
As a matter of policy, the commission will increase from 2, the legislative “leaders” named above, to 45 the number of people who will decide to do little or nothing in the way of cutting state spending; but the partisan Democratic commission will provide cover, about the width of a blue ribbon, to soften the boot in the bottom Dovovan and William…

Money And The Democrats

A move is underway to re-invent Ned Lamont, who ran in a primary against war-mongering Sen. Joe Lieberman and won, losing to Lieberman in the general election.
Lamont presently is exploring a run for governor, so the campaign issues may be different. But the candidate is the same; different play, same actor.

It may be incautious so quickly to dismiss Lamont’s now discarded anti-war effort as irrelevant. Since Connecticut’s governor is in charge of the National Guard, the war issue is bound to come up in debate. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a former marine running for the U.S. Senate, declared recently on Face the State that he supports President Barack Obama’s “war of necessity” in Afghanistan. In addition to Afghanistan, Obama also has opened hostilities against Somalia and its pirates, the northern portion of Pakistan and possibly Yemen.

Democrats continue to make a distinction between ex-President George Bush’s “war of choice” in Iraq and Obama’s “war of necessity” in Afgh…

Yet Another Reason To Avoid The Met

"The Metropolitan Museum of Art quietly pulled images of the Prophet Mohammed from its Islamic collection and may not include them in a renovated exhibition area slated to open in 2011, The Post has learned.

"The museum said the controversial images -- objected to by conservative Muslims who say their religion forbids images of their holy founder -- were 'under review.'"However, in American museums, not all faiths are equal.

The AG Scramble: Maid Marion To The Rescue

A number of Democrats and Republicans have expressed interest in running for the seat that is to be vacated by present Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has said he will not run again in that position.

The Connecticut Law Tribune explores some of the possibilities.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, both co-chairs of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Michael Lawlor and Andrew McDonald, have expressed interest. Somewhat like Chris Mathews at the advent of the Obama administration, the two are feeling tingling sensations shooting up their legs.

“George Jepsen, the former Democratic state chairman, state senator from Stamford and co-chair of the legislative Judiciary Committee, was quick to announce his interest in the race.

“Others mentioned as potential Democratic hopefuls included Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura, state Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Sen. Jonathan Harris of West Hartford…

“’The whole landscape has shifted since I got up this morning – it’s quite an amazi…

Another Skeleton In Blumenthal’s Closet

After announcing his availability for a U.S. Senate position to be vacated at the end of Chris Dodd’s term, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- who has no plans to leave office during his campaign – mentioned several times in press appearances his ambition to serve the people of Connecticut in the U.S. Senate aggressively and energetically as he had while attorney general.

It is not too far fetched to imagine that the two former co-owners of New England Pellet (NEP), put out of business by Blumenthal two years ago on a charge of having committed or having intending to commit a fraudulent transfer, might wish the attorney general had been a little more attentive to the circumstances in their case. Less aggression and more energy might have been useful.

The fraudulent transfer charge was the SOLE charge, made in a sworn affidavit signed by Blumenthal’s “investigator” in the case, that allowed Blumenthal to attach all the business machinery of NEP, effectively putting the company ou…

Palin To Fox

Fox News has signed up yet another foxy news contributor -- Sarah Palin.

According to Politico:

“Fox said Palin will provide political commentary and analysis for Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FoxNews.com and Fox News-produced special event political programming for Fox Broadcasting.

“Palin will also host periodic episodes of Fox News’ “Real American Stories,” a series exploring inspirational real-life tales of overcoming adversity throughout the American landscape that will debut in 2010, the network said.”



Move over Katy Couric.

Should Greenwich Be Given Back To The Indians?

The Greenwich Time raises the question, sort of: Should we give Greenwich back to the Indians?

“If Hartford is the seat of Connecticut politics, Greenwich may just well be the throne.

“Home to Richard Blumenthal, Linda McMahon, Ned Lamont, Tom Foley and Jim Himes, the town of 61,101 known for bankrolling candidates is buying domestic in 2010.”

And then too, rising above all these midgets (see below), is the eminence of Lowell Weicker, who springboarded into state politics from Greenwich. Weicker is the father of Connecticut’s income tax. Connecticut’s legislature, controlled by Democrats, will not be kind to Greenwich as the state works its way through a mini depression towards insolvency. The spendthrift Democrats plan to dun the millionaires clustered in Greenwich and elsewhere in golden pockets across the state. Weicker, after he had saddled the state with his income tax, quickly moved out the range of fire – to fair Virginia.

But now he's back.

Weicker Rises To The Occasion

Lowell Weicker, never an ankle biter nor a midget, thinks that departing Sen. Chris Dodd will be missed, and in his own inimitable way bestowed the following compliment on Dodd:

“Always a gentleman on and off the floor of the Senate, Chris stands in sharp contrast to the ankle-biting midgets who populate today's politics.”
Well sure, but the height deprived among us are not likely to appreciate the back-handed insult.

Doing Business Under Senator Blumenthal

Dan Haar, a business reporter for the Harford Courant, thinks that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s entrée into the senate race will raise questions concerning the over-regulation of businesses.

"Dick Blumenthal is also the ultimate regulator of business, so deeply and thoroughly that his record of reining in corporate practices is likely to dominate the general election.

"Blumenthal is no ordinary clamp-down Democrat. He tried to halt layoffs at two of America's largest corporations, calling them illegal; he lobbied the Fed to cap credit-card rate increases; he twisted the arms of bankers evicting a family from a long-foreclosed house; he settled local and national industrial pollution cases; and he tried to stop the sale of outdoor wood furnaces."

The Battle For Attorney General

Facing abysmally low poll ratings, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd chose to bump himself off a few days ago, wherefore all the professional politicians who for years thought Dodd was bee’s knees breathed a huge collective sigh of relief.

Republicans scratched their heads in dismay when Caligula announced his availability for Dodd’s seat.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, never one to shy from a camera -- having waited what was for him a decent interval before Dodd’s corpse, metaphorically speaking, had been trundled off the stage, a mere two hours – jumped into the race and later made an appearance on Fox News the same day as Dodd’s valedictory.

Most pollsters have already anointed Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as Connecticut’s next U.S. Senator. But Professor Gary Rose, Chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Fairfield University, is not quite ready to leap on the bandwagon. Rose has an issue with Blumenthal’s TV presence.

“There’s not the most appealing image on TV,” …

Blumenthal, The Devil And The Details

Blumenthal And The Abuse Of Ex Parte Attachments
There is no rule on earth, Cardinal Henry Newman once said, to which there is not at least one exception.

Ex parte attachments of assets may best be viewed as an exception to the 14th amendment to the U. S. Constitution. That amendment, in its procedural due process clause, secures the citizens of the United States in their property, which ordinarily cannot be seized by agents of the state without a hearing before a judge. The 14th amendment requires the state to ensure that no one is deprived of "life, liberty, or property" without a fair opportunity to affect the judgment or result.

The exception is necessary because those accused of crimes – when found guilty – are called upon to surrender their assets as a part of their punishment, and an ex parte attachment prevents accused persons from disposing of their assets through fraudulent transfers or, in the case of drug kingpins, mobsters and career criminals, by using assets t…