Sunday, July 31, 2016

Connecticut Down: Bad News And Good News

It took a while, but Connecticut is now lying prostrate on its back, thrashing about and gasping for air.

Those who have not fled the state in search of more propitious business circumstances elsewhere remember a time when Connecticut was a magnet for companies that provided high paying jobs and, not incidentally, a rich source of revenue that kept the wolves – other ambitious states that seek to lure Connecticut companies to their own lairs – at bay.

It seems only yesterday that former Governor Lowell Weicker, attending a function at the Hartford Club, clutched his head in his hands, when shown a graph that depicted Connecticut’s disappearing surpluses, and moaned loudly, “Where did it all go?”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Esty And The Email Tide

An obedient Democratic National Convention soldier, U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has always eagerly followed orders, according to hacked  emails dumped on the general public by Wikileaks. The dump coincided with the opening of the Democrat National Nominating Convention in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.

CtNewsJunkie reports that “A majority of the emails involve her [Esty’s} participation in a DNC conference call with reporters a few months ago regarding the issue of gun control. The call followed Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s appearance at the NRA leadership forum.”

The false exclusive connection between the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association (NRA) – Democrats own guns too --promises to loom large in the upcoming General Election, owing to the efforts of Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and the state’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Parsing Murphy

‘All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”
 – Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide

Connecticut US Senator Chris Murphy appeared for an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News just as the National Democratic Nominating Convention was reeling from email disclosures that set even fierce Hillary Clinton supporters back on their heels. Mr. Murphy bullied his way through Mr. Baier’s questions but, alas, reality, that annoying spoiler of unreasoned optimism, poked its nose into Mr. Murphy’s tent.

Even as the Dr. Pangloss of Connecticut Democrats was saying that all was the best in the best of all possible Democratic worlds, the convention floor was bursting with rancor and – not too extreme a word – disgust.

The Democratic world had just been shaken by the release of 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), some of which appeared to confirm Socialist Bernie Sanders’ notion that the DNC had set its face against his candidacy for President on the Democratic ticket. Mr. Sanders had been assured by DNC head honchoes that the DNC was impartial and indifferent to both Democratic Primary contenders. But the emails showed, rather dramatically, that the far from impartial DNC was scheming against Mr. Sanders.

Following release of the emails, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whom Mr. Sanders had months earlier singled out as especially partisan to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, resigned her position as Chairwoman of the DNC amid hoots and hollers. But this being the best of all possible Democratic worlds, Ms. Schultz was hastily mollified with a new job as the honorary chair of Mrs. Clinton’s 50-state campaign program to help elect Democrats around the country. One wonders whether, at some point in her brave new future, Ms. Schultz may be booed off a Connecticut campaign platform. Will U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, up for re-election this year, invite Ms. Schultz to campaign for him? Will we find any of Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. House members – Joe Courtney, Elizabeth Esty, John Larson, Jim Himes or Rosa DeLauro – sharing their campaign platforms with Ms. Schultz?

Some emails showed DNC geniuses holding out political bonbons to favored reporters; others peeled back the veil of Democratic elite racism. Rebecca Christopher, DNC foot soldier, to “Video Vetting,” a Democratic Party propaganda vendor: “Attached is a script for a new video we’d like to use to mop up some more taco bowl engagement, and demonstrate the (sic) Trump actually isn’t trying.”

The excitable Mr. Murphy, Connecticut’s Junior Senator, has had only minimal practice in the fine art of campaign dissimulation; consequently, he is not quite as expert in the field as Mr. Blumenthal, who has had more than twenty years practice wrestling with the media. When Mr. Baier asked Mr. Murphy whether he thought the DNC’s attempt to sabotage Mr. Sanders’ campaign would play out in the general election, Mr. Murphy answered:

“I can tell you in my state, which Hillary Clinton won in a close contest, people made up their minds based on their evaluation of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and Bernie Sanders as a candidate, and nothing that the DNC was doing had anything to do with the decisions that primary voters in my state made. And so, I think this is much to (sic) do about nothing.”

Forget for the moment Mr. Murphy’s Shakespearean misattribution: The title of the Shakespearean play, one of the bard’s most well-known and often produced comedies, is “Much Ado About Nothing.” Focus instead on Mr. Murphy’s inept misdirection. The e-mails that have created such a roiling in the Democratic Party could not have played any role in the Connecticut Democratic Presidential primary because THEY WERE NOT RELEASED UNTIL AFTER THE PRIMARIES HAD CONCLUDED IN CONNECTICUT. Generally, one expects effects to follow causes but in Mr. Murphy’s overly optimistic political science, where all is best in this the best of all possible worlds, effects may be expected to precede causes.

In Mr. Murphy’s own case, neither effects nor causes may disturb his future re-election prospects. Mr. Murphy is not up for reelection for two long years, a black hole in space that can consume whole worlds of ineptitude. Or, as Mr. Murphy put it to Mr. Baier, “Listen, I think first of all, we have to understand that conventions are for insiders … What happens here and what happens in Philadelphia, it’s interesting for you and I; it’s interesting for people that pay attention to politics, but it’s really not what ultimately makes up people’s minds.”

Translation: Voters are not much interested in conventions or political promises or e-mails that at some golden time in American politics might have sunk a whole flotilla of politicians. We now determine the political narrative. People think what we want them to think. The old times may have been good, but they are over. The future will be the best of all possible worlds because that is the way we have pictured it in our minds. Reality is tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, to quote Shakespeare. And tomorrow is an empty vessel we fill with our delicious, irresistible political elixirs.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Plague Of Emails, Malloy And The Ghost Of Bernie Sanders

It will not take Bernie Sanders long to disappear. His participation at the Democratic Presidential Nomination Convention will be his finest and final hour as a prime mover on the public stage.

Mr. Sanders started to disappear as a serious political threat for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton weeks and even months ago, when it became obvious that Mrs. Clinton would garner enough delegates to assure her nomination. Long before Mrs. Clinton had thrown off her annoying Primary incubus, her agents were doing their best to destroy the Sanders campaign, as recent emails hacked by Russian operatives and released by Wikileaks make clear.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Grand Jury Trouble Ahead for Malloy

Hartford Courant investigative reporter Jon Lender tells us that the office of the U.S. Attorney is now convening a criminal grand jury “to investigate claims of illegal fundraising by the state Democratic Party.”

Only a few weeks ago, it appeared that Governor Dannel Malloy’s problems had been settled in a questionable agreement accepted by two parties, the state Democratic Party and Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). The legal action brought by the SEEC, which stemmed from a complaint issued by former Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, had been terminated when the State Democratic Party agreed to cough up $325,000 to bring to a conclusion a suit that would have required the Malloy administration to bring to public view in a messy legal action – shades of Hillary Clinton -- possibly incriminating e-mails involving the Governor and his co-conspirators.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lawlor The Lawbreaker

Mike Lawlor is, in the precise meaning of the term, a lawbreaker. And unfortunately, he cannot plead ignorance of the law.

In January 2011, Mr. Lawlor was appointed by newly installed Governor Dannel Malloy as Connecticut’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, a newly created position whipped up by Mr. Malloy because the energetic governor wanted to put his mark on Connecticut’s penological system. Mr. Lawlor seemed the obvious choice: he had served in the state’s House of Representatives for twelve terms, 24 years, 16 years of which were spent as the co-chair of the Judiciary Committee along with State Senator Andrew McDonald, later appointed to Connecticut’s Supreme Court by Mr. Malloy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beyond “Plagiarism,” Stealing The Flag

The reader should note the quotations marks around the word “plagiarism.” The quote marks are intended to bracket the word in doubt because plagiarism often lies in the mind of the accuser. Note to the reader: I borrowed this thought from someone else, changing it slightly from “beauty lies in the mind of the beholder,” a sentiment some have traced to Plato.

Was Shakespeare plagiarizing when he borrowed heavily from Montaigne and Boccaccio? Or, as seems more likely, was he merely capturing their bright flags? We are not the inventors of the words we use to encapsulate our thoughts. In fact thoughts themselves have a parentage. C. S. Lewis put it this way: You cannot invent a new primary color. The attribution game is, in some cases, a tangle that has ensnared many an “expert.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Malloy v. Pence

Governor Dannel Malloy, approval rating 24%, is fast becoming the Donald Trump of Connecticut politics. Known among some commentators as “the porcupine,” largely because of his bristly nature, Mr. Malloy recently unloaded on Governor of Indiana Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential choice. Mr. Trump very likely will be the Republican Party nominee for President once the Republican presidential nominating convention has concluded its business, and Democrats across the nation are even now busily arranging their bumper-sticker responses. Mr. Malloy, head of the National Democratic Governors Association, has jumped far ahead of the pack.

If Donald Trump is looking for someone who is willing to discriminate, Mr. Malloy told the Hartford Courant hours before Mr. Trump had publicly announced his Vice Presidential choice, "he couldn't do any better. If you want to bring back discrimination in America, the Republicans have a ticket for it." Mr. Malloy added, “I think the positions that the governor [Pence] has taken throughout his political career indicate a deep-seated bigotry toward people who are different than him.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hillary And Her Enemies

Hillary’s enemies, the so-called vast right wing conspiracy to deny her the presidency, are not all members in good standing on the right.

Shortly after FBI Director James Comey failed to pronounce a doom on her, Mr. Comey having declined to prosecute Mrs. Clinton on criminal charges, the vast left wing Clintonista conspiracy began salting the political theatre with the absurd notion that she had been exonerated. Not everyone on the left bought into the “Hillary is blameless” bit. Colin McEnroe poured scorn on the notion  in his regular Hartford Courant column:

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Defending The Indefensible: The Connecticut Seven And Hillary Clinton

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post is not among the ardent defenders of prospective Democratic Party Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The good news, Mr. Cillizza writes in “The Fix,” is that Mrs. Clinton will not be wearing an orange jumpsuit anytime soon: “The FBI has recommended that no charges be brought following its investigation of the former Secretary of State's private email server.”

“Here’s the bad news,” Mr. Cillizza added, “Just about everything else. It’s hard to read Comey’s statement as anything other than a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton and her campaign team have been telling ever since the existence of her private email server came to light in spring 2015. She did send and receive classified emails. The setup did leave her — and the classified information on the server — subject to a possible foreign hack. She and her team did delete emails as personal that contained professional information.”

In their own attempt to defend the indefensible, the six members of Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation are not overly concerned with Mr. Cillizza’s “everything else.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Unconventional Conventions And GOP Prospects In Connecticut

The Presidential Nominating Conventions of both parties this election year will be unconventional, although the Republican Party Convention possibly  will be more unconventional.

The rising political star of Bernie Sanders, socialist, dipped below the horizon shortly after President Barack Obama, the nominal head of the Democrat Party, his hand gently touching Mr. Sanders’ sagging shoulder, led him to the White House and there sacrificed the socialist on the altar of progressivism.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Tammany Malloy

Speaking of Tammany Hall, Stamford Democratic registrar of voters Ron Malloy, the elder brother of Governor Dannel Malloy, has ruled that David Michel will not be able to run in the August 9 primary for a House of Representatives seat held by incumbent Democrat Terry Adams, according to a story in the Stamford Advocate.

Mr. Michel is contesting Ron Malloy’s decision in Court. “Many of the residents I have met in the South End and downtown,” Mr. Michel told the paper, “have told me I am the only candidate who has ever knocked on their door or listened and responded to their grievances,” Mr. Michel said.

Friday, July 01, 2016

How To Make Money From Blood In Two Easy Steps

In the heyday of Tammany Hall, an intrepid reporter regularly interviewed a Tammany Hall chieftain, ward boss George Washington Plunkitt, and later put together in a small book an illuminating and unintentionally hilarious compilation of the interviews, “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.” One of the book’s chapters is titled “Honest Graft.” There are two kinds of graft, Mr. Plunkitt explained: dishonest graft, which benefits only the grafter, and honest graft, which benefits the grafter, usually a politician, and the general public as well. Honest graft advances the public good, dishonest graph advances only the private ambitions of bad men. Distinctions of this kind, though subtle, are important for politicians who wish to put a halo around questionable activities.

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