State senator says “each individual has to be the arbiter” of fake news

neville-post-saying-ca-dems-legalize-child-porn-12-30-16If the left and right are ever going to agree on ground rules for stopping the spread of fake news, both sides will have to wear gloves and nose clips to endure the rot and stench of some awful Facebook “news”–while we focus on eliminating the worst falsehoods and fabrications.

That’s what I was thinking after my phone conversation Friday with State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton).

I thought it was obvious Neville had spread fake news by posting an article on Facebook with the headline, “California Democrats Legalize Child Prostitution.”

But after talking to Neville about it, he convinced me that the prostitution post wasn’t fake news, from his ultra-conservative perspective, (even though it was fake news from where I sit), and I was wrong for thinking he would see it otherwise.

“I get what you’re saying,” Neville told me. “And I know the title of the story might have been sensationalist. However, what they did with the law creates an opportunity for child prostitution without any kind of [criminal] enforcement. So, I’m comfortable leaving it up. And if you feel it might have been a little bit sensationalist as far as the headline, I mean, Jason, I like your writing, and I read it, but sensationalism is part of your game…

I looked again at Snopes, which I’d relied on as my fact checker, and realized that it had rated the California-prostitution item as “mostly false,” not “false,” for exactly the reason Neville cited.

Snopes concluded:

WHAT’S TRUE: A California law passed in 2016 provides that minors involved in prostitution be treated as victims rather than criminals.

WHAT’S FALSE: It is still illegal for Californians to hire prostitutes (child or otherwise), and sex traffickers will still face consequences if they are caught prostituting children.

“If children are engaging in prostitution, they can’t even be prosecuted as juveniles,” said Neville. “If I post the article, I expect people to read the article, make their own decisions, and go from there. I just think it’s a bad policy.”

If Neville had signed the Fake News Pledge for elected officials, it would have been within the guidelines for him not to remove the California-prostitution item anyway, because it wasn’t rated 100 percent “false” by Snopes, which the pledge uses, along with Factcheck.org, Politifact, and “respected” news outlets, as arbiters of fakeness.

Not so, however, with two other fake-news posts I found on Neville’s Facebook page. Both items, discussed in my recent investigation of fake news on state lawmakers’ websites, were found to be false by Factcheck.org.

neville-on-earth-in-21st-year-without-global-warming-2015-07-19-daily-caller

In one case, Neville posted an Daily Caller item 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.

“Global warming alarmists have a real problem,” wrote Neville on Facebook. “Satellite data tells the real story.”

The mainstream scientific community, as reported by Factcheck.org, has found no hiatus in global warming on Earth, unless you cherry pick the data.

“There are a lot of sources on that,” Neville told me, adding that different temperature reporting procedures around the world throw off the “baseline” for comparisons.

He’s right that there are other sources, but I could not find a third-party arbiter that finds them credible.

neville-on-obama-new-national-reitrement-system-2015-09-03-nationalseniorscouncil

In another case that I cite in my investigation, Neville posted a fake-news  item in August headlined, “Obama Begins Push for New National Retirement System.” The linked article, based on a hearing way back in 2010, claimed the Obama Administration had begun an effort “to nationalize the nation’s pension system and to eliminate private retirement accounts including IRA’s and 401k plans.” But years ago, when the accusation was first hurled by the conservative National Seniors Council, Factcheck.org showed it to be false.

If Neville were a signer of the Fake News Pledge, it would be within the guidelines for him to post both the global warming and retirement items, but he’d have to explain why he did so, since his posts were found to be false by an independent arbiters listed in the pledge.

“I don’t put a lot of faith in Snopes,” Neville told me. “I used to rely on Snopes, and too often I would find that Snopes was incorrect.”

Is there any group of arbiters that the left and right could agree on? I’ve asked conservatives on Twitter and elsewhere to edit the Fake News Pledge to make it acceptable to them. None has responded.

“My point is, people have a responsibility [to think about information],” said Neville. “They read something. They can challenge it. They can argue.”

Neville said people should get news from a variety of sources.

“I don’t expect people to act and react on something I might post any more than I would act or react on something they might post,” he said. “We’re not experts. We put information out there. A lot of times, it reflects opinion. Sometimes a news source might let you down. I think they’ve all kind of let us down over the last few years, the last year in particular.”

“To me, each individual has to be the arbiter,” he continued. “And my hope is, those who are involved in journalism, it’s their profession, I hope they take it seriously. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. That’s what we have to work with.”

Asked if he would delete something from Facebook, if he thought it was wrong, based on his own preferred sources, whatever they are, Neville said, “Yes, you take a look at it. You try to get more information out. And you try to follow up with something else, which is what you would do.”

“Call me and let me know,” he said.

OPEN LETTER TO SPEAKER RYAN

OPEN LETTER TO SPEAKER RYAN

Dear Speaker Ryan,

I was dismayed to learn that you have blocked calls to your office. As Speaker of the House, and third in line to the presidency, you have a responsibility to all Americans to listen to their voices and represent them. I don’t live in your district, but I am an American.

Yes, I know that some Americans believe that abortion should be illegal. I’d like to remind you that when it was illegal, there were still abortions. What Roe V. Wade did was make abortions safe for the women who choose to have them. I believe that abortions should be rare, and safe.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is a political witch hunt, and will do nothing to stop abortions. First, it is a very small part of their business, which already cannot be paid for with taxpayer money. Second, lots of poor people use it to get tested for STDs, to get information about birth control. It is folly to deny people access to that information, especially if you want fewer abortions. The more informed citizens are about avoiding pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, the healthier our nation is. A bonus is fewer abortions because there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Likewise repealing the ACA is folly unless you have something with which to replace it.

My friend has insurance only because he was forced to get it because of the ACA. It turns out he needed it badly. He had undiagnosed diabetes that resulted in a sore on his foot developing gas gangrene. You may want to look that up. I had no idea that there were different kinds of gangrene until he was diagnosed. Gas gangrene is often fatal because it is so aggressive. His leg was amputated below the knee, and now he is waiting for the wound to heal enough to be fitted for a prosthesis. Are you seriously willing to pull the leg out from under this man who has worked in orchards, potato warehouses, and on gas pipelines his whole life? He won’t be able to do any work without two legs.

Now, my story. My employers paid into insurance companies from the time I was 18 until I lost my job in 2008. The company I worked for at the time had to reinvent itself because of the disaster in financial markets. I had religiously paid the maximum allowed into deferred payment plans and health savings plans for many years. Having no job at the age of 60 caused me to dip into those deferred payment plans for my living expenses. I paid penalties and a 30% tax rate for doing so, and the funds were rapidly depleted. The health savings plan was wiped out when, at the age of 62, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It only covered the initial surgery, none of the chemotherapy or radiation therapy. I became a charity patient, after being an executive in the finance world.

My point is that without the safety net of Social Security and Medicare, I would not be alive today. Please think about someone other than corporate executives when you look at the problems with health care in America. Americans deserve access to health care more than corporate executives deserve multi-million dollar paychecks. That’s my belief. It may not be yours, but there are more people like me in America than there are people like you.

Hopefully,

Claudette J Konola

Radio host drops the ball in interview with Gardner, who signals support for Tillerson

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an appearance on KNUS 710-AM Thursday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is “somebody that a president should be able to have on his cabinet.”

Gardner also said he was “very impressed” with Trump’s education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos (SSSP).

But Caplis dropped the ball by not challenging Gardner on his comments about Russia.

Gardner: “One of the biggest threats that we had created ourselves is the fact that the U.S. presented weakness over the last eight years. And when we present weakness, we embolden our enemies.  As a result, we’ve seen an emboldened Russia, we’ve seen an emboldened Iran, we’ve seen emboldened terrorists around the globe, and you know, from the Middle East to North Korea.   So, that’s got to change.  And I believe it will change based on the conversation [in hearings] with Rex Tillerson yesterday and what we’re hearing out of the new administration,  that it will be a strong, engaged U.S. foreign policy that shows that the United States will be an active strength and will support our friends and will take it to our enemies.”

Right now we’re having a conversation about whether the next president is actually subject to blackmail by the Russian government, and the next president seems to be entertaining a new policy of capitulating to the Russian position on sanctions, Syria, and Ukraine.

Talking to Caplis, Gardner is saying that an emboldened Russia is a problem, and it’s Obama’s fault for not being tough enough.

But Gardner just participated in a hearing with a nominee for Secretary of State who admitted that he hasn’t talked with Trump about Russia, and this is what Gardner has to say?

You could be Gardner’s very best friend, like Caplis seems to want to be, and still ask Colorado’s U.S. Senator more pointed questions about Tillerson, Trump, and Russia. But Caplis was mum.

Trump’s Speedy Agenda Crashes Into Earth

Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexico border is a tad behind schedule.

As the Washington Post explains, President-elect Donald Trump’s aggressive plans for sweeping policy changes are running into problems with reality:

Just this week, Trump vowed to get started right away building a wall at the border with Mexico (“I don’t want to wait”) and repealing and replacing President Obama’s health-care law (“probably the same day, could be the same hour”).

But ahead of his swearing-in next Friday, the extraordinarily high expectations that Trump has set are running into the logjam known as American democracy. While every new president confronts Washington’s sluggish culture, Trump’s more grandiose and hard-line ideas could face unprecedented challenges — logistical and even constitutional.

Trump imagines a presidency of vision and velocity, but his big-ticket items cannot be done by presidential edict, no matter how loud Trump’s demands might be or assured he is of the popularity of his proposals. They will require consensus on Capitol Hill, emerging from a deliberative process that takes time and the navigation of a labyrinth of constituencies and special interests.

Trump’s team has devised a full legislative calendar with congressional leaders that begins with health care, but already Trump’s ambitions have been slowed somewhat. The Republican majorities in both chambers are moving swiftly to dismantle parts of current law but are still discussing how exactly to replace it. A House vote scheduled Friday on a budget measure, which includes steps to begin repeal of the health law, was preceded by hours of skittishness among both conservative and moderate members about whether Republicans were moving too soon.

Trump will enter the White House next week with historically-low approval ratings, and failing to meet his own lofty expectations won’t do anything to make him more popular.

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Launches thepriceiswrong.org Opposing Trump’s HHS nominee

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Launches New Grassroots Effort Opposing Trump HHS Nominee Tom Price:

thepriceiswrong.org”

Denver – NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, the political voice of the pro-choice movement, is launching a new grassroots effort to let legislators, the media, and Colorado’s pro-choice majority know that when it comes to women’s health, The Price Is Wrong. Trump has nominated anti-choice, anti-abortion rights Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga) to a Cabinet post to be Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.

thepriceiswrong.org website will be collecting women’s stories and sending their objections to Price’s nomination to Colorado’s U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D).

“Frankly, Tom Price’s views are so backwards we wonder what century he thinks he’s living in – because it sure doesn’t bear any relation to the needs of women in this state and this country in 2016,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Karen Middleton. “He’s supported Personhood bills giving full legal rights to fertilized eggs – the same Personhood language Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected at the ballot box. And he’s been a vocal opponent of birth control access, including the types of birth control that cut the unintended pregnancy rate here in Colorado.

But here’s the jaw-dropper: Tom Price has said he’s never met a woman who can’t afford birth control. This will come as news to women who have struggled to pay for a $1600 IUD or a year’s worth of birth control.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (January 13)

Superstitions like “Friday the 13th” seem like they belong in a simpler time — when reality wasn’t so scary. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

►As the Obamacare repeal-and-we-swear-we-have-a-plan-for-replacement debate rages on in Congress, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is finally getting a bit more attention from local media outlets. Gardner is fully onboard with plans to repeal Obamacare – replacement be damned — and is doing his best to pretend that his constituents in Colorado actually want this mess…nevermind the fact that constituents are not able to get through to Gardner’s office at all. As the Associated Press reports today, Senate Republicans still seem to be no closer to even having a plan for replacement.

Polling results are continually showing that repealing Obamacare without a replacement in place is HUGELY UNPOPULAR with Americans. From The Hill:

Only 18 percent of voters think Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should fully repeal ObamaCare, a new poll released Thursday finds.

Another 47 percent said only some of ObamaCare should be repealed, while 31 percent said it should be left untouched.

According to a separate poll from NPR/Ipsos, only 14% of Americans support repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. 

 

► When President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated next week, he will assume office as the most unpopular incoming President in modern history. From “The Fix”:

Just four in ten people polled by Gallup say they approve of the way Trump is handling his transition — a stand-in for presidential approval in this odd three-month interregnum.  Those are the lowest marks ever measured by Gallup for an incoming president. They are also half — yes HALF — as high as the 83 percent of people who approved of how then President-elect Barack Obama handled his own transition in late 2008/early 2009.  And Trump’s numbers even track well below those of George W. Bush, whose transition was cut short by an extended recount that left lots of the country unconvinced that he had actually won! [Pols emphasis]

Wow. Worse than Dubya?

The Colorado Springs Independent has a handy list of local events related to the January 20th Inauguration.

 

► In his State of the State address on Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called on the legislature to ask voters to approve a tax hike for transportation and infrastructure needs.

“We’ve had this debate for too long. If talk could fill potholes, we’d have the best roads in the country.”

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Dr. Chaps says his Facebook post alleging “assassination of Scalia” by Clintons isn’t necessarily fake

(Uhm – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

klingenschmidt-on-wikileaks-exposing-assassination-of-scalia-endingthefedAt the end of last year, in an investigation of the Facebook pages of Colorado state legislators, I revealed that then State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) posted a fake-news item in October claiming that Wikileaks documents proved the “assassination of Scalia” was orchestrated by the Clintons.

The day after Klingenschmitt posted the Scalia item, Snopes showed it to be false, concluding, “An e-mail published by WikiLeaks referenced not the literal assassination of Antonin Scalia, but what appeared to be a coordinated smear of Bernie Sanders.”

Yet the item remains on Klingenschmitt’s Facebook page to this day, along with this comment, “Anybody have a comment on this? Scalia dies same weekend after Podesta (for Hillary Clinton) sends this ‘wet works’ email? Hmmmm.”

I asked “Dr. Chaps,” as Klingenschmitt calls himself, why he hasn’t removed the fake news…

 

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Colorado Week in Review: 1/13/17

Wilburn is another possible candidate for state GOP chair

Derrick Wilburn, vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party, will decide whether to run for state party chair later this month, after current GOP chair Steve House makes his decision on whether to seek re-election to the post.

Wilburn made the comments on KLZ 560-AM Tuesday, under direct questioning from Rush to Reason host Dan Meurer.

MEURER: I’ve got to ask you this, Derek: Are you going to run for State Party Chair?
WILBURN: You dirty [so-and-so]. Here’s the answer: I don’t know yet.
MEURER: Oh!
WILBURN: I’m a supporter of Steve House…. I would not consider running against him and trying to unseat him. So, until I know what his decision is, I won’t have a decision of my own.

Wilburn told Meurer that House will make his decision Jan. 23 on whether to defend his chairmanship. House has said previously that he will make his decision on running in late January

If he throws his hat in the race for party chair, Wilburn would join George Athanasopoulos, an ardent Trump supporter and failed congressional candidate, who announced his candidacy on KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles show in November.

Also in the race is El Paso County Republican Chair Jeff Hays, as first reported by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

A decision by House not to seek re-election may open a floodgate of Republican candidates seeking to replace him, say political observers.

Wilburn, the founder of American Conservatives of Color and Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, is a former talk-radio host, who at times has been a harsh critic of the Colorado Republican Party, including former chair Ryan Call. In one on-air critique, he gave an “Almost Human” award to Republicans generally.

Wilburn is known to be a tireless activist, crisscrossing the state in his efforts to bolster the Republican Party and diversify the GOP, which continues to repel most people of color across the country.

An early version of this post had George Athanasopoulos’ first name wrong, but the last name was spelled correctly.

Polis responds honorably to accusation he spread fake news on Twitter

Conservative activist Kelly Maher tweeted yesterday that I should launch “57 tweets” at U.S. Rep. Jared Polis because he tweeted information from a Buzzfeed article with unsubstantiated allegations against Trump. In other words, fake news.

Maher had a serious point, and as I was formulating the 57 tweets she requested, Polis responded to Maher, and, in the end, what he did was mostly in keeping with the guidelines outlined in the Fake News Pledge for Elected Officials.

Polis deleted his tweet with Buzzfeed’s unsubstantiated information (apparently Polis did this before Maher’s tweets), and he had a substantive Twitter conversation with Maher. Polis should have explained why he deleted his tweet, especially after Maher referenced it, but Polis did re-tweet a post from Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith explaining why his outlet published unverified information about Trump.

It was good to see Polis openly engage Maher, which is what you’d hope elected officials would do when presented with evidence that they’re spreading fake news. (Former GOP State Representative Kit Roupe openly discussed her deletion of a fake-news item last week.)

Here’s a portion of the Twitter exchange between Polis and Maher:

Kelly Maher @okmaher: I expect at least 3 Huffpo articles and 57 tweets from @BigMediaBlog [That’s my Twitter handle] aimed at @jaredpolis for sharing “fake news” today. #copolitics #coleg

Jared Polis @jaredpolis: @okmaher @BigMediaBlog why do you think it is fake? Do you have intelligence that I don’t? If so pls share.

Kelly Maher @okmaher: @jaredpolis 1) 4chan took credit 2) all other news orgs passed 3) you deleted your tweet calling it “intel” @BigMediaBlog #copolitics

Kelly Maher @okmaher: @jaredpolis I agree that it needs to be sussed out, but @BigMediaBlog accuses those who share first, then asks questions later. #copolitics

Jared Polis @jaredpolis: @okmaher @BigMediaBlog good so we both agree that the Intel needs to be analyzed and “sussed out.” Consequences if true? Trump resignation?

Kelly Maher @okmaher: @jaredpolis “intel” is an aggressive word. It is CLEARLY unverified and @BigMediaBlog should be consistent about “fake news” #copolitics

Jared Polis@jaredpolis: @okmaher @BigMediaBlog I want it looked into and verified, the charges are very serious

Kelly Maher @okmaher: @jaredpolis This is bad for our entire system of accountability and governance theatlantic.com/politics/archi… @BigMediaBlog #copolitics

Polis didn’t delete tweets with links to CNN and Washington Post stories stating that top intelligence chiefs briefed Trump and Obama on unconfirmed claims that Russia had compromising information about Trump.

That’s a legitimate story. That is, the fact that the intelligence chiefs included these claims in their briefing, and Polis was totally within real-news bounds to comment on it, as he did on his Twitter feed, calling for an investigation.

The State of the 2018 Governor’s Race

Who wants to follow this routine?

It’s that time of year in an off-year election cycle when the rumors and name-dropping are coming from every direction. On the same day that Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State address, we thought it would be a good time to takes a look at what we’re seeing, reading, and hearing when it comes to jockeying for Colorado’s top job in 2018…

 

IN THE RACE
Noel Ginsburg (D)
As of this writing, there are seven candidates who have officially filed with the Secretary of State’s office to run for governor in 2018. Ginsburg is the only relevant name here; the other six are just gadflies who apparently think it would be fun to run for governor. We’ve written a bit about Ginsburg already, though it’s far too early to gauge whether the Denver businessman can really make a dent in this race.

 

NOT YET “OFFICIAL,” BUT DEFINITELY RUNNING
George Brauchler (R)
Walker Stapleton (R)
Cary Kennedy (D)
Mike Johnston (D)
Brauchler and Stapleton are both going to run for governor; the only suspense is about when they will make an official announcement. Kennedy and Johnston have been moving toward a run for governor for many months now, and it would be more of a surprise at this point if they chose not to enter the race — although that could change depending on what happens with Ken Salazar and Ed Perlmutter (see below).

 

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 12)

The State of the State is…pretty good, we guess. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

Congress took a step closer to repealing Obamacare late Wednesday evening/Thursday morning, though Republicans are still fighting about whether anybody actually has a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with something else. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was tracked down by Grey DC and promised that Republicans will definitely have a plan for replacing Obamacare. That’s the plan, anyway:

 “When it’s repealed it will be replaced there is no doubt it will be replaced with an idea that is better than the disastrous results of Obama care,” Gardner (R-CO) said.

Uh, yeah. How about giving the rest of us some actual details about this big plan, eh Sen. Gardner?

 

► Governor John Hickenlooper delivers his State of the State address today with an eye toward securing his legacy. From John Frank at the Denver Post:

The Democrat’s list of accomplishments is lengthy, but many of his biggest challenges remain — notably how to address what he calls the state’s “fiscal thicket” of spending rules tied to TABOR, an issue he identified in his first address after being re-elected.

Other unfinished business includes implementation of a generational water management plan, a tax hike to improve the state’s roads and transit, a crackdown on the illegal marijuana market and a push to reduce homelessness — one of the issues that led him to public office 13 years ago.

His 11 a.m. speech to a joint session of the General Assembly will diverge in tone from a year ago, when he peppered his remarks with a pop-culture montage and basked in the glow of a new marriage. Instead, he will focus more soberly on the challenges ahead and the need to tackle the most complicated political questions.

 

► Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was less than thrilled with some of the answers provided Wednesday by Rex TillersonDonald Trump’s choice for Secretary of State. As Politico reports:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is narrowly divided, with the GOP holding just a one-seat advantage. And most Democrats, if not all, sounded skeptical about Tillerson’s performance before the panel. So Rubio may determine whether Tillerson’s nomination can successfully win committee approval — or come to a floor vote after being given an “unfavorable” recommendation by the panel.

On Wednesday during multiple rounds of questioning, Tillerson largely failed to satisfy Rubio’s obvious desire for tough talk on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women. Tillerson, the former chief executive at oil giant ExxonMobil, wouldn’t call Putin a “war criminal,” or criticize reports of extrajudicial killings by Duterte’s police forces, leading a seemingly exasperated Rubio to repeatedly ask Tillerson what it would take for him to do so.

The clashes forced Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to step in several times, in an effort to get Tillerson to clarify that if he had access to classified information detailing atrocities by Putin or Duterte he would endorse Rubio’s critiques. And remarkably, at one point Tillerson protested that he and Rubio had gotten off on the wrong foot and insisted they share the same values.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

County Republican chair suggests castrating transgender people who use women’s bathrooms

(Another ultra-classy county GOP chair! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

drake-castration-meme-1-2017Saguache County Republican Chair Richard Drake apparently shared a Facebook meme this week depicting a castration device with the statement, “Make’em think twice  before entering the ladies room. Share if you know what these are used for.”

The instrument wraps a rubber band above the testicles, cutting off circulation to them.

Drake did not respond to a phone call and email seeking to find out why he shared the meme, if it was he who did so on his Facebook page.

“Violence against transgender people is no laughing matter,” said Laura Reinsch, a spokesman for One Colorado, which is “dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families.” “Nearly half of transgender people report being verbally harassed — and one in ten report being physically harassed — in the last year alone, and many transgender Coloradans face barriers in finding housing, employment opportunities, and the right to vote just because of who they are. Transgender people are our friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.”

Below is an email sent to Drake, seeking comment:

Hi Mr. Drake—

I am a Denver blogger…

I’m writing a short post on the Facebook image you apparently shared below.

Did you, in fact, post the image on your Facebook page, and, if so, please explain why you posted this image. I will include your entire response in my blog post. I blog from a progressive perspective, but I try to help readers understand the full picture. In this case, your response would be a great help.

Thanks for considering this request.

Jason Salzman

Call Your Senator – Refuse Rex Tillerson as Sec/State

Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO and Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of State, Accepting the Order of Friendship from Vladimir PUtin in 2013. Wikipedia Russia

Today, January 11, 2017, was the first day of hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFR) on the confirmation of Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. Tillerson evaded direct questions about if he would continue to press for removal of sanctions against Russia. He refused to denounce Russia’s human rights abuses of Syrian civilians.  He equivocated about whether climate change is caused by human activity. He seemed clueless about world affairs, outside of Russia. He played dumb about Russian hacking. And he gave little indication that he would act independently of his boss, Donald Trump.

The hearing will continue Thursday, January 12, and from that point the SFR can decide to move the nomination to the entire Senate for an up or down vote, or stall it in committee, effectively killing the nomination. We want Tillerson’s nomination to die in the SFR committee. If the SFR Senators get enough calls from their constituents, it can happen. Public pressure has prevented complete gutting of the Government Ethics Office, and has postponed several hearings that Trump originally wanted on 1/12/17


Five Reasons to Call Your Senator Now to refuse this nominee

  1. Exxon is the world’s #1 contributor to climate change. The company has known for 40 years that fossil fuel extraction and burning contribute to climate change, and it has spent 35 of those 40 years actively denying the science and lobbying to prevent worldwide action on climate change.  Meanwhile, Exxon factored warming seas into its calculations on Arctic oil extraction.
  2. Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State, would enter with huge conflicts of interest. Tillerson could reverse or make policy decisions about U.S. sanctions against Russia. Reversing sanctions would allow a $500 billion Arctic oil exploration deal to go forward, making Exxon and Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft rich, even if it makes the U.S. less safe. Tillerson himself owns $218 million in Exxon stock.
  3. The Arctic climate is fragile. It’s not just the risk of spills; methane and black carbon pollution from offshore oil development will increase global warming.

    Polar Bear on Arctic ice

    Expanded drilling would increase Arctic ice melt and decrease wildlife habitat. – Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  4. Tillerson has no experience in diplomacy . World diplomacy is not one giant business deal – there are very delicate situations in the world that need tact, knowledge, and patience.
  5.  Tillerson cannot be trusted to put the USA’s interests ahead of Russia’s or of Exxons –  as intelligence expert Malcolm Nance asked on MSNBC’s Joy Reid show, “Do we want a secretary of state who is going to be working hand in hand first and foremost for the U.S. and Russian petrochemical industries?”

Call your Senator on the  Foreign Relations Committee

Contact info:

  1. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)  @ Next election: 2022
  2. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee)(Chairman) Next election: 2018
  3. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) Next election: 2020
  4. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) Next election: 2022
  5. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) Next election: 2018
  6. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) Next election: 2020
  7. David Perdue (R-Georgia) Next election: 2020
  8. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) Next election: 2022
  9. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) Next election: 2022
  10. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) Next election: 2018
  11. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) (Ranking Member) Next election: 2018
  12. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) Next election: 2018
  13. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) Next election: 2020
  14. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) Next election: 2020
  15. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) Next election: 2020
  16. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) Next election: 2018
  17. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) Next election: 2018
  18. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) Next election: 2020
  19. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Retired, not yet replaced

Bill would protect Colorado residents and immigrants, not provide “sanctuary”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Joe Salazar.

A Channel 7 story Monday alleged that a bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) would “make Colorado a sanctuary state.”

In its piece, titled “Proposed bill aims to make Colorado a sanctuary state,” Channel 7 reported:

If state Rep. Joseph Salazar, D-Adams Co., gets his way, Colorado could be the nation’s first sanctuary state…

Salazar says the passage of this is bill would be timely due to the president’s elect rhetoric on immigration.

“I’m going to take him for his words and actions in terms of his cabinet appointments, and we are going to prepare state of Colorado to defend ourselves against it,” said Joseph Salazar.

Salazar’s bill (here) never uses the word “sanctuary,” for good reason.

No local jurisdiction can provide “sanctuary” to undocumented immigrants.  No state or city can prevent the federal government from arresting undocumented immigrants–or enforcing federal immigration law.

But states don’t have to help Trump arrest undocumented immigrants. They don’t have to assist the feds in racial or religious profiling. States don’t have to help Trump develop a registry of immigrants or residents based on race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation.

And that’s what Salazar’s bill would do, basically.

So it’s a mistake for journalists, who pride themselves on precise language, to refer to Salazar’s bill as making Colorado a “sanctuary state.”

It won’t. And, if you’ve watched conservatives and bigots, like Trump, use the term “sanctuary city,” you know that it inflames people. Which would be okay if it accurately described what cities are doing when they pass laws protecting citizens and undocumented immigrants from over-reach by the federal government.

That’s what Salazar’s bill would do–and that’s how journalists should describe it.