Friday, May 31, 2013


There are dozens of questions concerning the bill awarding to illegal immigrants special licenses marked “FOR DRIVING PURPOSES ONLY,” some of which were discussed, others not, as the bill wended its way through the General Assembly .

Just to begin with, the notation on the license is at least in one respect like the Jewish star pinned on clothing during the Nazi period, the purpose of which was to alert authorities that the wearer was a doubtful-citizen slated for special treatment – or, as it turned out, mistreatment.

Legal immigrants, once they are embraced by their chosen country, simply disappear into the patriotic woodwork; they become citizens. “Undocumented immigrants,” having been documented with a license that singles them out as “the other,” do not therefore become citizens invested with the full panoply of citizens’ rights. They cannot use their licenses to vote, for example, which seems to be the primary reason their license will be marked “FOR DRIVING PURPOSES ONLY.”

Senator Joe Markley lightly fingered the point when he explained why he opposed the bill: “I oppose this legislation because I believe firmly in the essential importance of citizenship. And I believe there is no other ground on which we can meet, but as citizens of the United States. As citizens, we are equal. We stand on the same principles. We stand devoted to the same flag. We are subject to the same laws."

Illegal immigrants do not become legal immigrants simply because Connecticut, possibly the most progressive state in the union, has chosen to invest illegals with documentation that sets them apart from other citizens.

Governor Dannel Malloy, who used to be a prosecutor before he began to dabble in politics, issued a brief statement after he had signed the bill into law:

“This bill is first and foremost about public safety. It’s about knowing who is driving on our roads, and doing everything we can to make sure those drivers are safe and that they’re operating registered, insured vehicles. There’s a reason these measures have been supported by local police and city leaders, and that other states are taking similar common-sense steps.  They’re changes that benefit everyone taking a car out onto our roads and highways.

“It should also be noted that, like many issues, action on the federal level would address this problem in an even more comprehensive and sensible way.  I continue to support those broader efforts at national reform, and urge Congress to follow the example being set by Connecticut and other states.”

The other states that have taken the “similar common sense steps” mention by Mr. Malloy are few in number. Only five states have passed a law similar to the one signed by Mr. Malloy. These few states, we are to understand from Mr. Malloy’s media release following passage of the bill, are blessed with legislators who are blessed with “common sense.”  The slim numbers confirm the common suspicion that “nothing is so uncommon as common sense.” We are left to ponder the proposition that the 45 states that have not passed similar legislation are populated by arrant dreamers. The “police and city leaders” in other states less cutting edge than Connecticut who have not yet been thunderstruck by commonsense are, however, in the majority.

How will the special licenses be distributed? Does Connecticut have a list of undocumented, about to be documented, illegal immigrants? Will those awarded the license – hopefully after passing driving tests – be required to show they have purchased insurance before the licenses are handed out? Will the insurance and registration documentation similarly be marked to show that the holder is not invested with full citizenship rights? Will the insurance and registration cards be marked “FOR DRIVING PURPOSES ONLY?” If not, can the insurance or registration documents be presented to poll watchers as proof that the bearer may legitimately vote in federal, state and municipal election and referenda?

Mr. Malloy has noted that the federal government could address the issue of quasi- citizenship “in an even more comprehensive and sensible way.” But of course it has not, and the difference in treatment creates a certain moral and legal stress in Connecticut. What are the obligations of ordinary citizens presented with documentation that certifies the holder is in the country illegally? Is there a legal obligation to report such persons to federal authorities and may the person who fails to do so be cited? If a police officer pulls over for a driving infraction an undocumented immigrant who has no “FOR DRIVING PURPOSES ONLY” license, must the officer report that person to federal authorities for deportation? Will the record of illegal immigrants eligible to receive special licenses in Connecticut be shared with a) Connecticut enforcement officials and b) federal enforcement officials?

The process written into law in Connecticut not only creates a quasi-dual citizenship; it also creates – since federal and state laws are now in opposition to each other – dual legal obligations. Common sense would suggest that citizens of Connecticut should not be torn thus between the state Scylla and the federal Charybdis.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Malloy, The Budget And The Pinocchio Test

On budget matters, the governor proposes and the legislature disposes. Connecticut’s General Assembly has in the past been disposed to tinker with budgets presented by the state’s chief executive.  No one knows precisely what the Democratic dominated General Assembly will do to a budget that has been etch a sketched by Governor Dannel Malloy and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly.

Once again this fiscal year, Mr. Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders have stiffed Republicans on budget matters. During Mr. Malloy’s first budget negotiations, Republican leaders were shooed out of the room so they might not interfere with delicate negotiations then underway between Mr. Malloy’s agents and union leaders representing SEBAC, the state union conglomerate authorized to negotiate contracts with the governor. On that occasion, Democratic leaders in the General Assembly pre-approved a budget submitted to them by Mr. Malloy and invested him with plenipotentiary powers to make whatever adjustments SEBAC, Connecticut’s fourth branch of government, and the governor thought advisable.

The budget was batted around between Mr. Malloy’s Malloyalists and union leaders. After a few bloody rounds, a budget sprang forth about which Edith Prague, a union friendly state senator, said that union leaders would be crazy to reject it. It was rejected by the union crazies, more negotiations ensued, and finally a budget was produced that, Mr. Malloy said, was balanced , contained no gimmicks, was GAAP compliant and “fair share” observant.

Mr. Malloy’s first budget, heavily freighted with the largest tax increase in state history, tilted several times since it had been extruded, sausage-like, from the Democratic dominated General Assembly. There are some number crunchers – though none among the Malloyalist crew, save Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who sometimes demurrers – who doubt that Mr. Malloy’s first budget ever was in balance.

Now comes Mr. Malloy’s second budget – and how fares it?

Republicans – called upon by the governor to iron out in a special session a few deficit wrinkles, a love fest praised by both Mr. Malloy and Republican leaders as a show of non-partisanship the national government would do well to copy – once again have been shown the door.

A one party state like Connecticut does not need the budget input of a bystander party. And never mind that the Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled that Republicans should command the top line on the ballot in future elections because Mr. Malloy’s party garnered fewer votes than the Republican Party in the gubernatorial election; it was THAT close, Mr. Malloy winning the election because of votes cast by the putatively independent  Working Families Party.

Every time Mr. Malloy failed to include Republicans in his budget negotiations he disenfranchised the majority of Republican and Democratic Party voters who cast their ballots in his gubernatorial election. This budget year, Mr. Malloy – who twice refused to include Republicans in his budget deliberations – cited Republicans in the General Assembly for failing to offer a shadow budget. Chutzpah, thy name is Malloy.

Mr. Malloy’s budget outline will be presented to the General Assembly, which likely will tinker with the product in an attempt to satisfy union dependent Democratic members in the legislature.

Mr. Malloy recommended his budget to the Democratic dominated General Assembly -- and to the general public -- with his chest expanding to incoming Republican rhetorical bullets: “The bottom line is we will not increase taxes or create any new taxes. The budget will be in balance and will be GAAP-compliant.”

A story in CTMirror added a few cautious “buts” to Mr. Malloy’s brag.

The Malloy budget would not “increase taxes or create any new taxes” in keeping with a previous Malloy pledge that followed the imposition of the largest tax increase in Connecticut history. But “…it also would extend some controversial taxes on businesses and power plants that had been set to expire next year." And but... "It also implements one of the largest tax hikes on gasoline and other fuels in state history on July 1 -- an increase approved in 2005 -- while diverting all of the proceeds to non-transportation programs.” And but “…it also employs a controversial new interpretation of Medicaid budgeting that effectively would remove more than $1 billion from under the constitutional spending cap over the next two fiscal years. The affected Medicaid programs are paid for up-front with state dollars, but all costs are reimbursed with federal aid.”

Mr. Malloy’s budget raises spending, raises taxes and is over reliant on federal reimbursements from an Obamacare that has in it more mirrors and trapdoors than a funhouse. Obamacare recently has met a stiff resistance from union chiefs who fear that union membership will be reduced after the very expensive Obamacare proposition compromises union offered health plans. No word yet from SEBAC as to whether they will join their brothers on the union line who fear that Obamacare will reduce both union membership and dues.

Bottom line: Spending in Connecticut will increase under its present union reliant one party state. And since taxation follows in the rut of spending, taxes in the future will also increase. Neutered legislative Republicans are simply too cowardly to place exorbitant spending rather than tax increases at the center of their assault against a runaway progressivism -- because they too reap the political fruits of heedless spending.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Walker In Connecticut

Republicans this year asked Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, much maligned by union folk, to give the keynote address at the Prescott Bush Awards dinner in Stamford.

Mr. Walker is a grown-up, so his address was low key, interspersed with amusing vignettes. There was very little coverage of Mr. Walker’s remarks in Connecticut’s media. Most of the media accounts went for the color and passed over the discomforting  substance.

Unions were protesting outside the building, and someone was thoughtful enough to bring along the usual protest props. A photograph of one protesting group shows several union workers wearing cardboard cutout faces of the Koch brothers pulling puppet strings attached to another union worker wearing a Walker face. There are pictures galore in the Greenwich Times report: of Republican Senate leader John McKinney, who was given the Prescott Bush award this year; of Mr. Walker; of prominent Republicans in the state and of Linda McMahon, always good for a line or two in a lede story.

But one searches in vain for comprehensive coverage of Mr. Walker’s address and finds just a few scattered references here and there, studding the stories like glittering political sequins.

When readers of newspapers in the Lincoln era wanted to know what two major politicians debating each other for a Senate seat in Illinois actually said during their debates, they had only to turn to their newspapers to find there the transcribed speeches of Abe Lincoln and Steven Douglas. Republican papers polished the Lincoln oratory, and Democratic papers polished the apple for Douglas. Those days are gone, and with them a good amount of newspaper credibility – not to mention readers.

What precisely did Mr. Walker say to Republicans at the Prescott Bush Dinner?

Ameriborn News TV put up the speech here.  And so while Mr. Walker’s address is accessible, the substance of the address has not been sufficiently reported in Connecticut’s print media.

Republicans, Mr. Walker said to the sea of Republican faces in his audience, have reason to be optimistic. Republicans now control governor’s offices in 30 states. This was not always the case: “A lot of those states in 2010 were pretty blue. In fact, in my case, four years ago when I thought about running for governor and announced in April of 2009, everything in our state was controlled by Democrats: both Houses of the legislature, the governor, the lieutenant governor, both U.S. Senator’s and the majority members of the House of representatives.”

Surely Republicans in the audience, if not union members in the streets outside, could well appreciate the parallel circumstances. Connecticut has been drifting in the direction of a one party state for years, a fait accompli celebrated by Democrats four years ago when then Mayor of Stamford Dan Malloy -- Dannel Malloy, since becoming governor -- won his contest against Republican contender Tom Foley, who lost to Mr. Malloy by the thinnest of margins. Currently there are 52 Republicans and 99 Democrats in the State House and 14 Republicans and 22 Democrats in the State Senate. Democrats have controlled the Senate since 1996 and the House since 1986. Following Mr. Malloy’s victory, Democrats captured all the political marbles. As a practical political matter, this meant that Democrats in the state no longer needed to involve Republicans in their deliberations.

Upon assuming office, Mr. Malloy felt confident enough to shoo Republican leaders in the General Assembly out of the room when he and Majority Democrats were cobbling together a budget satisfactory to SEBAC, a coalition of unions authorized to negotiate contracts with the governor. Marching under the banner of “shared sacrifice,” Mr. Malloy imposed on the state the largest tax increase in its history. This increase followed the second largest tax increase in state history, the Lowell Weicker income tax of 1991. After having given a leg up to Mr. Malloy during a special session of the General Assembly called to address the state’s deepening spending problems, Republicans once again, unsurprisingly, find themselves in Coventry on current budget discussions. One party states do not need bystander parties to govern.

The Malloy-SEBAC budget was never in balance. Even worse, negotiated incremental raises in salaries and benefits for union worker amounting to about 9 percent far into the future tied the governor’s hands behind his back in future budget negotiations. His school initiatives were opposed by teacher unions that benefited from his largess, and red ink, like some impish devil, kept popping out of the budget woodwork every time Comptroller Kevin Lembo screwed the jewelers loop into his eye.

Wisconsin and Connecticut are trains passing each other in the night in different directions. Mr. Walker thought Connecticut Republicans could learn important lessons from his own bruising but ultimately successful campaign and political strategy.

“Today,” Mr. Walker continued, “everything’s flipped. Both my legislative houses are Republican. The governor, one of the U.S. Senate seats and the majority seats in the House of Representatives are Republican.”

This political miracle was received with exuberant applause from Republicans in the audience. Wisconsin showcased a breathtaking change of events. The union members prowling and scowling outside the building for the benefit of news photographers hungry for color have not yet recovered from the whiplash. John Olsten, the President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, groused, "He [Mr. Walker] surely is not what you would call a fit in the state of Connecticut.” Nor, come to think of it, are any of few Walker-like Republicans in the General Assembly; such would seem to be the message from both leading Democrats and the governor, who have successfully rendered politically impotent any Republican presumptuous enough to unfurl Mr. Malloy’s “fair share” flag by cutting spending.

Such was the case in Wisconsin before the advent of Mr. Walker. Almost in the twinkling of an eye, the stage set, the actors and the political narrative all changed.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

A few weeks ago, my wife Andree and I – and of course her guide dog Titan – visited my nephew who has just relocated from Connecticut to North Carolina. We had decided to make our 20 year pilgrimage to Washington D.C. and spent a full day there before pressing on to see David and his wife Corin.

The very first time I had visited the nation’s capital was on November 24, 1963, two days after President John Kennedy had been assassinated. Four of us in Danbury, where I was attending college, had decided to hitch to Washington to attend the funeral and show our respect to a president we all loved.

The years do roll by. The joke between Andree and I was that we would try NOT to make these trips to Washington a habit, a promise easily kept.

On this occasion, our mission was to visit the war memorials: The Second World War, the Korean  and the Vietnam wars. All three memorials are clustered near the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the president who presided over the Civil War. We have a special affection for that memorial and had visited the studio of Daniel Chester French many years ago. Mr. French used Lincoln life-masks in creating the face and hands of his seated Lincoln. Of the memorials we visited, only this one was familiar to us.

The World War II memorial captured perfectly the vast scope of a war that left so many bloody footprints on the desolate ground of a shattered Europe. The Korean War memorial, life sized soldiers in ponchos walking warily through the greenery, was shockingly real. And the Vietnam memorial, names etched on a black wall caressingly fingered by passers-by, recalled the silence enshrouding sacrifices that can be redeemed only through a hallowed silence.

Across the Potomac lies Arlington, its stones on our visit, when no sign of a cloud marred the inscrutable blue sky, white as bleached bones, pure as the purest unstained thought, awakening “the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land” and swelling “the chorus of the Union…”

The words, of course, are from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. No one has ever improved on Lincoln, who knew he was writing for the ages.

We came home chastened. And on this Memorial Day, once again the sheer immensity of the sacrifices of those “who gave the last full measure of their devotion” fills us with a steely resolve that these honored dead “shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

To remember is a prayer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gun Bill Challenged In Court By Connecticut Citizen's Defense League (CCDL)

The following Media release was issued today by the Citizen's Defense League:

Bridgeport, CT – Today, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual. The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law is not only unconstitutional but dangerous, since it makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country. The very firearms and design features banned by the new law are commonly used in part because of safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features that make them effective in the hands of citizens who must defend themselves and their families against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey such laws.

Planting The Seed, Winsley’s Mission To Students

We all know that young people, most especially urban young people, sometimes stray from profitable paths because they lack proper guidance. There are three reasons why messages to young people are not received: The message may be deficient, the messenger may be unpersuasive or the message itself may fall on parched ground.

In mid-May the principal of Harding High School in Bridgeport, the unflappable Victor Black, responded to a request from motivational speaker Wayne Winsley to address his students. His Achievement and Motivation presentation, tucked into a program called “Brave Enough to Fail”, is one of hope and courage: Strive to discover and nurture in yourself the seeds of promise that lie at the root of your character – and do not be afraid to fail, for the ladder of success is marked by rungs of opportunities disguised as failures.
Mr. Winsley came to Harding High School strongly recommended by Pathways to College teacher Marvin Towler of Hillhouse High School in New Haven: "Wayne Winsley is a dynamic and engaging speaker. He masterfully infused his presentation with amusing anecdotes that kept our students interested in his powerful message. Mr. Winsley provided our students with knowledge that will help them succeed in college but more importantly in life." And Greg O’Neill of Granby High School was equally appreciative: “Fantastic, just fantastic, Wayne’s Brave Enough to Fail presentation was a tremendous hit at Granby High and I strongly recommend Wayne to any school or college.”

At Harding High School, Mr. Winsley had expected he would be addressing a group of students smaller than the sea of upturned faces before him. Mr. Black wanted to open most of the school, upwards of 850 sophomores, juniors and seniors and 350 freshmen students, to Mr. Winsley’s inspirational message.

There was no lectern and no notes. Mr. Winsley, for more than 20 years a radio broadcaster in Connecticut, prowled the stage, microphone  in hand, studying closely the faces of the students for hints that his message has found rich soil. At some point during his presentation, Mr. Winsley took a personal turn. He traced his own personal development to a remark made by a man “who was not my father” and who said something “that stuck with me; he said excellence will beat prejudice, poverty and adversity all the time.”  

Mr. Winsley was brought up by his great grandmother, who died while he was in the military. His request to superiors that he be permitted to attend her funeral was denied because such privileges were granted only for immediate family members: fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Yet his great grandmother was the only family he knew, one of the lights of his life, herself a child of poverty. But the military, Mr. Winsley knew, unerringly follows the book. He swallowed his disappointment but knew that the heart has its own non-bookish reasons. He maintained a stoic silence from a sort of primitive fear that the plea from his heart was bound to be rejected. This was a mistake he would never make again: If you do not venture beyond the book from fear of failure, you will deny to others the possibility of a humane response. Every seeming failure is door to some future success. But the door only opens to the touch of one who is not dismayed by failure. A disabling fear of this kind leads ultimately to years of agonizing regret and a total waste of personal energy.

After Mr. Winsley’s presentation, one Harding student commented, “I thought the information was very motivational and helpful. As teens we sometimes give up on life-goal dreams because of our fear of failure.” Another said “I will use it in everyday life as inspiration -- not be afraid to fail but keep trying.”  And a third said, “I will stop getting mad at myself when I fail. All I have to do is pick myself up and continue.”

Mr. Winsley plans to visit at least 50 schools. Prior to his presentations, Mr. Winsley distributes to students a remarkably artful picture book “Where are you going?” published by his wife, April Dawn Winsley. Mr. Winsley’s principal sponsor is The Water Innovations Alliance,  the public policy voice of the world's water researchers, technologists and innovators. Of course one can never have too many sponsors.

Mr. Winsley has an enviable ability to energize students, and there is something of the missionary about him. Every one of you, he told Harding’s students, has within you an inner GPS (Greatness Positioning System) system that will let you know whether or not you are traveling in the right direction.

Angry Birds, a video game adapted for phones, has become a huge success, Mr. Winsley told the assembled students. The game’s inventor was inspired by birds engraved on a wine glass, and no – he was not drunk at the time. The game is the largest and most successful mobile app the world has seen so far. Yet try to imagine the reaction of financiers to a proposal in which players throw angry birds at pigs – Are you kidding?

“This is a passion of mine, Mr. Winsley said, “and has been a passion before running for political office -- to inspire and work with our children. Planting seeds for success is what this is all about. My message to the students will be to have enough vision to see it and be brave enough to try it.”

It is a passion to which young people struggling towards self-worth should be exposed.  

Planting The Seed, Winsley’s Mission To Students

We all know that young people, most especially urban young people, sometimes stray from profitable paths because they lack proper guidance. There are three reasons why messages to young people are not received: The message may be deficient, the messenger may be unpersuasive or the message itself may fall on parched ground.

In mid-May the principal of Harding High School in Bridgeport, the unflappable Victor Black, responded to a request from motivational speaker Wayne Winsley to address his students. His Achievement and Motivation presentation, tucked into a program called “Brave Enough to Fail”, is one of hope and courage: Strive to discover and nurture in yourself the seeds of promise that lie at the root of your character – and do not be afraid to fail, for the ladder of success is marked by rungs of opportunities disguised as failures.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Obama’s Connecticut Praetorian Guard

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” -- George Orwell
George Orwell, like Jonathan Swift before him, is one of those large writers who simply straddle ideological categories. He was fortunate enough – or unfortunate enough, depending on one’s point of view – to have been born in what the ancient Chinese call “interesting times,” the bloody and totalitarian 20th century.

The revolutionist speaking truth to power often appears among us with a rope braided by the reigning powers draped about his neck. He steps towards gallows with a wan smile on his face.
Such was the case with Gregory Hicks, the friend and compatriot of slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens who, testifying before Congress, said he was stunned and embarrassed when he first heard U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice attribute the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi to a crowd of protestors agitated by a video that defamed Mohammed. One expects that Mr. Hick’s many years of honorable service will soon crash on the rocks of modern politics.
The Obama administration had hoped to put the Benghazi affair to bed early, and then direct witnesses to the murder of the Libyan ambassador showed up at the Congressional doorstep. The unwelcomed visitations were followed by an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal involving unaccountable delays of Tea Party applications for tax exempt status, which in turn was followed by yet another scandal involving phone taps placed by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) on Associated Press reporters. The IRS has since apologized for having politicized what should have been a routine review of applications.
Of the three scandals, only the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups for punitive treatment and the overbroad tapping of AP phone lines have been unreservedly condemned by Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional delegation. The condemnations by Connecticut Congresspersons of the IRS conform to a script adopted by the Obama administration, which unreservedly denounced what appeared to be an IRS enemies' list drawn up by as yet unknown persons who perhaps had been overstimulated by Mr. Obama’s frequently expressed condemnations of Tea Party Patriots.           
U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, for more than 20 years Connecticut’s crusading attorney general, was outraged at the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for federal tax scrutiny and “deeply troubled” concerning reports that the DOJ had collected phone records from the Associated Press. U.S. Senator Chis Murphy’s reliance on the DOJ received a blow and he hopes “the leadership there is working steadfastly” to accomplish its mission. U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty ventured further out than either of the state’s senators; the IRS allegations, she thought, “should concern all Americans. It’s completely unacceptable for the IRS to target groups or individuals based on their political views. A full Congressional investigation is warranted, and anyone who acted inappropriately or abused power must be held fully accountable.” U.S. Representative John Larson, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees the IRS, thought the IRS action were “absolutely inexcusable." U.S. Rep Rosa DeLauro entertained the hope “that those who participated in inappropriate activities are held fully accountable,” and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney was moved to tweet, “The actions taken by the IRS should alarm all Americans. A full investigation is warranted.”
The person in charge of the IRS unit that so disappointed Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation, it should be mentioned, was given a promotion of sorts; she has been put in charge of the many hundreds of workers in the IRS who, as part of the implementation of Obamacare, will be rifling through health care records in an attempt to weed out frauds. Provided the frauds are not conservative, few insuperable obstacles may be put in their way – if the IRS processes are unreformed.
ABC News was among the first mainstream news outlets to report that “the Internal Revenue Service official in charge of overseeing tax-exempt organizations — an operation now under fire for targeting Tea Party groups and other right-wing entities — is now in charge of IRS accounting for President Obama’s health-care overhaul initiative, or Obamacare. Sarah Hall Ingram oversaw tax-exempt organizations for the IRS from 2009 to 2012. The misdeeds allegedly occurred at the IRS from 2010 to 2012.”
It is not known at this point how many of the distressed members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation oppose Mr. Obama’s stunningly inept appointment or what form their opposition to the appointment of Ms. Ingrahm might take. While Peter Weber of The Week has speculated that Ms. Ingram’s head may roll, it is a safe bet that it will not land in Mr. Blumenthal’s lap. Both Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Murphy, since their fairly recent elevations to the U.S. Senate, have been stout supporters of all things Obama, and the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation is part of the vast Beltway Praetorian Guard charged with protecting the president’s idiocies.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Castagna, Soucy Show

“I seen My Opportunities and I Took ’Em” -- George Washington Plunkitt, Tammany Hall boss” 

Patrick Castagna, an FBI informant, was wearing an FBI wire, but the chatty if cynical Ray Soucy, a former union leader and political wheeler dealer, was unaware of this, and so he went on and on and on, sounding for all the world like turn of the century Tammany Hall boss George Washington Plunkitt holding court at his bootblack stand.

Some bon motes from the spurting fountain:

"Chris Murphy will do anything in the (expletive deleted) world for me because he remembers that I was the first one to believe in and invest in him. That's how the system works."

After Mr. Soucy tells Mr. Castagna that he has been sowing the political ground in $10,000 increments, Mr. Castagna, reeling in the fish, doubts that the amount is sufficient.

Says Soucy, “The $10,000 was to let him know you are serious....We're dealing with politicians. We're not dealing with the mob." Pause – “It's a close second."

"Politics is about the Benjamins. [Ben Franklin’s mug is on the highly inflated hundred dollar bill] This game runs on one thing -- dollars."

“Pictures "they're worth a thousand words. The guy running in the 5th District [former House Speaker Chris Donovan] he got 10 pictures [a $10,000 campaign contribution].

And Mr. Soucy does put his feet where his mouth is. He claimed to have dropped 10 “pictures’ into the legislative office refrigerator of Republican House Minority Leader Larry Cafero. Mr. Soucy’s contribution was immediately returned by staffer John Healey. The ever persistent Mr. Soucy said at trial he had later converted the Benjamins into checks deposited into a political action fund controlled by Mr. Cafero.  

Mr. Cafero has issued a rebuttal: “I don't know what Mr. Soucy's status is as a convicted felon, but here's what I know. I know that I've learned that this was part of a sting operation and what I gather to be a poorly executed attempt at a bribe. What I do know is there was no bribe. What's most important to me is that a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, when interviewing me, said `you have done nothing wrong, you have done everything right. You have nothing to worry about. Neither you nor your staff have done nothing wrong.' No one took money as a bribe. There was no talk of a bribe."

Mr. Murphy has issued a statement through a spokesman: “Mr. Soucy was an active member of the labor movement and longtime supporter of Democratic campaigns, including Chris'. But the crimes he committed are inexcusable and unacceptable and he should be held fully accountable."

During his testimony, Mr. Soucy acknowledged that some of his statements were hyperbole. The defense attorney for Robert Braddock, Mr. Donovan’s former campaign finance director, is anxious to explore Mr. Soucy’s hyperbole on cross examination.

After newspaper accounts that members of Mr. Donovan’s staff had been indicted for accepting bribes, many of those charged pleaded out and were “cooperative” in the investigation. Mr. Braddock is the only one of eight defendants who held out for a trial on charges of conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws. The colorful Mr. Soucy – who has been called by the defense a “slime ball” – is the prosecution’s star witness. And, of course, so are the tapes.

Mr. Donovan, who lost a primary to Elizabeth Esty largely as a result of mounting publicity surrounding the FBI investigation, has not been charged with wrongdoing in the case. Following Mr. Donovan’s withdrawal, Elizabeth Esty, the wife of Daniel Esty, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), won the seat in a general election.

Prosecutions in sting operations always have about them a theatrical air, chiefly because all the characters arguing for the prosecution have been enlisted by prosecutors as ham actors used to ensnare Plunkitt types anxious to seize their opportunities.  The reputations of bystanders – perhaps Mr. Donovan and Mr. Cafero, who apparently were given notice of the operation by prosecutors – are considered collateral damage. On the judicial side of our tripartite government, even more so than in an election, winning is everything. Truth, a stranger to all, often sits in the back row of theatrical shows such as this one, mute and alone.      

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Obama Administration Hit With A Triple Whammy

While President Barack Obama was doubling down on his discredited narrative concerning the attack by terrorists on the Benghazi consulate, in the course of which Mr. Obama’s personal minister – that is what an ambassador is; the personal minister of the president – was murdered, it was revealed that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had targeted Tea Party groups for what may turn out to be punitive audits.

National Public Radio briefly reported that when the president was asked a question concerning “reports that the IRS targeted organizations that identified themselves as ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot groups and gave their applications for tax-exempt status extra reviews, Obama said:

"’This is pretty straightforward. ... If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported ... and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous and there's no place for it.’ Those responsible, he said, will ‘be held fully accountable.’”

Mr. Obama was asked about the audits during a press conference that featured British Prime Minister David Cameron. The president’s initial response, the promise of a severe dressing down of the IRS, passed muster with the increasing band of journalists who thought Mr. Obama’s handing of the Benghazi assault was seriously deficient. Even Fox News, unrelenting on Benghazi, slathered the president with commendations. Brit Hume of Fox News generously allowed the president’s initial response was the right one.

An explanation offered by IRS tax-exempt chief Lois Lerner quickly came under fire. Ms. Lerner attributed the possible “outrageous” conduct to “line people” in Cincinnati, Ohio who had “used names like Tea Party or Patriots” as criteria for selecting tax-exempt applications for further scrutiny.

Chairman of Americans for Limited Government Howard Rich noted in a piece written for Forbes Magazine that Ms. Lerner pointedly did not mention that “the IRS’ Cincinnati office is the central location for all tax-exempt application evaluations – meaning the discrimination that took place there “wasn’t an isolated, dumb incident by some random field office,” as The Washington Post concisely noted. In other words this was no error: It was official policy – which directly contradicts testimony previously provided by the agency’s leadership to Congressional investigators.”

A Reuters report noted, “When tax agents started singling out non-profit groups for extra scrutiny in 2010, they looked at first only for key words such as 'Tea Party,' but later they focused on criticisms by groups of ‘how the country is being run’ …  At one point, the agents chose to screen applications from groups focused on making ‘America a better place to live.”  Other IRS search terms included: “Government spending”, “Government debt, or taxes.” On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,’ according to an advance copy of a report done by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which notes that agency leadership was made aware of the discrimination nearly two years ago, who said nothing – and clearly had no plans to alert the public to what had happened.

On ABC This Week, columnist George Will remarked that the country had just celebrated – if that is the proper word – the 40th anniversary of the Watergate summer and read from then President Richard Nixon impeachment records: “He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

Finally, shortly after the possible “outrageous” conduct of the IRS towards the much maligned Tea Party groups knocked the Obama administration on its noggin, a third shoe fell. The Justice Department, led by Fast and Furious Eric Holder, had wiretapped the phone lines of more than a hundred Associated Press reporters in an attempt to uncover the source of a leak of top secret information. Mr. Holder, who had recused himself from investigating the event, explained in a press conference that the taps were justified because of the nature of the leak.

This is not theway to gain friends and influence reporters among the national media. To judge from subsequent media availabilities in which presidential spokesman Jay Carney was relentlessly grilled, some worm had turned in the breast of reporters, and the Obama administration, which tends to treat words as incantations that magically alter objective reality, was playing hardball defense.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Benghazi Goes Mainstream

A dung beetle would strain himself pushing around a misdirection so massive.

Even Jonathan Karl of ABC News has taken notice, and he has nothing kind to say about Obama administration “talking points” on Benghazi. Mr. Karl, it should be said, is not part of the putative conservative conspiracy against progressive Democrats.

Concerning the CIA “talking points” that then Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice pushed on several news outlets shortly after the American Consulate was overrun and destroyed by Islamic terrorists, Mr. Karl notes that “ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.”

According to Mr. Karl, the initial CIA report noted that “The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya.  These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has (sic) previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”

This intelligence displeased State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland who, perhaps feeling pressure from higher-ups in the Obama administration, objected to the inclusion of such intelligence because such inconvenient truths, as she wrote in an email to officials at the White House “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”

In a final revision, the offending paragraph was entirely deleted.

The CIA’s first draft had noted that the attack on the embassy appeared to be “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” – later found to be an incorrect assessment -- but pointedly noted as well, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda participated in the attack.” The first draft specifically identified the al Qaeda-affiliated group as Ansar al-Sharia, occasioning yet another objection from the State Department’s Ms. Nuland, who did not want to “prejudice the investigation” by the mention of specific terrorist groups.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes concurred and dispatched an email stressing that State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed: “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.  We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”

What no one will say about the several visions and revisions of a CIA document that certainly was more complete and accurate than the truncated final product at last given the nod at Foggy Bottom is this: The procrustean editing was necessary because a more accurate depiction of true events at Benghazi did not support presidential campaign election rhetoric which suggested falsely that al-Qaeda had been sufficiently degraded by Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Most of the hard data and all of the insufficient explanations seem to point a finger in that direction. And it now becomes possible to ask: Is it possible that an embassy and the lives of those in it were put at risk because a president did not want his fictional campaign narrative to be overthrown by the truth?

In the days following the murderous assault on the American consulate in Benghazi by an invigorated and deadly al-Qaeda connected offshoot, presidential spokesman Jay Carney rose to a defense of the misleading remarks made by Ms. Rice at several media venues. Apparently not under oath, he told reporters at the White House press briefing on November 28, 2012:

“Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened. The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”

Mary McCarthy once said of Lillian Hellman that every word she spoke was a lie, including “and” and “but.” That may more appropriately have been said about Jay Carnie’s media fish bait.

Mr. Karl’s report may be the first indication that, at least on Benghazi, mainstream reporters and commentator have had their fill of worms.

The Benghazi Cover-up, And Why It matters

“Terrible. I cry every night. I don't sleep at night. I need answers… Why was there no security for him? When they were supposed to have security and the security that they did have was called back. It just -- things do not add up and I'm just told lies.” So said Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, one of four Americans murdered in Benghazi. The enduring agony of Mrs. Smith recalls the advice given by the blind prophet Tiresias to an obdurate King Creon in Sophocles’ “Antigone.”

Self-will must bear the guilt of stubbornness.

Yield to the dead, and outrage not a corpse

So long as the truth is scorned, Ambassador Chris Stevens and the brave people who died with him at the consulate in Benghazi will not be quiet in their graves. Honor must have a voice. The shattering truth about Benghazi will be told; blood will tell it. Whether the telling will change much is quite a different question. Power does have its privileges, and the Obama administration, in an attempt to subvert the truth, has buried it  behind a literal wall of obfuscation.

The recent testimony of three direct witnesses before a Congressional committee, as well as prior news accounts of the assault by terrorists on the consulate in Benghazi, utterly destroys the order of operative assumptions churned out by the Obama administration, then in a campaign mode, before, during and after the murderous assault.

Even today, the Obama administration insists on the following discredited narrative: 1) Early real-time reports indicated that the assault on the consulate was a spinoff of a protest occasioned by a video that defamed the prophet Mohammed; 2) As the administration gained more access to accurate information, it abandoned an earlier view that Al-Qaida elements were not involved in the assault.

The truth is just the opposite. The earliest report – indeed, the very last words of Ambassador Stevens to his second in command, “Greg Hicks, who testified recently before a Congressional panel] we are under attack” – indicated right from the get-go that the embassy was under assault. No early on the spot report mentions a protest.

Even before the assaults had ended, intelligence officials had concluded, according to a report in the Weekly Standard written by Steven Hayes, “that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.”

Mr. Hayes’ report includes reproductions of two critical e-mails not previously made available to the general public.

The Weekly Standard story shows two revisions to an initial e-mail that provided the foundation of the Obama administration “talking points” on the Benghazi assaults.

An early cable sent by the CIA station chief in Libya on September 12, immediately after the attack on the consulate on September 11, a propitious day for terrorists, clearly stated that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this intelligence – very inconvenient to an administration that was in the process of insisting during a presidential campaign that the effectiveness of  Al-Qaida had been degraded “that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure,” according to the Weekly Standard report: “The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.”

The laundering of accurate information – indeed, the tailoring of data to make the talking points conform to an Obama campaign procrustean bed – began after
Democrat Dutch Ruppersburger, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, requested unclassified guidance on what members of Congress could say in public comments on the assaults.

An initial draft prepared by the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis asserted that the U.S. Government “know[s] that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.” The same draft noted that press reports “linked the attack to Ansar al Sharia. The group has since released a statement that its leadership did not order the attacks, but did not deny that some of its members were involved.”

This first draft, prepared in response to Mr. Ruppersburger request and widely distributed internally for comment at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, September 14, (Version 1) was itself subject to revision (Version 2).

According to The Weekly Standard report: “This initial [Version 1] CIA draft included the assertion that the U.S. government ‘knows[s] that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda participated in the attack.’ That draft also noted that press reports ‘linked the attack to Ansar al Sharia. The group has since released a statement that its leadership did not order the attacks, but did not deny that some of its members were involved.’ Ansar al Sharia, the CIA draft continued, aims to spread sharia law in Libya and ‘emphasizes the need for jihad.’ The agency draft also raised the prospect that the facilities had been the subject of jihadist surveillance and offered a reminder that in the previous six months there had been ‘at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy.’”

A second [Version 2] CIA amended draft provided more information concerning the jihadist threat in both Egypt and Libya: “On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the [Cairo] Embassy and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy… The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and Libya.” Tellingly, the second draft no longer specified “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda” but mentioned only “Islamic extremists.” And the mention of “attacks” in the first more accurate draft was changed to “demonstrations.”

An hour after the amended version was distributed to officials in the interagency vetting process, an official identified in the official House report only as a “senior State Department official” raised “serious concerns” about the draft. The senior official, since identified as Victoria Nuland, was concerned that members of Congress might use the talking points to assail the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.”

Addressing Ms. Nuland’s concerns, the CIA made some minor changes and cut all references to Ansar al Sharia. But Ms. Nuland was still not appeased.  She advised that the changes did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership.” Her unnamed superiors, Ms. Nuland, wrote, were unhappy.

“In an attempt to address those concerns,” according to The Standard report, “CIA officials made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. Moments later, according to the House report, ‘White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.’ One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.”

The final snipping of the initial and more accurate CIA report fell to deputy director of the CIA Mike Morell, who made broad changes to the draft, according to sources cited in The Standard report: “Morrell cut all or parts of four paragraphs of the six-paragraph talking points—148 of its 248 words. Gone were the reference to ‘Islamic extremists,’ the reminders of agency warnings about al Qaeda in Libya, the reference to ‘jihadists’ in Cairo, the mention of possible surveillance of the facility in Benghazi, and the report of five previous attacks on foreign interests.”

In a series of revisions, the truth was rung out of the data available to the Obama administration. It was left to the hapless Susan Rice to present the limbless, truncated version of events to the general public in a series of television appearances, during the course of which it was stressed that the attack on the consulate and the murder of Ambassador Stevens and other American defenders of the consulate was inspired by a video that had enraged protestors.

For anyone who has bothered to examine the data now available, this convenient fiction, serviceable to the Obama administration as campaign filler, is more than preposterous; it is the wall of misinformation behind which Ambassador Stevens and other brave American yet lie, immured and silent.         

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Obama’s Problem, And Ours

It happens to the best of presidents. Sometime during the second term of popular presidents, the American people begin to bid goodbye to their chief executive, at which point the president begins to think of his legacy and hires a ghost writer to memorialize his time in office for future generations. Ground is broken, if only in the president’s mind, for a future library.

President Barack Obama is a popular, twice elected president. Some of his programs, however, never have been universally admired even within his own camp, which now begins to show stress fractures. Mr. Obama’s political methodology is, unsurprisingly, that of a left wing Chicago street organizer. During his presidency, Mr. Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time on the bully pulpit attempting to sell round pegs to square-hole purchasers in Congress. And he’s spent a great deal of money he does not have.

This parting of the ways, the fond farewell, often begins in Congress when the usual shakers and movers are gathered together in a room with the president and an idea or strategy is broached that, in the president’s first term, might have been greeted with loud hosannas and exuberant assents. Now it hangs in the air, a danger to the future prospect of all in the room. The actors in the room then shoot furtive glances at each other, and all but one suddenly realizes that there is but one lame duck among them. Time will smile upon the lame duck; his admirers within the fourth estate will continue reverently to mention his name in whispers. But ice will be in the air. The purposes of the president and the purposes of his loyal partisans will no longer be the same.

Josh Kraushar of the National Journal, an offshoot of The Atlantic magazine, generally regarded as left-liberal, examined the failure of Democrats to pass a mild version of gun control legislation. Some Democrats look forward to using the defeated legislation in future campaigns against benighted Republicans; and indeed, President Obama started the ball rolling moments after Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid pulled the bill because he could not summon the requisite number of votes in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate to pass it.

“But the failure of Democrats to pass gun legislation (in a Democratic-controlled Senate) for a future presidential nominee to use against Republicans,” Mr. Krausher wrote, “makes the issue a lot less potent. One can imagine Hillary Rodham Clinton trying to shame, say, Marco Rubio for opposing a gun law that could be later claimed to have reduced crime. But without any law passed, it’s hard to imagine the gun issue being nearly as resonant as it is today in the wake of the horrific killings in Connecticut. And with Democrats being a significant obstacle to its passage, it muddles the message even more… Simply using the bully pulpit and making emotional appeals isn’t enough–it takes legislative know-how and a good working relationship with Congress, two areas this White House has struggled with since its difficulties passing a health care law and persuading the public of its merits.”

Even Maureen Dowd, a reliably left of center columnist for the New York Times, found it “unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he [President Obama] could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.”

A few of the more obvious dents in the president’s armor would include: the continuing recession, the failure of the Obama administration to stimulate the economy with crony capitalist artificial stimulants, the inability of the administration to honestly confront the murder of an American ambassador and others in Benghazi and Obamacare – a very expensive baby step in the long progressive road to universal health care, at the end of which healthcare in the United States may come to resemble the health care dispensed at the Veteran's Administration hospital in Newington.

The head of the US Veteran's Affairs, retired Army General Eric Shinseki, came to Newtown recently to tout a new computerized processing system that some expect will shorten seemingly interminable wait times on claims. Standing at his elbow, in sight of the cameras, was U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal: “Among the most common complaints I get is the seemingly endless delays," Mr. Blumenthal said.

Among Mr. Blumenthal’s complainants is veteran Paul Barron: “I've been waiting three years for disability, I'm trying for 100%. I got Hepatitis C from the shots they give you in the Army.”

Backlogs and government administered programs go together like “a horse and carriage,” as the song has it.

The gun control legislation recently passed in Connecticut has resulted in a spate of gun purchases and a paperwork backlog for state police, who must approve the purchases. The backlog on transfer applications for gun ownership has soared from 1,000 in December to 62,000 following passage of the most severe gun regulations in the nation.

State Police Col. Danny Stebbins, who has been in communication with Governor Dannel Malloy’s Office of Policy and Management  “every other week regarding how to address the backlogs” told a wide-eyed legislative committee, according to a report in CTNewsJunkie, that the backlog had not been anticipated. “All of these things are behind because we don’t have people to keep up… all this will come with a cost,” Mr. Stebbins said. Some of the tasks, he added, could be done by civilian personnel.

So it may be with Obamacare: Who knew?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Republicans Shown The Door Again

A newspaper reports that Republican leaders John McKinney and Larry Cafero, both of whom have professed interest in running for governor, are once again being shut out of budget negotiations by Governor Dannel Malloy.

This is getting to be a habit.

During Mr. Malloy’s first budget -- By the way, has Mr. Malloy’s budget EVER been in balance? – the governor unceremoniously showed the door to Republicans.

Mr. Malloy brought Republicans back to the table on two occasions: during a special session, when Mr. Malloy needed some help balancing his chronically out of balance budget, and during negotiations on a gun restriction bill following the mass murders in Sandy Hook.
On both occasions, Mr. Malloy and accommodating Republicans were praised by left of center commentators in the media for their show of bipartisanship. Here in Connecticut, it was said, bipartisanship was much in the air, and it was hinted that the U.S. Congress, deep in the mire of partisan deadlock, certainly could take a lesson from a state in which both parties came together to settle a budget deficit and pass the most restrictive gun regulations in the nation.

Republican players both times were happy to play. Now, as the General Assembly begins to tinker with Mr. Malloy’s second budget, Republicans once again find themselves sent to Coventry.

The exile of Republicans to Coventry, where they will be expected to bide their time in prayer and holy silence, does not bode well for the state. It means that Mr. Malloy and his confederates – most importantly state unions, who made out like proverbial bandits the last time Republicans were frozen out of budget negotiations – will be unobstructed in shaping their second biennial budget.

The shape of Mr. Malloy’s second budget may be deduced from his first. On that occasion, it should be recalled, Democratic leaders in the General Assembly pre-approved Mr. Malloy’s budget prior to his negotiations with SEBAC, an organization of unions authorized to negotiate contracts with the state. One commentator wrote that leaders in the Democratic dominated General Assembly conferred upon the governor plenipotentiary powers to negotiate contracts that would impact the budget nine years out.

The negotiations were messy but profitable in the end for unions. The “savings” in Mr. Malloy’s first budget were amorphous, the tax increases painful. Progressive Democrats were tolerably satisfied with Mr. Malloy’s first budget. The tax increases, job investment money removed from the private sector and delivered to government coffers, gave crony capitalist progressives enough funds to “invest” in enterprises that in the future would pay out dividends, in the form of votes and political contributions, to Democrats.  Frozen out of the process, Republicans were free to assail a budget that had no Republican fingerprints on it.

A fairly comprehensive review of Mr. Malloy’s second budget by CTMirror is riven with doubts and fears. One always snaps to when one happens upon a budget review entitled “Promises, Gimmicks and a Historic Shortfall.”

After imposing on the state the largest tax increase in its history, Mr. Malloy made a firm vow to forego further tax increases.

“With a gap of $1.2 billion projected for the fiscal year that starts in July,” CTMirror advises, “Malloy not only is seeking more sacrifices, but he's also turning to taxes and some of the gimmicks he swore off of two years ago.”

The gimmicks include an extension of expiring tax increases on businesses and power plants, a reduction of tax credits for working poor families, funding cuts to colleges and universities at a time when higher education continues to increase tuition and fees, deep cuts both to hospitals and health coverage for thousands of low-income adults, a raid on the transportation fund and, that old standby, borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to pay ongoing bills -- all this from an administration that boosted taxes considerably while it publically scorned prior administrations for resorting to discreditable methods in balancing budgets.

It does not help at all that the national economy continues to founder under the ministrations of Barack Obama, the most progressive president in modern history. Had Mr. Obama concentrated during his first term in office on rebuilding the shattered mortgage market, the American economy would have surged forward. But instead, Mr. Obama grasped for a national health care brass ring first proposed in the 1912 national election by the father of the modern progressive movement, Teddy Roosevelt. Obamacare, payment for which has now come due, is but a baby step on the road to nationalized health care. Should anyone care to preview the final product, a Veteran Administration hospital is on view in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.  

In a high tax, over regulated, foundering economy, tax receipts simply dry up. Investments in the private economy also dry up as investors, hampered by excessive regulation and punishing taxes, hoard their dollars waiting for relief from a redistributionist minded government.

The late Maggie Thatcher, Prime Minister of Britain, use to say that “the problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.” The government of Connecticut – yet a far cry from the socialist utopia envisioned by Eugene Debs, the Socialist candidate for president in 1912– is running out of the money its governor hopes to be able to “invest” in crony capitalist enterprises that mollify the state’s clamorous left of center interests.

It’s a problem.