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September 12, 2019 07:36 AM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.”

–Chinua Achebe


43 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. OK…Now I'm pissed.

    There have been 6 young people who have, apparently killed themselves by vaping. Melania is concerned. So concerned, hubby declares he wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

    So…Melania…would you mind being outraged enough to make your husband ban AR-15s?

    This whole thing is just a contrived distraction to avoid the subject of gun reform. Of course, the vaping thing is a tragedy, but the tragedy imposed on an unwilling American people by the availability of weapons of war to anyone who wants one is insane…just fucking insane.

    Don't let Melanias' faux rage fool you.

    She doesn't really care…do you?

    1. Didn't you hear Melania's husband yesterday? He wants to get a piece of gun control legislation that everyone can get behind. Then he is going give everyone his/her/their very own unicorn which farts rainbows.

    2. Meh. With all of this Misadminstration’s clean-air, emissions, and environmental rollbacks we’ll all be vaping soon enough anyway . . . 

      “What’s that [air] flavor?”

      “Tastes like . . . money.”

      . . . won’t be a problem in any of Ttump’s gated communities, I’m sure.

  2. Of course vaping nicotine and tobacco products- flavored or not – is bad for health.
    But it's good for profit margins. 

    Dangerous products 
    Actual military weapons sales.

    I don't care.



    1. Warren's idea stinks.  Yes, it would give me and my wife another $4800 a year, totally unearned.  That would almost make the payments on a new car that I don't need — my 2006 Honda runs great and has just 43,000 miles on it.

      Warren would make Social Security just a vote buying handout and thus undercut our most important Social progr am.  And most of the money would go to the 86 percent of seniors who are NOT poor.

      Here's a better idea.  Give the handout to the 14 percent of seniors who are below the poverty line — and bring them all above it.

      Most seniors are doing just fine and this cynical vote buying bid deserves only contempt.

      1. Most (male, married, white) seniors are doing just fine.

        Female, LGBT or single, seniors of color – not so much.

        Per Justice in Aging report pdf

        12% of men, 16% of women 65 and older live in poverty. For single, LGBTQ, black, Hispanic, and Native seniors, the rate is often double that. 

        Per SSA 


        Reasons that women and people of color are generally poorer as seniors: history of low wage employment or unpaid caregiving, discrimination, domestic violence, etc.

        So you can call it “vote buying”’, or see Warren’s plans to expand social security as needed reforms to lift a significant number of people out of poverty in their old age. 


        1. Math is hard, kiwi.  My point is that most of Warren vote-buying bribes go to the very same evil white men you despise.

          86 percent of SS recipients are NOT poor! Instead of showering C-notes on everybody, put all the increa se– an average of 1400 a month -+ on the poor and completely eliminate poverty among the elderly.

          Oh, but that doesn't buy enough votes!

          Warren is third on my list of candidates we have 

          Supported financially, after Amy and Kamala.  But even someone math challenged like yourself has to admit this is a cynical free stuff for everybody ploy that, if actually spent on the poor you purport to support, would go much further to eliminating poverty at less cost.

          And for this purpose, you can skip the litany of oppressed groups. Even your own numbers show 70 pct of politically correct groups are not poor! A rich black transsexual doesn’t deserve more money than a poor white heterosexual. Money is money and to the extent your favored groups were shortchanged by the system, it will show up in the benefits list. Just put all the money, 1400 a month on average but less for those near the poverty line and more for the very poorest, and eliminate poverty among the elderly.
          And then figure out some other way to win the election . Maybe by talking about health care?

          1. . . . and here I thought your point was that you don’t personally need that extra $200/month to get your low mileage 13-year-old Honda back and forth to the liquor store?

          2. I don’t know who this math-challenged “kiwi” is, nor who said that they despise evil white men. That same imaginary straw enemy you’ve always cherished, probably. 

            If you want me to debate you fact for fact,  and take your arguments seriously, leave the childish insults lurking in your imagination…or put them in a word file to chuckle over at your leisure.


            1. Oh, that kiwi fruit would have found a way to assail white, male, heterosexual villains even in a discussion of social security benefits — in fact she did!  I think she'd work in some white male bashing in a lecture on legume horticulture — a field she'd probably find some worthy class woefully underrepresented in.

              As to my not persuading her… Hey, I can live with that.  The math challenged have never been my lawful prey.

              1. Well, you just run along and play with your imaginary friend “kiwi”, dear. 

                Im sure you can have lots of fun reading her mind and telling all your little friends.

      2. This may shock the hell out of everyone in here but I (sort of) agree with Warren's idea but with one really big caveat: it must come with a means for paying for it. One of two ways comes to my mind:  raise the cap on earning subject to social security taxation and/or raise the retirement age. I don't care which.

        For better or worse, too many people are relying on their social security checks to avoid destitution in retirement.

        As for Warren buying votes, well that is nature of the game. Expect Bernie to try to outbid her with a promise of $500 more per month per recipient. And perhaps Beto or Castro will up it to $750 per month more.

          1. It does indeed do that which is why it is unlikely to ever pass. But it does give her something to yell about and make her vague promises to "fight, fight, fight" for the middle class.

            By the way, she has never given any details on her plans to "fight." She has given details on plans but not on how to wage the legislative war. Will she bludgeon recalcitrant senators who refuse to vote to soak the rich with her tax increases? Will she bribe them?

            Lyndon Johnson, who was the last president who actually knew how to get stuff passed, famously said, "I don't have anything to threaten them with. I don't have anything to offer them." He then went out and accumulated stuff to do both. Is she prepared to go there because I doubt that.

            You know my views on raising taxes. It is done the same way you boil a frog in a pot of water. Gradually increase the temperature and the frog is cooked before realizing it.

            This is why I have such problems with Warren and Bernie. They are making promises that can never be fulfilled which will just feed more skepticism about the political process. We will see all these wonderful things paid for by rich people right after Mexico pays for Trump's wall and Denmark signs over the deed to Greenland.

            Bismarck said it best:  "The biggest lies are told immediately before the wedding, right after the hunt and in the middle of the political campaign."

            1. "For better or worse, too many people are relying on their social security checks to avoid destitution in retirement."

              R&R that's what Social Security was for; keeping people from poverty in their old age. We now have IRAs, 401ks, and other mechanisms for saving money before it's ever in people's hands. Social Security was the original "if you don't have it, you can't spend it" retirement savings program. 

          1. Maybe he needs to raise it to $2,000 per month per person.

            When I was in high school, George McGovern promised $1,000 per year to every single American as part of his 1972 campaign. He carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

            Perhaps he should have offered more….

    2. She had me at getting rid of the “Windfall Elimination Provision”, a Reagan era rule that essentially stole half the social security earnings of any pensioned employee. It was a backstab to unions, of course…”Don’t think that your pensioned union job will earn you a secure old age”. 

      Of course, Elizabeth Warren basically had me in her corner, anyway. This is in spite of the Sanders folks line that Warren is “in hock to big donors”. Big donors like Emily’s List? Like retired teachers? Like a California doctor that paid for database access? 

      Come on, Bernie peeps. You know we love Bernie, but don’t start with this shit already. 


      1. Well, if you just want blatant vote buying, Andrew Yang is offering $1,000 a month to every adult, paid for in borrowed money at $3 trillion a year in borrowed money.

        As to Warren, I'm sure Bill Gates needs the extra $4,800 a year he and Melinda will get under her plan.  


      2. I told you the Bernie Bros were going there.

        Before this is over, they will have photos of Warren morphing into HRC while they chant about the rigged system.

        OTOH, as the Bernie folks start trashing her, I'm starting to warm up to Warren more.

      3. As a Bernie supporter, I think scolding Warren over this is idiotic.  But, let's not pretend it's "Bernie peeps" only doing this.

        Why, just ask Biden surrogate, Ed Rendell…

        I like Elizabeth Warren. Too bad she’s a hypocrite

        Well, I helped organize that affair, and I thought her attack was extremely hypocritical because nearly 20 of us who attended the Biden fundraiser had also given her $2,000 or more in 2018 at closed-door fundraisers in “swanky” locations. 

        Warren didn’t seem to have any trouble taking our money in 2018, but suddenly we were power brokers and influence peddlers in 2019. The year before, we were wonderful. I co-chaired one of the events for the senator and received a glowing, handwritten thank-you letter from her for my hard work. 

    3. Warren Plan Would Close Tax Loophole Joe Biden Uses

      Warren vows to close the so-called “Gingrich-Edwards” loophole, a way for the rich to avoid Social Security and Medicare contributions. Self-employed individuals can set up S corporations to pass through earned income from consulting, book advances, speaking fees, or whatever else. The Trump administration just made S corporations more lucrative by adding large deductions for pass-through income.

      If the individual classifies money taken out of the S corporation as an investor distribution rather than a salary, that money avoids payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. It gets taxed as a corporate profit (at a lower overall rate) rather than income. Newt Gingrich and John Edwards, the namesakes of the loophole, both used this to funnel millions of dollars into their hands without paying payroll taxes.

      Warren’s call to close the Gingrich-Edwards loophole would move more money into the Social Security system, as well as Medicare. Unlike other parts of the plan, a president could accomplish this through IRS regulatory guidelines, without needing approval from Congress.

      And that could be bad news for a guy named Joe Biden.

      1. Closing loopholes and raising taxes is a good idea.  Pouring 86 percent of the money thus raised to seniors ABOVE the poverty line is a bad idea.  Instead of $200 a month more to affluent retirees, why not put all the money, an average of $1400 a month, to the 14 percent below the poverty line?

        But, but, but that wouldn't buy as many votes!

        Screw the poor, this plan is a bribe for affluent seniors.

        Yes, close the loopholes, raise the taxes.  But give the money to the needy, not the greedy.

        1. The political genius of Social Security is that it applies to almost everybody regardless of income level, as long as they have held a job. This means that, despite the fact that they don't need it as much, regular middle-class people don't oppose it being given to poorer people, and don't generally oppose the payroll tax. As soon as it becomes a "poor-people-only" benefit, I would expect to lose a significant number of middle class people. Is that right? No. Is it reality? Yes. Is it smart politics to propose that increased benefits apply to everybody? Absolutely.

          Specifically, what benefits the poor more: speculatively higher, nonexistent benefits that would have applied only to them (and therefore will never happen), or a somewhat smaller increase that actually has some chance of getting political support?

            1. Actually, Corky, the part of Warren 's plan that eliminates the old anti-windfall provision is aimed at upping benefits for teachers and others who receive public pensions but did not pay oasdi on those wages.

              And, yes, the political genius of Roosevelt 's plan was to pretend that we all earned and paid for our own benefits, even though, in reality, the poor got higher returns for their modest contributions than higher income earners.

              warren's plan is a flat out soak the rich, $200 a month unearned windfall welfare for everybody plan.  For that very reason, it weakens the whole Social Security is not welfare premise that Roosevelt wisely incorporated into his great vision.

  3. Trump Administration Rolls Back Clean Water Protections

    The administration is expected to complete the repeal of a major Obama-era regulation that put limits on chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands …

    The New York Times



    It's very possible that the stuff that gets added to water is good for you and improves health. Which means, really, we should pay extra for it.

    It's like all those whiners who got free methane in their water in Larimer or Weld counties.  they should hav ebeen paying for it – instead of selling deceptive youtube video views to the public who made fun of exploding water like diet coke and mentos.

    No one needs nanny state gov't , especially from the 1/2 black president, telling us what to vape,  breathe or drink.


  4. Who watched the debate? What did you think? I started watching it, but then my grand baby turned into a colicky poop machine. She likes Beto O Rourke ( probably because he moves around a lot).She smiled at Julian Castro and Kamala Harris. . Bernie made her fuss and Biden made her nod off.

    So that’s the baby vote. 

    1. Biden is embarrassing.
      I like him, but.

      Mayor Pete had a great night.
      Senator Warren has found a good campaign voice – emphatic but not crazed.
      Secretary Castro is not moving up. Likewise Beto and Booker.

      George Stephanopolous was better than I expected.

    2. I could really get behind a Warren/ Buttigieg ticket. I was impressed with both. She looks more and more like Americas' first female president.

      Give her 8 years and Vice President Buttigieg 8 after that and we be stylin'.

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