Trump: Such a Damn Hypocrite It’s Just Frigging Ridiculous

President Donald Trump.

CNN reports, it’s just insane:

Breaking his public silence about four American soldiers killed during an ambush in Niger, President Donald Trump said Monday he’d penned personal letters to their families and planned to phone them later this week.

He also claimed, without merit, that his predecessors hadn’t written or called the families of slain American troops during their tenures, though the tradition of presidents reaching out after US servicemen are killed in action is long-established.

Trump said he’d written the letters over the weekend, and suggested they’d be mailed early this week. He was speaking 12 days after the ambush — the deadliest combat incident since he took office.

Folks, can you imagine the outcry if President Barack Obama had waited 12 days to comment on four Americans who died at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi? This isn’t the first case of eye-popping hypocrisy from the Trump administration–the recently-disclosed use of a private email server by numerous White House staff after Trump blew his opponents’ private email server out of all earthly proportion.

But these are four dead Americans. And it took Donald Trump 12 days even to acknowledge they had died.

How can anyone excuse this?

Gardner Gets All Fire and Brimstone on Chuck Schumer

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As the Charleston Post and Courier reports, Colorado’s Sen. Cory Gardner got into televangelist character at a fundraising dinner for South Carolina Republicans, waxing bombastic in front of the friendly crowd:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, the evening’s headliner, waxed poetic about his conversion to conservatism at a young age and railed against what he argued is increasing extremism from his Democratic colleagues.

“Our rights come from God, not from Chuck Schumer,” Gardner said, referring to the Senate minority leader from New York. [Pols emphasis]

It took us a minute to put this one together, since we’d say it’s pretty obvious that our rights as Americans do not descend to us from the current Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate. On the other hand, invoking the Almighty against some guy from New York City who…wait, that’s right, isn’t a Christian at allSurefire winner in the Palmetto State.

As it turns out, Cory Gardner can blow a dog whistle as well as anybody.

Q3 Fundraising Reports Available Today

Fundraising reports for the third quarter of 2017 are due to be filed today (both state and federal races). There are still a few candidates in big races, such as GOP gubernatorial hopeful Walker Stapleton, who won’t have much to report because they only recently became formal candidates, but otherwise Q3 numbers provide our best look thus far at how things are shaping up for 2018.

We’ll update this post regularly with reports from key races as they become available…

GOVERNOR

♦ Democrat Donna Lynne reports raising $384,335 in Q3, despite waiting until Aug. 1 to formally begin fundraising for her campaign. Lynne’s campaign has $321,558 cash-on-hand.

♦ Republican Victor Mitchell raised $9,388 in Q3 and now has $2,318,630 cash-on-hand. Mitchell wrote his campaign a $3 million personal check and has publicly stated that he is not actively raising money at this point in the race.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

♦ Incumbent Republican Cynthia Coffman reports $10,600 in contributions for a COH amount of $42,070. Coffman is still considered a potential candidate for Governor in 2018.

 

CONGRESS

CD-2 (Boulder-ish)
♦ 
Democrat Joe Neguse reports raising $165,437 in Q3, with $174,086 cash-on-hand. Neguse has raised $243,032 since announcing his candidacy in mid-June.

 

CD-6 (Aurora)
♦ 
Democrat Jason Crow reports raising $220,556 in Q3, with $393,332 cash-on-hand. Crow has raised a total of $521,037 for his 2018 campaign.

Moving Colorado Laterally

Noel Ginsburg is a Democratic candidate for Governor in 2018. On Sunday, Ginsburg held a “rally” at the State Capitol to decry what he calls “false” promises from his fellow Democratic opponents seeking the top job in the state:

On some level we can understand what Ginsburg is getting at here. Politicians of all stripes do make lofty promises on a variety of issues, and sometimes these promises are practically unworkable [cough, repealing Obamacare, cough].

However…running for office (successfully, anyway) is about inspiring people to think of an idealized version of their world. Leaders are supposed to, well, to lead.

Creating a better future is a premise that works on all levels of politics; it’s the same reason why kids who run for student council promise to fill the drinking fountains with Hawaiian Punch. Leaders should have lofty ambitions. Otherwise, why follow?

But if Noel Ginsburg is intent on driving toward modest standards, we thought we should help him out. Pick your favorite slogan from the list below, or offer one of your own in the comments section.

Which slogan should Democrat Noel Ginsburg adopt for his gubernatorial campaign?
Moving Colorado Laterally
Noel for Governor: Let\'s Not Get Too Excited
Ginsburg for Colorado...Or, Whatever
Incrementalism You Can Believe In!
Ginsburg for Colorado, Please
Not Much Change for You to Believe In
Keeping the Bar About Where it is Already
¯\\_(?)_//¯ 
Frontier Fairness
Noel: Because Somebody Has to be Governor
Other
View Result

At Least She’s Not Your Alien-Abducted House Candidate

Out-of-state special interests.

McClatchy DC reports on a Republican congressional candidate in Florida who’s been there, done that:

Florida has a U.S. senator who once flew aboard the Space Shuttle.

A congressional candidate from Miami can go one better: Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera says she’s been aboard a spaceship too. But this one was crewed by aliens. As in extraterrestrials.

Three blond, big-bodied beings — two females, one male — visited her when she was 7 years old and have communicated telepathically with her several times in her life, she says…

The Miami Herald asked Rodriguez Aguilera about her experiences Friday. She responded with a statement that waxed astronomical, but sadly failed to mention close encounters of any kind.

“For years people, including Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter and astronauts have publicly claimed to have seen unidentified flying objects and scientists like Stephen Hawking and institutions like the Vatican have stated that there are billions of galaxies in the universe and we are probably not alone,” she said. “I personally am a Christian and have a strong belief in God, I join the majority of Americans who believe that there must be intelligent life in the billions of planets and galaxies in the universe.”

Yes, there is a large percentage of Americans, even a majority, who believes in the scientific possibility of extraterrestrial life. That includes many of the world’s foremost scientists, and has only increased in recent years with the discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets orbiting distant stars. So there’s that.

But if you have personal experience with traveling to the mother ship, it’s more than “belief” for you! Even if it might complicate your run for Congress, you’re kind of obliged to lead with this in your bio. Because once the press finds out you’ve been to the mother ship, what the hell else would they want to talk to you about? It’s a bit, well, distracting.

Just watch. Now that we’ve made fun of her, the aliens will actually show up.

No really, that would teach us a lesson.

Weekend Open Thread

“Sometimes when you stand face to face with someone, you cannot see his face.”

–Mikhail Gorbachev

Colorado Christian U To GOP: Hands Off Weed Money!

Weed biz.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette follows up on one of the week’s more curious local political stories, a fundraiser for the GOP’s Senate Majority Fund 527 attended by members of the budding (pun) marijuana industry–an interesting change-up for a party that includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, far and away the biggest threat to legalized marijuana in its short history.

As as suspected in our previous mention of this, Colorado Christian University, which fancies itself as the leading moral arbiter of the Christian conservative ecosphere in our state, is not happy with Republicans consorting with reefers! Though they claim the Senate GOP’s fundraiser is not the reason they’re sounding off:

In a stern letter to state lawmakers, the president of Colorado Christian University and the director of the school’s conservative think tank on Thursday called on legislators to refuse campaign donations from the marijuana industry, saying the legalized drug “has devastated Colorado by nearly every metric.”

“It has come to our attention that state legislators are accepting campaign donations from the marijuana industry. As educators and researchers, we hope this is not the case. Marijuana has devastated Colorado by nearly every metric and we are particularly concerned about marijuana’s health impact on youth,” CCU President Dr. Donald Sweeting and Centennial Institute director Jeff Hunt wrote.

“Colorado Christian University asks that you audit your donations for any money given by the marijuana industry and donate those funds to marijuana youth prevention and recovery organizations. We are happy to meet with you to discuss marijuana’s devastating impacts on Colorado. We look forward to your leadership on this issue and your work to make Colorado a better state for its citizens and especially its young people,” they concluded.

GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham’s sock-in-mouth response:

“More power to them,” Grantham said. “I think they will continue to be a good friend to us while continuing to lead that charge against some of the more destructive qualities of marijuana in Colorado. But as far as the other aspects of this, the donations, etc., that will be up to individual members what they want to do.”

As you can see, the question is not morally ambiguous to Jeff Hunt of CCU’s Centennial Institute like it appears to be with Senate President Grantham. For Hunt, taking money from the marijuana industry is little different from taking money from an organized crime cartel. But could you imagine Grantham saying it’s “up to individual members” whether they want to take money from Al Capone?

And before you flame us, yes, we know the legal marijuana industry has nothing whatsoever in common with organized crime. That’s the point of legalization. We’re just trying to illustrate how passionate the opponents of marijuana legalization are, viewing it as an historic and devastating rollback of almost a century of illegal drug prohibition in this country. Marijuana industry cash is much more of a political problem for Republicans than Democrats–for whom legal marijuana carries little to no moral stigma among their base. Legality of marijuana under state but not federal law supplies all the pretext necessary for opponents to rage against marijuana with the same zeal they had before it was legalized. Legal in Colorado or not, it’s still “a sin.”

With all of this in mind, might the Senate Majority Fund think twice about spending that freshly-raised marijuana cabbage? And if they don’t…will they answer to a higher authority?

Get More Smarter on Friday (October 13)

Today is the second, and final, Friday the 13th of 2017. 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…

President Trump is destroying healthcare in America. Trump signed an Executive Order on Thursday that encourages the creation of cheap and largely worthless health insurance plans for healthier Americans — the result of which will likely drive up costs significantly for everyone else.

As the Denver Post reports, Colorado’s top insurance regulator is concerned about what comes next:

Colorado’s top insurance regulator responded on Thursday to President Donald Trump’s health care executive order with concern, saying the policies endorsed could lead to flimsier coverage in the state and much higher costs for the sick.

“The limited benefits, the focus on the healthy at the expense of those with pre-existing conditions, and lack of regulatory oversight will cause problems for the health insurance market as a whole,” said Marguerite Salazar, the state’s insurance commissioner…

…In her statement, Salazar said expanding the use of these plans — and loosening the requirements around them — could pull healthy people into skimpier plans, while heaping unbearable costs on the sick.

“Premiums may end up being lower for people buying these plans, but for many, paying for services not covered by the plans will be much more costly in the long run,” she said.

 

► Thursday’s Executive Order was just the first blow in a one-two combination thrown by Trump to bury the Affordable Care Act. As Politico reports:

President Donald Trump plans to cut off subsidy payments to insurers selling Obamacare coverage in his most aggressive move yet to undermine his predecessor’s health care law.

The subsidies, which are worth an estimated $7 billion this year and are paid out in monthly installments, may stop almost immediately since Congress hasn’t appropriated funding for the program.

The decision — which leaked out only hours after Trump signed an executive order calling for new regulations to encourage cheap, loosely regulated health plans — delivered a double whammy to Obamacare after months of failed GOP efforts to repeal the law. With open enrollment for the 2018 plan year set to launch in two weeks, the moves seem aimed at dismantling the law through executive actions.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the decision in a statement emailed to reporters Thursday night.

How is Trump able to just cancel these subsidies? You can draw a straight line between this pending E.O. and legislation passed by Congress in 2014 with the support of Republicans Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Vox.com has more on how and why Trump’s actions on Obamacare create a lose-lose situation for Americans.

 

► President Trump’s decision to use Executive Orders to cripple the Affordable Care Act puts the results — which aren’t likely to be good — squarely on his shoulders. As the Washington Post explains:

This is not “letting” Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces.

The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.

As Barack Obama learned after the Great Recession, with heavy Democratic losses in the 2010 midterms, it’s hard to blame your predecessor for problems two years after you take office. Especially when your party has unified control of the federal government. No matter how much it might be the previous guy’s fault, many voters won’t buy it. People have very short attention spans.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls Trump’s healthcare decisions “cruel and irresponsible.” The editorial board at the New York Times calls on Congress to prevent Trump from destroying the healthcare marketplace.

 

► In non-healthcare news, President Trump has apparently made a decision on how to proceed with the Iran nuclear deal: He’s going to punt. Instead of scuttling the deal altogether, Trump is asking Congress to fix “flaws” in the agreement that was sealed by the Obama administration. Why Trump thinks Congress can fix anything is another question altogether.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Friday Open Thread

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

–Mark Twain

Don’t Worry Broomfield, Bill Owens Just a “Concerned Citizen!”

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens (right, bobblehead left).

Dan Njegomir, a former staffer for the Colorado Senate GOP and now a quasi-reporter at the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette, published a piece yesterday about former Gov. Bill Owens wading into a ballot measure fight in Broomfield over oil and gas drilling regulations:

You know the war over Broomfield’s anti-fracking proposal – or any pending ballot issue, for that matter – is heating up when a former governor steps into the fray. Republican Bill Owens, who served as Colorado’s chief exec until 2007, took to the airwaves and digital media this week with a video denouncing Question 301 on Broomfield’s November ballot.

In the video, Owens calls 301 “a deceiving measure” and a “cynical power play focused on blocking energy development.” The former two-term guv also assures viewers “Colorado already has the toughest oil and gas regulations in the U.S.”

In siding with the No on 301 campaign, Owens – who before his time in elective office ran the Colorado Petroleum Association – appeals to war-weary Broomfielders in his video:

“National outside groups are trying to turn Broomfield into a political battleground over oil and gas development – again,” he says as the video opens. “Well enough is enough.”

We assume that note you can see above that Owens was once the head of the Colorado Petroleum Association is supposed to be disclosure of the fact that he is not exactly a disinterested observer. But it’s also ancient history, a job Owens had literally decades ago. Much more relevant to voters in Broomfield would be Owens’ current job as a senior director in the lobbying office of Greenberg Traurig, the politically connected law firm made infamous by criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Now, we don’t have a current list of Greenberg Traurig’s clients to know if any of them are a party to the controversy over oil and gas drilling near residential areas in Broomfield, but somebody should probably ask–after all, the firm’s energy division has dozens of full-time attorneys. Even if there’s no direct client relationship, readers know that energy interests sweat every single one of these popular vote proposals to restrict drilling, working overtime to defeat them in order to avoid ugly legal battles afterward that only leave the industry more unpopular.

We doubt there are very many voters in Broomfield who read the Colorado Springs Gazette, but writing a story that omits the one thing that really needs to be disclosed about the subject doesn’t help anyone sort out the facts here.

Which, considering the source, probably wasn’t an accident.

Trump Doing Gardner’s Dirty Work For Him

UPDATE: From the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:

“Today, the Trump administration took a deliberate step to sabotage the insurance market and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This Executive Order will allow association health plans to offer insurance that does not provide essential health benefits such as mental health care and maternity care. Consumers could end up purchasing these plans only to later find that they do not provide basic coverage for health conditions like cancer. The Executive Order will also create consumer confusion as they may be tricked into buying limited-benefit plans that don’t provide real health insurance coverage. This will destabilize the individual market as it opens the door for people to buy substandard coverage while leaving the individual market with an unhealthy risk pool and skyrocketing premiums.”

“Rather than helping hard-working Americans, the administration’s Executive Order will lead to some Coloradans buying junk insurance that leaves them without the care they need while others will be left paying much higher premiums. Insurers have already been struggling with the uncertainty created by senseless repeal efforts and other actions by this administration, and this will only increase uncertainty and instability in the individual market.”

“The Trump Administration is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. It is actively sabotaging the health insurance market. Everyday Americans will suffer as premiums spike and plans that provide comprehensive benefits become unaffordable or evaporate altogether. It is up to Congress and all of us to raise our voices against this overt destruction of our health care system.”

—–

Politico reports on today’s executive order from President Donald Trump, which could set in motion a series of events very troubling for health insurance markets–helping keep Trump’s promise to destroy the Affordable Care Act, but with lots of collateral damage:

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order directing an overhaul of major federal health regulations, calling it the first step toward fulfilling the GOP’s promise to repeal Obamacare.

The order is aimed at encouraging the rise of a raft of cheap, loosely regulated health insurance plans that don’t have to comply with certain Obamacare consumer protections and benefit rules. They’d attract younger and healthier people — leaving older and sicker ones in the Obamacare markets facing higher and higher costs…

It’s not yet clear how far the administration will go, or how quickly it can implement the president’s order. But if successful, the new rules could upend the way businesses and individuals buy coverage — lowering premiums for the healthiest Americans at the expense of key consumer protections and potentially tipping the Obamacare markets into a tailspin.

“Within a year, this would kill the market,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation who previously worked at former President Barack Obama’s Health and Human Services Department. [Pols emphasis]

Like a game of Jenga, pulling out individual components of the interlocking framework of risk sharing set up by the Affordable Care Act could cause the whole system to come crashing down–something that is already a threat largely due to the refusal by Republicans in Washington to take any action to stabilize insurance markets, and years of inaction to address routine implementation issues that have cropped up since the ACA was passed in 2010. What this means politically is that Republicans have by any reasonable measure lost the ability to blame the 2010 law and Democrats who passed it for problems occurring today. After so many failed opportunities to replace or just fix easily-addressed problems with the ACA, it’s Republicans who own it now–although you could argue that they owned as soon as they started stripping funding from the law during high-stakes fiscal negotiations with the Obama administration.

So in the event that Trump’s order today to promote cheap health plans that don’t meet the ACA’s coverage standards wreaks havoc on Colorado’s insurance markets, driving up the cost of care for sick people and returning others to the “bad old days” of chintzy health plans that proved useless when actually needed, Coloradans can thank Cory Gardner. After all, it’s exactly what Gardner has repeatedly claimed he wanted. Blaming Obama when this plan comes apart as the experts predict won’t be easy!

Then again, none of this is intended to make health care better. That will be obvious soon enough.

Vicki Marble and the Cub Scout Tapes

State Sen. Vicki Marble (R)

State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Broomfield-ish) is no stranger when it comes to making what we could charitably call “controversial” statements, but she really raised lowered the bar for herself this week while speaking to a troop of Cub Scouts in Broomfield.

We’ll get to that Broomfield scout meeting in a moment, but first a little primer on Marble. It is Marble who came up with the “Hateful Eight” moniker to describe her and seven of her conservative colleagues in the state senate. She has alleged that renewable energy proponents “destroyed” the town of Craig with their “maypole” windmills. She has trouble differentiating between legitimate news sources and satire sites like “The Onion.” She believes that advocates for equal pay are actually victimizing women.

And, of course, Marble was the voice behind the infamous “Chickengate” affair, in which she explained during a legislative hearing on poverty that African-Americans have a shorter life span because they eat too much chicken and barbecue; the State Republican Party practically tripped over itself trying to distance itself from Marble’s commentary on this issue.

On Monday, Oct. 9, Marble spoke to a Cub Scout pack in Broomfield and delivered a breathtaking display of craziness. Videos of Marble’s remarks showed up on YouTube soon afterward; we’ve taken the liberty of transcribing Marble’s comments so that you can better hope to understand one of the more uncomfortable diatribes we’ve come across in recent memory.

You can read Marble’s comments on a variety of subjects after the jump. We’ve also included links to the videos related to the transcription…

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