Monday, November 29, 2010

The Moody-Bannon

With the departure of the Jodi Rell administration – all good things must end – Lisa Moody, a punching bag for people who did not want, for whatever reason, to punch Mrs. Rell, will also leave the stage, to be replaced by Tim Bannon, Gov. Elect-Dan Malloy’s Chief of Staff.

Mr. Bannon, among other accomplishments, is the very first gubernatorial chief of staff in Connecticut to have appeared as a character in a comic strip. T.F. Bannon, of the firm Torts, Tarts & Torque, an early character in Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury,” was patterned after Mr. Bannon, a school chum of Trudeau’s when the two were terrorizing Yale together, Mr Bannon as chairman and Mr. Trudeau as Editor in Chief of the Yale Record, America's oldest humor magazine.

The use of a major domo to deflect criticism from the chief is considerably older than the friendship between Mr. Bannon and Mr. Trudeau, who likely will not reinsert Mr. Bannon into his strip any time soon.

Though she was perfectly capable of thinking for herself, Queen Victoria had Disraeli to serve as a buffer protecting the Queen from the slings and arrows deployed against her administration from Fleet Street. George Bush’s straw man was Vice President Dick Cheney, said to be his brain mostly because the president, like Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Bannon a graduate of Yale, was thought to have none. That is how Mr. Bush, wandering through Mr. Trudeau’s panels as an empty-headed Roman warrior’s helmet, was depicted in Mr. Trudeau’s strip. One looks in vain to Mr. Trudeau’s for a similar comic treatment of President Barack Obama, whose vices do not include the bogeyman of Yale graduates -- stupidity.

It is obvious that Mr. Trudeau likes Mr. Bannon, whom he describes as “brilliant, competent and integrity itself.” Affection is a wet blanket that stifles the burning embers of comedy. Most political cartoonists are unapologetically fierce. What is the point of having absolute power if you are not willing to abuse it, a famous caricaturist once asked?

No, given Mr. Trudeau’s obvious tilt to the left, it will not do to poke fun at the Malloy regime, which promises to be, on the state level, a repeat in a minor key of the national script rolling out of Mr. Obama’s administration: Get the economy moving again with large-scale capital spending projects; turn the millionaires, hereafter defined as anyone making more than $250,000 per annum, upside down and shake the money from their pockets into the state treasury; spend more money on education -- there can never be too many failing urban public schools; phone Washington and beg for handouts; phone businesses elsewhere in the nation and try to sell them on a state that has a crushing debt, two fiscal years out, of upwards of $6 billion; and prepare to mount a sturdy defense of the Malloy administration by riffing on the theme – it was my predecessors fault; I’m just trying to administer the mess left me by Rell-Moody.

To some extent, Ms. Moody played the same straw man part for Mrs. Rell, a governor who, as a creature of the legislature, was for that reason too willing to arrange collapsing compromises with Democratic leaders fixated on spending tax money lavishly and swelling the ranks of their union supporters.

The lamb that has survived the slaughter is bound to have a cousinly regard for the lamb led to the slaughter. "I think he's one of the smartest people I've ever met,'' Moody said of Bannon.” He's a man of uncommon intellect. He has very high integrity, is very much a hard worker, and he will thrive as chief of staff. He's going to learn to become a juggler, a confidant, a task-master on occasion, a buffer, and a constant multi-tasker.''

At this point, the skies are empty and blue. But major unaddressed problems do not disappear when administrations change. If Mr. Malloy is serious about cutting spending, as his campaign rhetoric indicated, his struggle in office will be similar to that of Rell-Moody, and there is every reason to believe that Mr. Malloy, whose cranial matter appears to be in good order, will sometimes stumble, possibly over the feet of Speaker of the House Chris Dovovan.

No administration is entirely transparent or fault free. When the pratfalls occur, Mr. Bannon, taskmaster and buffer, will be on hand to upright his boss and even, should the occasion warrant, take a media bullet for him. It will be very interesting to see at that point whether Connecticut's left of center media will applaud him for his self sacrificial bravery.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tobacco Prevention Program in Connecticut Broken

In its annual report on states' funding of tobacco prevention programs titled "A Broken Promise to Our Children,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report that Connecticut ranks 45th in the nation in funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Key findings in the report show:

• In the past year, Connecticut has virtually eliminated funding for tobacco prevention, cutting funding from $6.1 million to $400,000.

• Connecticut this year will collect $529 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 0.1 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.

• The tobacco companies spend $123 million a year to market their products in Connecticut. This is 307 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.

•In the past year, Connecticut has virtually eliminated funding for tobacco prevention, cutting funding from $6.1 million to $400,000.

• Connecticut this year will collect $529 million from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just 0.1 percent of it on tobacco prevention programs.

• The tobacco companies spend $123 million a year to market their products in Connecticut. This is 307 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention.
The assault on Big Tobacco, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s signature suit, played an important part in his recent successful election to the U.S. Senate.

While the fines collected from Big Tobacco by Mr. Blumenthal and other attorneys general may have helped the Connecticut General Assembly to pad its budget with the windfall furnished by the attorneys general, the money collected, as shown by the report, has had virtually no practical effect in keeping the broken promise to our children.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sorry For Lack Of Posts From A Different Perspective

I am fighting some serious health problems. Hope to be back in the arena in 3-4 weeks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mayor DeStefano Meets The The Vox Populi

From the New Haven Independent, a placid impromptu meeting between Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano and his constituents.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Donovan, Williams, Malloy And The Coming Crisis

Don Williams is the President Pro Tem of the state senate and one of the whip wielders of Connecticut’s Democratic caucus in the General Assembly. The other caucus leader in the state legislature is Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, once a union steward, whose affections and personal history bind him to union interests. The adamantine bonds between legislators who arrive in the General Assembly on the wings of unionism and union affiliated organizations that bring home votes to them -- especially in cities like Bridgeport and New Haven, both of which were directly responsible for Governor-elect Dan Malloy’s victory in Connecticut’s recent gubernatorial campaign – are like those between ministers of the word and their flocks. Once a union steward, always a union steward.

Unions have been good to the Democratic leadership in the General Assembly, and the leadership has been good to unions. It will continue to be so – now with a vengeance, since the Republican Party, which has a lingering affection towards businesses, has lost its negotiating posture with the General Assembly leadership. For the first time in 20 years, A Democratic governor will be the helm of state, steering our faltering ship to safe harbor. Governor Jodi Rell, it must be confessed, was never much of a “firewall” preventing the Democratic dominated legislature from raising taxes and spending. She was, at best, a pause in the rush to establish the one party state now upon us.

When Mrs. Rell leaves office, she will be taking with her the “balance” she believes is so important to good governance. For all practical purposes, the state of Connecticut has now become Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, all one party cities. Those cities have been in disarray for as long as they have been one party operations, largely because single party entities are responsive to sectarian rather than broad state interests.

Never-the-less, Mr. Williams is optimistic, according to an Associated Press report.

True, the Tax Foundation presents a bleak picture of Connecticut’s future: Our state and municipal tax burden is the third highest in the nation; Connecticut’s 2010 Business Tax Climate Ranks 48th in the country; the state’s property tax collections per capita is the second highest nationally, behind only New Jersey; Connecticut's gasoline tax stands at 41.9 cents per gallon, the 4th highest nationally; Connecticut’s return on every dollar sent to Washington is 69 cents, the third lowest nationally; tax freedom day, that point on the calendar during which the state’s taxes obligations are satisfied, arrives yearly on April 27, the latest in the nation; and, as if all this were not disheartening enough, Connecticut’s unfunded liability, at nearly $15.9 billion, is the second-highest unfunded pension liability per capita in the country.

"Make no mistake,” Mr. Williams said, “we face significant challenges as we dig out from the economic avalanche of the national recession. But to be working with a Democratic governor, to be sharing the same basic principles and ideas, will be an experience that none of us have had in 20 years."

Republicans, noticing some of the pledges made by Mr. Malloy during his campaign, also are looking on the bright side of things, for different reasons. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney believes “there is a workable majority in this legislature, of Republicans and Democrats, who believe that we need to reduce our spending, reform our big, bloated government and get jobs back in the state of Connecticut.”

Standing between Mr. Malloy and a possible coalition government of Republicans, Independents and traditional Democrats is what might be called the permanent government: state workers determined to maintain at all cost their status and political pull; hopeful media adepts who intend through editorials and commentaries to direct the new governor’s path towards fiscal responsibility and prudent spending; progressives hopeful that Malloy will at long last relieve the tax burden on middle class workers through measures that force the rich to bear their “fair share” of state “investments” – the usual motley crew.

Overarching all this are the gathering national storm clouds. The federal government is hobbling forward, under a crushing debt burden, towards a future in which it is likely -- for the first time in our nation’s history -- that our children’s prospects will be less promising than our own. We have eaten drunk and made merry, passing to them a multi-trillion dollar bill. Having pulled all the rabbits out of its hat during our lingering recession, a spendthrift federal government now has decided to clip the horns of a prospective deflation by inflating the currency. The classic definition of inflation is: too many dollars chasing too few goods. Inflation, during which printed money is pumped into the currency stream, lowers the purchasing price of the dollar. It is a hidden tax -- poison mainlined into the nation’s bloodstream.

Whether Mr. Malloy has the courage and good sense to find a way through this inescapable briar patch and plot a successful course for Connecticut that will secure its prosperity and well being relative to other competing states is very much an open question.

Time is short, the eternity of debt long.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Republican Default Position

Republicans, occasionally in recent Connecticut history the loyal opposition, have now lost their coveted gubernatorial post. With the exception of a few seats won by state Republicans, 14 in the House and 1 in the Senate, Democrats in the recently concluded elections carried the entire field – this against a National Republican headwind that gave a majority in the U.S. House to Republicans and chipped away at Senate rule by Democrats. The Republican insurgency also reversed Democratic control of some state legislatures and gubernatorial offices, allowing Republicans to redistrict important states during the upcoming census.

Although Democrats nationally are licking their wounds, Connecticut Democrats are popping champagne corks, fatally imagining that serious change in state governance is unnecessary.

Governor-elect Dan Malloy, the first Democratic governor elected in the state since former Gov. William O’Neill threw in the towel 20 years ago, will not be the “firewall” that, some suppose, the two last Republican governor were. The Democratic dominated General Assembly has successfully pressed its own progressive agenda ever since former Independent Governor Lowell Weicker, waving a white flag of his own in the direction of Democrats, yielded to opposition leaders in the legislature and with their help managed to pass his income tax over the hearty objections of the Republican Party he often used as a foil for self promotion. Outgoing Gov. Jodi Rell was unable in her last few years in office to marshal enough support to sustain a veto when Democrats during the last term made Connecticut’s income tax more progressive.

The trend line over the last three decades has been in the direction of higher taxes and increased spending. Connecticut cannot maintain a competitive posture with other states until that trend line is bent in the opposite direction. So called “firewall” Republican governors have not had sufficient support, either in the General Assembly or among Connecticut’s left of center media, to stem the movement towards increased spending that now, after a bone crushing recession, has left Connecticut facing a no-excuse executioner wielding an axe above the state’s bowed head.

Every political commentator in the state, even the most unremitting progressives among them, knows perfectly well that spending must be cut. The budget deficit in Connecticut, per capita, is greater than that of California or New Jersey. Though New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was able – by the grace of God, who loves underdog Republicans – to manfully address his state’s deficit WITHOUT RAISING TAXES, one cannot expect a similar effort from Mr. Malloy, who is no Chris Christie.

Moreover, Mr. Malloy owes his election to progressive political operations in the state’s larger cities – especially Bridgeport and New Haven – a media operating on the questionable supposition that a Democratic governor will be able successfully to negotiate reductions in spending with a tax addicted, union propelled Democratic leadership in the General Assembly, and a politically detached citizenry that snoozed through a national Republican insurgency.

Faced with a Democratic governor who very well may become the plaything of powerful leaders in the General Assembly, as were the two Republican governors who preceded him, a politically detached citizenry, and a left of center media that for years has rested comfortably in the delusion that Connecticut had a revenue rather than a spending problem, what strategy, it may be asked, should the loyal but diminishing opposition adopt to stem the tide and ferry the ship of state into more placid waters?

Any responsible Republican position must necessarily be a default position – because Republicans lost; and when a party loses an election, it loses its ability to affect the future. Piloted by leading Democrats in the General Assembly, state taxes will go up; in the face of threats by rating agencies to lower bond ratings, bonding may increase; spending cuts will be temporary; the income tax will be made more progressive; tax increases will be permanent. Here and there, mostly as a sop to convince easily deluded opinion makers, Democrats will dole out tax credits to favored industries and constituencies, a credit being a temporary cut revocable at the will of Democratic leaders in the General Assembly and the Democratic governor.

The Republican resistance to tax increases will be overridden by Connecticut’s new one party state. Republicans, Independents and what is left of a rational state media should bend their efforts towards reversing the permanent trend line. And while they undoubtedly will be forced to bow grudgingly to a superior political force majeure, their default rallying point should be – permanent spending cuts, temporary self lapsing tax increases, a political pitch that very well could be sold even in bluer than blue Connecticut. There may be no other way of reversing a course of political action that will make our state a beggar among beggars, dependent on the whimsy of improvident politicians.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stolen Valor

On this Veteran’s Day, it will be well to remind ourselves that there are those among us who steal valor and suck the honor from the marrow of the nation’s heroic bones. A few months ago, the Australian Broadcasting System (ABC) put together a documentary called “Stolen Valor.” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who lied numerous times about his service in Vietnam, is among the dark characters in the film.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obama Off Message, America In Decline

Hillary Clinton, the present Secretary of State and ex-President Bill Clinton’s better half by far, spent Election Day a safe distance from the epicenter of what appears to be a Republican Party awakening. In a massive shrug, the nation shucked off the Democratic Party control of congress, taking back the U.S. House of Representatives and putting a large dent in the U.S. Senate. The seismic event bypassed Connecticut.

The day after the political earthquake in Washington, President Barack Obama traveled with his retinue to India, where he gave a few stirring speeches that appeared to be fatally off-message.

Harley Davidson, the American maker of the iconic motorcycle, is building a plant in India. Ordinarily, the un-American drift of jobs and business offshore would excite the interests of senator-elect Dick Blumenthal and other members of Connecticut’s Democratic congressional delegation, all of whom made much ado in their campaigns over the leeching of jobs to foreign countries.

Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Larson et al made “Made in American” a central pillar of their campaigns and promised to bring home jobs. Mr. Blumenthal stressed during his campaign that, once in Washington, he would staunch the leeching. Ditto Democratic U.S. congressional representatives Mr. John Larson, Ms. Rosa DeLauro, Mr. Jim Himes, Mr. Chris Murphy and Mr. Joe Courtney.

Concerning the creation of jobs, Mr. Blumenthal was particularly amorphous in his response to a question from then Republican Party nominee for the senate Linda McMahon:

“A job is created, and it can be in a variety of ways by a variety of people, but principally by people and businesses in response to demand for products and services. And the main point about jobs in Connecticut is, we can and we should create more of them by creative policies. And that's the kind of approach that I want to bring to Washington… I know about how government can help preserve jobs. And I want programs that provide more capital for small business, that are tax policies that will promote creation of jobs, stronger intervention by government to make sure we use the Made in America policies and Buy America policies to keep jobs here rather than buying products that are manufactured overseas.”

If Mr. Blumenthal stumbled a bit in his response, perhaps it was because he had not sufficiently rehearsed the script supplied to Democratic campaigners by Washington insiders, one of whom, the illustrious Rahm Emanuel, has now departed the Obama administration to run for mayor of Chicago.

In 2008, India was somewhat alarmed by the message of then presidential campaigner Obama, according to Express India:

“Taking a tough stand against outsourcing, the presumptive Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama said that the choice is between giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas or give benefit to those corporations that keep jobs domestically.

"’We can keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, or we can give tax benefits to companies that invest right here in New Hampshire,’ Senator Obama said at a joint appearance with Senator Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire.”

It turns out that current Democratic members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation have fallen behind changing times.

In his recent trip to India, an outsourcing post utilized by Big IT firms and others in the United States, Mr. Obama, his 2008 campaign far behind him, put ancient Indian fears to rest. Announcing new business deals between the U.S. and India, the president said the deal could result in as many as 50-thousand new U.S. jobs.

“Now,” the president said, “our two nations have a chance to do what many also thought was impossible, and that is to build a global partnership in a new century.”

In Mumbai, the Times of India reported, the president implicitly acknowledged the decline of American dominance:

“Speaking at a town hall meeting in Mumbai, he [President Obama] said, ‘I do think that one of the challenges that we are going face in the US, at a time when we are still recovering from the financial crisis is, how do we respond to some of the challenges of globalization? The fact of the matter is that for most of my lifetime and I'll turn 50 next year - the US was such an enormously dominant economic power, we were such a large market, our industry, our technology, our manufacturing was so significant that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms. And now because of the incredible rise of India and China and Brazil and other countries, the US remains the largest economy and the largest market, but there is real competition.’”

A possible visit to the president's childhood haunts in Jakarta, Indonesia, the world’s most populist Islamic country, was put in doubt by the eruption of the country’s most volatile volcano. Mr. Obama moved to Jakarta when he was 6, after his divorced mother remarried an Indonesian, and lived there until he was 10.

Connecticut’s congressional delegation, on its return to Washington, will face a disturbance of a different order, one made in America.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are We All Liebermans Now?

Writing in the New Haven Advocate, Greg Hladky peered into Sen. Joe Lieberman’s future in Connecticut politics. The results were “mixed,” as some in the business might say.

Hladky began his analysis by observing that Connecticut avoided the tsunami that swept Republicans into the U.S. Congress in the upcoming term. What does such steadfastness mean for Lieberman’s career?

Lieberman, it will be recalled, was challenged in a primary by liberal heartthrob Ned Lamont. While he lost the primary – and, apparently, his party affiliation -- Lieberman won the general election running as an Independent. In that race, Lieberman drew upon a large number of Republican and Independent votes. It is likely that some old school Democrats, repulsed by extreme liberal positions, also voted for Lieberman.

The Lieberman-Lamont drama, all things else being equal, is not likely to repeat itself for the following reasons:

1) Should Lieberman defend his seat as an Independent in a three way race, the Republicans, once stung twice cautious, likely will not put up a weak candidate to run against him. This time around, a three way race may benefit Republicans. Rob Simmons, for instance, is on Republican ice, and even left of center commentators appeared to take a shine to him during his contest with Linda McMahon.

2) The spit and fire has gone out of the anti-war movement, possibly because Democratic President Barack Obama has decided to pursue a militarily aggressive posture in Afghanistan, a collection of warlords known to some historians as the “graveyard of empires.”

3) There are no exact repetitions in politics because time and chance consistently toss new possibilities on to the political stage.

How would Rep. Chris Murphy fare in a three way race that included Lieberman and a strong Republican candidate? Among Democrats who matter, it is an article of faith that Murphy, left thinking Democrats’ great white hope, will challenge Lieberman, Murphy being the new Lamont.

But Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes, both adept politicians, are also reading the future. So is senator elect-Blumenthal. All three, during their campaigns, took care to put some buffers between themselves and the Obama administration. These three -- if not Reps. John Larson and Rosa DeLauro, whose districts make them impervious to assaults from right of center Republicans – certainly will return to Washington chastened by the national turn to the center.

Which means that ideologically and temperamentally Lieberman’s Democratic opposition might be much more Liebermanesque than the senator’s most acerbic critics suppose.

The open question is this: With the exception of safe Democrats in gerrymandered districts, will the remaining Democrats in Connecticut’s Democratic congressional delegation become Lieberman adepts in the new congress?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Garber Retained By Republicans To Examine Bridgeport Pile

Ross Garber, a partner in the Hartford, CT and Washington, D.C. offices of Shipman & Goodwin LLP and an attorney familiar with state prosecutions, has been engaged by the state Republican Party “to conduct a preliminary inquiry into widespread reports of Election Day issues in Bridgeport.” according to a media release issued by Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy.

Citing a preliminary inquiry, Mr. Garber today sent letters to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David Fein, and the Chief States Attorney for the State of Connecticut, Kevin Kane, pointing to evidence that the voting process in Bridgeport was riddled with “significant deficiencies, irregularities and improprieties, most notably in connection with the creation and distribution of ballots; the counting of votes; and the tabulation of election results.” The letter indicates that these issues “may have led to the disenfranchisement of those qualified to vote in the November 2 election and the violation of the rights of citizens of Connecticut under the state and federal Constitutions.”

In addition, Republican state Sen. Kevin Witkos has called upon both Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane to investigate the improper use of reverse 9-1-1 on Election Day to notify select Bridgeport voters of extended voting hours.

“State law is very clear that reverse 9-1-1 is an emergency notification system only,” Witkos said. “As a matter of fact, the law very clearly states that the system is to be used ‘only in case of life-threatening emergencies.’ Not by any stretch of the imagination can notifying Bridgeport voters that they had an extra two hours to vote be considered a life-threatening emergency, or really any kind of an emergency.

“Since some people got the reverse 9-1-1 message and some did not, I have to ask if we are to assume that being notified about the extended voting hours rose to the level of a ‘life threatening emergency’ for residents of some parts of the city but not others. On its face, this is appalling.”

Democratic senator-elect Blumenthal shortly will be leaving his post as attorney general to assume his responsibilities in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Blumenthal, known for issuing florid press releases, may be able to respond to Senator Witkos before he leaves to take command in Washington of U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s soon to be vacant seat. But if Mr. Blumenthal should not be up to the task, a rapid response may be forthcoming from attorney general-elect George Jepsen, whose prior affiliation with the Democratic Party – Jepsen was at one time Democratic Party Chairman in Connecticut – certainly will not impair his judgment or his findings, for Jepsen is an honorable man.

The Bridgeport Pile

Doug Schwartz has done some digging in the Bridgeport pile, and he has thrown up a few truffles. It’s a pity he is not an investigative reporter for one of Connecticut’s drowsy newspapers – because he is asking all the right questions.

By Doug Schwartz

Date: Friday, November 5, 2010, 4:19 PM

I conclude there was pre-meditated vote fraud in CT, and the reason CT's largest city (Bridgeport) is so slow to report their results is the classic motive behind vote fraud cases: they needed to wait until they learned how many votes they were short, and then they went out and found them. As I show below, if you run the numbers on the quantity of ballots ordered and received and do the timeline of the judge's ruling, this reeks of pre-meditated fraud. This conspiracy began long before Tues. There are a host of basic questions below we need answers to, and which the press is not being too curious about finding -- Recall that it is the Mayor of Stamford who is running for Governor -- ". . . specific complaints filed in October 2008 by Lucy Corelli and Joseph Borges, Republican Registrars of Voters in Stamford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, respectively, during the 2008 election season.

According to Corelli, on August 1, 2008, her office received 1,200 ACORN voter registration cards from the Secretary of State’s office. Over 300 of these cards were rejected because of “duplicates, underage, illegible and invalid addresses,” which “put a tremendous strain on our office staff and caused endless work hours at taxpayers’ expense.” Corelli claimed the total cost of the extra work caused by ACORN corruption was $20,000. Likewise, Borges contended that: “The organization ACORN during the summer of 2008 conducted a registration drive which has produced over 100 rejections due to incomplete forms and individuals who are not citizens…” Among the examples cited by Borges was a seven-year old child who was registered to vote by ACORN through the use of a forged signature and a fake birth certificate claiming she was 27-years old.

The FBI and Department of Justice opened an investigation. However, the Obama Justice Department, while noting that ACORN had engaged in “questionable hiring and training practices,” closed down the investigation in March 2009, claiming ACORN broke no laws."

I took the time to wade through the FOI'ed documents that JW received from the FBI in this case (available from a link to a .pdf from the link above), and there is zero doubt there was outright fraud. Examples included things such as an inmate being registered without his knowledge, number bogus addresses and registration of children.

Recall also that Obama [on his next to last day of campaigning this year] and Clinton made last-minute appearances in Bridgeport right before the election, so we know they had big plans for the place.

Malloy also ran on the Working Families party line, gaining 24,755 votes.

Working Families is simply an ACORN front group. So we know they have a significant impact on this race, accounting for about 4.5% of Malloy's total votes, not including the Bridgeport totals which are not yet available but which will likely increase his ACORN percentage. Note that in Hartford, Malloy's WF line votes were almost as high as Foley's Republican line totals.

Then there are the illegal reverse 911 calls which went out in Bridgeport on election night.

This was both an illegal use of the 911 system and an equal protection violation in how it was administered.

I looked it up, and in the 2008 Presidential election, there were 40,682 votes cast in Bridgeport. Yet they only ordered 21,100 in 2010 to "save money." How likely is it that Bridgeport political hacks were truly concerned about saving money? How much money would they have saved if another 20,000 ballots were printed? A few grand at most. Where does the number 21,100 come from? This is nuts, nobody orders anything in other than a round number. How many ballots were ordered in 2008? It must have been greater than 40,682, because they did not run out. Yet two years later they order half as many?

There is now some double talk from Mayor Finch et al, claiming that it was all a clerical error, that saving money was not the issue. I believe Bysiewicz said something about this is the first election when municipalities had to pay for the ballots themselves.

The Bridgeport registrar said the number of ballots printed was based on the number voting in the past 3 elections. I checked: 2007 municipal election around 13,000. 2006 state-wide election (comparable to this year's) 19,954. Yet they only ordered 1,146 more ballots, to be distributed to all of the polling places, each of which would have required extras to avoid running out. I would love to know the ballot orders for each of the past 3 elections.

If you read the judge's order extending voting hours, there are several anomalies. Why were the Republicans ordered to receive notice and not the Democrats? It was because it was the Democrats who obtained this from the judge, the same judge, in fact, who gave Secretary of State Susan Byseiwitz a pass on her qualifications to run for attorney general, a judgement found wanting by Connecticut's Supreme Court. . Note the time of the order, 7:54 PM. What time did they run out of ballots? Would this order have been valid 6 minutes later? Almost certainly not. How was word conveyed to each of the 12 polling places listed on the order in that 6 minute span? By phone? If so, how many people made the calls and what was the phone number list they worked from? This works out to 30 seconds per phone call if 1 person called 12 polling places. Did all polling places receive word of this order prior to the 8:00 closing? If not, do votes from them count? Note the final line or the order, which unlike the rest of the document, has blanks with handwritten date and time inserted. What gives? How far in advance had this been drafted? Days? This makes no sense to draft a custom, one-off document and then leave blanks. I can maybe see a blank for the time, but for the date??? Was the last-minute nature of this court order to preclude a Republican challenge? The ballots ran out many hours earlier, and if so, a 7:54 ruling smells. How many photocopied ballots were produced in those two hours, where was this done and how were they then distributed to the polls? Who applied for this court order? Had photocopying of ballots commenced prior to the order? How many photocopied ballots had been cast prior to 8:00? It took time to make an application for a court order, obtain a judge, hear the case and draft the decision. This whole timeline needs to be known to the citizens. Amazingly, all this gets done in the nick of time.

This whole thing makes zero sense. On Tuesday evening, Bysiewicz reports that they were able to get another 10,000 ballots from the printer, and that the hearing before the judge took about 20 minutes. So we know they waited hours to go to the judge. Was it to present him with a deadline he had to meet, or was it to keep the Republicans in the dark and denying them time to appeal? Note that it does not appear to be an adversarial hearing, and no Republican attys. were present. So about 10,000 additional printed ballots, plus who knows how many photocopied ballots, which means a total of at least 31,000 ballots. Note the reporter's question which informs us that at 5:00 Bysiewicz had told him that she had already ordered photocopying of ballots. Yet today we learn the vote total in Bridgeport was only 22,072 for the two leading gubernatorial candidates combined, plus maybe 2 or 300 more for Marsh. So where did all these extra ballots they printed go?

Foley reports: "the numbers keep changing around. In last twelve hours, the Bridgeport number has swung over 900 votes.”

Healy on Oct. 20 filed a complaint alleging that two individuals obtained and distributed more than 250 applications for absentee ballots listing a vacant lot on North Avenue as their address.

Watch the video from inside a polling place. It's not pretty. More smelly stuff.
How many of the people in this video are involved in cooking the books?

 Now we learn that "a very small number" "less than 100" ballots were cast after 8:00. Why did Bysiewicz state that it was around 500? Conveniently, most questionable post-8:00 ballots have vanished, now appearing in the pre-8:00 column. in a 6:20AM press conference, Finch says it was absolutely not a financial decision to print so few ballots. He has already appointed a 3-person whitewash commission [even going so far as to bring in a Maryland resident!] to explore the subject of the number of ballots printed. The reason they bring Finch out for the presser is that he is slick enough to pull it off. He claimed, in answer to the question from a reporter, that the reason he was giving the presser, rather than the registrar, that he had "no idea" where the registrar was. If they brought out the registrars, the impression would be one of vote fraud.

Mayor Finch Taps Three Professionals To Assess Election Procedures.

So citizens are supposed to take comfort that a former Bridgeport mayor (and current Maryland resident) is going to conduct an honest investigation because he was a Republican. Why not bring in former mayor Ganim, released in June after a 7 year federal prison sentence. He surely has plenty of time on his hands. Ganim got VIP treatment at the Obama rally last Saturday:  Or what about Finch's predecessor as mayor, a known coke head.
Bridgeport has a long history of vote fraud. And none of this is new to Connecticut's media which, in the present case, appears to be suffering froim aphasia.

What we have is a cascading sequence of suspicious events leading to a conclusion of a pre-meditated conspiracy:

• DOJ drops the FBI's solid case against ACORN in Bridgeport and Stamford (and surely elsewhere in CT)
• Obama and Clinton visit right before the election.

• A little more than half of the ballots required in the previous election are ordered printed in Bridgeport.

• Bridgeport conveniently runs out of ballots, allowing an unusual [drafted days earlier?] court order to keep the polls open 2 extra hours.

• Many thousands of PRINTED, let alone photocopied, ballots remain unaccounted for.

• Reverse 911 calls are made to select portions of the Bridgeport electorate, both illegally and unconstitutionally.

• Only about 500 photocopied [printed?) ballots were cast in the extra two hours, but it takes 3 days to count them?

• Conflicting values circulate for the number of photocopied ballots cast. Now we are told it was less than 100, conveniently removing the issue of a substantial number of post-8:00 votes.

• News reports indicate voters helped themselves to more than one photocopied ballot.

• A slime-bucket whitewash commission is immediately appointed, before the votes are even counted, to cover up the mess.

Some of the reader comments on The Day's web site are instructive.
1. There was not one vote for the independent candidate in the city of Bridgeport, according to the town by town lists of voting numbers. That is statiscally impossible to happen with that many voters. You mean to say that out of over 20,000 voters, not one chose to vote against Malloy or Foley?

2. The reverse 911 call was used, but only to certain parts of the City of Bridgeport. I would like to see the voting statistics from previous elections on how these "areas" typically voted.

3. Absentee ballots were counted for addresses that turned out to be vacant lots.

Channel 3 had a report this AM of people in Bridgeport voting without showing their driver's licenses [APPARENTLY NOT REQUIRED BY LAW], and in some cases, people taking more than one ballot.

The mayor now claims only 100 votes cast between 8 and 10 pm Channel 3 [VS. BYSEIWICZ'S CLAIM OF ABOUT 500] had a report just before 9am and now the registrar of voters in Bridgeport states the tally is still not correct and mayor over step his bounds giving them. I would suggest people see the video channel 3 showed of people grabbing ballots off the table in Bridgeport!

Let's do the math. The Bridgeport mayor says there were 17,800 votes for Malloy and 4,075 for Foley making 21,875 total, less the 21,100 printed, leaving 775 short, less the around 500 cast between 8-10 Pm which leaves, at best, 275 short during the day. Long lines for only 275 ballots short spread throughout the city ? I don't think so. This doesn't add up.

Let me get this right. Bridgeport ran out of ballots between 1 and 2 pm. They ordered 21000 ballots. So between lets say 2pm and 10pm only 875 people in bridgeport voted, but it took them 36 hours past the deadline to count those votes.

One of the local news station just reported that at one voting place in Bridgeport people were given double ballots, names were not checked to make sure the person voting was a registered voter and ballots were misplaced. This is all on videotape.

And none of it is ancient history.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Post Mortems and Prophecies

It’s usual after elections to see a flurry of post mortems and prophecies in the media.

On one point, Connecticut’s media is almost in universal agreement: Money talks, but it cannot alone win elections. This perception was trotted out during the Linda McMahon campaign almost from its inception. The Republican convention, it has been asserted dozens of times, went for money over good sense. The convention might have chosen the superior senatorial candidate, Rob Simmons, over McMahon, but the glitter of gold bewitched Republicans. McMahon had vowed to spend as much as $50 million on her campaign. Her money, spend mostly on TV advertising and campaign staff, reduced Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s early lead from 40 to 9 points. But in the end, the sainted Blumenthal survived handsomely and now will go on in the U.S. Congress to assault businesses with much rhetorical brio as he deployed as attorney general. His replacement as attorney general, George Jepsen, has said often enough during his own campaign that he would be more discrete in chasing businesses out of Connecticut, and there were broad hints in his campaign that the new attorney general would seriously address a backlog of cases now being litigated.

The analysis supposes that Simmons, whose service record is unimpeachable and honorable, might have had a better chance at assaulting Blumenthal’s assertion, made several times in various venues, that he had served in Vietnam while, as a matter of record, he first successfully avoided the draft through a series of deferments and then served stateside during the war out of harm’s way.

Blumenthal’s lapses in this regard, measured against his record as attorney general, more or less balanced out. The voting public simply weighed mitigating factors against aggravating factors and concluded that Blumenthal was innocent as charged. It’s doubtful that Simmons could have exploited the several “lapses in judgments” made by Blumenthal any better than McMahon, who was seriously wounded by video clips of wrestlers being wrestlers.

Simmons would not have had sufficient funds to counteract millionaire Blumenthal’s well funded campaign. It may seem counterintuitive, but state Republicans are unable to marshal funding as successfully as Democrats. When one considers money actually spent in state campaigns, Republicans are, relatively speaking, dressed in rags compared to their richly appointed opponents. In his congressional campaign, John Larson, who might have won in the gerrymandered 1st District on a dime, had raised $2.7 million by the end of September; Brickley had on hand about $250,000. Oddly, few voices were raised in the press claiming that the well heeled Larson was attempting to "buy the election." Republicans were vastly outspent by Democrats across the board, except in the case of McMahon, an exception that proved the rule. Connecticut’s constitutionally questionable Campaign Finance Reform Bill was supposed to restore integrity to elections and level the political playing field, but the spirit of the bill was subverted by a last minute decision on the part of the Democratic dominated legislature to supply the state’s future governor, Dan Malloy, with an additional $3 million, and the recent vote counting follies in Bridgeport very likely could not have been prevented through any legislation conceived in what has now become a one party Democratic run state.

Following the messy vote count in Bridgeport, the Hartford Courant, for whose editorial writers the glass is always half full, shot a pea across the bow of the next governor.

The paper has detected warning signs “that a new ethos of sacrifice and austerity is needed in the corridors of power. There can be no business as usual. The state's perilous fiscal condition and its barren record of producing jobs won't allow it.” Malloy’s campaign stumbled on the death penalty – over the opposition of a majority of Connecticut voters, the Democratic dominated legislature will push through yet another bill abolishing the death penalty, and this time it will be signed by Malloy, the previous abolition bill having been vetoed by outgoing Governor Jodi Rell – however, “the main reason the election was so close was the fear by many voters that Mr. Malloy wouldn't be tough enough in challenging the legislature and the unions to shrink the size and cost of government.”

Of course, any shrinkage in either spending or the cost of government in the new one party state will be temporary. Tax increases will be permanent. But the Courant, as well as other left of center publications in the state, knew this when they threw their editorial support to Democrats. In a democracy, people always get the kind of government they deserve. In a left of center media monopoly, they get what’s good for them.

Malloy will have the same problem as Rell with the union controlled leadership in the General Assembly. The Democratic caucus in the legislature will no doubt be amused by both the pea shooters and the peas lobbed at them across the editorial desks at those papers where half empty glasses are always half full.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Unpleasantness At The Bridgeport Club

There has been some mild grumbling from Connecticut’s status quo media over the Bridgeport vote count.

The Day of New London, pointing to “the debacle in Bridgeport,” said it was an inauspicious beginning to the Malloy administration. Malloy’s “rush to Hartford to declare himself the next governor before any official result was inappropriate and smacked of a power grab.”

George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Hall boss, would have prospered in Connecticut’s modern day Democratic Party. If the old boy, honest to a fault, were writing editorials, he might say, “What’s the beef? The Democrats stole the election fair and square.”

The Day’s editorial answered its own objection: “Yet as votes continued to trickle in from New Haven and Bridgeport on Thursday, it became increasingly apparent that the Democrat would emerge from the process with a narrow lead over Republican opponent Tom Foley.”

What we have here is a political indelicacy, anxious Democrats perhaps too ready to rule, bad manners at worse. It will all disappear after Dan goes to Hartford. Tomorrow or the next day or the day after, we’ll all look back on this unfortunate incident and laugh. And there will be plenty of editorialists in the state, the majority of whom write for papers that endorsed Malloy, to make sure the laugh is on Bridgeport. In any case, the right people got in. And that’s what matters isn’t it?

According to Capitol Report, ex-Republican senator and Independent Governor Lowell Weicker has favored us with a comment:

“Weicker says Bysiewicz, Malloy wrong

'No matter what ensues, it's an affront to our Democratic principles and to the State of Connecticut that a Democratic Secretary of State declared an unofficial winner, only to have that unofficial winner enter the State Capitol announcing his Governorship and staff.

p.s. I did not vote for Tom Foley.'”

P.P.S. Go away.

So distraught was Weicker, who did not vote for Tom Foley (Translation: He voted for Malloy) that he rang up his friend Colin McEnroe, the humorist, and thundered in his ear, “I never thought I'd see the day when a candidate who hadn't been officially elected would show up at the State Capitol and claim he had the job!"

P.P.P.S. Please, go away.

Connecticut’s only state-wide newspaper, The Hartford Courant, groused, “… there sure has been a lot of uncharacteristic bumbling by officials in the Land of Steady Habits this election season.”

Yup. Sure enough.

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz bumbled herself out of a gubernatorial slot because she wanted to be attorney general – which is to Connecticut politics what bling is to high fashion – then she bumbled herself out of that spot into the state supreme court, which ruled she didn’t have enough court experience to be attorney general. But before leaving office, Bysiewicz managed to perform one last service for her party by blinking while some cretin shorted Bridgeport of ballots. On orders from an obliging judge – the same overruled judge, it happens, who found Bysiewicz fit to be attorney general -- the polling doors in Bridgeport were left open in certain sections of the city so that Democratic Party operatives could quickly harvest just enough votes to swing the election to Malloy, who no doubt will be grateful as governor and give Bysiewicz a buss on the cheek and a refrigerated spot in state government until she is ready to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her political life.

Mark Pazniokas of CTMirror presented a straight faced account of the Bridgeport bumbles that put Malloy over the top.
Dennis House of WFSB has shown a video inside a Bridgeport polling place that captures the chaos, along with a spot featuring Mayor Jason McCoy of Vernon who was present at the polling place.. McCoy detailed several irregularities – multiple ballots given out to voters, bags of ballots left unattended -- every one of which should have triggered a recount and a thorough investigation by authorities unconnected with status quo politics in Connecticut.

In the meantime, some Republicans have compiled an unofficial count of all the commentators in the state of steady Democratic habits who voted in their editorials for Malloy and who, like Weicker, did not vote for Foley.

Foley: 3

Malloy: Everyone else.

These quibbles aside, the main thing is – the right guy stole the election fair and square. The only people who have a problem with that are not in office and not affiliated with members of the state's status quo media, most of whom would not be able to find Al Capone if he were hiding under their beds.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Après Rell

The estimate of the state of the state elections by Paul Bass, a writer for The New Haven Independent, is fairly accurate:

“Connecticut went true blue—bluer than ever. Malloy will have become the first Democrat to win the governor’s office since 1986. Democrat Richard Blumenthal captured an open U.S. Senate seat the party had seemed until only recently in danger of losing. And all five of the state’s U.S. House seats went to Democrats again—even though the 4th and 5th District appeared at times heading to turn red. Democrats also swept the under ticket constitutional offices.”

Departing Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has called the gubernatorial election in favor of Dan Malloy. Two days after the election, the Associated Press, citing an 8,424 vote lead by Foley with all but 1.5 percent of precincts counted, withdrew its call of Malloy as the winner. Later in the day, the AP announced that it had missed figure in New Haven. Republicans may contest Bysiewicz’s finding in court. For someone who had been found by Connecticut’s Supreme Court to have lacked the requisite court experience to serve as attorney general, Bysiewicz certainly has been spending an inordinate amount of time on the wrong side of the bar.

Nationally, Republicans appear to have swept the boards: They won back the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of prime gubernatorial offices, but not in truer than blue Connecticut. No fewer than 19 legislative bodies switched from Democrat to Republican. Democrats have lost key chairmanships in the U.S. Congress; among the fallen is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Connecticut’s lock step Democratic representatives return home to the Beltway in the new session, they will find it remodeled. Republicans also picked up some seats in the U.S. Senate.

Some commentators, though not yet here in truer than blue Connecticut, are asserting that the national change – not the sort of “change” President Barack Obama approves – is a stunning repudiation of the president’s agenda. After a display of partisanship unmatched in recent times during which Democrats passed on a party line vote a massive health care bill and a smothering Dodd-Frank regulatory apparatus, it is expected that leading Democrats in the congress, their status and power much diminished, will begin in the new session to call for non-partisanship as a means to consolidate their questionable programs. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will be among them and Connecticut’s senior Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, repudiated by his own party, has given subtle hints that he may be willing to caucus with Republicans.

Change is in the air, but not here in truer than blue Connecticut, the status quo state.

A governor Malloy likely will have the same problem with the legislature as departing Gov. Jodi Rell, disappointing the state’s many left of center editorialists who supported Malloy on the assumption that birds of a feather would be able to negotiate together. Connecticut’s union owned representative, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, and his confederate in the senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, both of whom were returned to office with large pluralities, will offer Malloy temporary spending cuts in return for permanent hikes in income tax rates on the state’s quarter-millionaires, anyone earning $250,00 per year. And if Malloy refuses to tag along, Donovan-Williams will soon let him know who the General Assembly belongs to.

But it will be worse than that. Those who have for years uninterruptedly voted in favor of the one party state Connecticut has now become will see a shift in taxing authority from municipalities, which control spending through referendums, to the state, where there are no referendums and no restraints on spending. This shift will be sold to the easily deluded among us as a “reduce the property tax” measure, while the coming tax rate increase on quarter-millionaires will offer a permanent bar to any small business considering moving to Connecticut or expanding instate.

The General Assembly’s inattention to permanent long term spending cuts will also serve as an order to quit the state for any business that can easily move its operations elsewhere. Pratt&Whitney -- despite senator-elect Richard Blumenthal’s strenuous efforts as attorney general to imprison the company instate through litigation -- is getting ready to bolt, and others will follow. If a Gov. Malloy attempts to pass through the legislature long term spending cuts, he will be met with a stiff resistance by Dovovan and Williams. Reproving editorials in Connecticut’s left of center media calling upon union owned leaders in the General Assembly to see reason and negotiate with Malloy will fall on deaf ears. It will take the Democratic dominated legislature about a year to make a Rell of Malloy, disappointing the many left of center editorialists who supported him on the assumption that a Democratic legislature would be more likely to negotiate with a governor of the same party. But at least they will get a rail line out of the new governor, enabling unemployed workers in Springfield to travel on a costly improved line to New Haven, an entrepreneurial dessert from which jobs and quarter-millionaires have fled to seek better prospects in states like North Carolina, where Pratt&Whitney’s competitor, Boeing, is in the process of breaking ground for a new aircraft manufacturing plant. Boeing is moving operations from Washington State where, it said, labor costs and unrest were unsettling.

At the end point, the curtain falls. It’s over.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Truer Than Blue Connecticut

Paul Bass’ estimate of the state of the state election is fairly accurate:

“Connecticut went true blue—bluer than ever. Malloy will have become the first Democrat to win the governor’s office since 1986. Democrat Richard Blumenthal captured an open U.S. Senate seat the party had seemed until only recently in danger of losing. And all five of the state’s U.S. House seats went to Democrats again—even though the 4th and 5th District appeared at times heading to turn red. Democrats also swept the under ticket constitutional offices.”

While Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has called the gubernatorial election in favor of Dan Malloy, Republicans may contest her finding in court. For someone who had been found by Connecticut’s Supreme Court to have lacked the requisite court experience to serve as attorney general, Bysiewicz certainly has been spending an inordinate amount of time in court.

Nationally, Republicans appear to have swept the boards: They won back the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of prime gubernatorial offices, but not in truer than blue Connecticut. No fewer than 19 legislative bodies switched from Democrat to Republican. Democrats have lost key chairmanships in the U.S. Congress; among the fallen is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When Rep. John Larson returns to the House I the new session, he will find it remodeled. Republicans also picked up some seats in the U.S. Senate.

Some commentators, though not yet here in truer-than-blue Connecticut, are asserting that the national change – not the sort of change President Barack Obama approves – is a stunning repudiation of the president’s agenda. After a display of partisanship unmatched in recent times during which Democrats passed a Health Care bill and a massive Dodd-Frank regulatory Bill, it is expected that leading Democrats in the congress, their status and power much diminished, will begin in the new session to call for non-partisanship as a means to consolidate their programs. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will be among them. Connecticut’s senior Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, repudiated by his own party, has indicated that he may be willing to caucus with Republicans.

Change is in the air, but not here in truer-than-blue Connecticut, the status quo state.

Is Connecticut’s Democratic Party any longer the party of Andrew Jackson?

The modern Democratic Party, as every student of history knows, dropped out of the pockets of Andrew Jackson, a president vilified by the opposition of his day as being a tad too democratic.

Democrats in Connecticut regularly gather together to celebrate their historic roots at a dinner called the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner, John Bailey being the last boss of the Democratic Party in Connecticut. At the fest, all the Democratic poobahs in the state gather together under one roof to eat, drink and make merry.

President Jackson’s farewell address, printed unedited below, has in it a few messages that modern Democrats, especially those in Connecticut, should take to heart.
The address was reprinted recently by the Washington Times under the title “Jackson: Old Hickoy’s Tea Party roots.”

President Andrew Jackson's Farewell Address,

March 4, 1837

“Being about to retire finally from public life, I beg leave to offer you my grateful thanks for the many proofs of kindness and confidence which I have received at your hands. ... And if I use the occasion to offer to you the counsels of age and experience, you will, I trust, receive them with the same indulgent kindness which you have so often extended to me, and will at least see in them an earnest desire to perpetuate in this favored land the blessings of liberty and equal law.

“We have now lived almost 50 years under the Constitution framed by the sages and patriots of the Revolution. The conflicts in which the nations of Europe were engaged during a great part of this period, the spirit in which they waged war against each other, and our intimate commercial connections with every part of the civilized world rendered it a time of much difficulty for the Government of the United States. We have had our seasons of peace and of war, with all the evils which precede or follow a state of hostility with powerful nations. We encountered these trials with our Constitution yet in its infancy, and under the disadvantages which a new and untried government must always feel when it is called upon to put forth its whole strength without the lights of experience to guide it or the weight of precedents to justify its measures. But we have passed triumphantly through all these difficulties. Our Constitution is no longer a doubtful experiment, and at the end of nearly half a century we find that it has preserved unimpaired the liberties of the people, secured the rights of property, and that our country has improved and is flourishing beyond any former example in the history of nations. ...

“It is well known that there have always been those amongst us who wish to enlarge the powers of the General Government, and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this Government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. Its legitimate authority is abundantly sufficient for all the purposes for which it was created, and its powers being expressly enumerated, there can be no justification for claiming anything beyond them. Every attempt to exercise power beyond these limits should be promptly and firmly opposed, for one evil example will lead to other measures still more mischievous; and if the principle of constructive powers or supposed advantages or temporary circumstances shall ever be permitted to justify the assumption of a power not given by the Constitution, the General Government will before long absorb all the powers of legislation, and you will have in effect but one consolidated government. From the extent of our country, its diversified interests, different pursuits, and different habits, it is too obvious for argument that a single consolidated government would be wholly inadequate to watch over and protect its interests; and every friend of our free institutions should be always prepared to maintain unimpaired and in full vigor the rights and sovereignty of the States and to confine the action of the General Government strictly to the sphere of its appropriate duties.

“There is, perhaps, no one of the powers conferred on the Federal Government so liable to abuse as the taxing power. The most productive and convenient sources of revenue were necessarily given to it, that it might be able to perform the important duties imposed upon it; and the taxes which it lays upon commerce being concealed from the real payer in the price of the article, they do not so readily attract the attention of the people as smaller sums demanded from them directly by the tax gatherer. But the tax imposed on goods enhances by so much the price of the commodity to the consumer, and as many of these duties are imposed on articles of necessity which are daily used by the great body of the people, the money raised by these imposts is drawn from their pockets. Congress has no right under the Constitution to take money from the people unless it is required to execute some one of the specific powers intrusted to the Government; and if they raise more than is necessary for such purposes, it is an abuse of the power of taxation, and unjust and oppressive. It may indeed happen that the revenue will sometimes exceed the amount anticipated when the taxes were laid. When, however, this is ascertained, it is easy to reduce them, and in such a case it is unquestionably the duty of the Government to reduce them, for no circumstances can justify it in assuming a power not given to it by the Constitution nor in taking away the money of the people when it is not needed for the legitimate wants of the Government.

“Plain as these principles appear to be, you will yet find there is a constant effort to induce the General Government to go beyond the limits of its taxing power and to impose unnecessary burdens upon the people. Many powerful interests are continually at work to procure heavy duties on commerce and to swell the revenue beyond the real necessities of the public service, and the country has already felt the injurious effects of their combined influence. They succeeded in obtaining a tariff of duties bearing most oppressively on the agricultural and laboring classes of society and producing a revenue that could not be usefully employed within the range of the powers conferred upon Congress, and in order to fasten upon the people this unjust and unequal system of taxation extravagant schemes of internal improvement were got up in various quarters to squander the money and to purchase support. Thus one unconstitutional measure was intended to be upheld by another, and the abuse of the power of taxation was to be maintained by usurping the power of expending the money in internal improvements. You can not have forgotten the severe and doubtful struggle through which we passed when the executive department of the Government by its veto endeavored to arrest this prodigal scheme of injustice and to bring back the legislation of Congress to the boundaries prescribed by the Constitution. The good sense and practical judgment of the people when the subject was brought before them sustained the course of the Executive, and this plan of unconstitutional expenditures for the purposes of corrupt influence is, I trust, finally overthrown.

"The result of this decision has been felt in the rapid extinguishment of the public debt and the large accumulation of a surplus in the Treasury, notwithstanding the tariff was reduced and is now very far below the amount originally contemplated by its advocates. But, rely upon it, the design to collect an extravagant revenue and to burden you with taxes beyond the economical wants of the Government is not yet abandoned. The various interests which have combined together to impose a heavy tariff and to produce an overflowing Treasury are too strong and have too much at stake to surrender the contest. The corporations and wealthy individuals who are engaged in large manufacturing establishments desire a high tariff to increase their gains. Designing politicians will support it to conciliate their favor and to obtain the means of profuse expenditure for the purpose of purchasing influence in other quarters; and since the people have decided that the Federal Government can not be permitted to employ its income in internal improvements, efforts will be made to seduce and mislead the citizens of the several States by holding out to them the deceitful prospect of benefits to be derived from a surplus revenue collected by the General Government and annually divided among the States; and if, encouraged by these fallacious hopes, the States should disregard the principles of economy which ought to characterize every republican government, and should indulge in lavish expenditures exceeding their resources, they will before long find themselves oppressed with debts which they are unable to pay, and the temptation will become irresistible to support a high tariff in order to obtain a surplus for distribution. Do not allow yourselves, my fellow-citizens, to be misled on this subject. The Federal Government can not collect a surplus for such purposes without violating the principles of the Constitution and assuming powers which have not been granted. It is, moreover, a system of injustice, and if persisted in will inevitably lead to corruption, and must end in ruin. The surplus revenue will be drawn from the pockets of the people - from the farmer, the mechanic, and the laboring classes of society; but who will receive it when distributed among the States, where it is to be disposed of by leading State politicians, who have friends to favor and political partisans to gratify? It will certainly not be returned to those who paid it and who have most need of it and are honestly entitled to it. There is but one safe rule, and that is to confine the General Government rigidly within the sphere of its appropriate duties. It has no power to raise a revenue or impose taxes except for the purposes enumerated in the Constitution, and if its income is found to exceed these wants it should be forthwith reduced and the burden of the people so far lightened. ...

"In presenting to you, my fellow-citizens, these parting counsels, I have brought before you the leading principles upon which I endeavored to administer the Government in the high office with which you twice honored me. Knowing that the path of freedom is continually beset by enemies who often assume the disguise of friends, I have devoted the last hours of my public life to warn you of the dangers. The progress of the United States under our free and happy institutions has surpassed the most sanguine hopes of the founders of the Republic. Our growth has been rapid beyond all former example in numbers, in wealth, in knowledge, and all the useful arts which contribute to the comforts and convenience of man, and from the earliest ages of history to the present day there never have been thirteen millions of people associated in one political body who enjoyed so much freedom and happiness as the people of these United States. You have no longer any cause to fear danger from abroad; your strength and power are well known throughout the civilized world, as well as the high and gallant bearing of your sons. It is from within, among yourselves - from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition and inordinate thirst for power - that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves. You have the highest of human trusts committed to your care. Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number, and has chosen you as the guardians of freedom, to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May He who holds in His hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors He has bestowed and enable you, with pure hearts and pure hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge He has committed to your keeping."