Weekend Open Thread

“Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”

–Will Rogers

41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    Only in Boulder (best part is the message on the balloon)

  2. davebarnes says:

    Bigger than Colorado and very funny in a nerdy way.


  3. mamajama55 says:

    Mike Imitates Trump:

    Here's a spinning challenge for Civics, from the Aurora Sentinel's reporting:

    Aurora Rep. Mike Coffman echoes Trump’s Iran ransom claim in campaign email

    AURORA | The same day he sought to distance himself from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, echoed a dubious Trump claim lobbed at the White House: That the administration paid a ransom for the release of jailed Americans in Iran.

    In an Aug. 4 campaign email, Coffman said he found it “deeply disturbing” that the Obama administration made a $400-million cash payment to Iran while negotiations were happening for the release of four Americans jailed in Tehran.

    Without directly claiming the payment was indeed ransom, the email implies the release of the money had something to do with hostage negotiations.

    “Payments like this will only serve to put a target on the backs of our soldiers, as terrorist organizations and rogue states everywhere will seek similar windfalls,” Coffman’s email read.

     Associated Press fact checks of Trump's claim have found no concrete evidence to support it.

    Trump himself had to walk back the claim in, of course, a tweet.

    Now here's the spinning challenge:

    As Coffman's surrogate, do you

    a) admit that both Coffman and Trump were working off the same talking points?

    b) admit that Coffman imitated Trump's OMFG I saw a secret ransom video?

    c) Here's the tricky part: Now that Trump has admitted he saw no top secret ransom video, does Mikey admit the same, or

    d) would that show that he's imitating Trump, which would be bad, (he doesn't like Trump), so he has to

    e) double down on the ransom video sighting , and say that Trump was mistaken?

    It's a spinning challenge because my head is spinning just contemplating it. I guess you have another choice, which is to say that CD6 voters aren't paying any attention, incuding to your expensive fundraising email piece that claimed the ransom happened.


    What a dilemma for Multiple Choice Mike!

    • davebarnes says:

      Claim the video exists but that Putin forced Drumpf™ to retract his statement.

    • Pseudonymous says:

      Well, of course the release of the money had to do with negotiations for the release of the Americans Iran was holding.  That doesn't make it "ransom."  In negotiations like this, both sides want to win advantage.  We want to be able to say that the payment had nothing to do with the return of our people, and Iran want to say that it was the only reason.  The reality is that a deal was done that included us paying Iran what we owe and them releasing our folks.  That isn't the same as some pirates in Somalia taking a hostage and demanding we give them some money they had no other claim to.  The problem is that, in our current environment, we just can't be honest about that stuff and expect people to understand.

      By the way, there apparently is video of the stacks of cash.

      • Duke Cox says:

        How long have we been holding their money? I know it has been a very long time.

        The reality is that a deal was done that included us paying Iran what we owe and them releasing our folks.

        Cause and effect? Which one of us has the inside scoop from the State Dept. and the CIA? 

        Money in politics demands a commitment to the purpose of the source of money. Tom Cotton says the insane shit he says for a reason. He may justify his bullshit with chest thumping displays of Super-Patriot blather, but, unless he is a remarkable exception, a close look at his golf buddies will lead to lots of money streams. 

        Some people in politics still honor the truth…but Money never does.


        • Pseudonymous says:

          The money's been owed since the Shah, so maybe 40 years?  The determination of how much we'd actually pay, I think, happened this year as part of the Iran/US tribunal at the Hague.

          With negotiations like these, I don't think there's really a cause/effect relationship.  I doubt we'd have gotten the prisoners back without giving something in return.  The weapons money was what was there, and we'd kind of been dicks about paying it back, so I'm guessing that was a good candidate.  The Iranians would have something to show for their "goodwill."  If there'd been some other issue top-of-mind with them, I assume we'd have sorted that out instead of sending along cash.

          The WSJ report that has the negotiators denying any connection also quotes them thusly, "But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible."  I'm not finding the interview, but I also remember hearing that someone from State, when asked if the prisoners would have been released without the exchange, basically said ¯\_(ツ)_/¯   Nation-state negotiations…gotta give to get.

          • BlueCat says:

            "But U.S. officials also acknowledge that Iranian negotiators on the prisoner exchange said they wanted the cash to show they had gained something tangible." 

            This is how diplomacy works. Bottom line, these are funds that belong to Iran and would be returned at some time under some circumstances. The Kabuki of diplomacy in this situation demanded a way of doing so without making the prisoner exchange directly a part of nuclear deal even though all of it, the nuclear deal, the return of frozen funds, the prisoner release was obviously entwined.

            When the GOP was trying to get the public hysterical over the fact that the prisoners weren't being included in the nuclear deal my feeling was that it was indeed being resolved, just not in a context where this would be seen as another direct concession from the Iranians. In diplomatic terms both, the release of the funds and the release of the prisoners, could be seen as tokens of faith in the hoped for compliance with the conditions of the nuclear deal.

            They were always going to have to release the prisoners and we were always going to have to release their funds at some point. That's not paying ransom. It's diplomacy as usual. And it has been a success all round. Except for the GOP who determined, before Obama's first inauguration, that failure on the part of Obama and his administration would be their sole measure of success and have stuck to that formula ever since.

            That's what makes the release of Americans from an Iranian prison bad news in their eyes while their continued imprisonment would have been great news going into this election. That's why they're so set on turning the release into bad news. If Obama's approval rating, which has continued going up, is any measure, they're not succeeding.

  4. Duke Cox says:

    Nicely wrought, mama..yes

    I eagerly await the response….

  5. Civics101 says:

    Try this… go out and ask a friend or neighbor — preferably a non-political junkie — what they think of that $400 million cash payment to Iran just as the hostages were released.

    As Obama's own Justice Department lamented, the timing was terrible.  If what the administration claims is true, could the delivery not have waited six months?  The White House planted the seeds of doubt, in this episode, all on their own.  The public does not need any politician, or pundit, to spin it one way, or the other, to draw their own conclusions.   

    What I did find odd about the whole thing was that the payment was made in cash!  Don't nations wire such large payments to the bank account of the recipient's choosing? 

    I don't know if it was a ransom payment or not, but the method of payment resembles what some countries and private companies use to pay Somalian pirates.  No wonder a lot of people think it was a ransom.

    Frankly, I wish American civilians would stop traveling to places like Iran and North Korea and setting up these hostage situations in the first place.  

    • mamajama55 says:

      So doubling down it is. Fair enough.

      Your suggestions are: 1. Ask someone uninformed. OK. I have whole classrooms of them.

      2. The timing was terrible. (Funny – that's what Cinamon Watson wrote in the Sentinel interview).

      Speaking of timing, can you address the timing of Coffman’s email coming within one day of Trump’s OMG I saw a top secret ransom delivery video announcement?

      3. It may not have been ransom, but it was cash, so it "looks like" ransom. Again, almost exactly Ms. Watson's words.

      4. American citizens should just stay home, and never go anywhere people are mad at Americans. The implication is that this is the victim's fault.

      By the way, the hostages were sailors. They were assigned to be there. Is Marine Coffman now against putting US servicepeople into harm’s way?

      Nice spinning. Dizzy yet?

    • Voyageur says:

      Skivvy, the reason for cash is that we have comprehensive sactions in place on Iran. Thejy ain't got no stinkin' bank accounts with us.  The cash was also in euros, swiss francs, etc because sending them dollars is also illegal.

      • BlueCat says:

        And this was all explained but it's really convenient to just decide that anything that doesn't fit your narrative is a lie and everything that does isn't. Even when the other guy has documented facts and your guy doesn't.

    • Duke Cox says:

      preferably a non-political junkie 

      Did you really just suggest we ask our low-information neighbors what they think? C'mon, man…We already know what they think. It is a nuisance. It is an all too bothersome impediment to progress we try to overcome with real information and true facts. 

      Just ask the marijuana industry how easy it is to do business without a banking industry service. The banks still aren't on board, to my knowledge. They seem to be waiting for Monsanto, ADM, and Cargill to get ready to take over the industry.

      George Bush shipped billions of dollars…shipping containers full of cash to fuel "Bremers’ Folly". You can read all about it in this fine book…(Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone) by Rajiv Chandrasekaran /2006)

      • BlueCat says:

        The GOP owes every seat it holds to low info voters. But here's the thing.

        The money is Iran's in the first place, not ours, funds that have been frozen for decades and were released as part of the negotiations on the nuclear deal. We didn't pay Iran anything. We gave them back their own money, I believe with interest but that's only fair. It's their money and the interest it earned is theirs.

        It's like saying my bank is paying me ransom if they put a hold on some of my funds, then release the hold and let me have my own money.

        Naturally the last thing the GOP wants to do is enlighten their low info voters. How would they ever win anything with an informed electorate voting in its own interests?

      • BlueCat says:

        Great book.  And nobody knows what happened to those billions. We do know lots if it and lots of weaponry went to people who used it to kill our troops and lots to graft on steroids and into contractors pockets but the details are unknowable since it was cash with no records. 

        The young people sent over to run the the Green Zone were asked more questions about whether they opposed abortion and other social conservative issues than anything to do with qualifying experience for the job at hand. In fact they largely came from far right Christian universities.

        The right, in both senses, ideology was the qualifier. They knew nothing abut Iraq and spent no time trying to learn anything. Just created their own isolated world within the green zone. Indie corporate contractors answerable to no one ran the show with impunity in a lawless new wild west. Make that east but same difference.

        No one could have fixed the most disastrously conceived and executed foreign policy decision in American history and Republicans are actually lucky they lost the WH right after so they could start blaming it on the guy who inherited it. The sad truth is, it's not fixable, at least not in the foreseeable future.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Most of my friends and neighbors are smarter than Coffman is, or you are . . . 

      . . . maybe you could lean over and ask Coffman who he’s supporting for President??!!??

    • BlueCat says:

      This is for you, civics. In RCP poll averaging going through Aug. 4th HRC's national is +6.9 and Obama's approval is + 5.3. Every time I look since the Monday after the conventions their numbers are a little higher than the last time. Enjoy. Oh and there's nothing even vaguely lefty about RCP.

  6. davebarnes says:

    Way bigger than pissant Colorado.


    “You know we have a treaty with Japan, where if Japan is attacked, we have to use the full force and might of the United States,” Trump said.
    “If we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to do anything. They can sit home and watch Sony television, OK?”

  7. FrankUnderwood says:

    The GOP Held Hostage – Day Ten

    The plea from Moderatus and others for the party to unify from the top is being unheeded.

    Another Republican House member in the Trump captivity has managed to escape.

    While Mike Coffman stuck his big toe in the water and recoiled, U.S. Rep Scott Rigell, (R-VA) had the courage to take the plunge and dive right with a full endorsement of the Johnson-Weld ticket. And he's said that other Republican House members have been asking him for advice. (Presumably not Coffman.)

    Looks like Rigell is following Ted Cruz' advice at the convention to vote his conscience up and down the ticket.

  8. MichaelBowman says:

    Thanks in part to the Catholic vote, Clinton widens lead.  Go Team!!

    • BlueCat says:

      yes And both Obama's and HRC's RCP numbers ticked up just a little bit more  today. Doesn't seem like the whole ransom canard is hurting Obama a bit (maybe even reminding people his administration got our people out and keeping those numbers on the rise?) and hard to see how tying HRC to an ever more popular Obama is going to be a good way to drag her down. On the other hand tying R candidates to a guy with Trump's approval ratings? devil

    • mamajama55 says:

      Edited to take out angel pic. Rafael the fish-guts-healing, demon casting-out angel is bad-ass, though. Just FYI.

  9. Duke Cox says:

    Gen. Flynn, advisor to Der Drumphenfurher,  and the GOTPs'  favorite , fear-mongering, automaton, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Jesus Christ, dude, lighten up..!) appeared on the morning MSM talkies. They are trying to bolster his foreign policy cred without answering very many questions about the shit he, the candidate, said. Hard to say which is the scarier dude. I think either would actually 


  10. Duke Cox says:

    Gen. Michael Flynn, advisor to Der Drumphenfurher,  and the GOTPs'  favorite , fear-mongering, automaton, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Jesus Christ, dude, lighten up..!) appeared on the morning MSM talkies. They are trying to bolster his foreign policy cred without answering very many questions about the shit he, the candidate, said. Hard to say which is the scarier dude. I think either would actually use "tactical" nukes in a heartbeat. These guys seem to be the ones to whom he is listening. The Flynn interview is here:





  11. Duke Cox says:

    Here is some excellent analysis from this mornings' "Face the Nation". 


  12. mamajama55 says:

    This is a fun interactive election game for political nerds. NY Times Interactive. Scroll to the chart at the bottom and pick the winner in the  most competitive states to see a Dem or Rep path to presidential victory.

  13. Blackie101 says:


    I like the interactive map over at 270towin.

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