Zappatero

About Zappatero

Just a guy with a keyboard trying to get CO’s Dems to support key Democratic and Progressive policies.

Springs Elector seeks to rid us of that pesky Electoral College

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s conventional wisdom that the U.S. Constitution has a few significant flaws. Those flaws aren’t fatal, one hopes, but they are congenital and chronic:

Neither Congress nor the president has the capacity to govern alone, but either can refuse to compromise, and prevent the other from governing. If the system is thought to be indestructible, the temptation to take stands becomes overwhelming. Filibusters, shutdowns, and executive orders multiply. The veneration of the Constitution becomes its undoing.

As we all know ‘round here, one of those congenital flaws that was intended to appease America’s Slave-owning class and to dilute the voting power of individuals in “Free” states is the existence of the Electoral College. In our last election, and one or 2 fairly recent ones before that, it turned the popular vote winner (by close to 3 Million votes) into an impotent witness to the transfer of power on Inauguration Day.

The quite logical urge to rid ourselves of this constitutional quirk was sparked once again, and in a state that has gone Democratic the last several years, it’s a pair of Republican hard-liners in Colorado who have taken a legal axe to that knotty quirk:

Last November, from his downtown Colorado Springs home, local math educator Bob Nemanich, one of the 538 members of the Electoral College, helped launch a movement to try to change the way the United States chooses its president.

Nearly a year later, he is still fighting.

Nemanich is named as a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed by national election law expert, Harvard Law School professor and attorney Lawrence Lessig, who briefly ran for president in 2016 before dropping out ahead of the Democratic primary. The suit claims Colorado’s Republican secretary of state, Wayne Williams, intimidated Nemanich and two other electors into voting for Hillary Clinton during the official Electoral College vote on Dec. 19 at the state Capitol in Denver. The suit seeks $1 in damages, plus legal fees.

But the lawsuit is bigger than that.

The legal action, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, aims to answer a major question once and for all, before the 2020 presidential election: Do members of the Electoral College have a constitutional ability to vote for whomever they want?

The vote of Colorado’s Electors was clouded by a rabid Republican from El Paso County (home of many rabid R’s including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, and the Meth-ingesting homophobe Ted Haggard whose mega-church was rocked by his actions).

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Quick Hit: El Paso County GOP Chair hits and injures Florist

We know there is a certain disregard for the arts, creativity, the finer things in life (beyond money), but can only be an unfortunate accident involving the EPC GOP Czar:

The owner of Platte Floral in Colorado Springs is in critical condition Tuesday morning after he was hit by an SUV driven by the head of the Republican party in the county.

El Paso County GOP Chairman Trevor Dierdorff was reportedly trying to back into a parking space on Tejon Street at 7:32 a.m. when he hit a man crossing behind him, Colorado Springs police said. The victim has been identified as Platte Floral owner Mel Tolbert.

Tolbert suffered life-threatening injuries and remains in critical and unstable condition, according to police.

El Paso County Republican Spokesman Daniel Cole said the two were friends and were in the area for a Prospector’s Association of Colorado Springs meeting. Their names are included on the member list.

And I hate to make everything political, even though R’s were the ones to make that our reality, but the fact that downtown COS, and Tejon Street specifically, are in a constant state of flux with regard to traffic flow, parking, timing of traffic lights, and any number of street repairs is a true reflection of the kind of planning we get from a monopolized city government that has been in Republican and Conservative hands for way too long. And that’s how you get people so frustrated with the basic infrastructure of a city that they finally ignore traffic lights, pedestrian rights, and al……………

(I’m stopping here as it’s starting to become a “get off my lawn” post.)

comment system hosed

why you guys cannot get this stuff working at the most important political blog in CO?

The Gazette gives Mike Coffman another shot at Iraq War Glory

Being the largest conservatively owned/published/printed fishwrap in the state, the Colorado Springs Gazette has always been a preferred platform for local Republicans and Conservatives to spread their goodwill. And, being one of the most persistent overachievers on the Republican side, Mike Coffman has often been the recipient of The Gazette’s benevolence:

Since August 9,  [2006] the The Gazette of Colorado Springs has published weekly opinion columns by Republican secretary of state candidate Mike Coffman but has not published any columns by his Democratic opponent, Ken Gordon. Coffman, who temporarily gave up his role as Colorado state treasurer in the spring of 2005 to serve in Iraq, has been writing weekly “Over There” columns in The Gazette based on his recent tour.

Coffman apparently has used his Gazette columns as part of his election campaign, featuring five of the seven on his campaign website.

Coffman’s Gazette columns include descriptions of his service in Iraq in addition to such statements as “I strongly believed that once the United States made the commitment to go into Iraq we had to finish the job” (from his August 9 Gazette column) and “The press characterizes Iraq as having descended into a bloody civil war that has irreparably fractured the country. Nothing could be further from the truth” (from the September 20Gazette column).

In his August 9 column, Coffman explained that his initial service in Iraq was “as a civil affairs officer to help the Iraqis with their elections.” In his August 30 Gazette column, Coffman wrote, “With my elections work finished, I was slated to apply my economic development expertise for the remainder of my tour of duty in Iraq.

We can thank Genius/NeoCon Hitman/Twitter Addict Sean Paige for Coffman’s well-purposed columns. Coffman won the SecState gig and has since become a congressman.

The calendar has given the Gazette the chance to revisit America’s awesome military victory in Gulf War I, where Coffman protected us from the spectre of Saddam Hussein stealing Kuwait’s (or KBR’s, or Halliburton’s) oil.

Down south with his fellow Marines, Mike Coffman was seconds away from blasting an Iraqi infantry battalion when fighting stopped.

Steven Lair got ready for the biggest bomb disposal job of his life in Kuwait City. In Qatar, Jaimie Robertson helped tell the story of the first Canadians in combat since Korea.

They were some of the 958,000 troops who were victorious on Feb. 28, 1991, when the Persian Gulf War ended.

It was the shortest war in American history, six weeks that included the largest air campaign and the largest tank battles since World War II. Fighting on the ground ended after 100 hours with Iraqi capitulation.

Now a Republican congressman from Aurora, Coffman remembers the end of the war clearly. To the front of his Marine unit in Kuwait, Iraqis began popping out of trenches. It was seen as an attack.

I called the artillery battery and I’m going through the order,” Coffman said, recalling his demand for airburst rounds to take out the soldiers. He was seconds away from loosing the rounds, which would have killed scores of men.

Then his radio operator got his attention. “Sir, a cease-fire has just been ordered,” Coffman was told.

And a shot at another medal was thwarted by the do-gooder CINC….

And like Brian Williams*, Coffman was in the line of sight for some RPG fire, probably sold to the Iraqis by us.

After the ground attack launched on Feb. 24, Iraqi forces showed tenacity. Coffman remembers seeing a rocket-propelled grenade that nearly took his life.

“There was one coming right at me,” he said. “It just barely missed. They would have been picking me up from the desert with a spoon.”

It didn’t nearly take his life. If it had hit him, I’m sure it would’ve. But, it didn’t and flew by harmlessly, unlike the Gazette’s treatment of Coffman.

Coffman said the war showed him what concentrated American might can do. We had such overwhelming power that we took incredibly light casualties,” Coffman said.

And the formula for winning wars, courtesy of our brave and proud countryman Mike Coffman, and brought to you by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

 

Cory Gardner makes lede from Koch Brothers Confab

This is why Michael Bennet should distance himself from Colorado‘s junior senator:

Your Betters get together to save the Little People from themselves

by digby

The Koch pageant is in full effect:

Koch, speaking on a low stage in front of an elaborately manicured lawn at the St. Regis Monarch Beach luxury resort, warned about 450 assembled donors and a slew of Republican elected officials – including Sens. Cory Gardner, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse and Dan Sullivan – of a “life or death struggle for our country.”

“One of the things I ask you to think about over this weekend is will you stand together with us to help save our country. It can’t be done without you and many, many others,” said Koch, who seldom speaks in the presence of reporters.

This address was to a group of multi- millionaires and billionaires who have come together to decide on which of the candidates to spend the almost 1 billion the Kochs plan to raise to buy themselves the presidency— er….”save our country.”

Now I know Michael Bennet doesn’t know how to act “the Democrat”. Though, damned if he doesn’t try. Given that, it should be more than obvious to him, and his advisors, and his supporters, and even those that may vote for him that he shouldn’t try to be Gardner-lite or any such thing that could be thought of a resembling any number of Koch whores.

If he can’t figure this out, then he’s even dumber than he looks.

UPDATE: Trump calls out the moneygrubbers. Heh.

Hey Kiddies – Don’t Miss Uncle Ted’s Kamp for Kids/Colorado Apology Tour

(Quick, somebody take his guns! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ted Nugent.

Ted Nugent.

How on earth, or anywhere inside that Kuiper Belt thingie, did we miss Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids (hey Ted, you left out a ‘K’) is this Friday and the Colorado-and-Obama bashing rocker will be here indoctrinating some unsuspecting kids into a life filled with hate and ignorance?

About 20 spots are still available for youth to sign up for the sixth annual Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids, a one-day camp with hands-on instruction in the outdoors.

The camp will be held July 17 at Quail Mountain Recreation Area, which is between the towns of Leadville and Buena Vista.

Youth, ages 7-17, will move through stations that include fishing, archery, air guns, wilderness survival with world renowned wilderness survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt, wildlife identification, tracking with hounds, wildlife tracking, slingshots and game calling.

Rock musician, sing/songwriter and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent will speak one-on-one with attendees. 

I hope Children’s Services is there to make sure these poor kids aren’t traumatized by The Nuge.

Oh, here’s the key part:

This year’s sponsors include Colorado Bowhunters Association, Bass Pro Shops, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Steve’s Meat Market, Ted Nugent, National Rifle Association, Hunter Specialty Gear and numerous local businesses including City Market-BV, Silver City Concoco and others.

But wait! I thought Ted hated Colorado and its “citizens”:

Nugent: “If ever there was a poster child for apathy, disconnect, laziness, and abandonment of We the People, and moral dereliction, it is Colorado.” 

Somehow these guys can abandon their principles if there’s even a few bucks to make. Even more likely is that there is a gigantic tax write-off on Ted’s taxes next year for this “business” trip to disconnected and apathetic Colorado.

Maybe there will be some press there to ask Ted some pointed questions.

Reefer Madness at Colorado Springs Gazette

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

reefermadness

Colorado Springs is the conservative capital of our dear state. The Gazette, having been revitalized by tons of conservative cash, has been the public spokeswrap and parttime watchdog of the long list of conservatives who made their base here and took their, ummm, special kind of conservatism to Denver and DC. And, as long as I’ve been here, the Gazette has had a SuperConservative Wacko Bird in the Op-Ed Editor position. 

Most notable was Sean Paige, a much smarter conservative than Doug Lamborn, and a much more dangerous conservative than Jon Caldara. He’s slightly less self-promoting than P.T. Barnum, but don’t ask him about that. 

The current Op-Ed Editor at the Gazette is Wayne Laugesen, a former editor of “Guns and Ammo”.

Yes, you read that right.

He does his job and, as with Paige, you can usually write the “I’m agin’ it!” editorial from the headline before reading. It’s doubtful Anschutz has to order his guys to do stuff as Dean Singleton has surely done with the Post. 

But now it looks as if Laugesen has done a really stupid thing as the Gazette goes all “Reefer Madness” on the citizens of Colorado and their perfectly logical desire that marijuana be legalized.

Well, this is embarrassing. It looks like the Gazette accidentally published a bloated anti-marijuana opinion column as news.

To its credit, “Clearing the Haze” does have a vaguely menacing presentation — and, ooh, parallax — but if the organization had any sense of journalistic ethics, the four-day series would never have hit the page.

Let’s start with the way news is supposed to work. The Society of Professional Journalists says reporters should “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.” …

It’s probably not fair to hold the Gazette to such a standard, because it publicly espouses no such intention, but let’s just do it anyway. Let’s clear the haze.

The four-day series was written by three people: Wayne Laugesen, Pula Davis and Christie Tatum.

None of these people work for the news division of a newspaper. Laugesen and Davis are members of the Gazette’s editorial board, which has written so many diatribes against cannabis, all compositions led by Laugesen, ownership is practically screaming in the woods.

The CS Indy asked some good questions. And got no answers.

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Bennet and Post’s Matthews further the “Both Sides Do It” meme again

Sen. Michael Bennet is nothing if not press savvy. Most of his press coverage, it seems to me, has been about the dysfunction and disappointment of the institution he so eagerly joined and not about any accomplishments he’s made while a member.

Not to be distracted by anything substantial he could do between now and his (presumed) attempt at getting reelected in 2016, Bennet has gone on the bipartisan offensive again to mildly criticize his senate peers, to try to seem like he’s doing something productive, and to give more credence to his guiding philosophy that “both sides do it” when it comes to political mis- and malfeasance.

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews gladly serves up the dish, and helps Cory Gardner not look like a nut at the same time:

On Thursday, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner plan to introduce legislation that would impose strict rules — including the possibility of arrest — on the Senate anytime one or more federal agencies were thrown into shutdown mode.

It’s a situation that nearly occurred this year with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one that impacted the entire federal government in October 2013.

Under the Bennet-Gardner bill, the Senate would be forced to take attendance roughly once an hour — every day — between 8 a.m. and midnight for as long as a shutdown continued.

The rationale, said Bennet and Gardner, was to keep lawmakers in town to negotiate.

“If someone’s idea is to grind the government to a halt, then members of Congress ought to be darn well sure they’re finding a solution together,” Gardner said. “You can’t do it by flying home. You can’t do it by going to your respective political corners. You can only do it when you’re here together, at work.”

And Gardner says he doesn’t really want to grind government to a halt as part of the majority party in both houses with just that recent and destructive record. It just kinda happened. So that’s how the Post will portray it.

And what else?

For more than two centuries, the Senate has had the ability to compel attendance, but the Colorado legislators’ bill would make clear that an arrest warrant is the penalty for skipping town during a shutdown. “It’s using existing procedure,” Gardner said. “(But) this procedure is a little bit of a hammer.”

So it uses existing procedure. Anyone who’s watched CSPAN for more than 5 minutes is likely to have heard “I call for a quorom” from someone on the floor of the senate. And because Bennet or Gardner clearly do not want to be accountable for holding their fellow senators accountable, they issue a press release instead and pretend they’ll pass a law to do what they won’t do while they’re standing on the floor. 

It’s a dirty job, but someone should be willing to do it; if they want to be bipartisan so bad, they could take turns!

A showy bill

Without question, the bill is a bit showy.

But both lawmakers said they’ve been working on the legislation for months — and that aides have spent hours with the parliamentarian to ensure they got the rules right.

So admittedly it’s a showy bill. Destined for failure. Not gonna happen. 

But the Denver Post writes it up. And Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner get to be bipartisan while pretending both sides are threatening a government shutdown and both sides are equally responsible for the current dysfunction in our government.

Well, both sides, no, all sides, did it in this case: they perpetuated a lie with some of the most lazy and irresponsible governing and reporting possible. And Michael Bennet gets a headline once again while doing nothing for his stature, and nothing for the people he represents.

Is Michael Bennet part of the New Dem/Elizabeth Warren strike team?

I sure hope our Senior Senator, the Esteemed Michael Bennet, isn't part of this bull:

Centrist Democrats are gathering their forces to fight back against the “Elizabeth Warren wing” of their party, fearing a sharp turn to the left could prove disastrous in the 2016 elections.

[snip]

The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a caucus of moderate Democrats in the House, plans to unveil an economic policy platform as soon as this week in an attempt to chart a different course.

"I have great respect for Sen. Warren — she's a tremendous leader,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), one of the members working on the policy proposal. “My own preference is to create a message without bashing businesses or workers, [the latter of which] happens on the other side."

Peters said that, if Democrats are going to win back the House and Senate, "it's going to be through the work of the New Democrat Coalition."

This is truly laughable. Or cryable.

And if the abject failure of this continued Democratic Triangulation away from its own natural base is not clear to any of those people, then their competence to address politics in any form is reaching nil.

Gabe Horwitz of centrist Third Way told The Hill, “In the last election, Democrats, as a party, offered a message of fairness. Voters responded, and they responded really negatively … Democrats offered fairness, and voters wanted prosperity and growth.”

Actually, Gabe, most analyses said the Democratic message wasn't. The biggest policy gains that would've helped our losing candidates were ignored and the president who ushered them in was given no credit. A prime example of the failure of Third Way's strategy is our own Mark Udall.

“For Colorado, there are some different dynamics in place. We have a fast-growing state, we have growing Latino, millennials and youth populations. That, together with the right message, should help our nominee. At the same time we are going to be fully cognizant that we have got to appeal to middle-class, working-class voters, and we can’t allow Republicans to increase their share of the vote there. The message has been a little challenging. We really need to be talking about where the two parties are different and focus on the economy in terms of job creation and pocket-book issues.”

This is where Warren comes in, from the Digby post:

The Hill notes that the NDC's policy proposal is aimed at pushing back against a progressive agenda announced last week by Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). The Facebook video of Warren discussing the plan and hammering the unfairness of the current economy for hard-working Americans has received just short of 2 million views.

Hey, that's what Udall and Bennet did in 2010.

Colorado’s two freshman senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, are part of a self-described centrist group of 15 Democrats meeting regularly “seeking to restrain the influence of party liberals in the White House and on Capitol Hill,” according to an account in Roll Call.

The group has a “shared commitment to pursue moderate, mainstream and fiscally sustainable policies across a range of issues, such as health care reform, the housing crisis, educational reform, and energy policy,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by the group.

(I should start getting royalties from that link any day.)

Those results should also speak for themselves. They succeeded in their own short-sighted goal, hamstrung the president from the time he took his first oath, and guaranteed that our economy would be moribund for the next 8 years. Huzzah!

Michael Bennet has remained eerily quiet this whole time, despite his term ending soon and the new campaign beginning – if only in its planning stage. Though he did make sure to deflect the blame for his horrible shot at DSCC Strategist-in-Chief.

And yet the New Democrats, Third Way-ers and Blue Dogs persist, despite red flags everywhere.

Warren speaks to kitchen-table issues in plain English working people understand.

My wife spoke last month with a Fox News-watching brother of a friend. He's white, registered unaffiliated, disenchanted with both parties, and didn't bother to vote in the 2014 mid-terms. Neither party has done anything for the working man for 40 years, he told her. Yet he liked "that woman" who's taking on the big banks. He couldn't name her, but thought it a miracle that she's still alive.

(That's Warren he's talking about.-ed.)

He's a conservative from North Carolina, where Third Way's Kay Hagan — running an Obama-style field campaign, but selling herself as the "most moderate" senator — narrowly lost her U.S. Senate seat to "Typhoid Thom" Tillis.

Centrist Democrats, don't be too proud of that political battle station you're constructing.

Word to the wise. And to the blinkered centrists who think Bipartisanship is the solution and that Republicans will start acting rationally any time soon and can be counted on to complete a triangle of equal policy and political dimensions.

NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

Hillary/Bennet 2016: Possibility or Joke?

For a relative latecomer to politics, Michael Bennet sure has led a charmed life. Prior to politics he was a Big Money guy working for one of Colorado's leading Conservatives. Then…

As one of President Barack Obama's early advisers on education issues, Bennet was speculated in late 2008 as a frontrunner for Obama's United States Secretary of Education. He was instead appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Ken Salazar when Salazar became Secretary of the Interior in January 2009. Bennet was elected in the 2010 Senate election where he defeated Republican Ken Buck.

Michael Bennet is now serving his first full term and would be up for reelection in 2016.

Though he is fairly new to public elective office, he has proven to be a consummate insider and competent press manipulator. He played an effective, yet widely criticized role, in the early machinations that led to a Public Option-less Obamacare. He had to lift nothing besides a well timed press release in that effort. Bennet's latest political responsibility has been deemed a failure by many.

As Chairman of the DSCC for this last election cycle, Bennet led Senate Democrats into a historic minority and proved useless in electing his Democratic peer, former Senator Mark Udall. But he was still able to get some favorable press immediately after the losing election.

And the charmed life, or at least the favorable press, continued yesterday as Bennet got a top mention as a Veep possibility for the almost pre-ordained Hillary Clinton presidency:

The potential opposition is so weak that Clinton might wind up not even debating during the primaries, which many Democrats view as a mixed blessing.

Some advisers expect a push for diversity on the ticket. So the shortlist also is expected to include Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and perhaps California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate.The Clinton team knows it can’t campaign with the swagger of a presumptive nominee because the air of inevitability was so damaging last time around. That said, some advisers are already privately talking up potential running mates, with Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Tim Kaine of Virginia dominating the early speculation.

Despite the internal confidence, Clinton won’t enter without substantial concerns and obstacles, some of which are self-evident to her top advisers and are a subject of constant conversation among Democrats during the build-up phase.

The Democratic Party, and its leaders, are going through some public soul-searching after all this electoral excitement. The big, and probably only, question for me is whether Democrats will continue their love affair with Big Money at the expense of The Middle Class or will they start giving priority to those who helped America's economy become the titan it is – the true Job Creators.

Senators like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are clearly on the side of The Middle Class. 

Michael Bennet has been eerily silent since the election. He's surely playing it safe and hoping not to kill any of this flattering VP talk. But his history and his path don't tell of someone who has the same concern for those in the middle of our economy as he does for those at the top of the heap who are on his Favorites list. Can he even contemplate the policies being proposed by Sanders and Warren? Would he dare support any of them?

Michael Bennet, and his benefactors, are going to have to make a critical choice soon about continuing that decades-long affair with 1%-er Democrats at the expense of a declining Middle Class. Those Middle Classers can't afford big campaign donations, and have been less than enthusiastic about voting for a class of Democratic politicians who think they have no where else to go on election day. But even though they don't have the money, they've freely given their votes to Democrats without asking too much in return.

That ask is getting bigger lately, and elected Democrats will have to come up with satisfactory answers that address rising inequality, the effects of austerity on the world's economies, and the base assumptions about who our economy should protect and serve. Those answers need to come sooner, rather than later, and should spell out how the richest among us can start paying their fair share again while taking the load off the hardest working Middle Class on the planet. No joke.

Springs NAACP Bombing: No big deal?

(It should be – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Think Progress notes the bizarre lack of coverage:

A bomb detonated at the Colorado chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) last night, but you may not have heard much about it. It appears that the major 24-hour cable networks gave the incident little to no air attention.

A ThinkProgress search of television databases suggests CNN gave one cursory report on the incident at 6:34 a.m., while MSNBC and Fox News appear to have not mentioned the incident on air since it happened. Other networks, including Headline News, (HDLN) mentioned the incident in the morning news.

ThinkProgress searched the database TVEyes and Critical Mention from Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon, using the terms, “NAACP,” “colored people,” and “bomb” along with “Colorado.” It found only one mention on CNN, at 6:34 a.m., in the course of what appeared to be a scheduled interview on community-police relations. The incident was mentioned when the interviewer asked former NYPD officer and Secret Service agent Dan Bongino whether he thought the bomb in Colorado could be “seen as retaliatory” and Bongino said it was possible. Representatives from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News did not respond to ThinkProgress inquiries on their coverage of the bombing.

—–

This thing is not quite getting the coverage we should expect from a local terrorist act during days of increased racial tension and numerous incidents of Police v. Public. Oh yeah, it's not considered terrorism if a white guy does it. The non-stop verbal attacks on the President, people of color, the "news" of Republicans who like to hang out with Klansmen are considered by most to be background noise, if they are considered at all.

In a time when racial tensions in our country appear to be growing, the troubling nature of this act of domestic terrorism should be blatantly obvious, but the lack of mainstream media coverage of the bombing for most of Tuesday morning, afternoon, and night was downright disturbing. CNN released its first piece about the bombing a full 16 hours after it happened, and the incident wasn't mentioned on national nightly news broadcasts.

But I think we can say for pretty-darned-sure that the bile does have an effect when it's spread so freely, so regularly, so casually. How can it not? Listen to Savage, Randall, Beck, Hannity, Rush and Rosen for a day if you can. Then imagine those who listen all day, every day. 

We can be thankful that this moron didn't know how to make something more destructive.

We can assume he'll be arrested peacefully, without incident, given all the protections available.

We can assume it'll be forgotten by the time of the Super Bowl and we can carry on with business as usual, where an aggrieved White Guy felt his best option for Tuesday was to bomb the local NAACP offices.

Letter to Michael Bennet: The Next 2 Years

Someone needs to get to the boss and urge him to get off the fence and start acting like a true Democrat. His friend and colleague Mark Udall, whom he has such great respect for, just got his ass handed to him. This was most likely due to Udall's inability to project, or fear of showing, support for significant Democratic and progressive principles.

And I think we can all see that a flurry of campaign ads trying to paint a more vivid picture cannot make up for years of political mush.

If your boss really wants a new term, though sometimes I quite doubt this, then he'll need to get off the fence and take firm stands in support of the Middle Class. He'll need to take firm stands in support of workers. He'll need to piss off a few of his friends in high finance

Voters don't care if a bill is bipartisan. Voters don't first look to the vote count, they look to the principles of a bill and its intended effect. And I truly believe they understand many of the intricacies of how things get done, or don't, in our nation's capital.

Many think political moderation, while Republicans act more and more reactionary (how can you negotiate with political bomb throwers?) and some timely Clinton coattails guarantee the senator another term. 

I disagree.

Voters may not vote a straight party line. Political trends are easily disturbed within this volatile electorate. Critical endorsements often lack common sense or are based on lies. And as Harry Truman said, for a president, "When a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me." And for a Democrat, "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time."

Your friend Mark Udall is a perfect example of this truth.

The Senator would do well to heed both quotes, for they are still relevant today. And he would do well to not take the wrong lessons from this last election: Voters don't want more conservative Democrats, they want Democrats who'll stand for something.

Sincerely, 

Zappatero

Mark Udall talks tough on torture, but has even better reason to act tough

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Come on, Mark. Do what's right. With no hesitation. Without dithering.

Scott Raab: Your loss is seen as symbolic of the midterm sea change. How does it feel?

Mark Udall: It stings and I feel liberated. . . . I don’t like losing. I don’t like being turned back from the summit of a mountain—I’m a mountain climber—but I have always found that the mountains I didn’t climb (that sounds stupid. Did he mean "summit"? -z) are the ones that taught me the most. So I’m taking that attitude towards this election loss. . . . But it’s been hard to be here for the last couple of weeks. When you get fired, usually it’s “Clean your desk out and go,” and I’ve got two months of work left to do. We do have some things I’m working hard to get accomplished. I want to get the CIA Torture Report declassified.

SR: I’ve been puzzling through this. You’ve talked about how Edward Snowden should come back.

MU: Yep.

SR: But he’s gonna be charged with crimes that could put him behind bars forever. And you’re in a position to read this into the public record.

MU: Sure. Yeah.

SR: Is there any reason not to do that? Not do what Mike Gravel did with the Pentagon Papers? What is the tightrope there? You got a $40 million 6,300-page report, right?

MU: Yes.

SR: And all the pressure’s on you right now to—

MU: I have made it clear over the last couple of weeks—if the report is not declassified in a way that’s transparent and shines a bright light on what we did, then I will consider using all and any options.

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Where is Michael Bennet on Tax Extenders and another Wall Street Insider at Treasury?

Colorado's soon to be only Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Michael Bennet, is going to have to make some tough decisions soon. By most accounts, the planning for 2016's election is already underway, with larger strategies that will have to be make public being dissected and fine-tuned. 

Bennet has played it fairly safe throughout his career and managed to win a not so easy election last time. He figured out the P.R. part of his job quite adeptly: a feint to the left on the public option (where he ended up doing nothing) was matched with a blatant give to the right on union "card check" legislation.

Playing the dispassionate "third way" type along with small-ball stuff for Colorado and consistent whining about DC's Republican-rooted dysfunction (both sides don't "do it", Michael. -z) rounds out a conventional term by a conventional politician subscribed to all the standard Democratic political conventions of the last several years.

I don't think those conventions will hold the last 2 years of Obama's presidency. I'm not the only one who thinks that way; and voters surely rejected those conventions in the election we just witnessed. How else to explain why progressive policies won while candidates who ignored them – Landrieu, Udall, et. al – didn't? (That's a rhetorical question, CPOLS. cheeky)

This makes Michael Bennet's next public pronouncements, on tax extenders for Big Corporations and (maybe) the Middle Class, and another Wall Street Insider nominated by President Obama, all the more important:

Only progressives are opposed to the rich-people's gifts. So, progressives — Merkley, Warren, Reid (are you with us?) and friends — why not play a strong game instead of a weak one? 

Instead of surrendering almost everything you care about to get the least bit of something, progressives should threaten everything the other side wants and frankly, call their money-loving bluff. The White House wants the rich to have these gifts in their stocking; all Senate Republicans agree; and so does every corporate-loving Democrat (like "sorry for playing hard" Michael Bennet). Make the other side fight for the money, and look like it.

Could progressives kill the whole deal if they don't get what they want? If you put me in charge of the Open Rebellion insurgency, I'd try. After all, the entire left press is on your side — consider that Volsky's source could already be Senate progressives. In addition, the issue is hugely visible. And even if you lose, you'll get the best deal possible, not the worst one available. Just say to the other three players:

"Progressives in the Senate stand for working people and those struggling with poverty. The deal on the table is unacceptable in every way. We would rather have no deal than the one on offer. If you want our vote, put the deal on the table in 2014 that we voted for in 2013. That way everyone wins. That or nothing from us."

The White House and less-progressive senators will play the kitten card and complain, "But what about the poor?" You then say: 

"We care as much as you do. In fact, we care so much about the poor, we want the best deal possible, not the worst."

"Triangulate this," in other words. The White House has already come out against the size of the "bonanza." This offers them a chance to look even better by siding with you (they've already promised a veto, your own bottom line) — and at the same time, shows them a corner and offers a paint brush if they don't. I think this is worth a test. 

Progressives who really care about people are always blackmailed — far too successfully in my opinion — with a "kitten held hostage" as I alluded to above. Here the kitten (and believe me, kitten lives are valuable) is a set of tax breaks for the poor and renewable energy credits, items of real value. But the only way to end blackmail is to walk away from it. "Do you love your kitten as much as we love ours? Let's find out. No kitten needs to suffer in this deal." 

Bennet can keep doing what he's done in the past, and start lining up his post-Senate gig, or he can come out like a proud, progressive Democrat, and start fighting for more than just the minimum that it takes to be called a Democrat these days………which hasn't been a whole hell of a lot up to now.

 

Told Ya So Part III: The Elephant in the Room

(Discuss – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Colorado Pols continues to scour the election results for positive data points from a mediocre result they continue to miss the larger issue from last Tuesday's electoral dysfunction: Democrats did not have a coherent message to run on nor candidates that could create one of their own.

Harry Truman, Truth Teller

The most glaring example of this and the latest victim of ignoring Harry Truman is Mark Udall:

What about Mark Udall in Colorado, another Democrat who lost in a purple state that Obama carried? Udall built his campaign narrative around a war on women by his opponent Rep. Cory Gardner. He, like Braley, ticked off a list of progressive issues — from minimum wage to pay equity to protecting Social Security — without providing any framing story to link them together. He left out who the villains are in the story.

Udall also committed the ultimate narrative sin: delivering your opponent's story. Here's the closing line of a Udall ad: "I'm Mark Udall. No one — not government, not Washington — should have the power to take those rights and freedoms away." Voters who wanted the anti-government candidate chose the real thing!

Udall would have had a much broader audience for his "war on women" message if he framed it as part of a broader war on American families by the rich and powerful. It is easy to make opposition to pay equity or a woman's right to make her own decisions part of this broader story, which speaks to Americans' deep concerns about their families.

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