Monday, December 28, 2015
Thanks to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information suit, we now may definitively answer the question “Who knew what and when did they know it?” concerning the attack on the American Embassy compound in Benghazi, Libya.
American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other heroic Americans died in the terrorist assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Almost immediately after the 9/11 assault on the compound, the attack was attributed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barrack Obama and, most conspicuously, UN Ambassador Susan Rice to an obscure, poorly produced video that had insulted Mohammed, Islam’s warrior prophet, peace be upon him.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
When he last ran for the U.S. Senate, Dick Blumenthal, fresh from a two decade stint as Connecticut’s Attorney General, was facing a deep pockets opponent in World Wrestling Entertainment’s former CEO Linda McMahon. It was generally supposed by the fortune tellers in the media that Mr. Blumenthal would easily defeat Mrs. McMahon without breaking sweat – and so he did. Mr. Blumenthal’s current re-election bid features a reversal of fortune, pun intended.
Mr. Blumenthal is himself a multi-millionaire, the eighth richest member of Congress, according to a list of multi-millionaires compiled by Roll Call. Of the top ten richest members of Congress, only three are Republicans.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
''Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree” – Russell Long
Appearing on WFSB Channel 3’s Face The State with Dennis House, President Pro Tem of the State Seante Martin Looney made an alarming admission. Mr. House noted that Ben Barnes, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Office of Policy Management chief, had said the state “might be seeing deficits for some time.” Deficits were “the new normal. Do you agree with that?”
Mr. Looney drew a deep breath and, his breast expanding to the ball, rode valiantly into the valley of death.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Progressives, who sometimes have great difficulty making proper distinctions between populism and progressivism, may want to take a gander at populism Trump style, which appears to be a toxic combination of demagoguery laced with ineffable stupidity.
Here is the sad tale according to Charles Cooke of National Review:
“US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said it is a “great honor” to receive a compliment from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The property tycoon hailed Mr. Putin as a man “highly respected within his own country and beyond”. It comes after Mr. Putin said Mr. Trump was a “very colorful, talented person” during his annual news conference...
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
On Thursday, December 10, Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he intended to violate, in order of historic appearance, the Magna Carta, the Fifth and Fourteen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Sec. 29-28(b) of the Connecticut Statutes.
Mr. Malloy said he was prepared -- by gubernatorial fiat -- to order relevant Connecticut authorities to deny gun permits to anyone whose name appears on federal watch lists.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time -- Abraham Lincoln
Somewhere in Connecticut, the Gods of Irony are chortling.
Many moons ago, Governor Dannel Malloy proposed a major infrastructure repair program that will cost upwards of $100 billion over thirty years. Mr. Malloy’s legacy program -- assuming future legislators and governors do not pass along the debt to future taxpayers beyond the specified payment period, a fanciful assumption -- will tie the hands of Connecticut governors and legislatures thirty years out, crowding out necessary spending until the debt is paid.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Demography, it is said, is destiny. If so, the most current report from the U.S. Census should serve as a splash of cold water in the face of Connecticut legislators.
Marriage in Connecticut during the period surveyed, 2010-2014, has taken a massive hit. Experts say that young adults usually delay marriage because of the burdens of college debt, the high cost of rental housing and anemic salary growth. The high cost of rentals is a measure, in part, of the scarcity of rental housing; through budget mismanagement and a disinclination on the part of the dominant Democrats in the General Assembly to attack spending, Connecticut is still resting somnolently in the lap of a recession that disappeared years ago in the rest of the country; and UConn has just announced plans to boost tuition by thirty one percent.
Saturday, December 05, 2015
Despite all the so-called “debates” that have already occurred, our presidential election will fall on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a little less than a year from now; lots of water there yet to flow under our bridge.
President Barack Obama will be using the next eleven months to put the final gloss on what we call here, sometimes derisively, his legacy; which is to say, he will attempt, despite the tear stained and bloody flood of misery washing around his feet, to keep his old and tattered campaign pledges: withdraw all troops from every war theatre, patch the leaky roof on Obamacare, close GITMO, the military base in Cuba, and who knows, perhaps put a bow on it and give it back to his new Cuban friends, continue the destruction of the Republican Party, put a period on his long and eventful political campaign, then slip away to establish his presidential library and perhaps write another semi-fictional autobiography. I think you can see I’ve lost patience with the man. There is always a last straw; for me, Paris was it.
Friday, December 04, 2015
A little more than a year ago, Jerry Labriola, then Chairman of the State Republican Party, filed a lawsuit and elections complaint that accused the State Democratic Party of producing an ad that had illegally used federal campaign contributions to support the re-election of Dannel Malloy as Governor.
A Connecticut law passed after the State House of Representatives had commenced impeachment proceedings against then Governor John Rowland for political corruption barred state contractors from contributing to politicians with whom they might be doing business. The law was widely hailed by good-government advocates – including nearly all the editorial boards of state newspapers -- as a political corruption prophylactic.
Never letting a crisis go to waste, Democrats who favor national restrictions on guns have turned the assault in San Bernardino in the direction of gun control laws they favor. If U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is not leading the pack, he is barking loudly with the other hounds.
A day after the terrorist attack in California, Mr. Murphy tweeted to the world, “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again.”
The Murphy tweet produced others chastising the Senator for devaluing prayer. But Mr. Murphy’s tweet was not so much an assault on the efficacy of prayer as it was a case of purposeful campaign posturing; tweeting brings out the worst in many of us. If people are unwilling to do something to stop the carnage, Mr. Murphy seemed to be saying, “their ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness.” Mr. Murphy did not say in his initial tweet who should be forgiven or why (Baathist tyrants in Syria? Islamic terrorists?) but then the purpose of a tweet is not to elicit clear thought but to gather in as many hits as possible.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
The city of Hartford, as well as other large cities in Connecticut, is tax poor, city fathers say, because it is home to so many non-taxable entities; hospitals are a prime example. Hartford cannot collect property taxes from hospitals, churches, schools and -- irony of ironies – the state Capitol, which houses the legislators who impose taxes on the rest of us.
In distributing tax funds to municipalities, the state attempts to level the playing field somewhat by giving more state taxes to poor cities, thus redressing a portion of the loss. However the state, as usual, has its thumb on the balance scales. Hartford Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings, a member of the Working Families Party, noting that the state has for years been shorting Hartford for the 52 percent of tax exempt land in the city, has proposed to levy a city tax on Hartford employees who do not live in the city, which usually receives less than half of what it is due from the state’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program. The Working Families Party marches under state employee union banners. Under the Councilwoman’s program, Hartford's private employers would pick up the slack from the state’s under-financing of the PILOT program. In a state in which business is still mired in a recession, the notion that urban employers should suffer yet another tax went over like a lead balloon.
Friday, November 27, 2015
Pfizer – now Pfizer-Allergen, once one of the pillars in Connecticut’s emergent and lucrative bio-science industry -- is moving its headquarters from New York to Ireland. Pfizer is merging with Allergan, which is headquartered in Dublin. The move and merger will save the conjoined company about $2 billion, not chump change in the competitive world of bio-science.
When news of the move to Ireland reached the ears of U.S. House Representative Rosa DeLauro, she affected shock and then fumed, in chorus with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, “We cannot continue to allow Pfizer and other corporations to pretend that they are American while reaping the benefits this country has to offer, yet claiming to be another nationality when the tax bill comes. Congress and the administration must do more to prevent these companies from moving their mailboxes abroad to avoid paying taxes in the United States."
Monday, November 23, 2015
Paris will learn soon enough what we have known for some time: that President Barack Obama, shrouded in the fog of unknowing, is not a reliable friend, which is to say – he is not a fraternal friend, as the French understand fraternity.
I wonder if that expression will surprise you. You are a student of history and, as such, you owe it to yourself to drive all false but comforting thoughts from your mind, particularly now that Paris, “the city of light,” has gone dark. It is important at such moments to embrace lucidity, so that we should not go dark as well. I may point out that of the two, comforting and discomforting thoughts, comforting thoughts are the more dangerous; they lull us to sleep, when we ought to be fully awake. We are always alert to danger, unless we are put to sleep by soothing words.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has released in USA Today a manifesto that details his view on U.S. foreign policy and ISIS, the Islamic terrorist state that has gobbled up large chunks of Iraq and Syria, in the process creating the “orphans and widows” President Barack Obama hopes to house, among other places and with the concurrence of Governor Dannel Malloy, in Connecticut.
Following the ISIS inspired attack in Paris, France, jihadi websites proclaimed that the warriors of Muhammed, blessings be upon him, would similarly attack the United States. “The American blood is best,” some boasted, “and we will taste it soon.” Islamic scholars in India strongly condemned the attack.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Leading Democrats in the state – Governor Dannel Malloy, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, President Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney – have opened a multi- pronged attack on the state’s clean election program and its watchdog, Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC).
The effort to defang the state’s clean election laws began with an attempt by the Malloy administration to overleap a provision that prevents potential campaign contributors who do business with the state from polluting elections with campaign contributions to politicians who are in a position to advance their interests.
The Malloy administration had produced a mailer that was clearly a Malloy campaign ad. The administration added to the document a fine-print fig leaf concerning polling information and then argued that the small print polling notice transformed the Malloy campaign ad into a federal product that fell outside Connecticut clean campaign law regulations. The Republican Party filed a complaint with SEEC and the commission subpoenaed relevant documentation from the State Democratic Party in an effort to adjudicate the complaint. The state Democratic campaign commission did not want anyone – but especially not Republicans – poking about in its e-mails and so refused to acknowledge the subpoena. The matter was thrown into court, where it now lingers, batted to and fro like a shuttlecock by defense and plaintiff attorneys.
Coincidentally, Mr. Sharkey and Mr. Looney have proposed to slash funding to SEEC for one year – not in retaliation for the commission’s finding, we are to understand, but rather to balance Connecticut’s repeatedly out of balance budget. The budget is repeatedly out of balance because for many years expenditures in Connecticut have exceeded tax receipts and the state has adamantly refused to make permanent, long term cuts in spending. Having exhausted his taxing options, Mr. Malloy, who imposed upon Connecticut both the largest and the second largest tax increases in state history, felt obliged in his first campaign to resist further tax increases. Since then, he has used his recissionary powers to nip and tuck his budgets.
Forced by a constitutional cap to limit spending, Mr. Malloy withdrew pension payments from the cap so that he might spend more money unmolested by those who were insisting on long term, permanent spending cuts, but a recent decision rendered by Attorney General George Jepsen likely will make all such budget balancing tomfoolery unnecessary in the future.
Mr. Jepsen, once a Democratic Party Chairman, has rendered an opinion that the constitutional provision establishing Connecticut’s spending cap is, for all practical purposes, a dead letter that cannot be enforced because the legislature that established the constitutional provision never provided the definitions necessary to activate the law.
It has taken nearly a quarter century, but finally Mr. Jepsen has given former Governor Lowell Weicker’s fraudulent constitutional cap on spending a decent burial. Connecticut’s spending cap, regularly violated by Connecticut’s last four governors, was initiated during the Weicker administration as a sop to induce wavering legislators to vote in favor of Mr. Weicker’s income tax.
The head of Mr. Weicker’s Office of Policy Management at the time the income tax measure squeaked through the General Assembly was Bill Cibes, a single issue, pro-income tax candidate for governor who had been soundly defeated by Bruce Morrison in a Democratic primary. During his own gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Weicker placed himself among anti-income tax stalwarts. Mr. Weicker proclaimed that instituting an income tax while recessionary flames were scorching Connecticut’s behind would be tantamount to “pouring gas on a fire.” The ever mercurial Mr. Weicker soon repented of his prudence and went full bore for an income tax after he had appointed Mr. Cibes to head his budget making operations. Mr. Weicker made certain that Mr. Cibes would fall on a cushy featherbed: In the summer of 1994, five months before Mr. Weicker left office, Mr. Cibes left his post as Secretary of the Office of Policy Management and became Chancellor of the newly formed Connecticut State University System.
Mr. Cibes re-emerged in April, 2015 to inveigh against Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap in a Hartford Courant op-ed piece, “Abolish Fatally Flawed State Spending Cap.”
“The spending cap,” Mr. Cibes wrote, “should be abolished. Instead, the public should rely on a control mechanism at the state level that is used effectively at the municipal level: Vote out officials who strike the wrong balance between service quality and cost control.
“To be sure,” Mr. Cibes prognosticated, “a quick repeal of the constitutional spending cap is unlikely. But in some past years, legislators and governors from both political parties have found ways to relax the cap.”
Mr. Jepsen’s decision seems sound, and it reverses an earlier absurd decision made by then Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, who advised that even though the clean campaign constitutional provision may have been flawed as a constitutional measure, the law retained its force as a statutory regulation. It didn’t, and doesn’t. As Gertrude Stein might have said, had she instead of Mr. Blumenthal been Attorney General in Connecticut, “A constitutional law is a constitutional law is a constitutional law. And if the law is deprived of necessary definitions, it is inoperative.
Republicans have now called upon the Democratic dominated General Assembly to supply the missing definitions that would give force to the law and reestablish, at a minimum, the illusion of clean elections in Connecticut. It is by no means certain that Democrats will warm to the notion. A budget without a cap, like a house without a roof, provides an infinite extension; without a cap, spending could reach Sirius and, in a one-party state, political ambition generally trumps prudence. Given a lie detector test and sworn under oath, even the ambitious Mr. Cibes might admit as much.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy’s immediate reaction to the mass murder of innocent civilians in France by ISIS inspired terrorists was remarkably on-script and unemotional, unlike his earlier reaction to a Ted Cruz inspired video in which Senator Cruz, a Republican now running for President, boasts that he stood up for Second Amendment rights following the Sandy Hook mass murder. The video, Mr. Murphy said, “makes me want to throw up.” Mr. Murphy’s Democratic partner in politics from Connecticut, Dick Blumenthal, also denounced the PAC video, ineptly inserting himself into the Sandy Hook drama. In that smarmy way oleaginous politicians have of placing themselves center-stage at important events, Mr. Blumenthal strongly suggested he was present when Governor Dannel Malloy told the parents of murdered students and teachers at the firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School that their children and teachers would not be coming home again. In truth, Mr. Blumenthal arrived after the announcement had been made.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal has a way of sneaking up on the truth and clubbing it to death with either a half-truth or a persistent, outright lie. And over a period of time, a pattern has begun to develop: The alluring possibility of flooding one's political stage with heroic action is, in Mr. Blumenthal’s case, irresistible. It’s like dangling a pacifier before a non-aborted baby.
NBC Connecticut news is now reporting that “Sen. Richard Blumenthal is facing criticism over claims he lied in a comment he made in an MSNBC interview about being in Newtown when families were being informed about losing their loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre.”
Monday, November 09, 2015
n 2012, Connecticut’s Democrat dominated General Assembly abolished capital punishment but carved out an exception for convicted murderers awaiting the death penalty on death row. The carve-out for the eleven death row prisoners was a blatant violation of what used to be called the natural law, a series of political, philosophical and penological assumptions that informs all laws, statutory and constitutional.
The abolition should have been applied retroactively to Connecticut prisoners awaiting death, for reasons lucidly stated by Samuel Johnson when he was reporting on debates in the House of Commons. The Nulla poena sine lege doctrine -- “where there is no law, there is no transgression” – Mr. Johnson wrote, “is a maxim not only established by universal consent, but in itself evident and undeniable; and it is, Sir, surely no less certain that where there is no transgression, there can be no punishment.” By abolishing the death penalty yet leaving the penalty in force for those convicted of capital murder then awaiting punishment on Connecticut’s death row, the General Assembly and Mr. Malloy were arranging to execute prisoners in the absence of a law prescribing the death penalty for capital felony. But – where there is no law, there can be no punishment. The death penalty abolition law and the carve-out established by the General Assembly and signed by Mr. Malloy, a former repentant prosecutor, was worse than unconstitutional; it was arbitrary, patently unjust and a clear violation of the Natural Law.
The carve-out, however, was POLITICALLY necessary. The abolition bill was signed into law only five years after a horrific murder in Cheshire, and wounds were still bleeding. Time, the old adage has it, heals all wounds. In the fullness of time – only five years after two parolees had invaded Dr. William Petit’s home, beat the doctor senseless with a baseball bat, forced his wife to withdraw money from a bank account, raped and murdered both his wife and one of his younger daughters and murdered three women by setting fire to the house – the General Assembly and Mr. Malloy at long last had achieved their purpose. After the Cheshire mass murder, gun sales spiked in Connecticut. If it takes more than twenty minutes for police to arrive after you’ve called them,”
one gun purchaser told me, “You have to depend on yourself.”
one gun purchaser told me, “You have to depend on yourself.”
In due course, the Connecticut Supreme Court vacated the death penalty for the eleven death row inmates – for the wrong reason. The court did not argue that it was a violation of justice itself to execute a capital felon in the absence of a law prescribing the death penalty for felony murder; instead, adopting a sociological pose, the court arbitrarily ruled that “the death penalty was an outdated tool of justice at odds with today’s societal values," a judgement correctly characterized by Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers as “a house of cards, falling under the slightest breath of scrutiny.”
Those politicians favoring abolition of the death penalty most vigorously – co-chairs of the state’s judiciary committee Michael Lawlor, now Mr. Malloy’s undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning, and Andrew McDonald, recently appointed to Connecticut’s Supreme Court by Mr. Malloy – argued implausibly that the death penalty had no deterrent value. If the prospect of death – which clears the mind wonderfully, Dr. Johnson said – is not a deterrent, then NO PUNISHMENT may be regarded as a deterrent; such is the ruling in the court of common sense. Actually, it was the failure to impose capital punishment, a feature designed into Connecticut’s rococo death penalty process, that made deterrence less effective. Mr. McDonald has yet to be asked why he did not recuse himself in the death penalty abolition decision.
Death penalty abolition is only one of the carrots in Mr. Malloy’s penological reform quiver. Mr. Lawlor, also a prosecutor, has constructed a Rube Goldberg penological machine that permits violent criminals such as rapists to earn get-out-of-jail-early credits while in prison. One of his students, a card-carrying member of a violent gang who burned his mattress while in jail, served as a drug mule and assaulted guards and other prisoners, Frankie “The Razor” Resto, acquired an illegal weapon on release – not, one may be sure, at a gun show -- waltzed into an EZMart store in Meriden, and shot and murdered the co-owner of the store AFTER the victim had obligingly turned over his cash register receipts to Mr. Razor. The vicious murderer plea bargained his sentence and, in any case, presently has nothing to fear from Connecticut’s repealed capital punishment law – or, for that matter, from Mr. Malloy’s penological reforms, which are all carrots and no stick. Michelle Cruz, Connecticut's VictimsAdvocate at the time, who performed her duties much too conscientiously, was effectively replaced by pro-abolition activist Malloy and his factotums.
Mr. Malloy’s latest attempt to repeal reality by redefining settled concepts involves proposed legislation that would redefine the parameters of juvenile behavior, and never mind that including convicted criminals up to age 24 in the juvenile law bucket is itself a juvenile attempt to change reality through magic thinking – which has little to do with genuine penological reform. A more comprehensive penological reform would abolish ALL punishments on the grounds that only therapeutic forgiveness deters crime. The Malloy administration is not there yet.
Sunday, November 08, 2015
A Hartford paper noted that Mr. Bronin had amassed a campaign war chest of $937,377, an abundance of riches the paper terms “unprecedented,” by which we should understand “indecently obscene.” Mr. Bronin’s competitors in the Mayoralty race – Republican candidate Theodore "Ted" Cannon and Working Families Party candidate Joel Cruz Jr., running for Mayor as an unaffiliated candidate, were impoverished, relatively speaking. Mr. Cruz raised $19,587, Mr. Cannon $1,500, spending $1,224 mostly on lawn signs. The money Mr. Cannon spent attempting to reach the hearts and minds of voters will surprise the same sort of people who will be astonished to discover there is a Republican Party in Hartford.
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
As leading politicians in Connecticut – including Republicans, so far frozen out of budget negotiations by Governor Dannel Malloy -- gather together to decide collectively how to shore up sagging state revenues, a recent report issued by state comptroller Kevin Lembo contains a fly in the ointment.
Mr. Lembo is predicting a $118 million budget deficit. No surprise there; deficits have been a recurring feature in budgets sent by Mr. Malloy to the Democratic controlled General Assembly. Rather than call a special session to fix the problem, Mr. Malloy has relied on his rescission authority to patch the repetitive holes. Mr. Malloy’s last budget cuts came a bit too close to the bone and disturbed Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, who in the past had winked at Mr. Malloy’s two massive tax increases, the largest and the second largest in state history.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The relationship between Republicans on the one hand and Governor Dannel Malloy and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and President Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney, on the other has been frosty from the beginning of Mr. Malloy’s tenure in office. “Frosty” may be a considerable understatement: On budgetary matters, Democrats and Republicans were not on speaking terms at all.
Mr. Malloy, quite consciously, pushed Republican leaders out of the room during all his budget negotiations, which made budget formation easier for the Governor, even as it signaled a certain audacious and dismissive attitude towards Republicans. In fact, Mr. Malloy had diagnosed Connecticut’s ills before he presented his first budget to the General Assembly. He knew what he had to do and proceeded to plow an unobstructed path for himself.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Governor Dannel Malloy’s economic policy does not work. But he is in good company. The nonprofit health-insurance companies set up to help people enroll in Obamacare are now failing.
Mr. Malloy’s progressive economic policy may be summed up this way: State government serves as a transformer, collecting money from the real economy and disbursing it according to need, from those who have to those who have not. Karl Marx laid down the law of a socialist economy more than a hundred and fifty years ago: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” In enlightened countries, the job is done without destroying either capital or capitalists. “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope,” Marx said. Progressive ambitions in the United States have been more modest. They proceed from Matthew (19:20-24) rather than Marx, and their adherents in the United States so far have been content to await a final felicity at the final judgment:
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
"… these people keep saying there's got to be other ways to do it. I'm calling their bluff" – Governor Dannel Malloy, announcing his plan for a pre-special session, closed door meeting.
“These people” are, of course, minority Republicans in the General Assembly who have been consistently shooed out of room by Mr. Malloy during budget negotiations. The above quote suggests that Mr. Malloy, beset by continuing deficits, is now prepared to negotiate in good faith with side-bar Republicans. Mr. Malloy clearly is signaling that the “greater good” should take precedence over the lesser good sometimes supported by majority Democrats whose political livelihood depends upon securing the active intervention of special interests.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Malloy's approval rating at all-time low… Shrug: 'I've never run my life to be popular'... TheDay: Malloy's very bad year... Stevens: Malloy 'toxic'... Record-Journal: Where have Connecticut jobs gone?...”
The single event that precipitated this run of bad news for Governor Dannel Malloy, the most progressive chief executive in Connecticut since Wilber Cross, was the most recent Quinnipiac University poll. First elected in 1930, when the progressive era in American politics was in full swing – Yes, Virginia, progressivism is even older than that, though the Cross administration is but a few years older than Bernie Sanders, progressivism’s great white hope for president -- Mr. Cross abolished child labor and instituted the state’s minimum wage rate. Grateful for superman governors during The Great Depression, Connecticut later would show its appreciation of Mr. Cross by naming a highway after him.
Monday, October 12, 2015
It may be possible to trace the evolution of Eminent Domain from a U. S. Supreme Court Kelo vs. New London decision to its broader use by the Malloy administration.
In Kelo vs. New London, the high court decided it was proper under the “just compensation” clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for a state to use eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another private owner in order to further economic development. The “just compensation” clause of the Fifth Amendment provides that no person may be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
A recent Yankee Institute study – “Unequal Pay: Public Vs. Private Sector Compensation in Connecticut” – provides a data foundation that supports what everyone writing about budgets in the State of Connecticut has known for many years.
The study shows that while the average non-tax supported worker in Connecticut earns a slightly higher salary than his state employee counterpart, benefits received by state employees far outpace those in the private sector by a ratio of about two to one. According to the study, total compensation for state employees, which includes salary and benefits, exceeds similar compensation for non-government workers in the state by at least 25 percent.
Monday, October 05, 2015
“What a tangled web we weave when once we practice to deceive” – Sir Walter Scott
If a suit filed by the Democratic State Central Committee in Hartford Superior Court in answer to previous suit filed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) is upheld, Connecticut’s clean election law will have been judicially repealed. Under such circumstance, the Friends of Clean Elections in the General Assembly – assuming anyone holding elective office is a friend of clean elections in Connecticut – will have no choice but to repeal the law or, as seems more likely, gut and fillet it.
Saturday, October 03, 2015
The juxtapositions are jarring.
According to one story, Governor Dannel Malloy has spent “$1 Million To Lure 16 Jobs to Stamford.” Mr. Malloy is lending MC Credit Partners $1 million at a two percent interest rate, and the company will be able to convert half of the loan into a gift “if it adds 10 people by 2018 and maintains 26 employees through 2020. If it only adds five workers, $250,000 of the loan will be forgiven.”
Connecticut -- for all practical purposes, a one-party state -- has now become a gambling den for crony capitalists. The sixteen jobs for which Mr. Malloy paid nearly a million were filched from New York City, whose crony capitalist governor, Mario Cuomo, would happily pay an equivalent amount on jobs he may in the future manage to filch from Connecticut. Mr. Cuomo recently put in a bid for General Electric (GE) jobs after the company’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, expressed profound dissatisfaction with Connecticut’s chronically out of balance and business-hostile budget. The budget included a new unitary tax that, applied against GE, might result in taxes paid to Connecticut on GE’s out-of-state entities. We all know it takes two to crony: a crony politician offering special exemptions, and a capitalist willing to oblige. In certain quarters, Mr. Immelt is the Vladimir Putin of crony capitalists, an aggressive bargainer with nuclear tipped teeth.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
"The Future ain't what it used to be" -- Yogi Berra
Ben Barnes, Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget guru, is a late convert to reality. But having overcome the progressive stiffness in his joints, Mr. Barnes, now rising from his knees, has got economic religion. One hopes that Mr. Barnes’ conversion to common sense rubs off on his boss.
Last June, pointing to an under-performing economy battered by a quarter century of mounting tax increases and tortuous federal and state regulations, Mr. Barnes explained to an astonished gaggle of news reporters that Connecticut should get used to frequent deficits. Even this partial confession astounded some members of Connecticut’s media who perhaps had been wondering why nearly all of the “balanced budgets” submitted by Mr. Malloy to a Democratic dominated General Assembly so quickly unbalanced themselves once Election Day had passed.
Friday, September 25, 2015
It would suit progressives, for instance, if the Pope would be so good as to repeal thousands of years of Catholic teaching on abortion. No matter the Pope of the moment, this will happen only when Hell freezes over. But progressives welcome the present Pope’s views on climate change and capital punishment, while on the right, such views are anathema. Pope Francis’ antipathy toward raw capitalism cheers such as socialist Bernie Sanders, who is running for President this year, as well as President Barack Obama who, during welcoming ceremonies at the White House, extravagantly praised the Pope on his resemblance to himself. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but, however flattering, imitation falls far short of self-praise, which is always intensely sincere.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
One publication noted that the primary defeats of the three incumbent Democratic mayors indicated a “hunger for change” in cities long dominated by the Democratic Party. Three questions arise: What changes are in the minds of Democratic voters who turned a frozen face to incumbents? To what extent is change possible within cities dominated for decades by a single party? And why has the hunger for change not moved more voters towards the Republican Party?
Friday, September 18, 2015
On slow news days – especially when the state legislature is out of session and everyman’s life, liberty and property is a bit safer from despoliation – some newspaper in Connecticut is bound to run a story on the state’s “wealth gap,” the always intolerable difference between the assets of Greenwich hedge fund managers and city dwellers hedged about by poverty, crime and cultural dissolution.
The wealth gap in Connecticut is large because the poor, despite years of Great Society programs, are still poor, and the rich are still rich. Quick now: Which has been the least successful national policy, the war on drugs or the war on poverty? The stairway connecting Heaven, Connecticut’s upstairs, and Hell, the state’s downstairs, is long but gilded at the top. The underlying assumption of all such stories is that the poor are poor BECAUSE the rich are rich. It follows that if a compassionate government were able to even the scales by redistributing wealth from rich Paul to poor Peter, life would be more equitable and just and, as an incidental benefit, there would be fewer wealth gap stories. No one on the distribution end of the war on poverty seems to notice that poverty and the wealth gap march forward in tandem.
Friday, September 11, 2015
In Connecticut’s politicized Supreme Court, exceptions have BECOME the rule. That is what happened when Justice Richard Palmer constructed his decision on the Constitutionality of Connecticut’s death penalty on a dissent in Glossip v. Gross, a case in which a challenge to the death penalty on Constitutional grounds had been denied by the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol. The decision was a narrow one, but Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed in their dissent to import larger issues.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Mr. Blumenthal has issued a manifesto supporting his decision, a convoluted thousand word media release that quickly collapses from its own internal stresses.
Mr. Blumenthal supports the deal because he prefers diplomacy to war – even, it would appear a diplomacy that enriches Iran and winks at the likely nuclearization of the Middle East.
Friday, September 04, 2015
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
I want to thank Mark Davis for inviting me to speak to you today. As you know, he’s been involved in the Wallingford Rotary for years. After you’ve put in productive years with Rotary, you acquire bragging rights, and this Rotary has much to boast of. Mark doesn’t hold back. He and others regard Rotary as the best volunteer social organization in the country and he’s proud to associate with this Rotary in particular, which started in 1923 and has given nearly a million dollars in grants to nonprofits. You are to be congratulated on your energy, business intelligence and community concern.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The cunning, canned response issuing from the seven Democratic members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation is: The Obama/Kerry/Khamenei deal may be flawed, but there is no better alternative.
The acknowledgment of “flaws” in the deal concocted by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, the ostensible purpose of which is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear device, is a campaign breastplate. No one among Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S.Congressional Delegation has unreservedly embraced the “flawed” deal. Never-the-less, they will vote for the deal, flaws and all, for the greater glory of their President and party. Among lockstep Democrats in the Northeast, Senator Schumer of New York stands out as a notable exception. If the deal should in the future give birth to horrific consequences, those now voting for it may always point to their breastplate reservations.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Apart from being friendly to each other in the past, what do Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic Party presidential candidate, and Donald Trump, Hillary’s counterpart in the Republican Party, have in common?
Both are leading in the polls, and both are flawed candidates; Mr. Trump because he’s a shallow thinker, however entertaining, and Mrs. Clinton because both her distant and recent past are pockmarked with irregularities.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
“Many education pundits,” the educators wrote, “now suggest the teacher is no longer the center of learning, and that students learn more from one another than from the faculty. . .this re-alignment means faculty must become ‘facilitators’ of learning. It's imperative that WE. . .[change] our pedagogical approach immediately.”
Thursday, August 20, 2015
“I don't give reasons. I give orders!” -- Captain Ahab, Moby Dick
It seems only yesterday that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey was threatening to hold a net on the borders of Connecticut and catch companies as they fled a tax prone Democratic Governor and majority Democrats in the state’s General Assembly. Governor Malloy derided the notion. Christie, a blustery Republican, was an easy punching bag. Not so Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently met with CEO of General Electric Jeff Immelt to discuss moving GE business from Connecticut to New York.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
In 2012, the Democrat majority in the General Assembly abolished Connecticut’s death penalty while leaving the penalty operative for the 11 convicted murderers on death row, thus demolishing all their moral arguments against capital punishment. If the death penalty is cruel, unusual and morally indefensible, would it not be doubly inappropriate for convicted death row inmates?
Hours before the bill was passed, this writer remarked:
“The inevitable passage of the bill will unleash a flood of appeals that will at a minimum further delay the executions of Connecticut’s 11 death row inmates. It is almost certain that at some point in the future a Democratic dominated legislature supported by a Democratic governor, all of whom will have been instrumental in abolishing the death penalty, would be morally derelict in resisting the commutation of the death sentences of the 11 prisoners now awaiting execution on death row. The death penalty having been abolished for prospective criminals who in the future might violate Connecticut’s narrowly circumscribed rarely applied death sentence, no moral justification for the death penalty could withstand a call for the commutation of those awaiting execution authorized by a lapsed and outmoded law.”
Friday, August 14, 2015
“Abortion rights” – which is to say unrestricted abortion – figures prominently in U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s utopia.
A bill introduced by Mr. Blumenthal, The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, would affirm unrestricted abortion by making it impossible for states to regulate abortion providers, chiefly Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States. To Blumenthal watchers, a bill preventing various actors in the abortion drama, including states and the federal government, from propounding any rules governing abortion at any stage of the birth process for any reason would seem to be out of character for Mr. Blumenthal, who spent much of his two decades as Attorney General in Connecticut suing businesses for having violated regulations while proposing bills to Connecticut’s General Assembly that would further hobble a Connecticut economy already gagging on needless regulations.
Sunday, August 09, 2015
Mr. Schumer’s forceful decision not to approve the Iran/Putin/Obama deal has been called a “break in the dike.” Democrats in the recent past have tended to march in lockstep with President Barack Obama. Mr. Schumer is a threatening crack in Democratic foreign policy obduracy. It is just through such cracks in the political asphalt, said Alexander Solzhenitsyn, that lonely flowers bloom.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Many Trump critics, most scornfully Kevin Williamson in National Review, find Donald Trump abhorrent because he is a Republican In Name Only (RINO). Mr. Trump seems to gravitate between the parties as circumstances dictate.
Mr. Williamson notes that Mr. Trump is “a tax-happy crony capitalist who is hostile to free trade but very enthusiastic about using state violence to homejack private citizens — he backed the Kelo decision '100 percent' and has tried to use eminent domain in the service of his own empire of vulgarity — and generally has about as much command of the issues as the average sophomore at a not especially good college, which is what he was (sorry, Fordham) until his family connections got him into Penn.”
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth” – George Orwell, 1984
The “constant sniping and cherry-picking bad news from the good” has given Connecticut Speaker of the House of Representatives Brendan Sharkey heart palpitations.
In a Hartford Courant column, Mr. Sharkey writes:
“Rather than attempt to establish themselves as credible participants in our state's democratic process, the Republicans will say or do anything in an attempt to gain a political advantage, no matter how harsh or misleading, and without regard to the negative effects their behavior has on Connecticut's economy or its future.
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city, has been a one-horse town since 1971, when the last Republican Mayor, Ann Uccello, was recruited by then President Richard Nixon to serve in the U.S. Department of Transportation. Since that time, more than 44 years, Hartford has languished in the grip of the Democratic Party hegemon.
Hegemony always has and always will produce aberrant and corrupt government, largely because in one-party systems there are no political checks and balances, the administrative state is captive to an easily manipulable single party, and there are fewer eyes looking through the windows.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Members of Connecticut’s Democrat State Central Committee on July 22 voted unanimously to pull the eject lever on Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, and Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, widely considered the father of the modern Democratic Party. On a unanimous voice vote, the names of the two gentlemen were stripped from the Party’s annual “Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner.” The Confederate Flag lowered permanently from a flagpole on the lawn of the State Capitol in South Carolina following the racist-terrorist murder of nine churchgoers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has brought down more than a flag.
On the 67th year of the annual Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey fete, Connecticut Democrats awakened suddenly to the slaver pasts of both Jefferson and Jackson. U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro stoutly resisted the effort to airbrush Mr. Jefferson from Democratic Party history. The third American president was, Mrs. DeLauro noted, one of the founders of the Republic, but she seemed willing enough to efface Mr. Jackson, an Indian killer and slaver whose violent character is far less defensible.
Perhaps Democrats in Connecticut spearheading the change should be asked if they would rather see Mr. Jackson replaced on the twenty dollar bill than Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill. The change is being made to make room for a yet unannounced woman of moment. Mr. Hamilton certainly was no friend of slavery and did much to shape the American economy. Mr. Jackson resisted the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States, moved Indians onto reservations, robbed black farmers of their land in Florida and was as President at least as intemperate with his political foes as the current Democratic President or, coming closer to home, our prickly Governor Dannel Malloy, all of whose budgets were formed without Republican Party input. Bi-partisan government in Connecticut was thrown to the winds when Mr. Malloy, the first Democratic governor in the state since 1991, assumed office.
The politically opportune airbrushing of history presents awkward practical problems. George Washington, considered the father of the country, was also a slaver, though Washington did manumit his slaves to freedom in his will. Washington D.C., where Mrs. DeLauro commingles with other Democrats at the policy salons she holds at her plush Capitol Hill townhouse, is named after the nation’s first President. Should the nation’s capital be renamed? And what is to done with the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial?
A hint that the author of the Declaration of Independence was to be degraded was provided by Governor Dannel Malloy at the last Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner. Mr. Malloy said the change would not trouble him and later offered a few suggestions that would attach the Democratic Party to its more modern evocations.
The problems of the past will continue to haunt the Democratic Party for years to come. Slavery, Jim Crow and its modern equivalents must continue to be denounced, and there is little question that Republicans -- called by Democrats in the South during slave days “black Republicans”-- have less need than the Democratic Party to shed the past. “Shed” is exactly the right word: As people and institutions move from the past to the future, they slough off their past sins, like snakes shedding their skins. The oak tree is not the acorn. And the problems that face blacks today in America are both similar and different than those that confronted Frederick Douglass, who was asked by Abraham Lincoln following his Second Inaugural Address what he thought of the speech now engraved on the north chamber wall of the Lincoln monument. John Wilkes Booth, in the audience, heard Lincoln say:
“The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’ If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
Lincoln's remarks run like lava through Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, delivered nearly a hundred years later from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This was the same Lincoln who praised Jefferson on the occasion of his birthday celebration in Boston for having inserted into the Declaration of Independence language – “All men are created equal” -- that in time struck the irons from the feet of slaves:
“This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.
“All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”
Frederick Douglass would have agreed with Lincoln’s assessment.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
“It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us -- the lesson of the fearsome word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.”
― Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem : A Report on the Banality of Evil
― Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem : A Report on the Banality of Evil
The relationship between U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal and Connecticut’s left of center media during his twenty years and more as the state’s Attorney General has been a cordial one. There are reasons for this. A consumer protection Attorney General, Mr. Blumenthal found it easy to press all the right buttons, and journalistic experience he had acquired at Harvard – he was an active journalist for the Harvard Crimson – put him in good odor with newspaper editors. A sampling of Mr. Blumenthal’s news reporting is preserved even today in the news morgue of the Harvard Crimson.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Somewhere, Fyodor Dostoyevsky says the average life of a man is about three generations; that would be around 180 years.
Why so long?
Well, a man lives in the lives of his family, children and friends. The problem of death – real death, in the sense of obliteration and forgetfulness – begins after the third generation. By the fourth generation, a man is forgotten. Life has lost its grip on the human imagination, and the man is gone, utterly gone, at least on this side of death’s veil. For Christians who believe in the promises of the Living God, death is swallowed up in life everlasting. But not all of us have the courage – or the imagination -- to believe such things.
Friday, July 17, 2015
Never has a president waved the white flag so gaily. The sanctions on Iran were a success, which is why, come to think of it, Iran has so importunately insisted on their removal. Removing the sanctions for so little in return is an abject failure.
One day after the Obama-Iran deal was inked, Obama faced the cameras and said the alternative to his agreement would have been war rather than, say, tougher sanctions. That is a false alternative. But then this administration has been for several years on good terms with falsity. The operative assumption of the Obama administration seems to be that you really CAN fool most of the people all the time. The only thing more disgraceful than the Obama-Iran agreement – which surrenders any real possibility of preventing the distribution of nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East – is “Winter Soldier” John Kerry, the second worst Secretary of State in recent times.
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