Is fake news in the eye of the beholder?

(Uh, no. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a blog post about Colorado’s 2017 Fake News Awards, which I bestowed last month to a group of Democratic and Republican officials, ColoradoPolitics reporter Dan Njegomir wrote that fake is “in the eye of the beholder.

But aren’t there objective ways a journalist can identify fake news? Like fact checking?

I emailed Njegomir and told him his eye-of-the-beholder view runs contrary to a tenant of journalism (and civility), which is that many facts, but not all, can be proven true (or false). And fact checks can be reported by journalists (and even liberal bloggers like me).

“I in fact agree with you that the news media have a responsibility to sift fact from fiction and put things in perspective,” Njegomir responded. “My point in observing that fake news is in the eye of the beholder is that the expression itself has been so overused and widely appropriated as to have no objective value. So, it can mean whatever you want. If you don’t like my news, it’s ‘fake.’ Same if I don’t like yours. Rarely does the accuser attempt to assess the actual veracity of the news report. ‘Fake news’ has become an all-purpose pejorative, kind of like ‘Nazi.’ But where it took ‘Nazi’ generations to achieve its all-purpose, ever-morphable meaning, it took ‘fake news’ less than a year.”

I’m one of the those people who accuses others of spreading fake news, and though I’m accused of being fake news myself, I honestly try to assess veracity.  But, alas, many who toss out the “fake news” salvo, like Trump, don’t care about the facts.

So Njegomir has a point that the term “fake news” is abused and lacks a precise definition.

But it’s still broadly understood as information from a news outlet that’s false.

As such, a discussion about whether something is “fake news” provides a framework for old-fashioned fact checking that’s less likely to put people to sleep than a discussion about “fact checking” itself, even though a fact checker and a fake-news cop are one and the same. They use research tools to prove truth or fakeness.

And the effort to spotlight and fight the spread of fake news has collateral benefits, like emphasizing the value of real journalism and the role of reporters as the arbiters of truth in civic discourse.

Bottom line, “fake” isn’t in the eye of the beholder. We should take advantage of people’s interest in fake news and argue about whether something is actually fake. And sometimes we can agree with each other.

How do reporters deal with Coffman’s abortion stance?

Republican gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman told Peter Jones of the South Metro Villager last month that she backs abortion rights. Jones reported:

Coffman is likewise supportive of abortion rights.

“I want abortion to be rare. I want it to be safe, and I want us to be doing things as a society that diminish the need for there to be abortion,” she said.

That’s a pretty straight-forward articulation of a pro-choice position.

So you wonder why Coffman said previously that she was “surprised” that Channel 4 political specialist Shaun Boyd had characterized her as “pro-choice.”

“No! No, I didn’t. I refused to accept a label. And I still do,” Coffman said on air in response to a question about whether she’d describes herself as pro-choice.

Yet, Boyd reported that the Coffman campaign did not want Channel 4 to correct its story labeling Coffman as “pro-choice.”

So Coffman’s words say she’s pro-choice, but that’s not what she wants to be called? What to do with that, if you’re a reporter?  You have to call her pro-choice, because that’s what she appears to be, but maybe there’s more to the story.

Pols is a more interesting blog than Peak Politics, which makes you fall asleep, says Gardner-hating conservative radio host

(Aw, shucks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you think that liking conservative talk radio and hating U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner are mutually exclusive, you would be wrong.

KNUS 710-AM co-hosts Julie Hayden and Chuck Bonniwell couldn’t have proven the point more clearly than they did last month in a segment titled, “Why We Hate Cory Gardner and Think You Should too.”

And in doing so, Bonniwell said something you don’t often hear from the mouths of righties: ColoradoPols is a much better blog than the conservative Colorado Peak Politics, which describes itself as “Colorado’s Conservative Bully Pulpit.”

Calling Pols “incredibly snarky, unfair, and everything else,” Bonniwell nonetheless said Pols is “kind of fun” and interesting reading, even though it’s a “left-wing” site.

Referring to Peak Politics, Bonniwell said, “You might as well read press releases and fall asleep, unfortunately.”

I wouldn’t even go that far, but yes, between Pols and Peak Politics, there’s objectively no contest.

Marble claims media “panders to its liberal base”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

marble on media 3Colorado State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), who falsely claimed last month that she was misquoted by a Boy Scott, stepped up her complaints about the “liberal media” in a Facebook post last month.

“As the liberal media panders to its liberal base, they continue fanning the flames of hatred and racism against conservatives of all colors and American principles and values,” Marble apparently wrote last month in a Facebook post obtained from a source.

Specifically, Marble called KMGH-TV, Channel 7, “lame.”

Marble didn’t return an email seeking an explanation, but her attack on the media may stem from frustrations over press coverage of a speech she gave to a group of Boy Scouts in October.

marble on media 2Marble insisted that Denver media outlets were wrong to point out that she’d delivered a falsehood to a den full of Scouts, after one Scout told her that he was astonished that Marble had, as the Scout put it, “blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”

Marble responded to the scout, fifth graderAmes Mayfield, that he she’d made no such statement.

“I didn’t, that was made up by the media,” Marble told Mayfield in the den. “So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down. I didn’t do that. That was false. Get both sides of the story.”

In fact, Marble made the following statement during a 2013 hearing: “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race. Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it.

“Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”

The Scout was eventually booted from his den, but allowed to continue with another group of Boy Scouts.

marble on media 1

Tancredo will try to qualify for GOP primary ballot via the state assembly, not the petition process

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo told KNUS talk-radio host Craig Silverman Saturday that he will not try to qualify for the Republican primary ballot via a petition drive. Instead, he said, he will rely on a vote of Republicans Party faithfuls gathered at the GOP state convention, which will likely occur in April.

“The ability to petition on has almost been totally destroyed for people in my financial position, which is not a multi-millionaire,” said Tancredo on air, adding that it would take $1 million to gather enough signatures to make the GOP primary ballot.

Gubernatorial candidates can make the gubernatorial primary ballot by getting over 30 percent of the vote at the state assembly. If a candidate only gets 10 percent, he or she cannot be placed on the ballot at all, even if they meet the requirements for gaining access via petition.

Money aside, Tancredo’s choice of the assembly is no surprise, as he has a loyal base of support among party activists who participate in the assembly, say GOP observers. This core support would also give  him a leg up in what is likely to be a crowded GOP primary field, if he makes the ballot.

It’s not known how unaffiliated votes, who will have the option of participating in the gubernatorial primary for the first time this year, will affect the election, if at all. These voters could push the parties to the center, some say. Others believe they could support unconventional or extreme candidates of either party.

Moneyed campaigns could possibly push segments of unaffiliated toward any candidate, moderate or extreme. Thus well-financed campaigns could prove to have an especially big advantage this year in the primary.

(more…)

Another year later, and threats that predatory lender will exit Colorado look even hollower

(Don’t believe the loan sharks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Another year is slipping by and it’s worth noting that One Main, the company that offers most of Colorado’s “personal loans,” seems to still have a thriving business here.

Who cares? Well, you recall, back in 2016, One Main backers claimed that if Colorado’s legislature didn’t pass a bill allowing One Main to make more money, the company would flee profitless Colorado, and folks with bad credit ratings and who need high-interest loans to get back on their feet would be left with no options.

One Main backers had said the same thing about the company the previous year, in 2015, and the business never left our state.

But that didn’t stop One Main from going to the legislature in 2016 and pushing legislation that would have allowed interest rates to rise on these types of predatory loans. The allowable interest rate is already high, ranging from 15 to 36 percent. But One Main wanted even more.

Colorado’s GOP attorney general offered testimony at the Capitol at the time that access to personal loans was not threatened under the existing interest-rate structure, making it look like One Main’s business was solid. This was reluctantly confirmed by the company itself.

This is still almost undoubtedly the case. Otherwise, if you believe the company’s backers, the business would have exited Colorado by now.

And it would have blamed Democrats who killed the legislation it allegedly needed so badly.

As it is, low-income Coloradans can thank lawmakers for taking a stand. It’s a strange world where you’re saying thanks for holding interest rates at 15 to 36 percent for loans to people who are poor to begin with, but it could have been worse.

Colorado Fake News Awards 2017

(The award is an invisible trophy — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Maybe we can’t stop Trump from promoting fake news, but we can at least try to stop our own leaders from spreading it. That’s the BigMedia Blog’s goal in bestowing Colorado’s first annual Fake News Awards to lawmakers and public figures.

Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado! Award — State Sen. Ray Scott

It’s bad enough that State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) called the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel “Fake News,” but doing so while 1) promoting Sentinel articles he agreed with and 2) refusing to remove actual fake news from his own Facebook page earns Scott the award of Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado. Scott refused to remove from his Facebook page a fake news item titled, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.” He also refused to delete a tweet with this ridiculous (and fake) quote from Ronald Reagan about Trump: “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.” And that’s not all! Just for good measure, Scott recently promoted an ad designed to look like news (sponsored content) from Grand Junction Sentinel.

Who the Fuck Cares about the Facts? Award — State Rep. Patrick Neville and Casper Stockham

Sometimes we ask people to remove fake news, once determined to be false by outside fact checkers, and lawmakers ignore us (e.g., former State Rep. Shawn Mitchell, former State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada). Other lawmakers talk about it with us in a civil manner and we agree to disagree (former GOP State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of CO SpringsRepublican State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton) And still, others say, essentially, who cares if it’s false? Take, for example, Republican State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Told about a falsehood on his Facebook page, he tweeted that we should “stop being such a #snowflake. End the #fakeoutrage #growup #moveoutofmomsbasement.” Meanwhile, the fake news remains on his Facebook page. A similar who-the-fuck-cares attitude toward the facts was revealed by failed GOP congressional candidate Casper Stockham, who posted a falsehood about a Muslim Target cashier refusing to sell pork, even though Stockham himself wrote that the meme is “probably not true.” It wasn’t. But there it sits on his Facebook page to this day.

Warriors Against the Fake News Darkness Awards

It’s been a depressing year on the fake news beat, but there’s hope on the home front. A growing number of Colorado officials are removing fake news, once they are alerted to the fact that it’s rotting on their social media feeds. Yay for these current and former lawmakers from both parties, who posted fake news and then removed it: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park), State Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver), former State Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan), U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Denver), former State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Calhan), Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, Former Democratic Mayor of Denver Wellington Webb, and Elbert County School Board Member Scott WillsJoshua Hosler, Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, also gets credit for removing fake news from his Facebook page, once he was alerted to it.

Let Me Deceive You — State Rep. Dave Williams

Despite the fact that immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than the rest of the U.S. population, you’d think they were responsible for 83 percent of crimes committed on American soil if you only got your news from the Facebook timeline of state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colo. Springs). Williams, who is a strong opponent of sanctuary city policies and even pushed a bill that would have punished politicians who enact them, almost exclusively highlights crime committed by immigrants. The only exceptions, making up 17 percent of crime-related posts on his timeline over the past 14 months, are an accusation that Hillary Clinton broke the law, a few posts expressing condolences after mass shootings, some promotion of his law to crack down on squatters, and an erroneous claim that an Antifa member stabbed an innocent man. Williams’ vastly disproportionate focus on immigrant crime deceives his Facebook followers into believing that undocumented immigrants are dangerous, when in reality, they’re more likely to be law-abiding citizens, and may actually cause crime to decline in their communities.

Mr. Congeniality Award — State House Candidate Raymond Garcia 

A failed GOP candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives, Raymond Garcia’s offensive, inaccurate, and downright cringe-worthy Facebook timeline earns him the satirical title of Mr. Congeniality. His social media activity often reveals bigotry, like when he called Harvey Milk a pedophile and suggested that black people should feel guilty for slavery. He also repeatedly attacks Hillary Clinton, whom he refers to as “Hitlery”, and once even posted a poorly photoshopped image of her in which Donald Trump appears to grope her with the caption “OMG this is perfect!!!” What a charming fellow!

The “Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming” Fake News Award — State Sen. Tim Neville

Global warming is a big priority for us fake news cops, so naturally we were alarmed when we saw State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) spreading fake news headlined, “Satellites: Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” The linked article cites satellite data allegedly showing a “prolonged hiatus” in global warming. The mainstream scientific community, as reported by Factcheck.org, has found no hiatus in global warming on Earth. Yet, Neville has refused to remove the falsehood from his Facebook page.

Madeleine Schmidt contributed to this post.

Gardner predicts that new Alabama Sen. Doug Jones will “vote Republican more often than not on big issues”

(What is Cory smoking? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On conservative talk radio yesterday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) defended his invitation to newly elected Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama to caucus with the senate Republicans, predicting Jones will “vote Republican more often than not on big issues.”

Gardner, who leads the GOP senate committee charged with making sure Republicans are elected to the U.S. Senate, was ridiculed on national TV after he suggested that Jones “do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”

Asked about the comment on KNUS’ Dan Caplis show Tuesday (hour 3), Gardner said:

If you look at a state like Alabama, where it is a significantly vast-percentage conservative state, then [Jones] going to vote Republican more often than not on big issues. And if he’s representing Alabama, that’s what will happen. So I think the left may not like it. The mainstream media may not like it, but Alabama, like I said, is not California. It’s not New York. It’s Alabama. If he’s going to represent that state, then he has to be somebody in the line of Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions to do that job.

Jones has indicated his willingness to work with Republicans, but if Jones were to do as Gardner predicts, he would be deviating from stances he’s taken throughout his career and during his recent campaign against credibly-accused child molester Roy Moore.

Earlier this week, when Gardner said Jones would vote with Republicans, KHOW 630-AM, conservative host Ross Kaminsky responded with, “I’m glad you think that, but he won’t.”

Gardner promised Kaminsky he’d continue to get involved in GOP primaries to stop “bad candidates.”

Anil Mathai, GOP chair in Adams County, was even more direct on the radio last week, rhetorically asking Gardner, “Are you on crack cocaine?” for suggesting that Alabama Democrat Doug Jones vote with Republicans.

Asked by Kaminsky yesterday if he thought political parties “aren’t doing themselves any favors by getting involved in primaries,” Gardner said:

Gardner: “What I thought was important was that I stand up for values that we hold, and that’s something I am going to continue to do. .. And so I hope, going forward, we can look at stopping the bad candidates who may get access to office and get behind conservative credentials who can win, who we can be proud of, who can grow this Republican majority.” Listen here at 6:40.

Such statements infuriate many GOP base voters, who don’t want establishment Republicans, like Gardner, spending money to stop candidates backed by grassroots GOP campaigns.

Coffman didn’t want “healthcare issues” in tax bill. Will he vote for it anyway?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has traveled his usual winding road on supporting Obamacare-repeal bills this year, even doing his usual U turn along the way.

And today, with the House set to vote on a tax bill that would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate and throw 13 million people off the health insurance rolls, including 225,000 here in Colorado by 2025, Coffman needs to decide once again what to do.

If Coffman prioritizes a partial Obamacare repeal over tax benefits (mostly) for the rich, he’ll vote against the tax bill, if you believe what he told KOA 850-AM’s April Zesbaugh Nov. 17.

Zesbaugh asked Coffman directly whether he thought repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of the tax bill was a “bad idea.”

Coffman dodged the question, but said definitively that he prefers to “deal with the healthcare issues separately.”

Coffman: I prefer to deal with the healthcare issues separately.

Where there’s a savings from healthcare that’s as an offset, as if you do away with the individual mandate for Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, that there are a lot of people who are forced to buy insurance that will no longer buy insurance, and they will no longer have the subsidies. That’s where the savings is in that. (Listen below)

So Coffman explained the Republican logic, without taking a position on it or pointing out collateral damage, in the form of millions of people losing health insurance coverage.

He also did not say whether he’d vote for the tax bill if it ended up repealing the individual mandate.

The House version of the tax bill, which Coffman backed, did not include this provision.

And Coffman told Zesbaugh that he expected the final version of the tax bill to be “something closer to the House version.”

In terms of health care, that’s not the case. So Coffman is left with a choice.

Earlier this year, you recall, Coffman said he’d vote for a House Obamacare-repeal bill, which would have pushed millions off Medicaid health insurance. But the bill never came up for a vote.

Then Coffman voted against a similar Obamacare repeal bill, which passed the House but never cleared the Senate, thanks to the thumbs of Sen. John McCain of Arizona and others.

Next, Coffman indicated he’d vote for a repeal-Obamcare-later bill, under which the healthcare law would be repealed but the implementation of the repeal would come later.

Coffman told a 9News Marshall Zelinger he wanted the Obamacare repeal to be deep enough into the future so as not to “disrupt the markets” and would give Congress “adequate time” to replace it.

The Congressman didn’t offer a date when the markets wouldn’t be disrupted and Congress would have adequate time to come up with a replacement.

Listen to Mike Coffman on 850-KOA Nov. 17, 2017.

Echoing Trump, Gardner says passage of tax bill will be a “great Christmas celebration across the country”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sounding much like Trump, who last week called the Republican tax bill “one of the great Christmas gifts to middle-income people,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) told a conservative radio listeners Friday:

Gardner: “And what a great Christmas celebration across the country, as we pass a bill that would grow wages, cut taxes, and get this country competitive again.”

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that, in fact, the GOP tax bill will not deliver Christmas gifts equally to all Americans:

“But the fine print [of the tax bill] reveals that some will get a much nicer gift than others, the benefits will change over time, and some will be left out in the cold,” reports the Times. “Real estate developers and technology companies could see big tax cuts, while low-income households and people buying health insurance could lose out.”

I left a message for Gardner, asking why he and Trump could believe the tax bill will be such a great Christmas gift for Americans, even when independent analyses and most Americans think otherwise.

He didn’t return my call but fortunately KHOW 630-AM host Ross Kaminsky put the question to Gardner in a slightly different way on Friday, asking why the ill-informed public doesn’t understand how great the Republican bill is.

Kaminsky: One of the key things I think you and I both have been frustrated with for years is that even when the GOP is on the right side of the issue, the public doesn’t seem to understand it that well.  And the tax bill, for example, it doesn’t poll nearly as well as I think it should. And I wonder what you think Republicans, conservatives can do to improve the public understanding, to turn a positive economic thing into also a positive political thing.

Gardner: You know, over the ten day course of the tax bill debate it went from being “some people opposed to it because they thought they didn’t like tax cuts” to “this is going to kill thousands of people” to “this is the biblical end of times and the rapture is just around the corner”. I think those kinds of hyperbole and rhetoric have gone completely over the top. And when, next year, when American workers are starting to see tax relief in their home, in their household…the fear of, you know, the Biblical times is simply not going to materialize.

As the tax bill has moved through Congress, Gardner has dodged answering specific questions about it, including whether he believes taxes should be cut for those earning $1 million or more.

(more…)

Jeffco Liberty Party Coalition Gives Gardner “Enema of the State” Award

(That sounds painful – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has been taking it pretty hard from all Coloradans, judging from his low approval ratings, and his conservative base isn’t giving him a pass when it comes to criticism either.

In one recent Facebook post, for example, the North Jeffco Tea Party shared an image of an “Enema of the State” award that was apparently bestowed on Gardner by a vote at the Christmas Party of the Jeffco Liberty Party Coalition.

The award, also given to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, was for Gardner’s “Conduct Unbecoming of a Conservative.”

Gardner has also been under serious attack most of the year by some conservative talk radio hosts here in Colorado, most recently because of his abandonment (and then partial embrace) of failed Alabama Republican Roy Moore, but generally because of his close ties to U.S. Senate President Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who’s seen as a tool for moneyed GOP interests–as opposed to a champion of Tea Party principles.

This month on KNUS 710-AM, host Julie Hayden called Gardner a “swamp creature,” saying Gardner won’t support “populist” candidates who will “not be bought and paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the big-money boys.”

Gardner won’t support Republicans who “are voting based on what the voters want” because “that threatens [his] entire existence,” said Hayden, who’s a former Fox 31 Denver reporter.

Gardner did not immediately return a call for comment, but defended his opposition to Moore by saying he was “unfit” to serve in the senate.  Gardner holds a leadership role in the U.S. Senate, working closely with McConnell, and Gardner has been a reliable backer Senate leader all year. Gardner has also voted with Trump 94 percent of the time.

Hayden’s co-host, Chuck Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of a newspaper in Glendale and Cherry Creek, explained on air that Gardner “has been promised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that if  [Gardner] is defeated, they will give him millions in lobbying contracts. I mean, millions of dollars in lobbying contracts.”

“He’ll get to spend the rest of his life in luxury and ease,” said Bonniwell, adding that Gardner “doesn’t care” if he’s re-elected. “He ain’t coming back to Colorado. He’s staying in Washington DC for the rest of his life and he will live the life of a multi-millionaire.”

“If anybody is a weasel, Cory Gardner is a weasel,” said Bonniwell.

Yesterday on Hayden and Bonniwell’s KNUS show, Anil Mathai, GOP chair in Adams Cty, asks Sen. Gardner, “Are you on crack cocaine?” for suggesting that Alabama Democrat Doug Jones vote with Republicans. Listen to Mathai here:

Not all on talk radio are critical of Gardner. Conservative KNUS host Dan Caplis is unwavering in his defense of Gardner, asking his Tea Party critics to name a single vote that Gardner has gone the wrong way on.

GOP HD-47 candidate says Reyher “embarrassed our party” and was “selected under a cloud of suspicion”

(Harsh – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tamra Axworthy formally ended her campaign to fill a vacant seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, stating in an email to media today that she can’t “understand why the [Republican] party would move ahead with seating a candidate who was selected under a cloud of suspicion and who has embarrassed our party with racially charged offensive remarks.”

On Nov. 27, GOP vacancy committee appeared to have selected Otero County GOP Chair Judy Reyher to fill a House seat held by State Rep. Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo), who resigned to join the Trump Administration.

But Axworthy challenged the vacancy committee’s decision at the end of last month, even going so far as to email reporters what she saw as proof that six members of the 11-person committee had voted for her over Reyher. (See the texts below and to the right.)

Axworthy says state Republicans ruled against her anyway, proving to her that the “process is set up to favor the establishment” and “was rigged to favor Judy, the Chair of her own vacancy selection, from even before the resignation of Clarice Navarro was publicly announced.”

​​”Even when 6 out of the 11 voters provide written statements that show a different outcome from the official party narrative, party insiders are content to ignore it and sweep the matter under the rug,” wrote Axworthy.

“This was certainly confirmed to me when I learned that the party, being aware of a further appeal, certified Judy’s appointment and sent it to the Secretary of State without first directly addressing the evidence of 6 separate voters attesting to a different outcome.”

Axworthy is so disheartened by the outcome that she “more than likely won’t be running in a primary” against Reyher, who sparked a national media flareup with her racist comments on Facebook (African Americans are “hatred-filled beings.”) and to The Denver Post (Black people “hate white people with a passion.”). Still, Reyher insists she is not a racist.

“You should never say never,'” wrote Axworthy about a primary challenge to Reyher, “but how can anyone decent run for office when the deck is so stacked against outsiders who wish to serve in an honest, and in this case, non-bigoted way?”

Republican officials, including Freemont County Republican Chair Gregory Carlson, who chaired the vacancy committee meeting after Reyher recused herself, insisted that Reyher was elected fairly by secret ballot, according to an email obtained from a source.

(more…)

Sonnenberg Says Lowering Global-Warming Pollution Would “Kill All The Trees And Plants”

(Jerry Sonnenberg don’t need no science — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a talk-radio appearance last week, Colorado State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) had this to say about environmentalists concerned about carbon pollution, which is causing temperatures to rise on Earth:

SONNENBERG: [below at 3:45] So, you know, when we talk about carbon dioxide and those type of things, actually, those are important to agriculture and to the balance of nature. Trees and plants use carbon dioxide to create oxygen. It’s part of their process. And it’s nature’s way to make things work. So I guess my argument to those enviros that want less carbon is,”Here, you want to kill all the trees and plants.”

This type of climate-change denial is not taken seriously by the scientific community.

Even so-called “climate skeptics,” who deny the seriousness of global warming, at least acknowledge that human activities are contributing to a rise in global temperatures.

So Sonnenberg sits with an extreme fringe, which has representatives in high places. See Trump’s Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who denies the link between Carbon emissions and climate change. See also Trump himself, who’s dismissed global warming as a hoax.

Sonnenberg, who spoke to KFTM-AM Dec. 6 from Nashville where was attending an unnamed energy task force meeting with other legislators, possibly as part of an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), meeting did not immediately return a call seeking clarification or comment. Surprisingly, Sonnenberg said some of his conservative allies on the task force favored a carbon tax.

Sonnenberg’s position in denial of global warming is shared by other Republicans in Colorado, including apparently Cory Gardner, who refused during the last election to tell Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett whether he thinks humans are causing global warming.

Top Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2014, including current GOP contender for governor Tom Tancredo, had the same position as Sonnenberg.

SONNENBERG: [00:04:42] And when you look at the speck of time that we’re here on Earth, and we talk about climate change for the last — what?– 30, 40 years compared to the last 30, 40 million of cycles of the Earth — the climate cycles of the earth — we are a fraction — a very small fraction — in the time scale. And to think that humans have the ability to destroy the Earth is just ludicrous.

Sonnenberg scored an 11 percent on Conservation Colorado’s 2017 Environmental Scorecard.

Saine’s talk-radio-host lawyer does a bad job of convincing us his client is a responsible gun owner

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Do you see why people are concerned that a state lawmaker walked into a security check point with a weapon?” asked Channel 7 reporter Jaclyn Allen.

“Well, I would hope more people would feel sorry for her for forgetting she had [the loaded gun] and being in custody here [in jail] for going on 30 hours,” replied State Rep. Lori Saine’s (R-Firestone) attorney Randy Corporon, who moonlights as a conservative talk-radio host on KNUS-710 AM.

That’s one of a number responses Corporon gave Allen about his client’s bad behavior with guns at the airport, where she was arrested after her gun was discovered this week.

During the unusual interview, Corporon repeatedly downplayed the security risks posed by someone who tries to run a loaded weapon through airport security, saying such a move does not translate into irresponsible gun ownership.

Told by Allen that a lot of people can relate to forgetting a bottle of water but not to forgetting a loaded weapon, Corporon said, “I think responsible gun owners who conceal carry don’t have to think about it as some special nuclear-powered weapon or something.”

“You have to be responsible as a gun owner,” Corporon told Allen. “[Saine] was. She has the proper licensure. There were no bullets in the chamber, according to the probable cause affidavit. She was in a hurry. It was in a purse and she didn’t realize she sent through TSA. I think it’s about as simple as that.”

“They just made a mistake in a hurry,” said Corporon of the 106 people who got caught carrying a weapon through a security check point this year. He asserted, without citing evidence, that none of the 106 intended to “take down a plane” or “cause a stir.”

Gardner Cancels CPR Interview, Still Makes Right-Wing Radio Show

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was really looking forward to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) appearance yesterday on Colorado Public Radio, especially after reading the outpouring of questions submitted in response to CPR journalist Ryan Warner’s request for queries for Gardner on the tax bill.

Here are the 100-plus questions, from Warner’s Twitter feed. They give you hope for representative government in these dark times.

But alas, Gardner cancelled, leading Warner to Tweet:

I’m grateful for all the questions you’ve shared for @SenCoryGardner. His office says they must reschedule. Stay tuned.

You have to take Gardner at his word that he had a real conflict, but it’s worth noting that our senator did not cancel his radio interview with arch conservative Jimmy Sengenberger, over at KDMT, this morning at around 7 a.m.

Sengenberger started off by confirming Gardner’s previously announced position against backing Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who faces accusations of child molestation. Sengenberger told Gardner he “appreciates” Gardner’s stance.

“Thank you. Thank you,” said Gardner.

Then the tax bill.

“Where do we go from here?” asked Sengenberger, pulling out his big guns.

“I was very excited about the passage of the tax relief bill. Every income bracket, every income level in America will see tax relief as a result of this bill legislation. It’s going to grow the economy, create a million jobs, and most importantly for the people of Colorado, this will lead to higher wage growth. We’ve seen for far too long, over the past decade, stagnant wages, people working harder than ever, and they are not bringing home more money. As a result of this legislation, businesses bringing investments back into the United States, more competitive around the globe, we’re going to see those dollars come back into the United States and it’s going to result in competition for workers. And as a result we’ll see wage growth. That’s a very powerful tool of economic growth and economic activity, and that’s what we’re going to see…This makes us competitive again.”

Help! Journalistic intervention needed. But alas, no Warner-type person exists  in the KDMT studio.

Instead, we have Sengenberger. All he could come up with was a trickle of a question about whether the individual tax cuts would be made permanent.

No doubt they would at some point, said Gardner, and the interview continued with this:

Sengenberger: “How much of an impact do you think this could really have on wages and other forms of investments that businesses might want to make, Sen. Gardner, in their businesses?”

Gardner: “Well, I think significant. If you look at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, their estimates in Colorado for net increase in income for the average family is over $3,000…”

Sengenberger’s response: None. (Complete acceptance of trickle-down economics and of the Tax Foundation as nonpartisan, when it’s in fact right-leaning)

He moved on to praising Gardner for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate.

“That one could affect a large swath of people, myself included,” Sengenberger told Gardner.

“This simply says to people, ‘You have a choice,” responded Gardner. “You can either buy insurance or not. It’s about freedom. It’s about opportunity….

“[This bill] doesn’t take anybody’s health care away. That’s simply a hysteria out there that is just not founded in reality.” [emphasis added]

Nothing from Sengenberger about the truly nonpartisan Congressional estimates that 13 million people will lose health insurance as a result of the repeal, and premiums will rise by 10 percent more than anticipated.

Instead, Sengenberger’s follow up question puts an exclamation point on why we can’t afford for journalism to die in America.

“How optimistic are you at being able to get this bill through Congress by the end of the year, if not by Christmas?” asked Sengenberger.

“You know, I’m very optimistic….” said Gardner.

Listen to Gardner’s interview on KDMT 1690-AM Dec. 6.