Sen. Collins and CBO Dim Prospects for Graham-Cassidy

UPDATE: As the Washington Post reports, Graham-Cassidy is pretty well dead:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who had been overseeing a raucous hearing on the proposal, said Monday evening that he would only allow one more round of questions given the bill’s predicament.

“Let’s face it, we’re not getting anywhere,” he remarked.


This cartoon is a few weeks old, but no less relevant.

Senate Republicans have managed to unite virtually the entire healthcare industry in opposition to their latest Obamacare repeal attempt. On Monday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced its initial review of the Graham-Cassidy legislation at about the same time that Maine Sen. Susan Collins voiced her intention to vote no on the bill.

The decision by Sen. Collins is the proverbial nail in this coffin. And as National Public Radio (NPR) reports, the CBO’s new partial analysis of Graham-Cassidy gives Collins and other dissenters good reason to say “NO”:

The proposal the Senate is considering that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will result in millions losing health insurance and a $133 billion reduction in the deficit by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the Graham-Cassidy legislation.

The CBO did not have enough time to estimate specifically how many people’s insurance would be affected as they have done when they have scored previous repeal bills. But, the analysis it released Monday evening says, “the number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions” compared to current law. [Pols emphasis]…

…CBO says it can’t do a complete analysis of the plan in the short window requested by lawmakers. Senate Republicans are looking to vote on the bill this week, before a deadline at the end of September would require they get support from Democrats to be able to pass the legislation.

Earlier proposals to overhaul the health care system failed in part because the CBO analyses showed tens of millions of people were likely to lose insurance coverage because of the proposed changes. The major drivers of those losses, according to the CBO, were the loss of the individual mandate that requires people to buy insurance and the rollback of the expansion of Medicaid that was allowed under Obamacare.

The latest proposal includes both provisions, so some analysts say the results will be the same.

Senate leadership is still trying to figure out what to do with Graham-Cassidy, but Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said this afternoon that he doubted there would even be a floor vote on the legislation.

Journalists Fail to Note that Gardner Contradicted Himself on National TV

(Spelling it out for you – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

On CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, John Dickerson had this exchange U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):

Dickerson: …And there’s a New York Times piece in which you’re quoted as saying, “Donors are furious we haven’t kept our promise.” The picture that emerges from all of this is a rush for political reasons to support this and not substantive reasons. What are your thoughts about that?

Gardner replied with: “Well, this has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors. It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Gardner told Dickerson that “the people who are opponents of the bill want this to be about politics and not policy.”

If you’re a reporter, how could you possibly report Gardner’s answer to Dickerson’s question without noting that Gardner essentially contradicted what the New York Times quoted Gardner as saying?

Yet, multiple outlets made no mention of the New York Times account.

For example The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky reported yesterday:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Sunday the GOP push to get an ObamaCare repeal bill passed has nothing to do with politics.

“This has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors.” Gardner said on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” when asked about whether there was a rush to pass the ObamaCare repeal bill for political and not substantive reasons.

“It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health-care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Locally, Denver Post reporter Jesse Paul at least noted that Gardner “brushed off a question about whether Republicans are just trying” to make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare. But he, too, failed to note that Gardner’s answer, that this has “nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with donors,” contradicted reporting by the New York Times.

I could see a journalist being reluctant to report the New York Times’ account, because it came from an anonymous source, even if the story was from the New York Times.

But Gardner did not dispute the NYT article, when asked directly about it by Dickerson.

And a reporter could always ask Gardner directly if the Times story is accurate–instead of simply omitting the Times’ information and letting Gardner contradict it directly. In fact, that’s still worth doing.

For the record, here’s exactly what the Times reported Friday:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

What you can do to fight back this week (September 25)

This weekend, Cory Gardner blew it.

On Friday, a story in the New York Times revealed the truth about the latest Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is the leader of GOP Senate campaign efforts in 2018, reportedly told fellow Republicans the real reason they must repeal health care reform:

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.” [1]

Then yesterday, Sen. Gardner appeared on Face the Nation and claimed that the latest push to pass the “Graham-Cassidy” repeal bill “has nothing to do with donors.” [2]

One of these statements from Cory Gardner is a lie. And either way, when Gardner tells local reporters he is “undecided” on the latest horrible health reform repeal bill, he’s not telling the truth. Gardner has voted for every version of repeal he has had to chance to vote on. The only thing that everyone can agree with now is that no one can trust Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner can’t get away with this. Priority #1 this week: call Gardner at (202) 224-5941. Tell Gardner that his contradictory statements to local and national media about the Affordable Care Act will not save him, and won’t save Republicans Gardner is charged with re-electing next year. It’s time for Cory Gardner to understand that the people of Colorado are not buying the lies. We know Gardner is not being honest with us. We’re tired of his excuses. And we will hold Gardner and conservatives at every level of government accountable—they don’t get to strip health care from millions of people to appease their donors.

Once that’s done, here are more ways to take action for the week of September 25th:

Cassidy/Graham Field Hearing & Debate Watch Party

This Monday CNN is hosting a town hall debate with Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) challenging Senators Lindsey Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy’s (LA) radical bill that would eliminate Obamacare’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion, replacing them with state-run block grants. Coverage of pre-existing conditions would no longer be guaranteed. Also on Monday the Senate Finance Committee will have hearings on Cassidy/Graham, so we’re holding our own field hearings with public health experts, patients, and physicians before and after the debate. Carbon is generously offering happy hour rates for food and drinks for attendees!

Where: Carbon Cafe & Bar, 1553 Platte Street, Denver
When: Monday, September 25 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Climate Policy: Putting a price on carbon emissions, Fort Lewis

We have two national experts confirmed to make presentations then sit in a panel format to discuss emissions trading and carbon tax policy mechanisms. Yoram Bauman will be our expert to discuss carbon tax. Yoram was one of the architects of the State of Washington’s carbon tax ballot initiative last November, the first state to attempt this. Patrick Cummins, with the Center for a New Energy Economy in Fort Collins will be our emissions trading expert. Patrick is leading the center’s efforts with 11 western states to be in compliance with the Clean Power Plan, an emissions trading program. Do plan to attend this one and watch for an op-ed piece about it in the Herald a few days before this.

Where: Fort Lewis College, Noble Hall Rm 130, Durango
When: Monday, September 25 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Westminster City Council Meeting/Conversion Therapy Proclamation

At this meeting, Westminster City Council will make history as the first city in Colorado to make a proclamation opposing conversion therapy. Please join us in a show of support and appreciation for this proclamation!

Where: City of Westminster, Colorado, 4800 W 92nd Ave, Westminster
When: Monday, September 25 at 7:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Consumer Health Initiative Senator Gardner Walk-in Day

On Tuesday, Sept 26th, we’re calling for people to flood Cory Gardner’s offices around the state (again) to register their objections to the Cassidy-Graham repeal bill in person. Despite McCain coming out against the bill, we cannot assume it is dead until October 1st (when they can no longer use the current reconciliation bill to pass repeal with a simple majority).

Where: Sen. Cory Gardner’s offices across Colorado
When: Tuesday, September 26 all day

Click here to RSVP.

National Voter Registration Day – Denver

Join the Denver Elections Division for National Voter Registration Day at Civic Center EATS Tuesday, September 26 from 11am-2pm. We will be unveiling our new Mobile Voter Service & Polling Center and you will have a chance to vote on its name! We will also be offering full voter registration services.

Where: Denver’s Civic Center Park, Colfax and Bannock, Denver
When: Tuesday, September 26 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Tell Chase: Stop Funding Climate Disaster & Human Rights Abuses!

On Sept. 26, the CEO for JPMorgan Chase – Jamie Dimon – is coming to Denver. Please join us for an action to “Tell Chase: Stop Funding Climate Disaster and Human Rights Abuses!” As you may know, JPMorgan Chase is the top Wall Street bank for funding fossil fuels, including tar sands oil, fracking, and related mega-infrastructure projects. They are part of all the loans and corporate financing for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, Enbridge Line 3, Transcanada’s KXL & Energy East, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and they are financing fracking here in Colorado.

Where: Denver City and County Building, 1437 Bannock St, Denver
When: Tuesday, September 26 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Save Medicaid

Indivisible CO7 invites you to attend an important presentation on Health Care—and Medicaid—for All! Come away with a grasp of the big health care picture. Become equipped with the tools to be a truly effective health care advocate. Julie Reiskin, executive director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, will share her expertise on Medicaid, Medicare and the future of health care for everyone. A longtime activist in the disability community, Julie has extensive experience with the health care systems that enable people with disabilities to literally stay alive. She is also deeply knowledgeable about how to impact state and federal legislative processes that create or destroy better health care in the USA.Medicaid is more than health insurance for the disabled and people in poverty. It is a complex system that can be a strong model for national health care.

Where: Standley Lake Public Library, 8485 Kipling Street, Arvada
When: Tuesday, September 26 at 5:45pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Springs’ Women’s Lobby of Colorado Scorecard Townhall

Please join the Women’s Lobby of Colorado to learn about what we do and our annual scorecard, which includes every state legislator’s votes on legsilation important to women and families. We will be inviting local legislators as well!

Where: The Gallery Below, 718-B North Weber Street, Colorado Springs
When: Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

6AM Vigil on Morning of Graham-Cassidy Vote

Senator Cory Gardner knows the majority of his constituents are against ending Medicaid, tax subsidies, and the protections that so many Coloradans with pre-existing conditions rely on for affordable health coverage. Passing the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would take away billions of health care dollars from Colorado and cause 468,000 more uninsured as a result. On the last ACA repeal attempt, Senator Cory Gardner voted yes on a bill he knew would have similarly devastating effects for Colorado.

Where: 721 19th St, Denver
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 5:30am

Click here to RSVP.

Big Thompson Watershed Coalition Project Tour

Come learn more about how the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition and partners have been working to improve key sections of the Big Thompson River! The Project Tour will include travel on a coach bus to multiple projects along the river in the Big Thompson Watershed. Participants will learn from guest speakers at each stop about key features of each project and how each project helps to improve the river corridor over the long-term. Planned potential stops include: Namaqua Park, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Jasper Lake at Narrows Park, Viestenz-Smith Park, the North Fork at Drake near the River Forks Inn, and the US Forest Service Fishing Pier near Waltonia. The tour will start and end at Namaqua Park in Loveland, CO.

Where: Namaqua Park, 730 N Namaqua Ave, Loveland
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Free DACA Renewal Clinic – Boulder

The Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017. If your DACA expires before March 5, 2018, you MUST apply to renew your DACA within the next thirty days. We cannot emphasize enough how much time is of the essence here. These renewals will be free and completely confidential. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does require that each DACA applicant pay $495 to renew their DACA; if you can bring a check or money order with you for that amount, please do so. If you do NOT have the $495 for the renewal fee, there is a possibility that we will have some funds available to cover the amount, but it is not guaranteed.

Where: University of Colorado Law School, Wolf Law Building, 2450 Kittredge Loop Road, Boulder
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Erie Anadarko Forum: Fight the Frack!

All hands on deck: Concerned citizens, please show up at this meeting to provide Anadarko with some appropriate feedback regarding its imminent plans to frack our community.

Where: Erie Community Center, 450 Powers St, Erie
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Catalyst Series for Social Justice: White Fragility

White people in the U.S. live in a racially insular social environment that builds our expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering our stamina for enduring racial stress. Dr. DiAngelo terms this lack of racial stamina “White Fragility.” White Fragility is a state in which even a minimal challenge to the white position becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves including: argumentation, invalidation, silence, withdrawal and claims of being attacked and misunderstood. These moves function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and maintain white control. This talk will provide an overview of the socialization that inculcates white fragility and the perspectives and skills needed for white people to build their racial stamina and re-imagine more equitable and just cross-racial norms and practices.

Where: Davis Auditorium, Sturm Hall, University of Denver, 2000 E. Asbury, Denver
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

9to5 Colorado Transit Meeting

We are meeting about RTD’s recent cuts to services and the actions we need to take to combat them. We will also be disscussing the next steps to the Income Based Bus Pass Program.

Where: 9to5 Colorado, 1634 Downing St, Unit A, Denver
When: Wednesday, September 27 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP. 

Backpack Full of Cash film screening

Come see this award-winning, un-released film at its Denver premiere! Narrated by Matt Damon, this feature-length documentary explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America’s most vulnerable children. Important for all those that value both public education and democracy, the film will be folllowed by discussion and information on what you can do to keep public education strong and intact.

Where: Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Wendesday, September 27 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Where: Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Dr, Denver
When: Thursday, Sepember 28 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

SURJ Colorado Springs Community Workshop 1: Race Relations

Building community one concept at a time, come to this event and contribute to a unique learning experience in developing a common understanding of hot button issues with diverse community members in the Colorado Springs area! This event is structured to remain civil while exploring heated topics through multiple cultural, economical and social lenses. Starting with a film screening of I’m Not Your Negro this workshop will explore historical issues in the African-American community. Refreshments will be provided, this event will be family friendly.

Where: Pikes Peak Library District, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr, Colorado Springs
When: Thursday, September 28 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Fort Collins Women’s Lobby of Colorado Scorecard Townhall

Women’s Lobby of Colorado is taking our scorecard on the road! We would love to have you join us at this intimate event to discuss the scorecard and our priorities for the next legislative session in Colorado! We will also have special guests Representatives Joann Ginal, Jeni Arndt for Colorado and Senator John Kefalas!

Where: The Mayor of Old Town, 632 S Mason St, Fort Collins
When: Thursday, September 28 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Free DACA Renewal Clinic – Greeley

The Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017. If your DACA expires before March 5, 2018, you MUST apply to renew your DACA within the next thirty days. We cannot emphasize enough how much time is of the essence here. These renewals will be free and completely confidential. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does require that each DACA applicant pay $495 to renew their DACA; if you can bring a check or money order with you for that amount, please do so. If you do NOT have the $495 for the renewal fee, there is a possibility that we will have some funds available to cover the amount, but it is not guaranteed.

Where: University of Northern Colorado, 501 20th St, Greeley
When: Friday, September 29 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Latina Leadership & Art

Join us for a night of art, music and conversation with remarks by internationally renowned artist Betsebee Romero and singer, songwriter and activist Diana Gameros. Latinas LEAD is an initiative of that aims to connect women to leadership pathways and career opportunities.

Where: Latinas Lead, 600 S. Cherry St., Suite 1200, Denver
When: Friday, September 29 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Dolores Post-Screening Q&A’s with Dolores Huerta

The Provocative documentary about Dolores Huerta, one of the most important yet least known activists in the fight for racial, class and gender equality in America. Winner of Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the San Francisco, Seattle and Minneapolis Film Festivals. DOLORES opens on Friday, September 29th. The subject of the documentary, civil rights giant Dolores Huerta, will join us for a post-screening Q&A during the following dates and times: Friday, September 29th at 4:00pm and 7:00pm, Saturday, September 30th at 4:00pm and 7:00pm, Sunday, October 1st at 1:00pm.

Where: Landmark’s Mayan Theatre, 110 Broadway, Denver
When: Friday, September 29 – Sunday, October 1 (times above)

Click here for tickets and more information.

Assembly For Renter’s Rights & Affordable Housing

On Saturday, September 30th, We Organize Westminster (WOW) will hold a public assembly on housing and renter’s rights crisis in the City of Westminster. WOW leaders are calling on local elected officials to publicly support and commit to the community driven solutions as laid out in the “Westminster Housing Platform”; crafted by WOW leaders.

Where: Advent Lutheran Church, 7979 Meade St, Westminster
When: Saturday, September 30 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

March for Black Women Denver – Not Forgotten

On September 30, 2017 Black Women of All Shades, Shapes, and Sizes, will assemble on the West steps of the Colorado State Capitol in all of our glory for a much needed dose of #BlackGirlMagic. Join us as we Honor, Celebrate and Heal Black Women as Black Women! Bring Yourself, Your Daughter, Your Mother, Your Sister, Your Aunt, Your Grandmother, Your Cousin, Your Neice, and Your Friends. The Rally is being held in connection with the March for Black Women being held in DC and throughout the states and will feature Speakers, Live Music, Poets, and a plethora of Healing arts!

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 East Colfax Avenue, Denver
When: Saturday, September 30 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Community Meeting: Environmental Justice in Our Neighborhoods

Invivisble Denver’s October 1 Community Meeting will apply the three prongs of our mission – Activism, Community-Building, and Education – to the issue of how environmental policy affects us right here in Denver. This will be the first in a series of environmentally focused meetings that will continue into 2018 and is brought to you in part by the Sierra Club – Colorado Chapter. Environmental issues affect us right here at home. Let’s get in touch with the issue personally and take action together!

Where: The GrowHaus, 4751 York St, Denver
When: Sunday, October 1 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Thanks again for your tireless work to hold Cory Gardner and the far right accountable for their actions. Each one of these makes a difference, even though it might not always seem that way in the moment. In just a few months, we have completely reversed the momentum of Trump and the conservatives in Washington, D.C., and set the stage to start undoing the damage next year.

Never give up. It’s not in vain. Our progressive values—American values—will prevail.

Get More Smarter on Monday (September 25)

Coloradans are not going to back President Trump over the Denver Broncos. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Arizona Sen. John McCain may have torpedoed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, but the rhetoric out of Washington D.C. suggests that the Senate might still try to force a vote this week. Senate Republicans made some changes to the Graham-Cassidy legislation that is the topic of debate this week, but as the Washington Post reports, it’s probably not enough to get the bill across the finish line:

The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act proposed Monday sending more health-care dollars to the states of key holdouts, hoping to keep their bill viable as it faced a wall of resistance on Capitol Hill.

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) have given Alaska and Maine — two of whose GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), respectively — have expressed concerns but not yet declared how they would vote on the measure.

But there was little evidence Monday that the changes would secure enough votes for the legislation’s passage. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who is one of two GOP senators against the bill, reiterated his opposition to the updated measure, and the other lawmaker, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), has objected to it on the grounds that there has been no bipartisan outreach…

…A vote by Collins or any other senator would be enough to defeat the bill, since no Democrats are expected to support it. Republicans hold a 52-to-48 advantage in the Senate and can lose only two votes from their party and still pass legislation with the help of a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Pence.


► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was quoted by the New York Times on Friday telling his fellow caucus members that Republican “donors are furious” over the GOP’s inability to move healthcare legislation forward; Gardner was a guest on the CBS show “Face the Nation” on Sunday, where he was asked twice to comment about the idea that repealing Obamacare was more about appeasing major donors than anything else. Gardner did as Gardner does by ducking both questions.


► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton finally made his announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018.


► Governor John Hickenlooper responds to Republican legislators who have been voicing their opposition to a “special session” called for next week. In short: We’ll see you on Monday.


► Check out the latest episode of “The Get More Smarter Show,” featuring an in-depth interview with Joe Neguse, Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-2.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Jeffco’s 2016 Trump Campaign Chair also Backs a Coffman Primary Challenge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

Laurel Imer, the 2016 chair of the Trump campaign in Jefferson County, agrees with former Congressman Tom Tancredo that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) should face a primary challenger.

“I’d love to see him replaced, no problem whatsoever,” Imer told me. “I’d love to see someone step in and take it all from him. It would make my heart happy.”

I questioned Imer about Coffman after reading her comment about Coffman beneath my recent post reporting Tancredo’s response to Coffman’s view that Tancredo may run for governor because Tancredo is “bored” and angry.

On Facebook, Imer wrote, “Coffman is an ass!”, and she didn’t back away from the comment this morning.

“Mike Coffman does not support the Colorado Republican Party,” Imer told me. “He does not support the President of the United States, and he is purposefully divisive against everything we stand for, and therefore my comment stands that he is an ass.”

“We’ve had personal confrontations with him, and it’s disgraceful,” she said.

Tancredo threw his support behind removing Coffman from office via a primary challenge during a KNUS 710-AM interview earlier this month, stating on air, “I would encourage people–I have encouraged people, to run against him in a primary, and if he lost, that would be okay with me because I would say, a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat.”


Now You Must Hate The Broncos For Donald Trump

ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 24: Denver Broncos players kneel during the American National Anthem before an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)


President Trump singled out NFL athletes on Friday, telling owners they should “fire” any player who kneels during the national anthem, while encouraging fans to walk out of stadiums.

The NFL players responded with a clear message on Sunday, protesting through a variety of methods before their games. Only 19 Broncos players stood for the anthem before their game against the Buffalo Bills, according to Denver7’s count. Multiple sources told Denver7 those kneeling were responding directly to Trump’s remarks before an audience in Alabama on Friday.

Among those protesting ahead of the game Sunday were star outside linebacker and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, who not only knelt but locked arms with inside linebacker Brandon Marshall.

“It was his choice of words. I felt like he was pointing out a few guys. I felt like it was an attack on the National Football League, talking about ratings and all this other stuff,” Miller said following the Broncos’ 26-16 loss. “This my life. I love everything about the NFL. I try not to get into any politics and social issues and just play ball. But I felt like it was an attack.”

Added Marshall, who took a knee for eight games last season to promote awareness of social injustices, “It’s hard because I am sure a lot of us took it personally. Some of the guys came and talked to me and said they were ready to do it. I think we all took it personally.”

9NEWS highlighted a comment from a fan they considered representative:

Today, the NFL died to me. I have been a loyal, faithful Denver Broncos fan for nearly 50 years! You turning your back on my flag? The flag that affords you the privilege to play the game you love on a field & earn millions of dollars doing it? I’m turning my back on you & just so you know, I can live without the NFL but the NFL cannot live without me & the millions of white fans that fill those stadiums! [Pols emphasis]

For our part, we hope that comment is not representative.

Although some NFL players including the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall have been engaging in this small but highly visible protest action for some time, following the lead of now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it was President Donald Trump’s suggestion that players should be fired for taking a knee during the national anthem that prompted the vastly larger protests seen yesterday. In addition to large numbers of players kneeling and/or locking arms during the national anthem, other teams waited until after the anthem had finished playing to take the field.

For Coloradans, for whom support for the Denver Broncos is as close to a universal cultural obligation as anything can be, this sudden escalation of tensions between NFL players and President Trump is either welcome or deeply off-putting. The players regard this as a chance not just to protest, but to show their huge fan bases that what’s happening is too serious for anyone with any kind of notoriety to remain quiet.

The knee-jerk backlash from affronted partisans is inevitable. But will that be followed by what the players are hoping to inspire–a crisis of conscience among the American public?

Because that’s what really matters, not how it goes over on Fox & Friends.

The Get More Smarter Show: September 23, 2017


Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your hosts Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk Tom Tancredo, who’s up and who’s down in the gubernatorial races on both sides, and break down the hype over the upcoming special session of the Colorado legislature. Then stay tuned for an in-depth interview with Joe Neguse​, a Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-2 with a fascinating life story.

To skip directly to the Neguse interview, jump to 12:05.

Thanks for watching! Catch up on previous Get More Smarter Show episodes here.

Governor To Senate Republicans: Clock Your Sorry Asses In

Senate President Kevin Grantham (R).

9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman reports, Gov. John Hickenlooper has declined the “request” from Senate President Kevin Grantham to call off next week’s special session of the legislature to fix a drafting error in a fiscal stabilization bill pass this year that’s costing special tax districts millions of dollars–in more polite terms than we would:

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) is unwilling to call off the special session of the state legislature he scheduled to begin on October 2, his office tells 9NEWS.

In an interview Thursday for Balance of Power, Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham asked the governor to call off the special session, arguing that Republicans weren’t brought on board.

The special session is aimed at fixing a mistake lawmakers made in a tax bill earlier this year, which accidentally blocked so-called “special districts” like RTD from collecting sales tax on recreational marijuana.

“The governor has circled back with stakeholders who have reiterated the need for a special session,” the governor’s press secretary Jacque Montgomery wrote in a statement. “He certainly appreciates that a special session may be inconvenient for some legislators, [Pols emphasis] but special districts and their residents trying to get to work on a bus or visit a beloved cultural institution should not have to pay for an inadvertent mistake. The right thing to do is come together, fix it quickly, and be done with it.”

The bottom line here is that the governor has the power to order the Colorado General Assembly to convene, but once that happens the General Assembly can do what it wants–including adjourn if that’s what they choose. The Democratic-controlled House will of course take the action requested by the governor, but the obvious question is whether GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham will allow the fix legislation–in all likelihood the same bill introduced by fellow GOP Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg for the 2018 session–through his chamber. In the next few days, we expect affected stakeholders and editorial boards across the state to make it plain to Grantham that this is not an acceptable pretext to “starve the beast.” The argument that fixing this mistake “can wait” until January is not supported by special districts who asked the governor to intervene–and the cost of the special session is a tiny fraction of the revenue those districts would lose in that time.

What will break this logjam? Republicans realizing that the political cost of digging in their heels over a drafting error going into a tough midterm election exceeds any potential benefit. The attack this sets up against Republicans, that they are once again choosing political games over elementary responsibility, could be quite damaging in close Senate races next year.

And have we mentioned recently that Senate Republicans have no margin for error in 2018? Stay tuned.

Monday Open Thread

“Prevarication, like honesty, is reflexive, and soon becomes a sturdy habit, as reliable as truth.”

–Norman Mailer

Cory Gardner Faces The Nation, Straight-Up Lies

This morning, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to discuss the latest version of legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The questions from host John Dickerson zeroed in on a New York Times story published Friday that quotes Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), bluntly telling fellow Republicans that they need to get in line on repealing the ACA in order to appease angry donors:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

…They said Mr. Gardner did not specifically urge approval of the so-called Graham-Cassidy health proposal that Republicans were considering bringing to the Senate floor next week. He was seen as speaking more generally and mainly looking forward to the coming debate over tax cuts…Gardner told his colleagues that a major Colorado contributor who played a role in his own campaign says party donors are reluctant to give any more money until congressional Republicans demonstrate results. [Pols emphasis]

In today’s appearance, Gardner repeatedly denies that this last-minute push to pass legislation repealing Obamacare had anything to do with donor pressure, despite donors being the principal focus of Gardner’s remarks to fellow Senators in the above NYT story. Gardner makes no attempt to explain the quotes attributed to him–he just denies that what they’re doing has anything to do “with donors” and reverts to the same script of anti-Obamacare taking points he has employed for years. Just as important, Gardner tacitly expresses support for the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill over and over, seriously undermining his repeated claims to local reporters last week that he is undecided on the bill.

And at 0:57 into the video above, Gardner makes a critical mistake in his rote talking points:

GARDNER: Half a million people in Colorado lost their health insurance–had their insurance plans cancelled, excuse me, [Pols emphasis] because they were told it wasn’t good enough…

In this statement, Gardner implicitly lets slip the fact that half a million people in Colorado did not “lose their health insurance” under the Affordable Care Act. There was a period of turnover in policies after the ACA took effect, with the overwhelming majority of Coloradans who received alleged “cancellation notices” in fact straightforwardly renewing their policies to updated versions that met the ACA’s required standards. The rate of uninsured in Colorado has dropped to record lows under the ACA, which is totally at odds with the misleading impression Gardner wants to leave by claiming these policies were “cancelled.” But Gardner cannot accurately state that “half a million people in Colorado lost their health insurance,” which he nearly did–and with that his whole case begins to fall apart. We’ve been saying this for years.

The fact that Gardner is plainly supportive of not just Graham-Cassidy in today’s interview, but every attempt to repeal the the Affordable Care Act he has had the chance to vote for, shows that every time he claimed this past week to be undecided when questioned by local reporters he’s been lying. If Graham-Cassidy does make it to a vote by the full Senate, which is less likely after John McCain came out against the bill late last week, the odds of Gardner voting “no” hover somewhere in the neighborhood of 0%–and anything less than a acknowledgement of that by Gardner at this point is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

Not the first, though. Most of what we saw today was not new.

Enter Walker Stapleton

Treasurer Walker Stapleton made his long-awaited (understatement) entry into the GOP gubernatorial primary official this weekend, launching his campaign with a new website and a flattering story from Joey Bunch of the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

In 2011, when Standard and Poors downgraded U.S. credit ratings, county treasurers found themselves no longer able to invest their county’s tax dollars into U.S. bonds, costing counties across Colorado and the nation millions of dollars. Walker immediately recognized the real ramifications that this would have on Colorado communities, and in collaboration with county treasurers across the state, led the passage of bipartisan legislation to allow Colorado counties to continue to invest in U.S. Treasuries. Doing so saved Colorado communities millions of dollars.

Every single year that Walker has been charged with investing Coloradans’ tax dollars, the state has made money and beat investment benchmarks. None of these efforts were lost on Colorado voters, who in 2014 comfortably reelected Walker for a second term as State Treasurer.

His willingness to fight for the financial security of Coloradans has extended far beyond his official capacity as a statewide elected official. In 2013, Walker led the fight to defeat Amendment 66, a proposed billion-dollar tax increase that provided no safeguards for where Coloradans’ hard-earned tax dollars would have been allocated. The measure failed by a nearly two-to-one margin, reflecting what Walker has and continues to believe: at its core, Colorado is a fiscally conservative state with economically responsible voters.

In 2016, an even more fiscally irresponsible measure landed on Colorado ballots: Amendment 69 would have created a single-payer health care system in Colorado at a staggering $25 billion price tag, per year. Walker, understanding such a tax increase would have crushed Colorado families, went to battle for the state’s taxpayers, traveling the state to warn communities of the consequences of such a disastrous proposal. His message resonated with Colorado voters, who rejected Amendment 69 by a more than three-to-one margin.

You think we’re kidding about the aliens, don’t you?

Stapleton’s controversial fundraising strategy over the summer, which basically made a mockery of the rules meant to separate candidates from the “independent” supporting efforts on their behalf, made this weekend’s announcement much less suspenseful. With that said, it’s widely expected that Stapleton will lead the GOP field in the governor’s race, with a nationwide–or worldwide, maybe even including the aliens depending on your particular flavor of Bush family conspiracy theory–backfield of support.

Stapleton’s dark-horse stalking of the gubernatorial race is also a major reason why other candidates have found it difficult to raise funds and buy up the experienced campaign staff needed to win the gubernatorial primary. This has perhaps been hardest on Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, whose candidacy has struggled badly in the vacuum created by Stapleton’s looming bid. The biggest remaining piece of the puzzle in this race is the still-uncertain entry of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who faces an uphill battle in a Republican primary expected to trend rightward on just about every issue. With Stapleton now official in the race, Coffman’s moment to “put up or shut up” has arrived.

The buzz for today? Stapleton and upstart millionaire Victor “Nice Trump” Mitchell. Slugging it out.

No Nibiru, just rural Democrats causing trouble.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So the world didn’t end today (yet). I  bet a 6th grader a chocolate bar that we’d still have class Monday.  His older brother had told him for sure that September 23 was it. Young students are all on Facebook, gobbling up and sharing every bit of fake news and conspiracy theory out there.

The eclipse, the hurricanes, and the earthquakes proved that doomsday was at hand.

This didn’t happen. Nibiru hitting earth, debunked on

My more sciencey students rushed to debunk this: “If there was a planet about to hit the earth, we would have seen it coming! Planets don’t just jump out of their orbits and go wherever they want! NASA says it’s not true. ”

I love that they’re paying attention in science class, and using evidence-based arguments.

But, no Nibiru in sight. Just another day, living the dream in northeast Colorado. Something else surprising is happening, though….Democrats are organizing in Northeast Colorado, and in rural counties all over the state.

At Octoberfest, it was chilly and drizzly. Felt like fall.  The Morgan County Democrats were boothed next to the American Legion, so we had lots of opportunities to chat while we waited for people to stop by.

I quickly found that we could talk about anything as long as I didn’t directly criticize the President. They could criticize him, though, and did. “Needs to take a Speech 101 class,” said a spry old gentleman who later showed off his world-class polka moves. “He’s embarrassing us with all the tweeting,” confided a lifelong Republican.

Democrats were zeroing in on us, too. “You have a booth? Here? How many Democrats are in Morgan County?” Turns out, about 3,000 registered Dems to about 6,000 registered Republicans, with ~4,500 unaffiliated. Dems have kept rather quiet until now, what with that 2:1 disadvantage.

But those days are gone. Dems had big, loud, crowded floats in all of the recent town parades.


Colorado Week in Review: 9/22/17

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.

Colorado Election System Was Targeted by Russian Hackers

President Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 10 at the White House.

Ernest Luning has some breaking news this afternoon on Russian election hacking attempts in Colorado:

Russian hackers tried without success to get into Colorado’s computerized voter system before last year’s election, officials with the Colorado secretary of state’s office said Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security informed Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office in a phone call before noon that Colorado was among states targeted last summer by hackers earlier identified as Russians — contrary to what DHS officials told Williams earlier this year — but stressed that the hackers didn’t get into the state’s electronic voter data system, Gary Zimmerman, chief of staff for the secretary of state’s office, told Colorado Politics.

“They confirmed we are one of the 21 states where intelligence sources — they didn’t tell us what those were — advised they detected scanning activity here in Colorado,” Zimmerman said. “The analogy would be if somebody went to your home and jiggled the windows and the door handles to see if any were unlocked. That’s what scanning is. At the same time, DHS also confirmed there is absolutely no evidence they penetrated our systems or network.”

The DHS official who informed Zimmerman of the attempted breach only found out Colorado was among the targeted states “an hour or so before we did,” Zimmerman said. “Apparently this information was known in September or October of lat year,” he added, although he couldn’t say whether anyone within DHS had that knowledge.

We’ll update this story as necessary; here’s more from NPR on how and why DHS today informed the 21 states about hacking concerns.