Weekend Open Thread

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

–Winston Churchill

34 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Trump fills up our senses

    like a night in a cess pool.

    He kills off our life force

    like a hard acid rain.

    Let me lend you my gas mask

    and a new haz mat suit.

    Let us flee upwind.

    Trump's stinking again.


    –Donald’s song.

  2. mamajama55 says:

    Another rat is deserting the Trumptanic.

    Zinke to leave at the end of the year.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Well, my morning just brightened a great deal, reading the headline from CNN:

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to leave Trump administration at end of the year


    • RepealAndReplace says:

      That’s wonderful unless he’s replaced by something worse. Maybe they’ll recycle Scott Pruitt.

      • mamajama55 says:

        "Something worse" : Colorado EPA region administrator Patrick Davis, former Chairman of the  Trump campaign in Colorado, and double-triple-dipper using taxpayer funds for GOP activism while in office.

        Or another Colorado Trump supporter ripe for political "advancement" – Clarice Navarro, head of the state's Farm Service Agency.

        But would the Navarro family want to move to DC? Trade one partisan hellhole for another? What Would Moderatus Do?

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Clarice Navarro!

          lol….now there is a thought! Although after Judy Reyher, Navarro doesn't look quite as offensive. Still close but not quite.

          Remember, it is always darkest just before lights go completely out.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    Thought for the day – The best way to reduce global warming is a carbon tax. But people won't go for increasing taxes on themselves. Unless…

    There's a clear win for them.

    So what if the carbon tax was 100% dedicated to paying 100% of college tuition. We use the tax to make education free for a bachelors, just as it is for K-12. And we reimburse pro-rated people who paid for college over the last 10 years.

    This way the money is going directly to a large segment of the voting public. It would get tremendous support from the education-industrial complex as well as all segments of the homebuilding industry (heavy debt causes recent graduates to postphone buying a home).

    • ParkHill says:

      I agree, although I prefer having it directed to funding the conversion to clean technologies. Quid deserves a pro quo.

      You could call it a severance tax levied at the well-head. (Not like in Wyoming where they delay payments for years, or never if the company goes bankrupt.)

      Personally, I would also add a tax at the gas pump, dedicated to transportation projects – Roads, Mass-transit, Fast rail from Cheyenne to Albuquerque…

      And, a tax at the retail home level on natural gas that's dedicated to insulation, and smart grid, and other electrical upgrades at the home.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      The problem isn't that carbon emissions aren't being sufficiently monetized, it's that they're destroying the planet.  Perhaps, instead of giving into the neoliberal fetishization of marketization and "efficiency," we could just shut the shit down.  Why do we insist on those who make and have little paying for those who've raped the planet and our economy to have it all?  Carbon pricing plans (a) don't get us where we need to be and (b) are creations of the industries that are trying to destroy us.

      The Planet Is Burning and Neoliberalism Is Not the Answer

      These pricing schemes started out as anything but progressive. Cap-and-trade is an anti-regulatory approach to pollution control that was boosted by Boyden Gray, an industry lawyer who served as counsel to George H.W. Bush. Gray worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to amend the Clean Air Act of 1990 to allow for the trading of pollution credits under the Acid Rain program as an alternative to strict emission control limits. Similarly, ExxonMobil was one of the earliest leaders behind carbon taxes back in 2009. Rex Tillerson, then CEO, knew he could easily manipulate these kinds of market schemes to avoid having to cut production. His company would continue to profit richly from the extraction and sale of fossil fuels for decades to come, while consumers were forced to pay increased oil and gas prices.

      If industry endorsement isn’t enough of a red flag for climate progressives, then the dismal track record of pricing approaches should be. While market proponents herald the Acid Rain Program as a success, it only achieved roughly half of the reductions of non-market regulatory programs that were in place at the same time in the Europe Union and Japan, according to a comparative study released in 2004. And it’s highly questionable how many of these reductions had anything to do with the cap-and-trade system itself, as noted in an analysis produced by Food and Water Watch—the organization I work for.

      • MADCO says:

        Look- you think anyone wants to hear facty truthyness?
        You must have a hook.

        "clean coal"
        "Boaty McBoatface"
        "Death tax"

        see- what you got is sane, rational. practical, life affirming good sense.
        It's hard to get it on a bumper sticker. 
        It's hard to make tshirts or cups.
        So – you know. keep on. 

  5. Davie says:

    So Republicans first steal your money, now they want to take your life too. 

    Using the Welfare for the Rich Tax Cut bill's provision zeroing out the penalty for not having adequate health insurance as justification, a political hack judge in Texas has ruled, despite all legal expertise to the contrary, that the entire ACA is unconstitutional.

    Friday was another sad day for the rule of law — the deployment of judicial opinions employing questionable legal arguments to support a political agenda. This is not how judges are supposed to act. Reasonable people may disagree on whether the health law represented the best way to reform America’s health care system, and reasonable people may disagree on whether it should be replaced with a different approach. Yet reasonable people should understand such choices are left to Congress, not to the courts.


    • Voyageur says:

      Markets, given the right incentives, can work wonders.  So what if the coercive Utopians don't like them?

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Thank you, Jill Stein

      • DENependent says:

        Hey, you misspelled James Comey as Jill Stein in your comment.

        Seriously. FiveThirtyEight did a chat about if Jill Stein should be blamed for Clinton losing, the Guardian has an article, and so did vox.

        The Money quote from Vox: "And that’s what exit polling that asked people how they would have voted in a two-party race — with the third option of not voting — finds. Under that scenario she would have won Michigan, still lost Florida, and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have been a 48 to 48 percent toss-up. Clinton would have needed to win both of those states to reach 270 electoral votes. So even in the artificial world of that exit poll that erased Stein and Johnson, Clinton seemed likely to lose."

        If anyone is to blame for making Clinton look bad to voters and shifting the election through the narrative it was James Comey. Up until his 11th hour Bengazi bait Clinton was farther ahead in the polls. Jill Stein got barely any attention in comparison. Again FiveThirtyEight did a whole article about the Comey Letter costing Clinton the election.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          It was his fault too. And how did that work out for him…. 

        • notaskinnycook says:

          I've enjoyed watching Comey's slide ever since the Yam fired him. It's beyond me why he thought the Yam would be a better choice; and no one can convince me he didn't do what he did, when he did, to sandbag Clinton.

        • Genghis says:

          A single occurrence can, and often does, have more than one cause.

          Just sayin', there's plenty of blame to go around for the fact that Donald Fucking Trump is POTUS. Jill Stein gets some of that blame, as do the morons who were willing to risk having the country burn to cast a "feel good" vote. Comey gets blame, as do white voters (the majority of whom appear delighted to prove their gullibility and stupidity on a regular basis).

          • DENependent says:

            Okay, let's portion out the blame. The portion of blame I would assign to Jill Stein and the people who voted for her is 0.9968137%. Why that number? Because the total voting eligible population in Michigan was 7,431,589 minus the 2,268,839 who voted for Clinton that leaves 5,162,750 people to blame.

            50.97% Non-Voters
            44.15% Trump
            3.33% Johnson
            1.00% Stein
            0.16% McMullin
            0.37% Others

            Even ignoring all the other factors and just assigning the blame to voters leaves Jill Stein as an almost non-factor. Non-Voters, Trump voters are the main ones, but even Libertarians had triple the impact that Stein did.

            • RepealAndReplace says:

              I probably make the most noise about Jill Stein on this site for two reasons. First and foremost, her supporters were, for the most part, better educated and more sophisticated than the average voter. To those to whom much is given, much is expected.

              Many, if not most, of them understand that with the Electoral College, each party has certain states that are almost a given and a handful of states make the difference. They also know – or should know – that we have a binary choice where, for better or worse – and usually it is for worse – one of two candidates is going to win.

              You can waste your vote on a symbolic act to demonstrate your virtue and purity by refusing to make a choice between two far-from-perfect serious candidates, or you can act like an adult and realize that actions have consequences. Consequences with which we may have to deal for up to eight years. (Oh yeah, and there's the Supreme Court, too. Which will probably be there beyond eight years.)

              The second reason is more compelling:  2000. It was only 16 short years ago that folks on the left were talking about how there was no difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush, so why not vote their conscience. And some did. We saw how that worked out.

              If 2000 had never happened, I probably wouldn't be as angry with the Jilliots because arguably they didn't know better. But it did and they should know better.

        • MADCO says:

          Just a figure of speech. Like a metaphor.

    • Davie says:

      Politico helpfully names the "Dead Man Walking" class of 2020:

      Already, Democrats are exploring how their GOP repeal message will play against Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2020. Those lawmakers voted to gut Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of the tax bill, argued Brad Woodhouse, executive director of the pro-Obamacare group Protect Our Care, effectively laying the groundwork for the Texas lawsuit’s winning argument.

      “In some ways this starts not just the legislative discussion around health care for 2019 and 2020, but it also starts the political discussion,” Woodhouse said, ticking off a list of 2020 Republican targets that included Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, along with Trump.

  6. Pseudonymous says:

    I’m with her!

    • MADCO says:

      It don't work like that anymore.

    • Smoking Mirror says:

      If it weren't already abundantly clear, seems like that is exactly what happened. It makes me sick to hear that sort of argument from the other side. I can hardly believe we must be subjected it by people nominally on the right side of history. "My country, love it or leave it" is an argument best suited to a huckster who knows they are in the wrong.

  7. Pseudonymous says:

    As the DNC tries to change who has control over (and, perhaps more importantly, reaps the profit from) voter data…

    DNC Chair Tom Perez goes to war with state parties

    The national chairman, describing his own reaction to the state proposal as “disappointed” and “dumbfounded,” accused the president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, Minnesota’s Ken Martin, of undermining the DNC by not keeping other state party officials “in the loop,” prompting withering criticism of Perez from state party leaders.

    It‘s the latest fight in a quickly escalating war over the trove of Democratic voter information — a conflict which broke into the open at a gathering of the state parties and the DNC in Puerto Rico late last month. The party’s data is largely owned by the state parties, but there is a considerable amount of other data being collected by outside groups like labor unions and super PACs that could be leveraged to benefit Democratic candidates and the eventual 2020 nominee.

    The DNC wants to gather all the data points on voters into a new, massive for-profit database but needs to convince state parties on the idea. The state parties have been wary, accusing the DNC of conducting a power grab that could financially benefit a few elite party figures.


    • mamajama55 says:

      The DNC really has itself to blame for state parties' lack of trust and reluctance to share data. That data represents volunteer hours of phone calling and door walking, town halls and forums, to update the constantly-changing voter information. Many of us do not trust the DNC to use that information in a way that benefits grassroots candidates.

      We get that we are responsible at the state and county level for supporting our statewide and local candidates. Most people are more comfortable in giving money directly to those campaigns – our little rural county raised and gave over $2500 to downballot candidates in 2018. The same goes for data sharing – typically, the SOS voter lists get uploaded to Votebuilder, but each campaign then has to pay for access to that voter data for its locality. Some just can't afford that. Also, the state and county party officials can be pretty snarky about just who gets access to that VAN data, and will let only their preferred candidates have access for free. 

      So that data pipeline can get narrowed in various ways. Even at the national level, we saw in 2016 where the Clinton and Sanders campaigns were feuding over data and accusing each other of hacking and stealing it. We may never know what role Russian hackers had in that whole fiasco.

      Many voters are cynical and turned off to the national Democratic party – citing its doubletalk about "empowerment" and "grass roots organizing", while at the same time allowing lobbyists to buy state delegate positions.

      Candidates themselves are picking up on voter distrust of dark money by swearing off PAC money, or funding from millions of small donors instead, as Sanders did. The DNC itself has a campaign finance transparency plank in its platform; it remains to be seen how well that translates into lived reality.

      The DNC has recent history to live down; under Wasserman-Schultz, the DNC rolled back the Obama year bans on dark money contributions and lobbyist superdelegates. Under pressure, some rules were compromised on. Superdelegates don't get first round presidential picks anymore. Corporations on the DNC's naughty list (like fossil fuel companies)  don't get to contribute to the DNC (but even that rule has been nullified, so hello Oily Boy$$$$). " Only" 95 / 452 superdelegates are still registered lobbyists or industry "influencers".

      So given recent history, DNC should not be surprised about state and local Democrat's lack of trust in Perez' big shiny, and very profitable proposal for Big Dem Data. If we don’t see transparency with the money, and if corporate lobbyist superdelegates still have more power than grassroots delegates, who is to say that Perez can’t sell that data to the highest bidder? We don’t want to see those precious cell phone numbers and email addresses from our districts turned over to Comcast or Goldman Sachs to lobby as they see fit.


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