Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Connecticut Dems Playing With Socialist Fire

National Democrats are, ever so gently, following socialist Pied Piper U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders back to the cave.  Connecticut Democrats, progressive to the bone, are likely to go along for the ride. The Pied Piper, it will be recalled, was hired by the mayor of Hamlin to rid the town of rats, which he did by piping them an enchanting tune. The mayor of the town refused payment, and the Pied Piper later avenged himself by piping the town’s children to a cave, where they were never heard from again. There are two morals to the story: debts incurred must be paid, and the instruments of destruction you use against your enemies easily may be turned upon yourself.

Forbes Magazine has examined the detailed Congressional Democrat tax hike plan. Many of us, including Newsweek magazine, have long concluded that "We Are All Socialists Now." The Democrat detailed plan includes, according to Forbes, an increase in the top marginal income tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent; an increase in the corporate income tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent; an alternative minimum tax (AMT) for 4 million families; a cut by half in the "death tax" standard deduction; and other useful progressive campaign stuffers.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Kavanaugh Hearing: Who Let The Dogs Out?

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been installed on the U.S. Supreme Court.  A voting majority on both sides of the apparently permanent political barricades is breathing sighs of relief, if only because the chaotic Senate hearings are over. Most people are bone weary of the political posturing and wonder how much permanent damage the U.S. Senate, not to mention the Supreme Court, may have suffered.

Nothing on the Democrat side of the barricades will be over until the party triumvirate – U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer – says it is over.  That seems unlikely. The Democrat effort here seems to be to strike at the president through his mask, in this case Kavanaugh. Blumenthal, it should be noted, pledged to vote against the Kavanaugh nomination even before he was nominated by Trump to succeed Justice Kennedy on the high court. In fact, Blumenthal was opposed to any of the candidates whose names appeared on a list of acceptable candidates supplied to the President by The Heritage Foundation, which noted in a September 2016 article, “Trump’s list of 11 potential justices includes five suggestions that had appeared in a commentary from The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson senior legal fellows, first published in March.”

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Lamont And Stefanowski: Questions Unasked, Issues Unexamined

Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidential election to current U.S. President Donald Trump, has been effectively sidelined as a national leader of the Democrat Party. Clinton, whose emails the Chinese were reading in real time when as Secretary of State she typed them out on an unsecured private server, likely will not make an appearance in Connecticut as a supporter of Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont.

But all is not lost. Lamont, running against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, has received a fulsome endorsement from former President Barack Obama, whose political star still twinkles in the dark heavens.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Blumenthal’s Glass House

"Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue,” said La Rochefoucauld. The hypocrite who hypocritically says one thing yet does the opposite is paying a tribute to virtue because deep down he knows what is right, though he lacks the moral fortitude to act upon it. There likely is a Latin translation floating around somewhere; moral admonitions sound so much better in Latin.

U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal used an unfortunate Latin expression in questioning Supreme Court prospect – over Blumenthal’s dead body! – Brett Kavanaugh.  He asked Kavanaugh, whose repute now lies in  tatters  thanks to a triumvirate of leading Senate muckrakers --  Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer -- Kavanaugh was familiar with the Latin phrase “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” a rough translation of which is: “False in one thing, false in all things.” The implication is that if one misrepresents objective reality even once, everything one has said previously is false; indeed, everything one may say AFTER the presumed falsehood is also false.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Science Of Progressive Morality

In a recent editorial, the members of the editorial board of the Hartford Courant profess astonishment because – I am quoting from “End Harassment At The Capitol” -- “It is almost incomprehensible that legislators in this state, known for its progressive policies, fail to adequately police their own and ensure that the halls of the Capitol are safe places for everyone.”

The editorial makes reference to a “survey conducted by the Office of Legislative Management" that shows – again I am quoting from the editorial – “Eighty six people who work in the state’s General Assembly said a legislator had sexually harassed them in a way that created a hostile work environment. Another 15 [per cent] said the harassment involved a quid pro quo for sexual conduct.”

They should not have been astonished, because editorial page editors are grown-ups who should understand that Eros is no respecter of ideologies. Both conservatives and progressives sometimes yield to what moral philosophers used to call the “sins of the flesh.” In our secular age, we’ve abandoned the whole notion of sin, partly because it is a religious concept, and progressives have progressed far beyond the boundaries of outworn religious doctrine, which they find illiberal and inhibiting. Harvard and Yale may still have chairs in moral philosophy, but the current science is not what it was when the subject was attached by a pedagogical umbilical cord to theology, once known as the queen of the sciences. In any case, most editorials are not written by moral philosophers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tech Sergeant John Chapman, Hero

I never had the pleasure of meeting Tech Sergeant John Chapman or his brave mother, who was featured in a short video, a loving remembrance of her son, sometime after the country graced itself by awarding to Chapman the Medal of Honor.  

We do however share a town: Windsor Locks, a mill town with a characteristic one-sided Main Street, a canal that flows parallel to the Connecticut River, full of perch and snappers in the heat of July. Chapman’s mother says in the video her son was a little Huck-Finnish growing up in Windsor Locks – nothing too serious, but there was a playful and sometimes mischievous spirit in the recent Medal of Honor recipient. When you live by a sun-spangled river and you are a boy in a town in which all eyes lovingly spy you out, Huck lives and breathes in you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Blumenthal And The New Morality

“There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one” ― C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Morality through the ages has always been an OK-Not-OK proposition. Some things were just not to be suffered gladly and, before the ascendancy of the new morality, it generally had been agreed that society had a moral obligation to impose sanctions on persistent cultural deviants. This proposition was heartily rejected by the sons and daughters of the Woodstock Generation, some of whose adherents are now pontificating from the hallowed halls of the U.S. Congress.

In connection with the presumed manifold sins of prospective U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one longs for a voice rising above clamorous moral maenads in the Democrat Party – saints Schumer, Blumenthal and Feinstein, U.S. Senators all – “Let he  ( and, to be fair, she) who is without sin cast the first stone.” It is impossible at this point to tell whether any of Kavanagh’s accusers are “without sin,” chiefly because New Yorker magazine reporter Ronan Farrell has not yet searched the backgrounds – going back more than 30 years – of Kavanaugh’s accusers.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Trump Business Bump In Connecticut

Some time ago, a Connecticut Trumpeter confessed to this political writer that he had been having a recurrent nightmare.

Military procurements during the Obama administration have been slender. Connecticut is still referred to in some corners as “the provision state” because, since the Revolutionary War, Connecticut has provided the national military with provisions. It continues to do so; Pratt&Whitney, Electric Boat and Sikorsky are very much going concerns.

Obama’s military budget was considerably more modest than Trump’s, as the President never tires of reminding the country. Dollars spent on the military are, to no one’s surprise, good for Connecticut. Federal dollars spent on military procurements produce Connecticut jobs, which produce funds that replenish the state’s treasury -- all good, all the time.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Malloy’s Last Gasps, The Barnes Boodle

the banner headlines on Tom Dudchik’s  “Capitol Report” read, in screaming text.

“Capitol Report” is an aggregator site much frequented by Connecticut politicians and state political watchers that retails important stories. The lede to the featured Hartford Courant story read, “The state Bond Commission will meet Thursday to vote on borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to finance projects around the state, and the potential for a bonanza of funding for Hartford.”

Friday, September 14, 2018

The New Joe McCarthy Democrats

What to make of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s most recent referral to the FBI? Feinstein has said, according to CNN, "’I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. ‘That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,’ she added.”

There was not much “there” there in Feinstein’s media release. The “matter,” according to other reports, concerns alleged inappropriate behavior on the part of Kavanaugh when he was in high school; whether a freshman, average age 14, or a senior we are not told. It’s a juicy tidbit, particularly in the era of me-tooism, but the tidbit is too little and perhaps too artificially enticing.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Connecticut Government And The Art Of The Impossible

George Orwell said that the most difficult thing for a writer to see were events occurring right under his nose. The same holds true for voters. For many of us, voting is a duty and an obligation, like going to church on Sunday. But how many of us remember the homilies on Tuesday? Perhaps even the minister has forgotten his invocations by then. One should not render oneself unconscious before voting. Look before you leap, think before you vote.

We know that it will not do to overlook recent history, because recent history is armed and dangerous. It might be instructive to approach Connecticut’s economic problems from a “can’t do” perspective. What are the reigning “can’t-do’s” in Connecticut just now?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Trump And His Enemies

Guest blog By Sean Murphy

This is the last part of a three blog piece

The amount of animus since President Donald Trump has taken office is of record proportions. 

The question is: is the problem Donald Trump or what he stands for and who he stands against? 

The answer is the latter. 

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Kavanaugh vs. Blumenthal

“When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

And when you look into Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh looks into you. The U.S. Senate hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court began with a bang – interminable bangs by energetic protesters -- and ended with a whispered sigh. “Senate concludes Kavanaugh hearing; confirmation likely” the Chicago Tribune noted.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was “likely” from the get-go. One of Kavanaugh's bitterest opponents in the Senate, Dick Blumenthal, admitted days before the hearing that Kavanaugh would be confirmed – because confirmation of Supreme Court justices is a political affair, a matter of votes and numbers, and the party with the most votes in Congress ultimately wins.

During his interrogatories with overtly hostile Democrats, all of whom seemed to be reading from the same scrip, Kavanaugh’s character came through the screen, as they say in Hollywood. He was personable, modest, supremely intelligent, professorial in an inoffensive and measured way, and authoritative on the law. Most important, he knew what he said and did not say on any question put to him by his Grand Inquisitors.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Wizard Of Oz And Republican Government

Chris Powell begins his column on Nelson "Oz" Griebel with a backhanded compliment: “Griebel is a substantial guy and more familiar with state government than the gubernatorial nominees of the major parties, Democrat Ned Lamont and Republican Bob Stefanowski,” followed by a backhand, “But Griebel has gone completely establishment now and it is hard to distinguish his positions from Lamont's. They both support raising taxes again to avoid offending influential interest groups that deserve offending. They argue that economic growth is what Connecticut needs most though the state will never have it as long as those interest groups keep first claim on state government's revenue.”

The pursuit of the elusive unaffiliated vote has destroyed more politicians in Connecticut than the usual and expected corrupt political activity.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Blumenthal, Kavanaugh, And Democrat Hackery

U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, re-elected in 2016 and not up for election until 2022, is in danger of becoming a tiresome party hack. However, in two years there is plenty of time for necessary course corrections. The political manual for slippery politicians may be found in T. S. Elliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

 There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
… And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

CT Republicans: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory, Part II

Guest blog By Sean Murphy

In my last commentary,  I discussed what Bob Stefanowski will face from Republican Party insiders and elected officials.  Keep in mind while Republicans won all over the country since 2010, Connecticut Republicans lost every statewide elected race and could not muster control in the General Assembly. 

The reason for that is incumbent Republicans always do what they see as the minimum to get re-elected.  They cozy up to local town committees.  They get their state grants, in many cases via bonding for some local pork project that gets them positive press.  Then after they put their time in, they move on up to a high paying job and get their outrageous pensions and lifetime health insurance.  

What are the key issues that need to be front and center? 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What Would Lincoln Do?

Republicans, we all know, do not know how to campaign -- which is why they lose elections. In the modern period, political jousting is either murderous or feckless. Twitterdom is full of deadly thrusts unleavened by humor, the opposite of wit.

Let’s suppose Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob “the re-builder” Stefanowski were Abe Lincoln, sans beard but with a similar sense of humor. Someone at a political rally once accused Lincoln of being two-faced – he was  being rather subtle on the issue of slavery– at which point Lincoln stopped his speech and shouted back, “If I had two faces, do you think I’d be wearing this one?” The audience shivered with appreciative laughter, and laughter in politics is better than votes because it engages the stomach muscles and the thorax. Voting is a public duty most people choose to ignore, particularly in our day of snake oil salesmen. But laughter cleanses the soul and shocks the memory. Remembering a good joke is so much more pleasant than remembering a humorless politician.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Clean The Green

Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent tells us that Mike Carter, long associated with New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, has left the building: “Carter’s personal relationship with the mayor became strained in recent months, with Carter reportedly growing openly critical of her performance. A lunch between the two failed to ease tensions.”

New Haveners cannot help but notice, as did Bass in his report, that Carter’s resignation “comes at a time when City Hall has been buffeted by bad news, from a wave of over 100 K2 overdoses in several days on the Green, to controversy over city budget deficitscredit ratings agencies, education cutsemployee theft with a city credit card, and the purchase of $4,000 [worth] of uniforms for mayoral staffers.”

There seems to be a lot of beef on that plate. And yet, Harp will survive the buffeting, largely because the Democrat Party has had a lock on New Haven since 1953. The last Republican chief executive of New Haven was William Celentano, the city’s first Italian mayor, a funeral director.

CT Republicans: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Guest Blog

By Sean Murphy

The August 14th Republican primary left me quite confused.

In our current environment, only half of Republican voters voted for Joe Markley for Lt Governor.

We elected an actual outsider president who, astonishingly, makes and keeps promises.  Americans of all political backgrounds despise double talking politicians.  We can see every day how murderously the Swamp in DC behaves towards President Trump.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Connecticut Down

"There ain't no more bottom to this bottom" -- diner wisdom

How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America's Worst Performing Economies?” Jim Powell asked in a stunning piece in Forbes magazine more than five years ago.

In the often quoted words of former Prime Minister of Britain Maggie Thatcher, the state ran out of other people’s money.

Former Governor Lowell Weicker’s 1991 income tax was followed, taxpayers of Connecticut will recall, by two additional massive tax impositions, the largest and the second largest in state history, initiated by present Governor Dannel Malloy – disapproval rating 72 percent, the lowest in the nation, according to Morning Consult. With the additional taxes in hand, spending spiked. The last non-income tax budget in the William O’Neill administration was $7.5 billion, a figure that tripled within the space of four governors. These tax increases relieved the Democrat dominated General Assembly of the necessity of instituting permanent, long term spending cuts. That’s number one. Number two: Over a period of years, the Democrat dominated General Assembly has simply rented out its constitutional and statutory obligations, foremost of which is control over the budget, to the governor-union-bosses combine. Number three: The dominant Democrat Party has remembered nothing and forgotten everything. Democrat nominee Ned Lamont’s political program– a repeat of Malloy’s failed governance -- is 98 percent aspirational and 2 percent analytical.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Visconti Agonistes

The Hartford Courant story is titled, provocatively, 'Racist' Tweet From Republican Joe Visconti Draws Fire From Democratic and GOP Leaders. The word “racist” is imprisoned in quotes to indicate some disagreement as to whether the perennial right of center gadfly, Joe Visconti, is a racist.

He is not a racist, those who know him best will assert, rather passionately. Visconti has argued that his message, appended to a picture of Democrat Attorney General prospect William Tong, has little to do with race and everything to do with political orientation.

Friday, August 17, 2018

New England’s Cynical Socialist Conventicle

Those on the right like to joke that New England is slipping into a socialist nirvana, but recently US. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Leon Trotsky of the movement to make New England Venezuela, has added serious notes to the charge.

Kevin Williamson has exploded the Warren menace in a thoughtful piece in National Review titled “Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize . . . Everything.”

“Warren’s proposal,” Williamson writes, is dishonestly called the ‘Accountable Capitalism Act.’ … Under Senator Warren’s proposal, no business with more than $1 billion in revenue would be permitted to legally operate without permission from the federal government. The federal government would then dictate to these businesses the composition of their boards, the details of internal corporate governance, compensation practices, personnel policies, and much more. Naturally, their political activities would be restricted, too. Senator Warren’s proposal entails the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less. It is unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, irresponsible, and — not to put too fine a point on it — utterly bonkers.”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

It’s The Spending, Stupid

Political campaigns are narrow spaces; there is not a lot of elbow room in them to explain in fulsome detail proposed public programs and their consequences. But a good campaign must represent more than a string of feel-good bumper sticker sentiments.

Republicans vying for the gubernatorial race this year climbed out on a conservative limb and dedicated themselves to specific policy changes: no more tax increases; permanent reductions in spending; and, most alarming to progressive Democrats, the wresting of democratic government from powerful special interests -- i.e. union representatives.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Behind the General Election Barricades

Now that the party primaries have concluded, the substance of the play will change – because the audience will have changed.

Democrat Party nominee Ned Lamont unsurprisingly dished Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim with 81 percent of the primary vote.

On the Republican side, Bob Stefanowski hauled in 30 percent of the vote, 9 points more than Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury, not a strong showing for a party nominee. In the hotly contested 5th District, abandoned by Elizabeth Esty after charges she had not moved quickly enough on reported incidents of harassment by her Chief of Staff against one of her female aides. Jahana Hayes upset party nominee Mary Glassman with a convincing 62 percent of the vote. State Senator Joe Markley won a resounding victory over his two primary opponents, and Susan Bysiewicz, hand-picked by Lamont for the Lieutenant Governor slot, prevailed over her primary opponent with 62 percent of the vote.

During primaries, politicians tend to pitch their messaging to the party faithful -- to progressive Democrats or fiscally conservative Republicans. Many “conservative’ Republicans avoid the snare of social issues like the plague and, likewise, Democrats will wish in the coming general campaign to skirt the obvious failure in Connecticut of progressive fiscal measures.

In the post primary general election, a rough-hewn left or right ideology tends to take a back pew, and the post primary candidates – Democrat Lamont and Republican Stefanowski --  may make both substantial and symbolic adjustments in their campaigning, a  strategic move designed to appeal to a greater number of voters, many of whom are unaffiliateds.

We know very little about unaffiliateds because, for some indiscernible reason, pollsters have not probed the nature of the beast.

Groucho Marx used to say that he would decline to join any group that would have him as a member. It is possible that the bulk of unaffiliateds are anti-social Marxists. It is also possible that a goodly number of them are expats from both political parties who have alienated themselves from party politics for reasons good and bad. If this is the case, the breakdown among alienated unaffiliateds in Connecticut would pattern the general breakdown among the party faithful.

A data-driven understanding of unaffiliateds is essential in forming campaign strategies in a general election. There are no such studies, and in their absence campaigners more often than not become the victims of untested hypotheses. The first doubtful presumption is that unaffiliateds are “parties of one,” like Henry David Thoreau preparing to leave the comforts of Concord for the rude discomforts of Walden Pond. The second presumption is that unaffiliateds are non-ideological creatures – moderates rather than conservatives or progressives. Both assumptions may be wildly misleading.

In any case, it has become almost a tradition among Connecticut politicians moving from primaries to general elections to temper their primary messaging until, in a general election, its becomes a sort of ideological mush that appeals to everyone and no one. This is called winning a campaign on the cheap.

During the Democrat primary, Lamont and Byseiwicz gave no indication that their future administration would be other than a continuation of the disastrous reign of Dannel Malloy, whose approval rating is the lowest in the nation, though slightly higher than the Devil in Dante's ninth circle of Hell. The Republican program of Stefanowski/Markley has long since been hammered out in a rumbustious Republican primary.

Columnist Chris Powell noted a  tectonic shift in Lamont’s “overwrought if not hysterical acceptance speech admitting that the party's eight years in control of state government have laid Connecticut low and it desperately needs to change direction.”

There are two kinds of change, quantitative and qualitative. A quantitative change involves more of the same – more rodomontade from slippery politicians, more taxes, more spending. Lamont’s former gubernatorial primary opponent, Malloy, was a near perfect demagogue. So far, Lamont is only “nearly hysterical.” Demagoguery lies at the crossroad of hysteria and power. In ancient Greece, the demagogue was an accomplished rhetorician, a populist rabble-rouser who gained the affections of the populace by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, stirring the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation.

It may be well to bear in mind Mark Twain's sage advice: “When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”

Here in Connecticut, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin, and unaffiliateds, about whom we know nothing, have a slight edge over Democrats, presenting a rich field in which the demagogue may sow populist tares among the wheat.

Eventually, comes the harvest of despair.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Tim Herbst And Connecticut's Third Rails

Some people, not generally Friends of Tim Herbst (FOH), think the Republican contender for governor is aggressive. He is, as has been noticed during the Republican primaries, somewhat less aggressive in his advertising than David Stemerman, but then Herbst commands a more modest campaign war chest.  Herbst disputes the slur; he says he is competitive.

However, the former First Selectman of Trumbull does have a habit of fondling third rails that other Republicans running for governor fear touching. Some of those rails – a hearty defense of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, every bit as inviolable as the First Amendment; peace and security in Connecticut; the socially disruptive effects of certain Malloy-Lawlor justice reforms; the abolition of Connecticut's death penalty on social rather than legal grounds by Connecticut’s constitutionally confused, left leaning Supreme Court; serious crime ripening in  Connecticut cities; a plenitude of illegal guns in a state that boasts some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country; the baneful effects of fatherlessness among young urban African American boys; and the constant chipping away of traditional morality by pretentious moral “reformists” – have gotten Herbst in Dutch with progressive social warriors.

Stemerman’s Deep Dive

Eric Bedner, a Journal Inquirer reporter, has been on top of the crumbling foundations story from the very beginning. Bender recently wrote about Republican gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman, one of many politicians who have made the pilgrimage to homes the foundations of which have been destroyed by the presence of pyrrhotite in the concrete mix, “Stemerman appeared to be far more knowledgeable of the issue than many of his competitors, many of whom learn the basics for the first time when speaking with homeowners.”

That is not at all surprising. Stemerman, who hopes to win the Republican primary for governor on August 14, is used to deep dives and, more often than not, he emerges with pearls in his hands.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Murphy’s Plan To Destroy The Insurance Industry

Nearly a year ago last September, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy unburdened himself to Vox reporter Jeff Stein. Vox Media is a reliably progressive site launched in 2014 by founders Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell, and Matthew Yglesias.

Stein titled his 2017 piece “Sen Murphy thinks he can build an on-ramp to single payer health careand provided a helpful single line summary: “The Connecticut Democrat will advance a plan he argues ‘may be the fastest way to a single-payer system.’”

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Malloy, The Nullifiers, And The Runaway Elephant

Abraham Lincoln gave the following example of common sense: “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run,” and Voltaire is noted for having pointed out that nothing is so uncommon as common sense.

Proof of the theorem may be found in a document released by Governor Malloy more than a year ago that explains in some detail – but not nearly enough detail – when cops do not have to enforce Federal immigration law. The document, circulated “to school superintendents and police chiefs outlining suggested protocols on how to help these jurisdictions make decisions on enforcing President Trump's executive order on immigration,” was summarized in Bridgeport’s Daily Voice.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Why Connecticut’s Left Of Center Media Will Endorse Ned Lamont

After the August primaries, most major papers in Connecticut will endorse Ned Lamont as the state’s next governor. Like politicians, newspaper owners and Editorial Page Editors are victims of their past choices. If you’ve said “yes” at the altar in the presence of so many church witnesses, it becomes a chancy proposition to call it quits too soon after the honeymoon.

Lamont was the preferred candidate of former Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. Left of center writers in Connecticut became Weicker-likers for any number of reasons. He was a manageable Republican senator. Indeed, there are some people who think, considering his record in office, that Weicker was a closet Democrat. Weicker’s left of center Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rating during his last term in office was 90; Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Dodd’s was 85. Weicker could be depended upon to frustrate wide-awake conservatives. Generally, the left of center media in Connecticut, then and now, will gleefully strangle conservatives in their political cribs.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Get Markley!

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, a dethroned but wiser king, about to be dragged off to prison, says to his only faithful daughter, Cordelia, “Come on, let’s go to prison. The two of us together will sing like birds in a cage. We will be good to each other. When you ask for my blessing, I’ll get down on my knees and ask you to forgive me. That’s how we’ll live—we’ll pray, we’ll sing, we’ll tell old stories, we’ll laugh at pretentious courtiers, we’ll listen to nasty court gossip, we’ll find out who’s losing and who’s winning, who’s in and who’s out. We’ll think about the mysteries of the universe as if we were God’s spies. In prison we’ll outlast hordes of rulers that will come and go as their fortunes change.”

The reporter might easily have opened his piece on State Senator Joe Markley – “Tea Partier Or Constitutional Conservative: Lt. Gov. Candidate Owns GOP Right Flank” – by noting, very incidentally, that Markley is one of the few, if not the only, state legislator with whom one might have an entertaining and profitable discussion of Shakespeare’s King Lear, which, sadly, is not often seen on Connecticut stages.

But no. Here is the lede: “He [Markley] once championed a bill to stop the state from requiring the addition of fluoride to the public drinking water – unconvinced of the efficacy of the decadeslong (sic) practice.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Blumenthal And The Nullifiers

In “History’s Bad Ideas Are an Inspiration for Progressives, historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson examines the dark side of progressivism.

Stymied by a Supreme Court that was a bit too traditionalist for his tastes – that is to say, a high court that faithfully interpreted the laws with reference to a real rather than a fictitious “living Constitution” --   President Franklin Roosevelt, Hanson notes, attempted to pack the court. His “convoluted proposal would have allowed Roosevelt to select a new—and additional justice—to the Supreme Court for every sitting judge who had reached 70 years, 6 months, and had not retired. And in theory, he could pack on 6 more judges, creating a 15-member court with a progressive majority.”

Thursday, July 05, 2018

The Repeal Of Roe v Wade, A Democrat Strawman?

As July rose and June set, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy surprised everyone by announcing his retirement from the high court. Kennedy’s leave-taking will allow President Donald Trump to appoint yet another justice; this when leftists in the United States have yet to recover from his last appointment, Neil Gorsuch.

It is difficult to pigeonhole Kennedy ideologically. According to the Cato Institute, a reliable conservative organization, Kennedy’s judicial philosophy does not fit neatly on a conservative or liberal grid: “Most terms he agreed with Cato’s position more than any other justice and so he’s also sometimes known as the Court’s ‘libertarian’  justice. There’s some truth to that, even though he often reached results that libertarians liked for reasons that [supported} dignity and civility rather than classical-liberal or natural-rights theory.”

Kennedy’s announcement brought the mourners out in droves, pitchforks in hand.

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, “a cheerleader and part prognosticator” on the left, according to CTMirror, sounded the alarm:  “This [yet another Trump appointment to the Supreme Court] has to be raised to a decibel level that is deafening around the country. We thought that they could never take it away but it gives you some sense of how fragile democracy is … we are fighting for the soul of this country and for democracy in the next several months.” DeLauro was alluding to the likelihood that a Supreme Court with Trump’s nominees might result in the repeal of Roe v Wade.

Some legal scholars argue that the intellectual path to Roe v Wade was tortuous. Deriving a constitutional  right to abortion from a 14th amendment fashioned in the post-Civil War Period to prevent states from depriving newly liberated slaves of “ life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” struck some constitutionalists as a form of juridical necromancy on a par with deducing Shakespeare from lamb chops.

Others thought the court’s insistence that the fetus should be shorn of all human rights until courts and legislatures thought it politically convenient to assert such rights was too clever by half. However, a majority of the voting public would agree that the defective means used by the high court to arrive at its decision should not invalidate the end point. Abortion, if not late term abortion, has now become, as the lawyers say “settled law.” The possibility of a repeal of Roe v Wade is highly unlikely. However, the remote possibility is used by demagogues as a sump pump to push campaign money into the war chests of DeLauro and other Democrat members of Connecticut’s U. S. Congressional Delegation.

Connecticut’s U.S. Senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, have announced their opposition to any Trump nominee to the high court. Blumenthal, not up for re-election in November, would be happy if Trump should reseat Kennedy following his retirement – not likely. Both intend to use the remote possibility that Roe v Wade will be repealed only to generate funds for the cause.

“As a candidate,” Murphy said, “I will be raising money. I will be organizing volunteers around one of the most important jobs of a United States senator, which is to make sure that the Supreme Court reflects the values of the country.” Murphy has $8 million tucked away in his campaign kitty, but more of a good thing is a better thing. His Republican opponents collectively are unlikely to pass the million dollar mark – advantage Murphy.

Unlike DeLauro and Murphy, Blumenthal will not be campaigning for re-election this year. But is it never too soon for entrenched incumbents to begin amassing campaign war chests. “As a non-candidate,” Blumenthal said, “I’m going to be using this issue to sound the alarm, as a call for action, a five-alarm fire, a break-the-glass moment. This kind of moment is going to be front-and-center in this election for sure.”

If Blumenthal ever does lose his seat in the Congress – a possibility as unlikely as the repeal of Roe v Wade – he easily could assume the position now occupied by Cecile Richards. Born (she was lucky) July 15, 1957, Richards has served as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund since 2006.

Blumenthal, whom some have characterized as “the senator from Planned Parenthood," has sternly opposed all reasonable attempts to impose restrictions on abortions – incredibly on moral grounds. A bill “requiring parental notification prior to a minor obtaining an abortion, unless the minor gives notice that she fears for her safety, in which case the matter shall be referred to the courts” – Raised Bill 324 -- was introduced by State Senator Len Suzio during the 2017 session. Blumenthal’s assent to the measure was notably lacking. And we know why.

Two thirds of Americans – 60 percent of women – believe late term abortion should generally be illegal, and 80 percent oppose abortions in the third trimester, a point at which the developing child can live outside the womb and late gestation increases risks of complications. In 2016, Blumenthal proposed a piece of legislation, S 1696, that effectively wiped out in a single stroke carefully calibrated state laws, including  regulations on abortion after viability, and bans on the use of abortion as a method of sex selection.

Bills such as those introduced by Suzio are popular with parents whose best interests are not represented by the senator from Planned Parenthood. But Blumenthal has the advantage of both a massive campaign kitty and an uncritical media. Connecticut’s regulator-in-chief when he was the state’s Attorney General for 20 years, now the senator from Planned Parenthood, can well afford to play the yo-yo to abortion facilitators and claim, implausibly, that any attempt to regulate an industry that aborts late term fetuses and sells their body parts is morally indefensible.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Courant Preparing Not To Endorse Herbst

It’s a pretty safe bet that former First Selectman of Trumbull Tim Herbst, now vying with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton in a Republican Party Primary, will not be receiving the Hartford Courant’s gubernatorial endorsement in the upcoming 2018 general election. Elephants will fly first.

There are sound reasons to suppose the chatter around the water cooler at the paper is not favorable to Herbst.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

The Democrat's Progressive Pickle

It seems clear that state Democrats will be running against President Donald Trump in the 2018 elections. They already are doing so. Will this be a winning strategy?

Ned Lamont is the Democrat Party nominee for governor. His hand-picked Lieutenant Governor running mate is Susan Bysiewicz. Lamont is facing within his own tribe a primary challenge from Mayor of Bridgeport Joe Ganim. A straggler, Guy Smith, has bowed out of the race. Ganim, despite his recent graduation from prison, may present a real threat to Lamont.

The two Democrats will be running against each other in a party primary, the winner of which will, it seems likely, be running against Trump, if only because the primary victor will not be able to win in a general election as a Malloyalist progressive.

Friday, June 29, 2018

What Connecticut Can Learn From the Capital Gazette Shooting

Most left of center commentators lost interest in the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis Maryland soon after it became obvious that there was little to no connection to Trumpian rhetoric slighting the “fake news” media. For any number of good reasons, media face time procured by the state’s two U.S. Senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, was minimal.

Moments after the shooting, Murphy issued a dog-eared, often repeated refrain: “I’m sick and tired of this. My colleagues have accepted horrific mass violence and made the deliberate choice to do nothing about it. If politicians wanted to reduce gun violence, they would do their jobs and pass laws that we know would make a difference.”

Thursday, June 28, 2018

High Court Confirms Workers’ First Amendment Rights

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical –Thomas Jefferson

The sentiment above is to be found in an Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, a bill drawn up by Thomas Jefferson as part of the Revised Code of Virginia laws, but the sentiment might easily apply to Janus vs. AFSCME, a decision rendered recently by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Blumenthal's Route To Trump’s Heart

The members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation, all Democrats, are not dummies. Savvy professional politicians, they know that the way to President Donald Trump’s heart is through the mouth of Ben Carson, Trump’s U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary.

In a Journal Inquirer news report on June 21,2018, we find four members of the delegation – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal, plus U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney and John Larson – thanking Carson for having taken the time at their urging to visit a house in Connecticut the foundation of which was crumbling because the cement used to make the foundation was contaminated with pyrrhotite, a mineral that causes deterioration when exposed to groundwater.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Lamont’s Post-Convention Messaging

Ned Lamont, the Democrat Party’s certified candidate for governor, having run the nomination knout, is now proceeding to run primary election bases.

NBC Connecticut has noted a pronounced difference in messaging: Lamont Distances from Malloy at Technology Forum.

Governor Malloy has relied on targeted tax reductions and tax grants to persuade companies to remain in Connecticut and avoid migrating to other states in order to escape the governor’s burdensome taxes and the Democrat dominated General Assembly’s noxious regulations.

"I think we've gone snap happy in terms of trying get and keep businesses,” Lamont said at a forum hosted by the Connecticut Technology Council. Lamont told the group he was not interested in providing bailouts to Connecticut’s tax starved cities: "I'm not interested in bailouts, I didn't like that deal at all, but there have to be other ways to help our cities,” which are, never-the-less, critical to the growth of the state.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Themis Alive

Some time ago, Republican leader in the State House Themis Klarides reminded a reporter that she was Greek. Her first name, she said, meant “justice.”

That was almost right. Themis was an ancient Greek Titaness, the “lady of good counsel,” a personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law and custom. The name Themis literally means “that which is put in place.” The symbols by which Themis is known are the scales of justice, tools in the ontological order that assure balance.

Balance is the baseline in the Greek cosmos according to which right order is measured. To know whether a thing is right and just – morally, legally, ethically, religiously, secularly, atheistically -- one must have more than a nodding acquaintance with reality. Idle dreaming is a fatal threat to right order. Political visions – modern politics is consumed with visions the ancient Greeks might have considered nightmares – are justifiable and practical only when they take into account the reality of life on the ground. Therefore, the best and most just politician is the one most solidly grounded in reality.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Murphy’s Money

It was a trifle embarrassing, but U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy was able adroitly to dodge the bullet.

“This week,” the  Journal Inquirer reported “Murphy dodged questions about [receiving campaign] tainted money from Spitzer, and instead focused on contributions from average people.”

Elliot Spitzer, a former New York Attorney General and Governor, resigned blushingly in 2008 to dodge impeachment following reports in the New York Times, the JI reported, “that he had patronized prostitutes, highlighting a meeting for two hours with a $1,000-per-hour prostitute…

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Truman Revisited

Image result for harry TrumanA historical revision of Harry Truman has been underway for some time. Historians are now smiling at the 33rd President. His was an accidental presidency, and his contemporaries, the political swamp of his day, did not like accidents. The more things change, as the French say, the more they remain the same.

Victor David Hanson -- a classicist historian and the author of “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won,” in addition to “A War Like No Other,” the best and most riveting account of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) between Athens and Sparta -- has written the best short account of the Truman presidency for The Washington Times.

Anti-Trumpists will be spooked by the title and subtitle: “Truman as a model for Donald Trump: The outsider president succeeds because of what he does, and in spite of what he says.”

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Trump, Help Or Hindrance In Connecticut

While in the South – land of opportunity for Northern expats – I was asked by a Connecticut resident who had moved below the Mason-Dixon line several years ago seeking relief from ever-expanding taxation, the general reluctance to make long term permanent cuts in spending, excessive regulation, and the arrogance of progressives who had ruined his state, “Will President Trump be a help or a hindrance for Connecticut Republicans running for office in 2018?”

The non-simplistic answer to the question on everyone’s mind is, as the new moralists might say, complex. The complex answer depends upon a shifting political frame.

Will Connecticut Democrats be able to disassociate themselves sufficiently from the ruinous policies of departing Governor Dannel Malloy, whose approval ratings, never high, have now dipped far below the approval ratings of the Democrat’s straw man, the redoubtable Trump, whose ratings are in the ascendancy – though, one supposes, not in Connecticut?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Democrat Runaways

Democrat Bill Curry has just bowed out of what promises to be an energetic tousle in Connecticut’s 5th District.

“Some of you,” Curry noted on his Facebook page, “ know I ‘ve spent the last three years studying public corruption; the grass roots movements that have sprung up-- everywhere but here [in Connecticut] -- to fight it; the tools being used around the world to curb it. It’s the big problem that keeps all our other big problems from ever getting solved. The project is close to my heart; after three years it is just now bearing fruit. In the month since Rep Esty said she wouldn’t seek reelection I’ve tried to find a way to keep the project moving forward and still make this race. I couldn’t. The race looked winnable to me and I’m confident it will prove so for one of the fine Democrats contending for the nomination. I promise I’ll help.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Behind the Democrats' Closed Door, An Arranged Marriage

There may be still, somewhere in this romantic world, a place for arranged marriages. The union of Ned Lamont, the millionaire gubernatorial candidate for governor preferred by Democrat leaders of the ailing state of Connecticut, and the mercurial Susan Bysiewicz – candidate, in no particular order, for governor, U.S. Senator,  attorney general, governor again and lieutenant governor – is an arranged political marriage.

Uncle George Jepsen, the state’s retiring attorney general, told the Courant  the banns had been arranged for months: “’There’s a lot of stuff that’s still wide open especially on the under-ticket, but at the top of the ticket, things have been falling into line and coming together cohesively for several weeks now,’ said Attorney General George Jepsen, who has endorsed Lamont. Jepsen added: ‘I hope we’re boring compared to the Republicans.’”

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Connecticut And The Trump Factor

Connecticut’s Republican Party Nominating Convention has in its wisdom nominated Matt Corey to run against U.S. Senator Chris Murphy who, along with his compatriot in the Senate, Dick Blumenthal, has been "efforting," as the leftists say, during the entire first year of the Trump presidency, to subvert a national election. To date, they have been far more successful in their efforts than the Russians.The hangman, special counsel Robert Mueller, has been for months braiding a noose behind the scenes.

Both Murphy, up for re-election this year, and Blumenthal have pilloried nearly all of Trump’s cabinet appointments, including recently installed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, a position once occupied by Hillary Clinton, whose campaign for the presidency was, we are invited to believe, torpedoed by Russian spooks in league with Trump.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Eunice Groark RIP

Hilaire Belloc’s "Advice to the Rich" – Learn about the inwards of your motor car... And remember that you will shortly die.

Belloc is here reminding the rich, who often are busy and therefore distracted from the practical knowledge necessary to live a happy and joyous life –“Learn about the inwards of your motor car ” – that the end of life is not heaping up money; Belloc’s accompanying admonition, equally important, is a gentle reminder that God does not always sleep -- “and remember that you will shortly die.”

An unapologetic Catholic, Belloc supposed that both the rich and the poor, when their time in this vale of tears had run out, would fall into the hands of the living God. In the modern world, most dramatically in Europe, the living God has been mythologized, and no post-religious European need any longer worry that the Christian God of the beatitudes – “Blessed are the poor, for they shall be called the children of God” – is a jealous God. So, scratch the second admonition – “Remember, soon you will die” and thereby fall into the just hands of a living God.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Pulitzer On Transactional Journalism

Newspapers should have no friends – Joseph Pulitzer

Sometime in the past few years, nearly everyone in Connecticut, with the possible exception of the state’s ebullient left leaning writers, became a cynic. And cynicism has increased in direct proportion to the inability or unwillingness of status quo progressives in the General Assembly to confront the state’s most pressing economic problems. “We've been sitting through the last days of the legislative session doing everything BUT paying attention to the state's economy and fiscal situation,” Representative Gail Lavielle notes on Facebook. Procrastination is the typical response of a do-nothing politician to a serious problem.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Recession Next Time, Failing Schools And The Public Interest

The good news is that the flu virus in Connecticut is on the wane, a bitter winter is hobbling off stage, birds are singing, and the sap is rising in the trees. Spring has sprung.

The bad news, according to Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist at Data Corp. Partners Inc., is that Connecticut has yet to recover from a recession that ended elsewhere in the nation in February 2010, nearly eight years ago. Since that time, the nation has more than doubled the number of jobs lost during the recession, while Connecticut has recovered only 80 percent of its lost jobs.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Murphy As Kingmaker, Not King

A recent story in the Hartford Courant, “Lamont Gaining Party Support," focuses on U.S. Senator Chris Murphy as a Democrat Party kingmaker.

Murphy is a kingmaker by default. Party bosses disappeared long ago. They were done in by two things: an anti-boss movement that had been picking up steam since very early press attacks on Tammany Hall, and reforms in election processes. The old party boss, usually a party chairman, fell victim to primaries and open elections. But necessary functions in politics do not disappear; they are transformed. In post-reform modern times, the party boss is the party’s most important elected official.