You’ll have another 3-day weekend soon. Hopefully. 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.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The question of whether or not Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election is no longer really a question after special prosecutor Robert Mueller announced on Friday the indictment of several Russian nationals for election-related meddling. And as several local news outlets have examined, particularly John Frank of the Denver Post, Colorado was a prime target of Russian efforts aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 election. Make sure you take a moment to read Frank’s entire story for the Post:
It’s difficult to tell how many Colorado users interacted with the Russian accounts or amplified their messages on Twitter. But The Post’s review of the database shows the Russian trolls took interest in the state’s political news, sending hundreds of tweets about Colorado and retweeting local conservative activists when the message dovetailed with their propaganda…
…The Colorado-related tweets — sometimes reshared through the state’s political Twitter hub #copolitics — fit the same pattern in an attempt to manipulate the conversation. The Russian accounts promoted tweets from Colorado that showed good poll numbers for Trump and long lines to attend his campaign rallies in Colorado. One troll helped distribute a fake news story about a Trump supporter being attacked outside a Colorado rally and another circulated messages that appeared to demonize Muslims.
Other times, the Russians retweeted Colorado conservatives who attacked Clinton about the FBI investigation into her emails and suggested she helped rig the party primary to defeat Sanders.
Trump did not defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Colorado, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by many Russian-related interests.
Meanwhile, Mueller’s investigation continues to add new names to the list of people being investigated about potential collusion between Russian interests and the Trump campaign.
► Donald Trump spent President’s Day weekend taking his Twitter habit to new levels of horrible, connecting last week’s tragic school shooting in Florida to the Russiagate conspiracy. Students from Parkland, Florida did not hold back in their responses to the Twitterer-in-Chief:
— Aly Sheehy (@Aly_Sheehy) February 18, 2018
► According to the results of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, a majority of Americans believe that Congress and President Trump are not doing enough to combat gun violence in this country:
While the poll illustrates the differences in the country over how to respond to gun violence, it also highlights the intense frustration with the lack of any policy response coming out of Washington despite a series of horrific shootings in recent years.
In a sign that this pressure may be weighing on President Trump, the White House announced Monday that he is “supportive” of efforts in Congress to improve background checks for gun purchases.
A 77 percent majority says Congress is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings and 62 percent say the same of Trump, according to the poll. At least half feel “strongly” that Congress and the president have not taken adequate action. Majorities across party lines express frustration with Congress, while views of Trump are more divided. More than 8 in 10 Democrats and two-thirds of independents say the president is not doing enough. More than 6 in 10 Republicans say Trump is taking sufficient action to prevent mass shootings, although more than one-quarter of fellow partisans, 28 percent, say he is not.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As Peter Roper writes for the Pueblo Chieftain, you won’t find Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial candidates making any sort of effort at preventing gun violence:
On the Republican side, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton has insisted he would repeal the three gun-control laws passed in 2013 by Democrats in the Legislature. They included expanding background checks to private gun sales and banning assault rifle magazines larger than 15 rounds.
“Absolutely I would sign it,” Stapleton assured a Denver newspaper when asked about repealing the 2013 gun laws.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, also a Republican candidate for Governor, supports efforts to broaden gun-owner rights. Businessman Victor Mitchell wants to let teachers carry guns in schools; Mitt Romney’s Nephew would repeal Colorado’s 15-round magazine limit; and Steve Barlock says his positions are “100 percent” in line with the National Rifle Association.
► The oil and gas industry in Colorado takes care of local officials who hold the door for them at every opportunity:
After years spent serving oil & gas interests as director of the COGCC, Matt Lepore heads through the revolving door for his reward: a job at a consultancy founded by a former COGA president https://t.co/J58kVif50t #copolitics
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) February 20, 2018
► The oil and gas industry and its friends love to blame “government regulations” for their problems, but as the Associated Press notes…it’s the economy, stupid:
Oil production continues to increase in Colorado as energy companies respond to a recent rebound in crude prices, according to U.S. government data.
The Energy Information Administration says drillers in the Niobrara region that includes much of northern Colorado will produce 580,000 barrels daily in March. That’s a 6 percent increase over February’s expected production.
Oil prices have risen sharply since last summer’s low of $43 a barrel, to over $60 a barrel in recent weeks.
► Hate groups love them some Cory Gardner, and Evangelical leaders love them some of this love.
► Andrew Ross Sorkin writes for the New York Times on a potential avenue that America’s banking and financial industry could take in addressing gun violence in this country:
What if the finance industry — credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express; credit card processors like First Data; and banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were to effectively set new rules for the sales of guns in America?
Collectively, they have more leverage over the gun industry than any lawmaker. And it wouldn’t be hard for them to take a stand.
PayPal, Square, Stripe and Apple Pay announced years ago that they would not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms.
► White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will take questions from the media today for the first time in a week.
► Chris Cillizza of CNN explains why a new set of Congressional district maps in Pennsylvania is a YUGE DEAL for Democrats:
► Disabled Americans are fighting back against Congressional efforts to make it easier for businesses to ignore accessibility requirements.
► This sobering statistic on oil and gas spills in Colorado comes via Fox 31: There are an average of 12 oil and gas spills in Colorado every week.
► Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch of Colorado appears to be the key vote on a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for labor unions; Gorsuch will decide on limiting a labor union’s ability to collect “fair share fees” in a ruling that could come next week.
► Democrat Cary Kennedy nabbed the endorsement of United Steelworkers District 12 in her bid for Governor of Colorado.
► Democrat Noel Ginsburg says that he will seek a spot on the Democratic Primary ballot for Governor through both the petition route and the caucus/assembly process.
► State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) wants to have armed guards patrolling the halls of every public school in Colorado. There is scant evidence that this approach would prevent mass shootings; there was an armed guard on duty in Parkland, Florida last week who never encountered the gunman that slaughtered 17 people.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► A state Senator from Idaho is mad that people drove hundreds of miles just to speak with him about birth control. Grrr…stupid people wanting to have input in their government.
► President Trump is endorsing Republican Mitt Romney for Senate in Utah. That’s gotta sting.
► Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is (at last) questioning why the Centers for Disease Control is essentially forbidden from conducting research on gun violence.