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Showing posts from January, 2020

The Toll Draft-Bill Fine Print

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” is not a sentiment often heard in Connecticut’s General Assembly. Nor is it often heard in the state’s media, besieged relentlessly with press releases issued by forked-tongued legislators.
The tolling draft-bill that may soon be approved by the General Assembly on a party line vote is the usual “rush job,” even though Democrats certain to vote in favor of the bill knew it was coming down the pike shortly after Ned Lamont had been elected Governor in January, 2019, a year ago.

The latest draft omits language in other versions that assigned the authority to raise toll rates to the legislature, where it belongs, and instead confers the authority to raise taxes – or “user fees” as artful Democrats would prefer -- to an unelected, and therefore irreproachable, newly formed Transportation Policy Council. This abdication of responsibility relives legislators of their constitutionally assigned “getting and spending” powers.

In Tolls We Trust

Leading Democrats in the General Assembly think we need a new revenue source – tolls. Why do they think so? Because they have run out of money.

And why have they run out of money? The answer to that question will depend upon the political affiliation of the person to whom the question is put. Democrats have offered a cornucopia of reasons. Number one on their list is -- the gas tax just ain’t what it used to be.

Looney To Toll Opponents: Shut Up, Go Away

“When asked by a reporter whether the [toll] hearing would be opened up to the general public after hearing from experts and guest speakers,” the Yankee Institute reported, “[President of the Senate Martin] Looney said he was working out the details with House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin.
“'I’ve not had any discussions with the Speaker as to whether or not it would be structured in a way to carve out a special allocation of time for invited speakers or anything like that,’ Looney said.”

Biden In Connecticut

The impeachment of President Donald Trump has blotted out lesser news stories. Journalistically, the impeachment circus has become the sun that, early in the morning, hides the stars behind a veil of bright light. But the stars twinkle, never-the-less.
According to most polls, former Vice President Joe Biden will eventually become the White Knight facing the Republican’s Black Knight, Trump, whom Democrats, during their somber impeachment process, hope to remove from office before the 2020 elections. This fugitive “hope” is doomed to be crushed by the numbers. Democrats simply do not have the numbers in the U.S. Senate to boot Trump out of office before the national elections and, in politics, numbers rule.

Occam’s Razor And The Middle East

The Middle East, we are told, is complex.
That is true, but there is little point in making the complex more complex. We in the West should remember that partisanship and corruption grow in the crevices of complexity. If there were little confusion, we would have no need of experts to smooth a path for us through the complexities.
The simplest explanation for an occurrence is usually the best. We should apply Occam’s Razor, which holds that the more assumptions you must make, the more unlikely your explanation, to all complex conundrums.

Twenty Pounds Of Tax Increases, One Ounce Of Spending Cuts, Please

Keith Phaneuf, a reporter for CTMirror, set afire the imposture without doing too much damage to the tender feelings of Connecticut’s ruling class.

In “Lamont eyes emergency budget cuts, even as reserves swell,” Phaneuf notes 1) that the reductions are minor rescissionary cuts, and 2) that the deficit Governor Ned Lamont seeks to reduce through his rescission authority represents a piddling “0.1 percent of the General Fund.” Phaneuf notes, “Ned Lamont has also recently raised the specter of emergency budget cuts — something his predecessor did frequently to the consternation of the General Assembly.”

Why There Will Be Tolls

It is nearly a forgone conclusion that tolls will be erected in Connecticut, and it is worth explaining why.
Taxation in Connecticut is a matter of numbers, just as the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the House was a matter of numbers and his exoneration in the Senate will be a matter of numbers. Rationales will be offered in both chambers, but the reasons offered pro and contra are purely decorative, not compelling. It is the votes that are compelling. The same is true of Connecticut’s state budget. Democrats have commanding leads in both chambers, therefore there will be tolls.
And the tolls, to be imposed only on trucks in Governor Lamont’s latest toll legislation, will metastasize in the future. That too is inevitable.

Blumenthal And Murphy Avoid Imputations

U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal were anxious – perhaps too anxious – to “set the narrative” concerning the strike onGeneral Qassem Soleimani of Iran, who met an untimely death at the hands of an American drone in Iraq.
Soleimani was engaged in his usual business in Iraq – killing Americans. He had, during his years as the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top general, become proficient in the art, providing IED’s to friendly terrorist groups in all quarters of the Middle East. The state department has said he was responsible for upwards of 500 deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. After washing himself in American blood, Soleimani would duck back into Iran, a safe harbor from U.S. retribution.

Murphy’s Twitter Twists

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy appears to have gotten his twitters in a twist.
On December 31, the last day of the old decade, Murphy wrote on twitter: “The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable. Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace.”
Shortly after the destruction at the embassy, orchestrated by Quds Force thugs under the direction of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, the general met an American drone near the airport and quickly assumed room temperature.
Trump, spurred on, one may fancy, by Murphy’s hectoring, later boasted that his response to the endangering of embassy officials in Iraq would not be another Benghazi.