Rosa DeLauro

Don Pesci: Connecticut's confused moralists

Lincoln quoting Jefferson: “I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!'’

During his political career, which spans four decades, Connecticut U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal has been storming moral mounts and shaking his fists at the gods. At some point, the gods of Western morality may respond.

Blumenthal’s reaction to American Nazis in Charlottesville was commendable and necessary; in any denunciation of Nazism, there must be no ambiguity – no moral confusion. There are indeed degrees of evil in the world. The bank robber who murders a teller commits a greater evil than the bank robber who simply robs a bank.

However, using the greater evil to excuse the lesser cannot be defended on moral grounds. The Antifa movement, like the American Nazi movement and the KKK, uses violence as a means of moral suasion. The Nazis and the members of the KKK who hijacked a protest over an attempt to remove a statute of Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville should have been unreservedly condemned for who they are by all people whose moral sense is not impaired by political considerations.

These two groups have been with us a long time; we know them, and we should not pretend to forget or forgive the unrepented sins of their dark past. Both groups have bathed in blood up to their knees. The anti-black, anti-Semite, anti-Catholic KKK used to hang or terrorize its victims; these days, they are content to defame and rouse public opinion against them. German Nazis persecuted and murdered Jews; these days, American Nazis accuse Jews, who they falsely believe are animated by anti-patriotic globalist pretensions, of capitalist greed.  The shadow of Buchenwald falls over all of this, and although David Duke is not Himmler – because there are differences in moral degrees of evil -- the seeds of the greater evil are sown in the ground of the lesser evil.

The Antifa movement – so called anti-fascists who have adopted the Stormtrooper tactics of Fascists -- should be roundly denounced for who they are by those who regularly storm moral mounts and shake their fists at the gods whenever television cameras are rolling. The Antifa movement has long been infiltrated by anarchists; in the anarchist dystopia, such senators as Blumenthal would be unnecessary excrescences.

Even for those who agree there is a moral order of greater and lesser evils, Blumenthal’s too ardent support of the more indefensible practices of Planned Parenthood is difficult to justify on moral grounds. Blumenthal's position on late term abortions, Orthodox Jews would say, is morally indefensible. Even a Reform Jew like Blumenthal may be uncomfortable with the killing of nearly born babies and the selling of their body parts to doctors, a process, some may think, that comes uncomfortably close to morally noxious Nazi practices?

The moral position on abortion – most especially partial birth abortion -- of 3rd District Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro also is confusing, which is why, she laments in her recent book, “The Least Among Us: Waging the Battle for the Vulnerable,”  her bishop removed her as a trustee of her Catholic High School.  Scandal in the Catholic Church is synonymous with sowing moral discord in the minds of Catholics. And Catholics who are public figures, so long as they remain in the faith, have a moral duty to maintain Catholic religious convictions in a morally confused universe. If they break with their Church on important matters of doctrine, a devil word in the modern period, they cannot maintain communion with the believing church, lay or clerical.

Of course, DeLauro has little use for bishops and little understanding of the historic opposition of her Church to the grave sin of abortion. She believes as a professing Catholic -- “My faith has always been important to me…” – that abortion has, within her Church, completely taken over “the conversation on faith in politics.” And she is inching toward a wholly indefensible moral position that important moral issues should be decided by the state, not bishops or rabbis.

DeLauro seems unaware that Catholic opposition to abortion and infanticide during Imperial Rome was the lever that freed women from a crushing paternalism in which the paterfamilias of a Roman family exercised complete dominion over the life and death of his unborn and born children. Abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, not uncommon in the Roman Empire, are becoming more common in the Western world as Christian perceptions are replaced by a morally neutral secularism, both in Europe and America.

The modern notion of human equality, unknown in the Roman Republic, descends from Biblical doctrine: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).” And the highly romantic notion of the love of children also has its roots in Christian faith, “But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).”

In Heaven, one hopes, abortion is frowned upon, as it is among bishops in DeLauro’s church. There, one hopes, Nazism, Klu-Kluxery, Antifa fascism and anarchism will not gain a foothold. Here below, the usual strife continues. Flawed moralists continue to belch fire from their secular pulpits. Medical practitioners, unbound by the Hippocratic oath – noxamvero et maleficium propulsabo: “I will utterly reject harm and mischief”— perform partial birth abortions, after which dismembered baby parts are auctioned off, while politicians, wrapping themselves in moral mantels, wink behind the curtain.

Not a church going man, Abraham Lincoln, quoted from Thomas Jefferson, not a church going man, in his Columbus, Ohio, debate with Steven Douglas: “… there was once in this country a man by the name of Thomas Jefferson, supposed to be a Democrat -- a man whose principles and policy are not very prevalent amongst Democrats today, it is true; but that man did not take exactly this view of the insignificance of the element of slavery which our friend Judge Douglas does. In contemplation of this thing, we all know he was led to exclaim, 'I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just!' …  He supposed there was a question of God's eternal justice wrapped up in the enslaving of any race of men, or any man, and that those who did so braved the arm of Jehovah -- that when a nation thus dared the Almighty every friend of that nation had cause to dread His wrath. Choose ye between Jefferson and Douglas as to what is the true view of this element among us.”

Lincoln’s audience applauded this sentiment of a frail man leaning for support upon the crutch of an eternal truth. How often, we should ask, do the political heirs of Lincoln and Jefferson tremble when they consider that God is just?

Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based essayist.

 

Don Pesci: These progressive Conn. pols are libertarian about two grim things

The Republican plan to abolish and replace Obamacare has now collapsed. After much huffing and puffing, Republicans pulled their replacement plan, such as it was, shook the dirt of medical-care reform from their feet, and vowed to move on to the next big issue -- tax reform. One imagines U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D.-Conn.), who made some frantically intemperate remarks in the House before the Republican replacement plane crashed and burned, was delighted.

 U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.), move over: Mrs. DeLauro has now become the chief progressive maenad of Congress. She brought to her performance suitable demagogic props, a large sign that said “Get Old People,” the words arranged horizontally and the first letter of each word – G-O-P – in fierce bold script. C-Span captured the historic moment here. Mrs. DeLauro was not wearing her pussy hat at the time; so the members of the House were spared that indignity.
 

Seen from a progressive bubble, Obamacare is a crashing success. It is, in fact, a political success but a real-world wreck from within, and it has been so from the beginning. Obamacare has never been more than a program hardwired to fail that would lead, when it did fail, to universal health care, a nationwide government healthcare program palely imitating European models that would drive many insurance companies -- unable to compete with a tax-supported, progressive driven healthcare system – out of business.

Under a universal healthcare system one fourth of the economy in the United States would move from the private to the public sector, and insurance companies in Connecticut would become boutique providers serving rich people – mostly wealthy Republicans who, in DeLauro’s view, want to Get Old People (GOP). Mrs. DeLauro’s gerrymandered lair is Connecticut’s 1st District, an impregnable progressive fortress; so then, she need not fear that she will be undone politically by championing a lost cause.

And Obamacare is a lost cause. Even in her home state, insurance providers have pulled out of the program with their pants on fire; premiums have skyrocketed across the nation, and the coroner has been sent an e-mail.

The authors of the U.S. Constitution supposed that legislators would be unwilling to pass ruinous laws under which they themselves would suffer. How quaint! Barack Obama himself is now wealthy enough to buy retirement properties worth millions anywhere in the world the chooses to live, in or outside the United States; socialist Bernie Sanders owns three houses; millionaire Connecticut U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal had money enough to send his children to expensive private schools that many of Mrs. DeLauro’s constituents could never afford.

Politics has been good for Mrs. DeLauro and her millionaire husband, Stan Greenberg, both of whom own expensive property in the Washington Beltway, where they entertain similarly minded progressives in lavish splendor that might bring a blush to the cheek of the Great Gatsby.

It may strike some hearty rationalists as unseemly that two millionaire politicians who favor partial birth abortion and euthanasia – which clips life it its beginning and end – should profess such a touching concern for old people. Only on questions of life and death are Mrs. DeLauro and Mr. Blumenthal, the Senator from Planned Parenthood, excessively libertarian. Blumenthal, who never met a regulation he didn’t like, would leave Planned Parenthood – which makes most of its profits from abortion – as the only unregulated big business in America.

China still pursues a policy of forced abortion; in that totalitarian country women, liquidated as infants in the womb, are perceived as somehow less valuable than men. International Planned Parenthood has in fact been working hand in hand with the population control program in China, almost since its inception. China joined the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in 1983.

In December of last year, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers wrote a letter to President Donald Trump calling for “a full-scale investigation of International Planned Parenthood to determine the exact nature of its operations in China… Transparency is demanded by the fact that IPPF receives taxpayer dollars from the United States and other nations as well.  I believe it is impossible to partner so closely with the Chinese Communist Party’s forced abortion machine without being complicit in its atrocities.  This is especially the case when this year we learned that the number of abortions in China is not 13 million, but a staggering 23 million a year.”

What a pity the group did not address its petition to Mrs. DeLauro, defender of the poor and oppressed, or Mr. Blumenthal who, as the Senator from Planned Parenthood, may possibly exercise more leverage with the IPPF than does Mr. Trump and the entire Republican Party which  -- as we all know, thanks to Mrs. DeLauro’s campaign bumper-sticker outburst in the House – wishes to oppress if not euthanize their grandmothers.

Don Pesci (donpesci@att.net) is a political and cultural writer who lives in Vernon, Conn.

 

 

Don Pesci: The anti-sprawl boomerang

  VERNON, Conn.

Not only does every regulation impose additional costs on businesses, excessive regulation also unwittingly embraces unintended consequences that may be fatal to the best laid plans of those who oppose urban sprawl -- the movement of residential and business operations from urban areas to the suburban frontier.

This “Big Bang” movement has been occurring ever since the protective walls of castles disappeared centuries ago.

For anti-sprawlists in Connecticut, many of whom are environmentalists, local farms are essential to a movement that seeks to nudge businesses back into cities; the more farms there are in the hinterlands, the less land will be available for “exploitation” by businesses and home-construction companies. Environmentalists do not generally object heatedly to “urban sprawl.”

Onerous federal regulations on farms have now invaded Connecticut’s environmental Eden.

Connecticut farmers have offered multiple objections to new regulations co-sponsored by 3rd District U.S. Rep.  Rosa DeLauro. Mrs. DeLauro’s district, largely urban, has suffered a crippling reduction in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) subsidies during the last six years. Federal subsidies from 2009-2010 amounted to about a million dollars per year; during 2012, the subsidies for the district dropped precipitously to $157,039.

At the same time, the federal government has a huge deficit; the Obama years alone have added $6.061 trillion to the national debt, which surpassed $18.1 trillion last January. The usual cowardly detours that let legislators  avoid painful spending cuts to balance budgets – massive borrowing, budget shape-shifting and inflating the money supply – are considered politically inadvisable, and so the federal government has begun to trim subsidies; which is to say, the Feds are now backpedaling on their promissory notes to states. Nothing unusual there: In the bust and boom economy, all Americans have become American Indians; the promises of Washington to regulatory victims have been repeatedly and notoriously violated.

The new farming regulations, piled on top of others, farmers say, are costly and complex; but then what federal regulatory instruments are not costly and complex, a virtual playpen for lawyers and tax attorneys? The Obamacare bill runs to thousands of pages; Dodd-Frank financial regulations are not much shorter, and the regulatory apparat in Washington is equally complex and expensive.

Washington specializes in growing the administrative apparat and complex legislation that may be understood only by accountants and attorneys for large corporations that can afford to hire both to avoid taxes and regulations. It is small enterprises – such as farmers -- that feel the sharp edge of the regulatory and tax axe.

Farmers in Connecticut want to be able to grow and offer their produce at competitive prices. Because the profit margin in farming is so small, any additional costs are potential straws that certainly will break the camel’s back and reduce farmers’ very narrow profit margin – or, worse, force them to sell their land to developers, who then may sell the farmland to businesses hoping to cut costs by moving from urban to suburban centers. Result: further suburban sprawl occasioning tons of editorials bemoaning the reduction of “Smart Development.” Connecticut is now witnessing a regulatory snake swallowing its own tail.

One small example may serve for many. The Lydall Farm stand on Route 44 in Coventry has  a handmade sign that says the stand has been in business since 1926, three years before the start of the Great Depression. But this year will be the stand’s last stand. Why? The profit margin is too small and new regulations are far too costly.

So complex are new environmental-protection regulations that nearly any small farmer may now be put out of business by nearly any lawsuit waving bureaucrat or, worse, any consumer protection U.S. Senator (cf. Blumenthal, Dick). Then too, the more time and money small farmers spend complying with byzantine regulations, the less time and money is available to make the crops come out of the ground.

Why not sell the ground?

Though Mrs. DeLauro is chairwoman of the House Agriculture-FDA Appropriations Subcommittee, this Catch 22 may be low on her list of things to worry about. The constituents whom Mrs. DeLauro relies upon to re-elect her to a 12th  term in Congress are, many of them, urbanites who may think  that food is grown in the parking lots of the grocery stores where they buy their lettuce and peaches. These are the nephews and cousins of the magic thinkers who suppose that the nation’s wealth is produced by a golden tree the leaves of which can be cashed in to pay the salaries of the army of bureaucrats pushing farmland into the greedy hands of developers responsible for urban sprawl.

Connecticut Farmers in Mrs. DeLauro’s District keenly feeling the sting of reduced subsidies and excessive regulations know better. But the farmers in Ms. DeLauro’s District who would be willing to vote against pro-suburban sprawlists are far outnumbered by urban dwellers who have not thought about the plight of Connecticut’s small farmers since the Great Depression.

Don Pesci (donpesci@att.net) is a political writer based in Vernon, Conn.