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?