Country First, Party Second

It’s great when we can vote for candidates who will move forward the legislation we would like to see enacted and to be a brake on the bad stuff. It’s good when we can vote for candidates who will toe the party line and they themselves may not do much, but they get the party legislation through.

But when we face an existential threat to our democracy, then we have to focus first on protecting the democracy. Because every democracy contains the seeds of its own destruction where it can vote in an autocrat. And a giant chunk of the Republican candidates are running on a platform of blatant autocracy.

Exceptional actions call for exceptional actions. First, every Democrat in CD-3 needs to register as a Republican and vote for Don Coram. Every Democrat in Wyoming should do the same to vote for Lynne Cheney. Yes this are legislators who will vote the opposite of what you want time after time. But they will keep us a Democracy.

Second, the Democrats need to run no one in the Utah Senate race and throw their support to Evan McMullin. McMullin is so much better than Lee and there’s no way a Democrat is going to win there.

There are almost certainly other races in the country where this holds true. And it’s not something where we’ll get a balanced effort from Republicans – on the Democratic side we are not running pro-autocracy candidates. But doing this means in the future we can continue to vote for who represents us.

Finally, we need to be smart with where we donate our money. It needs to go to the candidates that are first of all in very close races and second, can make use of additional funding. Every race I decide if I think the election will do better for Dems or Repubs vs. the polls. If Dems, I donate to the Dem candidates who are 1 – 2% behind the Repub. If I think it’ll be a Repub election, I donate to the Dems who are 1 – 2% ahead.

And only them. I’m hardcore on this – I’m not donating to Jared and he only wants $100.00. But he doesn’t need it and doing so then means others can call on me for donations outside this focus.

Also, don’t donate if the candidate already has more money than is useful. Georgia is key for Governor, Senate, and Secretary of State. But I’m guessing all three Dem candidates there will have more than enough money. Up to a point money is key, then additional money rapidly becomes superfluous. When it could be very helpful elsewhere.

And keep in mind, there’s Congress, Governorships, Secretaries of State, and control of State Legislatures. Donate wisely and unemotionally. Volunteer where you can do the most good on a campaign that has a good chance.

Donating or working on the Dem campaign against Boebert, Lamborn, or Buck will make you feel good. But it is highly unlikely to accomplish squat. And the times are too important for futile efforts.


What is your DIFFERENT idea on what we should do in Ukraine?

My diary – my rules. Comments here on anything different that the U.S. should consider in Ukraine. Please limit to that topic.

If you think we should not be involved – write your own diary, don’t comment on that here.

Here’s my different idea:

Offer to all front line Russian troops that if they come over to the Ukraine side, the U.S. will issue them a green card, fly them to the U.S. and pay then 10K/mo. for the first year. And they can bring their family over to join them.

If even 100 soldiers do this, it will cause commanders in the Russian army to be watching their own soldiers closely decreasing trust within the units. If 1,000 we’ve then impacted unit effectiveness.

And maybe decrease the payment starting with Captains and at the General level its $1.00/mo. That would get a laugh from most frontline troops.

Hick is Running for Senate

POLS UPDATE: John Hickenlooper makes it video official:

The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia:

John Hickenlooper is launching a bid Thursday to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, exactly one week after pulling out of his run for the presidency.

“I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done – but this is no time to walk away from the table,” the former governor of Colorado says in his announcement video, posted at “… I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado.”

In the video, filmed at the Denver brewpub he founded, Hickenlooper echoes his presidential pitch to voters, which focused on ending the conflict in Washington. And he promises to work on fighting climate change, prescription drug prices and economic inequity.


From CNN:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his Senate candidacy on Thursday, giving Democrats a widely known contender to take on a vulnerable GOP incumbent a week after Hickenlooper dropped out of the presidential race.

Hick’s website is already updated to list the Senate race.

Destroying Local Online Businesses

So once again the State of Colorado has decided to try and drive most online businesses out of business. Is it purposeful hatred of online companies? Or is the state government just stupid?

To pick a couple of quotes from the Denver Post article on this (very well written):

When all of Colorado’s 344 cities, counties and special taxing entities like RTD are layered over one another, there are 683 possible sales tax combinations in the state.

And it doesn’t stop there. They each have their own rules as to what is taxed, and at what rate. In our case I finally had the State Department of Revenue tell us they couldn’t tell us if the annual maintenance we sell is taxable, so they told us to decide if it was taxable and then if they disagreed, they would sue us (yes really!).

Out-of-state companies and in-state competitors will no longer have an advantage over local companies when selling similar products because they will all be adding the same taxes.

But local brick & mortar stores have a giant advantage here – they collect tax for the jurisdiction they are located in, not for 683 different jurisdictions. And 683 different categorization criteria.

He believes filing monthly returns will be his third-largest business expense next year, behind raw materials and contractors. He has already informed his online and social media contractor he won’t be able to afford her services after Jan. 1.

So it’s already killing jobs. And it shows the state’s clear animus toward online business in the state when they are imposing what will become the third largest cost on companies.

At my company we’re about to release a new online store and a new pricing model where we charge by the month for a much lower amount. The charge is for per use of our software and support so we would be facing deciding if we should charge tax, based on what category or service, and then wait to get sued by 683 jurisdictions.

So we’ll go with the easier solution – we just won’t sell to people in the State of Colorado (except for large corporate purchases where it’s worth the hassle).

Ah… the joys of doing business in a state that is trying to drive you out of business. Or at least out of the state.

And kudos to Tracy Kraft-Tharp who appears to be one of the few that understands the scope of the problem. Hopefully she’ll get us to a point where there’s a single place to report any pay the proceeds and a single taxing authority who will provide a definitive answer as to if something is taxable, and if so, in what category (rate). (A single rate is nice, but not that big a deal as there are services to provide the rate info. It’s the categorization that’s killer. And having to make payments to 73 distinct entities is expensive.)

Jared is Building a Campaign to Win

Jared Polis’ campaign came right out of the gate in 2018 with a series of announcements showcasing the candidate’s early organizing power.

Not only did Jared kick off his drive for caucus support with a delightfully cheesy Facebook video reminding people to register with a party by January 8 in order to participate in the March 6 caucuses. He coupled it with a phone banking event in Aurora to ask for caucus support. And on Saturday, the campaign will open its first field office — in Grand Junction, which typically sees very little of Democratic candidates during primary season, much less in January.

I am supporting Jared because I agree with him on most issues and I think he is a future-oriented candidate we Democrats need. And it’s clear from the activity seen this week that he is investing the resources early to build a statewide campaign that will pay dividends for him not only in the primary, but also in the general election.

His early visibility could be a contributing factor in why a recent Public Policy Polling survey  found Polis to be the most competitive general election candidate among the Democratic field, besting Republican firebrand Tom Tancredo.

Political Trivia Question of the Day

(Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Most historians list 7 specific people as our founding fathers. Who are they?

Interesting note – several because of their background and/or experience during the revolutionary war, came to see themselves as citizens of the country more than citizen of a specific colony/state. That was rare at that time.

History Question of the Day

What single event/action do you think had the largest effect on the United States (question came up here at work)? It can be something of significant duration that had a clear start/end like the Civil War, but not something that is ever ongoing like improved civil rights.

Mine is the economic system Alexander Hamilton created (and Albert Gallatin continued). It defines our economy to this day.

Friday Open Thread

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

–President George H. W. Bush

Hemp growing again in isle soil

My mom asked me to post this:

For the first time in about 15 years, legally sanctioned industrial hemp is growing in Hawaii’s soil — and local advocates hope that new economic growth will stem from the plant in the Aloha State.

But hemp’s success in Hawaii could depend on whether federal drug enforcement officials make it easier to import hemp seeds to the islands.

Researchers, lawmakers and farmers used traditional oo sticks Friday to sprinkle newly acquired hemp seeds into a small soil patch at the University of Hawaii’s Wai­ma­nalo Research Station, in the shadow of the Koo­lau mountain range.

Their private blessing and seed-planting ceremony follows federal and state measures signed into law last year that permit universities such as UH to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

UH professor Harry Ako and others with the school’s College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources will use their first 5½ pounds or so of seed to study how tall the hemp plants will grow locally, how much water and fertilizer they’ll require, how well they purify the soil and whether they can grow three hemp crops a year.

For state Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe), the planting was part of a 20-year push to bring the multi-use crop to the islands. She said her son first suggested it to her as a way to help replace jobs lost amid the local sugar industry’s decline. Thielen led efforts last year to pass into law a bill authorizing a two-year UH research study into hemp.

Obstacles to local hemp study on Hawaii remain, however.

Researchers had planned to start planting hemp this past summer, but Thielen said it took nearly a year to secure proper federal approvals to bring three small bags of seeds to Wai­ma­nalo. Last year’s federal Agricultural Act allows universities to grow hemp without a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration permit, but they still need a DEA permit to ship the seed to the U.S. and between states, officials say.

“The DEA has held this up for 11 months,” Thielen said. “If our state wants this, and the federal government recognizes it, the DEA is acting irrational. They’re insisting they control the import” and hope “you just give up.”

UH researchers are prohibited from using the seeds produced by any of the school’s first batch of hemp plants to grow subsequent ones per an agreement with the Australian company that provided the original hemp seeds planted Friday, Ako said. The hemp researchers and supporters will thus have to import more seeds if they’re to keep the project going, but Thielen called the process of getting the DEA permits for these first seeds a “nightmare.”

Washington, D.C.-based DEA representatives were unavailable for comment Friday.

Although hemp is part of the cannabis sativa plant species along with marijuana, it contains a small fraction of the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) needed to get a user high. But in 1957 the DEA began interpreting the Controlled Substances Act to include prevention of industrial hemp growth.

Both Ako and Thielen said Friday that there’s no way a person can get high via hemp, and Thielen and others have called for it to be removed from the federal Controlled Substances list, which classifies illicit drugs. Hawaii Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has co-sponsored a federal bill, HR 525, that would remove industrial hemp from the list. Gabbard’s father, state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei-Makakilo), said at Friday’s event that he wants to see the bill succeed in the current Congress.

A measure that’s still alive in this year’s state Legislative session, House Bill 508, would allow others in Hawaii to work with UH to conduct more hemp research.

“We’ve been waiting for this a long time,” said Clarence Baber, owner of Island Herbs Hawaii, who traveled to Oahu for Friday’s ceremony. Hemp could provide local farmers with cheaper alternatives for fuel to power their equipment, food for livestock and people, and building materials, he said.

“If a farmer’s able to grow his own fuel, that’s a huge cost” eliminated, Baber said.

In 1999 a private hair-care firm was allowed to grow hemp in Wahiawa for research into hemp oil, Thielen said. However, despite tight security around the plants, “the DEA virtually shut it down,” and the project was canceled by the early 2000s, she added.

Political Trivia – Presidential Last Names

Ok, here's another for you. Name all presidents that shared a last name. And for each pair, their relation, if any. Memory only – no searching!

Extra credit – name the first American born president (the first several were British citizens when they were first born).

Political trivia – how good are you?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

These are all quotes by presidents. Post your answers, with no searching the internet, reading books, etc! I'll post the correct answers Monday.

  1. You lose
  2. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
  3. First used the phrase “Military-Industrial Complex”
  4. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
  5. Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
  6. I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.
  7. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
  8. It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
  9. “Tell the truth” (instructions to his supporters on what to say when asked about his illegitimate child).
  10. If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. (May not have actually said it, but commonly attributed to him.)
  • Extra credit – What president’s parrot had such a filthy mouth, it was removed from his funeral?

ps – Started our last company meeting with these. The team Social Democrats win with 5/11.

They’re Our Opponents, Not Our Enemies

A very important point to keep in mind is we are not fighting an enemy, we are competing with opponents. The Republicans are not evil, they don’t hate America, and they are not out to destroy the middle class. They have a different approach on fundamental questions, but that is why we have elections, to let the voters pick which approach they think will work best.

Some will claim that the Republicans won because they lied, and Cory Gardner in particular did lay out some whoppers. But we dems happily elected Bill Clinton twice and he is a congenital liar. We dems were fine with the “you can keep your insurance” lie as it got the insurance bill passed (and anyone who understood the bill knew at the time that was a lie). Yes politicians lie. On both sides. Always have, always will. That is not what won the election.

We have some fundamental differences. Everyone has an opinion of when a fetus becomes a human being. I think all of us would view aborting a healthy 8-1/2 month fetus to be tantamount to murder. We all have a judgment as to what point in the pregnancy that fetus becomes a person. And there is no science or other means to declare a clear point because it’s fundamentally a personal choice. By that measure, someone who views personhood as occurring at the point of conception has a view as valid as any other. And if you hold that belief, then voting for the person who will stop abortion, regardless of their other beliefs, is a logical choice.

Our culture believes that our country was built almost solely on free enterprise. (It wasn’t, government has been a large part of our success from land grants for railroads to the Internet.) We all see the jobs and growth that come from the private side from a single independent coffee shop to Exxon (Walmart may be mostly part-time minimum wage jobs, but Exxon provides a large number of very well paid jobs.) A booming private sector is the best way, and the only long term sustainable way, to grow the economy. This approach has some major structural issues, those issues also are not fully proven. So taking the view that taxes (and services) should be reduced to leave the private sphere with additional income is again, a reasonable and logical choice.

Our K-12 educational system is a mess, and the money poured in has increased at about double the rate of inflation for the past 30 years. With no measurable increase in outcomes. The educrats have a million rationalizations, some of which are valid. But for many people, when the choice is continue with an approach that clearly does not work and try something else. They will vote to try something else. And again, while the proposals put forward by the right are, in my opinion, unlikely to work better, that doesn’t mean I’m right. I think in this case many voters aren’t in favor of the specifics proposed by the right, but they’re willing to take a chance because they know stay the course will not work. As we don’t know what will happen with these changes, again, it’s a reasonable point of view.

And then we have the giant hit faith in the government has taken. We’ve had 14 years of rank mis-management from the White House. From “heck of a job” Brownie to General “you want to see a doctor now?” Shinseki. An intruder makes it halfway through the white house and we’re supposed to believe the Obama Administration can do anything well? Yes there is great distrust by most voters in the ability of the government to do anything competently. That’s a reasonable conclusion based on what we have seen. Many of us look at the parts that run well (or at least they’ve got their problems well hidden) and are hopeful that the government can effectively address issues. We’re the glass is 1/3 full optimists. But the glass is 2/3 full pessimists have an equally valid viewpoint. And so when they vote for the person who says let’s get government less involved because all it does is fuck things up, that’s a very legitimate point of view.

Then there’s the economy. All the news stories, and the Democratic speeches talk up how we’ve fully recovered. Except we haven’t. The total numbers look good. But the economy has become much more unequal and so for the 98% out there who didn’t gain in the great rebalancing of the economy, things are worse. When people hear that “baby we’re back” and they see that it’s worse for them, for their kids, for their friends, then they see a system that has abandoned them. The Democrats in Washington have spent the last 4 years with a policy of minimize the changes (damage) from Republican proposals. A system that isn’t working for people, and politicians running on a platform of minimal change – again voting for a different approach is a reasonable and logical decision.

This administrative ineptitude and lack of a compelling alternative for the economy is also why, in my opinion, the voters wanted to vote against Obama. Every way they could with every vote they cast. Because not only do we have these problems, he’s not trying to fix them (an occasional speech isn’t trying) and if he did get substantial legislation passed, they don’t believe he could implement it competently or quickly. This is not logical. Mark Udall is not Barak Obama. But it is understandable. It is human nature.

The bottom line is that people who voted for Republicans have a reasonable difference of opinion on what the best approach to our problems is. The Republicans elected will propose solutions we disagree with. That doesn’t mean they’re evil and doesn’t even mean they’re wrong (statistically some of their proposals will work). It means we have a difference of opinion on these issues. And that means they’re an opponent of our ideas, but not an enemy.

Monday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community."

–Andrew Carnegie

Monday Open Thread

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

–T. E. Lawrence

What should we do about Ukraine?

(Off-topic indulgence due to the story's importance – promoted by Colorado Pols)

There's been a ton of opinions here about what we should do in The Ukraine. They've run the gamut from essentially nothing (except saying we're upset) to starting WW III. So, let's say Obama asks you to join a meeting of his national security team. What would you suggest.

And why you think it would work?


Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

–George Bernard Shaw

Campaign Bloggers – How to Post Here Effectively

(Good advice from a longtime Polster – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Someone walks into a party, climbs up on a table, drops their pants, squats over the punchbowl, and drops a gigantic turd in the punch. At this point, while you have everyone's attention, no one is listening to a word you say.

If your goal is to get attention. If your goal is to leave an impression of a pile of shit, then there's no reason to read on. However, if your goal is to effect the conversation, to persuade, to make people think, then read on. Because most political shills (liberal & conservative) make all of the below errors. Consistently.


Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."

–Robert Kennedy

Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."

–Robert Kennedy

Tuesday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

— Charles Babbage

Thursday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gladstone to Disraeli: "I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease." 

Disraeli's reply: "That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."