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We have Chet Martin of Freedom on Deck, Lee Elci from the Lee Elci Show, Alex Newman from the New American Magazine, and Julio Rivera of the Reactionary Times! For additional contributors, click here.

Courtney’s Silly Kerfuffle Over the Color of Air Force One
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 19 June 2019

I am completely perplexed by this one.

The president wants to paint Air Force One using the more patriotic colors red, white and blue — and some members of the House are pushing back? Our very own congressman, Joe Courtney, who has ruled the Second Congressional District for more than a decade, has helped convince the Democrat-controlled House Armed Services Committee to adopt his amendment requiring congressional approval for spending on the interior, paint and fixtures.

Courtney said, “Additional paint can add weight to the plane; additional fixtures inside the plane can also add cost and delays to the delivery of the plane.”

I respect Courtney’s diligence concerning the plane’s safety as well as his new found frugality. However, while I'm certainly no expert in paint, or exactly how much paint weighs, or even its role in aerodynamics, I have every confidence that the boys and girls over at the Pentagon will ultimately figure that one out.

Any aircraft of the United States Air Force carrying the president of the United States is considered "Air Force One." Reportedly, the first president to fly while in office was Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since then each president has had access to his own airplane. These aircraft have come in all shapes sizes and colors including the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, Douglas C-118 Liftmaster, a customized C-121, a Boeing 707, and today's 747.

Air Force One has many secrets, but we do know it's capable of traveling 8,000 miles and can refuel in flight. The "flying Oval Office" has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space with a conference room, quarters for the president and the first lady, an office area for senior staff members, and an office that converts into a medical facility when necessary. It has 26 crew and can accommodate just over 100 passengers.

Principal differences between Air Force One and the standard Boeing 747 include superior navigation, electronic and communications equipment. It has 20 TVs ( I assume all on Fox News) and is equipped with classified security and defense systems, including measures to protect on-board electronics against the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion.

Are the Democrats mad that Trump wants to change colors or are they upset that he wants to change them to red, white and blue? The current iconic look of Air Force One has been the same since the ‘60s during the Kennedy administration, so maybe it's long overdue for a makeover. One of the perks of becoming president should be the freedom to paint your plane any colors you want. Trump wants the aircraft to represent the flag.

I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.

Maybe future presidents can paint Air Force One depending on mood or circumstance. Pink for Breast Cancer awareness month or rainbow colors for Gay Pride month. How about painting a thin blue line down the side to represent the work that police do? What if a president’s favorite sports team wins the championship? Someday, you may see the president’s chariot all decked out in Celtic Green with a big Shamrock on the tail.

How long does it take for paint to dry, anyway? Maybe alter the plane to help ease tensions or make political statements. Imagine, for example, the president is flying to Africa for a conference on global warming: Maybe paint a big lion on the wing, sweating profusely because he's too hot.

Perhaps if a president is jet-setting over to the Netherlands for an economic summit, the interior lighting crew could replace the airplane’s mundane lighting with a crimson shade to mimic Amsterdam’s red-light district. Everyone would be so much more comfortable.

OK, I’m getting silly and sarcastic. But you know what isn’t funny; elected leaders in Congress wasting time on such a trivial matter. Painting the plane with patriotic colors has somehow instigated another furious divisive controversy? What garbage!

If Trump wanted to paint the Air Force One gold with a big dollar sign on the side, then I’d agree about it being inappropriate. But he wants to paint it the patriotic colors of this country. Why is this controversial? Read Full Article

Smart Mexican Strategy is the Latest Trump Triumph Media Refuses to Recognize
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 12 June 2019

President Donald Trump announced late last week he had reached a border immigration agreement with Mexico and his threat of imposing tariffs on that country would be suspended. Almost immediately, the left-leaning media outlets went on the attack.

The 24/7 slash-and-burn tactics — from cable news networks as well as headlines from the print media — attempted to paint President Trump as a bully, a liar, and a fool. The New York Times front page header stated, "Conditions in Pact to Avert Tariffs Were Set Months Ago," while The Washington Post chipped in with the headline "Deal Just a Temper Tantrum." Always such animosity, always such hate.

An almost exact, echoing chorus was sung by all the Democratic presidential wannabes as they made the rounds in Iowa. The candidates, even the moderates, have gone so far to the left that a completely open-border policy is becoming Democrat mainstream.

No matter what this president accomplishes, it’s always met with enthusiastic cynicism.

In times of great triumphs, a president must get the accolades — just as, in times of great hardship, the president must accept the blame. That’s the price anyone pays for residency in the Oval Office. Often, positive administration accomplishments are under-reported, spun, or ignored. Under this president, we are at historic lows in unemployment with more Americans working than ever recorded in our history. President Trump engineered a historic tax cut, the economy is booming, and he was front and center with bombing ISIS back into the stone age. These are successes that half of the country wants to ignore.

Keep in mind: I am not always lockstep with Trump’s vernacular, technique and or his foreign policy tactics. However, in this case, his plan to pressure the Mexican government made perfect sense. To artificially incentivize an obligated Mexico into fulfilling immigration promises previously made is a brilliant negotiating tactic.

It may be true the deal was discussed back in December, but it wasn't being enforced, and even if Trump never intended to implement tariffs, the Mexican officials believed he might. That was enough to move the needle and get them to act. Using our financial might to our advantage simply makes sense. Mexico is now doing more to stop illegal immigration than any single member of Congress. Even if, down the road, Mexico reneges on the deal and pulls back the 6,000-plus military personal designated to curb the northward flow of illegals, a global spotlight has been aimed on their failure to exercise immigration security within their own country. Trump simply pushed a whole bunch of poker chips into the center of the table and Mexico folded.

The southern border has turned into an exercise in chaos. U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed that May apprehensions topped 144,000. That means, to date, there have been 676,315 apprehensions in 2019 — a doubling over this time last year. Agents have increased their estimate of illegals eventually being stopped at the border this calendar year to over the one million mark. These are the ones that are caught! How many make it through unseen?

These numbers are unsustainable — even for the greatest nation on Earth. Over one million illegal entries in a year means on average nearly 3,000 immigrants try to cross the border each day, and many of them are exploiting existing asylum and refugee laws. Immigrant asylum seekers are supposed to settle in the first safe country they enter and not go window shopping for the best place to land. Mexico has been ignoring or even assisting the illegal migration north from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. These three countries make up the Northern Triangle of Central America. It's economically detrimental for Mexico to help or house these migrants, so they assist in ferrying them towards America.

Once an immigrant reaches the United States and asks for asylum, protocol is radically altered. The backlog in U.S. immigration courts reached an all-time high in March 2018 with more than 690,000 open deportation cases. On average, these cases had been pending for 718 days and remained unresolved. Immigrants are given promises to appear and most, up to 90 percent, just disappear into the fabric of America. Read Full Article

A Better Plan for Family and Medical Leave
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 5 June 2019

Connecticut has joined five states — California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Washington and the District of Columbia — by passing a law guaranteeing paid family and medical leave. The bill wobbled a bit but eventually passed in the House 79-69 and was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont. This is a brand new 0.5 percent tax hike on your weekly earnings that will go directly into a state FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) trust fund.

The legislation requires all employees in Connecticut to participate. Wait! Did I say all? I'm sorry, I meant to say all employees exceptstate and municipal employees. So: State union paychecks will remain the same, but your weekly check will get a little smaller, and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

How do you qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave? If you or your spouse has a child, or you or a family member has a serious health condition, you can qualify for time off. If someone you consider family (but is not necessarily family) is sick, you can qualify. If there's an emergency arising from a family member on active duty, or if you are serving as an organ or bone marrow donor, you can also use the paid leave. Most of these are seemingly valid reasons to seek time off.

But— another big, state-run bureaucracy, one that many expect will hemorrhage money before the ink dries on the bill, is not my idea of responsible governing. Most opponents of the law have taken the position that it will be grossly underfunded and will quickly need additional revenues to make it sustainable. It also opens up a variety of loopholes for fraud and abuse.

So, if my fifth cousin on my mother’s side is having her appendix out, do I get three months off? The answer is ...yes!

I'm not insinuating that paid family leave is a terrible idea. Here are some numbers that may surprise you: Eighty-five percent of Americans don't have access to paid family leave, and 62 percent of households have both parents in the workforce, which creates an often-impossible situation when it comes to caring for a newborn. Each month in which at least one parent is home an infant’s mortality rate can drop up to 13% and a mother’s mental and physical health dramatically stabilize.

These are things we should want as a society; in fact, we actually do want them. Seventy-four percent of registered voters support this idea. However, Connecticut's version of paid family leave appears to be another legislative nightmare.

Normally, I would be in favor of giving more power to each individual state, but in the case of paid family leave, the idea of a federal program makes more sense. A conservative approach for paid family and medical leave would impose no new taxes, no business mandate, no new entitlement, and it would be completely optional. Assuming we fix Social Security — and we must — the solution to paid family and medical leave is simple.

You’d be allowed to take off up to three months per calendar year for a newborn or adopted child, a medical emergency, or family emergency. In fact, you would have a lot more freedom to dictate what you determine to be important enough to take time off for, because essentially you would be using your own money on your own borrowed time.

Essentially you would borrow days against your future Social Security entitlement. Your retirement clock would simply move to mirror the time you’ve taken off. This would shift the burden and responsibility back to the individual and eliminate all the peripheral issues this new law would encounter, including fraud. You can take the time off but now you must be more responsible, since it would be delaying your eventual retirement. Read Full Article

Appreciating the Sacrifice of Our Fallen Soldiers
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 29 May 2019

Monday was the 49th official federal observance of Memorial Day. Initially known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War but became an official federal holiday in 1971. Not surprisingly, only 55 percent of Americans can correctly define Memorial Day as a holiday honoring the men and women who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. What is sometimes lost in the translation is Memorial Day is not a celebration, but a sober remembrance of warriors who have fallen.

Take a moment and think about that. We are honoring fallen soldiers: Men and women whose last breath on this earth was in defense of our nation's freedoms. We only get one ride on this big blue marble, and making the conscious choice to sacrifice yourself for "God and Country" is not only honorable, but poetic, heartbreaking and heroic as well.

Looking at these men and women who served, you realize they possess a camaraderie with their fellow soldiers and a connection to this country that civilians will never fully understand. Currently, 1 percent of the nation's population defends the other 99 percent. No mandatory enlistment or military draft and we still have the finest trained, best-funded, best-equipped fighting force the world has ever known. This super-ultra minority of one-percenters have accepted the responsibility for our safety as well as the world's - ready to fight and die if ordered.

Those deaths are not always majestic. There is little Hollywood in the final moments of a fighting soldier's life. I have the unique opportunity through my radio program to speak with veterans regularly. I make it a point to do themed-based military shows that allow them to tell their stories. Much of what they share - and the nightmares they often endure - can only be described as gruesome and horrific.

Many were shot, stabbed or hit with napalm. One soldier, "Stan," told me that he was in such close proximity to his best friend that, when his pal was hit with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) he actually wound up wearing his buddy's body fragments on his uniform.

Other stories - of helicopter crashes, night ambushes, sniper fire and IED explosions - are all too common. The horror stories come from soldiers who fought in the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the conflicts in the Gulf and in Afghanistan. Looking into the eyes of these battle weary vets, you can see the emotional scars that they carry for fallen brothers and sisters. Some have held onto this pain for many decades.

World War II veterans talk with an inner strength and somber peacefulness that I imagine stems from a place deep within their souls where they have come to fully understand what they achieved was both epic and necessary. The Vietnam vets' description of war always seems more chaotic, almost as if there was no direction with zero military objective. Just a bunch of men in a jungle or a rice paddy trying to stay alive. The Nam vets were devastated by the way they were treated when they returned stateside. That's a societal sin that we as a nation can never let happen again. The Persian Gulf and Afghanistan vets seem much more together and confident, but that can be deceiving since the military suicide rate still sits at a staggering 20.6 per day. War is hell and you can't escape it.

I'm racked with guilt whenever I hear combat soldiers tell the blood-soaked stories of war. I feel like a spectator on the sidelines of the most important game in history. One of my biggest regrets was not signing on the dotted line and serving my country. It wasn't until much later on in my life where I began to understand the magnitude of what being an American soldier meant. I'd like to think I would have made a good soldier, but no one really knows how you'll react when the bullets start flying.

On Sunday, I took a walk through a New London cemetery and was floored by the surprising number of military flags adorned adjacent to headstones. I couldn't help but notice the men who died in conflicts dating back to the Civil War. If you add up all the U.S. military deaths from all of our wars, it would be over 1.1 million. Those fallen military members are the ones we recognize on Memorial Day. Read Full Article

Join Toll Fight or Don’t Bother Complaining
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 22 May 2019

What if they held an anti-toll rally and less than a mathematical rounding error showed up?

What if a group of motivated, well-intentioned people, led by Patrick Sasser at Notollsct.org, meticulously organized and planned a protest in Hartford for months — only to be met by disappointment when just a fraction of the crowd they had hoped for assembled? What if that same no-tolls group made multiple radio and television appearances, in addition to a big grassroots social media push, only to be short-circuited by a low turnout? What if all those things happened?

They did.

The cynical side of me might start to think that too many people simply just don't care.

For last Saturday’s anti-toll rally, Capital Police had the count at approximately 2,100 peaceful patriots protesting in the shadow of Hartford’s golden dome. About 3.5 million people live in Nutmeg State. That means .0006 percent of the Connecticut’s population showed up to protest.

A Sacred Heart University poll of the state’s residents found 59 percent oppose electronic highway tolls and only 34.7 percent of residents surveyed support the idea. That means, theoretically, about 2 million residents oppose erecting electronic gantries.

But only 2,000 show up? That is the definition of apathy.

I understand it was the first nice weekend in May and your kids maybe had Little League or soccer. Yes, there were proms and college graduation parties. I know the grass needs to be cut, the dog walked, barbecues were scheduled. Maybe your allergies were acting up. Life is busy.

Still, 2,000 people showing up for such an important event is disappointing.

The protesters who did show up were amazing. I know, because I was there. They were respectful and energized. They displayed their homemade signs, waved American Flags, many decked out head to toe in red, white and blue. Some came to the rally out of anger, some frustration, and some genuine despair; all prepared to fight another potential overreach and over taxation from Connecticut’s elected elite.

We’re talking hardworking people who simply can't afford to give anymore. They have drawn the proverbial final line in the sand. If Connecticut adopts tolls, many will conclude they have no choice but to find another state, pack up and move.

On Saturday, Connecticut state representatives and senators stood side by side with those construction workers, bartenders, photographers, landscapers and truck drivers. State Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides spoke along with Transportation Committee ranking members Rep. Laura Devlin and Senator Henri Martin.

I may have missed a few, but I did see state Reps. Crag Fishbein, Mike France, Doug Dubitsky, Devin Carney, Tom Delnicki, along with state Senator George Logan.

I made the attempt to say hello to former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, but he was being swarmed by supporters while handing out No Tolls T-shirts. It was essentially a who's who of Republican anti-tollers.

Two-hundred-and-forty-four years ago, our forefathers put their lives on the line to fight back against a tyrannical king. The memorable last sentence in the Declaration of Independence reads; "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Those men were willing to give up everything to battle against oppression. Other men motivated by their vision fought, bled and died in battles at Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Kings Mountain.

In total, 25,000 men lost their lives in the Revolutionary War — 8,000 in combat and as a result of poor diet, exposure, disease and unsanitary conditions.

Fast forward two centuries and most of our state residents can’t be bothered to give up one Saturday afternoon in pursuit of economic freedom. That apathy is what the powerbrokers in Hartford are counting on.

There are reports that Gov. Ned Lamont is willing to postpone the idea of tolls until a possible summer special session. If so, that’s a small victory you can attribute to the minority of men and women who stood up and fought. (Well, that and a lack of cohesion from the Democrats, who clearly appear to be begging for leadership from Lamont and not getting it.)

Remember, however, if you couldn’t find the time to join the fight, and someday that first toll bill arrives at your house from the state, the only person you should blame will be looking back at you in the mirror. Read Full Article

Feel-Good Minimum Wage Hike is Bad Economic Policy
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 15 May 2019

Break out your long-range wall calendar, grab a red Sharpie, and put a big fat circle around Oct. 15, 2023. That's the special day when all of Connecticut's workforce will be making a minimum of $15 per hour.

Every dishwasher, cashier, burger-flipper, lifeguard, street-sweeper, lunch lady, ticket taker, movie projectionist and grocery bagger will pocket $600 — minus taxes, of course — for a 40-hour work week. Don't misunderstand me: Every single job has its own distinct level of dignity, and all those who get up every day and break their backs to put food on the table should be proud of what they do.

However, by drastically increasing the minimum wage, you're essentially killing business and jobs.

By a vote of 85-59, the Democratic majority in the House passed the first minimum-wage bill since 2014. If it passes in the Senate (I'd be shocked if it didn't), it heads to Gov. Lamont's desk for his signature. What Hartford Democrats don't seem to comprehend (or refuse to admit) is that the negative repercussions from this bill will shake Connecticut's workforce to the core.

Other cities and states have signed off on the wage increase and the results are less than spectacular. Economists at Harvard Business School examined restaurant closures in the San Francisco Bay Area and they found that a $1 increase in the minimum wage led to a 10 percent increase in the likelihood of a restaurant closing. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, its estimated California will lose approximately 400,000 jobs by 2022 when its $15 minimum wage is completely phased in.

New York City's minimum wage jumped more than 15 percent overnight on January 1 and employers are already cutting workers' hours as a result. Retail and food service employees are hit especially hard by mandated wage increases. When the restaurants and store fronts disappear, what will these people do? Speaking with one local legendary restaurant icon this week — I won't mention his name, but my hint is " I coulda been a contender" — he was adamant that he'd love to pay employees more, but it's not business practical. For many Connecticut establishments, it's business impossible.

Think of it this way: You have five employees at a local bakery and they're all making $10 an hour. If you bump all five salaries to $15, the bakery owner will now be saddled with a minimum hourly payroll increase of $25. Multiply that by eight hours a day and now this bakery must come up with an extra $200 per workday. That's $1,000 extra a week, $52,000 extra a year.

And these numbers are just for the lowest-earning company workers.

Compensation for managers and supervisors will presumably go up in proportion to the mandated raises given to lower-level workers. When the minimum wage goes up, everything goes up — workers' comp and payroll taxes, for example. Small business will be forced to raise prices or cut workers.

If raising the minimum wage is such a good thing, why just raise it to $15? Why not $25 or $50? Is the minimum wage an entry-level salary or is it a living wage? At $15 an hour, it's neither. A family of four will struggle mightily to live on that income, while most businesses can't make a profit paying delivery boys 15 bucks an hour to sling pizza. It's a losing proposition for everyone.

After 2023, the minimum wage would be hooked into the Employment Cost Index, which is a measure of wage-growth calculated by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, if the index goes up 2 percent then the minimum goes up 2 percent. If the index goes down, the pay remains constant. By the year 2030, Connecticut's minimum wage will be closer to $20 than $15. How can a fast-food restaurant pay teens close to $150 a day to serve milkshakes?

It can't. Read Full Article

Deeply disappointed by Connecticut DEEP
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 8 May 2019

I am deeply disappointed with the D.E.E.P. This acronym stands for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The name is a misnomer since almost every time a news story mentions this group, it almost inevitably ends with the destruction of wildlife. Case in point: Just a few weeks ago yet another young black bear was euthanized. I read of no attempts to relocate or rehabilitate the animal, just a quick decision to destroy. I thought the department’s job is to protect animals. Maybe that protection phrase means job protection?

I’ve only dialed up the DEEP three times in my life — and, in each instance, the response was less than stellar. The first time I called, I stumbled across a distressed bird on the edge of my property. I was dispensed with at lightning speed and with condescending apathy. The officer explained they don't do birds and my best bet was to look online for a sanctuary. I did but, but in the end, it was too late. Within a few hours that bird was dead.

The second instance came when I found a baby rabbit (about as big as my thumb) flopping around near a sewer grate very close to oncoming traffic. I watched the helpless creature fumble about and only decided to intervene when the poor little guy tumbled into the road. It was after 5 p.m., so when I called I was transferred to their after-hours information menu – which offered no solutions. I wound up tracking down a small animal rehab group and drove all the way to Enfield at midnight to hand over the tiny fur-ball.

The last encounter also took place in my neighborhood. I spotted a full-grown coyote sauntering along the double yellow line smack dab in the middle of the street. Thinking something was slightly amiss, I called the DEEP and the officer nonchalantly asked me if the animal was acting peculiar. Jokingly, I answered. "I don't see any ACME boxes nearby."

Apparently I’m not the first comedian to hit state employees with that joke. He quickly hung up on me, but not before telling me to call back if the animal started acting peculiar.

If it's my job to save/rescue injured or sick animals, why are my tax dollars going to the DEEP? What exactly does the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection do?

Please don't get the idea that I'm insinuating that the entire organization is flawed. There are great people and great animal advocates that work for the DEEP. However it appears a culture of killing has emerged, and it's running wild. Almost weekly, we hear of bears — sometimes very young cubs — being destroyed because they're deemed a nuisance.

According to a source at DEEP, who asked to remain anonymous, it's well known that there’s a quiet practice of exterminating bears by chemical euthanasia as well as sanctioned elimination, using firearms, by wildlife staff. The source explained bears are being caught in culvert traps and instead of being tagged and released, many are being hit with a huge dose of ketamine and euthanized. What you see/hear in the news is just a small fraction of the black bears that are being destroyed. Read Full Article

Connecticut Democrats Again Prepare to Hit Us with Higher Taxes
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 1 May 2019

The Connecticut Democrat-controlled legislature might as well grab all state residents and shake them upside down, freeing every cent from our pockets. At least that would be a straight-forward approach, a simple and clean fleecing.

Instead, every new tax-related whisper coming from Hartford is insulting. The self-righteous, all-powerful, progressive left spits out new ways to tax us almost daily and expects the state’s residents to thank them and ask for another.

The ultimate goal: Separating you from your money.

This is essentially the same group of politicians with the same ideas who have fiscally failed us over and over. Tax and spend and then tax again. It’s like the state-revenue version of the shampoo instructions: “wash/rinse/repeat,” but instead “tax/spend/repeat.”

In case you missed it, Democratic leaders in Hartford, led by Gov. Ned Lamont, have been advocating an avalanche of regressive taxes including tolls and sales tax expansion, which would mean taxes on boat storage, digital downloads, textbooks, newspapers, campground rentals, bicycle helmets, child car seats, vegetable seeds, laundry services, non-prescription drugs, etc., etc. — oh, and on plastic bags.

There are rumblings of a half-penny sales tax surcharge to funnel money into poorer communities. (Don't we already funnel enough money into poorer communities?) And I almost forgot about grabbing an extra percent for paid family leave.

The total tax increases, with tolls, would be close to $2 billion. Read Full Article

Connecticut Shuddered Under Horsemen’s Hooves
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 24 April 2019

According the Book of Revelation, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear with the opening of the seven seals that bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse.

The first horseman rides a white horse, which scholars sometimes interpret to symbolize Christ or the anti-Christ; the second horseman rides a red horse that symbolizes war and bloodshed; the third rides a black horse and that symbolizes famine; and the fourth horseman rides a pale horse and represents pestilence and death.

Which got me thinking, who are “The Four Horsemen of Connecticut’s Apocalypse?” Given Connecticut’s perpetually chaotic situation, who are the four individuals who rode in and destructively impacted Connecticut’s economic, political, and social well-being?

Boastfully riding atop the back of the white horse sits former governor John G. Rowland, the Republican golden boy who some believed destined for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He couldn't beat back his all-consuming demons and lust for greed and power. Always the smartest most politically savvy statesmen in any room, Rowland in the end represented everything we all despise most in our political leaders. He lied, he stole, he cheated.

On Dec. 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to corruption and depriving the public of honest service. He was sentenced in a New Haven courtroom on March 18, 2005 to one year and one day in prison. He was arrested again on Sept. 19, 2014 and eventually convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission, and causing illegal campaign contributions. Rowland fell the hardest and furthest from grace.

Riding fast on the red horse is former Democratic governor Dannel P. Malloy. After promising not once, but twice, not to raise taxes, Malloy pulled a 180-degree change and delivered devastating double knockout tax blows — one in his first term another in his second — to an already faltering Connecticut economy.

Businesses packed up and left the state for greener pastures. Connecticut became one of the few states that have begun to see declines in population numbers. In all, Malloy's tax increases cost upwards of $2.5 billion. In 2018, this horseman had the dubious honor of becoming the country’s least popular governor with an approval rating falling below 15 percent.

While Rowland hurt the state with his corrupt behavior and Malloy effectively threw a stone to a sinking economy, it was the policy decision of another governor that summoned the apocalypse upon Connecticut.

Appropriately mounted on back of the black horse is former U.S. representative, senator and 85th governor of Connecticut, Lowell P. Weicker Jr. In every interview I've watched featuring Weicker, he seems like a wonderfully authentic, honest man; however, he can’t escape his biggest political sin.

In 1991, the state was faced with a monstrous, projected $2.1 billion budget deficit. Weicker, a former Republican elected governor as a third-party candidate, went back on his campaign pledge and force fed a 6 percent income tax on Connecticut residents. Accounting for inflation, it was the biggest tax increase in state history (Malloy’s increases were larger in pure dollars).

The tax has been an albatross around the necks of Nutmeggers ever since. Low growth and ratings near the bottom of almost every fiscal metric can be traced back to Weicker’s colossal tax blunder. Read Full Article

Either Simplify Federal Tax or Cue Godzilla
by Lee Elci - Wednessday, 17 April 2019

I waited until the very last second to file my federal and state income taxes this year. Actually, I wait until the last second every year, hoping against hope that maybe a UFO might land in Manhattan or Godzilla might pop up in the Pacific Ocean, causing everyone at the IRS to conveniently forget about April 15.

No such luck again this year.

I never get a refund. Each year I hold my breath, do my taxes, and then inevitably rumble around the house for the next 48 hours slamming doors, kicking furniture and muttering the ugliest of obscenities. Sanity only returns when my sidekick and best pal Ozzy gazes deeply into my eyes and hits me with the patented golden retriever tilted head smile. The Ozman is not much help as far as tax expertise goes, but when his tail is wagging, he is terrific at anger management.

This year was the perfect storm. The few deductions I once enjoyed were all eliminated while the generous deductions that remained didn't pertain to me. The elimination of the un-reimbursed employee expenses deduction hit me, and many others, particularly hard. You can no longer deduct certain work expenses and the mileage deduction has disappeared.

I am digging deep, real deep, in 2019 to pay for my minuscule 2018 weekly increase in salary. And I'm not the only one. I would estimate more than half of the people I have talked with are less than euphoric with the bottom-line, win/loss results from President Trump’s tax cuts. Most people saw modest gains in their weekly paycheck but wound up giving much of it back on April 15.

Don't mistake my less than enthusiastic reaction to my personal 2018 tax returns as an indication that I am against tax cuts. I am always for giving people more access to their money. More money in people’s pockets grows the economy. It's a very simple idea. When you give individuals more of their own money to spend, they will go out and buy goods and services and that in turn will create more jobs. Those new employees at those new jobs will also turn into taxpayers.

It is like throwing a pebble into a pond. The economic ripple effect is felt by everyone. You learn that on the first day in college Eco 101. Read Full Article

So what’s the Problem? You can’t Handle Ideas You don’t Like?
by Lee Elci - Thursday, 11 April 2019

It has come to my attention that a handful of regular readers to The Day have threatened to cancel their longtime newspaper subscriptions because of the conservative-leaning column written weekly by yours truly. Granted, people threatening to cancel their subscriptions when they see something they don’t like in the newspaper is as old as newspapers. But cashing in your chips and running for the hills because someone has an alternative point of view? One 800-word, right-leaning column is a cause of such stress and heartache that you ditch a regular routine and a source of so much information?

I can't believe you’d give up so easily.

There is a good chance your parents and their parents before them read this newspaper. It's likely every significant personal life milestone — your birth, your marriage, family obituaries — were chronicled on the pages of The Day. I'm sure when the nation wept over 9-11 or the space shuttle disaster, you turned to these pages to get much of your information and find local connections. When local issues challenged and changed Connecticut's landscape, including BRAC threatening the closure of the submarine base, eminent domain, and the birth of the casinos — you turned to this publication.

But now you’re ending this relationship because of me? One little sliver of right-slanted philosophy in a sea of blue has caused you to turn your back on these daily pages?

I'm sorry, but that reeks of cowardice.

The Day shouldn't be criticized for adding a new perspective; they should be cheered. Now, there's a chance you just don't like me — and that line seemingly gets longer every day. In a letter to the editor one reader suggested she “lost an IQ point or two from just reading” my column. I felt bad about that since I know IQ points are tough to come by. But IQ aside, burying your head in the sand because of an opposite point of view is not the answer.

This political tunnel vision is a major factor in the polarization and hateful partisanship this country is currently suffering through. Isn't the idea to seek out, listen and absorb every potential idea and then make the decision for ourselves? Isn't that how people grow, how great ideas are conceived? There is that old saying: For an eagle to fly straight, she needs a left and a right wing. Without both, she just flies in circles. Read Full Article

Cut Student-Athletes in on Riches Being Made
by Lee Elci - April 3, 2019

For the first time in maybe ever I agree with Senator Chris Murphy. Recently, Connecticut’s junior Democratic senator, along with some others, including University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, finally tackled the issue of paying college athletes. I've been a champion on behalf of ponying up for players for almost two decades. Nice to see the rest of you finally seeing the light.

Pay the student-athletes.

The NCAA is a money-making machine. In 2016-17, for the first time, the organization pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue. There are over 100 million viewers watching basketball’s March Madness. Advertising dollars have skyrocketed, a 30-second TV tournament ad nets a network $1 million.

Basketball and football are the cash cows. Universities – some tax exempt – virtually have a license to print money through athletics: Monstrous broadcasting contracts, sold-out stadiums and arenas, and lucrative commercial endorsements keep money rolling in.

In 2018, for example, the University of Texas athletic department brought in $214.8 million and spent school records of $64.4 million on coaching staffs and $43.2 million on facilities. In 41 states the highest-paid public employees are coaches.

Almost all major universities have signed mega-deals with apparel companies like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. In some cases, these schools respectively get upwards of $10 million in cash and/or apparel per school year. Everyone is getting rich off the sweat, honor and effort of these kids. Read Full Article