Democrats Won A Battle – Now Win the War

Democrats won a battle yesterday with the defeat of the Republican AHCA bill.  But this is just one battle in the war over healthcare in America.  Now they need to counterattack.  Obamacare is not perfect by any stretch.  And until Democrats get back in power, it is not likely to get much better.  In fact, with Tom Price in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, things could get worse.  But at least 24 million people will still have health insurance.

Democrats can start their counterattack by proposing that a “public option” be inserted into the Affordable Care Act.  If people are faced with little or no choice of insurance provider, at least give them the option of buying into Medicare.  Put some real competition into the system with a program that is cost effective and comprehensive in scope.  Push Democratic members of Congress to either support a public option in the 2018 election season or expect a primary challenge from somebody who does.  Stop protecting Democratic congressmen and senators who want to continue the corporate friendly position of forcing people to buy health insurance from companies that pay their executives millions of dollars a year while you continue to have expensive premiums with high deductibles and co-pays.

Democrats stood together in their opposition to the AHCA and guess what?  They won!  Now take it to the Republicans and force them to say that they don’t want to give their constituents a simple choice – a public option in Obamacare.

Congressional Democrats Must Resist Trump

I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and I need to say what I think.  Democrats in Congress should do everything in their power to resist and subvert everything Donald Trump wants to do as President of the United States.  No reaching across the aisle.  No bipartisanship.  No compromise on anything, no matter how good it may seem on the surface.  And here’s why.

First of all, that is exactly what congressional Republicans did to President Obama for eight years. And while I didn’t always agree with all of his decisions and positions on issues, I always knew him to be a good and decent man who always had the best interests of our country first and foremost in his mind and, more importantly, in his heart. Yet, according to the PBS program, “Frontline,” on the night of President Obama’s first inauguration in January of 2009 a group of Republican leaders, including now-Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, met in a Washington steakhouse to discuss how to deal with the new Obama administration.  After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything.  Their goal was clear, to delegitimize the first African-American President, ensure his failure, and limit him to one term.

I believe Donald Trump is not only unfit to be our President, but that, at his core, he is a bad person.  I don’t believe for one minute that he has the best interests of our country in mind, but that he puts his own personal interests, and those of his family first and foremost.  His ideas are vague for a reason.  He wants to be able to change them at will if it serves his own purpose.  I don’t believe he has the best interests of our country in his heart because I don’t believe he listens to his heart.  He appears to me to be a greedy sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants regardless of who he steps on in the process.

Beginning today and continuing for the next four years, I plan to be contacting my members of Congress on a regular basis, in writing, by phone and in person to urge them to resist everything that Mr. Trump and his allies in Congress, Republican and Democrat, want to do.  Compromising with him in the spirit of “bipartisanship” will only serve to legitimize his Presidency.  He doesn’t deserve that kind of recognition.  As I said before, I believe him to be a fraud and a fundamentally bad person.

I have one last point to make.  I believe that sometime in the near future, Mr. Trump will do something so flagrant that constitutes an “impeachable offense.”  When that happens, I hope that Democrats in Congress refrain from getting on the impeachment train and, instead, put the onus of charging him, trying him, and removing him from office strictly on the backs of the Republican members of Congress.  The Republican Party created Donald Trump.  They nominated Donald Trump.  They elected Donald Trump.  And it should be on them to take responsibility for the damage that he inevitably creates without any help from their “friends across the aisle.”

I’ve Had Enough of the Colorado Democratic Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last Wednesday I changed my party affiliation from Democrat to Unaffiliated.  I did my best to stick with them in spite of my many misgivings about the positions that our state Democratic leaders staked out on a number of issues.  A few years ago I circulated an online petition which gathered over 5000 signatures asking Gov. Hickenlooper to intervene in the dispute between the Douglas County Board of Education and the Douglas County Federation of Teachers.  And in spite of the fact that all I got for that effort was the sound of crickets, I stayed with the Colorado Democrats.  For more than a year I made calls and wrote letters to Sen. Michael Bennet pleading with him to oppose the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  He not only voted for it, he had the nerve to vote to override President Obama’s veto of that bill.  But I stayed with the Colorado Democrats.  I also wrote and called Senator Bennet’s office asking that he publicly state his opposition to a lameduck vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership.  I got no response whatsoever.  But I stayed with the Colorado Democrats.  This spring I attended my local Democratic caucus and proudly gave my support to Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for President.  And I was elated when he won our state by a hefty margin.  Then the Colorado Democratic Party threw its support behind Hillary Clinton.  I was angry with what they did, but did my part by voting for Secretary Clinton.

Then last Tuesday happened and I finally had enough.  I’m tired of the elitist, centrist, corporate-friendly, anti-labor arrogance of people like Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Rick Palacio and others who look down their noses at people like me, people who have gone along with their schtick, telling myself that it’s better to let them have my vote than letting the other side win.

Not anymore.  I’ve also had enough with this website and the people who run it.  If you see your mission as one of propping up the positions of the people I’ve mentioned here, I guess you should feel good about yourselves.  But if you measure your success by how much you move the needle in favor of progressive ideas and values, you have certainly fallen short.

There is a lot of talk in the media right now about an effort being formulated to redefine and remake the Democratic Party.  Part of that effort could involve finding state party leaders who are more in tune with the plight of average Americans rather than with Wall Street, big banks, big agriculture, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and the rest of corporate America.  I hope that movement happens and that it happens very soon.  The 2018 congressional election is right around the corner.  In the meantime, I will remain unaffiliated.  That is, unless the Colorado Democratic Party changes its tune or until something better comes along.

Where Does Michael Bennet Stand On the Issues?

Wow!  I can’t believe that Michael Bennet would say these things.

Here are some of the issues I’ll fight for as your Colorado U.S. Senator

• End endless wars

• Adopt single payer national health insurance

• Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget

• No to nuclear power, solar energy first

• Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare

• Open up the Presidential debates

• Adopt a carbon pollution tax

• Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East

• Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law

• Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax

• Put an end to ballot access obstructionism designed by elites to exclude people and control election outcomes

• Work to end corporate personhood

• Defend, Restore and Strengthen the Civil Justice System

• Increase minimum wage to $15 an hour

• Make college free

• Equal pay for women

• Pathway to citizenship

• End foreign aid to countries except for humanitarian crisis

• Abolish nuclear weapons

• Ban on fracking

• Vote against the Trans Pacific Partnership

• Get America off fossil fuel by 2050 and make the Paris Summit COP21 agreement binding

• Reject Super PAC, Corporation and special interest funds

Tax Reform Issues:

• Enforcing stiffer penalties for offending institutions, including revoking the corporate charters of accounting and law firms and banks that facilitate the hiding of global wealth;

• Crack down on U.S. jurisdictions like Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada whose laws allow shell corporations to hold and transfer wealth anonymously;

• Creating an independent global commission on tax dodging that has the subpoena power to investigate and bring transparency to this global shadow banking system;

• And institute a global tax on all earnings by US-based multinational corporations.

Aw, shucks!!  I was mistaken.  Michael Bennet didn’t say these things.  Arn Menconi, the Green Party candidate for Colorado Senate did.  Who knew?!!!

Lame Duck Sessions, the TPP, and Michael Bennet

Even though the 2016 Democratic Party platform will have a weak statement against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, I am not convinced that some of our members of Congress, particularly Senator Michael Bennet will heed their advice.  In spite of the fact that virtually every labor and environmental group opposes the deal, President Obama wholeheartedly supports it.  In fact, he’s its biggest promoter and wants its passage in order to solidify his legacy.  So do all of the Republicans who currently control both houses of Congress.  And that’s what makes me think that they will attempt to pass the TPP during a lame duck session after the election.  That way, those who are leaving Congress cannot be held accountable and those who remain will be the furthest away, in time, from their next election.  There will be plenty of time for people to forget.  In Bennet’s case, six years.

Bennet has been a supporter of TPP from the start.  And recently, he was reminded of that fact when he became the only member of the Congressional delegation from Colorado that did not receive the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet issued surprise rebuke from AFL-CIO

He was also one of only thirteen Democrats in the Senate who voted with Republicans to fast track the bill by voting for the TPA.

Based on what I have seen from Sen. Bennet’s actions in the past, I have to think that he would gladly vote for passage of the TPP during a lame duck session.  I hope he has the good sense to change his position and vote NO if it does come to a vote.  But I doubt that he will unless the folks who sent him to Washington in the first place let him know where they stand.  I stand opposed to the TPP and, since the TPA rules do not allow it to be amended in any way, it should not come to a vote at any time, particularly during a lame duck session.  And if it does, Sen. Bennet needs to vote NO.

If anybody reading this post has a chance to ask Sen. Bennet whether he will vote for or against the TPP during a lame duck session, please let it be known what he says.  I would love to hear that this is a non-issue.  But in the meantime, if you have the same sneaking suspicion that I do, that Sen. Bennet will vote to pass the TPP during a lame ducks session, please take a minute to add your name to Sen. Bernie Sanders petition by following this link.

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Dear Secretary Clinton:

With all due respect, please consider a little advice from a 68 year-old white man who grew up in a working-class Illinois town not far from your hometown.  While I support Bernie Sanders, I’ve committed to vote for you if you win the nomination.  And since I’m not naive, it is pretty clear to me that you have the inside track on winning that nomination.  With that said, I want to offer some suggestions that will hopefully help you win by a large margin in November, regardless of who your opponent is.  So here we go.

You don’t have a messaging problem – you have a position problem.  Frankly, your positions on so many important issues are too vague and nonspecific.  Here are some examples and suggestions for improvement:

• Your position on fracking is ridiculous.  Just say you’re opposed to it.  It pollutes our air, threatens our water supply, and causes earthquakes.  Our planet can’t take any more abuse.

• Your support for a healthcare public option is so weak, it’s laughable.  Instead of suggesting that you would support individual state efforts (which are doomed to fail), state unequivocally that you will push for a federal public option during your first term.

• Stop pretending that you will be tougher on the big Wall Street banks than Sen. Sanders.  Nobody believes you when you say that.  Yes, I’m sure you have some good ideas that may differ from Sen. Sanders positions.  That’s fine.  But nobody is buying your current argument.  I would strongly suggest that you state in no uncertain terms that you will reinstate Glass-Stegall in your first term.

• Your attack on Sen. Sanders “opposition” to the auto bailout was so lame that it actually made you look desperate.  The voters aren’t stupid.  We know better than to think that Bernie would take such a position.  The fact that he opposed the idea of wrapping the auto bailout into the giant bank bailout bill rather than attaching it to the stimulus makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.

• State that you agree with Sen. Sanders’ goal of making college at state-supported schools tuition-free as well as his method of paying for it, a financial transaction tax.  Drop the line about not paying for rich kids to attend college for free.  Most people don’t care.  They figure rich kids go to Ivy League schools anyway.

• Put more distance between yourself and President Obama.  Yes, most of us think that he did a good job of bringing our country out of the financial mess of 2008.  But many of us also believe that he also has some major stains on his resume as President.  No banksters went to jail under his watch.  His trade deal is atrocious and needs to be soundly defeated.  His foreign policy positions are too hawkish for many.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure your advisers know the list of grievances by heart.

In closing, there is no doubt that you have secured the backing of African-Americans and most Latinos.  But you have a long way to go to secure the backing of older, white, working class voters like me.  In fact, you will probably have to fight just to get them to listen to your ideas if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee.  But I do believe that you will ultimately secure the nomination and I really want you to win in November.  I’m just not sure that your Washington inside-the-beltway advisors are telling you what you really need to hear.

Is Michael Bennet Re-Electable?

I don’t know where ColoradoPols gets its numbers for “The Big Line -2016,” but I have a feeling that somebody is way off the mark when it comes to Sen. Michael Bennet’s chances of getting re-elected in 2016.  The most recent Quinnipiac poll showed voters say 40-32 percent that he does not deserve reelection in 2016.  If you go to his Facebook page and read his posts you may note that he spends a lot of time trying to work with Republicans.  There he is out in a wheat field with his pal, Koch-Republican Corey Gardner, touting  “bipartisanship the Colorado way.”  A little further down he proudly proclaims how he’s working with Voucher King, Orrin Hatch, to adopt successful educational programs and “invest in what works for kids,” a Republican code word for giving taxpayer money to for-profit corporations and charter schools.   Just read the comments that Colorado citizens write in response to Sen. Bennet’s posts.  People are angry.  And they’re fed up with being told that as a purple state in a center-right nation, it’s necessary for Democrats like Sen. Bennet to reach out to Republicans in order to get elected and, then reelected.  That’s nonsense.

The folks who publish this website spend a lot of time and energy telling us what we already know – that Republicans in Colorado are out to destroy public education, marginalize women minorities, and feed the rich at the expense of everybody else.  But I rarely see you take a fellow Democrat to task.  And if anybody deserves it, it’s Michael Bennet.  Just this year he has voted for a bill to build the Keystone XL pipeline and to override the President’s veto of that bill.  He has voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership bill.  And he has joined Senate Republicans to stifle the Obama administration’s efforts to secure a deal that would stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  I won’t be a bit surprised if he votes with Republicans again to kill the deal altogether.

Somebody needs to tell Sen. Bennet that he needs to start acting and sounding like a Democrat if he wants to get re-elected in 2016.  And I’m calling on the editors at ColoradoPols to do more, much more, to push him in that direction.  Colorado has already lost one Democratic senator.  We can’t afford to lose another.  But that is exactly what is going to happen unless Sen. Bennet changes his ways.  One can only hope it’s not too late.


Michael Bennet: What Are You Thinking?

I have to hand it to Senator Michael Bennet.  The guy has balls.  I mean, how else do you explain how the guy can:

• vote for the Keystone XL pipeline, then;

• vote to override the President’s veto of the same bill;

• vote to undermine the administration’s efforts to get a nuclear deal, and then;

• top it off by voting with Republicans in the Senate to fast-track this terrible trade bill, the TPP?

Pure balls.  He might as well just stand up and give the finger to all of the progressive voters who sent him to Washington in 2008.  I can only assume that he figures we’ll all be back in 2016 to rubber stamp his reelection bid.  And, not wanting to look too liberal in the eyes of all those “middle-of-the-roaders” back home, he’s decided to cast some votes with Senate Republicans on a few issues.

And while it might have taken balls to cast those votes, I’m not so sure that it took brains.  Because I believe that those decisions might just come back to haunt him and ultimately cost him his Senate seat.  According to a recent Quinnipiac poll of 1,049 Colorado voters, Bennet’s job approval is just 39%, and just 32% think he deserves to be re-elected.  Even among Democrat’s it stands at only 53%.  Even Mark Udall posted better numbers prior to his reelection defeat last fall.

What he’s doing is an old, Bill Clinton technique called triangulation.  He’s trying to position himself to look neither too liberal nor too conservative, hoping to attract voters closer to the center of the political spectrum.  But I think he’s taken it too far.  What that means is that he’s lost the support of those on the left – people like me.  He’s made the mistake of assuming that we will be there when he needs us.  But he’s wrong.  And, while he’s counting on getting center-right voters to come over to his side rather than vote for some ultra-right, Tea Party conservative, I believe he’s wrong again.  Those folks inevitably vote like lemmings for the guy with an “R” next to his name.

I have a funny feeling that what happened to Mark Udall is very likely to happen to Michael Bennet in 2016.  And if it does, the Colorado Democratic Party will deserve much of the blame.  Instead of kicking his ass, it appears that all they do is kiss his ring.  Some of them who have the Senator’s ear need to let him know that his voting record is killing his job approval with his base.  But they won’t.  And I can only conclude that they agree with him and with the positions he’s taken, which is one of the reasons why I left the Democratic Party.  If our elected officials are going to ruin our great country, let it be the Republicans who do it, without the help of Republican-lite, Michael Bennet.

Bennet votes with Republicans to Override Keystone Veto

Well, he did it.  Sen. Michael Bennet had the nerve today to vote with the Republican majority and a few other Democrats to try to override President Obama's veto of the Keystone XL pipeline project.  Fortunately, the effort failed.  I was holding my breath and hoping that Sen. Bennet would have the good sense to reverse his previous position and support the President on this issue.  But it appears that the oil and gas industry has more lobbyists and a lot more cash to hand out than I do.  I hope that the good, progressive folks who reside in our beautiful state get together and find someone to challenge Sen. Bennet in next year's primary, someone whose views better reflect the views of the people who put him into office.  Because, it is my personal belief that Sen. Bennet needs to go.  And I also happen to believe that he will go in 2016 one way or the other – either by being ousted in the primary by a more progressive Democrat (my wish) or by a Republican in the general election (my prediction based on how he is polling).  In any case, I plan to do whatever I can to continue to support progessive candidates and to expose "corporate" Democrats like Sen. Bennet.  Colorado deserves better.


The Senate narrowly defeated a bill calling on the President to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  While the bill was introduced by Democratic Senator, Mary Landrieu, it got the vote of all the Senate Republicans and only a couple of Democrats.  But one of them was none other than our own, Michael Bennet.  Is this website going to even mention that fact?  Are you going to take a position on Sen. Bennet's vote.  I anxiously await your response.

Where are Udall and Bennet?

Twenty-nine senators signed a letter to President Obama recently urging him to leave Social Security and Medicare “off the table” when dicussing  budget cuts and deficit reduction with Republicans.  Their concern is that Obama will try to strike some kind of “bipartisan grand bargain” in an effort to avoid going off the fiscal cliff.  This sounds troublingly familiar and I hope the President does not go there.  But so far two important  names have not been affixed to that letter:  Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall.  So, I’m asking the two of you here to sign on now.  If you can’t do that, then please have the good sense to know that voting in favor of any kind of “hard-fought compromise” will be met with a huge backlash that will not be pretty for your political futures.  Just saying……

Union Busting in Douglas County

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Sept.5, the Douglas County Board of Education passed a resolution to no longer negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union, the DCF. This is just one more example of the nationwide Republican plan to break public employee unions. Some time ago the union asked the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to intervene in the dispute, but so far they have done nothing.  So the time has come to tell Gov. John Hickenlooper to direct the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to intervene in the dispute as the union has requested.

That’s why I created a petition to Governor John Hickenlooper, which says:

“Gov. Hickenlooper, It is time for you to take a stand for workers’ rights by ordering the Colorado Dept. of Labor and Employment to intervene in the dispute between the Douglas County School Federation of Teachers and the DCSD Board of Education, and put an end to their union-busting tactics.”

Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name:…  

Douglas County Teachers Need Our Help

I made a call on Wednesday to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  I wanted to ask Executive Director, Ellen Golombek, whether she plans to involve her office in the dispute between the Douglas County Board of Education and the teachers’ union, the Douglas County Federation.  The Federation has formally asked for their help.  This is how far I got:

Recording:  “You have reached the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment general information line.  If your call is regarding an unemployment insurance claim, please hang up and call 303-318-9000.  For all other questions, please press 1 now.”  (The message is then repeated in Spanish.)

I press 1.  It rings once, twice, three times, four times.  Oh boy, I’m finally going to get to talk to a live person!  My palms are sweating in anticipation.

Recording:  “You have reached the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  If you are trying to reach unemployment, please hang up and call 303-318-9000.  You will not be able to leave a message at this time.  Please try your call again later.  Thank you.”

That was it.  So much for my input as a citizen.

But I was undaunted in my mission.  So I called the Citizens’ Advocate office in the Governor’s office and explained what happened to the nice person who answered the phone.  He took my name and number and promised that someone from the Citizens’ Advocate’s office in the Department of Labor and Employment would get back to me with a number to call.  Sure enough, Thursday morning there was a message waiting for me.  It was the phone number I was waiting for, 303-318-8020. With great anticipation I called it and this is what I heard:

Recording:  “You have reached the Executive Director’s office of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  If your call is related to an unemployment insurance claim, please listen to this message in its entirely.  Otherwise you may bypass this greeting by pressing the ‘pound’ key now.”

Since my message was not related to unemployment insurance, I pressed the “pound” key.  This is what I heard:  

(BEEP…………………………..Silence).  Finally I realized that I was supposed to leave a message.  So I quickly gave my name, address and phone number and stated that I had two questions.  First, why can’t the Department of Labor and Employment have at least one person in their office who can pick up a telephone and answer a question?  Second, I want to know if Executive Director Golombek is going to involve the Department in the dispute between the Douglas County Board of Education and the Douglas County Federation since the Federation asked for her office’s involvement.

That was at 11:00 a.m. Thursday.

4:00 p.m.: Still waiting for that call back.

Friday, 4:00 p.m.:  Still waiting for that call back.

I guess you get my point.  They won’t be calling me back, today or any day.  And I find that very troubling for a couple of reasons.

The first is that this is a department of our state government that evidently doesn’t think it’s important to communicate with its citizenry.  Leave a message and we’ll get back to you (just kidding – we really won’t) is not my idea of being accountable to the public.  They can’t assign one person in the office to answer the phone?  Give me a break!

The more important question, however, has to do with the subject matter of my inquiry.  In the past few months, the Douglas County Board of Education has totally turned its back on any serious negotiation and interaction with their officially recognized employee union, the Douglas County Federation.  Most recently they have dropped their support of funding the DCF leadership positions and collecting union dues from employees.  The Federation has asked the Department of Labor and Employment to intervene in this dispute and has been met with as much silence as I have when I leave my telephone messages.

I don’t understand this.  Ellen Golombek, the Executive Director of the DLE is a former SEIU president and past president of the Colorado AFL-CIO.  She’s a union person.  She was appointed by a Democratic governor.

Ah, yes, the “Democratic” governor.  That would be John Hickenlooper, right?  Do you suppose he has something to do with Ms. Golombek’s silence on this issue?  Like his predecessor, Gov. Hickenlooper doesn’t appear to be a big supporter of organized labor.  Has he made a decision to just duck this issue, stay out of the limelight, and let the Republican school board in Douglas County break the back of this union?  Does he think that that’s the politically expedient thing to do?  It sure looks that way.

On Monday, I’m going to attempt to speak with Ellen Golombek in person in her office in downtown Denver.  I’m going to ask her if she plans to honor the request of the Douglas County Federation.  We’ll see how it goes.  In the meantime you can go to the Facebook page entitled, “SPEAK for DCSD” and read what folks in Douglas County are saying about the state of this once great school district.

Gun Control Not A New Issue

The issue of gun control is in the news a lot right now.  But gun control is not a new issue.  It’s been around a long time.  For example, in 1881, Tombstone, Arizona had an ordinance that prohibited anyone from carrying weapons within the town limits.  One day a group of cowboys, looking for a fight, flaunted their weapons openly around town, essentially daring the town marshal to take them away.  The town marshal at the time was a guy named Virgil Earp.  He took the bait and deputized his two brothers, Wyatt and Morgan, as well as an alcoholic gambler by the name of Doc Holliday, to join him in disarming the cowboys.  They found them loitering in an empty lot behind a local livery stable.  When the cowboys wouldn’t give up their weapons, the shooting began.  It became known as “The Gunfight at the OK Corral.”  Just thought you ought to know.