Sine Die Open Thread

We think we speak for everyone: to hell with this legislative session.

43 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    Good legislation was introduced, but didn't make it through both legislative chambers. ( I don't have time to post links to specific bills now, but see Esgar, Salazar, your usual Democratic firebrands legislator pages for info on specific bills on civil rights, and protecting the environment, e.g. Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act, etc).

    Additionally, a lot of wacko Caldera/ RMGO law was killed off, and died unmourned in committee. We didn’t arm teachers, jail the homeless or women seeking abortions. Small mercies?

    The sexual harassment / assault scandals sucked all the air out of the room, made it hard to talk about anything else, and so far has resulted in zero significant policy change to hold legislators accountable for misbehavior.

    I think if we flip the Colorado Senate and hold on to the House this fall, we'll finally make some progress on enforceable rules for our lawmakers to treat each other and lobbyists, staff, etc, with respect and decency.

    Under Grantham's "leadership", it will never happen.


    • The realist says:

      The fact that Baumgardner survives and thrives will reflect poorly on the so-called "leadership" of Grantham for the two years that Baumgardner has left in the legislature – UNLESS some motivated folks come along in the next session to force him out. Quite a legacy for Grantham. He really should have thought more than twice about how his non-actions reflect on him and his party.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        What I don't get … a district staying with a Senator like Baumgardner.

        For those in the district who like his policies, they should be outraged that those policies will be bogged down by Baumgardner, who will be marginalized and ostracized.

        For those in the district who do NOT like the policies, they should be able to see this gift for what it is — a chance to eliminate Baumgardner and potentially flip the Senate.

        So why isn't there any indication of a push to get Baumgardner to resign or an effort to begin a recall election? Or are those things happening, but simply not yet seen in the media?

        • ParkHill says:

          The Lord works in mysterious ways. Even a sinner might be furthering God's plan.

          That's not a very Catholic sort of hypocrisy; Catholics are more likely to set up a pay-to-play system where you can buy off your sins with donations to Church funds.

        • Duke Cox says:

          Baumgardner holds his position because his constituents, his donors, and his party are are all selfish and self-serving. He does what he is told by the Republican ranching community and their alter ego, the oil and gas industry, so he is valuable to that bunch. Is that not correct, T. Wright?

          If they don't protect their mustachioed molester, they increase the risk they themselves will be taken down for whatever graft or corruption they happen to be running. 


      • RepealAndReplace says:

        After nuclear war, there will still be cockroaches crawling on the earth and Baumgartner sitting in the place where sat the state senate. 

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      I agree with your assessment. Recovering control of senate is paramount. Donovan is my strong state senator and does not have strong opposition. Nevertheless, I'll be working for her.

      I sure would like to see CO pass the "red light" gun bill next year.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Jackpot! . . . 

    A shell company that Michael D. Cohen used to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration, according to documents and interviews.

    Financial records reviewed by The New York Times show that Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, used the shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., for an array of business activities that went far beyond what was publicly known. Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show.

    Among the previously unreported transactions were payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg.

    Other transactions described in the financial records include hundreds of thousands of dollars Mr. Cohen received from Fortune 500 companies with business before the Trump administration, as well as smaller amounts he paid for luxury expenses like a Mercedes-Benz and private club dues.

    Firm Tied to Russian Oligarch Made Payments to Michael Cohen




    • Gray in Mountains says:

      fee for service: smells like collusion

    • Davie says:

      Pay to play and Russian laundry services in a one-stop shop!

      “Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” the statement said. “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”

      The payments by Columbus Nova occurred between January and August of last year. Andrew Intrater, the company’s American chief executive and Mr. Vekselberg’s cousin, donated $250,000 to Mr. Trump’s inauguration, campaign finance records show. He and Mr. Vekselberg attended the event together and met with Mr. Cohen there, according to a person briefed on the matter. Columbus Nova retained him as a consultant soon afterward.

    • ParkHill says:

      Business as usual?

      Is there anything illegal about an American company (set up by a Russian Oligarch) paying another American company owned by Michael Cohen $1 Million for consulting services?

      Is it illegal for AT&T to pay $200,000 into Michael Cohen's company for consulting services?

      I guess AT&T's shareholders might want to know what kind of consulting the company received. I'm not a shareholder so I didn't get screwed.

      Obviously Cohen's shell company (no employees, no office) was a slush fund. It was used for paying off Stormy Daniels (I guess that isn't illegal, either), and also for Oligarchs and American companies to buy access or influence with Trump. Is that illegal, or is it normal business practice? 

      Lobbying isn't illegal. Being a power broker isn't illegal.

      Correct me if I'm wrong.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        I'm not a lawyer, usual caveats apply …

        Illegalities would arise

        • if there was an explicit quid pro quo — a payment for some specific political act or avoidance of an act.
        • if the funds were actually NOT for services or goods, but were a device to allow money to be brought into the the political process. Corporations cannot donate directly to candidates, nor can they repay their executives when the executives donate.
        • if the funds were used to produce illegal purposes, such as suborning perjury, insuring a witness' silence, paying for a break-in or assault, etc. AND
        • if the funds were paid for "advice" and then were not reported as income.
        • ParkHill says:

          You offer thin gruel. I want a thick stew with Cohen's body parts floating in it.

          I'm sure the contract between ATT and Essential Consulting did not contain any incriminating quid-pro-quo language; "Consulting Services" is a vague catch all. Columbus (the Oligarch's company) canceled the contract saying only that the services were not as good as they expected. 

          Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what language was actually in the contract.

          There might be some Corporate Governance issues at stake.

          Talk about a swamp!

          The long and short of the story is that we are getting a window into the massive (but possibly legal) corruption that permeates our Business and Political system.

          • Davie says:

            Given that we only have the contents of that article to go on, we can't offer "thick stew" that you seek.  But if/when Mueller or the SDNY DA's office return indictments, we'll finally have some answers.

      • ParkHill says:

        Immaculate Sinning

        And even if there was something illegal going on, the President has the power to erase the crime by use of the pardon.

        Does that mean that Trump could pardon himself for collusion?

        • Davie says:

          He has unlimited pardon power for Federal crimes, but not for State crimes.  However, if he tried to pardon himself for Federal crimes, it would be hotly contested, and besides provoking the mother of all constitutional crises, likely get even the Republican Congress off their butts and impeach him.

          But not to get ahead of ourselves, if and until there are indictments or a report to Congress from Mueller, we'll just have to wait and see where this all leads.

      • Early Worm says:

        Parkhill – I agree that consultants/lobbyists being paid for access and influence, dirty as it seems, is not illegal. But, it certainly would be illegal for AT&T to pay money ($200,000) directly to Trump to get favorable treatment for their proposed merger with Time-Warner. They can pay (bribe) Trump's lawyer (as a consultant), but they cannot pay (bride) Trump directly.

        What if they, or a friendly Russian oligarch, reimbursed Cohen for the payments Cohen has made to third parties on Trump's behalf? In other words, it is just as much of a bride if you are paying debts for Trump as it is if you are paying him directly.  Cohen paid Daniels out of this same LLC. It sure looks like a great way to curry Trump's favor – pay his hush money for him.

      • ParkHill says:

        Let me get this straight:

        Novartis wrote a contract to Michael Cohen for "consulting" on health care policy under the new administration. They actually sent a team to meet with Cohen, after which they realized it wasn't going to work: "it was a slippery slope". Then, rather than cancel the contract they continued paying Cohen $100,000 for the entire year.

        Apparently, they were afraid to drop the contract with Cohen out of concern for getting on Trump's bad side. Is that bribery, or WTF?

        Talk about "inverted psychological domination" (viz. Bedtime for Bonzo).

      • Mueller has been looking this general direction since at least last November.

        There is an awful lot of money flowing through Cohen's accounts and he has no employees to provide the services supposedly paid for. At least the not-Russians explained it away as "real estate consulting", which is in Cohen's field. Health care advice and insight on telecomm issues notsomuch…

  3. notaskinnycook says:

    The CD siren tests have begun in Denver. 11:00 a.m. and all's well.

    • Davie says:

      And how — they were really loud up here in Park Hill.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        Channel 9 is half a mile from our house, on the grounds of the old armory. That's where the one we hear comes from, and loud doesn’t cover it.

        • mamajama55 says:

          True story – the first 2 times I heard the "noon siren" that goes off at high noon around here to let farmers know it's time to break for lunch, I thought that there was a real emergency, like  a tornado or Ken Buck's Julesburg Jihad finally woke up.  The farm kids just laughed at me. 

          Different cultures…..

  4. Rockhound says:

    You missed two major stories this week from south of Monument Hill. 

    Firstly, the Pueblo City Schools' teachers went out on strike in the first teacher strike in Colorado in 25 years.  If you take teachers out of the mix, there hasn't been a public sector strike in the state since 1972. 

    Second, The Pueblo Chieftain has been sold. 

    I could find links to these but I'm a little pressed for time.


    • mamajama55 says:

      I posted about the Pueblo teacher's strike, (now in its third day) but haven't followed with a diary. I follow it on social media; many of the strikers are my friends. But it's the last month of school, and time is short for me, too.


      Just read about the Chieftain being sold yesterday, to Gatehouse media. At least, it's not to DFM.


  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Hell has higher standards than you realize.  

    I’m fairly certain that this legislative session would’t be allowed admittance . . . 

  6. Pseudonymous says:

    CNN poll: Democrats' 2018 advantage is nearly gone

    The Democrats' advantage in the generic ballot dipped from 16 points in February to six points in March to just three points now. The party's advantage has waned among enthusiastic voters as Republican enthusiasm has grown (in March, 36% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters said they were very enthusiastic about voting; that's up to 44% in the new poll), but the Democrats still have a double-digit lead among those most excited to vote this fall (53% of those who are very enthusiastic about voting say they'd back the Democrat in their district vs. 41% who say they favor the GOP candidate). Those enthusiastic voters also say by a 10-point margin that the nation would be better off with Democrats in control of Congress than Republicans.

    By 48% to 43%, registered voters say they would rather back a candidate who opposes Donald Trump than one who supports the President. That margin has narrowed from the 52% who opposed Trump to the 41% who supported him in January.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      For too long, the Democratic party has sat on its hands and allowed trump to run roughshod. I guess the thinking is give him enough rope and eventually he’ll hang himself with the voters. Obvious, isn’t it?

      The problem is that just sitting fecklessly on the sidelines makes them look weak and uninspiring — it encourages the opposition in their unchallenged schemes, and disheartens their own base.  

      The Democrats have been making themselves look just as sad and ineffective as they did in 2002 and after, allowing cheney-bush to run roughshod.

      Give the voters a reason to vote for gawdsakes!!??

      “We have it within our power . . .
      . . . to piss this thing away! Again!” ???

    • Genghis says:

      Yes indeed. All the nonsensical bullshit about a "blue wave" is irresponsible and stupid. It's going to take massive expenditures of time, effort and money to make even the smallest incremental gains.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        If the Republican majority keep sitting on their hands as the Swamp Gas gets more stifling (Pruitt, Cohen, Haspel, etc. not to mention The Yam, himself) a lot of G.D.I.s may decide to send some new people who will take action.


  7. Gray in Mountains says:

    Sine Die. Thank you, Millie Hamner, my state rep for the last 8 years.

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