Labor Day Weekend Open Thread


78 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowman says:

    "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

    ~Abraham Lincoln 


  2. MichaelBowman says:

    (in particular for our concern troll MB4CO and our Attorney General who thinks an appropriation of her resources to challenge the Clean Power Plan is in our best interest).  From the raving liberal rag, National Geographic

    Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War

    Scientists and the U.S. military have argued for years that rising temperatures will likely spur waves of human migration and battles over increasingly scarce resources—particularly water. That, however, has proved controversial, with other scientists arguing that there has been too little evidence to support the connection.

    The Department of Defense, in releasing its Quadrennial Review dating back as far as the Bush || era, identified climate change as a threat multiplier.  At the same time the Bush Supreme Court ruled CO2 a pollutant.  Yet, today, we are faced still with an entire slate of Republican Presidential candidates who deny the science of climate. 

    From the 2010 Pentagon report:

    The DNI report estimates that climate impacts in the Caribbean and Central America could fuel migration into Mexico and the United States, and swelling migration in Southeast Asia “increase[s] friction between diverse social groups already under stress from climate change.” The Center for American Progress recently argued that Northwest Africa is a region to watch in regard to climate and its impact on security and policy, both for the United States and the European Union.

    The outlook in the region is particularly worrisome according to Blair:

    “The effects of climate change in North Africa are likely to exacerbate existing threats to the region’s water and food resources, economies, urban infrastructure, and sociopolitical systems. Cities probably will face deteriorating living conditions, high unemployment, and frequent civil unrest. Climatic stress coupled with socioeconomic crises and ineffective state responses could generate localized social or governmental collapses and humanitarian crises. Climate change will likely increase the already substantial migration of North Africans to Europe. The region also will serve as a route for transmigration if Sub-Saharan Africans flee severe climatic stress.”

    A recent report by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies also concludes that transit migration through the Maghreb—Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania—to other locations contributes to the destabilization of Northern African societies. This instability in turn provides an operating environment for the rapidly growing regional branch of Al Qaeda, which operates in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger. “From their low point following 9/11, terrorist incidents in the Maghreb and Sahel have climbed to a staggering 204 in 2009, a new high level of intensity. This escalation represents a 558 percent increase in terrorist operations that have killed more than 1,500 people and wounded 6,000 others,” writes Yonah Alexander in the report.


    • BlueCat says:

      I think concern troll has given up on us.

      • MichaelBennet4CO says:

        Happy Labor Day, everyone. Once again, I find myself laboring this Labor Day more than appreciating the value of labor.

        This weekend, I thank our Dem leaders for standing up for CO industry and jobs. Supporting labor and supporting unions also means supporting a broad range of industrial output. States need the flexibility to adapt federal regulations to conditions on the ground. I am continually impressed, particularly by Gov. Hickenlooper, and our other Dem leaders' ability to see this.

        While I recognize that oil production and consumption produce greenhouse gases, I also recognize that without oil I wouldn't be typing on a tablet, listening to music through a speaker, or enjoying coffee from my coffeemaker right now. Many of the labor and union jobs we are celebrating this weekend are in industries that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Emission reduction must be part of a long-term, comprehensive plan.

        • Progressicat says:

          At what point does your ability to type on a tablet, listen to music, or have a cup of coffee outweigh the likely irreversible damage we do to the planet every day that we fail to rein in the emissions that cause climate change?  How do you know that the advanced technology that is necessarily generated by the pursuit of non-carbon energy sources wouldn't result in a better tablet, a more robust sound system, or a smoother cup of joe?

          Having said that we require a plan to reduce emissions, what's your favorite and how does it support continued mineral extraction (just a guess)?

          • MichaelBennet4CO says:

            Given the enormous demand for new iphones and Starbucks lattes, I would say that most middle and upper class folks believe that the value of such conveniences far outweigh damage to the planet. What I'm talking about are plastics, which make so our modern conveniences (like coffee makers, appliances, and every computer and gadget out there) available to the mass market. Plastic also has some environmental benefits. For example, decreased fuel consumption due to reduced weight. I am not aware of any scalable formula for manufacturing plastics that doesn't involve oil.

            I firmly believe that technological advances can get us away from a carbon-based fuel system and a carbon-based appliance system. But I also know the reality– technological advancement GAVE us both of those things. We aren't going to turn in our devices en masse, grab bikes, and stay off the grid until we've "scienced" our way out of the problem.

            I am not utopian enough to believe in a plan. Rather, it will take decades of investment incentive, public-private partnership, and enormous government effort to reduce emissions while maintaining economic growth. Here are a couple thoughts:

            — Instead of across the board emissions cuts (which don't take into account regional climate variations), target federal policies on the main drivers of emissions. A big one is car emissions. How about federal investment in natural gas and electric charging stations? How about a cap and trade system that works for car emissions at the consumer level? You could bake it into the car insurance market.

            — Perhaps climate change isn't an area where we should lead the charge. The U.S. and Western Europe, over the course of a century or more, went from being the world's worst polluters to the world's greatest environmental innovators. Instead of trying to rapidly decrease our own emissions, we should license and market our emissions-control technologies to the planet's worst polluters. Let's market our expertise. Let's market our green tech. But let's stop trying to kill the industries that we still rely upon. Stated another way, let's help bring the world into balance, rather than balancing the world through our example.

            • MichaelBowman says:

              Of course plastics can be made from 'other-than-petroleum' resources.   It isn't a matter of 'if', it's a matter of political will.  You do remember the dire, apocalyptic predictions of the passage of Amendment 37 in 2004? That it was going to destroy Colorado's competitiveness and crash our economy with ever-spiraling high prices?  The Einsteins nailed that one, didn't they? 

            • MichaelBowman says:

              We studied this company last semester in my MBA class and will tour it next spring.  We are drowning in ways to transition from a hydrocarbon to a carbohydrate economy.  But for that gentle hand middle-finger of Adam Smith's free market regulated monopolies giving innovators the middle finger, this transition would be well underway. 

            • Duke Cox says:

              But let's stop trying to kill the industries that we still rely upon.


              You mean industries like ones we used to rely on?…like the whale oil industry and the commercial harvesting of beaver pelts? …like those? They were once thriving industries…should we have hung on to those?


              it will take decades of investment incentive, public-private partnership, and enormous government effort to reduce emissions while maintaining economic growth.

              That statement is hyperbole. You do not know that to be true.

              I would preface those words with… "in the face of relentless opposition by the fossil fuel industry"…You do not know how long it will take. With adequate incentive and a realization and acceptance by the purveyors of dinosaur poop that the greater good is NOT served by allowing them to milk every last penny of profit from oil and gas (and coal) before we decide to try to heal the earth, we might speed up the process dramatically. We simply cannot afford to allow that exploitation to continue…profit is NOT the overarching concern here.

            • mamajama55 says:

              Hey, MB4CO, I just thought I'd let everyone there know who they're dealing with. You work for the Koch Brothers – not directly, of course, but through a chain of subsidiary entities.Like thousands of other people,your paycheck comes from Koch industries, Koch Foundations, Koch think tanks, or their oh-so-benignly named offshoots.

              You are constantly pimping the virtues of the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS)CRS is a project of the Small Business and Entrepeneurship Council (SBEC). The President of the SBEC is Nancy Kerrigan, as noted in the CRS article on so-called "bipartisan worries" about EPA ozone regulation.

              Carl Gipson, also frequently quoted as an expert on business and the environment on SBEC, is Director of the Washington Policy Center, (WPC),a Koch-funded think tank.

              All of the entities mentioned above are members of the American Legislative Council (ALEC), infamous for being a "bill mill" that gives corporations "a voice and a vote" in state legislatures across the country. ALEC has been funded by Koch Industries and Koch Foundations for years.

              All of these entities – the CRS, the SBEC, the WPC, ALEC, consistently promote the Koch's agenda: Lower taxes and a "friendly business climate" for corporations, less regulation, especially environmental regulation which will cost money to implement. Fighting the EPA's ozone and coal plant regulations is a Koch priority right now, so it's not too surprising that you are promoting the Koch priorities every chance you get.

              Even when promoting this agenda gets far into the absurd, as in the comparison of the EPA to torturers at Guantanemo, you stay on message. I'll give you that.

              But your message is factually wrong. You're not ignorant, so I have to think that you're purposely ignoring the science.

              Ground level ozone pollution causes asthma and respiratory illness, and probably harms the developing lungs of children, as well as inflaming adult lungs. At high stratospheric levels, we need the ozone layer to protect against skin cancer; however, ozone molecules degrade quickly and most don't make it to the upper atmosphere.

              Carbon from coal-fired plants is still the top source of greenhouse gases, and a major contributor to climate change, which is harming life on earth worldwide. In addition, the particle pollution from coal plants, even with scrubbers installed, still affects the breathing of locals exposed to it. I'm moving to an area in which 100% of electricity is generated by Wyoming coal, and I notice that my eyes burn when the windows are open. I don't have allergies.

              The EPA does fine work. It has made significant progress in curbing all kinds of emissions. It deserves our support, not your ridicule and condemnation.

              I hereby name you MB4Koch, to show where your true loyalties lie. Polsters, you can still engage MB4Koch if you care to; I think that it's useful for progressives to know the Koch agenda and priorities, and MB4Koch is more articulate than Jonathan Lockwood or whoever they hire to head up the Libre Initiative. But never delude yourselves that MB4Koch is an honest debater, or that he actually gives a rat's ass about getting Bennet elected. 

              Pols, hopefully this link-laden comment will post where my previous one did not.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          The Center for Regulatory Solutions? It's organizations like CRS that give us the nice, young woman in the black pant suit that promises us that fracking is the only way to make America strong.  They pimp nice young ranch owners ex-Allard staffers who promises us they've 'checked it out' and guess what?  The industry isn't lying!

          Seriousuly, any website that leads with 'job-killing regulations' on the top half of the home page needs at least four-degrees of scrutiny.  The same claims have been made all the way back to the formation of the EPA; Bush's acid rain program, etc., etc.  They're all boys who cry wolf.  

          Assuming you're listening to your music on an iPad, it's likely coming from a data center powered entirely by renewable energy. , and if you're brewing your coffee in Colorado a good share of those electrons are coming from increasingly non-hydrocarbon resources. 

          Why the agricultural community hasn't taken on this issue in a class-action lawsuit would be a mystery if they weren't so largely invested in the platform of the neocons. 

          I'll be thrilled when our Congress will tackle the issue of climate collapse with the veracity it demands.  I won't hold my breath. 

          In the meantime, enjoy an opposing point of view. 

          • mamajama55 says:

            Pols, my comment is awaiting moderation. Too many links?

            At any rate, I second what Michael Bowman said. CRS is definitely Koch-funded. Their agenda is one of protecting profits, not health of people or the planet.

            And speaking of Kochs, here's a cute anecdote that didn't make it into my final comment:

            On the SBEC site, Charles Koch is quoted," I can't stand to be cheated," after paying 5 fricking million dollars for counterfeit French wines. Poor billionaire. He got snookered. Snerk.

            • MichaelBennet4CO says:

              Duke raises a good point, which is that industries cease through scarcity. Regulations that artificially create scarcity don't really work. While I don't advocate that we wait until every drop of oil or every cubic foot of natural gas has been extracted before acting, I have 1 main reason why the market should be used to make the transition– jobs.

              While I appreciate the comment that jobs are created when new industries are created, the big problem I have is that a person who loses a job in one industry doesn't transfer to the job created in the new industry. What really happens is that a person loses a job, his family struggles, and a community built around those jobs suffer. Meanwhile, in another community the reverse occurs. We need a thoughtful transition to draw out these adverse impacts over time.

              I also have real problems with bashing an industry for pollution, without bashing the other industries we rely on that pollute. If you feel that the fossil fuel industry is so bad, then you should feel equally bad about the computer industry, the cellphone handset industry, and (here's a huge one) the toy industry. And yet, we still type away on our devices and buy our kids toys.

              I also have a problem, particularly on a holiday celebrating hard-working folks, with bashing some jobs as bad and others good. That's what I'm about. In a time when unemployment numbers mask the fact that millions of people have given up on job searching or are stringing together part-time work, a job is a job. Enforce the existing regulations, but let people work.

              Also, while the source of the info on Bennet and Hickenlooper may have serious problems, the responses by both leaders are accurate. Again, I appreciate their acknowledgement that balance is needed.

              • Duke Cox says:

                I'll give you props for debate tactics (flattery, however, will get you nowhere,… and industries ceasing through scarcity is not something to be desired,) but the jobs issue, in the real world, does not work in your favor.

                The "lady in the black pantsuit" has long claimed the Oily industry supports 11 million jobs while the giant numbers on her screen imply there are that many jobs in the industry. It is intentionally misleading, and you know it.

                 That number is an enormous exaggeration, as is the claim of every Republican politician in this state that "oil and gas is the backbone of Colorados' economy ". Hardly… It comprised, at its' height, in the neighborhood of 2% to 3% of our economic output. The solar and wind industries, the electrical storage industry, electric cars, superconductivity…these are growth industries and are rapidly overtaking the fossilionians as job creators. Have you seen the price of oil lately?…oil and gas has overstayed its welcome..

                You are obviously very well studied at this sort of repartee. But you are serving up very weak gruel.

              • Duke Cox says:

                Oh…and just to satisfy my curiosity…which of you is the sock or gadfly?

                • Duke Cox says:

                  and , please pardon my redundancy…

                  • MichaelBennet4CO says:

                    You can keep bashing CRS and its numbers all you want. I'm not defending them. They accurately reported Bennet's and Hickenlooper's comments. You can verify that from other sources.

                    Here are my points:

                    — ending fossil-fuel use takes a reduction in supply and demand. I keep reading how the supply should be reduced, but nothing about killing the jobs that drive the demand. Spread the pain around. If you want to stop pumping, then you should also want Apple to stop putting out new cellphones twice a year. You should want TVs to stop getting bigger. You should be railing against our rampant overconsumption.

                    — Stop acting as if decreasing fossil fuel production is painless. Talk to some oil drillers. Visit some towns outside Denver. Hang out in a diner in Adams County. Then ask yourself– what are you going to do for people affected? Are you going to just say, "Sorry, but in the name of progress, you made the wrong career choice." I'm reading a lot of utopian optimism. And instead of acknowledgement of actual impact, logic that "well, only a few thousand people are effected."

                    • Duke Cox says:

                      Sure…just like drillers say to split estate landowners…"Sorry, but in the name of progress, you made the wrong housing choice."

                      Cry me a river. Where did I say decreasing fossil fuel production would be painless? Change seldom is…

                      and I still don't think you get it…I am not the nemesis of the oil and gas industry…history is…

                      It is a doomed industry and propping it up in ANY way is foolish.

                    • MichaelBowman says:

                      …you might want to 'hang out' in Pueblo, Brighton or Windsor and talk to all of theemployees at Vestas – an industry that would not exist in Colorado today but-not-for the CO citizens taking on the coal and natural gas industry (and their lies in the 2004 campaign).  The US solar industry, today, employs more Americans than the coal industry.  The transition from horses to tractors wasn't painless, either.

                      We throw away 133,000 computers each and every day – the vast majority of them go to the landfill.  We're not short on materials – we're short on will power.  Ray Anderson of Interface nailed the imperative 20 years , from an economic perspective, about the importance of cradle-to-cradle manufacturing. As for 'wrong career choices', retraining and transitional support should be the role of government.  

                      Ending fossil fuels does not take a reduction in supply and demand. Internal combustion car engines are being replaced by electric cars; if we converted 1/7 of the known agricultural and biomass wastes we produce every year in this country to advanced biofuels, rural America would produce 3x more fuel than would have gone down the proposed KeystoneXL.  

                      We're drowning in 'energy'; unfortunately you give the impression on this blog that the only valid energy is hydrocarbon-based (with just enough nuance about the how its going to take 'years' that no one that understands mathematics or believes in an American 'can-do' spirit takes you seriously). 



                    • BlueCat says:

                      Cyclic mass job loss has always been an integral part of the oil industry without any help from those promoting transition to renewable energy.  Jobs in this industry have never been stable or reliable.

                      We were living in Oklahoma (long story. Thank God it was just briefly. What a hell hole in every conceivable way) when a boom went bust in the early 80s and took all the jobs with it. The small town we lived in went right back to being as badly off as before the boom hit. It's the nature of all fossil fuel economies and it's happened many times and in many places before and since. 

                      So if you're so concerned about people having their jobs yanked out from under them you can rest assured that's going to keep happening with or without any factors outside the built in boom and bust nature of the market. You can rest assured that it's only a matter of time before all those people in that diner get screwed regardless.  And the oil industry certainly doesn't do anything for the people affected nor do they ever bother to concern themselves with what they're going to say to their erstwhile employees when they cut them loose. Rinse repeat.

                      How about you acknowledging that thousands of people losing their jobs on a regular repeating cyclical basis in the fossil fuel industry is a built in feature of that industry. So, yes, if you're looking for long term job security it's always been a poor career choice, though one that in many times and places has been the only decent available job choice. Maybe it would be kind of nice to transition to an energy economy that wouldn't be so subject to boom and bust so this didn't keep happening to people.

                      You have to be suffering from more than "Utopian optimism" to have failed to notice that the job loss you're bemoaning happens all the time anyway in this industry. You have to be completely ignorant of history beyond 15 minutes ago.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Oh and it's not bashing if it's true. 

                    • MichaelBowman says:

                      I think you've missed the elephant in the room:

                      You can keep bashing CRS and its numbers all you want. I'm not defending them. They accurately reported Bennet's and Hickenlooper's comments.

                      I think we can all agree that the Governor and Senators comments accurately reflect what CRS is 'selling'.  What we're challenging are the inaccuracies, lies and propaganda spewed by CRS. You merely trolling here, attempting to make a connection between the fact they made the comments, ergo they must be true is preposterous. 


                    • mamajama55 says:

                      MB4Koch, I don't know why my previous comments about your affiliations are "awaiting moderation". I don't curse at people, or become abusive, but I do bring the facts.

                      You consistently advocate for organizations that are affiliated with Koch interests. CRS, SBEC, Washington Policy Center, ALEC. I laid out all the links in the hidden posts. So why are you here? It's not for Bennet.

                      You have to oppose EPA regulations any way you can. That is, after all, a Koch priority. That is all.

                    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                      MB4CO: your point;  "ending fossil fuel use takes a reduction in supply and demand" is totally refutable. Perhaps you have not heard of the Rocky Mountain Institute ( ) in Old Snowmass, CO. RMI is the most influential alternative energy think tank in the country and one of the leading such entities in the world. Their opinions and writings are completely based on sound scientific research. One of their strongest points is energy efficiency, particularly in building design and construction. They do view natural gas as a transition fuel for a few more decades. Suggest you do some research of your own.   Regards,  C.H.B.

        • mamajama55 says:


          Everyone else has been calling you out as a "concern troll". I'll ramp it up a notch and identify you as a paid Koch industries spokesman. Others will have cruder names for your position. I think I’ll just start calling you MB4Koch.

          The organization you pimp for constantly, Center for Regulatory Solutions, is a project of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, (SBEC) as noted on the CRS site. Karen Kerrigan, quoted on the CRS site, is President of the SBEC.

          Carl Gipson, the Director of Washington Policy Center (WPC)'s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, is a member of ALEC (American Legislative Council)'s Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force. ALEC is well-known as a Koch-funded "bill mill" lobbying, and legislative organization.

          Many corporations have cut ties with ALEC, because it is political poison. No citizen wants to think that their legislators are simply copyists for the Koch's corporate goals…even though many are.

          I could go on, but I think I've proved my point; you work for the Koch Brothers, MB4Koch. I don't know if you are one of the latest crop of PR flaks recruited from the butt end of the tobacco industry.  Why the mighty Kochs are interested in swaying opinion here on ColoradoPols is an interesting question.

          It can't really only be about Bennet's chances of being re-elected. You're undoubtedly aware that Michael Bennet was bought by finance and legal firms long ago, and you also know that he is almost certain to get re-elected, absent a Democratic primary challenger. Your organization spent millions to defeat Udall in 2014, and plans to spend billions nationwide in 2016. It will run beaucoup issue ads against Bennet in 2016, especially if he doesn't help push the Koch's anti-EPA attacks.

          So, your alias notwithstanding, I believe that you have a larger goal. Your goal is to discredit and undermine the EPA. In particular, your agenda is to challenge the EPA's regulatory power. Challenging ozone regulation and coal power plant emissions are Koch priorities right now, and you're doing a great job for them. The Kochs, through yet another of their front groups, the American Energy Alliance, even compared EPA regulation of ozone to torture at Guantanemo. You have to admit that one is a bit of a stretch. I'm sure that you, with your friendly, businesslike tone, could do better than that one.

          The science is in, and ozone and carbon hurt people, crops, animals, and contribute to climate change. No amount of spinning it as  "bipartisan issue" that "top Dems are concerned about", and friendly media reporting can change those facts on the ground.

          Ground level ozone pollution causes asthma and respiratory illness, and probably harms the developing lungs of children, as well as inflaming adult lungs. At high stratospheric levels, we need the ozone layer to protect against skin cancer; however, ozone molecules degrade quickly and most don't make it to the upper atmosphere.

          Carbon from coal-fired plants is still the top source of greenhouse gases, and a major contributor to climate change, which is harming life on earth worldwide. In addition, the particle pollution from coal plants, even with scrubbers installed, still affects the breathing of locals exposed to it. I'm moving to an area in which 100% of electricity is generated by Wyoming coal, and I notice that my eyes burn when the windows are open. I don't have allergies.

          The EPA does fine work. It has made significant progress in curbing all kinds of emissions. It deserves our support, not your ridicule and condemnation. We understand why the Koch brothers don't want regulation; they have to spend money, and it cuts into their profits. Harm to people, crops, and animals are not even a blip on their radar, except to hire folks like you to redirect the conversation away from these topics.  

          But it won't work. We see right through you.


          • MichaelBowman says:

            +65 (ppb)


          • BlueCat says:

            Just a thought, mama. First, great job. Second, the sites been glitchy on and off this weekend as you know so I suspect that's all that's behind the awaiting moderation problem. I got that once some time ago for a comment no different than usual. It's been one thing after another here lately.

            Whoever MB4CO is your theory makes as much sense as any. This is not a Dem or an elusive near extinct "moderate" R terribly concerned about supporting Dem Senator Bennet and is wasting his/her/its time on this blog.

            • MichaelBowman says:

              Great job (once again) MamaJ. Your father taught you well yes  I've been trying to log in from my iPhone all weekend to no avail…don't know if the two issues are connected or not. I've had no problem logging in/posting from my Mac. 

              • BlueCat says:

                I use a PC ( I know. I’m a dinosaur) and haven't had trouble getting on with google chrome or logging in except for a few times I got the site down/we're fixing it message briefly while trying to get on. However I have often had to hit refresh to get newer comments for the past few days. All in all, I'd say chances are good that there was nothing wrong with mamma's comment and it wasn't sent to moderation on purpose, that it's just a symptom of more general problems.

  3. Duke Cox says:

    Good morning, Michael.

    Great quote for labor day. I heard perhaps the most salient thing said about the state of our world on the TeeVee this morning. Pope Francis has described the troubles we face as a "crisis of exploitation"…Yeah…I'll go with that.


    • MichaelBowman says:

      Happy Labor Day Weekend, Duke.  Francis is nailing it; finally someone with the moral authority is speaking.  I intend to stay optimistic – the presence of chaos informs us the opportunity is present. That said, I had a class lecture last week that dealt with the inequality gap.  Today, 85 human beings hold as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion inhabitants of this planet.  At the rate the curves are diverging, 80 of those 85 will hold more wealth than the entire planet in the next five years. Lots of work ahead of us.  Ridding the political landscape of the enablers of these global plunderers isn't going to be easy, but I'm convinced it can be done.  Have a great weekend!

      • Zappatero says:

        Bravo! I've escaped being laid off this year.…doubtful anything I've done, so I guess I'll applaud the vagaries of the Free Market. 

        In what I can only consider good news, layoffs have hit China as its economy succumbs to reality. 


        In related news, Google "treasury secretaries laugh about income inequality " and see what you get. 

          • MichaelBowman says:

            Let's don't forget about the patron saint of union-busters who loved him some Laffer Curve, trickle(d) down on economics and chopping wood on his California 'ranch' (while wearing a Rolex).  It's porn for neocons. 


            • exlurker19 says:

              Leading the free world while senile.  My kinda guy. 

              • BlueCat says:

                That's kind of on the American public who elected him for a second term when he was so clearly already suffering from dementia. He was mixing movies with reality, forgetting what country he was visiting and claiming to have been present at a concentration camp liberation when he was actually in Hollywood during the war long before that second election.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              Michael: you overlook the fact that President Reagan signed what has become the most influential world wide environmental treaty; The Montreal Protocols on reduction of the ozone hole in the atmosphere. He listened to the pro side for signing, and the anti-science nay-sayers of his time. Reagan signed off and the die was cast for the phase-out of the destructive CFCs. I can't help but wonder what his reaction would be today to all the anti-climate change advocates and science-bashers.

              Enjoy your holiday.

              • MichaelBowman says:

                If it was EarthDay I'd give the ol' Gipper a shout-out for his leadership on ozone reduction (I haven't missed the fact that we owe the EPA to Nixon, our National Park System to Teddy,  the acid rain elimination (and our first successful cap-and-trade) to Bush-the-Senior or the Dubya Supreme Court declaring CO2 a pollutant)  but since it's Labor Day I'll accentuate the fact that his economic policies have imposed more wrath upon the middle-class than anything else one could point to today?  Hope you're having a great weekend – and that your GI troubles are in the rear-view mirror. 

                • BlueCat says:

                  Exactly. Reagan has been the most influential figure in the downward trajectory of the middles class.

                  Of course he wasn't as awful on every conceivable issue in every conceivable sphere as 21st century Republicans are but that's because 21st century Republicans are the historic worst ever on everything.

                  They proclaimed before Obama's 2009 inauguration that their sole goal was to cause failure for Obama across the board, to oppose anything Obama was for even if it was good for the American people because his failure was more important than anything else. And they've made good on their word.  

                  Reagan, like any past Republican President, looks good compared to any elected pol in today's GOP because today's GOP is so repulsive compared to anything the US political landscape has ever seen before. But no question Reagan was the enemy of American workers and the worst thing that ever happened to the American middle class. He was the sworn enemy of anyone who celebrates Labor Day.

                  Nothing personal, CHB. You aren’t an elected GOP pol. I join Michael in wishing you well with your health situation. As far as Labor Day, it probably isn’t one of your favorite holidays, anyway.

          • Zappatero says:

            much obliged….

        • BlueCat says:

          And in context pic….

          Athena Image

  4. BlueCat says:

    On this day I remember my grandfather, a tough Union leader who worked part time until he turned 80 so he could remain a VP of his union.  He came here in 1921 and joined his union, was a participant in the bloody Great Republic Steel Strike back in the 30s, along with many other exploits, was one of the union soldiers who kept scabs from breaking through union lines and not by asking pretty please.  He was an immigrant and a great American who stood up for what he believed with incredible courage. Not a big guy but, trust me, nobody in the old neighborhood messed with him and if somebody messed with you, you went to him and his brother-in-law best buddy for …. ummmmm ….support.

    Here's to you on Labor Day Gramps, you old radical, your second fave after May Day. Thanks for weekends, safety standards, over time and the living wage American workers once enjoyed before the darkness of Reaganism descended on the land. Bet you had Paradise well organized from the day you got there. 

    • Zappatero says:

      Amazing and beautiful. 

      The victories of Labor, Women, Minorities and Migrants are all under threat from today's Republican Party. 

      • BlueCat says:

        In the old days workers weren't so gullible as to buy the whole welfare queens are to blame and CEOs are going to create great jobs for you out of the goodness of their hearts crap. How did America get so dumbed down? Happy Labor Day, Zap, and may we wake up, unite and rise again.

        I don't care what dear CHB says about conservative economics, there's no arguing with the fact that American unions created the broadest, most prosperous, most empowered middle class the world has ever known. That prosperous middle class was the consumer engine that fueled 20th century prosperity and made us the  most exceptional country with the best infrastructure, healthcare, public education and the greatest degree of upward mobility on the planet and Reagan's Morning in America, trickle down, anti-union, conservative bullshit is what got us to where we are today: Nowhere near number one in any of those categories. American Exceptionalism is a joke except for the exceptionally rich .01%.  

        Workers….WAKE UP. IT'S LABOR DAY!

      • MichaelBowman says:

        My maternal grandfather was a Minnesota dairy farmer, belonged to the local Grange and sold his bounty through the NFO (what was left over after the 13 kids were fed).  He was solid Democratic Farm Labor party and unapologetic about unions and progressive politics. 

        The farm was in the western edge of lake country, a landscape once dotted with small dairy farms on every half section.  Today the region is dominated by large corn and soybean farms; not a single small dairy remains in Ottertail County.  A phenomenon our Monsanto-revolving-door-dominated USDA would call 'progress'.  

    • exlurker19 says:

      My dad has been a 50-year member of his union and even has the pin sitting around somewhere.  He used to talk about the bad old days before OSHA.  He'd be at a job site that was crumbling around him and be told just to fix it and quit complaining.  So he'd call the union and if they agreed it was an unsafe work site, they'd call a strike.  My dad said strikes for unsafe working conditions usually ended pretty quickly, mostly because other workers at the site would refuse to cross that picket line.

      My cousin once tried to scab and drive across my dad's picket line.  My dad told him he loved his brother (my cousin's dad) and would never hurt my cousin.  However, he made no promises about my cousin's car.  So my cousin backed up and went down to the union hall, signed up and grabbed a spot in the picket line.  My dad told him that was a good choice.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Union stories…gotta love it.

    Dad was a member of the Denver Newspaper Guild, the union for the Denver area press workers. The DNG reports that Digital First Media, which owns most of the "___ Post" papers, is selling off its holdings. That's an old story, but still a current one, unfortunately.

    Mom was a member of whichever union historically negotiated for Colorado State employees. ColoradoWINS consolidated 3 public employee unions.

    As for me, I'm a card-carrying member of the Colorado chapter of the largest and most reviled union in the nation – the National Education Association! We are the ones contributing dues to progressive, mostly Democratic, candidates, lobbying at the statehouses, informing the public about what works in education reform, trudging through neighborhoods getting out the vote….A genuine union thug, moi

  6. The realist says:

    Love all of this! Happy Labor Day Weekend!


  7. Canines says:

    I’m gonna sleep in a union coffin way over in that union burying ground…

  8. Gray in Mountains says:

    I really admire the AFL seal at top of thread

  9. Gadfly says:

    Senator Bennet & Governor Hickenlooper have joined many AFL-CIO unions in opposing the proposed EPA Ozone Regulations.  Particularly proud of Senator Bennet for both opposing these regs and for supporting the Iran Treaty.  He has proven to be his own man and an independent thinker

    • BlueCat says:

      Guffaw! Is that what you call those decisions?

    • Progressicat says:

      No, he really hasn't proven anything except that sometimes he can make a reasoned decision and that sometimes he can kowtow to his masters.  What is the decision point, in terms of dollars or as a percentage of costs, where we decide that poisoning our people is worth shoring up industry profits?  How many jobs will industrial emissions producers sacrifice to maintain profits as a result of the new ozone NAAQS?

      • MichaelBowman says:

        Historically speaking, the number of new jobs created to deal with the pollution (innovators, manufacturing the device, consultants, etc.) outweigh any job loss.  It is now, and always has been, the boy crying wolf. 

  10. Duke Cox says:

    Here is some interesting reading for the edification of our new troll..





    The world may run on oil, but the oil industry runs on capital, and for US shale producers that capital is starting to dry up.

    Earlier in the year it was still relatively easy for US exploration and production companies to raise capital by selling debt or equities, in spite of last year’s oil price crash caused by a global glut. Now those sales have slowed sharply, and the financial strain on the industry is growing.


    The next turn of the screw is approaching, in the shape of another round of redeterminations of “borrowing bases”: the valuations of companies’ oil and gas reserves used by banks to secure their lending.

    The shale industry, which has been responsible for rapid growth in US oil production since 2009, is not about to die. There are plenty of strong companies that have healthy balance sheets, low costs, or both, and they should be able to ride out the downturn. But there are very wide differences in resilience between companies. Those with high costs or high debts, or both, face a turbulent future.

    “In retrospect, easy money and a difficult time for finding the right thing to invest in led to an overshoot in US [oil] production growth,” says Edward Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup. “Companies that should never have been brought to life were brought to life.”

    • MichaelBowman says:

      When you're done perusing that set of facts, MB, you might take a look at this:

      Documents: Industry Privately Skeptical of Shale Gas 

      It's been a Ponzi scheme from the beginning.  What was old is once again new. 

      • notaskinnycook says:

        Off topic, Michael, but did you see what Francis said about the flood of refugees from the Middle East? Two families are being housed in the Vatican and he called on (decreed?) every parish do the same. If you hadn't heard it yet, I though it would please you.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          I missed that today, skinny!  Thanks so much for sharing – love the idea of a decree.  It's just what Jesus himself would do – which means there are a few conservative heads popping off (again) today. I'm looking forward to his address to Congress later this month.

          • MichaelBowman says:

            There is lots of interesting press on this today.  Francis nailed it…ala Jimmy Carter, "if you don't want to do what Jesus would command of you if he were here, stop pretending that you're a Christian".  

            The best thing about this move by Francis is that it is going to start a conversation on accountability.  Everyday citizens need to understand what political action (or inaction) means.  Akin to Dubya putting Iraq on the national credit card and pretending there would be no pain, the general public never understood the real consequences of what we were doing there. Akin to the Repugs who deny climate change and it's manifestation today on issues like this. Akin to those responsible for the collapse of the American middle-class.  The all have consequences. Real, live consequences.  No one should be surprised when the masses show up with the proverbial pitchforks on their front porch. 


  11. Zappatero says:

    I seriously hope Bennet isn't looking for any votes out of EPC next year. He should only do under-the-radar infrastructure type stuff, which may or may not help the next Dem running after he loses. 

    The media, and especially radio, are just filled with the psychotic lies of several local automatons that expertly repeat and reinforce the Limbaugh/Levin/Hannity/Beck/Savage-Weiner lies as often as possible (that is when those prime sources aren't on repeats). Once something gets in the air with these folks, it is deemed the truth and nothing will ever make it not so. Oh, and those guys are in addition to our special kind of Christian Hate that lies just under the surface. 


  12. MichaelBennet4CO says:

    As I enjoyed my day off on Labor Day (who am I kidding? I'm self-employed, so I worked all day), I thought about the purpose of labor and its exchange value.

    A person in the U.S. should be able to afford a decent life on a full-time wage, whether salaried or hourly. The wage should afford:

    1. easy access to transportation;

    2. nutritious food;

    3. access to quality education for children;

    4. safe, livable space with utilities;

    5. healthcare; and

    6. access to information through an internet connection and some sort of device.

    We know that, in reality, for many a full-time wage doesn't afford these things. Or does it? I wonder if, in our ad-saturated, over-consumptive society, we've made the pieces of this life merely seem out of reach. Here are how those pieces of a good life look through the lens of TV, ads, and popular media:

    1. transportation is a current model car with 0 down and 72 monthly payments;

    2. nutritious food means fast casual or organics from Whole Foods, plus generous pairings with wine and beer;

    3. quality education means winning the education lottery and sending your kid to a charter school;

    4. safe, livable space means a suburban house;

    5. healthcare means hoping you're in one of the 30 states that has agreed to expand Medicaid; and

    6. access to information means leasing the latest Galaxy or iPhone and paying a monthly data plan.

    Plus, we've added a bunch of pieces to this “good life” list and accepted them as essentials. Things like:

    1. access to hundreds of TV channels, including the ability to watch every touchdown from every NFL football game;

    2. wooden furniture with 0 down and 36-48 monthly payments; and

    3. watching a great movie in a movie theater every weekend.

    Low and middle-income wages need to see real growth again, as in double-digit growth. Yesterday, I woke up to this article with sensible policy ideas for making most wages livable.

    But what we actually do with those wages matters as much as the size of the wage. I wonder, how do we encourage ourselves to use what we make for the real “good life” list, not the artificial one?

    I believe achieving the real good life list comes through ownership: owning a condo unit, townhouse, or house; owning a car with a high mpg or being located near a light-rail system; buying food and actually cooking it (not paying someone to cook it for you); paying for a good public school through property taxes; owning a tablet, laptop, or smartphone and holding it for 2-3 years (rather than purchasing a plan that lets you lease the device). What policies can be enacted that incentivize the pursuit of these things? I don't believe there are any. I don't think public policy can tame market excesses that are encouraging the rental of our lives, rather than ownership of them. For example:

    1. legislation can't encourage cable cord cutting. Yet cutting your cable bill and adding a Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription to your internet would save you $600-1200/year; and

    2. Legislation can't make consumers stop renting out kitchens for their meals, instead of using the owns they already own.

    Perhaps housing is the place to start. An increase in home ownership creates a property tax base that funds public schools, rather than mortaging salaries with tax increases. Homeowners are encouraged through property values to direct more of their resources into upkeep and improvement of their home. I theorize that a smart homeowner cooks more.

    What about the computer device industry? Perhaps a massive public/private investment in high-speed wifi would allow us to have just one internet bill, rather than two. With a one-time purchase of a $300-700 device, you can communicate and access all the data you want for years.

    I'd love to hear policy ideas for encouraging ownership, particularly in housing. Our U.S. society is built on daily labor. I think it's time that it yields real, nutritious, tasty fruit for the laborer.


    • BlueCat says:

      We all know exactly what you are and nobody cares what you think. Consider this a failed experiment and stop wasting everybody's time. Buh-bye.

    • Progressicat says:


      Commercial properties, like rental apartments, pay property tax rates at about 360% per unit of value over residential property, because of the interaction between the proportional valuation of commercial and residential property required by Gallagher and the tax increase limitations of TABOR.  So to really increase property taxes, we should all be renting in larger commercial developments.

      Additionally, the state government, which cannot collect property taxes, pays roughly 2/3 of all educational costs in Colorado.  It sounds like you actually think we should have higher state taxes.  Perhaps we, like other progressive states like Wyoming, should increase our extraction levies on mineral resources and direct funding to education.

      Third, your privilege is showing.  At least half of folks in the front range can't afford to own homes.

    • Duke Cox says:

      What a bunch of crap…..

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