Tom Foley

Chris Powell: Sex slavery, Democrats, government as a business

odalisque

"La Grande Odalisque''  (1814) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

MANCHESTER, Conn.

Sensing a winning issue, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy used his last debate with his Republican rival Tom Foley to lecture Foley about the name of his yacht, Odalisque, a name derived from the Turkish word for concubine, though it has evolved to include portraiture of the naked female form.

"You have a daughter," Malloy harrumphed at Foley. "Do you really think it's appropriate to have a boat named after a sex slave?"

Foley, a very rich businessman, insisted that his aim in naming the yacht had been to evoke art, not lust, and he cited the works of the French painters Matisse and Ingres. At last the campaign had come upon a subject about which Foley knew something -- just not one involving public policy or likely to make him seem like a man of the people.

But if Foley had known less about art and more about Connecticut he might have turned the tables on the governor, whom of course, won the election. For in one respect sex slavery is actually state government policy, fervently supported by the Democratic Party's most fearsome ideologues.

It happens when abortions result from the sex slavery of minors.

This rationalization of sex slavery was first noticed in 2007 when a West Hartford man was charged with harboring and using as a sex slave a 15-year-old girl who had run away from her home in Bloomfield. Having impregnated the girl, the man sent her to an abortion clinic, where the pregnancy was terminated with no serious questions about the girl's circumstances or about her parents or guardian, with the girl returning to her sex slavemaster. Those who remarked that the case argued for legislation to require parental notification for abortions on minors were denounced as Neanderthals.

A similar case became public in Coventry, Conn., last year with the arrest of the fire chief, who was having frequent sex with a cadet member of the department when she was 15 and impregnated her when she was 16. As a matter of law it was all rape, even at 16, since the girl, as a cadet, was under the chief's authority. The chief also arranged for the girl's abortion without anyone being the wiser. In this case Connecticut's lack of a parental -notification law concealed not only the sustained sexual exploitation of a minor but also an abuse of official power that itself had been specifically criminalized. But this time the horrible circumstances were taken for granted.

For in Connecticut a boat that might have been named after a sex slave is purported to be a political scandal, an affront to the dignity of women generally and children particularly, but sex slavery for children is considered preferable to requiring an inquiry into the rape of minors when abortions are to be performed on them.

* * *

The rhetoric of the recent election campaign in Connecticut was full of the cliche that government should be run more like a business. But that's exactly the problem -- that government in Connecticut already operates like a business, primarily to make money for itself in a monopoly environment rather than to uphold a social obligation and perform a public service.

Student test scores and the explosion in the need for remedial courses show that education has been declining even as its cost is always rising.

A half-century of poverty policy hasn't elevated the poor to self-sufficiency but instead has created and sustained a vicious cycle of dependence and degradation in which nearly half the state's children now grow up without fathers.

Criminal-justice policy serves mainly to give a third of the state's young black and Hispanic men criminal records that leave them unskilled and largely unemployable for most of their lives.

But education, poverty, and criminal justice are the major employment agencies of government, providing livelihoods with great salaries, benefits and pensions to tens of thousands of people regardless of the results of their businesses, results that are never audited but are infinitely more damaging than anything from which the infamous Koch Brothers make their money.

 

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, based in Manchester, Conn.

Don Pesci: Conn. GOP losses will lead to more corruption

You don’t have to love me. I’m a porcupine
--Conn. Gov.  Dannel Malloy
VERNON, Conn.
There are two ways to lose an argument: by not saying enough or by saying too much. Likewise, there are two ways to lose an election. The Republican nominee for Connecticut governor, Tom Foley, cannot be accused of having said too much in his attempt to wrest the gubernatorial office from Democratic Governor Malloy. Mr. Malloy, on the other hand, has never in his long political career said too little.
Mr. Malloy’s second gubernatorial campaign and President Obama’s second presidential campaign were remarkably similar. Of the two, fortune -- as well as lots of money, a great  ground game, sharper demagoguery, a media used to genuflecting before incumbents and a progressive ideology that has not yet wearied the general public in Connecticut – smiled broadly on Mr. Malloy, while baring its teeth towards Mr. Obama. National progressives lost the Senate and sent Joni Ernst to the chamber where she will no doubt “make the pigs squeal.”
The headline on the Drudge Report early the morning after was celebratory: “REPUBLICANS TAKE CONGRESS +7 +8? +9? SENATE, THE DEM DISASTER.”
In South Carolina, Tim Scott was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to the U.S. Senate after Republican Jim DeMint resigned to join the Heritage Foundation. Now returned to the Senate, Mr. Scott is the first black candidate to win a race in South Carolina since just after the Civil War and the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.
Governor Haley more than a year ago warmly embraced PTR, formerly a Bristol, Conn.-based semi-automatic weapons manufacturer fleeing Mr. Malloy’s thrown quills. Malloy said, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass murder that gun manufacturers want “to sell as many guns to as many people as possible—even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care. They want to sell guns.” Sturm Ruger, of Southport Conn.,  had at the same time begun t expanding its business in Mayodan, bringing 500 new jobs to North Carolina over the next five years.
 
Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Malloy are progressive politicians, which is to say both tend to yield to autocratic leftist impulses. To put it another way, progressives, as a rule, do not fancy trickle-up democracy. In Mr. Obama’s case, the chief executive, faced with a legislature one house of which was dominated by the opposition party, simply misused the constitutional prerogatives of his office to redraft legislation by choosing which portions of bills passed into law he would or would not execute.
Mr. Malloy does not have this problem, both houses of Connecticut’s General Assembly having been dominated for decades by members of his own party. Under the Malloy administration, Connecticut has what might be termed unitary party problems.
In a governing system in which power is shared between the two major parties, political corruption is more easily rooted out. In a tripartite system in which the balance of power is evenly distributed between the three departments of government – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary – corruption is more visible because there are more competitive eyes on the ground to report such indelicate corrupt activities that political flesh is heir to.
A legislative branch in which both parties share power is more keenly aware of corruption and more ethically ordered. Disclosure is the most formidable enemy of corruption, and disclosure is more likely in a legislature in which power and authority is shared between the parties. In a political system in which the legislative and executive power is vested in a single party, corruption – politically defined as non-democratic, authoritarian governance – tends to become the well hidden rule rather than the exception.
In Connecticut, where Democrats once again have swept the boards, back room deals, questionable elections, opacity in government and the arrogance of unchecked power – Mr. Malloy is expert in throwing his quills at those who presume to question him – will be the rule for the next few years. Connecticut’s  congressional Delegation, all Democrats, will be returning to a Congress masterfully captured by Republicans. The raucous voices of Connecticut’s two U.S. senators and their influence over congressional events will be muted for the last two years of Mr. Obama’s lame-duck presidency; the media influence on the Malloy administration will be similarly ineffectual. The few contrarians in the state’s largely pro-status quo Media conglomerate -- those few, that brave band of brothers – had better be on the lookout for the sharp quills.
Don Pesci  (donpesci@att.net) is a  political writer who lives in Vernon, Conn.

Chris Powell: Last stand for Conn.'s private sector

With Quinnipiac University's final poll on Connecticut's election for governor calculating once again that the race is essentially tied, two conclusions may be drawn.  

The first is that the supporters of petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, the gun-rights fanatic, are breaking somewhat in favor of the Republican nominee, Tom Foley, as they realize that Visconti has no chance of winning and that votes for him will be only protest votes.

 

The second is that the success of the Democratic nominee, Gov. Dan Malloy, will depend on mobilizing city voters, who are disproportionately tax consumers -- government employees and welfare recipients -- rather than taxpayers.

 

The decline in voter participation in non-presidential election years like this one favors Republican candidates. But since opinion polls under-represent the urban poor, who vote Democratic overwhelmingly, the governor probably already has the support of more people than the polls show and so he seems more likely to win.

 

Indeed, since the two major political parties are really just accumulations of interests rather than proponents of political principles, and since the candidates have avoided issues of substance, choosing instead personal attacks, contrivances, and hysteria -- the governor because his record is weak, Foley because his knowledge of government is weak -- this election is largely a contest between government itself and what remains of Connecticut's private sector. If Malloy wins it may be the final triumph of Connecticut's government and welfare classes, the triumph Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. felt he could not win when, having imposed the state income tax to rescue those classes, he declined to seek re-election in 1994.

 

But after imposing a tax increase even bigger than Weicker's and for the same purpose, Governor Malloy is seeking vindication. It will be construed as license for unlimited government and taxation.

The governor essentially confirmed as much in his comments to the NAACP meeting in Waterbury last weekend. "We did not balance our budget as other states did" by reducing financial grants to municipalities, he said. "Not a single teacher, not a single policeman, not a single fireman has lost his job because I took my problem and shifted it to Waterbury, Bridgeport, or New Haven."

 

This was also to say that by raising taxes and increasing financial grants to municipalities, the governor insulated their employees against union contract concessions just as he had insulated state government's employees -- that only private-sector workers have to sacrifice, their concessions being extracted via higher taxes.

 

The Democratic campaign also is touting to the most fearsome special interest, teacher unions, that the Malloy administration is fully funding the state teacher retirement fund, though this is only required by a law enacted under the governor's Republican predecessor and though it inadvertently demonstrates state government's perverse priorities. After all, no law guarantees public safety in Connecticut's anarchic cities, maintenance of the state's decaying transportation infrastructure, or group homes for the mentally retarded. No, inviolability attaches only to the pensions of teachers.

 

Since he has so little to say, Foley's election will be construed as mere repudiation of the governor and dissatisfaction with the state's lengthening hard times. The Republican will not be able to claim a mandate for any particular policy, having demonstrated little familiarity with or even interest in state government's operations. If he is elected that stuff will be assigned to the hired help.

 

As for Visconti, he has defaulted on tens of thousands of dollars in debt over the years and has posed for photographs bare-chested with odd expressions on his face, and still he sometimes has seemed more sensible and candid than his rivals. In this disgraceful campaign it might be hard to blame voters for wondering if guns really are the answer.

 

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

Don Pesci: Do political endorsements matter?

VERNON, Conn.

First Lady Michelle Obama has endorsed Democrat Dannel Malloy for re-election as Connecticut's governor. In a picture worth a thousand words, Mrs. Obama was shown on “Capitol Report” being bussed robustly by U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal, who no doubt would endorse Mr. Malloy were Mr. Blumenthal a newspaper; some would argue that Mr. Blumenthal  is a newspaper. The winner of the Malloy contest with Republican Tom Foley will become governor of a state first in the nation in progressive governance and crony capitalism and last in almost every other important measurement of prosperity.
Will the first lady's endorsement matter to anyone but hardened Democrats, or to voting age high-schoolers who prefer healthy and pallid lunches to pizza and brownies? Probably not. For politicians, endorsements are little more than shows of party solidarity, and there are few political marriages in the nation more solid than that between Mr. Malloy and President Obama. Indeed, newspaper editorial endorsements in Connecticut’s left-of-center news media also have become highly predictable displays of ideological solidarity.
The lame-duck  president has had some difficulty getting himself invited to campaign soirees elsewhere in the Disunited States. Democrats vying for office in Red States  have tended to shun the president, if only to avoid the falling timbers of Mr. Obama’s foreign and domestic policies. Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is recklessly absurd because all foreign policy but his is constructed around a realpolitik understanding of friends and enemies. Mr. Obama is the first U.S. president who seems incapable of distinguishing between the two. In domestic policy, Mr. Obama should have devoted his energies during his first term to settling market uncertainties occasioned by a ruptured housing mortgage bubble partly caused by Beltway favoritism and the dismantling of the Glass Steagall Acta Franklin Roosevelt measure that that prevented investment banks  from meddling in commercial- banking activities. Instead of attending to the crisis at hand, Mr. Obama created a crisis of his own making by instituting Obamacare, a progressive baby step on the way to universal health care.
Mr. Obama will be appearing in Bridgeport – if, indeed he does make an appearance, a previous campaign appearance on behalf of Mr. Malloy having been called off because of the Ebola crisis – only a few days after Anne Melissa Dowling, Connecticut’s deputy commissioner of the Department of Insurance, announced that  of course she was concerned about insurance-policy cancellations in Connecticut.
“Dowling, NBCConnecticut reported, “says some 55,000 people across the state will have their policies canceled either because it no longer meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or because grandfathered policies that didn’t need to meet requirements have simply been canceled by the insurer.”
Even here in true blue Connecticut, some members of the state’s all Democratic congressional delegation have proven resistant to Mr. Obama’s charming attempt to make the world over according to his eccentric predilections.  Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, for instance, has announced she will not attend Mr. Obama’s prospective campaign appearance of behalf of Mr. Malloy unless the president somehow manages to cross her path in her own district. The lady is very busy attending to her re-election – partly by composing and endorsing killer ads against her opponent, Republican Mark Greenberg, that even The Hartford Courant considered “creatively misleading” and (gasp!) “false.” Mrs. Esty has announced she would not be calling on the president when he appears in Bridgeport, only a hop, skip and a jump from Mrs. Esty's 5th District.  Connecticut is such a small state that anywhere in the state is but a hop, skip and a jump from anywhere else.
The Courant, the state’s largest  newspaper, endorsed Mrs. Esty, the second time it had done so. One of the indispensable determinants that garner Courant endorsements is experience in office, a requirement the paper waived during its first endorsement of Mrs. Esty, who at the time was running against a far more experienced candidate, Republican nominee for the U.S. House in the 5th District Andrew Roraback. The notion that the more experienced candidate for a particular office ought to receive the approbation of voters is, in fact, an argument for the perpetual election of incumbents, except on those rare occasions when the retirement of an incumbent leaves an office vacant. It is a policy, highly suspect in a constitutional republic, that would have stopped the American Revolution in its tracts: King George III, who inherited the British throne at the age of  12, had a much longer and deeper experience running the American colonies than did any of the founding fathers of the country. Most Americans are uncomfortable with perpetual monarchies or unchanging legislatures.
But not The  Courant. The paper’s current endorsement of Governor Malloy is riddled with enough qualifiers to sink a battleship, and this year, as usual, Democrats in Connecticut’s congressional delegation have garnered the paper’s affections; this at a time when Republicans are expected to retain control of the House. Some bean counters expect Republicans to capture the Senate as well. As the whole of New England moves further left, the usual endorsements will increasingly be taken with a ton of salt by voters less progressive than the usual progressive representatives.
Don Pesci (donpesci@att.net)  is a Connecticut political writer.

Don Pesci: In Conn., the fine art of insincerity

VERNON, Conn

Most commentators in Connecticut seem to trust the Quinnipiac Poll. The latest Q poll shows Republican gubernatorial challenger Tom Foley leading Gov. Dannel Malloy by about six percentage points. The same poll shows Independent gubernatorial challenger Joe Visconti capturing about 7 percent of the vote, and that 7 percent represents the ants in the pants of Foley supporters who point out that, during the last gubernatorial go-around, Mr. Foley lost to Mr. Malloy by a very thin margin. The Q poll also points out that Mr. Visconti appears to be drawing equally from Republicans and Democrats, so that his effect on the general election would appear to be a wash.
Still, Republicans are nervous, and Democrats are pleased that Mr. Visconti – unlike Jon Pelto, a Democratic Independent who earlier withdrew from the gubernatorial race – is still stubbornly plugging along. Mr. Visconti’s position on taxes and education is indistinguishable from that of Mr. Pelto, whose position on taxes is indistinguishable from that of Leon Trotsky. Both Mr. Pelto and Mr. Visconti see an increase in taxes as inevitable. Mr. Pelto would hammer the rich in Connecticut by making the state income tax more progressive. There are a number of resurgent Republican conservatives in Connecticut who believe that Mr. Pelto is exactly what the doctor ordered for Connecticut’s billionaires, many of whom continue to toss campaign contributions in the direction of progressives determined to use the contributions to purchase the rope with which they will hang the dupable contributors.
Mr. Pelto and conservative Republicans in Connecticut both oppose Common Core for different reasons. Conservatives dislike Common Core – or, as some of them call it, Common Gore – because it is a federally imposed standard that violates the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that educational decisions should be made by the smallest political unit affected by political decisions: Towns, rather than state and federal governments, should decide how best to shape public and private schools. Mr. Pelto dislikes Common Core because he perceives enforced national standards as a threat to hegemonic teacher unions. Mr. Pelto’s venom tap was turned on by Mr. Malloy, who sneered that, because of tenure, teachers only had to “show up on the job” to continue to miseducate urban school children. Mr. Malloy and other Common Core adepts would change all that once national standards had been put in place. Mr. Malloy since has had second thoughts.
The correlation of political forces in Connecticut, little understood by Connecticut’s media, has not changed since 1991 when former maverick Gov.  Lowell Weicker festooned the state with an income tax. It was the fashion in Connecticut before and after the age of Weicker to insist that Connecticut, a small but rich state, had no spending problem; rather, Connecticut had a revenue problem that became apparent whenever red ink appeared in its budgets. Any deficit could be discharged by a sufficient increase in revenues. Mr. Pelto clings to the same notion today. So do other progressives -- including Mr. Malloy, however much he insists that he has no plans to increase taxes -- so do most political writers in the state.
Since 1991, Connecticut’s forward progress has been thwarted by progressives who now man all the political high ground in the state. Progressives run the governor’s office, all the Constitutional offices in Connecticut, the entire U.S. Congressional Delegation, both Houses of Connecticut’s General Assembly, and they have captured all these office from moderate Republicans who had never effectively challenged Democrats on social issues. Democratic moderates also have disappeared. For this reason, any effective challenge to Democratic political hegemony in Connecticut must come from right of center Republicans who in the past have been quietly strangled in their cribs by left of center forces.
There is an additional problem.  In the absence of strong state political parties, which have been weakened for many years by campaign finance reform, state political campaigns have been “other directed” by professional armies of political architects that provide strategy and laundered money to candidates.  In the new political dispensation, every candidate is his own political party, multiple dog tails wagging the Democratic or Republican Party apparatus. In such circumstances, political campaigns become detached from political practices, and a measure of deceit is accepted that not so long ago would have sunk duplicitous campaigns.
Given the level of duplicity in political campaigns, saying what you mean and then doing what you say itself becomes a revolutionary act that cannot be tolerated by incumbents who have become practiced in the fine art of insincerity. This crooked politicking alone accounts for the inattention of voters who hunger for authenticity; they are unwilling to sanction with their votes the obvious duplicity of shamelessly duplicitous politicians.
 
Don Pesci  (donpesci@att.com) is a  political writer who lives in Vernon.

Don Pesci: The 'extremists' among us

  VERNON, Conn.

Somewhere along the line, national and state Democrats discovered that most Americans do not cotton to extremists. For this reason, progressives in Connecticut – nearly all politically active Democrats -- have taken to calling “extremists” those who oppose some of their more radical political positions.
V. I. Lenin, an extremist of the first water, knew that if you effectively labeled an opponent or an idea, you would not have to argue with either. If you have successfully identified in the public mind as an extremist anyone who disagrees with you on a political or social point, you need not address his nuanced arguments. You need not bother to confront his arguments at all; the mud you throw – knowing full well that some of it will stick – will be sufficient to convince a majority of people that your position is superior to his, because you are superior to him: He is an extremist, and you are not. In cases such as these, arguments are won not through debate or the presentation of compelling evidence, but rather through the brute force of demagoguery.

We have been told through ads created outside Connecticut that the Republican candidate for governor, Tom Foley, is an extremist. Mr. Foley is an extremist principally because he is in sharp disagreement on some points with his political opponents who doubtless will gain an advantage from the ads.
Generally, we like to reserve the word “extremist” for those people who go out of their way to violate social norms.  It may come as a severe shock to out of state political ad makers who wish to boost the political prospects of Democrats by featuring Mr. Foley in their ads as an extremist to learn that Mr. Foley is a rather bland Everyman.
That, in any case, is the gravamen of the charge brought against him by some Republicans who have urged Mr. Foley to be a bit more passionate and lively in his presentations. Barry Goldwater, one of Lowell Weicker’s favorite politicians – so Mr. Weicker has often claimed -- was the guy who said about those charging him with extremism, “Let me remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me also remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue,” a sentiment heartily accepted by Sol Alinsky politicians on the left such as Hillary Clinton, said to be a shoe-in for president on the Democratic Party ticket in 2016, and President  Obama, organizer extraordinaire, both of whom are much more far gone in extremism than Mr. Foley or, for that matter, Peter Wolfgang, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut (FIC).
Both Mr. Foley and Mr. Wolfgang have come under fire in a new campaign ad endorsed by Gov. Dan Malloy. The ad claims that Mr. Wolfgang, an orthodox Catholic who simply refuses to go quiet into Connecticut’s good secularist night, is said to be an extremist because he has been captured by what G. K. Chesterton once called “the romance of orthodoxy.” Mr. Foley is said to be an extremist because he had been endorsed by Mr. Wolfgang who, in the view of Democratic Party progressive extremists, is an extremist.
It so happens that Mr. Foley and Mr. Wolfgang part ways on some issues dear to progressives. For instance, Mr. Foley supports what progressive Democrats would call “a woman’s right to choose.” But both Mr. Foley and Mr. Wolfgang agree that a bill now before Connecticut’s General Assembly permitting assisted suicide should be aborted, and it was this agreement on a bill some might consider extreme that induced FIC to endorse Mr. Foley in the gubernatorial race.
Put another way, Mr. Wolfgang’s endorsement of a man whose views he disagrees with on issues important to him is an indication that Mr. Wolfgang may not be the right wing bomb thrower indistinctly pictured in the ad that seeks to paint him as an enemy of womankind, a difficult point to sustain: Mr. Wolfgang is the father of six children, ages 14-3, one boy and five girls, all potential women, and he has been happily married to his wife, Leslie, a woman, for 17 years. He and his family are orthodox Catholics.
Among some libertines in Connecticut, Mr. Wolfgang’s marital arrangement is considered quaint; his defense of traditional marriage is considered passé; his objections to euthanasia are thought to be extreme; and his endorsement of Mr. Foley is thought to be obscene. But it is important to understand that much of the criticism leveled at Mr. Wolfgang has been launched by groups that operate on the periphery of the great experiment in Western thought that has brought us a form of civilization highly accommodating to reasoned argument and equally impatient with those who wish to gain a political edge by caking their opponents with mud.
Don Pesci (donpesci@att.net) is a political writer who lives in Vernon.

 

Chris Powell: In Conn., the real family problem

  VERNON, Conn.

Contriving their daily dose of campaign hysteria, leading Connecticut Democrats gathered at the state Capitol the other day to denounce the Republican nominee for governor, Tom Foley, for accepting the endorsement of the Connecticut Family Institute. 

"Candidate Foley gives few details but now we know the company he's keeping," state Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said. 

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo added, "The endorsement of the Family Institute is or should be the kiss of political death in this state. It is outside of who we are as a people." 

Bye and Lembo are liberals and a few decades ago liberals denounced such attacks as "guilt by association." But that was when liberals were the ones guilty of associating. Foley is hardly a conservative -- Bye condemned him not just for accepting the Family Institute's endorsement but also for having few positions at all -- but his election would change the locks on the candy store Democrats have made of state government. So Foley must be demonized. 

The Democrats' problem with the Family Institute is that it opposes same-sex marriage. That is, they argue that the Family Institute should be disqualified from politics and decent society forever for taking today the same position that the country's two leading Democrats, President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, themselves took until a few years ago. But somehow Obama and Clinton have been forgiven. They were never going to change the locks on the candy store. 

The Family Institute says it endorsed Foley not because of his position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage -- those things don't seem to have ever bothered him and he is striving not to give offense even to those who deserve it. Rather, the institute got Foley to say he opposes legalizing assisted suicide, which the institute believes could lead to the euthanasia or murder of the disabled. 

Assisted suicide is not among Connecticut's big political issues, though if the Democratic state administration is re-elected those who work in the private sector  will  have less reason to go on living, or at least to go on living  here. 
 
But then homosexuality isn't a big issue for Connecticut either. The state decriminalized it decades ago, hadn'tprosecuted it for decades before that, and was among the first states to authorize same-sex "civil unions" and then same-sex marriage itself. 

The state long has been and remains overwhelmingly indifferent to such entirely personal matters even as homosexuals here continue to clamor as if they are somehow oppressed, since such clamor wins them political deference as a recognized special interest. As the old joke notes, what was, in the last century, "the love that dares not speak its name" cannot, in this one, shut up. 
 
The problem with the Family Institute's obsession with homosexuality is not that it has any chance of impairing anyone's rights but that it distracts from Connecticut's real family problem, which is also the state's biggest problem -- the decline of the family itself. This isn't the doing of homosexuals but of  heterosexuals,  who increasingly have children outside marriage and raise them neglectfully in fatherless homes, a catastrophically destructive phenomenon made possible mainly by the welfare system. 

The welfare system's destruction of the family is responsible for most of Connecticut's education, crime, drug, mental health and child-abuse problems  and for many of its physical illness problems. The human, financial and governmental costs are incalculable. 

But the Family Institute has little to say about this and the Democrats, so sensitive to any lack of enthusiasm for homosexuality, have nothing  to say about it, since their party, the party of government, sustains itself only by increasing dependence on government. 

Unlike the Family Institute, the Democrats are politically relevant, so their silence on the bigger issue is a far bigger threat. 

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.

Chris Powell: Videotape cops at work all the time

(Apologies for the format problem on  this)

MANCHESTER, Coon.

On the whole, police officers are far more sinned against than sinning, but 
that's why they're police officers, the ones with the badges and guns, the ones 
supposed to be the good guys. But it's a difficult job and indications are 
growing that many officers are not fit for it. 

Those indications -- largely the result of the new ubiquity of security and 
mobile-phone video cameras -- are getting scary. 

Several such indications have arisen from the recent rioting and demonstrations 
in Ferguson, Mo., where a white officer shot a young and unarmed black man. 

Of course, many people have rushed to judgment about the shooting. It is more 
plausible that the officer shot the young man while the young man was charging 
at the officer than that the officer shot him for fun. But rioting and 
demonstrations are no excuse for police to go wild. To the contrary, that's when 
police conduct must be most careful -- and in Missouri it hasn't been. 

The other day in Ferguson an officer was videotaped pointing his military rifle 
at peaceful demonstrators and news reporters, cursing them and threatening to 
shoot them until another officer led him away. The first officer was suspended. 

Another Missouri officer was suspended recently after  a video of a lecture he had 
given was publicized. In the lecture the officer described himself as an 
"indiscriminate killer," adding, "I'm into diversity -- I kill everybody," and, 
"If you don't want to get killed, don't show up in front of me -- it's that 
simple." 

He has been placed on desk duty pending review. 

A third Missouri officer was suspended for commenting that the protesters in 
Ferguson "should be put down like rabid dogs." 

All three officers probably will go back on the beat when the controversy fades. 
There's not enough accountability in government. 

But Connecticut residents don't have to go to Missouri to worry about police 
brutality and psychologically unfit officers. 

Two months ago two Bridgeport officers pleaded guilty to federal civil-rights 
charges for their stomping an unarmed petty criminal as he lay helpless on the 
ground following his disabling by a stun gun. The assault was captured on video 
by a passerby. The city will pay the petty criminal $198,000 in damages and the 
two officers have resigned and have promised never to seek police work again. 

Enfield's Police Department is dealing with the heavy-handedness of an officer 
who has been investigated on complaints of misconduct 17 times in seven years. 
In the most recent case, cruiser dashboard video shows him pummeling a man said 
to be resisting arrest. The state's attorney won't prosecute either man. 

And last week cell-phone and security-camera video recorded a Hartford officer 
using a stun gun on a young man who had obeyed his command to stop and was 
standing still, hands at his sides, 10 feet away. The officer continued to 
advance on the young man and shoting the stun gun at him from 4 feet away. Even 
Gov. Dannel  Malloy, speaking to a meeting of concerned citizens in Hartford, said 
he was shocked. The Hartford Police Department is investigating. 

For their protection and the public's, all police officers should be videotaped 
all the time -- and this would be easy to do, as there 
are not just dashboard cameras, already widely in use, but small cameras that 
can be affixed to uniforms and can record as much as 45 hours of image and 
sound. 

The recent death of a man who was choked to death during his arrest in New York 
City has prompted the city's public advocate, Letitia James, to propose 
equipping all city police with uniform cameras. Connecticut law should require 
this. 

If Governor Malloy really was shocked the other day, he should propose such a 
requirement before the November election. His Republican challenger, Tom Foley, 
should endorse the idea as well. It is a matter of basic accountability in 
government. 

 
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

Don Pesci: Nader's nattering in Conn.

  VERNON, Conn.

Ralph Nader once again is prowling the countryside saying things that are not so much wrong as passé. He does this because he himself is passé. Consumer advocacy, Mr. Nader’s specialty, reigns supreme everywhere in Connecticut, which only a short while ago sent to Congress the nation’s first consumer-protection senator, Dick Blumenthal, a little stiffer than Mr. Nader, but made from the same ideological cloth.

 

Not having kept up with the times, Mr. Nader seems to be laboring under the illusion that both major political parties in the United States “continually reject even considering cracking down on corporate crimes, crony capitalism or corporate welfare.”

 

Not at all true. In fact, the fight against crony capitalism may play a significant part in the Connecticut gubernatorial race this year.  Guess which one of the parties has rejected crony capitalism? Hint: It isn’t the party of Jefferson, Jackson and  the Nutmeg State's late and iconic Democratic boss, John Bailey. Is it not curious that the sharp-sighted Mr. Nader could have failed to notice that real capitalists have an aversion to fake capitalists?

 

In a column that appeared in The Hartford Courant, Mr. Nader, who appears to be supporting Jonathan Pelto for governor this year, asks rhetorically, “What if they [both major political parties] reject a proven, superior way to educate children? What if they refuse to consider an end to unconstitutional wars or to a grotesquely twisted tax system favoring the rich and powerful — to name a few of the major agenda items not even on the table for discussion by the two parties?”

 

Apparently, Mr. Nader’s “superior way to educate children” is the same as Mr. Pelto’s superior way to educate children -- which, for reasons not mysterious, is the same as the education lobby’s superior way to educate children. This method involves unlinking education outcomes and salaries, the rejection of testing to measure educational outcomes, and supporting without question or hesitation extravagant union demands, however much they strain taxpayers' ability to pay.

 

It may surprise Mr. Nader, but Steve Forbes -- to be sure, a successful businessman (via  his family's Forbes Magazine) and therefore suspect -- long ago supported a flat tax that even redundantly wealthy progressive tax supporters such as Warren Buffett would pay. Other Republicans favor a fair tax. The idle rich love progressive taxation because they alone are able to afford pricey tax lawyers to exploit a tax code awash in exceptions, which is why, come to think of it, Mr. Buffett’s  effective tax rate is less than that of his secretary.

 

Republican libertarian heartthrob Rand Paul, who most recently has called for demilitarizing the police -- police, mind you -- is the opposite of a warmonger, and the U.S.  Constitution has played a major role in Tea Party gatherings. One gasps at the thought that in some important respects Mr. Nader may be at heart a closet Randian Republican.

 

Mr. Nader’s fire in his column is pointed in two directions: at the Journal Inquirer newspaper,  of Manchester, which from time to time has spanked his backside, and at the notion that spoilers are spoilers.

 

Jon Pelto, for most of his life a Democrat, has entered this year’s gubernatorial contest as an Independent. Some reporters and commentators have noted that Mr. Pelto might well end up “spoiling” the campaign of Gov. Dannel Malloy, who prevailed over his Republican challenger, Tom Foley, in his first gubernatorial campaign by an uncomfortable razor-thin margin.

  In preference polls, Mr. Malloy noted recently, the needle hasn’t moved a jot since the first Malloy-Foley gubernatorial campaign. Mr. Foley once again is challenging the sitting  progressive Democratic governor and, marvel of marvels, the notion has been bruited about that Mr. Pelto’s Independent campaign might “spoil” Mr. Malloy’s progressive re-run against Mr. Foley – meaning that Mr. Pelto may draw a sufficient number of votes from Mr. Malloy so as to cause him to lose his gubernatorial election bid. A similar brief has been filed against Joe Visconti, once a Republican and now an Independent who is challenging Republican Party hegemony on the right.  Among some eccentrics on the left, the irascible Mr. Nader in particular, it has now become inadvisable to state the bald truth – which is this:

 

Jon Pelto’s presence in the gubernatorial race is designed to move Mr. Malloy further left, while Mr. Visconti’s presence in the gubernatorial race is designed to move Mr. Foley further right. Neither of them have a snowball’s chance in Hell of becoming governor. If either of them were successful in actually winning the gubernatorial contest, the victor will have been a successful spoiler.

 

The chief defect in Mr. Nader’s complex character is that he does not know when to stop protesting; this is the disabling defect of the entire Western World since the beginning of the Protestant Revolution, which helped lead to the Enlightenment. The protesters do not know when they have won; they continue protesting until all their gains have been lost.

 

Mr. Nader lives in Connecticut, the most progressive state in what used to be called, before the near total victory of the administrative state, the American Republic. He has won. He should go home, pop a beer, watch a ball game, and celebrate the destruction of the Republican Party in Connecticut.

 

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

 

Chris Powell: Conn. politics bathed in bile

MANCHESTER, Conn. On  Aug. 11, Tom Foley's commercials were disparaging his rival for the Connecticut Republican gubernatorial nomination,  state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney,  as a "career politician." But  the next night, after McKinney conceded the Republican primary election, Foley praised him for having spent "15 years defending Republican principles at the state Capitol" -- praised him for being a "career politician."

At their debate Aug. 10,  McKinney scorned Foley for taking positions that effectively made him a Democrat. But conceding  the next night, McKinney pledged to help Foley defeat that  other Democrat, Gov. Dan Malloy.

While the knives were sheathed so ironically on the Republican side, they were being drawn on the Democratic side.

The governor remarked that the winning Republican would repeal Connecticut's recent increase in the minimum wage and requirement for paid sick leave.

That's not likely, since repeal would be possible only with a Republican majority in the General Assembly, which hasn't happened in 30 years. The 16 years that Connecticut has had with Republican governors since then showed that a Republican governor can only put a little restraint on the legislature's Democratic majority -- can only slow the growth of government, not shrink it.

Besides, Foley has taken precious few positions on issues and they don't include repealing the minimum wage increase and paid sick leave.

The impending nasty theme of the Democratic campaign was indicated by its other statements  primary-election night. Foley was called "the quintessential 1-percenter" who "has spent his career making millions while destroying jobs."

That is, the Democratic campaign will be mainly character assassination, since, as Connecticut's decline continues and people are generally dissatisfied, emphasis on policy issues would favor the Republican candidate -- if he had any grasp of them.

Foley doesn't have such grasp yet even as the best deflection of character assassination might be the candidate's obsession with policy issues, an obsession conveyed by frequent addresses to the state rather than reliance on the usual empty or vicious ads.

People outside Connecticut's government and welfare classes sense that the state, as Foley says, is going in the wrong direction. But his claim of qualification -- his experience as a high-finance businessman -- is not likely to win him trust while the governor's campaign maligns him and while business is considered to be just as venal as government itself.

Desperate as Connecticut's circumstances are, generalities and inoffensiveness may not be mistaken for leadership.

* * *

Expectation of low turnout in the Republican primary renewed calls for Connecticut to adopt an open primary system, at least for letting unaffiliated voters help choose Republican nominees, the nominees of the minority party. The argument is that opening its primaries to unaffiliated voters would broaden the party's appeal and nominate more attractive and moderate candidates.

But open primaries are actually the  destruction of parties and political choice. For if anyone can vote in a party's primary without making even the slightest commitment to the party -- the commitment of registration -- there really is no party at all; the party is everybody.

The New Haven Register, Torrington Register-Citizen, and Middletown Press complained editorially the other day that Connecticut's 800,000 unaffiliated voters, the largest bloc in the state, could not participate in the Republican primary. But unaffiliateds could have participated easily just by enrolling as Republicans as late as the day before the primary. Unaffiliateds have no say in nominations only because they choose to have none.

Maybe in other states open primaries would favor more moderate candidates, but even extremists should have the right to form parties and get their nominees on the ballot, and the problem of Connecticut's Republican Party is not that it is too conservative. The party here is largely indifferent to the social issues that drive the left and right to hysteria. The problem of the party here is that, like its nominee for governor, it has so little to say.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

 

 

Chris Powell: Special interest by special interest

After soliciting support Monday from the convention of the Connecticut AFL-CIO -- that is, the government-employee unions, the jobs of private-sector organized labor in Connecticut having moved away -- Tom Foley, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, said it would be a "fool's errand" to try to reduce the privileges of government-employee unions here as lately was done in Wisconsin.

Foley insisted to the delegates that when he asked a rhetorical question last year -- "When is the Wisconsin moment going to come to Connecticut?" -- he meant no challenge to collective bargaining for government employees but only to Connecticut's domination by the Democratic Party.

He promised that a Foley administration would not seek to economize at the expense of state employees -- as if the biggest cost of government in Connecticut, the compensation of state and municipal employees, could be fully insulated against any serious attempt to reverse the state's decline.

But Foley's clumsy dissembling about a "Wisconsin moment" evoked only snickering and laughter from the delegates, and their leaders declared that he wasn't to be believed.

The "fool's errand" turned out to be only Foley's pandering to the government employees, which not only earned him their contempt but also risked the contempt of people hoping for a choice in the election for governor. For Foley had essentially proclaimed that he wouldn't change much about state government at all, that no one on the payroll has anything to fear from him, and that he will compete for votes with Gov. Dannel Malloy, the Democratic nominee, special interest by special interest.

Foley accomplished nothing at the labor convention and if he is elected what he said there will get in the way of his governing.

* * *

In turn the governor pandered too, only successfully, equating government employee unions with labor generally, thereby accepting the unions' image of themselves as the vanguard of the working class rather than its overseers, what the social critic Roger Kimball called "tenured radicals."

With that remark about a "Wisconsin moment," the governor said, Foley had been "going after organized labor, which I equate to going after the middle class." Of his administration the governor added, "We are not responsible for a single layoff in a municipality because of a budget cut we made."

Of course, the governor has raised taxes dramatically on the middle class -- indeed, by a record amount -- but he gave the union convention to understand that his highest objective will remain job security for government's own employees.

"I stand with labor," Malloy said. "I always have. I always will."

The delegates, most of them representing government employees, seemed pleased that the governor did not identify himself as a manager who represents everyone in the state and who thereby is obliged to try to get maximum value out of the government. But the delegates should have been far more pleased that Foley had forsworn that idea. Now they stand to win no matter who is elected. * * * Independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto criticized AFL-CIO leaders for refusing to let him address the convention. Pelto, the former Democratic state representative from Mansfield and longtime advocate of government-employee union supremacy, is running on a platform of punishing Malloy for having wondered aloud two years ago whether there might be more to public education than job security for teachers, a thought the governor quickly repudiated when he returned to his political senses.

Pelto said his exclusion "flies in the face of the democratic principles that are purported to be among the core values of unions." But Pelto's exclusion may have served him right for having been such an uncritical tool, and he should have known better. While he pitches ideological purity, the governor pays cash.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.