February 23, 2019

Archives for 2018

We’re Moving!

CBA, DBA, and CBA-CLE are moving to 1290 Broadway! During the next few days, the CBA and CBA-CLE websites and phones will be down as we move our servers to the new location. We expect them to be restored by Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Until then, we thank you for your patience in this exciting time.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/27/2018

On Thursday, December 27, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and one unpublished opinion.

Dartez v. Goheen

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Social Contract

“Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chains.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract & Discourses

What do Fortnite, New Year’s Day, and the USA have in common?

They all exist because we believe they do.

Political theorists call this kind of communal belief a “social contract.” According to Rousseau, that’s the mechanism by which we trade individual liberty for community restraint. Similarly, Thomas Hobbes said this in Leviathan:

As long as men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in the condition known as war, and it is a war of every man against every man.

When a man thinks that peace and self-defense require it, he should be willing (when others are too) to lay down his right to everything, and should be contented with as much liberty against other men as he would allow against himself.”

In Fortnite terms, life is a battle royale: everybody against everybody else, with only one left standing. As Hobbes famously said, that makes life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” As a recent version put it, “For roughly 99% of the world’s history, 99% of humanity was poor, hungry, dirty, afraid, stupid, sick, and ugly.”[1] A social contract suggests we can do better.

Can we really create something out of nothing, by mere belief? Yes, of course — we do it all the time. My daughter can’t figure out why New Year’s Day is a holiday. “It’s just a day!” she says, unmoved by my explanation that it’s a holiday because everyone thinks it is. Same with Fortnite — as 125 million enthusiasts know, it’s not just an online game, it’s a worldwide reality. And same with the United States — the Colonies’ deal with England grew long on chains and short on freedom until the Founders declared a new sovereign nation into existence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The new nation was conceived in liberty, but there would be limits. Once the Revolutionary War settled the issue of sovereign independence[2], the Founders articulated a new freedom/chains balance:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That social contract + 250 years of history = the USA. We are a nation borne of imagination and belief, continually redefined and updated since its founding through interpretations and amendments to the terms of our social contract.

Our economic system works the same way. Adam Smith’s capitalism survived the trip to the new world, produced astonishing quality of life improvements in the 19th and 20th Centuries, and then was recast into the neoliberal framework that powered the world’s recovery from WWII. That version of our economic social contract thrived for three decades, but began to falter in the face of several unforeseen developments:

  • the democratization of knowledge in the information age;
  • accelerated automation, mass production, and eventually robotics;
  • software that at first only did what it was told but later morphed into machine intelligence; and
  • globalization, which shrank the world, homogenized culture, opened international trade, and recast national borders.

Neoliberalism couldn’t keep up with these developments. Tensions grew until the year 2016 became a worldwide referendum on the social contracts of democracy and neoliberalism. New social contracts would have required a new freedom/chains balance. 2016’s response was, “Not on my watch.”

That’s the context into which universal basic income would now be introduced. For that to happen, the American Dream of independence and upward mobility fueled by working for a living must give way to a belief that basic sustenance — job or no job — is a human right so fundamental that it’s one of those “self-evident” truths. As we’ve seen, that radical belief is slowly changing the North Carolina Cherokee Reservation’s culture of poverty, and has caught the fancy of a growing list of techno-plutocrats. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.” Law professor James Kwak makes the same point[3]:

We have the physical, financial, and human capital necessary for everyone in our country to enjoy a comfortable standard of living, and within a few generations the same should be true of the entire planet, And yet our social organization remains the same as it was in the Great Depression: some people work very hard and make more money than they will ever need, while many others are unable to find work and live in poverty.

Millions if not billions of people today hunger to live in a world that is more fair, more forgiving, and more humane than the one they were born into. Creating a new vision of society worthy of that collective yearning … is the first step toward building a better future for our children.”

To be continued.


[1] Rutger Bregman, Utopia for Realists (2016).

[2] In Hobbes’ terms, social contracts end the battle royale. Ironically, they often also create war as ideals of one contract conflict with another’s.

[3] James Kwak, Economism (2017).

Kevin Rhodes studies and writes about economics in an effort to understand the world his kids are growing up in, which is also the world he’s growing old in. You might enjoy his latest LinkedIn Pulse article “The Fame Monster: Rockstars And Rockstar Entrepreneurs.”

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 12/27/2018

On Thursday, December 27, 2018, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued five published opinions and 33 unpublished opinions.

People v. Jaeb

People v. Garcia

People v. Vargas-Reyes

Trujillo v. Regional Transportation District

In re Estate of Rabin

Summaries of these cases are forthcoming.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/26/2018

On Wednesday, December 26, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued three published opinions and seven unpublished opinions.

Bilder v. Mathers

United States v. Nanez-Rivera

United States v. White

United States v. Vasquez-Torrez

Ziankovich v. Large

Faircloth v. Hickenlooper

United States v. Hancock

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Happy Holidays from CBA-CLE

The CBA, DBA, and CBA-CLE offices will be closed Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25 in honor of the holidays. You can still order books, register for classes, and order homestudies online at http://cle.cobar.org.

Come visit our new location in the new year! The CBA, DBA, and CBA-CLE offices will be moving to 1290 Broadway.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season!

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/20/2018

On Thursday, December 20, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and one unpublished opinion.

United States v. Couch

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Silicon Valley: Problem or Solution?

 There is no more neutrality in the world.
You either have to be part of the solution,
or you’re going to be part of the problem.
Eldridge Cleaver

The high tech high rollers build the robots, code the algorithms, and wire up the machine intelligence that threaten jobs. If they’re the problem, what’s their the solution?

Elon Musk: Universal basic income is “going to be necessary” because “there will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.”

Richard Branson: “A lot of exciting new innovations are going to be created, which will generate a lot of opportunities and a lot of wealth, but there is a real danger it could also reduce the amount of jobs. Basic income is going to be all the more important. If a lot more wealth is created by AI, the least that the country should be able to do is that a lot of that wealth that is created by AI goes back into making sure that everybody has a safety net.”

Mark Zuckerberg: “The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”

Sam Altman: “Eliminating poverty is such a moral imperative and something that I believe in so strongly. There’s so much research about how bad poverty is. There’s so much research about the emotional and physical toll that it takes on people.” (Altman’s company Y Combinator is conducting its own UBI experiment in Oakland.)

Ideas like this get labelled “progressive,” meaning “ahead of their time,” which in turn means “over my dead body.” We saw a few posts back that Pres. Johnson’s visionary Triple Revolution Report and National Commission on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress ended up in the dustbin of history. Another technology/jobs initiative had already landed there two decades earlier:

In 1949, at the request of the New York Times, Norbert Wiener, an internationally renowned mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote an article describing his vision for future computers and automation. Wiener had been a child prodigy who entered college at age eleven and completed his PhD when he was seventeen; he went on to establish the field of cybernetics and made substantial contributions in applied mathematics and to the foundations of computer science, robotics, and computer-controlled automation.

In his article — written just three years after the first true general purpose electronic computer was built at the University of Pennsylvania — Wiener argued that ‘if we can do anything in a clear and intelligible way, we can do it by machine’ and warned that this could ultimately lead to ‘an industrial revolution of unmitigated cruelty’ powered by machines capable of ‘reducing the economic value of the routine factory employee to a point at which he is not worth hiring at any price.’

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford

Wiener’s article was never published, and was only recently (in 2012) discovered in MIT’s archives. Outspoken technology commentator Douglas Rushkoff hopes UBI meets a similar end. In a recent Medium piece, he called UBI “Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam.”[1] His main critique? UBI doesn’t go far enough:

They will basically tell you that a Universal Basic Income is a great idea and more effective than any other method of combating technological unemployment, the death of the Middle Class and the automation of the future of work.

They don’t propose a solution to wealth inequality, they only show a way to prevent all out mass social unrest and chaos, something that would inconvenience the state and elite.

The bottom 60% of the economy, well what do you suppose is in store for us with the rise of robots, machine learning and automation . . . ?

California might get a lot of sunshine and easy access to VC, but they aren’t blessed with a lot of common sense. They don’t know the pain of rural America, much less the underclass or warped narrative primed by Facebook algorithms or the new media that’s dehumanized by advertising agents and propaganda hackers.

What if receiving a basic income is actually humiliating and is our money for opioids and alcohol, and not for hope that we can again join a labor force that’s decreasing while robots and AI do the jobs we once did?

The problem lies in the fact that there won’t be a whole lot of “new jobs” for the blue and white collar workers to adapt to once they sink and become part of the permanent unemployed via technological unemployment.

With housing rising in major urban centers, more folk living paycheck-to-paycheck, rising debt to income ratios and less discretionary spending, combined with many other factors, the idea of a UBI (about the same as a meagre pension) saving us, sounds pretty insulting and absurd to a lot of people.

Since when did capitalism care about the down trodden and the poor? If we are to believe that automation and robots really will steal our jobs in unprecedented numbers, we should call Basic Income for what it is, a way to curtail social unrest and a post-work ‘peasant uprising.’

Getting [UBI] just for being alive isn’t a privilege, it’s a death sentence. We are already seeing the toll of the death of the middle class on the opioid epidemic, on the rise of suicide, alcoholism and early death all due to in part of the stress of a declining quality of life since the great recession of 2008.”

If UBI doesn’t go far enough, then what does? Mark Zuckerberg used the phrase “new social contract” in his quote above. More on that coming up.


[1] UBI advocacy group BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network) reported Rushkoff’s opinions in a recent newsletter, and described his alternative: Universal Basic Assets.

Kevin Rhodes studies and writes about economics in an effort to understand the world his kids are growing up in, which is also the world he’s growing old in. You might enjoy his latest LinkedIn Pulse article “The Fame Monster: Rockstars And Rockstar Entrepreneurs.”

Colorado Court of Appeals: Announcement Sheet, 12/20/2018

On Thursday, December 20, 2018, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and 38 unpublished opinions.

Neither State Judicial nor the Colorado Bar Association provides case summaries for unpublished appellate opinions. The case announcement sheet is available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/19/2018

On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and four unpublished opinions.

United States v. 109 Derr Ave., Laramie County

United States v. Rhea

Gaines v. Dowling

United States v. Ramirez-Alvarez

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

CBA has Launched a New Online Attorney Directory

COBAR has updated its online attorney directory, formerly known as Find A Lawyer, to LicensedLawyer with upgraded search technology to further enhance the ability to connect members with prospective clients.

Similar to Find A Lawyer, which consistently ranked as one of the most visited sections of the COBAR website, Licensed Lawyer allows prospective clients to search for and connect with local attorneys, but the new site has more robust search technology, added categories and criteria, the ability to link social profiles, and is mobile friendly.

When users select the Guided Search feature, Licensed Lawyer prompts them with specific questions related to their legal needs, and enhanced search criteria, such as payment options and firm size. This ability for the user to get specific with their legal needs will better match them to attorneys who can best serve them, reducing mismatched connections and wasted effort for both users who are seeking representation and attorneys who have to field calls that aren’t relevant to their practice. Users can contact attorneys directly from their profile by sending an email, following a link to the practice’s website or calling them directly.  

Attorneys will also be able to easily get an Activity Report on their profile dashboard from the past 30 days to see how many times their name comes up in full, geographical and practices searches, as well as how many times their profile has been viewed. 

All attorneys’ Find A Lawyer profile were migrated to the new Licensed Lawyer website, but all members are asked to update their profiles for the best results. Updating bio and contact information, adding practice categories, and completing new fields will improve attorneys’ compatibility and visibility on executed searches. 

Licensed Lawyer is available to all Colorado and Denver Bar Association members as part of their member benefits.

1.        Go to the CBA website and click on LICENSED LAWYER on the left-hand side in the blue bar

2.       Log in with your CBA username and password

3.       Click UPDATE PROFILE WIZARD

Contact membership@cobar.org with any questions!

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/18/2018

On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued five published opinions and six unpublished opinions.

Buhendwa v. RTD

Greene v. United States Postal Service

Gravley v. Hunter

Camick v. Holladay

Hawg Tools v. Newsco International Energy

United States v. Yazzie

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.