Monday Open Thread

“Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.”

–Charles Bukowski


42 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”  R. Giuliani 2019

    KGB, SVR, GRU,


    People die for information in that part of the world. I am sure they do other places too – but the President's administration was specific to Russia.

    It's not ok and it's not a good idea.
    What he meant to say was something like it's not illegal and no prosecution is possible.

    It's definitely wrong.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Couldn't agree more. Any so-called patriot that supports T***p is a heartless hypocrite. 

      He and his cronies were and are willing to sell out the nation in order to enrich themselves by empowering our enemies. Isn't there a word for that?

    • DavieDavie says:

      Rudy's situational ethics (IOKIYAR) is definitely the minority opinion:

      Campaigns are not allowed to solicit or accept foreign contributions, which is defined as “anything of value” under campaign-finance laws and regulations. Federal campaigns can hire foreigners to conduct opposition research, as long as they pay a fair-market fee.

      There is no explicit ban on opposition research provided free by foreigners to campaigns. But in his report, Mueller wrote that “candidate-related opposition research given to a campaign for the purpose of influencing an election could constitute a contribution” that is prohibited under the ban on foreign contributions.

      Despite finding that the opposition research could have been considered an illegal foreign contribution, Mueller decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges for other reasons.

      • kwtreemamajama55 says:

        Davie, I thought Mueller's reasoning was that the oppo research maybe wasn't "of value"? Your explanation actually makes more sense, but one of the Sunday talkers yesterday went with the "dubious value" explanation.

        I wish Mueller had been bolder, but he's put the onus of consequence for Trump right back on Congress. I hope Congress doesn't dither too long.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      I'd go even one step further — if the information is openly published by the Russians, I'd say there's no problem with taking information from the Russians.  Our CIA publishes THE WORLD FACTBOOK and includes comments on the government.

      Following economic and political turmoil during President Boris YELTSIN's term (1991-99), Russia shifted toward a centralized authoritarian state under President Vladimir PUTIN (2000-2008, 2012-present) in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country's geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth. Russia faces a largely subdued rebel movement in Chechnya and some other surrounding regions, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.

      What ought to be off limits is use of "insider" knowledge, the intentional spreading of false and defamatory information, and any "quid pro quo" collaboration which could be seen as bribery.

  2. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    I’m [Elizabeth Warren] calling for something truly transformational: Universal free public college and cancellation of student loan debt

    We got into this crisis because state governments and the federal government decided that instead of treating higher education like our public school system — free and accessible to all Americans — they’d rather cut taxes for billionaires and giant corporations and offload the cost of higher education onto students and their families. The student debt crisis is the direct result of this failed experiment.

    It’s time to end that experiment, to clean up the mess it’s caused, and to do better — better for people who want to go (or go back) to college, better for current students, better for graduates, better for their families, and better for our entire economy.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      Well, my daughter owes about $200,000 and is disab led with fibromyalgia.  Half the debt is with private lenders.  Warren says she wants to " work with" private lenders.

      So, the ones who need help most get only token relief.   This is just political posturing that does nothing for the crushing burden on students with advanced degrees.

      • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

        Biggest change to help many would be allowing education debt to be discharged in bankruptcy, Next biggest, in my opinion, is allowing consolidation and renegotiation of loan terms.  A further option would be opening up a possibilities for tax incentives for employers or direct public service employment to provide an adequate wage AND some debt pay-off. 

        "Free" public college isn't free.  “Who knew it could be so complicated” has already been tried on other topics. Trying to guess how a shift of that sort would impact student choices, economic investments, hiring decisions, employee benefits, state government decisions, university choices and more is complex.  It obviously will require legislative debate and compromise. Presidential candidates pushing such an idea ought to be required to clarify HOW it could happen — economically and politically.

        • kwtreemamajama55 says:

          There are already programs to consolidate and renegotiate student debt. There are also "canceling" debt options with public service, including teaching math and science.

          Unfortunately for me, I only taught math my first year teaching, and it's been some variant of English for the remaining 17 years. Teaching English in low income schools doesn't count as service to cancel student loan debt.

          I guess that discharging student debt in bankruptcy would help – but I've never declared bankruptcy, and I understand that can be destructive to one's credit.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            As John said, MJ, student debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy.   Too many medical students graduated with a ton of debt ans a 2004 accor d.  They declared bankruptcy, and started collecting their $150,000 salaries d ebt free.  So Congress, bless its Shylock owned heart, outlawed bankruptcy relief for all students.

            In your case, denying loan relief because you only teach English is simply obscene. At minimum, they should knock off 10 percent a year for teaching at any public school. And for the low-income schools, add a moratorium on payments while you’re teaching. How to pay for that? Cancel a couple of Trump’s golf weekends.

            At that, "free college" thing is a lie.  It covers tuition only.   How does Warren think students are going to pay for beer and pizza for 4 to 10 years?  Live in a tent and eat toadstools?


        • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

          How?  Germany has free public higher education.  Also France, Austria, Denmark, Norway.  We're not dumber than them.

          How paid for?  Nobody asked that when the defense budget was bumped up $82 billion annually last year (more than enough to pay for said public education).

          How politically?  Intense public pressure from the tens of millions who are/would be positively affected by such a scheme.

          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            Sudafed, I think you will find Germany actually provides a stipend for living expenses to qualified students.  No such plan in Warren's scam.  "Free" college just means you're free to bury yourself with student loans for living expenses.  And your response to the questionof how to pay for it. — "that's mean, Trump didn't pay for things"– hardly inspires confidence in your analysis of our fiscal condition.   As you apparently don't know, higher education (public) is primarily a state responsibility.  They don't have the option of runaway debt.

          • Curmudgeon says:

            Apparently, here, "Free College" is only okay for people who've already been there, but don't want to honor the promise they made to the taxpayers to pay them back.  You know, "I got mine, screw the rest of you".   

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Warren’s right. The states have been negligent in their obligations, and overly largesse in their obsequiousness to the wealthy tax-adverse freeloaders.

        And, folks like me (and my two kids) whose education was paid in full completely out-of-pocket with no student loans (and no grants or scholarships) will get nothing . . .

        . . . and, I don’t really care! Because, leaving the current rape-and-pillage-everyone system in place is unconscionable, not to mention untenable.

        Sometimes you just have to start fixing some things with a start! Warren’s proposal is a start.

        I’ve always liked her, and I’m liking her more with every proposal she makes.


    • kwtreemamajama55 says:

      That would be awesome. I wouldn't have to be paying my student loan debt forever. Actually, I've already paid off the principal loan amounts at least twice – what's left is all interest on interest.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        It sounds like all your loans are the government ones.   Warren does nothing for the most seriously indebted students, who are trapped in private loans.

        As it stands, our plan to pay off my daughter's debt is simple: Die.  Pay the endless interest now, and after I die, my estate can pay off the principle for her.


  3. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    The middle class and the American Dream that inspired it was the result of efforts to distribute wealth downward and broadly. I find it disgusting when I hear SRBs (selfish red-necked bastards) talk about Democrats trying to redistribute wealth. Dems are pikers when it comes to that. 

    There are lots of ways to distribute wealth upward and the Republican party has been winning that war for nearly 40 years. 

    Time to change that.

  4. DavieDavie says:

    Joe Lockhart in the New York Times has a great article discussing the pros and cons of attempting to impeach Trump:

    There’s a Bigger Prize Than Impeachment

    Keeping Trump in office will destroy the Republican Party.

    …keeping President Trump in office is the best way to cement Trumpism’s hold on the Republican Party.

    Republicans themselves know it, and that simple fact is a huge problem for them: By and large they don’t like him, and they know he’s a long-term problem for the party — but in the short term they know they can’t get re-elected without his voters. For Democrats, it’s the dream scenario — as long as he completes his term.

    President Trump should be impeached because he is unfit for the presidency. He represents a clear and present danger to our national security. We didn’t need Robert Mueller’s report for that. But if Newt Gingrich taught us anything, impeaching the president is likely to be bad politics.

    Nothing will unite an increasingly fraying Republican Party more than trying to remove the president anywhere but at the ballot box. Democrats risk the kind of overreach that doomed the Republicans 20 years ago. And in any case Democrats are not likely to succeed in getting votes in the Senate to convict the president. And in politics, a loss is a loss — there are no moral victories.

    • kwtreemamajama55 says:

      It doesn't matter. Impeachment is the remedy the Constitution gives Congress to remove an unfit President. And for the record, Republicans actually did pretty well after trying to impeach Clinton.  Remember GW Bush?

      Doesn't the party that leads an impeachment proceeding suffer at the polls in the next election?

      No one knows for sure what polls would look like should the Senate try but fail to convict Donald Trump, but there isn't historical evidence indicating that impeachment would lead to Republican electoral success.

      Republicans led the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson in 1868, and they nonetheless made gains in the Congress and won the White House that year. A largely Democrat-led impeachment investigation of Richard Nixon led to his resignation in 1974, and was followed by massive Democratic successes in the mid-terms that year, and Democrats seizing the White House two years later.

      Most recently, the GOP was pursuing Bill Clinton's impeachment at the time of the 1998 midterm elections and ended up losing a handful of congressional seats—which was unusual for an out-party during midterms. But they were also going up against a very popular incumbent, buoyed by a strong economy. And, notably, the impeachment vote occurred the month after the election. Later, after Republicans impeached and tried Clinton, there was a presidential election in which the GOP took control of the White House and kept the Congress, with "Clinton scandal fatigue" cited as a source of voter anger with the incumbent party even during a strong economy.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        The Party of Trump may have this to contend with as well…

        Slowing economy looms as 2020 challenge for GOP

        Goldman Sachs on Monday issued a report projecting gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slow to 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2019, respectively, sooner than anticipated and creating a major headwind for GOP candidates the following year.

        The bank’s chief economist, Jan Hatzius, wrote in a note to clients that “tighter financial conditions and a fading fiscal stimulus” from the 2017 tax reform and spending packages will be “key drivers of the deceleration.”

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        Sorry to rain on your revenge fantasies, MJ, but in the 2000 election, Al Gore, despite a campaign of near Mook-like ineptitude, won the popular vote by about 600,000 votes.  The fact that the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush anyway hardly backs your hypothesis that a failed impeachment is a politically winning hand.

      • Genghis says:

        Impeachment is the remedy the Constitution gives Congress to remove an unfit President.

        Well, no, not really. The impeachment/removal process is the mechanism the Constitution provides where the requisite number of legislators in both houses of Congress agree that the president committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." General "unfit[ness]" falls more within 25th Amendment territory.

        Quick question for anybody: no one seriously believes that a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate would vote to remove Trump from office, but let's set that aside for now; how sure are we that a simple majority of the House would votes to impeach?

        • kwtreemamajama55 says:

          With the constant drip drip of the investigations, I think that a majority of the House will vote to impeach eventually.   Just for the record, I am in favor of continuing all investigations, interviewing Mueller, etc. I think Congress can walk and chew gum. If it takes 18 months, that's what it takes.

          But don't take impeachment off the table. Trump is emotionally a kid of 7 or so; You don't tell a kid "You broke the rules, that was very naughty," and then NOT ground him or take away his phone for a month or whatever other horror of inhumane punishment he has earned.  And you don't tell him up front that he doesn't have to fear the worst. Why would you do that? 

          Law enforcement pros say the same:

          But Representative Val B. Demings of Florida, a former police chief who sits on the Judiciary Committee and spoke on the call “as a 27-year law enforcement officer,” said she was grappling with the severity of Mr. Mueller’s findings. She signaled that she might be open to moving to impeachment more quickly.

          “While I understand we need to see the full report and all supporting documents, I believe we have enough evidence now,” she said. She added, “We are struggling to justify why we aren’t beginning impeachment proceedings.”

          Again, you don't tell a criminal  that you have evidence that he committed crimes, but he really won't ever go to jail, so don't worry about it.


          • VoyageurVoyageur says:

            Actually, MJ, not everybody shares your passion to put Mike Pence in the White House for the next nine years.  Fortunately, there is a very smart lady weighing this issue.  Her name is Nancy Pelosi and her opinion counts for considerably more than yours or mine.

            • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

              V, you completely lost me on the nine years. I'm thoroughly convinced that a year or so of that pompous, pious ass would be enough to convince a majority of the electorate that they want no more of him. On the other hand, I'm not convinced that he's not up to his neck in some of Yammy-pie's schemes. They them seem too clever by half for the Idiot-in-Chief to have dreamed them up.

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                Cookie, when Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford became very popular: "Our long national nightmare is over.". Only his pardon of Nixon allowed Jimmy Carter to defeat him.

                Pence likewise has serious political skills.  When the Hamilton cast berated him, he smiled and called it " the sound of freedom. " 

                Yes, I think an incumbent Pence would defeat a Democratic gaggle at war between its AOC purists and moderate wing.  But the yam, Mr. Can't get above 38 percent to Save his Soul, can lead the GOP to catastrophe.

                let him.

          • Genghis says:

            Agree completely. Rep. Cummings is kicking every square millimeter of the Dumpatollah's nauseating backside. That needs to continue. 

            At the same time, House Dems need to keep the possibility of impeachment alive and lurking menacingly just below the surface. 

            A constant drip drip drip from investigations should be sufficient. However, as 2016 showed, it's entirely possible that the "liberal mainstream media" (lol never existed, never will) may lose all interest in "partisan" investigations and instead provide 24/7 deep-dive coverage of whatever flavor-of-the-week nonissue is dogging the Democratic frontrunners and eventual nominee. (We also learned that stupid white hicks in three states get to decide who's president nowadays, but that's a whole 'nother rant.) That's why the impeachment option needs to be kept percolating. 

    • Diogenesdemar says:


      “Because we can . . .”

      Don’t just sit there, do something . . .

      . . . like shoot yourself in the foot, maybe?!?

      Use this 18-month opportunity to continue to investigate, gather evidence, and build cases.  As Trump’s panicked lawsuit today indicates, there’s enough tRumprope out there to make a necklace out of the the entire Republican party come November 2020 — it ain’t no “secret” when it’s exposed to the light.

      Drip. Drip. Flush (all the turds at one time).

  5. Genghis says:

    Happy trails and fare-thee-well to the proposed nomination of Herman Cain to the FRB. Mr. Cain, who shall henceforth and forevermore be known as Herman Cain't, asked Trump not to nominate him. When even a worm like Sen. Joe Manchin expresses doubts, you know your proposed nomination is well and truly boned.

  6. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Once again Colorado is setting the pace for US hemp development. From our pioneering Amendment 64, NoCo Hemp Expo (now the largest hemp conference in the US), our nation's first certified-seed program, the industrial hemp flag, Polis Amendment 192 and Senator Bennet's role in the 2013 Farm Bill Conference Committee, assuring the incorporation of Section 7606 into the 2014 Farm Bill.

    It all started right here…

    Hemp has arrived: Colorado crops double after Farm Bill makes growing more legit

    Colorado was well poised to take advantage of the new hemp status. It was already recognized as a hemp-industry leader with five years of state-monitored-crop experience and being the only state with a hemp breeding program.

  7. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Erasing duplicate. But Trump still stinks.

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