Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Resto Risk Reduction Release

Meriden falls within state Senator Len Suzio’s bailiwick.

It was there on June 27 that Frankie Resto, recently released from prison under the state’s new and controversial Risk Reduction Earned Credits program, wandered into an EZ Mart store and shot to death Ibraham Ghazal, according to police who later apprehended and arrested Mr. Resto for the murder.
Mr. Resto earned 199 days’ worth of credits toward early release while serving a prison sentence for two prior robberies.
The murder of Ghazal almost immediately called into question both the purpose and the construction of the early release program, which enables violent felons to shorten their prison sentences if they abide by certain administrative rules.
Prison officials and the Malloy administration, as well as legislators who crafted the program, evidentially wished to place in the hands of prison officials additional tools they felt would contribute to reducing risky behavior within the prison, hence the title of the program.
Following the murder of Mr. Ghazal, Mr. Suzio released a letter he sent to Governor Dannel Malloy in the course of which he urges Mr. Malloy to suspend the program:
“I urge you to suspend the state's new Risk Reduction Earned Credits program and to order Department of Correction Commissioner Leo Arnone to withhold all early release credits given to inmates with a history of violent crime pending a review of how the program has been implemented and the public safety protected.”
Mr. Suzio quite reasonably points out that The Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, according to Department of Correction Commissioner Leo Arnone, “is being administered without the requirement for an updated psychiatric examination,” a deficiency that “raises serious questions of public safety as more and more violent Connecticut inmates are getting time taken off their sentences. How can criminals with a history of violent crimes such as rape, arson, and child molestation be allowed early release into the public without the requirement for a current psychiatric examination?”
Almost immediately after the EZ Mart murder, reporters and others noted, as did Mr. Suzio, that Mr. Resto had been released under the auspices of the new program. Had Mr. Resto served his full term, he would not have been present at the EZ Mart on June 27 when the victim, having obliged Mr. Resto by surrendering the money from his register on demand, was never-the-less shot to death, police say, by Mr. Resto.
Had Mr. Resto shot a dozen people, he could not have been sentenced to death in Connecticut, because the General Assembly, dominated by Democrats, had abolished the death penalty during its short session, which in the past had been convened to settle budgetary issues. One of the arguments put forward by anti-death penalty proponents was that the penalty did not deter capital felony crimes. The judicial sausage grinder, it was said, ground so slowly in the case of capital felony crimes that it did not deter people like Mr. Resto from murdering people like Mr. Ghazal.
One wonders whether the provisions of the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, as well as readjusted sentences that depend on good behavior behind bars, will reduce such crimes as occurred in Meriden. If a criminal knows that his sentence for having committed murder, rape, arson or child molestation could be reduced depending upon his behavior while in prison, would he be more or less likely to commit suchcrimes?
Does the prospect of shorted sentences increase the likelihood of crime by reducing penalties? While the earned credit program may reduce the risk of errant behavior while in prison, and therefore may or may not reduce risk of injury to prisoners and prison staff, cons are very good at conning prison officials and legislators. The risk reduction program, we know of a certainty, did not reduce the risk of death for Mr. Ghazal.
Mr. Suzio’s request is a very modest one: He is simply asking that updated psychiatric examinations should be required before prison officials release another Resto into towns across the state whose citizens have a right to full protection under the laws. Some of those citizens may well vote in the upcoming elections against legislators who spurn their constitutional obligations to protect them from the risks of a poorly drafted and conceived Risk Reduction Earned Credit program.
Mr. Suzio's letter follows:

Governor Malloy,
On June 27 an innocent Meriden store owner was murdered in cold blood. An inmate let out of prison under the "Early Release" law has been charged with the crime. All too often violent criminals are out of jail before their victims leave the hospital. In this case, the victim is dead and his family left with a lifetime of suffering. I urge you to suspend the state's new Risk Reduction Earned Credit program and to order Commissioner Arnone to withhold all early release credits given to inmates with a history of violent crime pending a review of how the program has been implemented and the public safety protected
The Risk Reduction Earned Credit program enables violent felons to be released early from prison. According to Commissioner Arnone, the program is being administered without the requirement for an updated psychiatric examination. This raises serious questions of public safety as more and more violent Connecticut inmates are getting time taken off their sentences. How can criminals with a history of violent crimes such as rape, arson, and child molestation be allowed early release into the public without the requirement for a current psychiatric examination?
Inmate Frankie Resto, of Meriden, faces murder charges in connection with the June 27 killing of Ibrahim Ghazal in Ghazal’s Meriden EZ Mart store. If Resto had been required to serve the full 75-month sentence for two previous armed robbery convictions, he would have been in prison until October of this year. He was released in April after receiving 199 days of Risk Reduction Earned Credits.
I am seeking to prevent future tragedies like the one we have seen in my hometown of Meriden. Thousands of violent criminals held in Connecticut prisons may be released without psychiatric examination. I am calling on you to suspend this flawed program so that the issue of psychiatric evaluations can be addressed and public safety protected. We must learn a lesson from the murder in Meriden before thousands of other violent criminals are prematurely released into the population.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I know you share my feeling that public safety must be our number one priority.
Len Suzio
State Senator

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Silence of the Lambs

Speaker of the state House or Representatives Chris Donovan is the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut 5th District. His former campaign finance director Robert Braddock has been arrested following a Grand Jury indictment on a series of charges involving campaign finance money laundering.

During an arraignment proceeding on Thursday in federal court in New Haven, charges were brought against other people involved with Mr. Donovan’s U.S. Senate campaign, among them former Donovan campaign manager Joshua Nassi,  Paul Rogers, affiliated with two roll-your-own tobacco shops in Waterbury, and union officials associated with the Department of Corrections.

Mr. Donovan appears to be weathering this brutal prosecutorial storm with a degree of calm indifference that has astonished some reporters and commentators familiar with other political corruption cases in Connecticut.

Leaders in the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Bailey, beginning with Governor Dannel Malloy, the titular head of the state Democratic Party, and including Mr. Donovan’s associates in the General Assembly, so far have not been sufficiently stirred to appoint an informal delegation of Democrat Party grown-ups to pay a visit to Mr. Donovan and suggest strongly that he withdraw from his race for the sake of his party.

Even within the Democratic Party, some are wondering -- why not?

There are two separate questions: 1) Was Mr. Donovan involved in campaign money laundering? Answer: We don’t know, yet. And 2) Should a politician whose campaign finance director – and now others -- arrested for campaign financing illegalities be running for the U.S. Congress?

Somewhat like God, the FBI doesn’t play dice with the universe; once they start a prosecution, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ve got the goods or will get them by squeezing all the singing canaries that come their way.

According to an FBI media release, birds in the cage now include Benjamin Hogan, a.k.a. “Benny,” 33, of Southington, an employee of Smoke House Tobacco, a Roll Your Own smoke shop with two locations in Waterbury; David Moffa, a.k.a. “Moff” and “Buffalo,” 52, of Middlebury, the former president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 387, representing employees of the Connecticut Department of Correction; Daniel Monteiro, 33, of Wolcott, an owner of a company located in Waterbury; Joshua Nassi, 34, of Fairfield [the former campaign manager for Mr. Donovan’s congressional campaign];  Paul Rodgers, a.k.a. “Paulie,” 39, of Watertown, a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco, and George Tirado , 35, of Waterbury, a co-owner of Smoke House Tobacco.

So far, eight people have been charged in the case, but the FBI’s prize specimen may be Ray Soucy, a former state corrections employee and Treasurer of AFSCME, Local 387.

On July 24, Mr. Soucy pleaded guilty on one count of concocting a scheme to bribe a public official, one count of conspiring to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and one count of impeding the FEC’s enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.

While Mr. Donovan is not named in the FBI indictment, a conversation cited in the document between Mr. Soucy and Josh Nassi, Mr. Donovan’s former campaign manager, strongly suggests the Speaker may have been in the loop.

When Mr. Souci asks Mr. Nassi if the candidate (Mr. Donovan) was “good with this,” Mr. Nassi replies, “Yeah. I’m, you know, doing everything I can … you gotta just monitor this s**t all the time.”

That answer would seem to imply that Mr. Donovan approved a scheme to ferry illegal contributions into his campaign by means of proxy contributors. It is difficult to put any other construction on this telling conversation.  In addition, Mr. Soucy may have been wired when he spoke to Mr. Nassi and others, in which case the FBI may have in its custody other incriminating conversation not noted in its indictment.

Confronted several times by reporters in the course of his now underfunded congressional campaign, Mr. Donovan has refused on the advice of his council to discuss matters relating to the FBI’s investigation and prosecution of his former employees.

Possibly, the grown-ups in the Democratic Party do not yet feel that push has come to shove. If so, they are poor readers of the times.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Now he Tells Us

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is disappointed in the economy, according to a report in Real Clear Politics, and the economy is likewise disappointed in him. More accurately, it is disappointed in Mr. Geithner’s boss, President Barack Obama. Mr. Geithner is but a soldier used to taking orders in Mr. Obama’s progressive administration.    

"I'll tell you my general view on this," Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner said about the economy in his testimony to Congress. "The economy is not growing fast enough. Unemployment is very high. There's a huge amount of damage left in the housing market. Americans are living with the scars of this crisis."

If Mr. Obama loses the presidential election to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney – as yet a big “if”, for the polls suggest a close tie at the moment -- there will be an autopsy on Mr. Obama’s years in office. And someone not tied to the progressive afflatus is almost certain to point out that Mr. Obama easily might have won the election if…

If what?

If – per impossible – there had been someone on the team who had successfully challenged Mr. Obama’s alarming presumption.

If Mr. Obama had concentrated the vast energies of his office on settling just two problems – the housing meltdown, and the anemic economy – he would be undefeatable right now. But Mr. Obama grabbed for the progressive brass ring, universal health care, and that is why his re-election hopes are now foundering. No government is omni-competent; and the more a government does, the more it will do poorly. Come to think of it, that is why the founders of the nation relied on the doctrine of enumerated powers when they cobbled together the U.S. Constitution, leaving the powers not enumerated in the Constitution to the states and the people in the states.

The housing industry in the United States was an is a mess, chiefly because politicians from the Clinton administration forward wanted to make it possible for more people to own houses. To this end, banking standards were lowered so as to allow those who could not afford mortgage payments to purchase houses. A housing bubble soon emerged and burst, flooding the market with toxic assets intricately woven into Wall Street created paper products.

One gets out of the dark and gloomy forest the same way one has gotten in. But the reverse trip, so the fairy tale tells us, bristles with difficulties. It is clear to everyone who has a head that banking standards should be restored and toxic assets should be flushed out of the market. It is clear to everyone who has a heart that these solutions will spot the floor with blood, if only because people have their futures invested in failed assets.

Solving this problem would have been difficult – but doable. No one wanted to solve it. And so we march on through a wounded economy to a European destination, perhaps Greece or Spain.

However, it seems we will have, somewhere down a ruined road, a government run health care system that may, in time, rival the U.S. Post Office, shaped by the same people in Congress who have not given us a budget since Mr. Obama took charge of the White House, the legislative architects of a $15 trillion budget deficit and a much plundered national social security system on the verge of bankruptcy.

Perhaps when Mr. Geithner leaves office, he might offer the nation some sound economic advice. So long as he remains in office, he will do and think as he is bid.  

A Decalogue For Politicians

First a confession: I have been trying for years to crawl back on bended knee to Holy Mother Church. The Catholic Mass is a celebration of the Eucharist, otherwise known as Communion. It is under the species of bread and wine that Catholics come together in union to profess the same communal faith, worship God and receive forgiveness for their sins, which in my case are legion.

I have a thirty year unconfessed roll of sins, give or take ten years or so, that are, thank God, venial.

Venial sins are not to be winked at. They still count and, taken together, I suppose – if they are weighty enough – might plunge you into everlasting torment. Hell, in the days of Dante, used to be an uncomfortable, stench ridden pit, full of faithless politicians and sinful prelates; but now, Hell is regarded as separation from God, the creative source of all felicity. In any case, it is the mortal sins that kill your spirit; venial, not so much.

I have been telling myself for about ten of those 30 years that my sins are slight, not worth bothering a priest about. However, I do recognize that this is what psychologists call rationalization. My mother, who was a faithful Catholic, would call it, more appropriately, lying to yourself. I do miss her blunt honestly. If she were alive, she would order me to confession, and I would go – because one of the commandments orders us to keep Holy the Sabbath, and another commands us to honor our mothers and fathers.

In order to scan for mortal sins, a Catholic must perform an examination of conscience, which involves consulting the 10 commandments to discover how many of them the sinner may have tripped over since his last confession.

This year, owing to the curiosity of my wife Andree, I stuck my foot in a confessional.

We went to our usual Saturday service at St. Mary’s in Coventry and found that the two priests who usually said Mass, Fathers Victor and Ray, were absent, off on some work of God no doubt. Father John, standing in for them, had one of those deep, resonant and convincing voices. He might easily have been mistaken for Elisha or Jeremiah.

During our vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona, Andree had gotten into theological discussion with her sister concerning the use of water in the chalice at communion. Both of us were convinced that the priest did not, as her sister had maintained, mix water with the wine during the Eucharistic celebration.  But father John indisputably did mix water with wine on this occasion. Immediately, Andree, more sensitive than I to venial sins, asserted she would write her sister and tell her she was right. Confession is good for the soul.

But what was all this water business about?

We asked Father John, who was standing after Mass by the confessional. The water and wine, he said, represents the duel nature of Christ Jesus, true man and true God. I didn’t know that. Andree was bold enough to ask him about confession. He opened a nearby door, and there it was. I trembled before the terrifying confessional cell, venturing so far as to stick my foot inside it.

In the early church, Father John said, confessions were less frequent. People were illiterate, and so there was a set form of confession: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been (indecipherable mumble) since my last confession…”  Now, you just confess. This pleased me because I had forgotten the form at about year seven of my non-compliance. Confession and absolution in the early church was given by a number of church elders at Mass, and forgiveness was communal -- no individual confessions.

Now, there’s a tradition that should be restored.

I was beginning to like the early church. However, there is a hitch: Penance was an ordeal. The sinner lay outstretched at the door of the church in a posture of repentance, and the faithful stepped over him on their way into the building. I was lost in a vision of the weighty but relatively sinless Mrs. Smith adroitly stepping over my prostrate body on her way to receive the host.

Under the influence of this vision, I’ve now resolved to go to confession. And I’d like to drag all Connecticut’s Catholic politicians with me. But they must first make an examination of conscience. To assist them, I have especially adapted for politicians the original Ten Commandments, taking care not to depart too much from the spirit of Moses.

1 Thou shalt not treat thy colleagues as if they were gods. Thou shalt not impute a heavenly character to any politician, especially presidents. Thou shalt not bow down to them, or serve them. Beware you do not make of any politician, whether on earth or in heaven – or more likely in the bowels of Hell – a graven image, for it is unseemly to worship men, for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

2 Do not heap praise on the legacy of politicians, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who gives to men what belongs to the Lord.

3 As the Lord of creation rested on the seventh day, so you shall avoid politics, and the near occasion of politics, at a minimum of one day a week, 52 days a year, thereby giving your constituents a much needed rest from demagoguery, truth stretching, cheating (on your wife and others) and stealing. Under your democratic hand, men and women shall labor and do all their work, retaining for their family, loved ones and the needy they grace with charity what they have earned by the sweat of their brow. Cesar’s portion should not strip them of their Christian character, your own personal political ambitions notwithstanding.

4 Honor your father and mother, like everyone else, and do not heap shame upon them while in office.

5 Thou shalt not kill, however much you are incited to do so by the impenetrable idiocy of your political opponents.

6 Thou shalt not commit adultery or send racy e-mails to your constituents over the internet or toy with pages, male or female. Be faithful to your long suffering wife to whom you owe your career and whatever mite of common sense you have left. 

7 Thou shalt not steal, not even from the rich.

8 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, be he Republican, Democrat or a member of the fourth estate.

9 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, even though it is taxable.

10 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything of value that is thy neighbor’s, not even to offset a deficit.

Fishwrap For July

Salon Weighs in on Connecticut’s U.S. Senatorial Race
Alex Pareene, who writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt [Romney]," has weighed in on the Chris Shays-Linda McMahon Republican primary contest for the U.S. Senate in an article titled “Chris Shays has no respect for Linda McMahon: The last Yankee Republican shares his honest opinion of his primary opponent.”

Mr. Pareene, formerly of Gawker, is likely not from the nutmeg state, but this is no impediment to Mr. Pareene, who writes:

"Shays is pro-choice, pro-gun control, an environmentalist, pro-gay rights, pro-campaign finance reform — basically your classic New England Yankee Republican. Or as we call them now, 'Democrats.”'This helps to explain why he’s having so much trouble defeating someone as ridiculous as Linda McMahon, whose sole asset as a politician is her great wealth, which she earned off the labor of poorly treated 'independent contractor' wrestlers who were not even offered health insurance as they destroyed their bodies with drugs in other to retain their dangerous jobs with her company, World Wrestling Entertainment. She is a rich ‘outsider’ who repeats dumb Tea Party lines about the Fed and the deficit, and he is a “career politician” who represents a long-dead faction of the Republican Party.”
Sam Gejdenson Finds Death Of Cuban Dissident Suspicious
Mr. Gejdenson, the first child of Holocaust survivors elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, was for 19 years the U.S. Representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Connecticut. He was preceded in office by Former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, now a Hollywood mogul, and succeeded by former U.S. Representative Rob Simmons, who in turn was displaced by current U.S. Rep Joe Courtney.
According to CTMirror:
“Cuban authorities Monday said PayĆ” and fellow activist Harold Cepero Escalante died in a one-car crash in eastern Cuba. A Spaniard and a Swede who were also riding in the car survived but were injured.
“Gejdenson called the accident ‘a suspicious turn of events,’ but said he had no proof of wrongdoing.
“In a statement, the White House Monday called PayĆ” ‘a tireless champion for greater civic and human rights in Cuba.’
"’He remained optimistic until the end that the country he loved would see a peaceful and democratic transition,’ the statement said.”
Communist dictator of Cuba Fidel Castro and his brother Raoul have in the past been adept at concealing proofs of all sorts, but killing dissidents never has dimmed the ardor of businesses in the United States and elsewhere who hope to ply their trade in Cuba, despite the Castros’ penchant for nationalizing corporations and dispersing the proceeds by giving them to Cubans made poor by applied Marxist-Leninism.
Mr. Gejdenson, now involved in international trade with his own company, Sam Gejdenson International (SGI) – not yet nationalized by the Obama administration -- resides in Branford and presumably is still a Democrat.

Multiple Murderer Awarded Prestigious Grant

WNEW News reports that Batman Holmes, the orange headed mass murderer was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
“James Holmes, the alleged gunman in the recent theater shooting that left 12 dead in Aurora, Colo., was previously awarded a $26,000 federal grant.”
U.N. Let’s Legalize Prostitution
Please don’t tell U.S. Health and Human Services Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius that the New York institution Charles Krauthammer described as a “sandbox of tyrants” would like, with or without your input, to legalize prostitution – in a good cause, of course.
The report--“HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights &Health”--cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization, which recommends that “sex work” should be recognized as an occupation in order to be regulated “in a way that protects workers and customers.”
What Middle?
Depending upon which audience he happens to be addressing –business groups, unions -- U.S. Representative Chris Murphy of Connecticut’s 5thDistrict puts on one of two faces, one appealing to the left and another to the right.

Some in Connecticut’s media are beginning to catch on to the trick, among them Chris Keating of the Hartford Courant, who reports on Mr. Murphy’s efforts to claim middle position in politics by reason of his membership in something called The Center Aisle Caucus.
Deputy Editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report Nathan L. Gonzales, Mr. Keating notes, “said the caucus is more of a social group than one that gets involved in the nitty gritty of writing complicated legislation on major issues.”
If Mr. Murphy were a moderate, it might not be a plus for him in any case because “’I don't know that voters reward moderation,’ Gonzales said. ‘If you're a member who talks with somebody from the other side of the aisle, you are immediately met with a primary challenge because you are viewed as compromising.’”
Mr. Murphy already is engaged in a primary battle with the redoubtable former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who has been attempting to convince progressives in Connecticut that Mr. Murphy is the plaything of Wall Street malefactors of great wealth, a slur Mr. Murphy quite properly resents.
Mr. Murphy is the plaything of arch progressives in his state.
Gone is the day when the middle in Connecticut politics mattered. What used to be called “the vital center” of Democratic politics in the state has moved very far to the left.
Following the election of Dannel Malloy as governor, all the firewalls have collapsed, and everyone knows it. In Mr. Malloy’s short time in office, Democrats have written a budget that many believe was never in balance. The budget battle, for the first time in living memory, was shaped without any Republican input, leading Republicans having been shooed out of the room while Dominant Democrats in the General assembly pre-approved a budget that was substantially changed after the governor’s confabulations with SEBAC, a coalition of unions authorized to bargain with the governor on state contracts. One witty commentator at the time– it might have been me – claimed that SEBAC had become in the course of the seemingly endless negotiations Connecticut’s fourth branch of government.
The union friendly budget, the largest tax increase in state history, the abolition of the death penalty, the candidacy of Speaker of the state House Chris Donovan as the Democratic Party’s choice for the U.S. Congress in the 5thDistrict, the somnolent response of the governor upon learning that Mr.Donovan’s hand-picked finance director had been arrested by the FBI for fraudulently accepting campaign donations, the governor’s facile response to the nomination by his party of former convict Ernie Newton to his old state senate seat -- all this and more suggest that the vital center of the state Democratic Party has been somewhat corrupted. This kind of corruption is the handmaiden of the one party state oblivious to its political responsibilities. Unless there is a voter reaction to one party rule, it will not be long before the entire state goes the way of its one party urban centers.

In any case, there is no middle in Connecticut politics any longer. We are all progressives now.
All In The Family
And finally, we learn from a report in the Hearst papers that the head of a new SuperPAC, Future PAC, devoted to electing U.S. Representative Chris Murphy to the U.S. Senate was a “member of Murphy's wedding party five years ago.”

Linda McMahon spokesman Tim Murtaugh snorted upon hearing the news, “So they're not going to coordinate and communicate for six months. I'm not sure that passes the laugh test." SuperPACs and the politicians they boost are not supposed to consort with each other while in the process of scratching each other’s backs.
“On Aug. 18, 2007,” according to the Greenwich Times, “Murphy married Catherine Holahan at the Wake Robin Inn in Lakeville, according to the couple's wedding announcement in the New York Times, which noted that the ceremony was officiated by Ellen Ash Peters, a retired chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court…
“Murphy mouthpiece Ben Marter dismissed the McMahon campaign's notion of collusion, characterizing it as nothing more than innuendo.
"’Chris didn't ask these guys to do this, and we don't have any control over what they do," Marter said. ‘We're focused on the things we can control: our campaign, our message, and our unparalleled and growing grassroots organization.’"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brown of Massachusetts, Capitalist

U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts is as close to a proletarian congressman as the state, represented in the Congress for many years by the Kennedys and U. S. Senator John Kerry, net worth $194 million, is likely to get. The following ad – which, by the way, features a cameo appearance from former Senator Edward Kennedy’s brother John – shows that Mr. Brown has not yet lost the common touch:



Monday, July 23, 2012

So, Sue Me: Lawyers Oblige

As everyone must know by now, the lean and hungry Susan Bysiewicz made an oopsy daisy in one of her campaign ads.
She said that her Democratic primary opponent for the U.S. Senate, current U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 5th District Chris Murphy, was numero uno among congressman in accepting campaign donations from hedge fund operators, the newest devil in the progressive lexicon of those who will go to the wall just as soon as progressives seize power in the Beltway.
In fact, Mr. Murphy is number four among congresspersons receiving campaign benefits from finance groups in the United States and falls considerably behind his colleague. U.S. Representative Jim Himes, who brushed noses with the malefactors of great wealth when he was employed by Goldman Sachs.

According to the authoritative CTNewsJunkie, “Chris Murphy has received significant financial support from Wall Street donors—to the tune of $700,000 since 2006— and voted for their interests.” AndCTMirror reports the amount received “is about half the nearly $1.5 million donated to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, in less time, since 2008.”
Even so, nearly half a million dollars in campaign cash is not chump change among progressives, some of whom would rather choke on a hypocrisy hairball than rely upon the one percenters for sustenance.
It is said that when St. Francis appeared before his bishop to implore him for assistance in creating an order dedicated to poverty, he was stark naked. The Franciscans were willing to throw themselves on the kindness of strangers for succor, and it would hardly have been appropriate for St. Francis to appear before his bishop wrapped in ermines studded with pearls. Then and now, appearances are important.
In the grand scale of things, it matters hardly at all that Mr. Murphy was number four rather than number one in accepting campaign contributions from the political equivalent of the devil: This, apparently, was Mrs. Bysiewicz’s thought when she refused to withdraw her ad. What’s a few million bucks among politicians dedicated to lashing the rich, eh?
Mr. Murphy’s humorless lawyers thought otherwise and dashed off a letter to all the media outlets in Connecticut that ran the ad:
Dear Sirs:
This law firm represents Friends of Chris Murphy. I am writing with regard to a recent television advertisement of Susan Bysiewicz, in which she falsely accuses Mr. Murphy of receiving “more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress.” As Ms. Bysiewicz’s campaign publicly acknowledged, the ad is false and unsupported by the data cited. See July 19, 2012 Stamford Advocate; July 19, 2012 Hartford Courant; and July 19, 2012 CT Mirror. According to Ms. Bysiewicz’s campaign, the ad was due to a “research error”. July 19, 2012 Stamford Advocate. Indeed, , the source Ms. Bysiewicz’s campaign relies upon, has never listed Mr. Murphy as the top recipient of hedge fund donations in any year since Mr. Murphy was elected to Congress. Regardless of whether the error was due to negligence or was intentional, the Bysiewicz campaign has admitted that the central factual claim in the ad is false, and for the sake of FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, this advertisement must not be aired now that it is known to contain false statements. As you are aware, the station has a duty under Federal Communication Commission regulations “to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.” Licensee Responsibility With Respect to the Broadcast of False, Misleading or Deceptive Advertising, 74 F.C.C.2d 623 (1961). Failure to prevent the airing of “false and misleading advertising” may be “probative of an underlying abdication of licensee responsibility” that can be cause for the loss of a station’s license. Cosmopolitan Broad. Corp. v. FCC, 581 F.2d 917,927 (D.C. Cir. 1978). Because this advertisement is known to be false, misleading, and deceptive, we ask that you immediately discontinue airing this advertisement. If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact me. Your cooperation in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely yours,
Michael C. Harrington
A short time ago – it seems only yesterday – a lawyer from World Wide Entertainment (WWE) wrote a similar missive to a political commentator who mentioned in a column that the content of WWE performances seemed to him pornographic. A great hue and cry was raised against Linda McMahon on that occasion, although the former CEO of WWE had disassociated herself from the offending company shortly before she ran against the now sainted Senator from Connecticut, Dick Blumenthal, and the WWE lawyer sending the letter was not at all connected with her campaign. Connecticut Commentary was proud on this occasion to run the flag up the pole in honor of the First Amendment. It should be noted that Mr. Harrington’s letter, bristling with legal pikes and halberds, was sent by the lawyer representing Mr. Murphy’s campaign to media outlets that ran Mrs. Bysiewicz’s ad without producing a similar hubbub.
The lawyers for Mr. Murphy might have been pressed by the state's media to holster their legal pistol. Mr. Harrington was latter advised by general manager for WVIT Channel 30 David Doebler that the United Statescode prohibits broadcasters from removing or altering an ad for a federalcandidate, a provision designed to prevent stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from censoring political broadcasts.
Mr. Harrington’s threat to sue letter to Connecticut’s media outlets produced very little pushback. Is it possible that in Connecticut politics some letters announcing threats to sue are more equal than others?  In George Orwell’s Animal Farm the pigs were more equal than the lesser animals. It would be disappointing to think that such is the calculus of equality in Connecticut’s very Democratic one party state.

The Progressive Byseimurphy

It’s getting very WWE out there among progressives.

The long anticipated tousle over ads has begun.

U.S. Representative Chris Murphy so far has produced a downy soft introductory ad showing Mr. Murphy pushing a shopping cart through a grocery store, accompanied by his wife and children. Along the way, he meets various actors posing as potential voters who toss his way the kind of easily answered soft ball questions and remarks his likely GOP opponent, Republican Party nominee for the U.S. Senate Linda McMahon, should not expect whenever she gets around to visiting editorial boards across the state.

The first “shopper” to accost Murphy, his delightful wife Cathy and their two children detests the partisan bickering that has become a common feature in congress during the age of Obama. Could Mr. Murphy, after his election to the U.S. Senate, please do something about that?

Here one expects Mr. Murphy to remove his arch progressive Rough Rider’s hat, don his rakish ah-shucks-can’t-we-all-get-along plebeian cap, and tell the concerned citizen that he sure can; perhaps let drop that he is a leader of the Center Aisle Caucus, a bipartisan group, according to a Hartford paper, “that attempts to reach solutions on difficult problems.”

The Center Aisle Caucus is a Potemkin Village “caucus,” not at all the real deal. In other discussions with Connecticut’s media, Mr. Murphy has acknowledged that the group meets for lunch occasionally at the Hunan Dynasty restaurant on Capitol Hill to foster an environment of civility inCongress. If the caucus has solved any congressional problems, the solutions are nowhere apparent, and Mr. Murphy is too progressive to breach the bipartisan cleavage.

None of the shoppers pause to extract responses from Mr. Murphy, whose bright eyes drip with honeyed empathy.

The “shoppers” expressed their dismay and offered Mr. Murphy compliments on a variety of issues: bringing jobs back to America; fighting for women’s rights; working on “buy America.” Mr. Murphy projects understanding, and the “shoppers” move on with their shopping. In the future, their food will cost more, because inflation will reduce the purchasing power of their money; their taxes will rise; and their government, averse to cutting spending, will cost more.

Mr. Murphy’s Democratic primary opponent is former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, whose first ad is also introductory, non-offensive and somewhat saccharine. This ad passed media scrutiny without much comment. Her second more aggressive ad was marred by a misrepresentation. Lawyers representing “Friends of Chris Murphy” have sent a letter to stations carrying the ad cautioning that “Failure to prevent the airing of ‘false and misleading advertising’ may be ‘probative of an underlying abdication of licensee responsibility’ that can be cause for the loss of a station’s license” and threatening a suit should the stations continue running the ad.

The tocsin Mrs. Bysiewicz has sounded since the beginning of her primary campaign is that she is the more progressive Democratic candidate. Mr. Murphy is a faux progressive, according to the central thrust of the Bysiewicz campaign, because his campaign has been towed along by the very Wall Street financers he pretends to regulate.  It is clear that the choir to which both Democratic primary opponents now preach pretty much the same sermon is progressives. Democrats may now say that within the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Bailey, they are all progressives now. 

No one has yet remarked that we are fast approaching the hundredth anniversary of the most significant campaign of the 20th century, the 1912 presidential campaign that let the progressive dogs out. Historic progressivism had its roots in the prairie populism of Robert La Follette and William Jennings Bryan, the great commoner who sought to rescue farmers across the fruited plains from the sharpies on Wall Street that had nailed agrarians to a cross of gold. The populist anti-trust banner later was taken up by Teddy Roosevelt who in 1912 ran on an independent Progressive ticket against his own handpicked president, William Howard Taft. It is a long and tangled tale. But it was during this period that progressivism stepped from behind the curtain to change the very nature of reform politics.

Modern progressives, of course, are different than their progenitors; 2012 is not 1912. But one of the characteristic notes of 1912 progressivism – its unremitting hostility to manipulative trusts that were, even then, too big to fail – remains a temperamental disposition. Also constant is the notion that money increases in social value when it is extracted from the private marketplace and redistributed by an omni-competent government. These notes Mrs. Bysiewicz has strummed continually on her single stringed dulcimer. She lacks a cross of gold – the United States has long since moved away from the gold standard, owing in part to the exertions of early 20th century progressives – but the Anti-Wall Street beat goes on.

Here and there one finds in the Murphy political oeuvre a head-fake towards moderation. But pressed to the wall by a reporter early in July, Mr. Murphy coughed up his moderate hairball: “Asked at a New Haven Register editorial board meeting Monday how he’d label himself, Murphy said, ‘progressive.’”

The bald truth is that both Mrs. Bysiewicz and Mr. Murphy are committed progressives.

Let the shopper beware.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shays’ Swan Song

In an interview following his last primary debate with Linda McMahon, former U.S. Rep Chris Shays whispered a Swan’s song, a stark admission that the debate just concluded very well might be his last: “It may be the last time, and I think that would be a loss for the state.”
According to the most recent poll, Mr. Shays entered the debate trailing Mrs. McMahon by 29 points, a lead put down by Mrs. McMahon’s critics to her money advantage, which is considerable.
During her last campaign for the U.S. Senate, Mrs. McMahon poured $50 million of the sweat of her own brow into her campaign against then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal prevailed in that race, even though he was hobbled by charges that he had lied several times concerning his military service. It was an easy matter for Mr. Blumenthal to deflect these charges: He hit the mattresses towards the end of his campaign, after it had become apparent that he had stolen valor from Vietnam veterans, having claimed falsely several times that he had served in Vietnam. The most amusing of Mr. Blumenthal’s pants-on-fire escape from media scrutiny was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) in a documentary on stolen valor called “Frauds and Impostors.” For curious yellow Blumenthalites, the video still may be found on the ABC news site “Foreign Correspondent.” Hit "Play video" to watch.
It was thought at the time that Mrs. McMahon’s Republican Primary opponent, Rob Simmons, might have exploited the issue more effectively than Mrs. McMahon. Mr. Simmons background in Vietnam, where he served with distinction -- while Mr. Blumenthal was in Washington D.C. in the reserves, never having seen service in Vietnam – his years of honorable service in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his unflinchingly honest character, would have made him, so his supporters claimed, a much more effective foil in a general election contest against an artfully dogging Blumenthal.
This reading of events, while it may be true, falls far short of a competent analysis. After years of attorney general agitprop – rare was the day that reporters and editors did not find in their e-mails a press release written by a Blumenthal flack praising the attorney general in terms that would make a saint blush -- Mr. Blumenthal had established, shall we say, a cordial relationship with those in Connecticut who buy ink by the barrel. When Mr. Blumenthal chose to hit the mattresses towards the end of his campaign, after polls showed him with a more than comfortable lead over Mrs. McMahon, there were few if any remonstrances issued by Connecticut’s Commentariate. No one shouted from the rooftops that Mr. Blumenthal was avoiding his very few critics in the media.
Mr. Simmons may not have prevailed over Mr. Blumenthal.
Mr. Simmons would not have had the resources, money being among the most important, to defeat Mr. Blumenthal, who was and is – dare it be said? – a millionaire. Money may not be everything in a political campaign, but it ain’t nothing.

Mr. Simmons’ primary campaign sputtered and flamed out for want of money. Mr. Shays has no money, and very little support among Republicans to wage a successful primary campaign against Mrs. McMahon. There is sound reason to believe that this defect would extend to a general election campaign against Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate Chris Murphy, who is, monetarily speaking, sitting pretty.
Mr. Murphy, who has pinned to his chest the progressive red badge of courage and as such would seem to be the natural political enemy of large institutions, has received from the employees and PACs of financial institutions $754,885 since 2006, an average of $188,500 in his four federal races, according to

Here is the key question: Why is Mr. Murphy better able than Mr. Shays to generate funds necessary to win a political campaign?     
Answer: Campaign finance reform – i.e. McCain-Feingold-Shays-Meehan – has altered the campaign resource playing field to such an extent that it is virtually impossible for a non-incumbent without independent means to win a campaign against any incumbent. A truly level playing field requires challengers to expend MORE money than incumbents in order to overcome other advantages enjoyed by the ruling regime. McCain-Feingold-Shays-Meehan, a SuperPAC spawning bill, simply bleeds money from parties and shuttles it to “independent” candidates, usually incumbents.

The enfeeblement of parties –They are too weak; not too strong – has made it possible for incumbents to become their own petite INDEPENDENT political parties. That’s why the Republican Party in CT cannot give monetary support to their – wink, wink – preferred MODERATE Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Chris Shays. How could Connecticut’s media have failed to notice that Karl Rove’s endorsement of Shays was not accompanied by a pledge of monetary support in the all-important primary? Unlike the Republican party in Connecticut, Mr. Rove’s SuperPAC is flush with funds. So is Linda McMahon – but it’s her own money. Mr. Shays is the poor country mouse in the primary. HE HAS NO MONEY TO RUN ADS. Against Democratic Party endorsed candidate Chis Murphy, rich in campaign resources, Mr. Shays would continue to run a shoe string campaign -- and lose, even if he were able to gain the support of the state’s putatively moderate, “non-partisan” media, which is doubtful.

Mr. Murphy is Jim Himes on steroids. Ironically, Shays-Meehan has become Shays’ petard. And the pitiful primary “battle” shows him being raised up by it.

Mr. Shay’s signature campaign finance reform bill prevents money from reaching political parties. And after a Supreme Court ruling on First Amendment rights that opened the sluice gates to SuperPACs, state parties have become poor – like Mr. Shays – and campaign financiers who have no attachments to state parties are free to determine which candidates shall win or lose by extending or withholding funds.
Because the Supreme Court decision is soundly based in constitutional law, it will not likely be reversed. The fix to this problem therefore lies in the reform of national and state campaign finance laws. An effective reform would prevent the influx of money to SuperPACS by allowing the unimpeded flow of money, perhaps anonymously, into national and state parties.
This solution, of course, will depend on the acquiescence of SuperPAC dependent incumbents such as … well, Mr. Murphy, who used to inveigh against SuperPACs before he entered into a Faustian bargain with them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Executive Director Of Media Group Plunges Into Tank For Murphy

Chris VanDeHoef has crossed the i’s and dots the t’s of newspaper consumers in Connecticut who suspect that the press showers favors on left of center Democrats.

According to a piece in CTMirror, founders of a new SuperPAC committee that will be showering favors upon Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate Chris Murphy “include Chris VanDeHoef, a lobbyist who is executive director of a media trade group, the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association, and Kevin Graff, who became a Hartford lobbyist after stepping down last year as chief of staff of the state Senate Democratic majority.”

Joining the Murphy mutual admiration society is Jeffrey Garfield, who retired in 2009 after more than 30 years as top dog at Connecticut’s Elections Enforcement Commission.

Reporter Greg Hladky in, a site affiliated with the Advocate chain of newspapers, took Mr. Garfield to task for embracing a disease formerly scorned by both Mr. Garfield and Mr. Murphy. It may be important to mention that the Advocate chain is not in any way associated with the Koch brothers, who are to conservative politics what George Soros is to left wing politics.

Mr. Hladky is not surprised that Mr. Garfield had accepted “this somewhat peculiar assignment.” During his long run as the state’s election law “watchdog,” Mr. Garfield had demonstrated a fondness, Mr. Hladky writes, “for treating top state Democratic and Republican leaders gently and with great consideration for their lofty status. Thousands of dollars in apparently illegal lobbying contributions to political action committees run by high-ranking legislative leaders were often dismissed by Garfield as ‘clerical errors.’”

The object of the affections of Mr. Garfield’s new SuperPAC to help re-elect Mr. Murphy, is not handled gingerly in Mr. Hladky’s piece.

Mr. Hladky notes that Mr. Murphy has made a career of denouncing the Supreme Court “Citizen’s United” decision that opened the door to SuperPACs, a ruling “that unleashed these free-wheeling, non-candidate political action committees, allowing them to be massively financed by corporations, billionaires, unions and any other well-heeled entity this side of the Gamma 5 quadrant. These PAC-monsters can then spend unlimited amounts to influence the election process, all the while effectively keeping the identities of their financial sugar daddies secret.”

Actually, the efficient cause of the SuperPACs was not the Supreme Court decision but the McCain-Feingold-Shay's-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Law that restricted donations to political parties and occasioned thehigh court’s ruling on a constitutional question. Mr. Murphy has said, “I’m a believer in ultimately overturning Citizens United and publicly financing campaigns so that people ultimately decide elections, rather than a handful of donors or billionaires.”

The notion that Citizens United will be overturned is little more than a campaign fantasy because the High court’s judgment is grounded in sound constitutional principle from which the court cannot retreat. A reform of campaign finance regulations that once again would allow money to flow, perhaps anonymously, into cash starved political parties rather than to incumbent politicians who have become their own undefeatable political parties would at least be possible. But since finance regulations and public financing of campaigns tend to benefit incumbents such as Mr. Murphy, the congressman is not likely to support practical measures to redirect the flow of campaign money from SuperPAC outliers to political parties.

Mr. Hladky notes that Mr. Murphy was technically correct when he said that the beneficiary of the new SuperPAC – Mr. Murphy himself – cannot control the content of the product. Were this the case, the pretense that the SuperPAC was not connected with the Murphy campaign would be exposed as a transparent fraud. Mr. Murphy’s artful disinterest reinforces instead an opaque fraud. Mr. Murphy, rather than his likely post-primary opponent, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Linda McMahon, will benefit greatly from the exertions of executive director of the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association Chris VanDeHoef, and former chief of staff of the state Senate Democratic Majority Kevin Graff and Jeffrey Garfield, for more than thirty years the head of Connecticut’s Elections Enforcement Commission.

Mr. Murphy, who is not a bad softball player, here has tagged three important bases – media, state Democratic Party legislative honchos and an important election enforcement group – on his way to a home run.

This new old boy’s network is enough to make a cynic of the most cheerfully complaisant party functionary in what is fast becoming a one party state. Even Mrs. McMahon’s most persistent critics appear to be alarmed.

“If nothing else,” Mr. Hladky remarked, “his whole weird deal may be worth it just to hear McMahon’s flacks trashing Murphy for taking advantage of SuperPAC money ‘from special interests and fat cat lobbyists.’”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

She’s Not Okay

"She's not okay, always crying," said Tharwat, "holding my father's clothes, smelling his clothes, it's not easy."
Tharwat Ghazal is the surviving daughter of 70-year-old Ibrahim Ghazal, who was murdered in an Easy Mart in Meriden on June 27th.

The presumptive murderer of Mr. Tharwat is Frankie Resto, who was given a get-out-of-jail-early card by Democrats in Connecticut’s legislature during the last days of its hectic session.

“A candidate for the state’s new Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program, Connecticut Commentary has noted previously, “Mr. Resto was given a reduction in his sentence. The legislation that created the program was made retroactive by the Democratic dominated legislature, which means its provision applied to prisoners serving time before the bill’s enactment."

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Jaws That Bite, the Claws That Snatch

Dan Roberti, a Democrat running for the U.S House in Connecticut’s 5th District has called upon Democratic Party nominee Chris Donovan to quit the race.

"It is time for Chris Donovan to withdraw from the primary race for the good of the Connecticut Democratic Party and to protect the seat,” Mr. Roberti said following an indictment returned by a Grand Jury of Mr. Donovan’s former campaign director Robert Braddock. “He has hidden behind lawyers and never stepped up to explain how members of his campaign staff could have arranged conduit contributions without his knowledge."

Following Mr. Roberti’s invitation to withdraw, Donovan campaign manager Tom Swan declared that Mr. Donovan remains, even after damning disclosures, the strongest Democrat in the race.

Mr. Donovan was nominated at the Democratic convention for the 5th District seat now occupied by U.S. Representative Chris Murphy, the Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated when present Senator Joe Lieberman leaves office.

"We have a clear path to victory in August and November," Mr. Swan said.
Formerly a union organizer, Mr. Donovan has received the backing of union groups in the state that also have announced their formal support of Mr. Murphy’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Donovan was nominated by his party when the campaign financing scandal was a tiny cloud no bigger than a finger tip on the political horizon. Following the nomination, the cloud has grown to menacing proportions and now threatens to blot out the shining Democratic campaign sun. Since Dannel Malloy was wafted into office on a promise of shared sacrifice, Connecticut has become, for all practical political purposes, a one party state, and there is little doubt among campaign watchers and too clever by half Democratic Party operatives that voter inertia and political force majeure exerted by office holding Democrats will largely determine the outcome of the upcoming elections.

The published indictment of Mr. Braddock does not help Mr. Donovan’s campaign. In both an earlier affidavit and now in the indictment, Mr. Braddock has been accused of conspiring to accept conduit campaign contributions, illegal donations falsely made by one person in the name of another.
It is, however, the disquieting details included both in the affidavit supporting Mr. Braddock’s arrest and the recently released Grand Jury indictment that should cause Democrats in the state to contemplate getting together a delegation of politicos that might convince Mr. Donovan to take a bullet for his party.

According to the Braddock indictment, the roll your own scandal was a spin off investigation of an earlier federal probe concerning “the way federal money has been spent to remove lead paint from the homes of low-income families.” Federal investigators had discovered that one of the people who had signed an illegal conduit check for the Donovan campaign was connected with a business under investigation in the lead paint removal program. In investigations of this kind, one thing leads to another, and soon the best laid plans of mice and men are torn asunder.

The scorpion’s stings in the conduit campaign contribution scandal remain hidden. Mr. Braddock’s indictment, according to one report, suggest more shoes are to drop, “including the possibility that the FBI arranged to have union activist Ray Soucy wear a wire to record a conversation with Donovan at the Democratic State Convention about accepting illegal contributions in exchange for killing a piece of legislation related to ‘roll your own’ tobacco shops.”
Mr. Soucy – like Mr. Donovan before his election to the House, a good portion of which has been spent as a Speaker steering bills through the legislative sausage maker– was a union operative before he was caught up in the FBI investigation centering on members of Mr. Donavan’s campaign staff. It was Mr. Soucy – co-conspirator 1 (CC1) in the affidavit that secured his arrest – who coached two roll your own store owners under investigation for a meeting with Mr. Donovan by cautioning them not to mention pending bills relating to roll you own shops in Connecticut. Eyes and ears were everywhere, Mr. Soucy advised: “… there is always people following this guy around, watching what he's doing …" During their meeting inside a restaurant, the tobacco owners, Mr. Donovan’s arrested former finance director and Mr. Donovan discussed “various issues relating to the roll your own industry in Connecticut," according to the Grand Jury indictment.
Was Mr. Soucy, already deeply implicated in the scandal, wired during conversations he might have had with Donovan? Were other co-conspirators wired when they conspired with Mr. Soucy? Is Mr. Soucy, under threat of prosecution, the only singing canary serenading prosecutors? Where are the scorpion stingers? What does the FBI know, and when did it know it?

Barring leaks from behind the thus far leak-proof barricades, answers to these questions may not be forthcoming before the election. Until such questions can be answered with some degree of certitude, those within the Democratic Party who owe Mr. Donovan their silence and a studied indifference to possible political repercussions will consider themselves safe from provocative criticism.

And later?

Later is for later. In a free country, professional politicians who winked at the damaging data in both the affidavit securing the arrest of Mr. Braddock and the Grand Jury indictment can always plead ignorance. And in the bluest state in the Northeast, the penalties assigned for willful ignorance are mild and survivable.     

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fishwrap For July

Russians Mull Burying Soviet Leader Lenin

The corpse if V.I. Lenin has been awaiting burial since the Soviet Union was thrown on the ash heap of history during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

Comments by Russia’s new culture minister suggest, according to a report in the Washington Times, that Mr. Lenin is, finally, on his way out:

“But recent comments by Russia’s new culture minister have brought closer the possibility that the father of the Bolshevik Revolution could finally be laid to rest, signaling an end to the cult of Lenin.
“’Many things in our life would symbolically change for the better after this [burial],’ Mr. Medinsky said, adding that he thinks Lenin should be buried with full state honors and his Red Square mausoleum turned into a museum of the Soviet era.”

Nancy Pelosi Rakes In The Dough

Borrowing a page from the 1912 election featuring socialist Eugene Debs on the far left, William Howard Taft in the center,  Woodrow Wilson at left of center and Bull Moose candidate Teddy Roosevelt, the archangel of progressivism,  Democrats this year have chosen to belabor Wall Street -- not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The boiler-plate assaults by President Barack Obama, in full campaign mode for the past three years, and former Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi have been typical.

Unfortunately, financial disclosure statements are readily available; and Mrs. Pelosi’s statement shows she has been priming the outsourcing pump she has condemned from sea to shining sea, according to theDaily Caller:

“According to Pelosi’s 2011 financial disclosure statement, the Democratic House Minority Leader received between $1 million and $5 million in partnership income from ‘Matthews International Capital Management LLC,’ a group that emphasizes that it has a ‘A Singular Focus on Investing in Asia.’  A quick trip to the company website reveals a featured post extolling the virtues of outsourcing.”

When the Pullman’s strike was finally put down and a combine of Big Business, Big Government and Big Union ( represented by Samuel Gompers) finally destroyed Deb’s railroad union,  the unflinching Debs refused ever again to ride in a Pullman car.

If the Democrats this year wish seriously to embrace progressivism, they must dress in sackcloth and ashes and refrain from decking themselves out in Wall Street baubles.

Obama A No Show At NAACP Convention Disappoints Some, But Not Malloy
At the NAACP Convention, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut was honored for having played a major role in abolishing thestate’s death penalty.  As he was acknowledging the plaudits, Mr. Malloy took a swipe at Texas Governor Rock Perry, a no-show at the convention.

But Perry was not the only MIA politician, according to anaccount in Buzzfeed:

“Convention organizers said the president's office cited a ‘scheduling conflict’  as the reason he couldn't attend. (Obama spent today in Washington D.C., and has no major public events.) And the president did make an effort to ensure the convention that he hadn't forgotten them, appearing in a brief, pre-taped video praising the organization that aired before Biden's address.”

The Progressive Calls Dodd Loathsome, Depraved

The Progressive magazine was hatched in 1909 by Mr. Progressive himself, Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin, the founder of La Follette’s Weekly, renamed in 1929 The Progressive.

It’s current issue takes aim at despicable lobbyists and finds former senator Chris Dodd, now a Hollywood mogul, abhorrent. Dodd is rated as the 9th most depraved lobbyist money can buy:

 “The former Connecticut Senator, and internationally renowned eyebrow-haver, isn’t the most prodigious scum in the Beltway swamp, but he may be the most hypocritical. When asked in 2010 what would follow his thirty-year legislative career, which ended amid financial scandal, Dodd bluntly said, “No lobbying, no lobbying.” He then promptly became, as The Hill put it, “Hollywood’s leading man in Washington, taking the most prestigious job on K Street,” as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. The gig comes with a $1.2 million annual salary, and complimentary tickets to the Academy Awards.

“Dodd’s most public, and ultimately ill-fated, advocacy was in pushing two potentially disastrous bills: the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its Senate counterpart, Protect IP Act—both of which would’ve given the federal government the right to shut down any website that was merely being accused of copyright infringement.”

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