Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yankee Institute vs SEBAC, Final Round

Attorney General George Jepsen having investigated a charge made to his office by SEBAC, a coalition of unions the membership of which soon will be voting either to adopt or reject Plan A 2, that the Yankee Institute had used state the state’s e-mail system to communicate with union workers, the attorney general found that the charges against the institute were false. The comprehensive investigation by two state agencies, the attorney general’s office and the state Auditors of Public Account, Mr. Jepsen wrote in his finding, “did not show that the state e-mail system was improperly accessed or compromised in violation of state laws or policies.”

“As part of our inquiry,” Mr. Jepsen wrote, “we reviewed the e-mails sent to state employees and provided by SEBAC. The first e-mail, containing the subject line 'VOTE No twice on concessions… pass it on' was sent on May 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm from 'Lawrence Jones' to a state employee. The second e-mail, containing the subject line ‘http//,’ was sent to a state employee on June 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm from 'Daniel Luciano.' Neither Lawrence Jones nor Daniel Luciano is listed on the state’s central financial and administrative computer system (CORE-CT) as a state employee. Neither of these two e-mails originated from State of Connecticut internet protocol (IP) addresses. Each originated outside the state e-mail system and reflected a Yahoo e-mail address. The e-mails were sent to IP addresses leased by the State of Connecticut. State information systems security personnel informed us that the e-mails were not sent from within the state system, and there was no evidence that the safeguards in place to protect the state’s network from hackers or other intrusions were compromised or altered to permit or facilitate the transmission of these e-mails.”

Mr. Jepsen is to be lauded for not having allowed the leaders of SEBAC to use his office as a political tool for the purpose of discrediting the institute on false charges that, had they been sustained, might have succeeded in drawing public attention away from SEBAC’s botched attempt to convince rank and file union members to vote in favor of Governor Dannel Malloy’s doomed Plan A.

The same union leaders who falsely accused the institute of illegalities recently unilaterally changed union by-laws so that a previous vote on Plan A would once again be voted upon under circumstances more favorable both to Mr. Malloy and SEBAC negotiators, causing one commentator – yours truly – to note that SEBAC, having found it impossible under the old by-laws to fix a vote, had discovered a way to fix the voting process to its advantage. This kind of transparent attempt to fix a vote could only succeed if union leaders were to spew out a cloud of skunk scent to distract public attention from their own dramatic failings. The Yankee Institute, and more especially Zach Janowski, the institute’s investigative reporter, were convenient scapegoats upon which SEBAC leaders sought unsuccessfully to pin their own too obvious failings.

SEBAC’s objections to Mr. Jepsen’s finding were amusingly predictable. Leaping over the results of Mr. Jepsen’s exhautive examination, SEBAC lamented that the architecture of the state’s e-mail system “is apparently arranged so that outside groups can get around inadequate software restrictions and distribute emails through the system without being in violation of computer hacking laws -- and apparently without even being subject to detection” – and never mind that Mr. Jepsen found no instance of the state’s email having been hacked by the institute. SEBAC then noted that the institute’s political interests include “producing painful job cuts and ‘downsizing’ state government, which is really just code for privatizing public services.” In fact, Mr. Cullen has noted that the institute favored Plan A  – the very same plan promoted by SEBAC union leaders – over Plan B, which recently has been implemented by Mr. Malloy and includes painful cuts. No doubt the institute, along with many governors and legislators, favors the privatizing of public services as a means of controlling unsustainable costs. SEBAC’s objection to the institute’s view on privatization might have been more justly urged in a letter to the editor; SEBAC thought it rose to the level of a crime and engaged the attorney general as an instrument to harass and punish an organization for having taken advantage of its constitutional right disagree with the leaders of SEBAC.

Yankee Institute Director Fergus Cullen commented following Mr. Jepsen’s finding, “Making reckless accusations without a shred of evidence damaged the union's credibility. Rank-and-file state employees deserve better for their dues than the stunning incompetence of union staff throughout the concessions ratification process."

Mr. Cullen made his comment but a few hours before he had been told by Trinity College that the institute was being given the boot or, as Mr. Cullen, whose sense of humor is unfailing even in trying circumstances, preferred to put it – being expelled – from the Trinity College campus in Hartford where, for the past 13 years, the institute has stoutly defended educational institutions, private enterprise and constitutional rights more often miss-cited than observed by its detractors. It is not known what part SEBAC or union friendly legislators may have played in the institute’s unexpected expulsion from Trinity.

SEBAC Says News Media, Managers Sources Of Inaccurate Information

In a message to all its rank and file members, SEBAC, the coalition of union leaders authorized to dicker with the Malloy administration on contractual matters, reported:

“At the request of State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) union leaders, the Malloy Administration has moved to address conflicting information disseminated to some workers who recently received notice of layoff.”
Some members, according to the notice, have received inaccurate information spread – not by the Yankee Institute, which SEBAC reported to the attorney general’s office for having compromised it’s e-mail system – but “by news media sources and by some agency managers.” Attorney General George Jepsen a few days ago released a report finding that the SEBAC complaint was without merit.
“The directive was necessary,” SEBAC reported on its propaganda site, “because not only have some state managers disseminated inaccuracies about rescinding layoffs, many in the news media have reported myths and distortions about state employees and the tentative agreement.”

Mr. Malloy obliged by supplying a clarifying statement sent by SEBAC to rank and file members who will shortly be voting on Plan A2.

Although the SEBAC site still carries the item reporting its request to the attorney general that the Yankee Institute be prosecuted for having illegally commandeered the state’s e-mail system in order to ventilate its views, the site does not include in full Attorney General George Jepsen’s finding, but then propaganda sheets are not bound by the constraints of responsible journalism.

Friday, July 29, 2011

After 2011 Tax Reforms, Connecticut's Wealthy Still Pay Smallest Share of Income in State and Local Taxes

Despite recent efforts to make the Connecticut tax system fairer, the wealthiest 1% of our residents will still pay only half as much of their income in state and local taxes as the poor and middle class, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.

The state and local tax reforms approved in 2011 made Connecticut’s tax system more equitable by generally reducing taxes for lower-income residents, through the earned income tax credit, and raising them among higher-income residents.

These changes were essential to a balanced approach to our economic and fiscal problems that helped protect vital education, health, and other services for families and position Connecticut for long-term economic growth. But even after these changes, our tax system remains highly imbalanced. After accounting for federal deductions, estimates show that Connecticut’s low- and middle-income families will pay between 9.6% and 11.4% of their incomes in state and local taxes, while the top 1% of income earners will only pay about 5.5%.

Few would agree that those most able to pay should contribute less of their income than those least able to pay.

The decision by Connecticut policymakers to increase revenues as part of a balanced approach to the state’s deficit crisis has elicited fierce debate, so it is important to put these changes in proper context. In late 2009, the gap between what the wealthiest 1% paid in taxes as a percentage of income and what the poorest 20% paid was higher in Connecticut than in most other states.Connecticut ranked among the ten states with the highest taxes on the bottom 20%, and among the twenty states with the lowest taxes on the wealthiest 1%. Recent revenue reforms will decrease the proportion of income the bottom 20% of residents pay to 11.4%, from 12.0%, and increase the proportion that wealthier taxpayers pay (for amounts by income group, see table below). Even after these changes, the poorest residents are estimated to pay over twice as much of their income in state and local taxes as the top 1%.

As the table above shows, some taxes, such as sales and property taxes, are regressive, meaning that low income people must pay a greater share of their income on them than high income people. Other taxes, such as the income tax, are the opposite, progressive. Currently, regressive taxes in Connecticut outweigh progressive taxes, which places a higher overall tax burden on low- and middle-income households. The progressive state income tax changes recently passed have brought better balance to Connecticut’s tax system, though the very wealthiest residents still pay far lower proportions than anyone else.

Anti-tax advocates often claim, without strong evidence, that raising taxes on the very wealthy would hamper economic growth and cause a decrease in revenue because of wealth migration. The majority of the evidence in fact points to opposite conclusions. An upcoming review of the literature on so-called “tax flight” finds that the effects of tax increases on migration are, at most, small and lead to significant net increases in state revenue. Taxes, it finds, are simply not a significant factor in decisions about where to move compared to much more important factors like home prices, employment opportunities, and community networks.

Another recent report by the Political and Economy and Research Institute at UMASS Amherst explored tax migration in New England and came to similar conclusions, finding that by raising state revenue and using that revenue to create job opportunities states could actually draw new residents to their states. Finally, a study published in the Summer 2011 issue of Connecticut Economy magazine found that states with an income tax had similar long-term economic growth as states without an income tax.

In wealthy states like Connecticut, regressive taxes are especially troubling because they make the problem of rising income inequality worse. As we continue to reform our state and local tax systems to be more fair and effective, more should be done to equitably distribute state and local taxes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Attorney General Clears Yankee Institute of SEBAC Charges

Attorney General George Jepsen’s statement concerning a complaint filed with his office claiming falsely that the Yankee Institute obtained improper access to the state e-mail system to disseminate false information related to the tentative SEBAC agreement is here printed in full:



By letter dated June 17, 2011, representatives of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) requested that my office investigate possible violations of state law by the Yankee Institute. The letter alleged that the Yankee Institute obtained improper access to the state e-mail system to disseminate false information related to the tentative SEBAC agreement. We have now, in conjunction with the Auditors of Public Accounts, concluded our inquiry of this matter. We have found no evidence that the state e-mail system was improperly accessed or hacked.

As part of the inquiry, we met twice with representatives of SEBAC. We reviewed the e-mails brought to our attention by SEBAC, and certain other e-mails critical of the proposed settlement brought to our attention by others. We also worked with the former state Department of Information Technology (now a part of the Department of Administrative Services) to determine whether any of these e-mails had been transmitted to the state e-mail system through a breach or violation of that system, and whether there was any other evidence of a breach of the state e-mail system in connection with communications to state employees regarding the proposed settlement.

As part of our inquiry, we reviewed the e-mails sent to state employees and provided by SEBAC. The first e-mail, containing the subject line “VOTE No twice on concessions..pass it on” was sent on May 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm from “Lawrence Jones” to a state employee. The second e-mail, containing the subject line “http//,” was sent to a state employee on June 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm from “Daniel Luciano.” Neither Lawrence Jones nor Daniel Luciano is listed on the state’s central financial and administrative computer system (CORE-CT) as a state employee. Neither of these two e-mails originated from State of Connecticut internet protocol (IP) addresses. Each originated outside the state e-mail system and reflected a Yahoo e-mail address. The e-mails were sent to IP addresses leased by the State of Connecticut. State information systems security personnel informed us that the e-mails were not sent from within the state system, and there was no evidence that the safeguards in place to protect the state’s network from hackers or other intrusions were compromised or altered to permit or facilitate the transmission of these e-mails.

In the course of the investigation, we uncovered information about additional e-mails that were critical of the proposed union agreement and sent to state employees. Some of these e-mails originated from IP addresses outside the State of Connecticut system; other e-mails were sent by state employees from their state computers and addressed to other state employees. We found no evidence that these e-mails were transmitted in circumvention of the safeguards in place to protect the integrity of the state e-mail system.

SEBAC complained that negative information about the tentative agreement was sent to state employees through “blast” e-mails, suggesting state software settings were circumvented. State information systems security personnel found no evidence that anyone sent “blast” e-mails concerning the tentative SEBAC agreement from outside the state e-mail system to hundreds or thousands of state employees in a single mailing and no evidence that security measures were bypassed.

With some limitations, individuals outside state government have the right to e-mail state employees. Here, because there was no evidence that state laws or policies were violated, i.e., no evidence to substantiate that the state e-mail system was compromised, hacked, or used without authority, we did not pursue the investigation further to attempt to determine the identity of the outside senders or consider the allegations that the e-mails contained false information.

In the course of our investigation, we noted that some individual state employees had used the state e-mail system to broadcast opinions about the proposed settlement in possible violation of state and agency policies about acceptable use of the state e-mail system. The relevant state agencies promptly addressed the conduct. Generally, state agencies, in accordance with their personnel policies, can and should continue to address any alleged misuse of the state e-mail system by state employees.

Our review of the e-mails provided by SEBAC, and other selected e-mails that originated from IP addresses outside the state system, did not show that the state e-mail system was improperly accessed or compromised in violation of state laws or policies. Therefore, based on the evidence to date, and with the agreement of the State Auditors, I am closing the investigation.


(Note: The Attorney General will not be commenting beyond the statement.)

Malloy the Progressive

Commenting on the debt ceiling standoff between national Democrats and Republicans, Governor Malloy in a press release wetted the whistle of fellow Democrats in Connecticut who have for many years been urging governors to slap a significant progressive income tax on rich folk in the southern part of the state, the sort of people who figure in Democratic campaign ads chastising Republicans for being much too friendly with hedge fund managers and yacht owners.

“Last night,” Mr. Malloy wrote, “President Obama laid out a clear choice for the American people. The United States can honor the debts we’ve already incurred while charting a fiscally sustainable path that makes historic cuts in government spending and asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their tax breaks and special deductions. Or, the United States can simply cut government spending in a way that harms our most vulnerable citizens, damages our economic recovery, and requires no sacrifice from the wealthiest among us.”

Mr. Obama’s fiscally sustainable path is remarkably similar to The Malloy Way as reflected in his Plan A revision, with one important difference: The raft of taxes Mr. Malloy has imposed upon pretty much everyone in Connecticut is broad based, not progressive and, in some instances, positively regressive.

Many of the wealthiest folk here in Connecticut live or work within or near the state’s “Gold Coast,” a teaming nest of plunderable hedge fund managers and yacht owners. So far these sacrifice shy captains of industry have been able to escape the kind of significant progressive income tax that left of center Democrats have been urging, thus far without success, upon the governors who preceded Mr. Malloy in office.

Former Governor Lowell Weicker, who blessed the state with an income tax and saved the largely Democratic legislators of his day the trouble of imposing significant spending cuts on the special interest groups in the state that regularly ply them with campaign cash, launched a tax that was disappointingly flat. Left of center Democrats in the General Assembly have since improved it by adding to it a progressive feature that may allow tax starved legislators to plunder Connecticut’s millionaires, defined as anyone who make more than $200,000 per year. Thanks to legislation passed by Democrats in the General Assembly, Democrats during the last session put a progressive pistol in the tax toolbox and are now left wondering if Mr. Malloy, the first Democratic governor in more than twenty years, will have the fortitude to pull the trigger. The so called “firewall,” past Republican Governors, have disappeared like the morning mist.

Mr. Malloy and Mr. Obama have much in common. Both are calling, rather insistently, for “shared sacrifice,” i.e. tax increases combined with cost cuts, preferably temporary, though the tax increases would be permanent. Taxes are one of the few things on God’s green earth that defy the law of gravity: once they go up, they never come down. Neither Mr. Malloy nor Mr. Obama have a budget, although both chief executives had the resources to force a budget through their respective law making bodies without serious resistance. In both cases, the two chief executives were able to call upon veto proof or near veto proof support among Democratic legislators.

The open question is: Why hasn’t Mr. Malloy, a staunch progressive, pulled the trigger on Connecticut’s so called millionaires?

There are dozens of answers to the question. Millionaires are mobile and agile, quite used to dodging tax and regulatory bullets. Just as war is politics by other means, so regulations are taxes by other means: they both cost corporations money and the losses are recovered though higher product and service costs.

When the massive Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill was passed, George Soros, sugar daddy to leftist causes, dodged the regulatory bullets shot at him by the Dodd-Frank Gatling Gun through a clever dodge. Mr. Soros, a hedge fund manager who once broke the bank of England through short buying, simply escaped the prehensile grip of regulators by reconfiguring his business. Mr. Soros closed his fund to outside investors. The tentacles of Dodd-Frank will touch none of the billions Mr. Soros manages, which now have been reclassified as “family funds.” Other hedge managers already have followed suit.

Since Mr. Soros gives generously to hundreds of leftist causes, progressives on the left have little reason to complain when Mr. Soros shoves the regulators down the stairs. More money spent in obliging federal regulators means less money for Mr. Soros. But Mr. Soros’ disposable cash provides the life blood for progressive outliers a list of which is provided in the addenda below.

Mr. Soros may be a millionaire bum, but he’s the progressive’s millionaire bum.


The following is a list of organizations that have received direct funding and assistance from Mr. Soros’ Open Society Institute:
• Air America Radio: Now defunct, this was a self-identified "liberal" radio network.
• All of Us or None: This organization seeks to change voting laws -- which vary from state to state -- so as to allow ex-inmates, parolees, and even current inmates to cast their ballots in political elections.
• Alliance for Justice: Best known for its activism vis a vis the appointment of federal judges, this group consistently depicts Republican judicial nominees as "extremists."
• America Coming Together: Soros played a major role in creating this group, whose purpose was to coordinate and organize pro-Democrat voter-mobilization programs.
• America Votes: Soros also played a major role in creating this group, whose get-out-the-vote campaigns targeted likely Democratic voters.
• America's Voice: This open-borders group seeks to promote “comprehensive” immigration reform that includes a robust agenda in favor of amnesty for illegal aliens.
• American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy: This organization "opposes laws that require employers and persons providing education, health care, or other social services to verify citizenship or immigration status."
• American Civil Liberties Union: This group opposes virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by the U.S. government. It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board.
• American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: This Washington, DC-based think tank seeks to move American jurisprudence to the left by recruiting, indoctrinating, and mobilizing young law students, helping them acquire positions of power. It also provides leftist Democrats with a bully pulpit from which to denounce their political adversaries.
• American Family Voices: This group creates and coordinates media campaigns charging Republicans with wrongdoing.
• American Federation of Teachers: After longtime AFT President Albert Shanker died in in 1997, he was succeeded by Sandra Feldman, who slowly “re-branded” the union, allying it with some of the most powerful left-wing elements of the New Labor Movement. When Feldman died in 2004, Edward McElroy took her place, followed by Randi Weingarten in 2008. All of them kept the union on the leftward course it had adopted in its post-Shanker period.
• American Friends Service Committee: This group views the United States as the principal cause of human suffering around the world. As such, it favors America's unilateral disarmament, the dissolution of American borders, amnesty for illegal aliens, the abolition of the death penalty, and the repeal of the Patriot Act.
• American Immigration Council: This non-profit organization is a prominent member of the open-borders lobby. It advocates expanded rights and amnesty for illegal aliens residing in the U.S.
• American Immigration Law Foundation: This group supports amnesty for illegal aliens, on whose behalf it litigates against the U.S. government.
• American Institute for Social Justice: AISJ's goal is to produce skilled community organizers who can “transform poor communities” by agitating for increased government spending on city services, drug interdiction, crime prevention, housing, public-sector jobs, access to healthcare, and public schools.
• American Library Association: This group has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's War on Terror -- most particularly, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which it calls "a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users."
• The American Prospect, Inc.: This corporation trains and mentors young leftwing journalists, and organizes strategy meetings for leftist leaders.
• Amnesty International: This organization directs a grossly disproportionate share of its criticism for human rights violations at the United States and Israel.
• Arab American Institute Foundation: The Arab American Institute denounces the purportedly widespread civil liberties violations directed against Arab Americans in the post-9/11 period, and characterizes Israel as a brutal oppressor of the Palestinian people.
• Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now: This group conducts voter mobilization drives on behalf of leftist Democrats. These initiatives have been notoriously marred by fraud and corruption.
• Bill of Rights Defense Committee: This group provides a detailed blueprint for activists interested in getting their local towns, cities, and even college campuses to publicly declare their opposition to the Patriot Act, and to designate themselves "Civil Liberties Safe Zones." The organization also came to the defense of self-described radical attorney Lynne Stewart, who was convicted in 2005 of providing material support for terrorism.
• Black Alliance for Just Immigration: This organization seeks to create a unified movement for “social and economic justice” centered on black racial identity.
• Brennan Center for Justice: This think tank/legal activist group generates scholarly studies, mounts media campaigns, files amicus briefs, gives pro bono support to activists, and litigates test cases in pursuit of radical "change."
• Brookings Institution: This organization has been involved with a variety of internationalist and state-sponsored programs, including one that aspires to facilitate the establishment of a U.N.-dominated world government. Brookings Fellows have also called for additional global collaboration on trade and banking; the expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and nationalized health insurance for children. Nine Brookings economists signed a petitionopposing President Bush's tax cuts in 2003.
• Campaign for America's Future: This group supports tax hikes, socialized medicine, and a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs.
• Campaign for Better Health Care: This organization favors a single-payer, government-run, universal health care system.
• Campaign for Youth Justice: This organization contends that “transferring juveniles to the adult criminal-justice system leads to higher rates of recidivism, puts incarcerated and detained youth at unnecessary risk, has little deterrence value, and does not increase public safety.”
• Campus Progress: A project of the Soros-bankrolled Center for American Progress, this group seeks to "strengthen progressive voices on college and university campuses, counter the growing influence of right-wing groups on campus, and empower new generations of progressive leaders."
• Casa de Maryland: This organization aggressively lobbies legislators to vote in favor of policies that promote expanded rights, including amnesty, for illegal aliens currently residing in the United States.
• Catalist: This is a for-profit political consultancy that seeks "to help progressive organizations realize measurable increases in civic participation and electoral success by building and operating a robust national voter database of every voting-age American."
• Catholics for Choice: This nominally Catholic organization supports women's right to abortion-on-demand.
• Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good: This political nonprofit group is dedicated to generating support from the Catholic community for leftwing candidates, causes, and legislation.
• Center for American Progress: This leftist think tank is headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, works closely with Hillary Clinton, and employs numerous former Clinton administration staffers. It is committed to "developing a long-term vision of a progressive America" and "providing a forum to generate new progressive ideas and policy proposals."
• Center for Community Change: This group recruits and trains activists to spearhead leftist "political issue campaigns." Promoting increased funding for social welfare programs by bringing "attention to major national issues related to poverty," the Center bases its training programs on the techniques taught by the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky.
• Center for Constitutional Rights: This pro-Castro organization is a core member of the open borders lobby, has opposed virtually all post-9/11 anti-terrorism measures by the U.S. government, and alleges that American injustice provokes acts of international terrorism.
• Center for Economic and Policy Research: This group opposed welfare reform, supports "living wage" laws, rejects tax cuts, and consistently lauds the professed achievements of socialist regimes, most notably Venezuela.
• Center for Reproductive Rights: CRR's mission is to guarantee safe, affordable contraception and abortion-on-demand for all women, including adolescents. The organization has filed state and federal lawsuits demanding access to taxpayer-funded abortions (through Medicaid) for low-income women.
• Center for Responsible Lending: This organization was a major player in the subprime mortgage crisis. According to Phil Kerpen (vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity), CRL “sh[ook] down and harass[ed] banks into making bad loans to unqualified borrowers.” Moreover, CRL negotiated a contract enabling it to operate as a conduit of high-risk loans to Fannie Mae.
• Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Reasoning from the premise that tax cuts generally help only the wealthy, this organization advocates greater tax expenditures on social welfare programs for low earners.
• Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS): Aiming to redistribute wealth by way of higher taxes imposed on those whose incomes are above average, COWS contends that "it is important that state government be able to harness fair contribution from all parts of society – including corporations and the wealthy."
• Change America Now: Formed in December 2006, Change America Now describes itself as "an independent political organization created to educate citizens on the failed policies of the Republican Congress and to contrast that record of failure with the promise offered by a Democratic agenda."
• Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: This group litigates and brings ethics charges against "government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests" and "betray the public trust." Almost all of its targets are Republicans.
• Coalition for an International Criminal Court: This group seeks to subordinate American criminal-justice procedures to those of an international court.
• Common Cause: This organization aims to bring about campaign-finance reform, pursue media reform resembling the Fairness Doctrine, and cut military budgets in favor of increased social-welfare and environmental spending.
• Constitution Project: This organization seeks to challenge the legality of military commissions; end the detainment of "enemy combatants”; condemn government surveillance of terrorists; and limit the President's executive privileges.
• Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: Defenders of Wildlife opposes oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It condemns logging, ranching, mining, and even the use of recreational motorized vehicles as activities that are destructive to the environment.
• Democracy Alliance: This self-described "liberal organization" aims to raise $200 million to develop a funding clearinghouse for leftist groups. Soros is a major donor to this group.
• Democracy 21: This group is a staunch supporter of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act.
• Democracy Now!: Democracy Now! was created in 1996 by WBAI radio news director Amy Goodman and four partners to provide "perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media," i.e., the views of radical and foreign journalists, left and labor activists, and ideological foes of capitalism.
• Democratic Justice Fund: DJF opposes the Patriot Act and most efforts to restrict or regulate immigration into the United States -- particularly from countries designated by the State Department as "terrorist nations."
• Democratic Party: Soros' funding activities are devoted largely to helping the Democratic Party solidify its power base. In a November 2003 interview, Soros stated that defeating President Bush in 2004 "is the central focus of my life" ... "a matter of life and death." He pledged to raise $75 million to defeat Bush, and personally donated nearly a third of that amount to anti-Bush organizations. "America under Bush," he said, "is a danger to the world, and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is." Claiming that "the Republican party has been captured by a bunch of extremists," Soros accuses the Bush administration of following a "supremacist ideology" in whose rhetoric he claims to hear echoes of "Nazi slogans."
• Earthjustice: This group seeks to place severe restrictions on how U.S. land and waterways may be used. It opposes most mining and logging initiatives, commercial fishing businesses, and the use of motorized vehicles in undeveloped areas.
• Economic Policy Institute: This organization believes that “government must play an active role in protecting the economically vulnerable, ensuring equal opportunity, and improving the well-being of all Americans.”
• Electronic Privacy Information Center: This organization has been a harsh critic of the USA PATRIOT Act and has joined the American Civil Liberties Union in litigating two cases calling for the FBI "to publicly release or account for thousands of pages of information about the government's use of PATRIOT Act powers."
• Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: Co-founded by the revolutionary communist Van Jones, this anti-poverty organization claims that “decades of disinvestment in our cities” -- compounded by “excessive, racist policing and over-incarceration” -- have “led to despair and homelessness.”
• EMILY's List: This political network raises money for Democratic female political candidates who support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.
• Energy Action Coalition: Founded in 2004, this group describes itself as “a coalition of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.” For EAC, this means “dismantling oppression” according to its principles of environmental justice.
• Fair Immigration Reform Movement: This is the open-borders arm of the Center for Community Change.
• Faithful America: This organization promotes the redistribution of wealth, an end to enhanced interrogation procedures vis a vis prisoners-of-war, the enactment of policies to combat global warming, and the creation of a government-run heath care system.
• Feminist Majority: Characterizing the United States as an inherently sexist nation, this group focuses on "advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States."
• Four Freedoms Fund: This organization was designed to serve as a conduit through which large foundations could fund state-based open-borders organizations more flexibly and quickly.
• Free Exchange on Campus: This organization was created solely to oppose the efforts of one individual, David Horowitz, and his campaign to have universities adopt an "Academic Bill of Rights," as well as todenounce Horowitz's 2006 book The Professors. Member organizations of FEC include Campus Progress (a project of the Center for American Progress); the American Association of University Professors; theAmerican Civil Liberties Union; People For the American Way; the United States Student Association; theCenter for Campus Free Speech; the American Library Association; Free Press; and the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups.
• Free Press: This "media reform" organization has worked closely with many notable leftists and such organizations as Media Matters for America, Air America Radio, Global Exchange, Code Pink, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Mother Jones magazine, and Pacifica Radio.
• Funding Exchange: Dedicated to the concept of philanthropy as a vehicle for social change, this organization pairs leftist donors and foundations with likeminded groups and activists who are dedicated to bringing about their own version of "progressive" change and social justice. Many of these grantees assume that American society is rife with racism, discrimination, exploitation, and inequity and needs to be overhauled via sustained education, activism, and social agitation.
• Gamaliel Foundation: Modeling its tactics on those of the radical Sixties activist Saul Alinsky, this group takes a strong stand against current homeland security measures and immigration restrictions.
• Gisha: Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement: This anti-Israel organization seeks to help Palestinians "exercise their right to freedom of movement."
• Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: This group contends that when a state proves either unable or unwilling to protect civilians from mass atrocities occurring within its borders, it is the responsibility of the international community to intervene -- peacefully if possible, but with military force if necessary.
• Global Exchange: Established in 1988 by pro-Castro radical Medea Benjamin, this group consistently condemns America's foreign policy, business practices, and domestic life. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Global Exchange advised Americans to examine "the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world -- from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel."
• Grantmakers Without Borders: GWB tends to be very supportive of leftist environmental, anti-war, and civil rights groups. It is also generally hostile to capitalism, which it deems one of the chief "political, economic, and social systems" that give rise to a host of "social ills."
• Green For All: This group was created by Van Jones to lobby for federal climate, energy, and economic policy initiatives.
• Health Care for America Now: This group supports a “single payer” model where the federal government would be in charge of financing and administering the entire U.S. healthcare system.
• Human Rights Campaign: The largest "lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender" lobbying group in the United States, HRC supports political candidates and legislation that will advance the LGBT agenda. Historically, HRC has most vigorously championed HIV/AIDS-related legislation, “hate crime” laws, the abrogation of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the legalization of gay marriage.
• Human Rights First: This group supports open borders and the rights of illegal aliens; charges that the Patriot Act severely erodes Americans' civil liberties; has filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of terror suspect Jose Padilla; and deplores the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities.
• Human Rights Watch: This group directs a disproportionate share of its criticism at the United States and Israel. It opposes the death penalty in all cases, and supports open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.
• I'lam: This anti-Israel NGO seeks "to develop and empower the Arab media and to give voice to Palestinian issues."
• Immigrant Defense Project: To advance the cause of illegal immigrants, the IDP provides immigration law backup support and counseling to New York defense attorneys and others who represent or assist immigrants in criminal justice and immigration systems, as well as to immigrants themselves.
• Immigrant Legal Resource Center: This group claims to have helped gain amnesty for some three million illegal aliens in the U.S., and in the 1980s was part of the sanctuary movement which sought to grant asylum to refugees from the failed Communist states of Central America.
• Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project: This open-borders organization advocates mass immigration to the U.S.
• Immigration Policy Center: IPC is an advocate of open borders and contends that the massive influx of illegal immigrants into America is due to U.S. government policy, since “the broken immigration system […] spurs unauthorized immigration in the first place.”
• Independent Media Center: This Internet-based, news and events bulletin board represents an invariably leftist, anti-capitalist perspective and serves as a mouthpiece for anti-globalization/anti-America themes.
• Independent Media Institute: IMI administers the SPIN Project (Strategic Press Information Network), which provides leftist organizations with "accessible and affordable strategic communications consulting, training, coaching, networking opportunities and concrete tools" to help them "achieve their social justice goals."
• Institute for America's Future: IAF supports socialized medicine, increased government funding for education, and the creation of an infrastructure "to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard."
• Institute for New Economic Thinking: Seeking to create a new worldwide "economic paradigm," this organization is staffed by numerous individuals who favor government intervention in national economies, and who view capitalism as a flawed system.
• Institute for Policy Studies: This think tank has long supported Communist and anti-American causes around the world. Viewing capitalism as a breeding ground for "unrestrained greed," IPS seeks to provide a corrective to "unrestrained markets and individualism." Professing an unquestioning faith in the righteousness of the United Nations, it aims to bring American foreign policy under UN control.
• Institute for Public Accuracy: This anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel organization sponsored actor Sean Penn’s celebrated visit to Baghdad in 2002. It also sponsored visits to Iraq by Democratic Congressmen Nick Rahall and former Democrat Senator James Abourezk
• Institute for Women's Policy Research: This group views the U.S. as a nation rife with discrimination against women, and publishes research to draw attention to this alleged state of affairs. It also advocates unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, stating that "access to abortion is essential to the economic well-being of women and girls."
• International Crisis Group: One of this organization's leading figures is its Mideast Director, Robert Malley, who was President Bill Clinton's Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs. His analysis of the Mideast conflict is markedly pro-Palestinian.
• J Street: This anti-Israel group warns that Israel’s choice to take military action to stop Hamas' terrorist attacks “will prove counter-productive and only deepen the cycle of violence in the region”
• Jewish Funds for Justice: This organization views government intervention and taxpayer funding as crucial components of enlightened social policy. It seeks to redistribute wealth from Jewish donors to low-income communities “to combat the root causes of domestic economic and social injustice.” By JFJ's reckoning, chief among those root causes are the inherently negative by-products of capitalism – most notably racism and “gross economic inequality.”
• Joint Victory Campaign 2004: Founded by George Soros and Harold Ickes, this group was a major fundraising entity for Democrats during the 2004 election cycle. It collected contributions (including large amounts from Soros personally) and disbursed them to two other groups, America Coming Together and the Media Fund, which also worked on behalf of Democrats.
• Justice at Stake: This coalition calls for judges to be appointed by nonpartisan, independent commissions in a process known as “merit selection,” rather than elected by the voting public.
• LatinoJustice PRLDF: This organization supports bilingual education, the racial gerrymandering of voting districts, and expanded rights for illegal aliens.
• Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: This group views America as an unremittingly racist nation; uses the courts to mandate race-based affirmative action preferences in business and academia; has filed briefs against the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to limit the wholesale granting of green cards and to identify potential terrorists; condemns the Patriot Act; and calls on Americans to "recognize the contribution" of illegal aliens.
• League of United Latin American Citizens: This group views America as a nation plagued by "an alarming increase in xenophobia and anti-Hispanic sentiment"; favors racial preferences; supports the legalization of illegal Hispanic aliens; opposes military surveillance of U.S. borders; opposes making English America's official language; favors open borders; and rejects anti-terrorism legislation like the Patriot Act.
• League of Women Voters Education Fund: The League supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; supports "motor-voter" registration, which allows anyone with a driver's license to become a voter, regardless of citizenship status; and supports tax hikes and socialized medicine.
• Lynne Stewart Defense Committee: IRS records indicate that Soros's Open Society Institute made a September 2002 grant of $20,000 to this organization. Stewart was the criminal-defense attorney who was later convicted for abetting her client, the "blind sheik" Omar Abdel Rahman, in terrorist activities connected with his Islamic Group.
• MADRE: This international women's organization deems America the world's foremost violator of human rights. As such, it seeks to "communicat[e] the real-life impact of U.S. policies on women and families confronting violence, poverty and repression around the world," and to "demand alternatives to destructive U.S. policies." It also advocates unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.
• Malcolm X Grassroots Movement: This group views the U.S. as a nation replete with racism and discrimination against blacks; seeks to establish an independent black nation in the southeastern United States; and demands reparations for slavery.
• Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition: This group calls for the expansion of civil rights and liberties for illegal aliens; laments that illegal aliens in America are commonly subjected to "worker exploitation"; supports tuition-assistance programs for illegal aliens attending college; and characterizes the Patriot Act as a "very troubling" assault on civil liberties.
• Media Fund: Soros played a major role in creating this group, whose purpose was to conceptualize, produce, and place political ads on television, radio, print, and the Internet.
• Media Matters for America: This organization is a "web-based, not-for-profit … progressive research and information center" seeking to "systematically monitor a cross-section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation." The group works closely with the Soros-backed Center for American Progress, and is heavily funded by Democracy Alliance, of which Soros is a major financier.
• Mercy Corps: Vis a vis the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mercy Corps places all blame for Palestinian poverty and suffering directly on Israel.
• Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund: This group advocates open borders, free college tuition for illegal aliens, lowered educational standards to accommodate Hispanics, and voting rights for criminals. In MALDEF's view, supporters of making English the official language of the United States are "motivated by racism and anti-immigrant sentiments," while advocates of sanctions against employers reliant on illegal labor seek to discriminate against "brown-skinned people."
• Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein, PC: This influential defender of Big Labor is headed by Democrat operativeHarold Ickes.
• Midwest Academy: This entity trains radical activists in the tactics of direct action, targeting, confrontation, and intimidation.
• Migration Policy Institute: This group seeks to create "a North America with gradually disappearing border controls ... with permanent migration remaining at moderate levels."
• Military Families Speak Out: This group ascribes the U.S. invasion of Iraq to American imperialism and lust for oil.
• This Web-based organization supports Democratic political candidates through fundraising, advertising, and get-out-the-vote drives.
• Ms. Foundation for Women: This group laments what it views as the widespread and enduring flaws of American society: racism, sexism, homophobia, and the violation of civil rights and liberties. It focuses its philanthropy on groups that promote affirmative action for women, unfettered access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, amnesty for illegal aliens, and big government generally.
• NARAL Pro-Choice America: This group supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, and works to elect pro-abortion Democrats.
• NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: The NAACP supports racial preferences in employment and education, as well as the racial gerrymandering of voting districts. Underpinning its support for race preferences is the fervent belief that white racism in the United States remains an intractable, largely undiminished, phenomenon.
• The Nation Institute: This nonprofit entity sponsors leftist conferences, fellowships, awards for radical activists, and journalism internships.
• National Abortion Federation: This group opposes any restrictions on abortion at either the state or federal levels, and champions the introduction of unrestricted abortion into developing regions of the world.
• National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: This group was established in 1976 as the first "fully staffed national organization exclusively devoted to abolishing capital punishment."
• National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy: This group depicts the United States as a nation in need of dramatic structural change financed by philanthropic organizations. It overwhelmingly promotes grant-makers and grantees with leftist agendas, while criticizing their conservative counterparts.
• National Committee for Voting Integrity: This group opposes "the implementation of proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements for eligible electors in American elections as the means of assuring election integrity."
• National Council for Research on Women: This group supports big government, high taxes, military spending cuts, increased social welfare spending, and the unrestricted right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.
• National Council of La Raza: This group lobbies for racial preferences, bilingual education, stricter hate-crime laws, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.
• National Council of Women's Organizations: This group views the United States as a nation rife with injustice against girls and women. It advocates high levels of spending for social welfare programs, and supports race and gender preferences for minorities and women in business and academia.
• National Immigration Forum: Opposing the enforcement of present immigration laws, this organization urges the American government to "legalize" en masse all illegal aliens currently in the United States who have no criminal records, and to dramatically increase the number of visas available for those wishing to migrate to the U.S. The Forum is particularly committed to opening the borders to unskilled, low-income workers, and immediately making them eligible for welfare and social service programs.
• National Immigration Law Center: This group seeks to win unrestricted access to government-funded social welfare programs for illegal aliens.
• National Lawyers Guild: This group promotes open borders; seeks to weaken America's intelligence-gathering agencies; condemns the Patriot Act as an assault on civil liberties; rejects capitalism as an unviable economic system; has rushed to the defense of convicted terrorists and their abettors; and generally opposes all U.S. foreign policy positions, just as it did during the Cold War when it sided with the Soviets.
• National Organization for Women: This group advocates the unfettered right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; seeks to "eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia" from American society; attacks Christianity and traditional religious values; and supports gender-based preferences for women.
• National Partnership for Women and Families: This organization supports race- and sex-based preferences in employment and education. It also advocates for the universal "right" of women to undergo taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason.
• National Priorities Project: This group supports government-mandated redistribution of wealth -- through higher taxes and greater expenditures on social welfare programs. NPP exhorts the government to redirect a significant portion of its military funding toward public education, universal health insurance, environmentalist projects, and welfare programs.
• National Public Radio: Founded in 1970 with 90 public radio stations as charter members, NPR is today a loose network of more than 750 U.S. radio stations across the country, many of which are based on college and university campuses. (source)
• National Security Archive Fund: This group collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act to a degree that compromises American national security and the safety of intelligence agents.
• National Women's Law Center: This group supports taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; lobbies against conservative judicial appointees; advocates increased welfare spending to help low-income mothers; and favors higher taxes for the purpose of generating more funds for such government programs as Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, foster care, health care, child-support enforcement, and student loans.
• Natural Resources Defense Council: One of the most influential environmentalist lobbying groups in the United States, the Council claims a membership of one million people.
• New America Foundation: This organization uses policy papers, media articles, books, and educational events to influence public opinion on such topics as healthcare, environmentalism, energy policy, the Mideast conflict, global governance, and much more.
• Pacifica Foundation: This entity owns and operates Pacifica Radio, awash from its birth with the socialist-Marxist rhetoric of class warfare and hatred for capitalism.
• Peace and Security Funders Group: This is an association of more than 50 foundations that give money to leftist anti-war and environmentalist causes. Its members tend to depict America as the world's chief source of international conflict, environmental destruction, and economic inequalities.
• Peace Development Fund: In PDF's calculus, the United States needs a massive overhaul of its social and economic institutions. "Recently," explains PDF, "we have witnessed the negative effects of neo-liberalism and the globalization of capitalism, the de-industrialization of the U.S. and the growing gap between the rich and poor ..."
• People for the American Way: This group opposes the Patriot Act, anti-terrorism measures generally, and the allegedly growing influence of the "religious right."
• Physicians for Human Rights: This group is selectively and disproportionately critical of the United States and Israel in its condemnations of human rights violations.
• Physicians for Social Responsibility: This is an anti-U.S.-military organization that also embraces the tenets of radical environmentalism.
• Planned Parenthood: This group is the largest abortion provider in the United States and advocates taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand.
• Ploughshares Fund: This public grantmaking foundation opposes America's development of a missile defense system, and contributes to many organizations that are highly critical of U.S. foreign policies and military ventures.
• Presidential Climate Action Project: PCAP's mission is to create a new 21st-century economy, completely carbon-free and based largely on renewable energy. A key advisor to the organization is the revolutionary communist Van Jones.
• Prison Moratorium Project: This initiative was created in 1995 for the express purpose of working for the elimination of all prisons in the United States and the release of all inmates. Reasoning from the premise that incarceration is never an appropriate means of dealing with crime, it deems American society's inherent inequities the root of all criminal behavior.
• Progressive Change Campaign Committee: This organization works “to elect bold progressive candidates to federal office and to help [them] and their campaigns save money, work smarter, and win more often.”
• Progressive States Network: PSN's mission is to "pass progressive legislation in all fifty states by providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to forward-thinking state legislators."
• Project Vote: This is the voter-mobilization arm of the Soros-funded ACORN. A persistent pattern of lawlessness and corruption has followed ACORN/Project Vote activities over the years.
• Pro Publica: Claiming that “investigative journalism is at risk,” this group aims to remedy this lacuna in news publishing by “expos[ing] abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.”
• Proteus Fund: This foundation directs its philanthropy toward a number of radical leftwing organizations.
• Public Citizen Foundation: Public Citizen seeks increased government intervention and litigation against corporations -- a practice founded on the notion that American corporations, like the capitalist system of which they are a part, are inherently inclined toward corruption.
• Rebuild and Renew America Now (a.k.a. Unity '09): Spearheaded by and overseen by longtime activist Heather Booth, this coalition was formed to facilitate the passage of President Obama’s "historic" $3.5 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010.
• Res Publica: Seeking to advance far-left agendas in places all around the world, RP specializes in “E-advocacy,” or web-based movement-building.
• Secretary of State Project: This project was launched in July 2006 as an independent "527" organization devoted to helping Democrats get elected to the office of Secretary of State in selected swing, or battleground, states.
• Sentencing Project: Asserting that prison-sentencing patterns are racially discriminatory, this initiative advocates voting rights for felons.
• Social Justice Leadership: This organization seeks to transform an allegedly inequitable America into a "just society" by means of "a renewed social-justice movement."
• Shadow Democratic Party: This is an elaborate network of non-profit activist groups organized by George Soros and others to mobilize resources -- money, get-out-the-vote drives, campaign advertising, and policy iniatives -- to elect Democratic candidates and guide the Democratic Party towards the left.
• Sojourners: This evangelical Christian ministry preaches radical leftwing politics. During the 1980s it championed Communist revolution in Central America and chastised U.S. policy-makers for their tendency "to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts." More recently, Sojourners has taken up the cause of environmental activism, opposed welfare reform as a "mean-spirited Republican agenda," and mounted a defense of affirmative action.
• Southern Poverty Law Center: This organization monitors the activities of what it calls “hate groups” in the United States. It exaggerates the prevalence of white racism directed against American minorities.
• Think Progress: This Internet blog "pushes back, daily," by its own account, against its conservative targets, and seeks to transform "progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world."
• Thunder Road Group: This political consultancy, in whose creation Soros had a hand, coordinates strategy for the Media Fund, America Coming Together, and America Votes.
• Tides Foundation and Tides Center: Tides is a major funder of the radical Left.
• U.S. Public Interest Research Group: This is an umbrella organization of student groups that support leftist agendas.
• Universal Healthcare Action Network: This organization supports a single-payer health care system controlled by the federal government.
• Urban Institute: This research organization favors socialized medicine, expansion of the federal welfare bureaucracy, and tax hikes for higher income-earners.
• USAction Education Fund: USAction lists its priorities as: "fighting the right wing agenda"; "building grassroots political power"; winning "social, racial and economic justice for all"; supporting a system of taxpayer-funded socialized medicine; reversing "reckless tax cuts for millionaires and corporations" which shield the "wealthy" from paying their "fair share"; advocating for "pro-consumer and environmental regulation of corporate abuse"; "strengthening progressive voices on local, state and national issues"; and working to "register, educate and get out the vote ... [to] help progressives get elected at all levels of government."
• Working Families Party: An outgrowth of the socialist New Party, WFP seeks to help push the Democratic Party toward the left.
• World Organization Against Torture: This coalition works closely with groups that condemn Israeli security measures against Palestinian terrorism.
• YWCA World Office, Switzerland: The YWCA opposes abstinence education; supports universal access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; and opposes school vouchers.

"Secondary" or "Indirect" Affiliates of the George Soros Network

By Discover The Networks

In addition to those organizations that are funded directly by George Soros and his Open Society Institute (OSI), there are also numerous "secondary" or "indirect" affiliates of the Soros network. These include organizations which do not receive direct funding from Soros and OSI, but which are funded by one or more organizations that do.
• Center for Progressive Leadership: Funded by the Soros-bankrolled Democracy Alliance, this anti-capitalist organization is dedicated to training future leftist political leaders.
• John Adams Project:This project of the American Civil Liberties Union was accused of: (a) having hired investigators to photograph CIA officers thought to have been involved in enhanced interrogations of terror suspects detained in Guantanamo, and then (b) showing the photos to the attorneys of those suspects, some of whom were senior al-Qaeda operatives.
• Moving Ideas Network (MIN): This coalition of more than 250 leftwing activist groups is a partner organization of the Soros-backed Center for American Progress. MIN was originally a project of the Soros-backed American Prospect and, as such, received indirect funding from the Open Society Institute. In early 2006, The American Prospect relinquished control of the Moving Ideas Network.
• New Organizing Institute: Created by the Soros-funded, this group "trains young, technology-enabled political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations."
• Think Progress: This "project" of the American Progress Action Fund, which is a "sister advocacy organization"of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress and Campus Progress, seeks to transform "progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world."
• Vote for Change: Coordinated by the political action committee of the Soros-funded, Vote for Change was a group of 41 musicians and bands that performed concerts in several key election "battleground"states during October 2004, to raise money in support of Democrat John Kerry's presidential bid.
• Working Families Party: Created in 1998 to help push the Democratic Party toward the left, this front group for the Soros-funded ACORN functions as a political party that promotes ACORN-friendly candidates.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Are Republicans Willing To, If Not Anxious To, Destroy Our Economy?


Harold Meyerson explains in the Washington Post:

To elucidate the mysteries of Washington — in particular, why House Republicans, having compelled the Democrats to craft a Republican-in-all-but-name plan to get a deal on raising the debt ceiling, still don’t want a deal — we turn to the Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.

A scorpion meets a frog on the bank of a stream and asks the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion answers, “Because if I do, I’ll drown along with you.” So the frog, bowing to the logic of the scorpion’s answer, sets out across the stream with the scorpion on his back. About midstream, the scorpion stings the frog, who is paralyzed and starts to sink — as does the scorpion. “Why?” the dying frog asks. “Because it’s my nature,” the scorpion replies...

Republicans apparently won’t be satisfied until Obama takes responsibility for all of the national debt, the Bush tax cuts and the Oklahoma heat wave, admits he’s not a citizen and goes back to Kenya.

They may harm themselves and the nation by holding out for that deal. Like the scorpion, though, it’s their nature.

But not all Republicans are scorpions, are they? Well, the ones who aren't are too afraid of the ones who are to stand up for what's right. Why are they so afraid?

Paul Krugman has the answer:

This would, however, probably be the end of these Republicans’ political careers. And the answer is, so?

If you believe that default will quite possibly be a catastrophe — and leading Republicans probably do believe that — their unwillingness to take the action I’ve just described means that they are risking America’s future rather than pay a price in their personal political careers. That’s cowardice on an epic scale, even if it’s the kind of behavior we take for granted nowadays.

One Republican at least is willing to speak up:

Assistant State Attorney To Argue That Malloy-SEBAC Agreement Violates SEBAC By-Laws

Even before the votes are cast by state union members on Governor Malloy’s slightly vevised Plan A, Lisa Herskowitz, a senior assistant state's attorney in Manchester, has issued a complait to the state Board of Labor Relations questioning the proposed agreemment, according to a story in the Connecticut Post:

“Herskowitz in her complaint to the labor board alleges SEBAC violated its own bylaws by agreeing to a two-year wage freeze, arguing the coalition's negotiating authority is limited to pensions and health care.

“She further argues SEBAC should not have reopened the existing pension and health-care agreement, which expires in 2017, without allowing union members to first vote to authorize SEBAC to renegotiate the deal. Rank-and-file approval should also have been sought in early July when SEBAC approached Malloy about reopening talks, Herskowitz said.”
The board has agreed to address the matter on August 3.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Notes On The Current Crisis

The unilateral changes in by-laws

It may be noted that what has been done unilaterally by the union leadership may be undone unilaterally by a different leadership.

Despite a desperate attempt by SEBAC negotiators Dan Livingston and Matt O’Connor to pin on such convenient scapegoats as the Yankee Institute  their dramatic failure to sell plan A to union rank and file members, some unions, dissatisfied with SEBAC representation, are now shopping around for other unions with which they might affiliate. In mid-June SEBAC leaders charged the Yankee Institute had improperly used the state’s e-mail system to communicate with union members and referred their dark suspicions to Attorney General George Jepsen, Connecticut’s version, under the state’s previous Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, of poet Francis Thompson’s “The Hound Of Heaven.”

SEBAC leaders, working in tandem with Plan A salesmen in the administration of Governor Dannel Malloy, unilaterally changed union by-laws to reduce to 50 percent the votes necessary to pass Plan A after it had been rejected under previous inconvenient by-laws.

This change, since it entailed a re-do of a previous vote rejecting Plan A, has not gone down well with many rank and file union members. The re-do vote under altered by-laws rankled the 43 percent of union members who initially voted against Plan A.

Passage of Plan A is virtually assured under the new by-laws unilaterally adopted by SEBAC leaders following the first unsuccessful vote. The re-do vote and by-laws change also have alienated the affections of some union members who initially voted affirmatively to adopt Plan A and regard the by-laws change as an undemocratic attempt to void a legitimate voting process without seeking to affirm the changes though a rank and file membership vote. If you can’t fix a vote, the next best thing is to fix the process that governs the vote. The unilateral change in by laws is viewed by many union members as an attempt to fix a vote by other means and, as such, it is likely to have lasting repercussions.

In the next three weeks, according to a story in the Hartford Courant, members of the 15 unions comprising SEBAC will be voting on re-drafted barely revised Plan A. But just as some pigs are more equal than other pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, so here some votes are more equal than others.

While the new tentative agreement will be presented to the full membership of some unions, some union leaders, Mr. O’Connor wrote on the union’s website, “are planning to have elected leadership cast their union’s vote because there are no negative changes in the revised TA as compared to the previous agreement.” In this tortured sentence, Mr. O’Connor appears to be saying that if a union voted to affirm Plan A, individual members of such unions will not, on a redo vote, be given the opportunity to change their vote from affirmative to negative.

The Closed Doors Of A Putative “Transparent” Administration

Candidate for Governor Dan Malloy promised voters a transparent administration. The budget process this year falls far short of transparency. In previous administrations, the budget shuttle cock was batted in public between two parties, one of which, the Republican Party, controlled the executive office first under Governor John Rowland and later under Governor Jodi Rell.

The political tension between Republican governors and the Democratic controlled General Assembly insured a certain degree of transparency. While it is true that Republican governors often stiffed Republican leaders in the General Assembly while making private deals behind closed doors with Democratic leaders, the party bifurcation nevertheless allowed budget negotiations between the two parties to be ventilated in Connecticut’s left of center media.

With the election of Dannel Malloy as governor, the crack in the door was permanently sealed shut. When reporters during the current budget negotiations asked their usual sources within Republican Party ranks what was going on behind the caucus closed doors, they replied, truthfully, that they knew no more than had been reported in the press. And the press knew nothing.

Negotiations between Malloy administration officials and SEBAC were just as impenetrable. Following Mr. Malloy’s elevation to the governor’s office, an iron curtain had been rung down on what the media in other administrations had denominated “the public’s business.” But this is how the one party state operates; closed doors give the current administration an insuperable propaganda advantage.

Union resistance to the autocratic rule of the union-administration-media-complex is but a crack in the concrete through which, given time enough, a blade of grass may sprout. The blade, one may be certain, will be reported to the attorney general’s office.

Malloy As Prometheus

Prometheus was the god in Greek mythology punished by Zeus for having brought the gift of enlightenment to men. Similarly, Mr. Malloy brought the gift of Plan A to state unions – breathes there a commentator who has not said, multiple times, that Plan A was a boon to unions? – and this gift was rejected, Mr. Malloy having been stretched on a rock outside the portals of heaven, his liver to be torn by the sharp beaks of eagles. Now he has been saved. Mankind’s tears have been turned to shouts of joy. Such is the narrative we can expect to see piped by successfully propagandized media adepts in the next few weeks – when, in fact, it is the state itself stretched on the rock waiting for a ravenous eagle to drink its wise blood.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How We Got Here And Why We Aren’t Going Anywhere Fast

Governor Malloy’s “shared sacrifice” was never evenly – some might say “fairly” -- distributed. Progressive Democrats, in fact, do not believe in shared sacrifice. Their credo includes, on the tax side, a progressive income tax in which the “rich,” defined as anyone making more than $200,000 per year, pay the lion’s share of governmental “investments.” SEBAC negotiator Dan Livingston is typical of the genus.

In a progressive regime, the majority of people “invest” relatively little in their government and prudently vote for Democrats, who collect little from them in tax payments (AKA “investments”) while showering them with benefits. Whatever name one chooses to put to this lopsided getting and spending process, it is not “shared sacrifice.”

Nationally, the wealthiest 1 percent of the population earns 19 percent of all income and pays 37 percent of the federal income tax, a figure that excludes payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. The top ten percent pay 68 percent of the tab. The bottom 50 percent, those below the median income level, earn 13 percent of the income and pay 3 percent of the tax.

Combining payroll and income taxes, a Brooking Institution study offers the following breakdown: The richest 1 percent pays 27.5 percent of the combined burden, the top 20 percent pay 72 percent, and the bottom 20 percent pay just 0.4 percent. The bottom quintile is low because an earned income tax credit reimburses some or all of their 15 percent payroll tax. In Connecticut, low income groups pay little or no taxes and will be eligible shortly for a newly instituted income tax credit.

The opposite of a progressive tax, a flat tax, which does provide equity in tax collections, would more fairly share the sacrifice; nearly everyone would pay the same tax rate, all exemptions would be eliminated, the simplification of the tax code would facilitate payments, and a majority of the citizenry would be invested, both as tax providers and consumers, in their government.

Mr. Malloy began his journey as governor promising transparency in government, an end to budget trickery, and shared sacrifice. On the route to government as usual, he bumped into a General Assembly dominated by caucus leaders who for years had been politically wedded to union causes, a group of union negotiators who failed miserably in selling Mr. Malloy’s Plan A to rank and file union members, and a gang of crying mayors who winked at the glowing tax faggots so long as they were assured they would not be burned at the stake. Mr. Malloy also entered into an amusing spitting contest with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is turning out to be much the better demagogue.

The Opaque Budget process

Transparency in government was the first casualty of what Democrats in the General Assembly call the “budget process.” Minority Republicans in the General Assembly were from the first cut out of the process, which should not have surprised Republican leaders in the legislature, and the budget was fashioned, per usual, behind closed doors.

There were reasons why the legislative closed shop should not have surprised Republican leaders in the General Assembly. Over a period of twenty years and more, Republicans had lost their primacy of place on the budget chessboard. Republican presence in the legislature is light. The Republican Party in Connecticut lost the last of its budget bargaining chips upon Mr. Malloy’s election to office, more than 20 years after the last Democratic governor, Bill O’Neill, had abandoned ship, leaving in his wake a deficit of about $1 billion, a modest deficit by today’s standards.

Mr. O’Neill was supplanted by maverick Independent Governor Lowell Weicker, the father of Connecticut’s income tax. Mr. Weicker was followed in office by Republican governor John Rowland, who spent a year in jail for having failed to provide “honest services” to the citizens of Connecticut. Mr. Rowland was succeeded by his politically bland Lieutenant Governor, Jodi Rell, a lady more sinned against than sinning regularly lampooned by both the Democratic opposition, the state’s left of center media and recently self described “turd in the Republican Party punchbowl” Mr. Weicker as an inoffensively pleasant do-nothing placeholder. Both Mr. Rowland and Mrs. Rell were moderate Republicans.

After Mrs. Rell came the Democratic deluge. While weary taxpayers gave the boot during the mid-term elections to Democratic big spenders in federal, state and gubernatorial office across the fruited plains, progressive Democrats in Connecticut hung in there. Republican gains in Connecticut’s General Assembly were modest. Before leaving his position as Republican Party Chairman, Chris Healy noted that Republicans had gained 15 seats in the House and 2 seats in the Senate. Republicans also held 100 of the top positions in the 169 towns in Connecticut but lost the governorship and all constitutional offices.

Upon Mr. Malloy ascension as governor, the state, so it was said, had lost its “firewalls,” Republican governors who presumably stood in the way of the Democratic General Assembly spending machine crying “Stop!” In fact, with the righteous wind of an income tax at their backs, spending in the General Assembly quickly accelerated, tripling within the tenure of three post-income tax governors. By the time Governor Dannel Malloy arrived at the fire, Connecticut was engulfed in spending flames. The state had accumulated a biennial budget deficit of more than $4 billion. Something had to be done.

Mr. Malloy’s solution to Connecticut’s debt problem did not differ markedly from that of Mr. Weicker or the two Republican governors who followed him. Mr. Rowland’s campaign pledge to repeal the income tax did not survive his first week in office. While governors in Connecticut’s neighboring states of New York and New Jersey held the line on taxes, Mr. Malloy, following a campaign in which he was hoisted into office by a slender margin of 6,500 votes and during which he seemed to spurn the imposition of more taxes as a first response to Connecticut’s red ink immediately increased a host of taxes by $2.6 billion and pledged to wrest about $2 billion in savings from state unionized workers.

There Will Be Time, For Visions And Revisions That Time Will Soon Erase

Very nearly all the decision makers in Connecticut – union leaders in SEBAC, the coalition of unions charged with contact negotiations, Mr. Malloy and his negotiating team, many liberal lawmakers in the General Assembly and Malloy administration well-wishers in Connecticut’s left of center media – were agreed that Plan A was favorable to unions.

Plan A assured $2.6 billion in tax increases, imposed a wage freeze on state workers for two years, after which the unionized workers were guaranteed wage increases of 3 percent for the following three years, and launched a medical benefit plan that cut costs and, so it seemed to some – one of the chief sticking points among union workers who gave a thumbs down to Plan A – reshaped benefits so that the new medical benefits package could in the future accommodate Connecticut’s Sustinet Plan, a state version of President Barack Obama’s universal health care plan.

Should Plan A be rejected in a final union vote, Mr. Malloy had at the ready an alternative Plan B that, said the same cheering section vigorously promoting Plan A, would be devastating to state workers. On the question of further tax increases, should state workers be so foolish as to vote down Plan A, Mr. Malloy had already crossed a Rubicon: He had pledged to all and sundry that he would not make up cost savings lost through a rejection of Plan A by further tax increases. Savings lost through a perverse refusal to adopt Plan A would be recovered through draconian layoffs and agency reorganizations.

As a lure to union members who might foolishly vote down Plan A, Mr. Malloy sweetened the pot by reducing the “shared sacrifice” of union workers by $400 million. Mr. Malloy’s number crunchers found an extra $400 million in budget receipts and used it to offset union contributions to the so called “shared sacrifice” the governor had demanded of both taxpayers and state workers. An artificial surplus of about $1 billion had been tucked into the budget, a portion of which Mr. Malloy used to finance an ambitious upgrade of the newly unionized UConn Health Center. Democrats did not propose to share their new found funds equally between tax payers and union members by splitting with taxpayers the $400 million Mulligan the Malloy administration had given outright to union members, possibly hoping the additional funds would induce members to vote in favor of Plan A.

The Democratic dominated General Assembly, Republicans dissenting, pre-approved the budget before the Malloy administration had secured union concessions because, some speculated, individual legislators did not wish to leave their fingerprints on a budget deal gone sour.

Were he alive and singing in these unhappy days, Robert Burns, author of the lines

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley, (Often go astray)
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

might have felt vindicated as a philosopher and poet; for, sure enough, the incomprehensible happened, and state union members rejected Plan A, after which Mr. Malloy rolled out the guillotine.

Plan B, everyone agreed, was a horror. It enforced real cuts in spending but likely was never intended as more than a pistol held to the head of rank and file union members to induce them to vote for the much milder Plan A, which included two years of wage freezes followed by 3 years of 3 percent wage increases, a two year increase in the retirement age and a doubling of the pension penalty should workers decide to retire early. Plan A also included an insurance feature mandating doctor visits and screenings, in exchange for which the state offered a pledge not to lay off current workers, all mild adjustments by most people’s reckoning.

When a minority of union workers rejected Plan A, Mr. Malloy was more or less forced by the weight of his rhetoric to pull the trigger on the pistol.

Plan B, a veritable spook on a stick, was unveiled; the usual culprits remonstrated with benighted union workers. Senator Edith Prague, a longtime union enabler in the General Assembly, said she thought those who had rejected so mild a plan were mad. Papers that in the past stood idly by as the state budget doubled and then tripled, insisting that Connecticut had a revenue rather than a spending problem, began to shriek like so many righteous Robespierres for the heads of union members. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Chris Donovan, put a temporary hold on his run for the U.S. Senate in the 5th District and returned panting to the legislature, where he encouraged union leaders to prevail upon the rank and file to make whatever adjustment might be necessary to adopt the discarded Plan A. Mr. Malloy said he was hopeful something could be done. Flagging spirits began to revive. Slowly, Plan A rose from the ashes.

When the Kabuki curtain opened towards the end of July, painted smiles were on every face. Union leaders, with a wink in the direction of rank and file members they were supposed to be representing, changed the by-laws governing contract negotiations – “drastically,” according to Chris Keating of the Hartford Courant.

Under the old by-laws, “14 of the 15 unions – representing 80 percent of the membership – needed to approve any changes to ratify changes in health care and pension benefits.” That is why Plan A, although approved by 57 percent of those voting, was rejected under union by-laws. Under the new and revised by-laws, imposed upon the membership unilaterally by the very negotiators who had failed to induce a sufficient number of workers to vote in favor of Plan A, “only 8 of the 15 unions – representing 50 percent of the membership [would be] needed to approve any changes,” according to Mr. Keating.

And as if this staged re-vote on Plan A were not surety enough that Plan A finally would be accepted, some news reports indicated union leaders were prepared to allow only those votes of union members who had voted against Plan A to be tallied under the revised by-laws, these to be added to the 57 percent of members who had under the old dispensation voted for Plan A. Those who had voted down Plan A would be given a chance to change their votes to affirmative. Those who voted affirmatively under the now abandoned by-laws would not be given the opportunity to change their “yes” votes.

Having been stung once, union negotiators and Malloy officials were determined to leave nothing to chance. Plan A MUST pass.

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Malloy hit pay dirt when SEBAC leaders announced that a deal had been struck on July 23. The plan soon to be submitted to the union membership differed from Plan A only in incidental matters. An impenetrable secrecy shrouded talks between union leaders and the agents of the Malloy administration.

Following the announcement, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition “posted a notice announcing it was taking strict control over its Facebook page, an indication the unions already were trying to take control of messaging once a new tentative agreement is announced,” according to a report in CTMirror.

Outside the closed shop discussions in the course of which SEBAC leaders assisted Malloy administration officials in pushing through the union rank and file a re-do vote that was almost certain to pass frustrations swirled.

The frustrations were understandable said Matt O’Connor, one of the SEBAC negotiators in a Wall Street Journal report. "There may be issues individual unions want to raise with their leaders, but all of the actions by leaders of coalition are all in accordance with our bylaws."

Those would be the by-laws that Mr. O'Connor’s associates at SEBAC unilaterally changed in order to produce an approving vote by the rank and file, who were now prevented by the censors at SEBAC from participating in facebook messaging.

Mr. O’Connor adamantly insisted, according to an Associated Press report in the Times Union, rather in the manner of a Lady Macbeth protesting too much, that neither Mr. Malloy nor his agents played any role in a by-law change without which a re-do vote on Plan A would not have been possible:

"'We didn't give the governor anything,’ O'Connor said. ‘This was a decision made by union leaders based on reviewing the entire ratification process, hearing from the 45,000 members of our unions, applying lessons learned from this experience and following some very basic principles of union democracy. It certainly wasn't about the governor.’"

Of course, the secrecy surrounding the discussions would make it nearly impossible for anyone to verify Mr. O’Connors somewhat implausible version of events. We are to suppose that SEBAC negotiators who dramatically violated every rule of union democracy to achieve a result desired by Mr. Malloy, virtually all pro-union Democratic legislators in the General Assemby and Connecticut’s left of center media “didn’t give the governor anything.”

Following the by-law changes, rank and file discontent boiled over in the pages of the Wall Street Journal:

“Some union members said they're planning to vote against any new deal out of principle. Meanwhile, members of at least two bargaining units are urging their colleagues to disband.

"’AFSCME is a national union and has a lot of power, so it would be nice to stay with them, but if they're not listening to us, then we're going to have to find another union,’ said Jeri Herskowitz, who works in the judicial system.

“She said members of her local have started a process to jump ship and join the United Public Service Employees Union out of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

"’In the past week, numerous workers in Connecticut have contacted us to leave their union and join ours. We're going to have to move very quickly to make this happen,’ said UPSEU President Kevin Boyle.

“Correction officer John Boyle spent part of the day Tuesday near the Donald T. Bergin Correctional Institution in Storrs offering union members information about joining the National Correctional Employees Unions, which was formed out of Massachusetts. Mr. Boyle, who plans to retire in August, said he is also spearheading a class-action suit against union leaders. He hasn't filed any court papers.

"’Union leaders sold us out, they got caught, and now they're going to have to face us in court,’ Mr. Boyle said.”
No Exit

Such is life in the tax-me, sue-me, flee me state. Mr. Malloy has imposed on his state the highest tax increase in its history, larger even than the tax increase previously imposed by Mr. Weicker in the state’s first post-income tax budget. In the absence of Plan B, which contained real spending cuts too Draconian for the refined tastes of big spending eastern seaboard Democratic politicians, spending will go up. State revenues will spike owing to the tax increases. But over the long term, in the absence of dramatic spending cuts, revenues will continue to shrink, because businesses from which the state draws its revenue will continue to flee the state when they cannot bribe it for tax dispensations, moving jobs and taxpayers to less high tax and regulatory environments elsewhere.

The exodus has already begun. Two days before the union-Malloy deal was announced with much fervor on the front pages of Connecticut’s newspapers, many of which find their own resources shrinking, a report surfaced in a business journal indicating that job additions in Connecticut were anemic: Connecticut has added only 1,800 jobs since the start of 2011, compared with a gain of 14,100 for the same period last year.

And last year was not a banner year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Doing It Right: The Simon Foundation

As we were walking down the line of spotless kennels, each one with a dog in it, Mark Greenberg paused by one of them. In it was tan dog, very lively and exuberant.

Mr. Greenberg offered the dog his hand. The dog immediately calmed down, as if he had been waiting in the dark watches of the night for a familiar presence. Finally satisfied, the dog reverted into his usual mode but, as I thought, with a sprightly bounce in his step. His tail was wagging merrily.

The kennel manager, Lisa Agresti, was beside us. We had just toured the inside of the kennels, all of them shining like new pennies, and even now in the late afternoon, smelling of water, a hint of disinfectant hanging about walls of the Simon Foundation in Bloomfield.

“Would you like some ear protection?” Ms. Agresti offered. “It can get a little loud in here.”

I waved away the suggestion. Half way down the hall of kennels I was beginning to have second thoughts. As soon as the dogs caught a whiff of us, they set up a clamor, the kind of raucous noise one might expect at the foot of a besieged castle. Each dog knew the manager. She paused at several kennels. A story of one kind or another, few of them pleasant, was attached to each of the dogs like a vanishing doom, some of the tales bitten off by the barking.

Now we were outside, in a large grassy courtyard, examining the kennels from a different angle. The front door to the kennels opened to the long hallway we had just traveled; the back door opened to a spacious grassy courtyard. Off in the corner near a wooded area was a fenced in rectangle that looked from a distance like a large enclosed tennis court.

“Do they roam free there?”

“No. None of the dogs is ever off leash. They are always with the handlers.”

Before adoption, all the dogs, each lovingly cared for, are pre-trained. On route, we had passed clean, well lit grooming rooms, a large inside training courtyard where the dogs were socialized and made, as Mr. Greenberg put it, “kid friendly.”

“Where do you get the kids?”

With a wry smile, Mr. Greenberg pointed to his animated son, a curly haired blond lad then frolicking among two dogs he had befriended. Inside the large training-socialization room, was an older dog, a professorial look about him, set apart in a room partitioned with glass, watching the frolic with lofty indifference from a waiting area. Staff was everywhere, grooming, walking the dogs, cleaning, training. Mr. Greenberg bent down to the tan dog.

“This one,” he said, “is now doing very well. He was a particularly bad case when he came to us. He was repeatedly stabbed and came to us full of holes. He looked like someone had been using him as a dart board.”

Thinking a firing squad might be appropriate, I asked Mr. Greenberg, “Do they know who did that?’

He shrugged his shoulders. “You never know.”

Many of the dogs rescued by the Simon Foundation come from pounds. The foundation pulls from Watertown, Bristol, New Haven and Windsor, houses the Hartford and Bloomfield pounds, and is capable of intervening quickly in extraordinary cases. The town of Canton recently asked the foundation for help when upwards of forty dogs, many of them malnourished, were discovered living in substandard conditions. A team was immediately dispatched, the dogs were tagged and veted, and 18 of them are now residing at the foundation. Nearly all pound dogs have an inescapable death sentence hanging over their heads. Pounds generally keep dogs about eight days after they arrive, after which they are euthanized.

At the point at which the dogs arrive, their owners have long since disappeared behind an impenetrable veil. In some cases, they had never accepted ownership of the dog. In other cases, they had been unwillingly forced by circumstances to give the dog up. And, in some cases, the dogs and cats had been abused, bearing upon their bodies the marks of human depravity, the stain of inhumanity, their former masters now collectively referred to as the nameless “they” we invariably use when speaking of incomprehensible cruelty.

Of course, no one at the Simon Foundation – not the kennel manager, not the trainers, not the dog handlers who daily walk the dogs, not the groomers, not Linda Greenberg, who had played no small part in pulling the Simon Foundation from the imaginations of both herself and her husband -- is interested in recriminations.

They are interested in rescuing dogs and cats and placing them in what they call “a forever home.’

President Harry Truman is credited with having said “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Mark and Linda Greenberg have had over the years hundreds of friends.

As we are chatting in the entrance to the foundation, amid cats prowling behind glass enclosures -- one of which, a sleek, short haired mother, had recently given birth to a litter of four – Mrs. Greenberg dances in, cradling a chocolate lab mix, very frisky, lapping at her face and seeming to attend to her message as she tells Mr. Greenberg excitedly that she had already placed the dog, which had arrived at the Simon Foundation only a day earlier. The foundation has just celebrated its 100th placement since January.

Someone, a satisfied customer who had accepted a dog some months earlier, told her at the time he took home his dog that, if she could find him a young brown dog, he would be interested. The dog, with a little chip of a scar on his forehead, had arrived, she made the call, and his new owner would be coming by within the week.

The future owner of the dog had already been interviewed in one of the rooms in the receiving area of the foundation, a process designed to match the animals with those who adopt them, in the course of which needs are assessed and satisfied before the dog is placed. In the case of the chocolate lab, the process would be hastened. In and out – just like that. It doesn’t happen this way that often.

The story of the Simon Foundation is, in many ways, the story of every business. Businesses usually begin with the perception of a felt need and varying attempts – halting at first, later perfected, after much trial and error – to satisfy the perceived need. Along the way, if the need has been sufficiently answered, the business may be successful; it may make money, or not.

It should be noted that the foundation did not flower from a bitter root of greed. Very few successful businesses do. No one at the Simon Foundation is making a pile of money. A bit like Blanche DuBois in the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the foundation depends upon the kindness of strangers and gratefully accepts donations. To raise additional funds and defray costs, the foundation offers ancillary services – grooming, the boarding of pets when their owners go on vacation, training programs, and the most nutritious dog and cat food for sale in the area.

Long before the Simon Foundation in its finished form was but a glint in the Greenberg’s eyes, the couple had found Triboro, an abandoned German Shepherd, running along the Triboro Bridge in New York. Yankee the cat was discovered outside Yankee Stadium. Eggy was exploring a garbage can outside a Chinese restaurant when she was rescued by the Greenbergs. Ashley, riddled with bad habits, was adopted after Linda had read an ad in a newspaper. But Ashley’s imperfections were sweetly ingratiating, and later, after generous dollops of love and affection, even Ashley succumbed to the patient care of the Greenbergs.

Both of them kept collecting cast off animals. At some point, the Greenberg’s home became crowded. Surveying the Noah’s Arc of abandoned and rescued animals, one of the two whispered, “We need a bigger house.”

But it was Simon, another German Shepard, that turned the trick. After Simon arrived, the Greenbergs purchased a larger house with a more accommodating back yard. And the little mustard seed grew and grew and grew.

Over the years, the foundation evolved, as these things often do. Mark and Linda had been caring for the animals, posting photos and bios on Petfinder and hand delivering every adopted pet to their newly found homes. Capacity had been a problem from the first. The Greenbergs needed a piece of land to accommodate their vision of a world class rescue facility. The Simon Foundation in Bloomfield now offers to animals that have been abused, abandoned, neglected -- in some cases facing euthanasia -- a sanctuary where they can live out their lives in peace or, as often happens, find a permanent home with caring people whose hearts are larger than houses.

“That tan dog,” I asked on leaving, “does he have a name?”

“Oh yes,” the manager said. “They all must be named to be trained.”

Naming things, from time immemorial, has been a way of owning things; it is the way the heart, even a heart of darkness, embraces the world. We name our children before they are born so we can call them home to our hearts.

“What is the dog’s name?”

“Miracle,” she said, adding, “he probably will not be placed. We’ll take care of him here. This will be his home.”

Perfectly fitting, too: Every home should have a miracle in it.

The Simon Foundation is located at 89 Dudley Town Road in Bloomfield. Adoptions of dogs and cats include a six week training class and a home visit by staff. The foundation strives to place animals in homes that offer the greatest likelihood of success and permanency, and every animal placed is appropriately spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Dogs are trained on site to respond to the usual commands: stay, down, come, leave it, heel and go to bed. Further information is available at The Simon Foundation site or by calling 860-519-1516