Monday, June 17, 2019

Blumenthal Rearranges The Legal Universe

If the law “shielding the gun industry from lawsuits,” the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, were to be removed, the manufacturer of an illegally acquired firearm used by Frankie “The Razor” Resto sometime ago to murder the co-owner of an EZMart in Meriden, Connecticut -- after Resto’s victim already had handed over to him the demanded cash -- would be at the mercy of rapacious prosecutors such as US Senator Dick Blumenthal.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Lamont’s SEBAC Head Bump

Governor Ned Lamont, we are told by Christine Stewart of CTNewsJunkie, is about to bump heads with SEBAC union heads authorized to form contracts with Connecticut’s executive department. No need to wonder whose head will break first.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt solved the problem of the union organization of federal workers in 1937 when, approached by Luther Stewart, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, to allow collective bargaining, Roosevelt nixed the idea for the best of reasons.

Roosevelt wrote to Stewart, “… the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

UTC Flies The Coop

Martin Looney
United Technologies (UTC), yet another home grown Connecticut institution, has flown the coop – this time for Boston, Massachusetts, the state’s chief corporate poacher.

The day after the announcement had been made, the state’s Democrat spinmeisters were busy putting a happy face on the event. We discover from a Hartford Courant piece that pretty much everyone in the state was surprised by the announcement. Political cuckholds are always the last to know when their best laid plans are torn asunder.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Lamont's Tolling Boil

Democrats put off a vote on tolling during the recently concluded legislative session because, plain and simple, they did not have the votes to pass a tolling bill.

But hope springs eternal.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz thought he may have had the votes to pass the measure in the House, but passage was still an iffy proposition.

Mark Pazniokas writes in the Hartford Business Journal, “Aresimowicz’s comments reflect a belief among lawmakers that the Lamont administration botched the rollout of tolls in February, giving Republicans, the trucking industry and others an opportunity to frame tolls as just another demand on residents.”

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Connecticut Down, Prologue

The reader will find below three self-interviews that are meant to serve as a prologue to a longer piece – “Connecticut Down.”  The first is set a little more than a month after Governor Ned Lamont had been sworn into office; the second is set just before Lamont presented his budget to the General Assembly; and the last is set a day after the Lamont/Looney/Aresimowicz budget was passed by the state Senate.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Blumenthal… Wakey, Wakey…

Someone should nudge awake Connecticut U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. The FISA warrant used to secure the services of special prosecutor Robert Mueller was defective from the get-go, we learn in a series of stunning opinion pieces in The Hill written by John Solomon. It appears there is an after-story to the Mueller investigation after all, and the second act will almost certainly disappoint the two Trump-slayers.

One of the stories’ ledes probably should garner Solomon a Pulitzer for commentary eye-candy: “The FBI’s sworn story to a federal court about its asset, Christopher Steele, is fraying faster than a $5 souvenir T-shirt bought at a tourist trap.” And the second graph might be a close runner-up: “Newly unearthed memos show a high-ranking government official who met with Steele in October 2016 determined some of the Donald Trump dirt that Steele was simultaneously digging up for the FBI and for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was inaccurate, and likely leaked to the media.”

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Real Reform In Connecticut

Governor Ned Lamont’s slippage in the polls is not surprising. Former Governor Dan Malloy, now gainfully employed reforming education in Maine, casts a long shadow, and Lamont’s policy prescriptions – including his budget, now on its way to approval by the Democrat dominated General Assembly – do not differ much from Malloy’s in matters of getting and spending.

Some may notice that a new expression, “modernize” and its variants, has made its way into Democrat oratory. Lamont said of his massive sales tax increases, “Look, we’re gonna try and modernize our sales tax structure… In fact, wanna know why sales tax revenues are already up compared to what we had expected” That’s cause of sales tax applying to e-commerce.”

Lamont is a graduate of high-priced colleges. So what’s all this business about “gonna” and “wanna”? Do Harvard and Yale lack speech teachers? The use of the word “modernize” is gonna become an Orwellian catch phrase for “increasing and broadening sales taxes.” This expression may have been hammered out by the smithies hired by Lamont to make his policy prescriptions palatable to the voting public. The Orwellianism may have come from former Malloy campaign coach Roy Occhiogrosso, the Vice President of Global Strategies. Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Pelosi And The John Bailey Dinner

The recently re-installed Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will be the featured speaker at the Connecticut Democrat’s annual fundraising dinner. Pelosi is known, among other things, for her ability to bring home the bennies, and Connecticut Democrats no doubt will be happy to receive them – not that the state’s Democrat Party is, by any measure, a poor waif begging for pennies on street corners.

The Annual Gathering of Democrats used to be called “The Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner.” But Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, and Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, generally regarded as the father of the modern Democrat Party, were both booted from the marque some years ago because both were slave owners. Jackson, in addition, displaced Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in what later became known as “The Trail of Tears.”

Upon ejection, the Hartford Courant noted editorially that Connecticut Democrats were well rid of the two. Their displacement left Connecticut Party boss John Bailey as the lone survivor, and the event is now called The John Bailey Dinner, to be held this year on Friday, June 21 at the Hartford Civic Center. The price of tickets range from $200, general admission, to $1,000 for deep pocket VIPs. The counterpart money grab among Republicans is called The Prescott Bush Dinner. Neither Bailey, the last Connecticut Democrat Party boss, nor Bush, Connecticut’s U.S. Senator from 1952 to 1963 -- the political scion of the Bush dynasty that produced two U.S. Presidents, father and son George H.W. Bush and George H. Bush – owned slaves.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Connecticut And The Politics Of Culture

Leftists are winning the culture war, the war on western civilization, because rootless politicians have shown themselves unwilling to enter the lists and do battle with the new morality.

For this reason, American culture is being redefined – reinvented, as the leftists would have it – by social anarchists with knives in their brains. It has become fashionable among New York leftist politicians to wink at, and even to publicly celebrate, infanticide. No assault on traditional sensibilities, it would seem, is beyond the pale.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s notion that third trimester abortion is too close to infanticide to be tolerated by men and women of conscience is now regarded as embarrassingly quaint  by New York’s smart set, among whom are Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, not his birth name.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Stranger In Our Midst

Rob Sampson
In a piece in the New England Intelligencer (NEI) printed last January, “Malloy, The Sanctuary Governor,” the governor’s spokesman, addressing Malloy’s views on sanctuary cities, said this: “We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific war-torn country—seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut.”

That sentiment was encapsulated in a piece of legislation, the “Trust Act”, that has now been amended by Connecticut’s current Democrat dominated State Senate. And the changes are stunning, possibly even dangerous.

The “Trust Act", which prevents law enforcement officials in Connecticut from enforcing ICE detainers, did not incorporate whatever “guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures” in the bill. Illegal intruders admitted by stealth into the United States are unvetted; in all such cases, it is impossible to know who they are or where they are located – unless the illegal intruder brings himself to the attention of law enforcement officials, most often through the commission of a crime. It is impossible to assert that ICE nodded its assent to a bill that created sanctuaries from ICE, but the initial bill did allow reasonable exemptions – cases in which serious criminals would be reported to ICE by state officials.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Connecticut’s Detour

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… W. B. Yeats 

It seems ages ago that a major newspaper in Connecticut firmly decided that Connecticut was suffering from a spending rather than a revenue problem; meaning that budget deficits in the future should be liquidated by spending cuts and not tax increases.

Naturally, few politicians, chiefly those on the Democrat side of the political barricades, paid much attention to this change of heart and mind. Faced with chronic and continuing budget deficits – the state’s present biennial budget deficit is about $4 billion – Connecticut’s Democrat politicians continued piling on tax increases. Former Governor Dan Malloy, who retired from office following his second term, was a chronic revenue increaser, aided, of course, by a Democrat dominated General Assembly. Malloy’s approval rating plummeted more or less in concert with his tax increases, and he left office the least popular governor in the nation with an approval rating hovering around 25 percent.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

All The Governor’s Men, Occhiogrosso

Occhiogrosso and Malloy
Tolling in Connecticut is what the advertising men would call a tough sell, and it helps in circumstances such as these to bring in some political spin doctors to assist in the delivery.

Many people in Connecticut, almost certainly a majority, do not want tolls. On May 9, No Tolls Connecticut delivered to the governor’s office a “No Tolls” petition signed by 100,000 people.

Candidate for governor Ned Lamont said during his campaign he would favor tolls only if people outside the state, truck drivers mostly, would be depositing their mites in Connecticut’s revenue collection basket. He said this several times while the TV cameras were rolling. Later Lamont changed his mind, always the prerogative of pretty women and ambitious politicians. But Lamont’s reversal – which came shortly after he had won his gubernatorial campaign – could not be justified as a “misspeak.” He could have used the services of a good narrative builder right there, but Roy Occhiogrosso, former Governor Dan Malloy’s flack catcher and narrative builder perhaps was busy hauling in the dollars from his other clients.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Crony Capitalism, Not Down And Out In Connecticut

Ned Lamont
Six years ago, Jim Powell wrote what many in Connecticut considered at the time a stunning piece in Forbes Magazine titled “How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America's Worst Performing Economies?

The piece was mentioned in Connecticut Commentary and columns two months after it had been published in August 2013. This is what was said about it at the time: “All the red flags fluttering in the Powell piece “point to an economically diminished and bleak future – unless and until the grown-ups take charge of Connecticut’s tax grubbing, high spending, crony capitalist government… Far from being a solution to our economic woes, crony capitalism – in which [then Governor Dannel] Malloy and leaders in the General Assembly plunder the private economy of entrepreneurial capital they then bestow on favored companies – encourages polite bribery between tax dispensers and large corporations, while introducing toxic levels of moral uncertainty into a business-governmental relationship that should be even-handed and just. Crony capitalism tilts in favor of large, resource rich companies what U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal might regard, if he thought about it, as the economic ‘even playing field.’ It is the work of a day for large politically connected companies to use the agencies of government to drive healthy competition from the field.”

Sunday, May 05, 2019

To Russia With Love, Blumenthal’s Choice

Blumenthal sworn into office by Biden in a mock ceremony
The leading Democrats scrambling up the presidential campaign greasy pole are former Vice President in the Obama administration Joe Biden, 29 percent in a Quinnipiac poll, followed by Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, 19 percent in the same poll, both of whom have had past sweet and sour relationships, none of them the subject of congressional hearings,  with communist Russia. President Donald Trump continues to be slammed by Democrats owing to his still alleged warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, collusion with the Ruskies having been put in the cooler after the Mueller investigation, but these two… not so much.

Biden’s questionable relationship with Ukraine, a country that had in the past locked horns with Russia numerous times – in 1932, Joseph Stalin created a man-made famine to haul Ukraine into the Soviet orbit – recently re-surfaced in a New York Times piece that is certain to catch the eyes of those who have questioned President Trump’s presumed warm relationship with Putin.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Pensioning Off Pension Debt To Towns

The Democrat plan to “to have cities and towns share in the cost of public school teachers’ pensions,” as the Hartford Courant put it in a recent story, continues to be “controversial,” perhaps the understatement of the year. The plan would “cost municipalities a combined $73 million a year and would lead to property tax increases across the state.”

The principal spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, Kevin Maloney, has characterized the plan to shift to towns some cost of pensions without giving the towns the opportunity to cut spending by reducing teacher salaries and benefits  as “the largest unfunded state mandate in recent memory,” and the executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns Betsy Gara has said, “Shifting $73 million in pension costs onto the backs of already overburdened homeowners and other property taxpayers will diminish housing values, undermining our state and local economies."

Local government relies on property taxes to run municipal governments, and here too the state plans to partly deprive these rival municipal governments of their means of financing through a series of measures: eliminating property tax on cars, raising the tax on home ownership by boosting from 70% to 100%  the assessed value of houses, and more.

The characterizations of Maloney and Gara, though true, are not likely to move the legislative needle, now stuck on "Democrat."

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Connecticut Taxes, Amazon Strikes Back At Willy Loman

Related image
"'s better for a man just to walk away. But if you can't walk away? I guess that's when it's tough” -- Willy Loman, “Death of a Salesman”

The old saying is “You can’t fight City Hall.” That is partly true. City Hall is huge and more powerful than you. The gods of government have resources denied to the little people, but then government is supposed to be on the side of the little people, as is the media, a presumed joint support that tends to even the perpetual battle between the lions of the market place and … let’s call him Willy, after Willy Loman, the chief character in Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman.”

The Willy of this piece is a Connecticut salesman – there are many of them – who do business with Amazon. And Willy has a problem that will not be settled by the usual white-hatted Attorney General of Connecticut or legislators who weep over the little guy or the media, afflicters of the comfortable and comforters of the afflicted. You can bet your house on that.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Progressive Moralists Among Us

State Representative Josh Elliot, a progressive Democrat from Hamden, views the state budget as “a moral document that can be used to create a more equitable and fair society,” the Hartford Courant tells us. The paper quotes Elliot on the point: “Are you taking an economic frame and saying ‘what can we do to grow GDP at all costs?’ … Or are you taking a moral and ethical frame and saying ‘what can we do to build up a just society?’ And I think those two questions are at loggerheads right now.”

There is a welter of confusion here. The point Elliot appears to be making is that progressives like himself view the economy as having a moral dimension lost to free-marketers, i.e. redundantly rich capitalists concerned only – note the devil word “only” -- with growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It would not be possible in Elliot’s view for a free-marketer like, say, Fredrick Hayek, author of “The Road To Serfdom” -- a ruthless attack against the collectivist ethos that informs socialism, communism, progressivism and fascism -- to be a moralist.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Lamont’s 100 Days Report Card

Well, that didn’t take long. Morning Consult  tracks the favorable and unfavorable ratings of governors across the United States. According to the rating service, Governor Ned Lamont’s favorability rating is hovering around 33 percent 100 days into the new administration. The bulk of the discontent can only be attributed to disappointed expectations.

Former Governor Dannel Malloy, who high-tailed it to his old alma mater, Boston Law, following his not unexpected decision to abandon thoughts of a third term in office, absconded with an approval rating of about 29 percent. Shortly before he threw in the towel, Malloy was the most unpopular governor in the United States.

Ironists – if there are any such creatures among Connecticut political watchers – will dwell on the  as yet unexamined ironies. How did it happen that an electorate that had registered such profound disappointment with Malloy never-the-less elected as his successor another Democrat who managed to acquire, after only 100 days, an approval rating that puts him in 5th place among the lowest rated governors in the country?

There are various theories bouncing around that may square this apparent circle.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Blumenthal vs Barr

The sound and fury over President Donald Trump’s now exploded "conspiracy" with Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine the Trump/Clinton election in favor of Trump is abating following the publication of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive 448 page report.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow reported last December, “Members of Trump’s team were extremely interested in and eager to accept any assistance that the Russians could provide.” The serpent coiled in that line is that the Trump team HAD colluded with the Russians.  Naturally, the mud throwers are perversely unrepentant. After a two year investigation, Mueller’s team “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russian government,” according to Mueller’s report.

In fact, the often touted suspicions of leading Democrat propagandists – first that Trump had “conspired” against the interests of the United States, a crime and a charge later lowered to “collusion” by those disappointed with the election results, U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal among them – turned out to be, Mueller said in language as plain as the ego te absolve of the confessional, a molehill blown into a mountain by Trump’s accusers.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Other Solution: Cut Spending

A piece by Keith Phaneuf in CTMirror, “Who pays the next CT tax hike? Democrats must answer question soonpresents half of the right question.

 Listening to Democrats in the General Assembly in this the winter of our discontent leaves the impression that one has heard half a conversation. The debate in the General Assembly and, unfortunately, in the media, ALL OF IT, is about discharging deficits through tax increases. But a deficit, like a coin, has two sides. And a “comprehensive solution” to our problems that shows only one face is no solution.

If the level of spending in Connecticut continues to increase at a rapid rate – and that will assuredly happen if Connecticut continues to pursue a course all too familiar ever since former Governor Lowell Weicker forced his income tax down the throat of a somewhat resistant legislature in 1991 – and if the underside of the getting and spending coin continues to remain face-down on Connecticut’s table, then tax increases are inescapable, a boon to cowardly and lazy politicians.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Sanders-Blumenthal Utopia

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever” – George Orwell.

CBS News has announced that Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ "Medicare for All" bill would, according to Sanders himself, "get rid of insurance companies and drug companies making billions of dollars in profit every single year." The bill is a universal health care, one size fits all, tax financed, proposal. Connecticut's U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, CTMirror reports, was one of 14 co-sponsors of Sanders’s bill.

“In my view,” Sanders said of his bill, “the current debate over 'Medicare for All' really has nothing to do with health care. It’s all about greed and profiteering. It is about whether we maintain a dysfunctional system which allows the top five health insurance companies to make over $20 billion in profits last year.”

But, of course, the Sanders bill has everything to do with health care. If adopted into law, it would effectively abolish insurance companies. Sanders himself has said that his "Medicare for All" scheme would "get rid of insurance companies and drug companies making billions of dollars in profit every single year.”

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Progressive Prohibitionists And The Politics Of Vengeance

Government begins to be a bother when it uses the power of the state to prohibit normative behavior. The primary instrument of compulsion in this case is – and should never be – the tax code. Ordinary people who would not know a political ideology from a lamppost may be forgiven for reacting normally to a government that uses the tax code to shape behavior.

And yet this practice has become as common as table salt, which some people believe should be taxed exorbitantly because it isn’t good for you.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

The Tweeting 21st Century, A Meditation

One of my college professors – let’s call him Stringfellow – spoke in long, flowing sentences, each of which might easily have been parsed into sparkling separate mini-poems. He liked Faulkner, disliked Hemingway, and tolerated Tennessee Williams for two reasons. Williams consciously structured some of his plays on classical Greek models – compare “Suddenly Last Summer” with Euripides’ “The Bacchae” – and Tennessee, he thought, was a name one could conjure with, as Wallace Stevens did adeptly in "Anecdote of the Jar," the first line of which runs, “I placed a jar in Tennessee/ And round it was, upon a hill …”

One day, a student asked Stringfellow – this would have been in the middle 60’s – “When do you plan to join the 20th century?’ to which Stringfellow replied, “It would be a very wicked thing to wish to be a part of the 20th century.”

Thursday, April 04, 2019

MeToo In Connecticut

Image result for JIm Himes + Joe BidenThe MeToo movement has arrived finally in Connecticut, the land of steady habits. “Biden accuser rips Democrats,” an April 3rd, above the fold, front page headline in The Hartford Courant screeches.

And the story, written by Neil Vigdor, bulges with quotes.

“The Democrats definitely don’t like to hold their own accountable,” said Amy Lappos, referring to an awkward incident that occurred in 2009, ten years ago when she was a congressional aide to U.S. Representative Jim Himes, during a $1,000 per plate fundraising luncheon held at the home of affordable housing developer Ron Moelis, a Greenwich moneybags.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Legislative Attack On Connecticut Faith-Based Health Centers

The devil lies in the definitions provided in House Bill 7070. In 1991, a constitutional amendment providing for an income tax and a cap on spending narrowly passed in Connecticut’s General Assembly. The income tax, for good or ill, passed muster and was soon applied; not so the cap on spending. Nearly thirty years later, Attorney General George Jepsen advised that the spending cap was void because legislators had not provided needed definitions to activate it.

The title of House Bill 7070, introduced by the Public Health Committee, is “AN ACT CONCERNING DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING PRACTICES OF LIMITED SERVICES PREGNANCY CENTERS.The bill addresses the alleged deceptive advertising practices of “limited services pregnancy centers,” more commonly known as “faith-based pregnancy centers,” and the legislation is outrigged with a full array of definitions that miraculously do not apply to so called “health centers” providing abortion, even though, as some have pointed out, abortion providers may engage in misleading advertising.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Zawistowski Rights A Wrong

The little Pink House in New London was moved to another location after a long, unsuccessful protest by its owner, property rights advocate Susette Kelo. The property upon which it rested was seized by eminent domain so that it could be made available to Pfizer Inc. It was a rare seizure. Usually, property seized under eminent domain is made available for some public purpose. In Kelo, the Fort Trumbull Property was transferred from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. The property was seized by the state because New London wished to induce Pfizer to set up shop on the property. Pfizer moved on; nature soon reclaimed the vacant property.

Kelo lost her battle when the US Supreme Court shamelessly decided in favor of the City of New London, Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

The case produced two notable dissents, one written by Justice O'Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas, and a separate, originalist dissent written by Thomas.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Real Cost Of Tax Increases

Arguing against a legislatively imposed minimum wage increase, Brian Jessurun, co-owner of four northeastern Connecticut restaurants, writes in an op-ed in a Hartford paper: “By all accepted accounting metrics, this state is virtually bankrupt. Reputable estimates place Connecticut’s unfunded liability debt at $70,000 per taxpayer, more than many of them have set aside for their own retirements. The only chance we have of getting out from under that burden is a burst of prolonged prosperity, which would increase state revenues without significantly increasing the taxes that are already driving away job creating businesses and tax paying residents.”

At last, some readers of the paper in which the op-ed appeared might exclaim – light!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blumenthal As Trump’s Victim

CTMirror tells us that President Donald Trump has “attacked the credibility of Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and several other Democrats, warning television networks against booking them on their news shows.”
Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for the Trump campaign, wrote to the television networks, “You should begin by asking the basic question: Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past? Murtaugh pointed to “reckless” and “outlandish, false claims” made by Blumenthal; among them “was Blumenthal’s statement in October on MSNBC that ‘the evidence is pretty clear that there was collision between the Trump campaign and the Russians.’”

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blumenthal, Mueller and Trump

“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men/ Gang aft a-gley” -- Robert Burns

We can no longer pretend, after the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the findings of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation, that the more important findings mean nothing at all and may be safely ignored.

The leaders of what Victor David Hanson called back in February a “dead coup” will of course seek to minimize the import of the concluded investigation in their rush to continue their coup. However, without scouring the details of the investigation, two things are indisputable: 1) that Mueller’s two year probe is over —future indictments are not in the offing -- and 2) that Mueller did not cite anyone in the Trump administration, including the president himself, with conspiracy, a crime, or collusion with the Putin regime in Russia to win an election against then Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Mueller’s two year investigation has been both exhaustive and exhausting. It unfolded under the dread suspicion, promoted by Democrats, that Trump would try to interfere with Mueller’s efforts, a suspicion that has proven to be a mole hill blown up to mountainous proportions by friends of Hillary Clinton such as Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Taxing Sin: We Are All Sinners Now

When a dollar moves from a private wallet to a public treasury, it is a tax.

This year will be a tax bonanza for Governor Ned Lamont’s administration. Some projected tax increases have not yet been written in legislative stone, but it is possible that tax increases in the Lamont administration may exceed those of the preceding administration. Malloy raised taxes in two installments during his two terms in office; taken together, his two tax increases may represent the largest tax boost of any administration in state history. Malloy’s low approval rating upon leaving office – 25 percent -- is traceable to tax impositions, a bristly, autocratic character, and the failure of his policies to stem chronic deficits.

The above definition of a tax allows us to regard the elimination of tax credits and the extension of taxes to other goods and services as tax increases. Business taxes, as we know, are transferred to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services; business taxes therefore are ultimately consumption taxes. The illusion that businesses pay taxes is an imposture that figures greatly in the propaganda of progressives who imagine they are doing a favor for the middle class by taxing companies. Tolls are taxes. Legislative raids on so called dedicated funds and lock-boxes represent, in the long run, tax increases, because the raided funds must be replenished sometime in the future. Bonding is the taxation of future taxpayers.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Politics In The Dark

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman -- Louis Brandeis

And, Brandeis continued, “Selfishness, injustice, cruelty, tricks and jobs of all sorts shun the light; to expose them is to defeat them. No serious evils, no rankling sore in the body politic, can remain long concealed, and when disclosed, it is half destroyed.”

Brandeis’ notion has long since become the anthem of modern journalism, properly practiced. Political trickery flourishes in the dark. The magician must shroud his trick in half light and distraction to pull the rabbit out of his hat. Journalism, properly practiced, is the sworn enemy of secret cabals.

Monday, March 11, 2019

How to Destroy Representative Government

The Yankee Institute once again is ringing an alarm bell, this time over a tolling bill crafted by the Connecticut Transportation Committee (DOT) that “contains a provision which allows a tolling proposal by the Connecticut Department of Transportation to pass without a vote by the legislature.” This is not the first time the Democrat dominated General Assembly sought to escape its constitutional obligation to vote on every dollar it raises or expends.

Under the terms of  Raised Bill 7280, “the General Assembly will have only 15 days to vote on tolling recommendations from the Connecticut Department of Transportation after an informational hearing, otherwise the tolling proposal will pass and be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration,” according to the Yankee Institute.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Enfield Republican Town Committee Address for Lincoln Day Dinner

Be The Storm

I’d like to thank Mary Ann Turner, the Chairman of the Enfield Republican Town Committee, for inviting me here today. It’s a pleasure to be with you. Enfield, everyone in the room may know, was the place where prominent theologian Jonathan Edwards delivered his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon. The sermon provided one of the sparks that lit the spiritual conflagration later called “The Great Awakening” and was  so fearful and effective a sermon that people in the pews broke out in tears. I think I can assure everyone in the room that my keynote may not have a similar effect.

Republicans have just been through a bruising election. I’d like to touch very gently on a few sore topics, but we don’t want to end up at a funeral here. Mark Twain, asked if he had attended the funeral of a man he intensely disliked, replied – No, I didn’t. But I sent along a message to the grief stricken that I heartily approved of the ceremony.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Lavielle On The Art Of Sausage Making

State Representative Gail Lavielle, one of the more thoughtful and business-like legislators in Connecticut’s democracy-averse General Assembly, recently gave on Facebook a painfully accurate overview of how legislation is made.

One of her constituents was wondering in what coffin the “regionalization/redistricting proposals will be buried” before the vampire is resurrected at the last moment to become, as Otto von Bismarck used to say, law.  Scholars are now quibbling over attribution, but Bismarck easily could have said, “Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.” And indeed, there are sausage-makers in the General Assembly, the majority of them Democrat, who do not want the general public to see how laws are made.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Lamont’s Big Sticks

“Government… is force” George Washington

At least one Connecticut Journalist, Kevin Rennie in the Hartford Courant, believes that Governor Ned Lamont’s poorly concealed campaign lies concerning truck-only tolls will haunt him during his entire term or terms, as the case may be, in office.

“This [the campaign flip-flop] raises some long-term worries,” Rennie writes, “about Lamont’s ability to lead. Lamont may have surrounded himself with people who do not understand that the public sees campaign promises as something more than gossamer thoughts. Just as troubling is the prospect that there is no one around the Greenwich millionaire who could persuade him that abandoning a key campaign promise 38 days into his administration would inflict lasting damage on him. He will no longer be believed — a crippling wound for any governor.”

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Pesci To Keynote Enfield Lincoln Day Dinner

Please join us members of the Connecticut’s 7th Senatorial District as we honor the 2019 Republicans of The Year.  Enfield’s honoree is none other than Town Councilor for District 1, a family man, a small business owner and someone whose passion and common-sense approach is well-deserving of recognition: Joseph Bosco.

Our keynote speaker is Don Pesci.  Mr. Pesci is a political columnist of 35 years who has written for various state newspapers and is moderator of the blog “CT Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State.”

Tickets and/or Ad Book opportunities can be purchased online or via mail. There are a variety of advertisement sizes available for the dinner program booklet.

Please note, businesses and organizations are limited (by CT State Statute) to $250 worth of advertising contributions per calendar year. The limit on individuals is $50. Dinner tickets DO NOT count towards this limit.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Lamont, Malloy Without The Quills?

Following Governor Ned Lamont's presentation of his budget to the General Assembly, the question remains: Is Ned Lamont Malloy II? He may turn out to be Malloy without the quills

Lamont’s budget includes hefty increases in taxes; as defined here, a tax is any dollar that moves from private wallets into the public treasury. Accumulatively, Lamont’s tax extensions – they are not a revocation of tax exemptions – closely approaches the tax increases of the Malloy administration. Taxes under the Lamont administration will also be made more progressive according to the reliable Marxian formula: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

Because of past economic sleight of hand, the neediest recipient of state dollars, it turns out, is the state treasury. In the past, when expenses have gone up and revenue has plummeted, Connecticut has increased taxes to recover ensuing deficits. Lamont repeats the process in a higher key.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Blumenthal’s War And Progressive Socialism

O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams” – Shakespeare, Hamlet

Dick Blumenthal, Connecticut’s progressive US Senator, is inching dangerously close to socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). The distance between progressive radicals and socialists is now hair thin.

Early in February, Blumenthal Tweeted, “Climate change is an existential crisis. I’m proud to co-sponsor the #GreenNewDeal—affirming our commitment to develop a plan to tackle the devastating effects of climate change, create high-paying jobs in renewable energy and address disparities in communities affected by pollution.”

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Progressive Menace In Connecticut: Vernon RTC Keynote

I’d like to thank Bob Hurd for inviting me here so that we might have a chat together. I’d also like to congratulate Dan Champagne for wining a slot in the General Assembly. He will be stepping into state Senator Tony Guglielmo large shoes, but there is no doubt he will be able to fashion his own foot print.

Welcome to the viper pit, Dan. You may want to stomp on a rumor that’s been floating around. It’s being said in some quarters that you ran for the state Senate because you missed butting heads with Mike Winkler. Michael is at a safe remove from Dan over in the House, but legislators sometimes bump into each other in the elevators and corridors of the General Assembly, not to mention its intersectional bathrooms.


Remarks by Chris Powell
Vernon Republican Town Committee
American Legion Post 14
Vernon, Connecticut
Saturday, February 16, 2019

For the first two decades of my adult life I was a Democrat. I became a Republican back around 1991, if for peculiar reasons that may be best explained by a scene in the old Marx Brothers movie “Horse Feathers.”

Maybe you remember it. Groucho has been appointed president of Huxley College and announces that the problem with Huxley is that it has been neglecting football for education. So he appoints himself coach of the football team in time to coach it for a game against Huxley’s big rival, Darwin College.

There’s a very confusing play on the field and Groucho ends up in the Darwin huddle. Groucho’s son runs over to him and says, “Dad, Dad -- You’re coaching the wrong team.”

Groucho replies: “I know that but our team wouldn’t listen to me.”

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Progressives Are Coming, The Progressives Are Coming...

This Vernon RTC keynote address appeared first in NEI

So then, let’s attack the question head on and ask – what do Connecticut progressives want?
The right answer is deceptively simple. They want MORE – more taxes, more spending, more favorable notices in the media, even though they are showered daily with editorial encomiums, and more government regulation, provided an impermeable wall can be constructed around the murder of late-term babies in the womb.
The only thing Connecticut progressives don’t want more of is less spending. They want to break down the barriers that stand between their revolutionary ambition to re-invent Connecticut as they consolidate power the way they have proposed to consolidate school districts, by eliminating the influences of what G., K. Chesterton once called “the little platoons of democracy,” mediating institutions such as town governments, churches, voluntary associations and the like. A famous caricaturist summed up the ethos of progressivism when he said, “What is the point of having absolute power, if you are not prepared to abuse it?” MORE HERE -- New England Intelligencer

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Lamont Budget

Deducing Governor Ned Lamont’s budget proposal from meetings he has held with Democrat leaders in the General Assembly is a little bit like deducing Shakespeare from lamb chops.

Here is Senate Pro Tem Martin Looney  on their talks, according to a piece in CTMirror: “’We did talk a little bit, just in general, about the nature of the sales tax and the fact it was structured when our economy was somewhat entirely dependent upon products and goods, and now it’s heavily dependent upon services,’ Looney said. ‘We did say, basically, the two options to address the sales tax are, one, a base expansion, and the second is a rate increase.’”

Monday, February 04, 2019

Murphy On The Death Of Connecticut’s Insurance Industry

A Republican American story notes, “A top Democratic lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to raise the state sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.85 percent to help cities and towns.”

The top Democrat lawmaker is, of course, President Pro Tem of the State Senate Martin Looney, well positioned to sweep dedicated funds into the general fund, the graveyard of noble Democrat intentions.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Looney Bill: Reinventing Connecticut

Now that Democrats have reclaimed the castle from marauding Republicans, State Senator Martin Looney is flexing his considerable muscles. Looney is the President Pro Tem of the State Senate and, as such, is one of two important gatekeepers steering bills through the legislature; the other is Speaker of the State House of Representatives Joe Aresimowicz, quite literally bought by unions. Aresimowicz is education coordinator employed by AFSCME.

Looney’s political turf is Half of New Haven, which last saw a Republican mayor 68 years ago, and Hamden, politically a vassal of New Haven, home of Yale College. Looney has been in politics for a quarter century, and his tenure has taught him a thing or two. Both Looney and Aresimowicz are progressives very much in the mold of Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, socialist presidential contender Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new face of Democrat socialism, a US Representative from New York's 14th congressional district, which  includes the eastern part of The Bronx and portions of north-central Queens in New York City.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Conversation With Peter Wolfgang

“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice” -- A Defense of Humilities, The Defendant, 1901, G.K. Chesterton

Small “o” orthodox Christians of a certain age will be familiar with the cardinal virtues. They are: prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice – all under attack by a secular culture that, judging by Hollywood or Washington DC standards, appears to have won the battle. But, never fear, the four cardinal virtues form the breastplate of a church against which, its founder once proclaimed, the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

The Cardinal virtues, St. Augustine tells us, better enable us to pursue the good life: “To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this,  it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).”

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Malloy, The Sanctuary Governor

“We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific war-torn country—seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut,” so said a spokesperson for Governor Dannel Malloy,  according to a piece in the Hartford Courant.

There are some obvious difficulties with this passage. Syria is administered by an odious dictator, perhaps even more ruthless than the father who preceded him, and rigorous screening measures such as those mentioned by Malloy are not always possible in horrific, war-torn countries.

Of course, a screening examination of even the most cursory kind is never possible in the case of illegal aliens from wretched countries such as Honduras and Guatemala who, crossing through Mexico, bum-rush the US border and thereafter become nearly invisible tucked within a welter of humanity – unless they call attention to themselves by violating a law other than the immigration laws winked at in sanctuary cities. Such difficulties have not stopped Malloy from opening the doors of Connecticut to unverified illegal immigrants, some of whom may be found in Connecticut’s sanctuary cities such as New Haven.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Connecticut’s Trump Bump And Culture Reinvention

While Connecticut Democrats were busying themselves thumping President Donald Trump during the recently concluded elections – the state’s all Democrat US Congressional Delegation would not shed a tear if U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi and US Senator Chuck Schumer were to succeed in impeaching him – Trump has delivered the goods to The Provision State.

The state’s underperforming economy may finally join the rest of the nation, much of which had recovered from the Great Recession many moons ago, in a splendid recovery – just in time too. Economists in Connecticut have not titled the coming jobs boom The Trump Bump, although a recent Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) report, “UTC’s 4Q profits jump 73%; CEO Hayes airs separation plans HBJ” comes dangerously close.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Attkisson On Transactional Reporting

Journalism, we are told, is suffering from two ailments: Fake news – some of the boys and girls are just pestiferous ideologues – and transactional journalism. Of the two, the more fatal is transactional journalism, because it perverts the very purpose of honest reporting, which is to tell the truth and shame the Devil.

Reporters who engage in transactional journalism are the Donald Trumps of the reportorial world. Journalism is, among other things, a business, and business orbits around access to a product. When he was Attorney General of Connecticut for more than 20 years, Dick Blumenthal was a master at putting his product before the television cameras, so much so that it was said of him -- by journalists weary of having to make his frequent media releases into reportorial foie gras -- that there was no more dangerous place in Connecticut than the space between Blumenthal and a television camera.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Republican Resistance, Themis Klarides

Themis Klarides, the leader of a much reduced Republican contingent in the Connecticut House of Representatives, is fair-minded, but not the sort of woman who will suffer fools – and, more importantly, political frauds – gladly. She may allow two strikes, but three strikes and you’re out.

Very early on, Klarites drew a bead on the Malloy administration, which sought to marginalize Republican influence over political affairs by loudly shutting the door on Republicans such as Klarides. A shrewd judge of character, she carefully catalogued the quills Governor Dannel Malloy had been throwing about.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hartford Is The Canary In Connecticut’s Mineshaft

According to a story in a Hartford paper, the city’s mayor, Luke Bronin, a rising star in state politics, “declined to comment on the dispute” between Hartford teachers and their nominal patron, the Hartford Board of Education. The dispute is about contracts and the inability of the people of Hartford to finance years of overspending.

A few months ago, Bronin, unable to meet his contractual obligations, sought a bailout from state taxpayers. Bronin leapt from the Malloy administration frying pan, where he served as Governor Dannel Malloy’s chief council, directly into the fire as mayor of a city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and his former boss was only too happy to bail out his protege by flooding the city with state tax balm.

The Hartford school board is seeking concession from teacher union representatives, and the concessions will, if ever they bear fruit, make future state bailouts less burdensome to an all-Democrat political hegemon that may, under the enlightened administration of newly elected Governor Ned Lamont, be less inclined to bail out Connecticut cities teetering precariously on the edge of bankruptcy.