Denver Democrats Endorse Protecting Park Hill Golf Course Land Conservation Easement

Denver Democrats Endorse Continued Protection of Park Hill Golf Course Land

Call for Denver City Council to Maintain Perpetual Conservation Easement

 

Denver, CO – With the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land open space potentially threatened after the recent sale of the land, The Democratic Party of Denver gave a thundering vote of support for preservation Saturday, calling on Denver’s City Council to continue to protect the perpetual conservation easement that prohibits development of the land, maintains it as open space, and opens the door to potentially turn it into a park.
The Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Denver voted nearly unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting the continued protection of the conservation easement at its semi-annual meeting of its members.  The resolution passed by a margin of over 90%, with only a handful of members voting against the resolution.  There are 564 members of the Central Committee, which is made of Precinct Committee Persons from every precinct in the city, all Democratic Party officers at the local, state, and national level who live in Denver, and all elected officials in local, state, and federal offices who are Democrats and Denver residents.
“Save Open Space Denver’s mission is to preserve this unique 155-acre parcel of urban open space for our city,” said Harry Doby, a Save Open Space Denver leader. “With this vote urging City Council to protect and preserve the conservation easement, we are one step closer to our goal to one day see this become a regional park.”
A conservation easement was first attached to the land during Mayor Wellington Webb’s tenure, and a new version was granted in July 2019.  The Conservation easement can only be removed by a majority vote of City Council and in compliance with the Colorado conservation easement statute.  Existing concerns about Denver’s commitment to the conservation easement were heightened when the land was sold in 2019 to Westside Investment Partners, Inc., a real estate development company, at a price well above its appraised value with the new conservation easement attached, but well below its value as development property.  Webb has been a vocal proponent of maintaining the conservation easement on the land — the largest undeveloped tract that could be available to fill Denver’s park shortage — citing the city’s shrinking open space to population ratio, rising ozone levels and incidences of lung disease, and increasing impermeable concrete surfaces.
“I am delighted that the Denver Democrats passed a resolution supporting protecting open space and parks and taking a stance on fighting climate change,” Webb said after the resolution passed.
The Denver Democrats had a brief debate about the resolution, in keeping with their standard protocol, and while recognizing that there are always competing demands for worthy projects when land becomes available, they were unequivocal in their belief that once open space is lost, it can never be reclaimed.
“The support for this resolution reflects the values embedded in the Democratic Party Platform at both the state and county level, and voting our values makes it easy,” said Owen Perkins, a member of the Central Committee who introduced the resolution.  “Our county platform calls for us to expand and preserve Denver’s parks, wetlands, and green and open spaces, and our state platform affirms that the health of our land, air, and water — and the health of future generations — cannot be bought and sold.”
For more information about the perpetual open space conservation easement covering the Park Hill Golf Course land, including the full text of the resolution passed by The Democratic Party of Denver, please visit https://sosdenver.net/.

Open Letter to Denver City Council to Protect Park Hill Golf Course Land as Open Space

Today, the Denver Post published an update on the controversial sale and planned development of the Park Hill Golf Course land.  In addition, this letter has been sent to all the current city council members:

With the private sale of 155 acres of open space in the park desert of Northeast Park Hill, it is heartening to have former Mayor Wellington Webb call for the city council to protect the $2 million perpetual open space conservation easement currently in place. His visionary 1997 agreement with Clayton Trust to forfeit its development rights in exchange for cash and a property tax abatement for the last 20 years was a wise use of taxpayer funds and should remain as his everlasting legacy for generations to come. Only you and your fellow council members have the power to fulfill his request.

As a recent Denver Post editorial put it: “… our elected officials must not lose track of the ultimate goal — to vastly increase open space by acquiring one of the last remaining parcels of land available for such an endeavor.”

The speculative purchase by a local developer may fulfill the Clayton Trust’s long term desire for financial stability. However that does not obligate the city to make the false choice of sacrificing virgin open space to the detriment of development. Nor is “splitting the baby” desirable, which would require cancellation of the conservation easement, leaving any remaining undeveloped land vulnerable. There are multiple dilapidated industrial properties near this land, unloved and ignored, that are ripe for redevelopment instead.

Please remember these words from the Denver Post: “Webb said he supports the goal of affordable housing, but thinks it is a ‘trick to garner support’ for developing this open space. Housing can be built on other large sites, but open space can never be recovered, he argued.”

We, the members of Save Open Space Denver, hope you will consider the lasting impact of losing irreplaceable open space and vote to preserve the conservation easement.

The Fight To Preserve Open Space in North Denver Gains A Strong Advocate

For the past 3 years a battle has been fought in North Denver by neighbors and activists hoping to save the last significant parcel of open space remaining in the heart of Denver – 90-year-old Park Hill Golf Course.

Earlier this year the Denver Post ran a series of articles on the issue of increasing densification within the city limits, the lack of parkland and open space, and the impact of pollution and climate change that Denver suffers from as we evolve into a “Concrete Metropolis”.

After years of public forums, focus group discussions, community surveys indicating popular support for this land to remain open, and even better, to become a city park, behind-the-scenes dealmaking with a major lobbying firm acting as matchmaker for the seller and the city, it appeared that the property was going to go the way of much open space and become yet another high density housing, retail and commercial development.

The initial deal fell through when the current occupant filed lawsuits against both the owner, Clayton Trust, and the city to keep it as a golf course for the duration of their lease. Recently however, yet another deal has been brokered, but this time with a new player, Westside Investment Partners.

That was the final straw for the Denver Post Editorial Board. Today’s editorial challenges in no uncertain terms the mayor and city council to do what is right for Denver’s citizens and keep in place the existing protections currently forbidding development, and turn this 155-acre site (the size of Wash Park) into the beautiful public park in the century old tradition of Denver as a “City within a Park”.

From their editorial:

Unless the prospective buyers of Park Hill Golf Club are indeed interested in operating a public golf course on the 155 acres of prime real estate in north Denver, they’d best pull out of the deal now.

The land is still under a city-held easement restriction that doesn’t allow development. And the public sentiment these days, and for the foreseeable future, is strongly in the camp of increased parkland and open space. We can’t imagine the City Council or Mayor Michael Hancock would be foolish enough to lift the restrictions.

Denver has been home to incredible, transformational projects in recent years, but most have been dominated by private development subsidized with taxpayer dollars. It’s time for our civic leaders to be bold and envision something spectacular for north Denver, something that is publicly owned and can compete with urban parks across the world. Taxpayers and donors would certainly chip in for the right vision.

Now is the time for Hancock and our city leaders to win this land battle for generations to come.

The Post also published my letter to the editor yesterday which provides additional context:

Now that the election is over, I’m not surprised to read of an all-but-done deal to sell Park Hill Golf Course to a private party on July 11th. Despite the current occupant’s two pending lawsuits, a 5-year lease to operate as a golf course with an option for a second five years, plus an expressed desire to exercise their first right of refusal to purchase the land, notwithstanding Mayor Wellington Webb’s 1997, $2 million perpetual conservation easement, and of course mandatory rezoning hearings by the city before it can be developed, somehow — miraculously — a private developer has the confidence that none of that will stop them from turning a tidy profit on this land.

Meanwhile, dilapidated industrial properties that are ripe for redevelopment into retail and housing near the golf course lie unloved and ignored, while the shiny specter of new high-rises on virgin open space capture the imagination of developers, lobbyists and politicians in the city. All the buyer and their agents need is for newly re-elected Mayor Michael Hancock and enough City Council members to roll over and say “scratch my belly.”

 

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

I wrote the following to Senator Cory Gardner’s “Share Your Thoughts on Fixing our Tax Code and Growing Wages” page.  Since it requires fully identifying myself, I wanted to post it here as well under my name so that it wouldn’t disappear into the black hole of his email inbox.

Tax Relief for the wealthy is a waste of money and hurts our future

Republicans in Congress have been promoting this tax cut bill as aimed at the middle class, and not to benefit the already well-off among us. And yet the Congress’ own non-partisan analysts have proven that only the wealthy will have permanent tax cuts while the rest face rising taxes in a few years after all the gimmicks the GOP inserted into the bill expire. As any economist not named Laffer will gladly explain to you with hard evidence from both the Reagan and Bush years, trickle-down economics doesn’t work, and you are guaranteeing ballooning the deficit yet again which will grant you the excuse to cut not the bloated, never audited Pentagon budget, but rather the safety net that our elderly and infirm need and deserve. We have full employment and yet Republicans want to halt even legal immigration. Trump is doing everything he can to damage our economy by threatening world trade and our power to control our economic destiny. Can we build a better future for our children by making education a priority? Yes, but not with your bill that disincentivizes education and effectively relegates our young to dead-end jobs at little more than minimum wage.

The American people have given the GOP full control of Congress, the White House and even the Courts. In return, your party has pursued short-sighted, self-destructive, self-serving and backward looking policies that will set our country back for a generation, or more. We elect our representatives to lead, and to build a better future for all Americans. The world has looked to us for leadership for nearly a century, and all the GOP has to offer is ignorance, cowardice and venality — shirking your opportunity to lead, offering just a shriveled, inchoate message of bluster, failed policies and nonsensical reasoning.

The moral, ethical and intellectual bankruptcy of your party is in full display. Voters have started to realize the damage you have wrought, and will be voicing their opinion at the ballot box. Jamming this tax bill through with all the damage it will cause, just because you are desperate to notch a “win” merely illustrates how pathetic the set of values are that you hold so dear.

The depths of my disgust for the actions you and members of your party are taking knows no bounds. You should be ashamed, but your words and actions show you have no shame.  The knowledge that you are not even the worst among your party dismays me the most.

That is what makes me fear for all of our futures.

Paul Ryan’s New Favorite Author/Mentor — George Orwell

Since Paul Ryan disowned Taker/Maker Ayn Rand, he's now picked a new favorite Mentor:  George Orwell.  For instance here's his latest promise:  

“This session, I’ll advance reforms to protect and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid,” Ryan said Saturday.

He'll do that by 

proposing that the House cut spending enough to wipe out deficits after 10 years 
 

So, to protect Medicare and Medicaid, apparently you need to stop letting people actually, you know, receive any benefits that would cost money.  A similar philosophy was practiced in Vietnam — save the village, but get rid of the pesky people with liberal applications of Napalm.

 

Further, Ryan sincerely (in a "the sky is red" sort of way) believes:

 

“The way he tells it, it’s the president — and only the president — who’s trying to fix our bridges, to feed our children, to care for seniors, to clean our water,” Ryan added. “But we can’t get rattled. We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united. We have to show that — if given the chance — we can govern. We have better ideas.”

You know, you hear true conservatives in the Tea Party talking every day about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, making sure all kids get the nurishment they need to stay healthy, seeing that our elderly get the care they've earned, and protecting our clean water supplies.  Why it's obvious that keeping those oil and gas subsidies in place is money well spent — look at how clean the water is after it's been run through the fracking process!  And keeping our Pharmaceutical industry healthy by protecting their profits from mean ol' negotiators trying to get cheaper prices for seniors is just common sense!

Yep, Paul Ryan is a fast learner.  If the actual truth doesn't work for you, just redefine the meaning of the words and spread the New Truth!

The quotes used above are from:  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/paul-ryan-obama-2nd-term-wont-be-pretty-86762.html?hp=f3

Pols Meet Up At Rosa Linda’s

(Bumping this up since it’s in two days! – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

Hey, aren’t we about due for a meet up?  Where better than at Rosa Linda’s.  Just the place to relax and have a post-election get together.

I’ve never been there, but I hope the beer is cold and the tamales hot.  The first $100 is on me.

Will Saturday, Nov. 10th work, or does anyone have another preference?

Lunch time?

Romney’s Path To The White House

Big Lie, little lie, everywhere a lie, lie!

While catching up with my reading, I noticed a mention in TIME magazine about a web-only TIME.COM article titled “The Root of Mitt Romney’s Comfort with Lying”.  Intrigued, I followed the link (behind a paywall, I believe) to a column by Justin Frank, M.D.

His conclusion was that Romney doesn’t believe he’s lying, even when confronted with irrefutable facts to the contrary.  Provocatively, he concludes it is rooted in Mitt’s Mormon upbringing:  

 

And one doesn’t have to be a Mormon to lie – just look at John Edwards or former Nevada Senator John Ensign. But in the Mormon Church, there was a decision to accept authority as true – whether or not evidence supported it. Hence Joseph Smith, the founder of the faith in 1820, claimed he was illiterate and received the Book of Mormon directly from God. But he could read, and read very well.

This unwavering faith is central to Romney’s comfort in deflecting any examples that the press might bring up of his lying. Further, it allows him to repeat lies again and again – both personally and in political advertising – because to him they are not lies at all.

Following the links further, led me to another article by New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn When It’s OK to Lie with the formula Romney is following to lie his way to the White House.

In short the rules are:

In related news, Andrew Sprung, whose excellent blogging on health care policy I haven’t given nearly enough attention, developed a list of twelve rules that Romney seems to think should govern campaigning. For starters:

1. Context doesn’t matter. Anything you say I may use against you, e.g., by making it sound like you said the opposite.

2. My record shall be judged by different standards from that of my opponent. For example, job losses in my first year in office don’t count; in his, they shall define his entire record.

3. What I said 18, 10, 4, or 3 years ago doesn’t matter. Erase it from your mind. I’ve been as consistent as human beings (all three of me) can be.

4. When confronted directly with past positions that seem to contradict current ones, I may so thoroughly bend the positions back against each other that none shall be able to penetrate my paradoxes.

The whole list is worth reading.

Finally, you can keep track of Romney’s complete and up-to-date sordid list of lies here: Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXI

Campaigning in St. Louis yesterday, Mitt Romney, reading from his teleprompter, told supporters he would never be a “president of doubt and deception.”

You could almost hear irony weeping. After all, as Kevin Drum explained, “I expect political candidates to bend the truth a fair amount…. But Romney’s willingness to flat-out lie is singular.”

Or as Rachel explained just last night, “Mr. Romney gets caught saying things that are factually wrong, and the thing that is different about him is that he does not mind; he doesn’t fix it; he doesn’t even try to worm out of it. He doesn’t appear to feel any shame about it at all — and he’s happy to keep telling the lie once he knows it is a lie.”

And I can hear the Republican apologists with their replies now:  But Democrats are a thousand, million, billion times worse (which makes it ok for us)!

Can it get any worse?

Eat Your Facts — They’re Good For You!

The Post reprinted a great article today from the LA Times We are feasting on junk info.

The gist of the article being, just like eating too much junk food, we can become intellectually obese from a steady diet of junk information.

The Post printed a letter of mine in 2007 in a similar vein:

Opinions are like — well, you know – everybody has one.  Journalism, on the other hand, is hard work.  So reading your coverage of the YearlyKos’ blogger convention was both exciting and dismaying.  

Exciting, because engaging the community in covering significant local events with support from professional news organizations opens many doors.  It is the first step towards direct democracy.  

Dismaying, because of the ease with which some would dismiss objectively reporting facts for the chance to express their opinion in the guise of truth.

That the blogosphere is left-leaning probably is a natural response to the years of ridiculously slanted right-wing talk radio.  As sympathetic as I might be to the bloggers’ progressive views, I don’t want to get my news on yellow-tinted pages.

Clay Johnson, the author of today’s article, makes an even stronger point we all should heed:

There is a new kind of ignorance afoot in the world, one that results from overconsumption of information rather than from a lack of access to it.

.

.

… many information providers are more interested in fanning fear and feeding people’s preconceived notions than they are at communicating truth.

But we should really blame ourselves for the content we’re seeing. Why?

Because what shows up on the Internet and cable television is shaped by what we choose to click on and watch, and we’re making terrible choices.

Our news is largely provided by conglomerates focused on the bottom line, and they have figured out that shrill opinions and celebrity hype draw more eyes than facts and substance.

Those that have poor eating habits are often easy to spot waddling down the street.  Just as those without the discipline to consume a healthy diet of information quickly reveal themselves when their mouth is open or when pecking away at the keyboard.

For more information start here

Going Mobile

Ok, this isn’t about politics.  And no, I didn’t buy a new Leaf electric car. Not even a hybrid — that’ll be in a couple of years, perhaps.

What I did was buy a tablet computer running Google’s Android OS.  Perhaps that is of interest to more than 2 people on this site.  If not, click here now and enjoy your time reading the other diaries.

For those of you still with me, what follows are a few observations that might help others considering buying something similar.

Why buy a tablet?  Mainly, I want to get away from home delivery newspapers and magazines, but still keep informed.  My TIME magazine always arrives late, and 3 times this month, my DP newspaper never appeared at my doorstep.  I’ve already started getting a lot of my news (and more importantly, my comics!) via the web and email updates, so this just seemed to be a natural progression, with the benefit of taking it anywhere I happen to be (yes, in the “library” too).

Also, many magazines and newspapers have electronic editions available for no extra charge, or are cheaper than paper subscriptions.

I downloaded a TIME app which provides a very nice user interface (UI).  The archive has the current issue, plus all the back issues at my fingertips.  The really nice thing about the application is that it is very easy to use, particularly navigating among the articles, and going from page to page.  It’s free for current subscribers.  

As a Denver Post subscriber, you can get their E-edition for a small addition to your subscription.  My plan is to just get the E-edition for $6/month and drop the paper subscription completely.  That’s a savings of about 65%.  The downside is that the electronic version was extremely hard to use at first.  All I got was about 6 pages of the advertising suppliments.  Finally, after logging out and logging back in, I accidentally found the front page.  I then discovered that I could sequentially step through each article.  I haven’t found out how to jump around yet.  And unlike the TIME app, I haven’t discovered how to get to back issues (I did see it once, but was unable to bring them up — and that page is lost in the ether to me for now).

Overall, I’m pleased with my purchase, and if you don’t mind the stiff price of entry ($500 and likely to climb as I find accessories and apps to fill in the functional gaps), it makes for an excellent way to explore virtually any form of media — current events, books, movies, music, etc.  There are cheaper products available for specialty uses — my niece is overjoyed with her Nook e-reader.  She is up to 138 books so far since November.  Not too shabby for a $99 investment!

Now, I just wonder if I can get the Star Trek communicator chirp as my “You have mail” notifier 😉

Gory Details for those who really need to know:

First, I searched the web to get product recommendations.  CNET was pretty good.  In fact, it’s top Android recommendation is precisely the one I bought — the ASUS Transformer Prime.

Why not Apple iPad?  I’ve never fallen for Apple products — goes back 30 years when as a Commodore reseller, I competed with them for a Jeffco school district contract.  Even though we underbid them by half (the Commodore 64 vs. the Apple IIe), we lost.  Apples are still typically more expensive for what you finally get feature/function-wise.

Been a UNIX and Windows user ever since.  In fact, that’s issue number one with my new tablet.  Having a 35 year old CS degree and a 20 year old MS degree is probably a massive handicap for me acclimating to the user interface.  I suspect that it is as mysterious to me as for anyone with no computing experience at all.  Subract 40 years, and add a smart phone user experience, and my new tablet would be a breeze to use.

So Newt Wins South Carolina, What Then?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Should polls turn out to be right, and Newt wins the South Carolina GOP primary, what then?  

Like the proverbial dog that is surprised to finally catch the firetruck, will Newt have a clue how to transform his apparent speaking/book tour into a real campaign for the Presidency?

Does he really want to?  

Much like Tom Tancredo’s run for Governor, I believe Newt’s running has more to do with his thinking that this feeble bunch of GOP candidates deserve a “Big Name” to save the party from itself.  That Newt and “Tank” are both bomb-throwers with massive egos simply completes the comparison.

While a Newt victory in this one primary does not a stop-Romney campaign make, this would sweep away Romney’s aura of inevitability. Money would certainly start flowing Newt’s way, and Rick Santorum’s campaign would effectively be over.

With Ron Paul able to soldier on as long as he desires, it would be a true three-way race all the way to the convention.  Romney would continue to win most primaries through his superior funding and organization.  But Newt could make strong enough showings to remain credible.  However, only Romney can stop Romney.

If somehow Romney should be the one to implode (i.e. the image of Vulture Capitalist or tax-haven Cayman Islands slush funds stick in the minds of voters), leaving Newt and Ron Paul as the only alternatives, I really don’t see the GOP willing to choose between them.

Romney’s flip-flopping, “anything to get elected” stands on the issues pale in comparison with the baldly, I dare say proudly, hypocritical conduct of Newt’s personal and professional life, and his imperious belief that he can best dictate to others how they should bow to his dominating will.

So no, Newt is not a serious Presidential candidate.  But he may very well derail any chance Mitt Romney has of becoming President.  So for that, I say “Thanks, Newt”.

Keeping Track Of All The GOP “Jobs” Bills

I’ve got an idea for an enterprising blogger/legislative staffer or two:  Let’s keep track of all the amazing bounty of GOP Jobs bill and/or constitutional amendment proposals.

You know all the ones that start out with “If we just fill in the blank, the economy would take off and jobs would rain down like manna.”

Let me get started.

If we just:

1.  Outlawed abortion

2.  Banned gay marriage

3.  Restricted life-saving medical research

4.  Reduced educational opportunities for the underprivileged

5.  Taught pseudo-science in lieu of modern science

6.  Brought back prayer in schools

7.  Shifted health care budget burdens to the states

8.  Eliminated federal environmental protections

9.  Laid off teachers, firefighters and police

10. Gave more tax cuts to billionaires and multi-national corporations

11. Collected more taxes from the poor

12. Eliminated unemployment benefits

13. Deported all those job-stealin’ immigrants

Economically speaking, things would be so much better!

I’m sure there are many more that I’ve missed.  And of course, over the next year, I’m sure there will be plenty more coming our way from conservative “Think Tanks”.

On the other hand, if we elected a Democratic majority in Congress and in the states, we’d have to put up with new spending bills on roads, bridges, medical and scientific research, public education, etc., all financed on the backs of the innocent victims of their own success — the top 1%.

We certainly can’t let that happen, now can we?

Hair Of The Dog In 2012

If Republicans succeed in tanking the economy this year by forcing the country into default, perverse as it may seem, the likely result could be to achieve their dream of making Obama a one-term president.

So let’s assume that during a deepening recession, Obama loses his job next year.  I would hope that America doesn’t go completely insane, and elects the least crazy of the current crop of GOP candidates – Mitt Romney.  Further, let’s also assume they maintain control of the House, and even squeak out a 51 seat majority in the Senate.

What would a return to “Conservative” principles (whatever that means anymore) likely result for our nation?

Let’s see…

No new taxes.  Even President Romney would be unable to break the evil spell of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party on the religious chant of “No taxes, No how”. In fact, the pressure to find more taxes to cut would be pretty irresistible. Well, since most of the current budget is mandatory spending for entitlements, while discretionary spending is for the military and infrastructure, without new sources of revenue, trillion dollar deficits will stretch for years to come.  A Republican president and Congress won’t likely trim too much from the military budget, and while they might make several attempts to take a hacksaw to Medicare and Social Security, they would basically have to eliminate both to put a dent in a trillion dollar annual deficit, particularly as the recession deepens as consumer spending continues to plummet, and government spending is reduced.  It becomes a self-perpetuating vicious cycle if you don’t believe in government deficit spending to keep the economy afloat.  Perhaps Romney would perform one of his patented 180’s and put forth another TARP-like rescue package.  But who wants to bet the Tea Party nitwits would allow that to pass?

Repeal and Replace Healthcare Reform.  So now that newly unemployed residents of Hoovervilles popping up across the nation have lost any health insurance they might have had, a repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act would leave them without any safety net at all.  So off to the emergency room it is for any health issue their kids might have.  Believe it or not, that comes out of taxpayers’ pockets.  So much for cutting government expenditures on healthcare.  I suppose they could eliminate state and federal funds to hospitals, so that the free market can decide if we just have too many darned ER’s and clinics after all!

Deregulation.  Since Republicans are all for “free enterprise – let the market decide” principles, we can be assured that a Republican Congress would push, and CEO Romney would support, massive deregulation of businesses, including likely repeal of anti-trust legislation, either explicitly or defacto, through government decisions in favor of industry consolidation (driven also by the continuing recession and need for “economies of scale”) where the strong feed on the weak.  Not only would monopolies start controlling major segments of the market, leading to less innovation, higher prices, and less need for competition-driven efficiencies in service, you would see an acceleration in media consolidation as well.  So we would get less diversity of opinion, and the few outlets remaining would also gain control over the “facts” such as Fox News has been attempting for several years.

So how would Republicans dig themselves out of this hole (hmm — funny, if you find your self in a hole, aren’t you supposed to stop digging)?  Well, their dire predictions of hyperinflation would probably finally come true, even propagandized by the UniVoice News as a “really good thing”. With the debt probably hitting $20 trillion by 2015 and another election coming up, inflation would provide a short-lived sheen of rising incomes and prosperity, plus rising government receipts to pay down the now “cheaper” national debt.

If we thought the drunken excesses by Republicans during the Bush years, characterized by reckless, unfunded spending on wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and blatant partisanship in illegal hiring practices in the Department of Justice (literally placing a partisan thumb on the scales of justice) was bad, just wait until we try a bit of the “Hair of the Dog”.

Michael Hancock Goes All In

(If he goes down, he’ll go down swinging. – promoted by Aristotle)

There’s no easy way to walk back from this statement:

Dear Friend,

In light of recent news stories, I wanted to let you know directly – from me to you – that these accusations are baseless and completely untrue.

Throughout our campaign, we dealt with false, negative attack after attack. As the election grew closer, each smear against my character grew more and more desperate, deceptive and ugly.

On Thursday June 2, I was hit with the most vicious attack yet. A groundless rumor that had been proven false over 3 years ago was dredged up only days before the election to diminish my reputation.[emphasis mine]

Each day since, I have been working aggressively to disprove these false and hateful allegations — allegations leveled by a convicted felon. I have instructed my team to be fully open, honest and transparent and to cooperate with all media outlets.

We have provided the press with my calendar. We have asked Denver Police to release any surveillance photos, videos or other evidence that may exist (and they have responded by saying there is no such evidence). Every piece of information and fact we obtain further disproves these outlandish allegations and sets the record straight.  

We have requested my cell phone records and we will continue to pursue other documents and records to clear the air, affirm my honor and integrity, and protect my family against these hateful accusations.

At the same time, I must also focus on the urgent and important work of transitioning from candidate to mayor. I will be sworn in as Denver’s 45th mayor on July 18. We have just 37 days to build an administration and prepare to hit the ground running on Day 1.

We’re making good progress. Today we announced the co-chairs of the DenverForward transition, well-respected leaders of our community who will help review city department opportunities and challenges, recruit great leaders for the Cabinet, and help prepare to launch our first 100 days initiatives.

We’ll have additional announcements about the Transition and inaugural events in the coming days and weeks as well.

I’m excited about Denver’s future and the possibilities ahead.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Michael

Just what is the story from 3 years ago and how was it dispelled?

I just want the truth, whatever it may be to come out quickly.

What Do You Think?

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The Power Of Information To Enable Better Government

I wanted to share this with our new Governor since I know he’s interested in making government run smoothly and more efficiently.

From an article in this week’s TIME magazine:

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” London Mayor Boris Johnson has proclaimed. And to make good on that declaration, he has opened the door to London’s data vaults through a website called the London Datastore. Open information, Johnson said, gives rise to “a great army of unpaid scrutineers and invigilators” who help keep city politicians aboveboard. But beyond helping watchdogs, the London Datastore has become the source for other websites that have created opportunities for business development and for reducing London’s costs, improving its traffic and generally making life in the city more livable.

Among the many benefits  —  lowering costs and improving services:

Among groups releasing information to the Datastore is the London branch of the U.K.’s National Health Service. In December it started posting nonprivate information comparing the performance of London’s hospitals in an effort to pressure the underachievers. “NHS London wants to become more open and transparent about how it performs. The aim is to drive up quality,” says Dr. Andy Mitchell, NHS London’s medical director.

Talk about Freedom of Information —  I hope this idea catches on around the country!

PS.  David, know any good Colorado-based reporting tools that might make this a snap to implement?  😉

Helping The Needless

According to news analysis, Republicans are quite pleased with the compromise hammered out with President Obama.

But why would fiscal conservatives gladly support almost $900 billion in new deficit spending over the next two years, $140 billion of which goes directly into the pockets of the needless – those making over $250,000 per year?

Probably because they believe this bill will ensure Obama’s defeat in two years (either the economy recovers and they take credit, or the economy falters and they blame Obama), not to mention weakening the social contract started with FDR’s New Deal.

The CBO’s analysis showed that the benefit for the economy, including job creation from that marginal $140 billion tax break, will be little or nothing.  And yet the GOP rejoices in helping the needless.

It appears to show that their main constituency is comprised of the top 2% of taxpayers.  Guess who funded their “independent educational” media blasts in the last election?  It definitely proves that their principled stand against all deficit spending is a total sham, to be discarded when there is a point to be scored.  

And what is that point?  That the practice of politics is still about power, and the sometimes brutal,  always cynical exercise thereof (see:  Caesar, Julius).  This bill proves that the GOP’s fight is not so much about principles, but about setting a goal and relentlessly pursuing it.  

The Senate in particular is shark-infested waters.  Perhaps one day our sharks will learn to rip the opposing sharks to shreds instead of trying to appease their hunger by feeding them the defenseless fish swimming nearby.

Ken Buck’s Views Don’t Matter

… At least, to hear Ken Buck tell it.  As a way of allaying fears that his opposition to abortion rights, sometime support of a constitutional ban on abortion, and deliberately fuzzy position on supreme court nominees that may support abortion rights might actually have an impact in the Senate — his response goes something like this:

Buck replied, “I don’t think abortion’s going to be criminalized anytime soon. …

Suppose he’s right — so what?  

Because it goes to the mindset that will be used in deciding what goals and priorities will be emphasized in the hundreds of pieces of legislation that will come before our Senate each year.

Coupled with the Citizens United ruling, that Corporate “Persons” have first amendment rights to unlimited speech, it would seem that in Ken Buck’s view, the most important “Persons” are either wealthy corporations or zygotes.  The rest of us are just unimportant, but necessary-evil voters (at least until corporations are granted the right to vote too).

With the Tea Party know-nothings threatening to take over the Republican Party, and further weaken Congress’s ability to pass meaningful legislation to get us back on the road to prosperity, I can think of nothing more important than the need to pass stronger campaign finance laws so that Citizens United does not become “settled precedent”, and the Supreme Court does not gain anymore anti-abortion sympathizers.

What campaign finance reform measures has Buck proposed?  Yeah, you’re right – nothing.

Because the current system of unlimited anonymous money is working out pretty well for him and his Tea Party cohorts.

We already can presume a smaller Democratic presence in the Senate and House.  Therefore inevitably there will be more of a rightward shift in legislation, with more compromises that will not be to most Dems’ liking.

So yes, this is a plea to vote for Michael Bennet.  Anyone thinking that Ken Buck’s views won’t matter if he happens to win this Senate race — even if you disagree with him — will be profoundly disappointed, just as we were the last time Republicans were behind the driver’s seat.

As the polls show, this race is a squeaker — every vote counts.  

The Unaffiliated Will Decide

( – promoted by ClubTwitty)

The reason many of us live in Colorado is for the incredible beauty of its open spaces.  But as the population grows and the major arteries linking the cities to each other fill with homes, shopping centers and business parks, open spaces have become scarce and farther away than a few minutes drive.

Your right to swing your arm ends at the tip of my nose.  With 310 million Americans (or especially 5 million Coloradans), that’s a lot of noses.  So the quest for freedom in a land of so many may seem ephemeral at best.  The crowding, the imposition on our freedoms, but most of all the feeling that “others” are responsible for our problems is the cause of unease, concern over our future, and yes, heightened paranoia on the part of some.  With the economy limiting the freedom to look for a better job – here or somewhere else – or even just to have a job, the anxieties induced by this crowding is greatly amplified.

What does this have to do with elections?  The image of the two major party candidates represent vast disparities in what it means to be a Coloradan.  The urban sophisticate Senator Michael Bennet, or the cowpie-kicking cowboy, District Attorney Ken Buck.

Which represents the Colorado we live in? Which image is reality, and which one represents what brought us to, and keeps us here in Colorado?

Aside from their differences on the issues, which are substantial (and greatly discussed in many other forums), I believe the votes from the large contingent of unaffiliated and likely still undecided voters will hinge on how they perceive the two candidates will conduct themselves as senators.  In that, the contrast  in their personalities comes in stark relief to each other.

Ken Buck comes across as rather mild mannered.  Harmless, almost.  Except for his Tea Party extremist positions, he does seem to be the kind of guy you could sit down and have a beer or two with.  But that same informality is what gets him into the most trouble – his “shoot from the lip” style of snap decisions, giving little thought or serious consideration to a position, leading to the need for “clarifying” his former position, or even denying or contradicting it as political considerations (i.e.  what his handlers) demand.  Thus, his recent avoidance of the press or public events.

Michael Bennet, despite living here in the West (even in a rustic Montana cabin) for many years, chooses not to abandon his Eastern mannerisms and speech patterns.  He may seem a bit standoffish, which is likely just his natural reserved personality.  But he always gives thoughtful, nuanced, if not soundbite-useful, opinions on the issues he wrestles with each day.  He doesn’t waste time on issues that aren’t on the frontburner (hey how’s that EFCA thingy going?), but rather devotes his considerable energy and passion to badly needed reform (of the Senate, as well as legislation).

I think in the next few weeks, Buck will have to come out of hiding, and Bennet will need to learn to connect to remote and larger audiences.  Which one is more likely to make the most of the opportunity?

Given that the Democrats and Republicans have by heavy margins, declared their loyalty to their respective party candidates, it will be up to the Unaffiliated to decide our next Senator from Colorado.

Stop Making Sense

( – promoted by DavidThi808)

Paul Krugman is at it again.  He’s a bit worried that the GOP’s “Pledge to America” might be utter nonsense.

Apparently, the key ingredient for success is: “And then a miracle occurs”.

In essence, what [the GOP] say is, “Deficits are a terrible thing. Let’s make them much bigger.”

The only way the “Pledge” will work is if Republicans can work this miracle:

…up is down, that you can sharply reduce revenue, protect all the programs voters like, and still balance the budget.

So what does make sense?

How about investing in areas that increase our global competitive edge?

Thomas L. Friedman offers an obvious solution that plays to our historic strengths that we have let slip in recent years:

The electric car industry is pivotal for three reasons, argues Shai Agassi, the C.E.O. of Better Place, a global electric car company that next year will begin operating national electric car networks in Israel and Denmark.

First, the auto industry was the foundation for America’s manufacturing middle class.

Second, the country that replaces gasoline-powered vehicles with electric-powered vehicles – in an age of steadily rising oil prices and steadily falling battery prices – will have a huge cost advantage and independence from imported oil.

Third, electric cars are full of power electronics and software. “Think of the applications industry that will be spun out from electric cars,” says Agassi. It will be the iPhone on steroids.

To grow the economy, you need to provide products and services that people, both domestically and especially globally, need and/or desire.

Some of the highest paying middle-class jobs are in the invention, design, production and servicing of our high technology products.  

Doesn’t it make sense that we’d want to create more of them?

That it also serves to wean us from our dependence on foreign oil, and all the associated security, environmental and trade deficit problems, makes it all the more important to refocus our national priorities on things that really can help.  

Then we’ll be making our own economic miracles once more.

Undecided? Elections Have Consequences

(Go Harry! – promoted by DavidThi808)

Republicans have been tagged as “The Party of No” ever since the Democrats were voted into majority control of Congress and the White House.

So, if given the chance to reverse roles, what would Republicans, in particular Ken Buck, do as “The Party of Yes”?

1. Yes to increased government intrusion into private lives.  Ken Buck’s anti-abortion position, even in case of rape or incest, takes away the right of women to decide for themselves, in consultation with their family, their doctor and their spiritual adviser, whether to keep or terminate the unwanted pregnancy.

2. Yes to making the pursuit of illegal immigrants one of the highest priorities of the federal government.  Even though there are millions of law-abiding, tax-paying illegal immigrants making little more than minimum wage as construction workers, housekeepers, gardeners, and meatpackers, who are here for no other reason than to give their children the chance for a better life, Ken Buck’s record shows that he would spend scarce resources to drive them out of the country, at the expense of investing in things like green energy jobs, education and infrastructure.

3. Yes to policies that would ship more jobs overseas.  Rising health care costs are making it more and more expensive to keep jobs in America.  Repealing the health care bill would guarantee that the cost of insurance premiums would continue to spiral out of control.  And by denying healthcare to ten’s of millions of Americans, force them to continue to seek treatment from overcrowded emergency rooms, the most expensive, least efficient means of delivery, one that is paid for by you and me through our taxes.

4. Yes to putting social security funds in the hands of Wall Street.  By privatizing social security, Ken Buck would replace the guaranteed benefits currently available to retirees with the risk we currently share with our 401(k) plans that have supplanted the security of pensions.

5. Yes to economic policies that brought the nation to the brink of depression.  Ken Buck believes that the stimulus bill, rather than halting the slide into another Great Depression, was unnecessary “Pork”.  And somehow that the deficit mysteriously arose in just the last year or two.  That the stimulus bill saved our auto industry and millions of jobs, provided much needed support for all of the states (including GOP-governed states), saving the jobs of police, firefighters, teachers and many more means nothing to Ken Buck.  Naively, he believes it’s better to cut taxes and services, throwing millions out of work than to invest in our nation’s future.

6. Yes to increased coal, oil and gas consumption over alternative energy sources.  Domestic sources of these resources will never be sufficient to provide energy independence, not to mention the horrific cost to our personal health and the environmental costs associated with the exploration, extraction and delivery of that carbon-based energy.  Enlightened, job-creating investments in alternative energy, and the infrastructure to deliver clean energy to our homes and fuel our industries just isn’t on Ken’s radar.

And lest we forget:

7.  Yes to more suffering and shorter lives.  Ken Buck’s position on stem cell research would condemn millions to suffer from painful and debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, spinal cord injury, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, and burns.

Yes, elections have consequences.  I believe we all — GOP, Democrats and Independents alike — want the same thing: a stronger, safer, prosperous nation.  The problem is answering “How do we get there?”  Ken Buck’s track record and stated positions are counter-productive, and put the priorities in all the wrong places.

Finally Seeing The Light

(Veteran polster Harry Doby seems the light and admits the right wing noise machine is right — we need to stop whining about getting people back to work and cut taxes for the super rich again.  I can only assume he’s serious;-) – promoted by Voyageur)

Reading for oh, maybe the 100th time, that Keynesian fiscal stimulus was a terrible mistake, and was powerless to offset the  economic collapse of 2008/2009, the arguments are finally making sense to me with their elegance and simplicity.

I’ve decided that economic models showing annual deficits in the $2 trillion range, and unemployment reaching high double-digits is just so much cynical fear-mongering meant to get Libs elected into office.

In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year.

In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.

If the fiscal stimulus alone had been enacted, and not the financial measures, they concluded, real G.D.P. would have fallen 5 percent last year, with 12 million jobs lost. But if only the financial measures had been enacted, and not the stimulus, real G.D.P. would have fallen nearly 4 percent, with 10 million jobs lost.

The reality is that if we had instead adopted the Laissez-faire approach of doing nothing and letting the economy’s natural free-market forces take over, we’d be in much better shape.

Renowned Mississippi economist and free thinker, William F. Shughart II (after all he’s a jolly good fellow with the Independence Institute) prescribes the cure for our economic ills is to simply cut taxes and eliminate regulation.  Thus in one fell swoop, this frees up money for the top 1% on the economic ladder to spend more freely on things that matter – bigger homes (thus fueling a revival in the housing market), fancier jets (thus spurring the aerospace industry) and once and for all answering the question, is a 400-foot yacht big enough?

And by unshackling businesses from pesky regulations, such as forcing companies to fill out government forms  regarding how many people were injured on the job each year, how much land was contaminated by their industrial spills, or filling out environmental impact studies on why they want to develop pristine federal lands, we should just let companies decide where to best invest their windfall profits, spurring a new “Oklahoma Land Rush”, but in this case, all around the nation for all the currently wasted billions of acres of Federal lands – you know, empty deserts, national wildlife refuges and national parks – economic wastelands, all!

The other benefit of cutting taxes and eliminating regulations is that we wouldn’t need much government anymore.  And since the real decision-making and power would lie in the hands of just a few CEO’s, we wouldn’t need much more than a figurehead President, and Congress could practically disband, or at most, simply become an advisory “business roundtable” to help the Koch brothers determine where to focus their job creation activities.

Speaking of jobs, encouraging the wealthy to create high-paying non-union jobs is pretty smart.  We all know it’s better to take unemployment and welfare benefits from the government rather than pay income taxes.  So by cutting or eliminating taxes, people will finally decide to take all those $100k non-union jobs that currently go begging (or worse, get filled by illegal immigrant drug dealers) rather than pay $10k to $20k in taxes each year on that salary.

For the workers that don’t have the smarts or gumption for the top paying jobs, the ruling oligarchy would reach back to the ’50’s for inspiration.  Oh, not the 1950’s – I mean the 1850’s — when we had company towns where employees were provided housing, jobs, places to shop, etc. And instead of using expensive government currency, the companies printed their own, much more economically efficient scrip, redeemable only at company-owned stores, thus keeping the money exclusively with the company and the local economy.  This increases company profits and thus creates even more jobs.  Plus this had the added benefit of preventing “outside” influences on employees tempted to travel out of town to spend their money supporting potential rivals that might be employing cheap foreign labor.

And since farming was such a big factor of the economy back in the 1850’s, we would do well to emulate the model practiced mainly in the South back then.  Again, folks were well taken care of and didn’t have any economic worries because every possible need was taken care of by benevolent plantation owners.  Free healthcare, plenty of food, guaranteed lifetime employment, and you didn’t have to worry about managing your money or dealing with banks and loans and such because money wasn’t used at all.

Yessiree, today’s GOP and their economic advisers are right – we’d be much better off if we left the hard thinking and decision-making to the wealthy few, and we just focused on working really, really hard at whatever they tell us to do.

Republicans Want Your Vote To Finish The Job

Republicans had an amazing run from 2001 to 2008.  A decade bookended by 9/11 and the start of the Great Recession.  In between, they nearly managed to top even those incredible achievements.  

Where to begin?

The party that took power with the best wishes of an activist conservative court 10 years ago and promptly set about proving Reagan’s Axiom “The government IS the problem” wants to get back behind the steering wheel and take America for another ride.


The dissenters opined: “Counting every legally cast vote cannot constitute irreparable harm… Preventing the recount from being completed will inevitably cast a cloud on the legitimacy of the election.”[10] The four dissenting justices argued that stopping the recount was an “unwise” violation of “three venerable rules of judicial restraint”, namely respecting the opinions of state supreme courts, cautiously exercising jurisdiction when “another branch of the Federal Government” has a large measure of responsibility to resolve the issue, and avoiding making peremptory conclusions on federal constitutional law prior to a full presentation on the issue.

For anyone with a short memory, let me provide a quick refresher:

Which president took a 30 day vacation just before 9/11?


Throughout that summer, we now well know, Tenet, Richard Clarke, and several other officials were running around with their “hair on fire,” warning that al-Qaida was about to unleash a monumental attack. On Aug. 6, Bush was given the now-famous President’s Daily Brief (by one of Tenet’s underlings), warning that this attack might take place “inside the United States.”

Which party spurned a shaken Iranian government offer in 2003 to negotiate peace in the Middle East and halt their nuclear program?


It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table — including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.

Which party bungled the pursuit of bin Laden in Afghanistan in order to pursue phantom WMD in Iraq?


Al-Qaeda fighters were still holding out in the mountains of Tora Bora, however, while an anti-Taliban tribal militia steadily pushed bin Laden back across the difficult terrain, backed by UK Special Forces and withering air strikes by the U.S.

Facing defeat, the al-Qaeda forces agreed to a truce to give them time to surrender their weapons. In retrospect, however, many believe that the truce was a ruse to allow important al-Qaeda figures, including Osama bin Laden, to escape.

On December 12, the fighting flared again, probably initiated by a rear guard buying time for the main force’s escape through the White Mountains into the tribal areas of Pakistan. Again, tribal forces backed by British and U.S. special operations troops and air support pressed ahead against fortified al-Qaeda positions in caves and bunkers scattered throughout the mountainous region.

By December 17, the last cave complex had been taken and their defenders overrun. A search of the area by U.S. and UK forces continued into January, but no sign of bin Laden or the al-Qaeda leadership emerged. It is almost unanimously believed that they had already slipped away into the tribal areas of Pakistan to the south and east.

Which party doubled the national debt from $5.7 trillion to $11.9 trillion in 8 years, primarily through tax cuts for the wealthy and two unfunded wars?


But the government is taking no chances. Buried deep in the hundred pages of bailout legislation is a provision that would raise the statutory ceiling on the national debt to $11.315 trillion. It’ll be the 7th time the debt limit has been raised during this administration. In fact it was just two months ago, on July 30, that President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, which contained a provision raising the debt ceiling to $10.615 trillion.

Which party decided the best way to kill a federal department would be to put an unqualified, incompetent marionette in charge, even if it cost lives and billions of dollars were lost?

And let’s not forget the politicization of the Justice Department (not to mention science).


Not long ago, President Bush asked a federal agency for evidence to support a course of action that many believe he had already chosen to take on a matter of grave national importance that had divided the country. When the government experts didn’t provide the information the president was looking for, the White House sent them back to hunt for more. The agency returned with additional raw and highly qualified information, which the president ran with, announcing his historic decision on national television. Yet the evidence soon turned out to be illusory, and the entire policy was called into question.

And finally, as a parting gift, which party gave us the Great Recession of 2008? (do you really need any more links proving that one?)

If that wasn’t enough, one of the most popular “leaders” of this party is Sarah Palin, an anti-intellectual,  self-promoting narcissist who is considered Presidential timber by the GOP.

Actual GOP officeholders don’t appear to have much more to offer either.  Cut taxes for the wealthy, increase defense spending, and disown the emergency bailout of the economy in late 2008 as “unnecessary” or face defeat to opportunistic crackpots from the Tea Party wing.

So, I really need to hear why we should give Republicans a second chance to finish the job they started in 2000, through incompetence and malfeasance, of destroying America.

Ament and Stapleton Want To Play With Your Money

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In this week’s Denver Business Journal, Ed Sealover interviews both GOP candidates for the Treasurer’s race:  J.J. Ament and Walker Stapleton.

First, the good news:  Both candidates give very good reasons why they believe Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 would be disastrous for Colorado.

But the bad news is that both are unhappy Treasurer Cary Kennedy isn’t churning the state’s $6.5 billion portfolio fast enough, or taking enough risk.  Rather, they say she’s willing to settle for solid returns each year with only a staff of 2 or 3 fund managers.

J.J. Ament has experience working the industry side of the public finance world (Citigroup), so naturally his solution to the portfolio question is to pay private traders and fund managers to churn the ol’ portfolio rather than just let those lazy bureaucrats sit on tidy profits through a “buy and hold” strategy.

Walker Stapleton, of Bush family fame, touts a one-time $20 million payout on a single real estate transaction a couple of years ago as his “track record of success”.

He has a different outlook altogether on how to invest $6.5 billion.  He sees hyperinflation just around the corner, and worries that Kennedy is following the same conservative investment strategies as her Republican predecessors, Mark Hillman and Mike Coffman.

Stapleton’s prescription to keep ahead of hyperinflation (“double digit inflation” in his words) would be to make the portfolio highly liquid so “you can get in and out of investments that you make fairly quickly”.

Not sure what sort of investments he’s contemplating that could insure double-digit returns.  Might I suggest a Ponzi scheme followed by a relaxed retirement in the Caymans?

Note:  There are no links to the article referenced, not because they are on the forbidden list, but because it is in the Premium content section of the DBJ’s website.  But I recommend you pick up a copy of the print edition or subscribe to the online edition for the full story.

What Investment Strategy Should The Treasurer Follow?

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Why Not Andrew?

Monday before the caucuses, a friend sent me an email asking:

What do you think of Bennet v. Romanoff?  Are there good arguments for one versus the other?

The caucuses were over by the time I gave this reply:

I was a Romanoff supporter up ’til a few weeks ago.  Now I’m officially a delegate to the Assembly for Bennet.

 

I was going to vote for Romanoff out of respect, loyalty and true like for the man.  I’ve voted for him 4 times since 2000, met him on many occasions, and have exchanged several emails with him and his staff when he was Speaker over some legislative ideas (he actually passed a bill that was one of the issues we discussed).

I wanted him to be appointed to the Senate position, and blogged about Ritter’s Gift to the Republicans in picking Bennet, who had never held elective office before.

So it was natural that I would support him at the caucuses.  However, a few things changed.  Bennet has really done an amazing job of Senator.  He has positions on several powerful committees, and has the ear of Obama and Senate leaders.  He re-ignited the Public Option, and has introduced legislation to put limits on lobbying, earmarks and limiting filibuster abuse.

He has the financial wherewithal to run a competitive campaign against any GOP candidate — Romanoff’s quixotic stand against taking PAC money (he actually had his own PAC in the State House) makes a nice slogan, but is suicidal.  The tone of his campaign is to paint Bennet as corrupt, but Romanoff’s policy decisions aren’t demonstrably different from Bennet’s.   The final straw was the overall negative tone of Romanoff’s campaign along with his hiring (however briefly) Patrick Caddell, a turncoat Democrat who regularly bashes Democrats as a Fox News consultant.  

Tonight’s vote was purely symbolic, as the actual primary in August determines the winner.  Tonight was mainly for bragging rights, measuring voter passion (turnout will exceed 20,000 — which is very strong for an off year), and to get up and personal with the candidates and delegates for fundraising, volunteers and party recruitment.

The real bottomline is that symbols matter, so I decided that if the caucus results would send a message, for me it would be that we have a powerful, effective Senator in Michael Bennet.

I certainly cannot find any cause to throw a sitting Senator out of office.

The postscript to this exchange:

I went to my very first political function of any kind this evening, and heard the exact same things you said here so eloquently, and left with the same position — delegate for Bennet for April 10th.

It was more interesting than I was expecting, and the people were lovely.  

Did The Caucuses Change Your Vote?

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A New Dark Age

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” — Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s quote explains a lot about the quality (or lack therein) of the political debate over heath care reform, climate change and a myriad of other topics that have had, or will have massive consequences over our future well-being.

The tempest-in-a-teapot over the purloined emails between climatologists is only the latest example of how basic misunderstanding of science and analytical methods turns into a political conspiracy theory by global warming deniers.  In an age when TV and movies can solve the knottiest mysteries in as little as 60 minutes (often through a deus ex machina), the idea that we have to spend decades pouring over hundreds of thousands, and even millions of years of data to understand our climate — much less propose a solution —  is incomprehensible to a significant segment of our population (wait a minute, the Earth is only 6,000 years old, what am I saying?).

The health care debate is even more pernicious.  The most rational solution – universal single-payer system, which would provide better outcomes, maximum coverage at the most cost-effective price, is not even on the table.  So as the Democrats struggle among themselves to find the least-worst politically acceptable alternative, the Republicans try any fact-free argument they can think of to raise fear, uncertainty and doubt among the mis- or uninformed.

The latest example is clearly illustrated by Nobel-Laureate Economist Paul Krugman:


The Republican campaign against health care reform has rested in part on the traditional arguments, arguments that go back to the days when Ronald Reagan was trying to scare Americans into opposing Medicare – denunciations of “socialized medicine,” claims that universal health coverage is the road to tyranny, etc.

But in the closing rounds of the health care fight, the G.O.P. has focused more and more on an effort to demonize cost-control efforts. The Senate bill would impose “draconian cuts” on Medicare, says Senator John McCain, who proposed much deeper cuts just last year as part of his presidential campaign. “If you’re a senior and you’re on Medicare, you better be afraid of this bill,” says Senator Tom Coburn.

Even the AARP doesn’t buy that argument, and fully supports reform passed by the House.

So basically the GOP strategy is if they can’t defeat reform, at least cripple it to the extent that should a bill pass, it has a built-in self-destruct mechanism, thereby allowing the GOP to say “We told you so”, in hopes of restoring themselves to power.  The devastation, in economic and human suffering terms, wrought by unchecked health care costs and runaway deficits are only a minor consideration in their short-term and short-sighted strategies.

During the Vietnam war, there was a strategy called Pacification.  One element was that in order to save a village, sometimes you had to bomb it out of existence.  Apparently a similar line of thinking is being employed by some in the GOP.  It seems these Luddites, by ignoring science and rational thought, are willing to bomb us back, if not to the Stone Age, at least to the Middle Ages, where magic and superstition were the norm.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Reagans relied on an astrologer for advice during their days in the White House.  

In the last decade, the GOP has screwed up nearly everything they’ve touched. With Sarah Palin considered by many in the GOP as a highly qualified candidate for the Presidency, they seem prepared to continue down that path.

Should we give them another chance to finish the job?

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