What you can do to fight back this week (March 27)

Sunday morning, the faithful gathering at the Islamic Center of Fort Collins were greeted by a terrible sight. During the night, a vandal had attacked the building, smashing the center’s glass entry doors with rocks and desecrating their prayer hall.

Since Donald Trump’s victory last November, acts of hate like the attack on the Islamic Center of Fort Collins have been on the rise. Sadly, our neighbors and friends of other faiths, nationalities, sexual and gender identities, and other marginalized communities have been increasingly targeted.

But last night in Fort Collins, the community stood up to hate.

Once word spread via social media and word of mouth about what happened at the Islamic Center of Fort Collins, the good people of this great city took action: coming together to support their Muslim brothers and sisters, and rejecting the hatred that led to this act of vandalism. A huge crowd turned out to join hands around the building and show their support—fundamentally changing the story of what happened here.

We can’t stop everything bad that is happening in our nation today, but we can show the world that Colorado is not taking the damage Trump and the far right are doing lying down. When a Muslim child is frightened by an act of violence against their faith, we comfort them. When our families and neighbors are threatened by a political agenda meant to hurt them, Colorado unites to protect our own. And it is making all the difference.

Don’t stop now. Here are ways you can fight back for the week of March 27th:


FEATURED EVENT: The People’s Filibuster Rally-We Object to Gorsuch and We’ll Spell It Out!

Do Senators Bennet and Gardner hear us? We object to Judge Gorsuch! Do they need us to spell it out for them? YES! Join us for a rally and we will do just that: Colorado constituents will attempt line up in Civic Center Park to spell out “WE OBJECT” in giant letters – Gorsuch comes from Colorado – therefore Colorado residents MUST represent and send a strong message for our esteemed senators! A drone will fly over and take a video of the event. Therefore a LARGE crowd is needed to make this happen – please share this event with your friends, and be there rain or shine.

Where: Denver’s Civic Center Park, 101 14th Avenue, Denver
When: Saturday, April 1 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Tell Sen. Gardner’s staff: Please Protect Education!

Join us in meeting with the staff of Senator Gardner’s Colorado Springs office to discuss how important it is to save education in Colorado!

Where: 102 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs
When: Tuesday, March 28 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Resist Trump Tuesdays – Fight Gorsuch

This Tuesday we meet outside Senator Cory Gardner’s office to protest Gorsuch’s appointment, and talk about the various other aspects of Resisting Trump and his agenda, today. #ResistTrumpTuesday! Please join us and invite your friends!

Where: Skyline Park, 1125 17th St., Denver, Colorado
When: Tuesday, March 28 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Water is Life

Join Regis School of Sustainable Economic and Enterprise Development and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado for a moving and inspirational night to explore the challenges, and inspirations occurring on the front line of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This informative event features a panel of Indigenous people who have spent their time on the front lines at the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to protect the Missouri River and their homeland burial grounds. Panelists will share their stories from the front lines, their hopes and strategies for environmental justice for American Indian Communities. Join us in Solidarity for dialog and a meal catered by Tocabe Eatery.

Where: The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop St, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 28 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Feminism is alive in Denver!

Hello everyone! We are an awesome group of feminists from all different backgrounds who get together every month and discuss various feminist issues in a supportive and respectful environment. We spend some meetups discussing the current book, and we are interested in community outreach and activism so please come and share your ideas and what’s going on in the world of feminism. We want Denver to know that we feminists are alive and well! If you are a feminist and are looking for an outlet to express and share your views, please join us at our meetups.

Where: Tattered Cover Book Store on Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


What Caused the Populist Earthquake of 2016 and How Will It Play Out?

An Address by Pulitzer Prize winner Hedrick Smith formerly with the New York Times, “What Caused the Populist Earthquake of 2016 and How Will It Play Out?” Auraria Campus, 1201 Larimer Street, Student Commons Building SC2600. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Where: Auraria Campus, 1201 Larimer Street, Denver, Student Commons Building SC2600
When: Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00pm


Learn about The Giving Project!

Are you passionate about social change and interested in building your skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and community building? Join us for an information session about our innovative program, The Giving Project! Meet our staff, hear from an alumni participant, and learn how you can support definite, statewide impact for social justice. Chinook Fund is seeking 25 diverse members for our 2017 Fall Giving Project. Over the course of six months, members will engage in racial justice and class analysis workshops together, fundraise, and grant money to grassroots, social justice organizations across the state. You will learn about social justice philanthropy while taking meaningful action. No prior experience is necessary—just a passion for change!

Where: Chinook Fund, 1031 33rd St, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 29 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Well-Being in Finance

It is important for each of us to know how our own spending, investing, and money habits can create change the economic system into a regenerative economy with every dollar. For example if you bank at a big banks,there is little transparency about where your money is invested, and likely it is invested in companies and industries which you would be fundamentally opposed to if you knew the trust costs of your investments. Your money could be financing rainforest destruction or fossil fuel development like the North Dakota pipeline. This talk will explore how your personal finance can become more ethical and values-based and how you can connect your financial activities to your values and help to build a more sustainable, inclusive, and just world.

Where: The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver
When: Thursday, March 30 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Documenter and Resource Training

The Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition has three strategic initiatives over the next two years. One of them is to accompany immigrants through documenting cases of law enforcement and immigration collusion. As we document and accompany it allows us to be in relationship and resistance early on and collect valuable data for policy change.

Where: First United Methodist in Boulder. 1421 Spruce Street, Boulder
When: Saturday, April 1 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Last Friday, after weeks of protests, Republicans in Washington, D.C. killed their latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t the last attempt we’ll see by the far right to undermine health care reform, but there is no question that the outcry of the American public played a key role in Trump’s decision to give up this fight. There can be no question now that the resistance to Trump is working: protecting our nation from harm when all other checks and balances have failed.

Never doubt that in the end, we will prevail. And thank you again for everything you are doing every day to fight back.

Changing the Subject

What we need to talk about is Medicare for all. Get the for-profit insurance companies out of the middle. We are the only western nation that doesn’t have some version of single-payer–and the other nations pay less than we do for health care. Their life expectancy is increasing, while ours is decreasing.

When people have insurance that they can’t access because the deductibles are too high, it IS the same as having no access to health care. I’ve heard lots of Republicans making that point, and then saying that competition across state lines is the answer.

I say be careful what you wish for. Look at what happened to banking–an industry that I’m very familiar with. They wanted across state lines competition. What we got was fewer banks, as the large ones built their national empire by gobbling up smaller banks. Trust me, across state line competition for insurance companies will have the same result–less competition, not more, and fewer companies offering health insurance.

We the people, are between a rock and a hard place because the two parties are busy playing politics instead of looking at real solutions to help ordinary Americans.

Democrats Won A Battle – Now Win the War

Democrats won a battle yesterday with the defeat of the Republican AHCA bill.  But this is just one battle in the war over healthcare in America.  Now they need to counterattack.  Obamacare is not perfect by any stretch.  And until Democrats get back in power, it is not likely to get much better.  In fact, with Tom Price in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, things could get worse.  But at least 24 million people will still have health insurance.

Democrats can start their counterattack by proposing that a “public option” be inserted into the Affordable Care Act.  If people are faced with little or no choice of insurance provider, at least give them the option of buying into Medicare.  Put some real competition into the system with a program that is cost effective and comprehensive in scope.  Push Democratic members of Congress to either support a public option in the 2018 election season or expect a primary challenge from somebody who does.  Stop protecting Democratic congressmen and senators who want to continue the corporate friendly position of forcing people to buy health insurance from companies that pay their executives millions of dollars a year while you continue to have expensive premiums with high deductibles and co-pays.

Democrats stood together in their opposition to the AHCA and guess what?  They won!  Now take it to the Republicans and force them to say that they don’t want to give their constituents a simple choice – a public option in Obamacare.

Colorado Week in Review: 3/24/17

Trumpcare is Dead

This post will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available. 

 

UPDATE 3:10 pm: President Trump is blaming Democrats for the failure of Trumpcare. Nevermind that Republicans could have passed the legislation without a single Democratic vote.

—–

UPDATE 2:00 pm: Republicans have pulled the bill from consideration. Trumpcare is dead. As the Washington Post reports:

House Republican leaders abruptly pulled a rewrite of the nation’s health-care system from consideration on Friday, a dramatic acknowledgment that they are so far unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“We just pulled it,” President Trump told The Washington Post in a telephone interview.

In a news conference shortly after the decision, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) conceded that his party “came up short.”

The decision came a day after Trump delivered an ultimatum to lawmakers — and represented multiple failures for the new president and Ryan.

—–

UPDATE 11:19 am: House Speaker Paul Ryan has informed President Trump that Republicans do NOT have the votes to pass Trumpcare. From the New York Times:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, facing a revolt among conservative and moderate Republicans, rushed to the White House Friday afternoon to inform President Trump he did not have the votes to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to decide whether to pull the bill from consideration.

The president and the speaker faced the humiliating prospect of a major defeat on legislation promised for seven years, since the landmark health legislation was signed into law. President Trump had demanded a vote regardless, which has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. But House leaders were leaning against such a public loss.

—–

UPDATE 9:52 am: Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is a “YES” vote. No surprise here, but confirmation from Brandon Rittiman at 9News:

—–

UPDATE 9:31 am: Here’s a comprehensive look at the vote wrangling taking place in the House. In Colorado’s Congressional delegation, only Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is considered a potential “NO” vote.

Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) is pretending that he is still undecided on the bill, but is doing everything he can to avoid media questions on the topic.

—–

President Trump issued an “Art of the Deal” ultimatum late Thursday on Trumpcare, urging House Republicans to put their healthcare plan to a vote one day after punting because the caucus didn’t think it had the votes for passage. As the Washington Post explains:

The stakes are higher, but once again Trump is playing the take-it-or-leave-it game. He sent his chief of staff, chief strategist and the OMB director to the Capitol last night to say that if the House does not pass the repeal-and-replace bill today, as it stands, he is going to leave Obamacare in place as the law of the land and drop the issue. Mick Mulvaney, who co-founded the Freedom Caucus, told his former colleagues last night: “The president needs this. … If for any reason it (goes) down, we’re just going to move forward with additional parts of his agenda.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer went on Fox News to echo him: “At the end of the day, this is the only train leaving the station that’s going to repeal Obamacare.”

Trump, who knows this is a high-risk gamble, is following through on his campaign promise to bring a businessman’s approach to government. Today offers a big test of how that will work out.

Rand Paul, who has been highly critical of the House legislation, brought copies of “The Art of the Deal” with him to a meeting with the Freedom Caucus last week. He urged members to brush up on Trump’s tactics. The Kentucky senator even brought a poster with a quote from a chapter on how to “use your leverage.” “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it,” Trump wrote. “That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

Republicans are trying to push through a Trumpcare vote today by promising a host of changes to both moderates and far-right conservative groups such as the Freedom Caucus. Concessions may include eliminating federal requirements for comprehensive coverage and scrapping the requirement that insurers accept pre-existing conditions; both proposals would be hugely unpopular with a majority of Americans, but Republicans seem to be weighing whether or not it is more politically-damaging to do nothing at all than it is to approve a terrible piece of legislation.

Most news outlets are reporting that a potential vote is too close to call. As of Thursday afternoon, anywhere from 30-40 Republicans were known to oppose Trumpcare; the legislation cannot pass if the House caucus can’t prevent more than 22 Republicans from voting “NO.”

Meet Phil Covarrubias, Colorado’s Newest National Disgrace

Rep. Phil Covarrubias (R).

News this week of a freshman Republican legislator defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II didn’t move the needle much in Colorado media, but national outlets jumped on the story you read about here first–credit where due to the exception locally, Denverite’s Erica Meltzer:

The liberal site Colorado Pols (totally unrelated to Colorado Politics) first highlighted Covarrubias’ remarks and uploaded the YouTube video recorded from the state’s official legislative channel.

Then picked up in the Huffington Post:

Covarrubias compared the fears after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack to the fears Americans have now after recent acts of terrorism, such as in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California.

“What happened prior to [the camps] that kicked all this off? I think we were attacked at Pearl Harbor,” he added. “I think we need to look at the Americans that are in fear from the terrorism and the things that we’ve seen over the last few years especially.”

Despite Covarrubias’ attempts to kill HB 1230, the bill passed the second reading and is headed to the House floor for a third and final reading before it goes to the Republican held Senate, where it’s chances of passage are slim, according to The Durango Herald.

And then the Washington Post:

“We keep hearing about how things went down with the Japanese people. For anybody that has never been in the heat of combat, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and all of that was going on, there’s no time to ask questions and find out who’s a citizen and who’s not,” Covarrubias said. “You don’t have that moment in time. You need to regroup. It’s easy to sit up here and say this stuff now. But if you’re in that moment, it looks a lot different than being able to be in a nice suit and tie.”

He continued: “I hear people saying that we need to respect other people’s rights, and I agree with that, but what about them respecting our rights and our country and our laws? Because I’m not hearing that up here.”

Later on in the hearing, Covarrubias once again seemed to defend the mass internment of Japanese American citizens by pointing out that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. That attack, he said, was “what happened prior … that kicked all this off.”

And then national NBC News:

CAPAC chair U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) called Covarrubias’ remarks unacceptable.

“It’s outrageous that we have to keep reiterating that the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was wrong,” she said Thursday in a statement. “History doesn’t repeat itself because we forget. It repeats itself because apologists like Rep. Covarrubias attempt to convince us these atrocious actions were justified.

(more…)

HISTORY: How the arm of a Colorado Congressman was twisted until he voted for Republican legislation

Back in 2003, when Congressional Republicans desperately needed votes to pass a GOP bill, former Colorado Congressman Joel Helfley voted “yes” only after Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert essentially told him that a no vote would cost him his position as chair of a House committee.

That’s what happened in 2003, during the roll-call vote for the Medicare Part D legislation, according to former Rep. Tom Tancredo, as once told to KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles.

The story has obvious relevance today as the pressure builds on Colorado Republicans, like U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, to support the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamcare.

TANCREDO:  Oh, Joel was the best!  He was like a 98-percenter.  And we’re sitting there – 6:30 [a.m.] – nothing.  I mean, it’s 217.  You need 218, one more vote.  And they can’t get it!  Here comes the Speaker.  [gesturing with his hands, indicating a man walking down to the floor].  Doo, doo-doo, doo-doo,– down, comes, sits next to Joel.  I’m in back of them, going [gestures that he was eavesdropping]. You know, because everyone is – there’s quiet.  Everybody is, you know – you’re all on the floor.  They won’t let you leave.  So, but everyone can see what’s happening.  And then, the Speaker walks down, and he says, “Joel, we came in as Freshmen together, 22 years ago.”

BOYLES:  Wow.

TANCREDO:  Freshman class.  And Joel said, “Yes, sir, we did.”  And he said, “I’ve always enjoyed it, you’re such a great guy,” he said.  “And you’re the Chairman of the, uh—what was it?  It was the sub-committee on – oh! Armed Services.

BOYLES:  [inaudible] Yeah!

TANCREDO:  And he said, — because he was [from] Colorado Springs, you know –.

BOYLES:  Of course.  Of course.

TANCREDO:  And he said, uh, and he said, “You’re the head of the” – I think it was called – “the NATO Parliamentary Assembly” – it was kind of a hot-shot thing.  We got to travel all over.  He always asked us.  It was great fun!  Anyway, great guy, great guy.  “But I need you,” [the Speaker said to Joel Hefley].  “I never asked you before for anything, right?”  And Joel says, “No, sir.”  And he says, “Well, I need you.  This is it, buddy. I want it.”  And Joel says, “I can’t, Mr. Speaker.  I just can’t do it.”   And he goes, “You enjoy being that Chairman, right?” –and all that.  And he says, “You want to be [Chairman] tomorrow?”

BOYLES:  Yeah.

TANCREDO:  This – this—this—this is his buddy! This is his pal!  And he goes back and sits down.  And I leaned over and I said, “Did I just hear him threaten you with your Chairmanship?”

BOYLES:  Yeah.  Yeah.

TANCREDO:  Joel just looks ahead, right?  Doesn’t say a word.  We wait.  We wait, it’s quiet.  There’s nothing.  All of a sudden, he gets up, votes,– walks down.  Oh, my God!  I literally – and I’m not kidding you, I almost threw up!  I mean, I got – we had been there all night.  It was very emotional.  There was a lot of crap going on.  And now, here’s my best – oh, my God!  And he walks down,  and he would have to pick up the green thing and go, and hand it to the girl.  And she goes, “REPRESENTATIVE HEFLEY:  OFF “NO”!  ON “AYE!”  And they – and the hammer goes down. Boom!  Two-hundred and eighteen.  It passed.  You know, he never was the same after that. He stayed another term but, you know, he got shingles.

Ken Salazar Out for Governor; Perlmutter Run Looks Closer

UPDATE: Peter Marcus of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is expected to announce a run for governor as early as the end of the month, ColoradoPolitics has learned.

“If it was up to me, we would announce sooner rather than later,” confirmed Perlmutter campaign consultant Steve Welchert, a high-profile Democratic strategist.

Perlmutter’s pending announcement was pushed up by news that former interior secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar will not pursue a run for governor in 2018 on the Democratic ticket.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Late last night, the Denver Post published an editorial from former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in which Salazar makes clear that he will not run for governor:

The 2018 election for governor of Colorado is a keystone to the future greatness of Colorado. Several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor. I will not be among them.

This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. I believe I would have won an election for governor, and that I would have been a successful governor for all the people of Colorado. However, my family’s well-being must come first.

Salazar had been contemplating a run for governor for many months. Just a few weeks ago, Salazar told the Denver Post that he thought he could wait until the end of the summer to make a decision on 2018 — a timeline that was not at all realistic.

In the meantime, there has been a growing chorus of voices pushing for Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) to run for governor. Perlmutter had said publicly and privately that he was not interested in challenging Salazar in a potential Democratic primary, but now that this is no longer a concern, the chatter surrounding Perlmutter should start to grow exponentially.

Yes, there are other Democrats already in the race or contemplating a run — including Mike Johnston and Cary Kennedy — but Perlmutter is the juggernaut candidate that Democrats have been hoping for in 2018. Perlmutter currently represents the single most important electoral county in Colorado (Jeffco), and he has won every one of his six races for Congress by at least double digits.

Former GOP state chair, charged with voter fraud, does the right thing and resigns from radio show

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis.

The morning after voter fraud charges were filed against KLZ 560-AM morning host Steve Curtis, there he was, on the air, interviewing William Gheen, who’s on a “mission” against illegal immigration.

But things changed during the day, as you know if you were one of the lucky people listening to KLZ’s afternoon show, where host Dan Meurer announced the resignation of the former GOP state chair:

Dan Meurer: All over the news is our morning show host Steve Curtis. So Steve has been brought up on charges, as we all know. And Steve resigned this morning. And basically that’s all we are going to say about it. It’s all we really know. And as a friend of Steve’s I wish him the best of luck. Prayers are with him. And there we go.

In an email today, Don Crawford of KLZ’s owner, the Crawford Broadcasting Company, confirmed Curtis’ resignation.

It appears that Curtis resigned on his own volition, because Crawford Broadcasting was prepared to keep him on the air until he was found guilty, according to Fox 31 Denver:

Curtis’ bosses at Crawford Broadcasting in Dallas said Curtis is innocent until proven guilty and it has no intention of taking disciplinary action unless and until he’s convicted.

Crawford Broadcasting clearly should have suspended Curtis, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings, because the serious nature of the allegations stripped him of his credibility.

Strangely enough, a couple years ago, Crawford Broadcasting quickly suspended interviews with Tom Tancredo, after the former Congressman teamed up with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to try to oust GOP state chair Steve House. The temporary Tancredo-interview-ban led to the resignation of Randy Corporan, who hosted KLZ’s morning show prior to Curtis’ tenure there.

Crawford’s innocent-until-proven-guilty approach to Curtis was not used by Clear Channel, the owner of Denver’s KHOW 630-AM, when it immediately suspended host Peter Boyles after he reportedly grabbed the lanier of producer Greg Hollenbeck during a violent exchange. Boyles was immediately suspended and later fired.

Listen to KLZ’s announcement of the resignation of Steve Curtis:

Cynthia Coffman Trolls Race for Governor

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is almost certainly not running for governor in 2018, but she would really like it if you would pretend that she might. This is very, very lame…

“You know I am at least looking at governor” [Pols emphasis]. This is what Coffman told Denver Post reporter Mark Matthews today in Washington D.C. If you are unaccustomed to the language of politics, please allow us to translate:

I don’t actually plan on running for governor, but please float my name so that I can use these rumors to generate support for my re-election bid for Attorney General. 

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman

We noted back in January that Coffman was trying to gin up interest for a potential bid for governor. From everything we’ve heard, that effort didn’t go anywhere and Coffman has since indicated privately that she will seek re-election as Attorney General. That won’t stop her from continuing to troll the rest of the potential field for 2018, however.

Coffman may not particularly like her current job as AG, but there is no path for her to win a Republican primary for Governor. Coffman is not what you’d call a beloved figure in the Colorado GOP — certainly not enough to elbow her way into a Republican Primary that is already expected to include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler (in addition to a wealthy self-funder in former legislator Victor Mitchell). It’s also important to note that Coffman’s biggest financial backer in 2014 was the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA), a group that obviously doesn’t care about the Colorado race for Governor.

Now, if Coffman could figure out a way to create an office of “Chief Troll” for Colorado, she’d have to be considered a frontrunner.

CNN reports political background of Gorsuch critic but not of his defender

(It’s a two-way street – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CNN reported this morning that Jennifer Sisk, who complained that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch made disparaging comments about women during a lecture to his law school class, was “a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado.”

Fair enough.

But the political background of a former Gorsuch law student who defended the SCOTUS nominee was not provided.

CNN quoted former Gorsuch law student, Catherine Holtgrewe, as saying Gorsuch never spoke “disrespectfully to or about anyone” — without identifying Holtgewe as a former Romney staffer and the volunteer coordinator of the failed 2006 gubernatorial campaign of Bob Beauprez. She works for a conservative think tank.

CNN quoted a letter, first reported by NPR, that Sisk wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee, claiming that Gorsuch told her class that “companies must ask females about their family and pregnancy plans to protect the company,” CNN reported.

Sisk writes that she was “distressed by the tenor of his comments” and made her concerns known to the law school’s administration.

Sisk, a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, confirmed to CNN that she authored the letter.

In discussing Holtgrewe, CNN reported:

Another former student, Catherine Holtgrewe, said she “never heard Judge Gorsuch ever speak disrespectfully to or about anyone.”
“As a former student, I am a witness to the respect that he showed towards his female students and fellow professors at Colorado Law,” she said in a statement. “The supposed remarks he made in his 2016 Legal Ethics class are completely out of character, and I find very hard to believe are accurately relayed.”

Obviously, Holtgrewe’s political operative background is relevant to the story, as is Sisk’s. CNN need not have included Sisk’s political party.

I did not immediately receive a response to a tweet to Ashley Killough, a CNN political producer, whose byline appeared on the piece.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 21)

Colorado State University lost its game Monday, so you can stop pretending to care about the NIT. Please settle in as we Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► House Republicans are still working toward a Thursday vote on Trumpcare, and the President himself is on Capitol Hill making threats and demands. As the Washington Post reports, President Trump’s tough talk may not be enough to sway skeptical Republicans:

President Trump went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning to sell the House GOP leadership’s plan to overhaul the health-care system as the legislation races toward an expected vote on the House floor by the end of the week. Assuring Republicans that they would gain seats if they passed the bill, the president told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, to stand up and take some advice.

“I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes,’ ” Trump said, according to several Republican lawmakers who attended the meeting. “Honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks.”

But after the meeting, Meadows told reporters that the president had not made the sale, that the call-out was good-natured and that conservative holdouts would continue to press for a tougher bill.

“I’m still a ‘no,’ ” he said. “I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their votes.”

After meeting with Republicans, Trump predicted “a real winner” following Thursday’s planned vote, though Politico also reports that members of the Freedom Caucus were not swayed by Trump’s appearance. Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) also says that he has not yet decided whether to support Trumpcare.

 

► Denver Judge Neil Gorsuch continues to take tough questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first part of his confirmation hearing to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was asked repeatedly this morning about how he might rule on cases relating to abortion, as Politico explains:

Gorsuch declined to say whether Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, was correctly decided more than four decades ago.

The comments came in an exchange about legal precedent with Grassley, who appeared eager to stave off Democratic attempts to pin Gorsuch down on controversial issues.

Roe “is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch testified.

“I’m not in a position to tell you whether I’d personally like or dislike any precedent. That’s not relevant to my job,” Gorsuch in the discussion with Grassley. “Precedent … deserves our respect. And to come in and think that just because I’m new or the latest thing I’d know better than everybody who comes before me would be an act of hubris.”

When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether he viewed Roe as a “super precedent,” Gorsuch responded: “It has been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.”

Last weekend, the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University confidently proclaimed that Gorsuch would help to overturn Roe v. Wade. These are the same geniuses that think you should boycott the new Beauty and the Beast movie.

 

► Senate Republican leaders in the Colorado legislature killed a bipartisan measure intended to make adjustments to TABOR in order to free more money for education and infrastructure needs. Republican leadership instead offered up its own solution for dealing with Colorado’s budget woes…nah, just kidding.

 

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

Get More Smarter on Monday (March 20)

Welcome, Springtime! Please settle in as we Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senate hearings to approve Denver Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice began on Monday. As the Washington Post reports:

Monday brings their newest opportunity since the confirmation hearings of Trump’s Cabinet to take a stand against a young administration that has horrified liberal Americans with efforts to strip away provisions of the Affordable Care Act, impose an entry ban on some immigrants and deeply cut federal agencies.

The left also remains angry about a Supreme Court seat that has been vacant since Scalia died 13 months ago because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decided to block a hearing for President Barack Obama’s selection for the seat, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit…

…Gorsuch “is a bit of a puzzle,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview last week. “We’re going to try to put those pieces together so that the puzzle is complete and we have an understanding of what kind of a fifth vote will be going on the court.”

As per Senate tradition, Gorsuch was introduced this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee by home-state Senators Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). The Denver Post has more on the key role that Sen. Bennet will play in the Gorsuch confirmation hearings.

 

► The FBI confirmed today that it is investigating allegations that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections in order to help Donald Trump make it into the White House. As the New York Times reports, FBI Director James Comey is also making it clear that there is absolutely no evidence to support Trump’s claims that his campaign was “wiretapped” under order from President Obama:

Mr. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, “We have no information to support” President Trump’s assertion on Twitter that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

“We have no information to support those tweets,” Mr. Comey said, repeating moments later, “All I can tell you is that we have no information that supports them.”

The N.S.A. chief, Admiral Rogers, weighed in as well, saying that he had no knowledge of anyone asking the British or any other ally to wiretap Mr. Trump. That seemed to refute another claim made by the White House.

“I’ve seen nothing on the N.S.A. side that we engaged in such activity, nor that anyone engaged in such activity,” Admiral Rogers said.

 

► Colorado’s economy is doing very well…which means state lawmakers are going to have to make difficult budget cuts. Yay, TABOR!

 

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

Coffman once said it was “very radical” to give health insurance to millions of people who now have it under Obamacare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) is making conflicting statements on whether he wants to continue to give health insurance to the 400,000 Coloradans, including 14,000 in his district, who got health insurance under Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.

This raises the familiar question with Coffman, Where does he really stand?

If he decides to phase out the Medicaid expansion, as proposed in the GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare, Coffman would be taking a position that in line with his stance on the expansion when it was first proposed in the Affordable Care Act.

Discussing the Obamacare legislation in 2009, before it became law, Coffman called the proposed medicaid expansion “very radical.”

Coffman: “Although when you look underneath the surface, there are some very radical elements to this bill such as the expansion of Medicaid, a government run healthcare program.”

Coffman’s thinking in 2009 is in line with the Republican Obamacare replacement bill, which would phase out the expansion of Medicaid and which would eventually throw a total of 600,000 Coloradans off the insurance rolls, and is up for a U.S. House vote Thursday.

Coffman said Saturday that he’d vote for the GOP bill “in its current form.” A spokesman subsequently told 9News that Coffman was still reviewing the bill. Then Coffman told a constituents on a telephone call that he supported the GOP health bill but was concerned about the impact on Medicaid expansion.

In a March 7 radio interview, Coffman explained in more detail why he thinks the GOP healthcare bill “does a good job in terms of Medicaid expansion.” Coffman likes how the bill reforms the “entire Medicaid system” and sends it “down to the states.”

Coffman:  Okay.  So what it essentially does, is it takes those who would prospectively be eligible for the Medicaid expansion, going forward, as we phase it out, and it offers them the ability — nobody’s forced in this — to have what’s called an advanceable, refundable tax credit.  And it essentially is  — will pay for, uh, pretty – most of their premium costs.  And will push that population into the individual insurance market.  And so, I get that it is controversial, but is in fact a replacement, of sorts, for the Medicaid expansion…

Coffman:  I — well, you know, I think the bill, in my view, does a good job in terms of Medicaid expansion, from my perspective, you know, but we have to reform the entire Medicaid system, and so we can debate that on the mar–.  You know, is it a block grant, at the end of the day?  Is it some sort of capitated amount per enrollee?  But I think, at the end of the day, we’ve got to stop managing this program out of Washington DC.  We’ve got to devolve it down to the states.

Does Coffman still believe this, in light of conflicting statements in the past 10 days?

Given his position in 2009 when he was up front about his position against Obamacare, plus the fact that the majority of Coffman’s statements, including all the comments that came from his mouth as opposed to a spokesperson’s, point to his support of the GOP bill,  you’d be on solid ground in concluding that, yes, Coffman is ready to take health insurance away from Coloradans who got it under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Colorado Week in Review: 3/17/17