Wednesday Open Thread

“Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.”

–Charles Spurgeon

45 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    Lame.

    Here's some of the fundraising email that came to me under Jeff Merkley's name to inspire us to send money to Michael Bennet and Patty Murray.

    Subject: DEFEND: Michael Bennet and Patty Murray

    From: Senator Jeff  Merkley

    Zappatero,

    To take back the Senate and move forward on our progressive priorities, we have two jobs: 1) Win a bunch of seats currently held by Republicans. 2) Defend the Democrats that face re-election in 2016.

    And that job starts with defending leaders like Senator Patty Murray in Washington and Senator Michael Bennet in Colorado. Chip in $6 and help us get it done.

    A tenacious champion for working Americans, Patty Murray knows the power of progressive policies.

    (blah de blah about Patty.)

    When I was trying to get the first crowdfunding law passed so small businesses and start-ups can grow more quickly and create new jobs, Michael Bennet was the one who stepped forward and was my partner getting it done. 

    He's always looking forward, thinking about how to create widely shared opportunity not just in today's economy but in tomorrow's. 

    Michael was at the heart of efforts, as part of the bipartisan "Gang of 8," to pass comprehensive immigration reform that protects families and brings immigrants out of the shadows.  

    And he’s worked side-by-side with me in creating jobs, making college more affordable, and addressing climate change by making home energy retrofits affordable to middle-class families.

    …..

    From DSCC Chief Strategist to pitied cohort in 7 short months. 

    "Crowdfunding"? Who gives a flying rat's patoutie?

    "Bipartisan"? We know Michael desires this description for everything he does, but truly, voters don't care if something is bipartisan. The fact that R's have blown up all his work is something he should use against them. He won't.

    And if this is the basis for asking Coloradans to give him 6 more years in DC, my judgement is they'll try to find someone who can truly make a difference, not someone too timid to tackle big issues and too concerned with being bipartisan over legislating.

    Mike's going to be much happier as a lobbyist for some big bank. I only wish he'd stuck with that career path and said "No, thanks" when Bill Ritter first called him with this idea.

     

    • dustpuppy says:

      Morgan Carroll should give it a try – or at least Jared Polis.

      Bennet is still rejected by me, because he's been buttkissing R's for a long time, and it is one person we need to replace with a true progressive catching the coattail of Bernie Sanders' eventual nomination and victory.

       

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        “one person we need to replace with a true progressive…….” Translation: we’d rather be “right” than re-elect a senator. Too bad Coffman isn’t running; he’d be a shoo-in running against a “progressive.”

        "Bernie Sanders' eventual nomination and victory………."  If some sort of thermodynamic activity hits and he actually does get the nomination, look for a repeat of George McGovern in 1972. 

  2. Duke Cox says:

    Zap,

    As you know, I am in complete agreement with you about "Thurston". But you have one egregious error in your post that I cannot overlook.. I am pretty sure that a Muroids' derriere is a "patootie"….with no "u" in it. Alternately it can be spelled "patooty" or "patooti"…..       Butt, not with a "u"…(pun intended)   wink

     

    • Zappatero says:

      ummmm, well, I do take your criticism to heart and swear I even checked my spelling with some sort of google function. Tho I did learn the phrase from a quite unreliable humanoid. Stay tuned! 

       

  3. I don't have the time to make this in to a diary, so I'll leave it up to someone who does to track down the details…

    The Salt Lake Tribune reports today that Federal public lands foes the American Lands Council – and more specifically its founder, Utah State Rep Ken Ivory – are the subject of a multi-state lawsuit alleging that the group is essentially a scam, and that at least 50% of the funds sent to the group went in to Ivory's pocket.

    Colorado is not named in the suit, but the ALC reports that Mesa and Montrose Counties are members, and they suggest that they have representation here in the state.

    ALC is one of the prime pushers of the theory that the Federal land does not have claim to Western state lands, and Ivory was the champion of the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act of 2012, which demanded transfer of Federal lands to Utah. If this sounds familiar, it should: It's this year's Colorado bill SB-232, sponsored by Randy Baumgardner, Jerry Sonnenberg, and Donald Coram.

    • Zappatero says:

      smore:

      Anne Weismann, executive director of the CfA, called Rep. Ivory a “snake oil salesman, cloaked with respectability by his position as a legislator,” in a press release.

      “Ken Ivory has relied on his position and authority as a Utah state legislator to persuade unsuspecting local officials that if they contribute taxpayer dollars to his charity, they can help their states acquire federal land and increase revenues,” Weismann continued. “He might as well be trying to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.”

      The ALC, which Ivory founded to advocate for giving America’s public lands to state governments, pays both Ivory and his wife for their respective roles as the group’s president and communications director. Additionally, “more than 50 percent of the organization’s most recent budget,” which comes primarily from contributions made by local governments, “was spent enriching Rep. Ivory and his wife,” according to the press release announcing the complaints.

      Ivory has denied the accusations of wrongdoing. In comments to the Associated Press, Ivory called the complaints shameful, saying they represented “bullying tactics to stifle legitimate political debate.” He said the group was his primary job and therefore it made sense that he was paid for his work. In addition, he said that his $40,000 yearly salary is “a small fraction of the salaries that environmental groups pay their top officers.”

      Gee, what if a little ol' county in CO seceeded from the rest of CO, and all that property in that county somehow traded hands into either the local officials, now Proprietors, or to this horse thief? Dougie Boy has also been in on this bit of Republican shenanigans.

      • Duke Cox says:

        called Rep. Ivory a “snake oil salesman, cloaked with respectability by his position as a legislator,”

        Sounds remarkably like Darrell Issa, doesn't it?

    • mamajama55 says:

      P Kolbenschlag, Western Values, Hannah Miller? One of you should tie this together. Someone who knows land use and rights better than I do…it also sounds like something Jake Jabs' crooked charity, Western Traditions / American Traditions Partnership, got into. It was more with Montana and Wyoming than Utah, though, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was coordination. Perhaps they're just rival ganglords, fighting over public land "territory".

       Jabs' outfit was all about buying up western land cheaply, fighting off any environmental regulations. They kept their books in a meth house in Colorado.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        I'm totally amazed. Here is a topic that an ultra liberal, Zappatero, and a traditional conservative, me, can agree on. As a person who has extensively studied the whole Sagebrush Rebellion gig since the early 1980s, I will attest that Ken Ivory is just the latest in a line of professional rip-off artists who want to scam the taxpayers and take OUR public lands for private gain. 

        Ivory: his 40,000 per year salary is a fraction of what environmental groups pay their top officers. Shows he hasn't done his homework either. Most of our local based enviro groups in Colorado may pay their top dudes (or dudettes) over 40K. But the numbers trail off drastically after the top.     Regards,   C.H.B.

        p.s. as MamaJama suggests, someone needs to tie all this together. I could do that, but won't due to having to reveal my actual identity.

  4. Zappatero says:

    Something a U.S. Senator could do something about, or pretend to do something about, or even propose bipartisan or unipartisan legislation about, or even just request some reports and information from our very own government about:

    WASHINGTON — Half of older Americans have no retirement savings, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

    Fifty-two percent of households of people 55 and older haven't saved a dime for retirement, though nearly half of those do have an employer pension. Among the remaining 48 percent of older households with savings, the median amount was $109,000 — good for an annuity of about $405 per month. 

    The lack of savings is potentially problematic, the GAO notes, because the populous baby-boom generation is heaving into retirement with fewer pensions than its predecessors. In 1975, most workers with employer-sponsored retirement plans had pensions that provided a lifetime "defined benefit." As of 2012, such plans had 40 million participants, while 91 million workers had retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s, which are based on workers' own contributions and offer no guarantee of lifetime income.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, had requested the report.

    "This report makes it clear that there is a retirement crisis in America today," Sanders said Tuesday in a statement. "At a time when half of all older workers have no retirement savings, we need to expand, not cut, Social Security benefits so that every American can retire with dignity."

    I, and several acquaintances, are firmly in this category, our 401Ks having been raided as I tried to "survive" being laid off by one of Colorado's most prestigious employers, that also so happens to employ many, many people doing similar jobs for far less money. 

    And proposals to cut Social Security in order to save it are particularly stupid at this time, and were stupid at any time in the recent past….

    • Duke Cox says:

      I submit that, but for the raiding of our economic status that was ushered in by the Reagan administration, many, many more of us baby boomers would be much more able to face our 70s, 80s and beyond. My comfortable retirement was crippled by the great recession and my wealth is now in the pocket of the likes of Donald Trump, Jamie Dimon, and the Koch brothers..my wife and I are now working like slaves to catch back up.

      I resent it…..

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        To play "devil's advocate," as a member of the Boomer generation, I planned for my retirement. I have lived a frugal life, somewhat similar to that described in the book "The Millionaire Next Door."  I've never lived the "Ritz Carlton lifestyle." I never had a need to own the fanciest home, have a houseboat on Lake Powell, or get a new hot car every 3-4 years. I also have been a student of investing carefully and correctly; not perfect of course. But I have my financial fate in my own hands and not in the hands of some commission based planner or corporate human resources guru (barring world wide economic collapse). Utilizing Vanguard; unique among mutual fund companies by being a non-profit; has also helped. 

        Life is tough, as attested to by Zapp & Duke. I also was hit hard by the Great Recession. But somehow, I can't have a lot of sympathy for the 50% who have little or nothing; nothing is impossible if one sets their mind to it.     C.H.B.

        • Davie says:

          Good for you personally, C.H.B. (I save, my wife spends).  But if everyone cut up  their credit cards and saved every spare nickel, that would plunge us into a deep depression quicker than you can say "Bread lines".

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            Davie: I understand. Consumer spending does drive the economy. And, I make extensive use of credit cards. The difference is that I pay them off every month. The last bank or credit union loan I had was my mortgage, which I paid off in the late '90s. Can't recall when I last had a small balance on a credit card. My credit score is 833, out of a possible 850. That should come in handy in a couple years when I need a new car and will likely need at least a small auto loan.     C.H.B.

            • Davie says:

              It's just my personal opinion, but I think the reason 50% of boomers haven't saved is in large part a reaction to their parent's being raised during the depression.

              So the depression babies scrimped and saved, but gladly spent their savings on us kids so that we wouldn't have to suffer as they did, thus setting high expectations for living standards during the Go-Go '50's and '60's "keeping up with the Jones"  years.

              We weren't taught or expected to need to save very much.

              • mamajama55 says:

                Davie – 50% of boomers are female. 20 some percent are minority. 20% or so are living below the poverty line, and always have. It's not necessarily that we "never learned to save"…it's more like, we're barely making it.

                I still have a years salary in unpaid student loan debt from school 30 years ago.  I've paid off original principal balances, several times over….but the interest keeps compounding, and the forgiveness programs don't apply to me.  I was born into a middle class family, but made some choices which resulted in me raising two kids on my own for 15 years.

                Perhaps this cartoon may help clear up the problem a bit: It's by toby morris on pencilsword, if the full cartoon doesn't show up.

                 

                 

                • BlueCat says:

                  Exactly. The stereotype of the boomer has always been based on a small portion. The majority didn't come from families with the means to hand them everything on a silver platter in the first place. 

    • Davie says:

      Zap — I fear the problem is even bigger.  Not only will seniors have to work longer and harder to afford keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table, but with a significant number of millenials earning little more than minimum wage well into their '30's, they'll have no chance at saving enough for a retirement in 30 or 40 years too.

      In an economy that is 70% consumer spending, the decline of per capita income can only mean one thing — a reduction in the GDP (national income), economic decline and potential new depression that will even touch the 1 percenters.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        You know, Davie, if more of the big corporations had it pounded into their thick, collective heads that paying poverty-level wages gives their employees no purchasing power to drive the economy. They have no ability to save for emergencies, much less retirement. And that, in the long run, it's the vaunted "Small Business Owners" who will end up supporting all of those people through supplemental pensions, food assistance, etc. throughout their retirements they might just stop being so damn chintzy with wages when they can well afford to do better by them. 

        • Davie says:

          It's the same conundrum as C.H.B. exhibits — what is good for the individual (corporation) is bad for the overall economy (pinching pennies anywhere you can). 

          Few corporations are willing to voluntarily boost wages (as Henry Ford did 100 years ago), unless either the market (can't hire enough workers at slave wages) or governments force them to.

          • BlueCat says:

            And the reason Ford did it was because he wanted his workers to also be his customers. He wanted more people who could afford to buy cars instead of manufacturing only super pricey cars and relying only on a small market for them. He may have been an anti-Semitic SOB and he was no friend of unions. But he did have the sense to know that it isn't a zero sum game. The rich don't have to hang on to everything and keep anyone else  as poor and desperate as possible in order to make piles of money.  Masses with disposable income create mass markets and fuel the economy for everyone, including the rich. If you're selling stuff, more people who can afford to buy it is a good thing, not skin off your nose.

            • notaskinnycook says:

              The way I heard it was that if his employees could never afford to buy the products they were assembling, they wouldn't give a rat's patootie (there you go, Zap) whether they were well-made or not. But if any given vehicle might be the one they ended up with, they'd care if they were done right.

              • BlueCat says:

                Pretty sure it was more part of his creating more customers thing. Not only his employees but masses of middling income folks could become costumers instead of just a small elite. Less profit per. Lots more volume.

                Even a total A-hole can have some good ideas. Even so, when I was a kid, Jews didn't buy Fords because of the whole Elders of Zion thing he championed or German cars for obvious reasons. Somewhere in my early adulthood, that all faded away. Fords became perfectly OK and everybody with enough money wanted a Mercedes and to hell with social protest stuff. It even became socially acceptable for congregation members to buy VWs, Hitlers pet car for the people. That all happened around the same time Jews were transitioning into being white enough to be allowed in the fancy North Shore Chicago suburbs.

                I owned  the notorious Ford Taurus lemon (everything that could go wrong started to after 60K, transmission, heating/cooling,  power steering, you name it) and have never and will never purchase a Ford product again. Nissan has been very good to me and so far my vin isn't showing up on any killer airbag lists.

        • BlueCat says:

          For some, yes. For many it was a combination of unanticipated job loss which lead to debt incurred in better times borrowing to cover serious medical bills, to send their kids to college etc. eating up savings they could never replenish and so, even after securing jobs again never earning more than enough to keep their heads above water.

          Also remember it's a myth that all baby boomers come from affluence. Many baby boomers were born into poor or low income families and their buying power has been steadily decreasing, the number of jobs that provide adequate buying power have been steadily decreasing, the percentage required just to keep body and soul together, get medical care and education steadily increasing.

          As to unwise spending, before ACA the primary cause of bankruptcy was not over spending on credit, even taking into consideration the crazy mortgages people were encouraged to take on in the wild east of unregulation, but health crises. And not even primarily among the uninsured. Responsible people who had what they thought was decent health insurance being wiped out by serious health events was the primary cause of bankruptcy.  These events either took them hundreds of thousands over their cap , caused their insurers to drop them or they lost insurance in lay offs and couldn't get coverage due to preexisting condition issues.

          There are myriad ways baby boomers at a wide range of income levels have found themselves unable to do any better than barely make ends meet, including because they helped unemployed and sick family members.

          The difference between you being able to feel such smug, superior self satisfaction and you being in the same boat with many of those whose lives you judge without knowing anything about them is a lot slimmer than you know. The major cause can be found in the very discredited, totally failed conservative financial, race to the bottom, concentrate at the top and remove all regulatory protection economic policies you set such store by.  

          With less luck, your smug, self righteous frugality wouldn't have saved you from the consequences of those failed policies. So be careful of all that patting yourself on the back. You might strain something.

          • BlueCat says:

            oops. Guess I got a little lost in all theses boxes. This is meant to be a reply to CHB and his bloviating about how nobody would have a problem if they were just as frugal and responsible as he is. I see it appears to be a reply to notaskinny. Sorry about that. I thought I hit the reply to this:

            To play "devil's advocate," as a member of the Boomer generation, I planned for my retirement. I have lived a frugal life, somewhat similar to that described in the book "The Millionaire Next Door."  I've never lived the "Ritz Carlton lifestyle." I never had a need to own the fanciest home, have a houseboat on Lake Powell, or get a new hot car every 3-4 years. I also have been a student of investing carefully and correctly; not perfect of course. But I have my financial fate in my own hands and not in the hands of some commission based planner or corporate human resources guru (barring world wide economic collapse). Utilizing Vanguard; unique among mutual fund companies by being a non-profit; has also helped. 

            Life is tough, as attested to by Zapp & Duke. I also was hit hard by the Great Recession. But somehow, I can't have a lot of sympathy for the 50% who have little or nothing; nothing is impossible if one sets their mind to it.     C.H.B.

            – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/71685/wednesday-open-thread-114#sthash.dAJvaC7Q.dpuf

        • BlueCat says:

          Sorry I hit the wrong reply. my comments about smug self righteous people was not meant for you! See explanation above

  5. mamajama55 says:

    I'm jazzed to see Rhonda Fields running for SD29.

    Rhonda Fields@reprhondafields 1h1 hour ago

    Doing Right by Colorado #constantcontact http://conta.cc/1Q5Oj7m 

    Rhonda Fields retweeted

     

    Rhonda Fields@reprhondafields May 31 Colorado, USA

    There's no state where a one-bedroom apartment is affordable for minimum wage workers. http://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8679889/minimum-wage-housing-map …. #CoPolitics

  6. Rep. Ken Buck today continues his crusade to restore gun rights to certain convicted felons, introducing an amendment to the Justice Dept. appropriations bill which tells the department to go ahead with re-arming felons. You may never be able to say "No" to the job app question "have you ever been convicted of a felony", or get rid of that innocent "inappropriate touching" conviction you had when you were 17 (and not a member of a certain large Quiverfull family), but thanks to Rep. Buck you may be able to use a gun legally again.

    (State Rep. Perry Buck, Ken's wife, was a sponsor in 2013 of a similar state-level bill – HB13-1085 – and she credits Ken with much of the work. The bill died in committee.)

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