The sun will come out…tomorrow…and Sunday…but not Monday. 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…
► So long, Steve Bannon. President Trump’s Chief Strategist is out of a job.
Earlier this week, Bannon told American Prospect magazine that he thought the recent news focus on white supremacists would actually be politically beneficial to Trump and Republicans.
► Lawmakers are growing concerned that President Trump might deliberately refuse to spend money allocated by Congress for federal budgets. As Politico reports:
Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.
The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freezecongressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump…
…Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending.
The goal is to fend off cuts that they fear could damage foreign aid programs, hobble U.S. diplomacy and ultimately weaken America’s national security.
So, about that separate “branches of government” thing…
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► For those young, aspiring politicos out there, please know that this next story is the exception, and not the rule — but it’s still a pretty entertaining tale. Politico reports on the agonizingly-detailed 8-page memo that guides young staffers on how to properly chauffeur a Congressman from Indiana who is running for U.S. Senate:
Empty his trash. Always have hand sanitizer and gum at the ready. And don’t bother with “unnecessary conversation” — the congressman doesn’t have time for your chitchat…
…Who knew it could take eight pages of instructions on how to properly escort a member of Congress around his district? Yet there it is, laid out in mind-blowing detail, in a memo obtained by POLITICO that’s sure to make any young, eager-beaver political aide shudder.
Tasks listed in the document, entitled “Instructions on Staffing and Driving — District Version,” include handing Rep. Todd Rokita a cup of black coffee upon picking him up at his home, acting as a physical barrier between him and trackers looking to capture embarrassing footage of the congressman, and “avoid[ing] sudden acceleration or braking” while driving.
“The goal is to provide as smooth a ride as possible,” reads the instruction manual, co-authored by a former chief of staff to the congressman and Tim Edson, Rokita’s ex-communications director-turned-campaign spokesman.
► Hitting the road this weekend to catch a better view of Monday’s solar eclipse? Make sure to check out this road trip playlist from AAA Colorado.
► The 2018 Primary ballot is getting longer by the week. The newest name to enter the fray for one of the top elected offices in Colorado is Amber McReynolds, the director of elections for the Denver County Clerk and Recorders Office who is apparently close to declaring a bid for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) just can’t catch a break.
► Vice President Mike Pence compared Donald Trump to former President Teddy Roosevelt during a speech in Panama on Thursday. No, seriously.
► Democrat Jason Crow appears to have all the momentum in a three-way Primary in CD-6 for the right to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).
► Two major news magazines, The Economist and TIME magazine, have gone public with cover images of their next issues. Disheartening is a good word to describe both:
► President Trump is now more isolated than ever before, which is not good.
► The Denver Post takes a look at Colorado’s complicated history with controversial monuments:
Colorado has a long, well-documented history of violence rooted in racism. The Ku Klux Klan was active in the state, having many powerful members in government and protesting the Martin Luther King Jr. parades in the 1990s. The state has at least six monuments to Confederates, most in cemeteries. And many of the state’s forefathers are people American Indian Movement activist Glenn Morris would describe as “Indian killers.”
Colorado sent 4,903 soldiers to fight for the Union during the Civil War. The soldiers are commemorated with a prominent statue, west of the Capitol building, that depicts a dismounted soldier holding a gun. It does not depict Col. John Chivington, as some believe, including those who recently signed a Change.Org petition calling for the statue to be removed.
The memorial includes the Colorado Volunteers’ 22 battles and the names of the 279 who died. But only 18 of those battles were against Confederates. The last four were against American Indians. And the last battle, listed on the bottom-right corner of the memorial, wasn’t a battle at all, but rather the Sand Creek Massacre led by Chivington.
In other words, we’ve got some statues that need removing.
► Count Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers among the many Coloradans who are glad that Cheyenne Mountain Resort decided not to allow a white supremacist conference on its grounds next year. From the Colorado Springs Independent:
A day after the Cheyenne Mountain Resort announced it wouldn’t host a white identity group’s conference next April, Mayor John Suthers expressed thanks to see the matter resolved.
In an interview with the Independent today, Suthers said, “I felt very good about how the situation resolved. I think the city took the role it can properly assume. I was clear [that] the city can’t tell private entities who they can contract with. Anybody has the right to express the opinions they have in the city of Colorado Springs. But I would appreciate if organizations in Colorado Springs do a little bit of due diligence before they contract with groups, if it’s the type of folks that could generate controversy and [could] be bad for their business and the community’s business.”
He added that he felt “fairly confident” that the resort didn’t know the nature of VDARE when it accepted the booking.
► The Trump administration has ended a six-year ban on the sale of bottled water at national parks, a rule that had been implemented to cut down on the amount of plastic pollution in our parks. As the Denver Post reports, there’s a Colorado connection to this story:
The decision came three weeks after the Senate confirmation of Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist with the law firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, which has represented one of the largest water bottlers in the United States, Nestlé Waters. Nestlé distributes the Deer Park brand.
Some Democratic senators called Bernhardt a “walking conflict of interest” during his confirmation hearing because of his work on behalf of corporate interests opposed to Interior regulations to protect clean air and water.
► The League of Conservation Voters is spending big money on a campaign to convince Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to abandon discussions about re-classifying National Monuments.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► The mother of the woman killed last weekend in Charlottesville says she has no interest in speaking with President Trump.
► Who ya got? Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch?