Weekend Open Thread

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.”

–Benjamin Disraeli

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    All 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies have completed their analysis of the memo released by the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee.  They reached two conclusions:

    1: There is no intelligence among any of the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee.

    2: Donald Trump stinks.  Stay upwind, America.

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    Drain the swamp – and then backfill it with incompetent fools? 

    Emails show Carson family fingerprints at HUD despite warnings

    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Friday said that he and his family were "under attack by the media questioning our integrity and ethics," after reports shed light on the extensive involvement that his family members — especially his son, Benjamin Jr. — played in official business, despite strong warnings from agency lawyers.

    Husband of former Trump household aide scores government job

    A home improvement contractor married to one of Donald and Melania Trump’s former household staffers is now working as an official at the Environmental Protection Agency, the latest example of someone with a personal connection to the Trump family finding work in the administration. 

    New Jersey-based Steve Kopec joined EPA’s Region 2 office in New York as a special assistant on Dec. 18, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO. “Steve comes to us from private industry, where he fashioned his career around customer service and organizational efficiencies,” EPA Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez wrote in the memo. “Steve is an experienced manager with skills in team building, management and organization.”

    • MichaelBowman says:

      ..at least the latter doesn't appear to be doing anything important other than 'driving hours every day' for his $66k/job

      • Davie says:

        Looks like he's at most, a GS12 (base pay with NY locality pay adjustment), so that makes him an office flunky for the Administrator (who would be at least a GS15).  Given his only skills appear to be commuting to New York from Jersey, and "team building", I suppose he's the official Political Morale Officer, leading the daily singing of the Trump Anthem.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Perhaps he will be designing the Cone of Silence which Scott Pruitt has ordered for his office.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Another unqualified Trumper at the EPA: Patrick Davis, Trump's Colorado campaign director, was appointed to be a "Deputy Assistant Administrator" at the EPA in January 2017. He's still there; now his job title is "Senior advisor for public engagement to the Region 8 EPA administrator".

      What does he do all day? I think the public should engage Mr. Davis, and find out.

      Davis is also a known fraud artist who has bilked Republican donors of millions; this did not stop him from being named as Trump's Colorado campaign head. Davis' past as a money launderer was probably a feature, not a bug, both in the Trump campaign position and in his new EPA position.

      Davis is one of many political appointees at the EPA. There is conflict between actual scientists and career EPA folks, and Trump's "beachhead appointees", whose mission is widely understood to be the undermining of the EPA's clean mission.

      Screen capture from Patrick Davis’ Linkedin profile

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        I cannot think of a better group to target for fleecing than Republican donors….

        • mamajama55 says:

          If only these people would stop at fleecing the Sheeple. But Davis, at least, is now in a position of power – he can prioritize the resources that go to Superfund and other cleanup sites in Colorado.  He gets to "engage the public" on the efforts he thinks that the public should get engaged on. Think more "Obama's EPA caused Gold King mine disaster" propaganda.

          His first EPA job was in the field of emergency management. Now he's in charge of "public engagement" to the Region 8 administrator. Maybe just sucking up tax dollars and doing nothing…maybe not. By the way, he has never given up any of his private consulting or political phone calling businesses while he was Trump CO director, nor now as the EPA administrator. So he could be steering himself business all the time – and probably is, since that's what he got in trouble in South Dakota and Texas, and by the way, in Colorado for Cory Gardner. His PAC, Vote2ReduceDebt, raised money for events that didn't happen, for voter contact that was not made, for propaganda that never hit the streets.

          I don't know why I'm the only one with my hair on fire about the corrupt chairman of Trump Colorado making decisions about what the EPA will do in Colorado. But that does seem to be the case.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Certainly cheaper than Taylor Weyeneth, the now-resigned "24-year-old former Trump campaign worker, appointed last year to be the deputy chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy."

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    Gimme’ an “R” . . . 

    Gimme’ a “Y” . . . 

    Gimme’ an “A” . . . 

    Gimme’ an “N” . . .

    What’s that spell? . . . 

     

    . . . Douche!

     

     

    Paul Ryan Deletes Tweet Lauding a $1.50 Benefit From the New Tax Law

    https://nyti.ms/2FJNJsX

    “A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Mr. Ryan posted on Twitter . . .

     

     

    • Davie says:

      I wonder if Ryan will follow up with her after her “tax cut” expires and she has shop at the dollar store because she can’t afford Costco?

      • MADCO says:

        Well… if PA is anything like Colorado, she's not paying into SS, instead, she's paying into some state pension* which the R"s want to cut because it's so sweet compared to the average worker

        So will Ryan follow up with her (and her kids or neighbors) when she's too old or disabled to work? Will he chastise her for not investing her $1.50 weekly bump? I mean if she just invested in Bitcoin at $1.00 she'd be rich.

        *not one of the four public pensions Mike Coffman is eligible for or has referred to as a Ponzi scheme.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Because you need #YoMemo jokes today:

    Luisa Haynes‏ @wokeluisa

    Yo memo is so lazy, it plans to spend a weekend at Mar-a-Lago

    Do any of you nice people on twitter know any good criminal defense lawyers, maybe the kind who specialize in financial crimes? Asking for a friend. Thanks!

    Hey, Devin. Yo memo so bankrupt, it used to be a Trump casino.

    Eugene Gu, MD‏Verified account @eugenegu 21h21 hours ago

    Yo Memo so evil she helps sneak Roy Moore into the mall.

    30 replies 401 retweets 2,486 likes

    Your memo is so fake that Sean Hannity thinks it's news

    32 replies 891 retweets 4,023 likes

    so fake Donald Trump put it on top of his head this morning.

     

    Yo memo so badly documented, ICE is planning a raid on it.

    0 replies 5 retweets 24 likes

    Yo memo such a disaster Puerto Rico sent it relief.

    10 replies 222 retweets 1,009 likes

    Yo memo is so full of shit Sarah Huckabee Sanders is worried it's going to take her job.

    12 replies 145 retweets 732 likes

    Yo memo so pathetic Tiffany Trump didn’t wanna kiss it

    31 replies 316 retweets 1,103 likes

  6. itlduso says:

    Vincent Carroll had the lead Op-ed in today's Denver Post titled, "Senior Myth".  The gist of his column is that senior citizens like himself are offered lots of discounts regardless of their economic situation.  Things like national parks passes, movie discounts, gym memberships, etc.

    Curiously, he failed to mention the biggest tax break that he takes.  That is the Colorado Pension Deduction.  Seniors 55 years and older (yeah, 55 year old "seniors") can deduct $20,000 from their CO taxable income.  True seniors 65 years and over can deduct $24,000.  This translates to tax avoidance of $926 to $1,111.  This is doubled for joint tax filers — tax savings of $1,852 to $2,222. 

    Here's the kicker — You get this benefit regardless of how much income you have! 

    I have commented about this for years.  In 2008, the CO Dept of Revenue reported that $1.5 Billion in pension deductions were taken by those with adjusted gross incomes of over $250,000.  This translates to more than $9 Million in lost CO income taxes.

    Of course, the Dems have always responded with crickets when I have pointed this out.  Sigh….

    • gertie97 says:

      Doesn't the Colorado pension deduction apply only to PERA retirees? That ain't most of us.

      • mamajama55 says:

        There are a few other pension plans around besides PERA – although they are an endangered species. Dad was a member of what he called the "newspaperman's union", which I think now is the CWA, which does have a pension retirement plan.

        We need to elect a Democrat as treasurer, partly to protect pension plans from the so-called defenders of the working stiff, such as Walker Stapleton, who are slavering to get our hard-earned savings to use for their pet porkers.

      • Voyageur says:

        No, Gertie, any senior can take the pension reduction, which even applies to Social Security.  Some years, it has zeroed me out of Colorado Income taxes.

    • Voyageur says:

      The senior deduction only applies to pension income, including social security.  So a 60 year  old earning $100000 in income can't take it against that income.  I dpon't think many seniors earn $250,000 in pensions, so that is sort of a red herring.

      • itlduso says:

        V is correct that all federally taxable pension income qualifies for the pension deduction, including taxable Social Security income. 

        RE: the $250,000 income topic.  It is a fact, based on an annual CO DOR analysis of who is taking all types of CO income tax deductions broken out by their adjusted gross income.  The 2008 figures states that $199,467,000 in CO tax deductions were taken by those with AGI's over $250,000.   Those people may be taking required minimum distributions from inherited IRA's, in addition to those with Social Security income.  It is not a red herring. 

        I don't have the latest DOR numbers because I got tired of asking Dems to do something about this abomination.  Consider that the intent of the deduction was to help fiscally strapped seniors.  Allowing any senior to take the deduction, regardless of income, defies the intent of the policy.  And, it fits with Vincent Carroll's observation that seniors get lots of discounts, needed or not.  I suspect Mr. Carroll's indignation stopped when we started talking about real numbers.

        • Voyageur says:

          Your previous post talked about $1.5 billion in deductions by seniors.  Now, you say $199 million.  What happened to that $1.3 billion?

          • itlduso says:

            Sorry, I screwed up again.  The total pension deduction taken in 2008 was $6.4 Billion by all taxpayers.  Those with over $250,000 AGI totaled $199.4 Million.   My math was correct that this translates to $9.2 Million tax avoidance for those who make over $250,000.  Sorry for the confusion. 

            So, do you agree that there should be an income limit for taking this deduction?

            • Voyageur says:

              Thanks for the update.  Your numbers work now.   As to whether I would cap the deduction, you have to remember the baleful TABOR amendment.  It is a revenue limit, not a spending limit.  So raising the amount paid by affluent seniors would simply require cutting taxes elsewhere for no net gain.  

              Since Colorado has a flat tax on income,  making it a bit more progressive by eliminating this deduction for wealthy seniors would actually go against our flat tax philosophy.

              I don't agree with that philosophy but altering it just to gain a very modest $9.2 million that we'd have to give back in tax cuts elsewhere would arouse a lot of opposition among seniors for no net gain.

              Again, TABOR defeats rational reform.

               

               

               

               

               

               

               

  7. mamajama55 says:

    #YoMemoJokes are awesome.  I tried to put up a post with a dozen of the best, but I think it had too many links and is in moderation purgatory.

  8. Davie says:
    1. Kelly T‏ @keltooz Feb 3

      Yo memo is so lame if it were a tax break it would be $1.50. #YoMemoJokes 🎯

       

    2. April Michelle 2.0‏ @JanettheIntern Feb 3

      Yo memo so shady, #MAGA lookin' to deport it. #YoMemoJokes

    3. Alvaro Manuel Chong‏ @Angel1356 12h12 hours ago

       

      "Yo memo is so dumb, Fox & Friends wants it as their new cohost." #YoMemoJokes

       

    4. Dan Sloan‏ @sloantone 14h14 hours ago

      Yo memo so pointless and nauseating that Melania called it "date night". #YoMemoJokes

       

    5. Misty B‏ @Prince3eb Feb 3

      Replying to @realDonaldTrump

      Yo memo so fake, The Onion sent a cease & desist letter*

  9. Davie says:

    Trump's lackeys fired an errant torpedo which circled around and struck the SS Trumptanic.  It's taking on water and the crew are scrambling toward the lifeboats

    Republicans Split From Trump, Say Memo Doesn’t Mean Russia Probe Should End

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