Friday, February 24, 2017
It is no secret that the members of Connecticut’s U.S. Delegation, nearly all progressive Democrats, are unalterably opposed to the Trump administration. Having lost the White House and both Houses of Congress, undeterred progressives never-the-less are progressing, and few are the Democrats willing to buck the “Never Trump” crowd.
Rep. Jim Himes, who fancies himself a Democratic moderate, called the first two weeks of Trump's presidency a “goat rodeo,” according to a Hartford Courant story.
Gary Rose, a political science professor at Sacred Heart University, is convinced Democrats in Connecticut are playing to their base: “I would say that for [the Connecticut delegation] to challenge the president, as they frequently are doing and will do, is probably bolstering their own standing within their base," Rose said. "And I think that they would probably, quite frankly, place themselves in a little ... political jeopardy if they were perceived as accommodating this president."
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
It is because we wish to preserve the right of statesmen to speak freely that we tolerate the demagogue. It may be important to point out that the word “demagogue” did not always have a negative connotation. The demagogue in ancient Greece and Rome was one who was uniquely able to speak to the populace in terms they might understand; he was the vox populi. In a society rigidly separated by class – rich and poor, privileged and non-privileged, free and slave – Greek and Roman demagogues were what today we would call populists, a term of approval in some quarters. The first notable Greek cynic, Antisthenes, a student of Socrates, would have found himself right at home in Twitterville. The demagogue is the populist with a golden tongue, popular because he is persuasive. No one very much minds unpersuasive political opponents, unless they are largely inarticulate anarchic mobs determined to destroy free speech.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
the Record Journal reports, is not anti-gun. He has proposed raising pistol permit fees by $230; presently, fees are hovering around $50. He is pro-fee. “I’m not anti-gun,’ Malloy said. “I have lots of friends who are hunters and I know lots of people who have guns.”
Following the slaughter of the innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Malloy succeeded in passing a bill through Connecticut’s General Assembly rather quickly. The National Rifle Association (NRA), the bete noir of Malloy and Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, protested as expected.
Following passage of an “assault weapons” ban among the most restrictive in the nation, Malloy appeared on CNN’s show “State of the Union” and fragged both the gun industry, some of it still operating in Connecticut, and the NRA. “What this is about,” said Malloy, “is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible—even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care. They want to sell guns,” apparently to Malloy’s friends.
Friday, February 17, 2017
I will be giving the key note address for the Meriden Lincoln Day event (see below). The address is titled "Lincoln Alive: His Relevance to Modern Politics." An excerpt follows:
" Studying the speeches of Lincoln – even his casual remarks – and comparing them with the sound-bite rhetoric of any modern politician you care to mention, one is forced to the conclusion that the Darwinian notion that a final product is more complex and perfect at the end of any developmental process is pure hokum. Only a political process that retains what is best and purifies our politics by speaking to the angels of our better nature can be called an improvement, a step forward toward beauty and perfection.”
I hope to see you there, but if you cannot attend, pass along the notice to others.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
After Alice falls through the rabbit hole, she finds herself in an alternate universe in which right is left and up is down, a distorted mirror image of life in the real world. Along the way, she encounters the heartless Queen of Hearts who says to her, “First the verdict, then the trial.” She also meets Humpty Dumpty, who uses words variously to mean A and NOT-A, prompting this dialogue:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things.’"
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master — that’s all."
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Forbes magazine asked last March “Can Connecticut Be Saved?” The bone-crushing statistics provided were telling: “Connecticut’s job-growth rate is a meager 1.1%, compared with the national average of 5.1%. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the state’s unemployment rate is 5.5%, compared with a national average of 4.9%. Connecticut ranks among the top 10 states for net out-migration, losing 140,571 taxpayers in that same 10-year time period. And this trend can be tracked over several decades. Between 1992 and 2014, Connecticut lost $12.36 billion in annual adjusted gross income (AGI).”
Last July the Mercatus Center placed Connecticut number one among states having the worst fiscal conditions in the nation. So then, what can be done to pull Connecticut from its tailspin?
Sunday, February 12, 2017
A Self-Interview February 2017
Q: I’ve heard you say on Jim Vicevich’s radio program that progressivism as we’ve known it during the past few years of the Obama administration may be a spent bullet?
A: Yes and no.
Q: Give us the “yes” first.
A: Barack Obama is a spent bullet. Had Hillary Clinton been elected president, Obama might have had a brief afterlife. That did not happen; instead, the country turned, pretty resolutely and in anguish, to Donald Trump, the horse of a different color. The left continues to show its disappointment. Anarchists join a protest march at Berkley and succeed in storming a Starbucks; Trump’s cabinet nominations are delayed; and then there is that tar-bush speech by Elizabeth Warren in the course of which she quoted the late Edward Kennedy on U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, recently appointed Trump’s attorney general. Quoting Kennedy, Warren said, "Mr. Sessions is a throwback to a shameful era which I know both black and white Americans thought was in our past. It is inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a U.S. Federal judge. He is, I believe, a disgrace to the Justice Department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position.” Warren had violated a Senate rule of decorum and was ordered to leave the podium. A momentary media spasm erupted.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
"We're careening, literally, toward a constitutional crisis. And he's [Judge Gorsuch] been nominated by a president who has repeatedly and relentlessly attacked the American judiciary on three separate occasions, their credibility and trust is in question" Blumenthal on CNN
President Donald Trump is irascible and prone to childish fits of personal outrage, but his dealings with the judiciary are not quite as bloodcurdling as those of President Andrew Jackson, the founder of the modern Democratic Party.
Friday, February 10, 2017
according to a story in the Washington Examiner.
"Given that you did not disclose a number of those awards,” Blumenthal asked, “are there any other awards from groups that have similar kinds of ideological negative views of immigrants or of African-Americans or Muslims or others, including awards that you may have received from the Ku Klux Klan?"
Thursday, February 09, 2017
If it were possible for Governor Dannel Malloy to transfer Connecticut’s debt backward to previous administrations, he would do so a New York minute. This being impossible, he has shifted blame for the state’s current indebtedness to preceding governors, absolving from adverse criticism, for some odd reason, former Governor Lowell Weicker, whom he rarely mentions as being a governor who had run up future debt by increasing taxes and spending.
Perhaps that is because Malloy himself has adopted Weicker’s strategy in attacking debt – raise taxes. Twice since he had been elected the first Democratic governor in twenty six years, Malloy has raised taxes, imposing on the state both the largest and the second largest tax increases in state history. The last Connecticut pre-income tax budget was about $7.5 billion; the current Malloy budget is nearly three times as large, every single penny of it having been appropriate from Connecticut’s real working party, middle class people mostly who uncomplainingly go off to work in in the morning, kiss their children good night in the evening, go off to working in the morning and pay their increasingly burdensome taxes.
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
This is the lede to the column: “Since the inauguration, the White House has taken several ham-handed escalatory steps that bring into question whether Trump and his most radical advisers are begging for war with Iran. This would be a disaster of epic scale, perhaps eclipsing the nightmare of the Iraq War. Republicans and Democrats need to start viewing President Donald Trump's actions and words as a possible accidental or intentional prelude to major conflict, and take steps to counter this dangerous slide to war.”
Almost every sentence is parsable. Taken as a whole, the piece amounts to a pawn house of campaign talking points, none of which are new, all of which are doubtful. From Murphy’s view atop the progressive mountain, some of Trump's advisors appear radical. Point of view determines one’s place on the political spectrum.
Sunday, February 05, 2017
It was Rahm Emanuel, then consigliore to the Obama administration, now mayor of crime infested Chicago, who once reminded us that clever Harvard educated politicians and street organizers should never let a crisis go to waste. Progressives in the General Assembly have wholeheartedly adopted Emanuel’s view.
In his most recent budget, likely unbalanced, Malloy will present to the General Assembly a progressive measure that would “shift $407.6 million, nearly one-third of the annual cost of municipal school teachers’ pensions, onto cities and towns — a move that would hit the state’s wealthiest communities the hardest,” according to CTMirror.
So some say. It is worth noting that the “progressive tax by other means” will draw down municipal resources, weaken town government and pave the way to a false solution: the replacement of town governments with a regional structure overseen by a state that, unlike municipal governments, is chronically incapable of balancing its own books. Once you allow the redistribution of educational funds inequitably, the progressive scheme may be applied progressively in other ways. The crisis in state government, for those operating on the Emanuel principle, need not lead to more responsible state government. The opposite is true: progressivism allows governing bodies to escape public scrutiny, expand powers executed irresponsibly and lay the blame for misgovernment on innocent parties.
Saturday, February 04, 2017
U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly has shut down a criminal Grand Jury investigation into questionable election funding by Connecticut’s Democratic Party, according to stories in multiple Connecticut papers.
Democrats, one must suppose, are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Grand Jury investigations are always fraught with danger because they are Star Chamber proceedings in which attorneys generally are able to persuade jurors to support charges filed against defendants who are not permitted defense representation. The old joke is that a halfway capable U.S. Attorney would be able in a grand jury proceeding to convict a grapefruit of jaywalking.
Apart from a brief announcement that the grand jury had been shut down, Ms. Daly made herself unavailable for questioning. “A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deidre M. Daly,” a Courant report read, “would not comment.”
The “no comment” means that answers to all the important questions will be buried with the decision not to prosecute.
Thursday, February 02, 2017
Thermidore was the eleventh month in the French revolutionary calendar, derived from the Greek word “thermos,” which means hot. And it was hot indeed, particularly for the French monarchy. Heads rolled after a particularly severe bread shortage in Paris, which was caused by a monarchy inattentive to an overtaxed middle class about whom Marie Antoinette reportedly said “Let’em eat cake.” Poor Marie likely did not say it, but this did not prevent the French revolutionists from cranking out convincing propaganda or, as we are now pleased to call it “fake news.”
Connecticut may be approaching Thermidore, that point at which the patience of a majority of the people finally snaps.
CTMirror pretty much comes right out and says it in a readable series written by Keith Phaneuf, “AS CUTS GET UGLY, LEGISLATORS FORFEIT POWER, TRANSPARENCY.”
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself” – Mark Twain
Connecticut’s Excellence in Political Idiocy Commission (EPIC), located in Vernon, Connecticut – rents in Hartford, the state’s failing Capital city, the Commission found, were much too prohibitive -- this year has bestowed its uncoveted Dumbbell Award to Democrats in Connecticut’s General Assembly.
There were, as always, runners-up.
While Republicans in Connecticut have made gains in the General Assembly during the past few sessions, it is clear they have miles to go before they sleep. Following the most recent elections, Connecticut’s state Senate is now tied, 18-18, and Republicans have steadily made gains in the House.
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