Who’s Telling the Truth About GOP Obamacare Replacement?

(¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last week, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) if he could guarantee to his constituents that they’d “have coverage if you have it now.”

“The answer to that is no, right?” asked Hayes.

“Yes,” replied Sanford. “The answer is, we don’t know with precision.”

Colorado Republicans need to be asked the same question, because over the past months most them, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, have repeatedly implied that no one will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. But am I hearing them right? Is this a promise?

For example, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stated KOA 850-AM Feb. 17, “And let me just say, nothing will be repealed unless it’s concurrently replaced.”

If nothing means nothing, then no one will lose their health care coverage, at a minimum, much less all the other benefits of Obamacare (e.g., coverage for under-26 family members, pre-existing conditions, no caps on coverage).

Coffman’s office sort of confirmed his stance to 9News this week.

9News: Coffman’s office told us he wants to keep the changes Obamacare made for pre-existing conditions, the ability for parents to keep children on their plans until age 26, and maintaining coverage for people who gained it under the ACA—including the Medicaid expansion, which has been criticized by some of Coffman’s fellow Republicans.

But that’s a aspiration, not a promise, and Coffman’s constituents want to know if Coffman would vote for a still-unkown Obamacare replacement that would throw people off the health insurance rolls.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) expressed the same promise in the form of an aspiration, as he likes to do when dealing with a tough question.

Gardner: “What we have to do is create a bipartisan health care plan, health insurance plan, to make sure that we can do better than Obamacare,” said Gardner on KOA 850-AM Jan. 13.

Is he saying his constituents won’t lose their insurance? I think so, but he needs to be asked point blank–and repeatedly, because that’s often what it takes with Gardner (e.g., Will he vote for Trump? And will he hold a town hall? And what about the federal personhood amendment?)

In some communications, Colorado Republicans are stopping short of promising that their constituents won’t lose their health insurance, but they’re guaranteeing that elements of Obamacare won’t be lost.

“…[U]nder the Republican replacement plans, no individual with a pre-existing condition will be denied insurance coverage or see their rates spike,” wrote Congressman Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton in The Denver Post Jan. 13.

That’s a serious promise.

But the larger question remains. What exactly are you saying? Will you vote for a bill that doesn’t guarantee health insurance for all Americans who have it under Obamacare? If not, how many are you willing to throw off the rolls or put at risk of losing their coverage?

Reporter does his best to find out if Gardner will hold town hall meeting

Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George made journalism proud today as he pressed U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to answer the straight-forward question of whether he’d be hosting an in-person town hall meeting.

But, exhibiting the same allergy to direct questions that Gardner’s had before, the junior senator from Colorado flat-out refused to answer the question, leaving it open to be asked again (and again) until it’s answered. (Click here to see it.)

St. George: As you know, there’s been protests outside your office. There’s a protest outside this hotel, people wondering, during this week of recess, why aren’t you hosting a town hall?

Gardner: Well look, we’ve had a number of opportunities to engage with a number of Coloradans around the state. And we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s through this opportunity to visit with the Governor’s Agriculture Forum. I just spoke at the Colorado Space Coalition. I was out at Ft. Morgan and Burlington earlier this week. We’ll be in northern Colorado today and tomorrow. And so it’s a great opportunity to hear from Coloradans, and I appreciate the people who are expressing their points of view, whether they support what the President has done or whether they oppose what the President has done, it is very good to hear what’s going on.

St. George: But no town hall? Will you commit to doing a town hall sometime in the future?

Gardner: In my time in Congress, we’ve held over 100 town halls. Last year, we were across all 64 counties in the state. We’ve met with protesters. My office has met with protesters. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll hold a number of tele-town halls in the future. And I hope that people will go onto our website and join them.

St. George: Is a tele-town hall a way to avoid that confrontation, because as you know, some of these town halls are getting heated. Is that why people like yourself are choosing telephone town halls?

Gardner: Well, I think it’s a great opportunity to reach people across the state. And we try to do it as often as we can. We do it at different times in the day. Sometimes we do it in the morning. Sometimes we do it at night, just depending on when people are able to answer the phone. That’s why we want to vary the time of day that we do this at. And we can reach out to more people. We take positive questions. We take negative questions. We take them all. It’s a great way to hear what’s on people’s minds. In addition to the many meetings we’ve held with people across Colorado. The office outreach that we’ve had. The time to meet with protesters throughout the state, individually at these forums as well. It’s very important.

St. George: So as of right now, no plans to hold a town hall?

Gardner: Look, we’ve had a number of tele-town hall opportunities. We’ve had a number of opportunities to go to open forums–

St. George: But no in-person town halls?

Gardner: We’re going to continue working on meetings where we can meet people across the state. That’s what we’re doing today. That’s what we’re doing tomorrow. We’ll continue doing it throughout the week.

If Gardner’s dodges look familiar, it’s because they are. This is how he treats reporters on a regular basis, insulting them with non-answers. You recall this exchange with the Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols during the 2014 election campaign.

Stokols: You don’t support the personhood amendment at the state level anymore. Why keep your name on that Life At Conception Act at the federal level?

Gardner: There is no such thing as the federal personhood bill.

Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote that bill, Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Broun of Georgia, they say–Personhood USA says–that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.

Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that’s when this outcry started from the Senate campaign of Senator Udall.  That’s what they are trying to do. This is all politics. It’s unfortunate that they can’t focus on–

Stokols: But the facts are —

Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill.

Gardner has never given a straight answer about the Life at Conception Act.

Will he try to pull off the same trick with town hall meetings? With Obamacre? You’d have to guess he’ll try, but unlike the few months leading to his election in 2014, there are long months or years ahead for reporters to demand real answers.

Radio host should call crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Petraeus to Clinton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Last week, the Trump Administration decided against offering the job of national security adviser to former CIA director David Petraeus, after the retired four-star general indicated he wanted to have authority over personnel.

Patraeus was Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Aurora) favored candidate for Trump’s national security adviser–despite Patraeus’ resignation from the CIA as the FBI was gathering evidence that Patraeus leaked classified documents to his biographer with whom he was having an affair.

“I’ve worked with general Patraeus,” Coffman told KNUS host Krista Kafer Feb. 14. “I know he had a misstep, obviously, in terms of working with classified information. Much less than what Hillary Clinton did [laughs]. And he was certainly disciplined for it. But I think he’s well-trusted here on Capitol Hill, and I think by the American people as well. I think he would do a great job as the national security adviser to the president.”

(Listen here at 5 min 20 seconds.)

Kafer should have pointed out that unlike Clinton, Patraeus faced felony charges for his leaks, eventually agreeing to a plea-deal conviction.

FBI Director James Comey, who’s no friend of Hillary Clinton, and other experts have stated that Patraeus’ actions shouldn’t be compared to Clinton’s use of a private email server. She faced no charges, much less a conviction. And she didn’t hide documents in the attic. CNN reported on Comey’s testimony on this topic in July:

Comey pointed out that Petraeus not only shared the classified information, but also hid the documents in his attic and then lied to investigators.

“So you have obstruction of justice, you have intentional misconduct and a vast quantity of information,” Comey said. “He admitted he knew that was the wrong thing to do. That is a perfect illustration of the kind of cases that get prosecuted.”

He added: “In my mind, it illustrates importantly the distinction to this case.”

Kafer should have called crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Patraeus to Hillary Clinton.

Gardner has had “number of great conversations” with Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Asked by a conservative radio host this morning to “characterize his current relationship with President Trump and his team” and whether Gardner was a “persona non grata,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said:

Gardner: “Oh, I’ve had a number of great conversations with the President. The opportunities to work together are real. He is very, very clear that he wants us to be successful in Colorado and that we have the chance to do things that will make our state a better, stronger place.”

Gardner’s warm comments about Trump come as the President is battling journalists and after weeks of protests in Colorado against both Trump’s actions and against Gardner himself for backing Trump and voting with him 100 percent of the time.

Told by KNUS 710-AM host Craig Silverman that citizens are “clamoring for a town-hall meeting” and protesting, Gardner did not indicate he’ll hold town hall meetings, as requested by citizens who’ve jammed Gardner’s phone lines since Trump took office.

“We’ll continue to reach out across Colorado through meetings and offers to have appointments throughout the eight offices we have in the state–and also making sure we’re reaching out via tele-town halls,” said Gardner, adding that it is “great that people are interested.”

“Tele-town halls provide us with a great way to reach thousands of Coloradans at one time instead of just five or 10 at one time,” said Gardner.

Republicans across the country are turning to tele-town halls, instead of actual town hall meetings, where they’ve been greeted by large numbers of citizens upset about Obamacare, cabinet selections, Planned Parenthood cuts, and more. Images of large crowds and defensive lawmakers have viralized across social media.

Gardner has apparently been irked by some of the protests he’s faced, labeling callers and protesters as hailing from California and New York and as being “paid,” with some hired via CraigsList or tricked into calling via computers and surveys.

Asked if Gardner has the kind of relationship with the President that allows Garder to “kid around with Trump,” Gardner told Silverman, “Oh, absolutely.”

“I think it was on television even, on Tuesday, before the inauguration, the president introduced me to a crowd and talked about being able to work together for the common good of Colorado,” said Gardner on air. “And that’s something we will continue to do.”

“Overall, we have got to make sure that we to come together as a country the way [Trump] talked about on i guess it was Wednesday, November 9, after the Election,” Gardner said.

“You always leave me in a good mood,” Silverman told Gardner at the end of the interview, asking that the Republican to remember him to his family.

Dissecting Gardner’s thoughts on the “paid protesters” who are allegedly hounding him

CBS4 Political Reporter Shaun Boyd touched a nerve when she reported Jan. 27 that U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) thinks many of calls and emails he’s gotten lately have been from “paid protesters.”

Since Gardner’s first mention of his concerns about paid protesters, the Republican has returned to the topic at least three times in interviews.

Here’s a thematic breakdown of what he’s been saying about the paid protesters who are allegedly hounding him.

 

CraigsList. This is where Gardner says the paid-protester ads are being run.

“There is a certain element that’s paid through Craig’s List. We’ve seen the advertisements,” Gardner told 9News’ anchor Kyle Clark Feb. 2.

“Out-of-State.” Gardner is careful to say that the protesters are not just “paid” but also not from here.

“What I worry about is a large proportion of people from out of state who are trying to flood and jam our airwaves, so-to-speak,” Gardner told Boyd Jan. 30

California and New York. These are the states Gardner thinks the paid protesters are from, but he hasn’t explained why he thinks these states are the culprits.

“There are certainly a number of people who are calling from out of state, California and New York. That’s happening,” Gardner told 9News’ anchor Kyle ClarK Feb. 2.

Robocalls. Gardner thinks computer-generated robocalls are part of the paid-protester problem.

Gardner’s staffers get “people who are surprised they even contacted the office because there’s a robocall of some kind that goes into their house and it connects them with the office and they didn’t even want to contact us in many cases and are surprised that they did,” Gardner told CBS4’s Boyd Jan. 30.

Paid telephone surveys.Gardner says paid protesters are tricking people with phone surveys.

“Just the other day, my wife was contacted by an organized survey effort. She answered the survey and was immediately connected to my very own office,” 7News Marc Stewart, Feb. 14. “And so that was clearly a paid effort. She was not paid to do that. Somebody was paid to make that connection happen not knowing that was my wife.”

Paid protesters vs. legitimate concerns. Gardner emphasizes repeatedly that he wants to hear from real people not fake protesters.

“What I worry about though, of course, is the paid protesters from out of state who are crowding out those Colorado voices,” Gardner told 9News’ anchor Kyle ClarK Feb. 2. “That’s a big concern of mine. It’s a concern of my colleagues, when they can’t hear the voices of their constituents because paid activists from out of state are getting in the way.”

If you call U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) DC phone line today, you get a recording encouraging callers to leave a message only if you’re calling “after hours.”

“Hi, this is Cory Gardner,” states the phone message, “your senator from the great state of Colorado. Thanks for calling my Washington DC office. If you’ve reached us after hours, please feel free to leave a message.”

Gardner may be thinking that during business hours the only people calling him are “paid protesters.” And he doesn’t want them leaving messages. Hence, he only wants messages “after hours.”

And regardless of what time it is, don’t leave a message for Gardner if you’re from California or New York, if you’ve been recruited on Craig’s List, if you’ve been tricked by a survey or a robocall, or if you’re the paid “element” that’s bugging Gardner. He doesn’t want to hear from you.

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In wake of Flynn resignation, Coffman wants to investigate the FBI

(Huh? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has called for an investigation of the FBI, after a phone call recorded by the intelligence agency led to the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Asked by radio host Krista Kafer on KNUS 710-AM Tuesday if the Flynn resignation should be investigated, Coffman said (audio below).

Coffman: You know, I think it should be looked into. And here’s one thing. Did the FBI go through the procedures in place in current law to be able to be able to tap into that phone conversation. Are there other violations of law.

The FBI recorded Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the United States discussing U.S. sanctions against Russia. The FBI has said it was monitoring the ambassador as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the last U.S. election.

Coffman went on to say he’s relieved that Flynn resigned.

“I admit that I never had a great feeling for him because he always seemed to venture on the political side on active duty, and I think there is something to be said about the ethic of our military officers saying outside the realm of partisan politics,” Coffman said.

(more…)

First Amendment attorney says Sentinel could have a viable case against State Senator

(Uh oh, Ray Scott… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Ray Scott (R).

The publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel is serious about suing State Sen. Ray Scott over his public claim that the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news.”

But, he told Denver writer Corey Hutchins, “we’re going to have some cooling-off period before I file anything.”

Hutchins, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project: This particular publisher, it should be noted, is no stranger to a courtroom. Before taking the helm of the Sentinel in 2009, Seaton was a commercial litigator. “This is what I used to do,” he told me. “I practiced law in Kansas City for 13 years, so I’m accustomed to resolving business damage in the judicial system. So I don’t view this really as any different.”

The publisher says he has already seen people on Facebook pledge to cancel newspaper subscriptions after the lawmaker’s comments.

“What I consider actionable is the attack on the Sentinel as fake news,” Seaton says. “I can take the criticism that we’re too far right, or we’re too far left, or our reporter was sloppy, or our editorial misunderstands the issue, that I can handle. What I can’t abide is an attack on the essence of what we do.”

Hutchins quotes Denver First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg, as saying that “Scott could be liable under libel law if he made statements that are provably false and made “with the requisite knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.”

Does this mean Donald Trump is in line to be sued by CNN and others, who the President has attacked as fake news outlets? I hope so.

State lawmaker, who called a real newspaper “fake news,” apparently spreads real fake news on Facebook and Twitter

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsState Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), who’s said the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news,” apparently posted actual fake news on his Twitter feed and Facebook page this year and last year.
In October on Facebook, the lawmaker shared a PoliticalInsider.com item, with the headline, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.”

As Snopes determined weeks before Scott shared this post, WikiLeaks did not confirm that Clinton “sold weapons to ISIS.” Other credible outlets came to the same conclusion, and it turned out that this Clinton/ISIS falsehood was one of the most popular fake news items prior to the election.

Yet, this fake news post, which I obtained from a source, sits on Scott’s Facebook page to this day, while he’s accusing a real news outlet of being fake news.

Scott did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ironically, four days after accusing the Grand Junction Sentinel of being fake news, Scott shared a Sentinel story on his Facebook page, apparently thinking the newspaper’s content was real enough to share with his friends. The story was headlined, “Groundwater Appeals Bill Clears Senate Panel,” and it quoted Scott as backing the legislation.

In fact, it appears that Scott shares stories from the Sentinel on a regular basis, sometimes criticizing them, sometimes praising them. Scott shared Sentinel stories, for example, with the headlines, “Congressman Tipton, GJ legislator Scott say they still back Trump” and “Single-payer health care measure has Democrats battling Democrats,” and “Trump backers rally in support of energy jobs.” Scott wrote, “Thanks to those who attended,” when he shared of a GJS article July 31 headlined, “Colorado lawmakers listen to praise, gripes about caucuses and primaries.”

Scott was a regional field coordinator for the Trump campaign, which may be where he learned Trump’s mind-boggling trick of accusing real news outlets of being fake while spreading fake news himself.

On Twitter, Scott has shared fake news as well. In December, Scott tweeted a photo of Trump shaking hands Ronald Reagan, with the quote, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.”

The photo is real, but not the quote, according to Snopes and other credible outlets.

In light of all this, here’s some advice for Scott:  Sign the Fake News Pledge.

It’s a promise 1) not to post fake news, defined as false information “packaged to look like news,” and 2) to post a correction and explanation on Facebook if fake news is accidentally posted. The Pledge’s arbiters of fake news are Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or a respected news outlet. If Pledge signers disagree with the specified arbiters, they do not have to remove anything from Facebook. But they are obliged to explain why they disagree with the fact checkers.

I’ll be following up with Scott to see if he’ll sign.

Coffman announces Obamacare telephone calls and “meetings” but no promised town hall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mike Coffman.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman announced yesterday that he plans to hold “series of meetings,” beginning Feb. 20-24 and continuing in March. about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

Absent from his plans is a town hall meeting in a “very large venue” that can “handle 300 people.” He promised to hold such a town-hall-style event after his early exit from a jammed constituent meeting last month,

In place of a public town-hall discussion is a listening tour”  1) an undefined number of “meetings”with select “healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups” and 2) “several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.”

Coffman did not offer an explanation for backing of his plans for a big old town hall meeting, but the replacement he’s chosen offers the Aurora Republican the opportunity to screen his audiences and weed out potentially angry questions.

In other words, Coffman can’t slip out the back door of a telephone call. But he can to the equivalent by screening callers. Ditto with meetings with healthcare providers; he’s picking both the groups and the venues.

So in terms of accountability, Coffman’s proposal doesn’t fulfill his promise to do right to all those people he left in the library Jan. 14, when he slipped out the back door early. And reporters should have asked him about it.

Here’s the entire news release issued by Coffman’s office yesterday:

Coffman Announces ACA ‘Listening Tour’

Feb 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) announced that during the district work period scheduled for Feb. 20-24, he will undertake the first phase of his planned “listening tour” regarding the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coffman will use this series of meetings to gain the perspective of as many constituents, patients and healthcare professionals as possible.

“During this district work week, I look forward to meeting with many healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups. My objective is to personally hear from them on how the ACA has affected the healthcare system, medical professionals, and most importantly, how it has affected patients access to medical care. I will use their input not only to review my own plans on how to proceed, but also to communicate their concerns to my congressional colleagues—Additionally, I want to communicate again that no repeal will take place without first having a replacement.”

The ACA, which was signed into law in March 2010, dramatically impacted the health care of millions here in Colorado and across the country. Due to the ACA, thousands of Coloradans who were perfectly satisfied with their health insurance had their policies changed or in some cases even cancelled. In 2017 alone, health insurance rates rose more than 20% in some areas, and 14 counties in the State now have just one health insurance provider servicing their area. The ACA, did allow for some consumer protections to be codified into law, some of which Coffman strongly supports, such as preserving the pre-existing condition protection and ensuring those under Medicaid expansion access to health insurance coverage.

Coffman will commence the second phase of this listening effort in March when he plans to hold several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

More information on the tele-town halls will be made available in early March in the Congressman’s website: www.coffman.house.gov.

One month later: What about Coffman’s promised town-hall meeting in a venue that can “handle 300 people”

(Oh wait, you BELIEVED that?! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

One of the biggest national stories to originate in Denver this year was 9News’ piece about U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Aurora) early exit out the back door of a library full of people wanting to talk to him about Obamacare.

A few days after the story went viral, Coffman bumped into The Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene and told her that “right now” he was trying to secure a “very large venue” for a town-hall meeting. Coffman was looking for a place that could “handle 300 people.”

Yet, it’s now been exactly one month since Coffman announced his search for a venue, and nary a reporter has asked Coffman, “What’s up with your big shindig town-hall meeting?”

With Obamacare in the balance and Coffman in the hot seat, that’s obviously a legitimate question, which has news value even if Coffman has no further comment.

The last item listed on the “events” page of Coffman’s website took place Jan. 14 at the Aurora Central Library. That’s the one where 9News filmed him slipping out the back.

“Constituents are invited to come to Aurora Central Library to meet with Rep. Coffman and discuss the issues that are important to them,” states the description of the Jan. 14 event.

Given the wide attention on the Aurora meeting, shouldn’t a reporter hold Coffman accountable for his promise for a follow-up town hall–or find out if he’s now decided against it?

Good news: State Republicans aim to improve their relations with Colorado journalists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

Republican leaders at the Colorado State Capitol are trying to improve their media relations, with off-the-record happy hours, weekly press briefings, and more, according to Feb. 6 report by Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland (included below).

That’s great news! I’m serious, because journalists can actually help facilitate good policy making, if Democrats and Republicans help them do their job.

Rep. Chris Holbert (R-Colorado Springs) says he and Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) want to be more “open and inclusive” and get to know the press better.

Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton) told Birkeland that Republicans “think there’s a liberal media bias, and then when you kind of see it in little things” it reinforces the perception. But Everett thinks better personal relationships lead to better stories.

He’s right.

Here are five tips for Republicans. Obviously these are offered from a progressive perspective, but I don’t think serious conservatives would disagree with me on this (plus I wrote a book about it):

  1. Don’t make sweeping generalizations about journalism, as some Republicans do when they complain openly about “liberal media bias” when they see a story they disagree with. There’s no study or proof of any “liberal media bias” at the local level, and making the accusation is rude. So be very specific about your complaints about coverage, and you’ll find reporters will be receptive to your criticism.
  2. Be factual. This is key. Journalists look for the truth, supported by facts. They don’t want to hear unsupportable statements like blaming Obamacare for Colorado budget woes.
  3. Don’t be boring. Think about your visual appeal.
  4. Don’t blow up your long-term relationships over a disagreement. Today’s news is history tomorrow.
  5. Don’t compliment Trump’s media-relations strategy, as Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) did in Birkeland’s piece, when he expressed admiration for Trump for calling journalism fake news. As wrote in a post yesterday, don’t insult reporters by calling their work “fake news,” even if they make a mistake.

Oh, and can progressive journalists attend those happy hours?

Don’t call professional journalism “fake news,” even if it’s wrong

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Is an error committed by a professional news outlet “fake news?”

In response to Time Magazine’s Jan. 24 note to readers, in which the news outlet apologized for its erroneous report that an MLK bust had been removed from the Oval Office, conservatives cried “fake news,” even though Time corrected the error within an hour of committing it–and apologized to the White House.

Here in Colorado, conservatives have trotted out the “fake news” label when they criticize the news as well.

Calling errors by real reporters “fake news” is obviously a cheap attack on journalism, because it conflates the fake-news phenomenon, as it’s been debated since late last year, with inevitable errors committed by professional reporters–errors that are usually corrected as soon as possible.

The term “fake news” refers to a specific category of false information: falsehoods that are packaged to look like journalism and spread on social media, especially Facebook–which has agreed to try to eliminate “fake news,” not journalism, from its platform.

It’s not just Facebook executives but also conservatives and progressives who want to fight fake news.

So can we agree to see “fake news” as a problem that’s not caused by professional journalists? And can we agree that professional journalism should not be called “fake news?”

Don’t get me wrong. Journalists should be held accountable. God knows, reporters deserve criticism. But let’s not throw the “Fake News” salvo at Colorado journalists.

I know that’s not going to happen soon, with Trump leading the fake-news attack on journalists, but still, we can do better in Colorado.

Stapleton won’t reveal gubernatorial plans for fear of being ignored at the state Capitol if he did so

(Does that mean he’ll show up? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton will not say if he’s running for governor next year because, if he did so, “any common sense you’re trying to make when it comes to legislation goes completely out the window and people reflexively don’t want to have anything to do with you.”

Stapleton made the comment Thursday on KNUS-710 AM, but hosts Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer didn’t ask whether nonstop rumors about a possible run have the same effect.

Stapleton said it’s a “shame” that declared candidates are treated this way, but there are too many things he’d “like to try to get accomplished for the state of Colorado this legislative session.”

Stapleton, a Republican, told the conservative host he’ll sit on the sidelines and wait for others to announce their gubernatorial intentions.

“I’m keeping my head down for now, we’ll let others announce,” he said (audio below).

Despite Stapleton’s evasiveness, Kelley complimented Stapleton for not being “evasive at all.”

“Someone a long time ago who’s been quite successful in this business told me some great advice and that is, ‘Keep your head down and do you job, and people will appreciate it and recognize you for it.'”

Stapleton could have been referring to experienced politicians in his own family. Stapleton  is the second cousin of former President George W. Bush and of failed presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Jeb’s and W’s father, and Stapleton’s first cousin, is former President George Herbert Walker Bush, with “Walker” as the lineage connecting Walker Stapleton to the Bushes.

(more…)

Protect our Muslim neighbors rally

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

protect muslims rally denver co9 1 bIt’s tough to say who has it worst among the victims in Trump’s America, but in terms of brazen bigotry, it’s safe to say Muslims have the biggest target on their backs now. It’s awful and sad and ugly, and it pisses me off.

protect muslims rally denver co1 5 b

So it was great to see thousands of people in Denver’s Civic Center Park Saturday afternoon for a “Protect Our Muslim Neighbors Rally.”

As usual, the signs at the rally sum up it up as well as anything.

Here’s what was written on some of them:

We are all Muslim
I wish I was playing video games but this shit is serious
Immigrants and refugees welcome here
We love our Muslim neighbors
We were all immigrants once
Catholics in support of Muslims
Two of Trump’s wives are immigrants, proving immigrate will do a job Americans won’t do
Give me you tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…but only the hot European model babes
Muslim friends, we’ve got your back
Hindsight is literally the year 2020
I’m not protesty but Jeez
First they came for the Muslims and this Jew stood up today and said no way
No human being is illegal
Impeach Trump
Cory, if I were getting paid, I would have made a better sign
This is not fake news
Refugees are vetted more than Trump’s cabinet
Raise you normal sized fist
Love trumps hate
Will trade one Trump for 500,000 refugees
Ban terrorism not religion
Fight ignorance not immigrants
You’ve got a friend in me
Hug an immigrant
Hate has no room here.

protect muslims rally denver co3 - prayer 4 b

I found myself hoping that the conservative bigots on  talk radio shows saw the signs, but then I realized, who cares?

We all know those bigots and other Muslim haters don’t represent America. We’re better than that.

That’s why we were were in Civic Center Park. So everyone knows our country is better than the bigots, including Trump, who are attacking Muslims–and so everyone knows that, yes, we will protect our Muslim neighbors.

(Photos by Brett Littleton)

protect muslims rally denver co4 - prayer 3b

 

 

Gardner dodges question about whether he discussed Roe with Gorsuch

(Roe v. Wade? What’s that? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Asked by a conservative talk-radio host whether U.S. Senators have private discussions with U.S Supreme Court nominees about cases like Roe v. Wade, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said Thursday they “absolutely occur,” but Gardner dodged a follow-up question about whether he’d discussed Roe with Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s high court nominee.

Gardner also said on air that he was told by a staffer that Gorsuch had written on Roe v. Wade. But no such opinion appears to exist.

“Did you have that conversation with Judge Gorsuch, ‘Hey, what’s your view of Roe v. Wade?'” asked KNUS 710-AM talk-show host Dan Caplis, when Gardner was on his show Thursday (at 6 min below).

“We had conversations about precedents of the Court,” replied Gardner, dodging the question. “And this is something I’m sure that there will be more attention to paid in the days coming.”

Gardner told Caplis he met with Gorsuch for an hour Wednesday and that a staffer at the meeting told Gardner that Gorsuch had written on Roe v. Wade.

“I think he’s written on it, that that decision is precedent already,” said Gardner on air. “I’d have to get the case. I can’t remember the name of the case that he brought before me. That was brought up by one of the staff that were in the meeting about a case where he has written in regard to Roe v. Wade.

“Does [Gorsuch] consider Roe v. Wade to be settled law, which at this point is not subject to being overturned?” Caplis asked Gardner.

Again, Gardner dodged the question saying, “You know, I’d have to look at the opinion, because I think he’s written [one], and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, when he’s already written on it. So it would probably be best, Dan, if we both read into it a little bit, read the opinion, and see what it said.”

The Colorado Times Recorder found no cases in which Gorsuch wrote an opinion on Roe v. Wade. ThinkProgress reported Jan. 31:

…while Gorsuch has never ruled directly on the viability of Roe v. Wade, he wrote a 2009 book, entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that is heavy with the kind of political rhetoric opponents of abortion deploy in the battle over reproductive choice. “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable,” Gorsuch wrote in his book, adding that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

As Ed Whelan, a former law clerk to Justice Scalia who writes frequently on the courts puts it, “Gee, might that principle have any application to abortion?

Gardner was unreachable for comment or to answer the question of why he’d been apparently misinformed on Gorsuch’s past opinions on Roe. Phone calls to his DC office were received with, “I’m sorry, extension 5941 is on the phone.” Recently, Gardner accused “paid protesters” of flooding his phone lines with calls.

(more…)