Brown People, Marijuana Industry in Colorado Sweat Jeff Sessions

UPDATE: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver says “hell no” to Sen. Jeff Sessions:

“As the president’s top advisor on matters of law and justice, the man or woman in this position must possess a firm commitment to civil rights,” DeGette said. “However, Senator Sessions’ regressive record on immigration, LGBT equality and civil liberties, along with his shocking comments on the NAACP and the KKK, make him unequivocally unfit to serve in this role. I urge President-elect Trump not to make this nomination, and instead to make good on his promise to unify our divided nation. And if he does not, members of the Senate must reject Senator Sessions for this critical role.”

Sessions is the U.S. Senate’s leading anti-immigration voice, urging severe restrictions on visas and drastically expanded immigration enforcement while blocking practical reforms to our country’s outdated immigration system. While in the Senate, he has vigorously opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Earlier in his career, when nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be a federal judge, he was turned down by the Senate amid repeated allegations of racist language, criticism of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, and a purported joke about the Ku Klux Klan. While advising the campaign earlier this year, Senator Sessions supported Trump’s suggestion to institute a ban on Muslims entering the United States and his opposition to the 14th Amendment, which confers citizenship on people born in this country.

“This proposed nomination is another disturbing sign of where the Trump administration is headed,” DeGette noted. “If Senator Sessions was not fit to be a federal judge, he’s not fit to be Attorney General. His actions and attitudes on civil liberties make him completely wrong for the job.”

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Westword’s Michael Roberts reports, as news breaks today that GOP President-elect Donald Trump wants Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. Attorney General:

In an interview with Westword, Marijuana Majority chairman and founder Tom Angell also expressed concern about the marijuana views of the person who Trump would choose to fill the position of attorney general in his administration. Among the names floated at the time were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’d vowed to crack down on Colorado’s marijuana system during his own failed run for the presidency, and onetime New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, another well-known weed hater.

In the end, neither Christie nor Giuliani made the cut. Instead, Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of his earliest supporters in the U.S. Senate and among those who stuck by him even after the release of an Access Hollywood recording in which the president-elect joked about groping women.

Sessions has plenty of political baggage, much of it owing to what NPR has described as his “history of racially provocative remarks” — one of which had to do with marijuana. After his 1986 nomination as a federal district judge by then-President Ronald Reagan, he was said to have maintained that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan “were okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

It’s expected that Sessions will strongly deny any racist sentiments during his confirmation hearings in the Senate–where he will face many friendly fellow Republicans, but could also fail spectacularly if the questions about his long record from Democrats get the better of him. As for marijuana, we doubt Sessions will offer the same defense despite the growing number of states that have legalized. Despite Sessions’ conservative ideology at least nominally in favor of “states’ rights,” he can be expected to blissfully ignore the Tenth Amendment when it comes to stopping the spread of the evil devil-weed.

Obviously, Sessions’ history of racism is much more disturbing than Sessions’ opposition to marijuana, but neither is likely to make him a very popular figure in Colorado. Or for that matter California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, or any other state that has legalized marijuana in recent years.

In a perfect world, the racism would be enough to disqualify Sessions, as it did when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in the 1980s. But perhaps Trump can be persuaded to reconsider Sessions by the money being made on weed?

After all, he is a businessman.

Um, You’re Not Helping, RMGO

Excerpt from RMGO mailer dated October 17, 2016.

Excerpt from RMGO mailer dated October 17, 2016.

Firearm enthusiast Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) group have been a prominent voice in Colorado politics in recent years, though they have proven much more effective at swaying Republican Primary races than earning votes in a General Election. This is not entirely the fault of the RMGO; strident pro-gun rhetoric just doesn’t have the same effect in the Denver suburbs that it might have in places like Weld County.

Nevertheless, RMGO is going to continue to solicit donations and shake fists wherever it can find Republican voters…even if their outreach isn’t particularly helpful for Republican candidates. We were recently forwarded a copy of a mail pitch from RMGO on behalf of GOP Senate candidate Nancy Doty that the candidate herself probably wasn’t too enthusiastic about reading. “State Senate candidate Nancy Doty is a proven Second Amendment patriot,” says the mailer. “That is why RMGO SuperPAC is enthusiastically endorsing Nancy Doty in Senate District 26.”

State Senate District 26

State Senate District 26

The battle for Senate District 26 is one of the most competitive legislative races of 2016, where Doty and Democrat Daniel Kagan are in a close contest to fill the seat being vacated by the term-limited Democratic Sen. Linda Newell. Located just south of Denver, SD-26 encompasses Arapahoe High School and sits just east of Columbine High School. We probably don’t need to tell you that this community has dealt with two of the most infamous school school shootings in Colorado.

It’s not a coincidence that Doty’s own campaign doesn’t spend any time talking about firearms; you’re not winning undecided voters in SD-26 by telling people that you support “permitless carry, open or concealed.”

When Donald Trump Jr. Yucked Up The Aurora Theater Massacre

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank:

Sandy Phillips, the mother of Jessica Ghawi, who died in the attack, issued a statement saying “this recording shows the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“This recording goes beyond politics — it’s disturbing and painful,” Phillips said in a statement released by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“We’ve already known that his father is a crass, blustery billionaire who cares zero about other people’s struggles or pain,” she added.

—–

Donald Trump, Jr.

Donald Trump, Jr.

CNN broke a story yesterday about Donald Trump Jr., who was in town yesterday campaigning for his dad, that is just now starting to trickle down into local media–and it’s outraging pretty much everyone in our state who hears it:

On shows like “Opie and Anthony,” the now-defunct “The Six Pack,” and “Opie with Jim Norton,” the younger Trump made a joke about the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, expressed regret he could no longer mock overweight people, invoked Arab stereotypes, and joked about child beauty contestants being abused by their parents…

In July 2012, on the same day a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, Trump Jr. joked about still giving the movie “two thumbs up.”

Trump Jr. made the comment on “Opie and Anthony” after soundbites were played of witnesses speaking about the tragedy.

“Everything was going good until, uh, we saw gas and sparks, and sounded like really strong fireworks, uh, and then you just hear people yelling and actually just a few, uh, rows away from me a girl gets up holding her jaw. I guess she had got shot,” a witness said.

“Overall I give the movie two thumbs up,” Trump Jr. exclaimed in reaction.

Among the first to respond to this story was Morgan Carroll, longtime representative of the vicinity of the Century Theater in Aurora and now a candidate for Congress:

She released a statement about Trump Jr’s comments saying, “The tragic Aurora shooting happened just five minutes from my house, in the district I was elected to represent. Donald Trump Jr. should apologize immediately to the families and victims affected by this terrible tragedy. The loss of life, and horror faced by this community and all in that theater that day, is no joke.”

Through his spox, incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora also expresses a measure of displeasure:

Coffman’s spokeswoman, Cinamon Watson, said of Trump Jr.’s comment, “That’s a filthy, disgusting, lewd, awful thing to say. He should be embarrassed and ashamed.”

We haven’t seen any evidence that Junior is in fact ashamed–or any reports about him at all since yesterday’s abortive whistlestop at The Sink in Boulder, which was moved after The Sink’s owners informed the Trump campaign that they need to have permission to invade their restaurant for a campaign event:

But as you can see from these crass remarks about the Aurora theater shooting and the dozens of our neighbors killed and wounded there, Donald Junior doesn’t just say the word “deplorable.”

He lives it.

My Free Speech Zone: From Sea To Shining Sea

Yesterday afternoon, I headed north to Loveland to join a small but dedicated group of protesters outside Donald Trump’s rally at the Budweiser Events Center–located on the grounds of the The Ranch (Larimer County Fairgrounds).

I’ll let the Loveland Reporter-Herald’s Pamela Johnson explain what happened next:

Larimer County sheriff’s deputies escorted one protester from the Donald Trump rally in Loveland on Monday after he led people with signs out of an enclosed “free-speech area” to stand on the sidewalk so people driving past could see their signs.

Alan Franklin, political director with ProgressNow Colorado, as well as a handful of other protesters said the deputies and mounted members of the Sheriff’s Posse corralled them away from the curb, coming very close to them with their horses, and threatened arrest if they didn’t return to the fenced-off free-speech zone.

“I consider this to be a very big violation of the First Amendment,” said Franklin after he was kicked off the grounds of The Ranch events center complex. “These folks done screwed up.”

He was the only protester forced to leave, though others were threatened with arrest if they did not return to a designated free-speech area, which they did.

So, here’s the deal: unbeknownst to myself or other non Trump supporters who showed up outside his rally, the Larimer County Sheriff’s office had set up a “free speech area” completely removed from the scene. This small fenced-off area was 20 feet or more from the sidewalk next to the access road for the event, and so far from the line for rally attendees that a bullhorn wouldn’t even reach them.

This wasn’t an acceptable situation, so I proposed to the few folks then in attendance that we walk down to the sidewalk where more people could see us. Pamela Johnson picks up the story from there:

He and a handful of other protesters walked about 20 feet from the free-speech area to the sidewalk along the road that leads to the parking lots inside the events center complex. That is where deputies and posse members ordered them back to the protest area.

Several protesters said the officials told them they had to be in the designated area because it is on “private property” and “private public property,” which fired up Franklin. The protesters, he said, were being peaceful and not belligerent when deputies confronted them.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really familiar with this concept of “private public property” the Larimer County Sheriff and posse kept insisting applied to our situation. I didn’t have a chance to discuss it with the deputy the posse called in, though, as apparently his only job was to enforce the “request” from the horse-mounted posse that I completely exit the “private property” of the Larimer County Fairgrounds.

But as it turns out, and as I explained to every cop on the scene that I was pretty sure of, that’s not right:

Deputies on scene would not explain why they asked Franklin to leave or answer the question of why they would say the county events center is private property. They referred inquiries to Sheriff’s Office spokesman David Moore, who said Sheriff Justin Smith would answer questions Tuesday.

County Commissioner Steve Johnson, however, when reached by phone, looked into the private-public property issue. The Ranch is public property, he said…

“So while I agree with the deputies’ actions and believe the time, manner and place of assembly can be regulated reasonably … the justification that it is private property, if that is in fact what they said, does not conform with our understanding,” Johnson said after consulting with County Attorney Jeannine Haag.

The problem is, the assertion we were on “private property” was the only pretext for ordering us back into the “free speech area.” No one was obstructing vehicle or foot traffic. The armed volunteer horse-mounted posse assigned to patrol the “free speech area” were openly hostile–they might as well have been wearing Trump buttons. The Sheriff deputy who threatened me with arrest for trespassing and escorted me to my car was polite, while repeatedly insisting that free speech is important. His actions spoke much louder.

Obviously, this is a pretty large problem and I’m considering the next steps. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, a politically activist conservative elected sheriff with (I assume) a well-formed opinion on the presidential race, needs to fully explain the actions of his deputies and the policy that was followed in my case (or not followed).

Freedom of speech and assembly is about as fundamental as it gets, and those rights do not appear to have been respected yesterday.

Mike Pence: Stop Admitting Police Racism Exists

Mike Pence, Donald Trump.

Mike Pence, Donald Trump.

AP via 9NEWS reports from GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence’s campaign stop in Colorado Springs yesterday:

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence says U.S. society should “set aside talk” of institutional racism in the wake of more police killings of black men.

Pence told a group of evangelical church leaders Thursday in Colorado Springs that recent police shootings in Oklahoma and North Carolina require officials to “speak with compassion” and assure the public that “justice will be served.”

But he added that “Donald Trump and I both believe that there’s been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement.” [Pols emphasis] Pence said “we ought to set aside this talk” that he described as “the rhetoric of division.”

Corey Hutchins at the Colorado Independent further documents Pence’s comments:

“Sadly, our opponent once again refers to what she calls the institutional racism in law enforcement,” Pence said. “We’ve heard this week, again, the systemic racism in law enforcement in this country.”

His voice rising, Pence said he and Trump believe police “are not a force for racism in America,” but “a force for good,” deserving support and respect.

Police violence against minorities is one of the most controversial topics of debate we have in America today, and the recent heightened awareness of the issue following numerous high-profile police killings of African-Americans and resulting protests has forced basically everyone in the country to form an opinion. The truth is that minorities are indeed disproportionately killed while interacting with police compared to whites, and investigations into places like Ferguson, Missouri have revealed what very much appears to be systemic racism in the targeting of black communities with traffic enforcement and other small-time high-fine violations.

Whichever side you fall on with regard to the issue, we cannot imagine any scenario in which not talking about a problem is helpful to the goal of solving it. That seems like the worst possible way to, you know, govern.

But here we are.

State senator shares video showing shady, ugly guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado State Sen. Randy Baumgardnbaumgardner-gun-video-9-19-2016er has apparently removed a video, which he’d shared on his Facebook page, showing a man frantically firing weapons (apparently a sawed-off shotgun and fully automatic rifles and pistols) that are shady or, at worst, illegal under federal and state laws), unless you work the loopholes.

Banned high capacity magaizes are also shown in the video, which you can see here.

Baumgardner is glorifying some of the weapons and magazines used in the two worst gun massacres in Colorado history.

Maybe this occurred to him, because Baumgardner apparently removed the video, called a “Case of Mayhem,” sometime after he shared it over the weekend.

A call to Baumbgardner’s office confirming that he shared the video and seeking his reason for posting it, and an explanation for his taking it down, was not immediately returned.

The Moffat County Republican, whose Twitter handle is CapitalCowboy, is part of GOP State Senate leadership.

FratPAC: GOP House Candidate Has Some ‘Splaining To Do

FratPAC.

FratPAC.

The Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene blows the lid off what could be a most damaging story in Colorado House District 3, the open swing-district race between Democrat Jeff Bridges and his Republican opponent Katy Brown:

Katy Brown, the Republican vying for Colorado’s highly competitive House District 3 seat, touts her experience as a web developer, Cherry Hills councilwoman and community service volunteer. Yet she has erased from her public profile one of her pet causes: championing fraternities’ and sororities’ political agenda in Washington. [Pols emphasis]

Brown served from 2012 through December 2015 on the board of the Fraternity Sorority Political Action Committee, also known as FSPAC, or FratPAC. The group describes its role as “helping position the fraternal community [to] influence legislation that will preserve the fraternity and sorority experience for future generations of student leaders.”

…FSPAC spent much of 2015 pushing for the Safe Campus Act, a bill introduced by three House Republicans that would have made it tougher for universities and colleges to suspend or sanction students accused of sexual violence. The measure would have restricted schools from investigating sex assault cases unless police are involved. It also would have extended due process rights to fraternities and sororities so that, as FSPAC wrote, “entire organizations cannot be suspended without cause.”

Victims’ groups and college administrators’ guilds condemned the police reporting requirement, saying it would intimidate some sex assault victims and prevent them from coming forward. Some critics denounced the bill for giving more protections to frat boys than to rape victims. Ultimately, some sorority and fraternity advocacy groups backed off their support of the bill, saying it was too divisive. It’s unclear whether FSPAC formally withdrew support for the Act, and the organization did not respond to inquiries for this story.

Katy Brown (Alpha Chi Omega).

Katy Brown (Alpha Chi Omega).

The fight over what just about everyone agrees is a major problem with sexual assault on college campuses has raged back and forth with national stories meant to persuade that either the problem is very widespread as experts and victim advocates suggest, or that the problem is exaggerated–and complicated by “personal moral failings” and deception of alleged victims.

In early 2015, Rolling Stone retracted a feature-length story on sexual assault at the University of Virginia after significant problems with the victims’ story were uncovered. Anecdotes like the UVA case are regularly used to discredit all claims of sexual assault, and undermine the larger movement to address the problem.

And that’s the side Katy Brown was on.

Since the UVA scandal, which resulted in the bill supported by Katy Brown’s FratPAC to “protect” alleged rapists on campus, other cases of extremely lenient sentences, like that of convicted Stanford University rapist Brock Turner, and more recently University of Colorado’s Austin Wilkerson, have moved public opinion back toward respect for victims and anger at a status quo that lets rapists walk free.

In a highly educated swing district like HD-3, Brown’s long record as a board member of FractPAC could be a very serious liability. The brief moment of glory the “men’s rights movement” enjoyed when the UVA story was retracted does not change the fact that sexual assault is a major problem on college campuses. As a longtime board member of FratPAC, Brown fought not just against cracking down on “rape culture” on college campuses, but also proposals against hazing pushed by the families of hazed dead students.

If this doesn’t take the shine off Brown’s fluffy-positive “crypto conservative” campaign, we don’t know what will.

Tom Sullivan Scaring The Hell Out of Senate Republicans

SD-27 candidate Tom Sullivan (D).

SD-27 candidate Tom Sullivan (D).

We’ll post a more comprehensive look at newly-released fundraising numbers for Colorado legislative races covering the period of July 28-August 31, but we wanted to start with a race that Republicans shouldn’t be worried about–but thanks to a uniquely strong Democratic candidate with a compelling background, a seat that’s in play:

SD 27

Tom Sullivan (D)
Raised this period: $31,555.56
Cash on hand: $38,693.58
Total Raised: $101,484.24

Jack Tate (R)
Raised this period: $9,301.00
Cash on hand: $84,126.60
Total Raised: $96,464.17

In the most recent fundraising period, Democratic candidate Tom Sullivan more than tripled appointed incumbent Jack Tate’s haul–$31,500 to $9,300. With that performance in August, Sullivan has now outraised Tate for the entire election cycle, although Tate has more cash on hand as Sullivan spends down his cash campaigning.

Why is this happening? Tom Sullivan’s powerful personal story as the father of an Aurora theater shooting victim is combining with Sullivan’s by-all-accounts impressive work ethic to put this race in play in a way Senate President Bill Cadman simply never anticipated. This would be the second time Cadman has underestimated Tom Sullivan, the first being when he insulted Sullivan during a legislative panel about gun control–only to be shamed in national media when Sullivan disclosed who he was.

We’ve heard rumors that Republicans are privately growing very worried about this race. We’re not sure what exactly is going on with Jack Tate, who has his own reputation as a good campaigner and fundraiser. If Tate is serious about holding on to Dave Balmer’s old Senate seat, to which he was appointed just last December after Balmer’s resignation, he can’t afford to get humiliated like this.

But for Tom Sullivan, sweet revenge against Cadman is closer than ever.

Aurora Victims Ordered To Pay Massive Court Costs–Again

FRIDAY UPDATE: Cinemark appears to be feeling the sting of bad press, with 9NEWS updating last night on the company at least starting to back off–with caveats, of course:

The victims of the Aurora theater shooting have been given an ultimatum: They will not have to pay the nearly $700,000 in court costs they owe the nation’s third largest theater chain if they drop their appeals in a civil case…

Among the people who sued Cinemark and now may have to pay thousands of dollars are the families of Alex Teves and Jessica Ghawi, who died in the movie theater. Yousef Gharbi, who survived a bullet wound to the head and Farrah Soudani, whose friends had to hold her insides in after she was shot, also owe the theater money.

…9NEWS Legal Expert Scott Robinson told 9NEWS back in June that he believes Cinemark asked the victims to repay court costs “to discourage future lawsuits against their chain for personal injuries.”

“The question is, how big is going to be the backlash that the public chooses to impose on what appears to be a corporate bully?” Robinson said.

—–

Aurora shooting memorial, July 2012.

Aurora shooting memorial, July 2012.

Salon reports on yet more insult piled on injury for survivors of the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater–after the family of shooting victim Jessica Ghawi was ordered to pay the legal fees of online gun and body armor dealers after unsuccessfully suing them for damages, more victims are on the hook for massive amounts of money to corporations who, it can be reasonably argued, need it a lot less:

In 2012, 12 people were killed and at least 70 others were wounded when James Holmes walked into the Cinemark’s Aurora Century 16 theater and opened fire.

While Holmes was found guilty in 2015, a group of survivors filed a state lawsuit against Cinemark in 2012, claiming lax security allowed the heavily-armed Holmes to enter the theater and carry out the shooting. Ultimately, a jury of six sided with Cinemark in the civil case in state court, finding that there was no way they could have foreseen the attack and that additional security would have done little to stop Holmes, who was wearing body armor and was armed with gas canisters and multiple firearms.”

A judge at the same time also dismissed a similar lawsuit in federal court, saying Cinemark’s lack of security was not a substantial factor in the deaths.

Colorado law allows the winning side of civil cases to seek costs. [Pols emphasis] According to the Los Angeles Times, Cinemark’s lawyers at the time told a judge the money was needed to cover the costs of preserving evidence, retrieving and copying records, travel and other expenses – including $500,000 for expert testimony.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, survivors are now on the hook for some $700,000 in court costs largely because a few survivors refused a settlement offer from Cinemark:

“It was the 12th hour, we were all feeling the same way. We all knew they were liable. We knew they were at fault,” Weaver said. “[The settlement] was a slap in the face. But I said, ‘Let’s go for it because it’s better than nothing.’”

The deal came with an implied threat: If the survivors rejected the deal, moved forward with their case and lost, under Colorado law, they would be responsible for the astronomical court fees accumulated by Cinemark… [Pols emphasis]

Then one plaintiff rejected the deal. Her suffering had been profound: Her child was killed in the shooting, she was left paralyzed and the baby she was carrying had been lost.

The settlement offered by Cinemark’s lawyers was for $30,000 to each of the three most severely injured plaintiffs, with the remaining 38 splitting up a paltry $60,000 between them. It’s not for us to judge whether this monetary settlement should be considered appropriate given Cinemark’s alleged liability, or whether the wounded plaintiff who lost her unborn child was justified in rejecting the deal.

What we can say is that these victims should not be paying Cinemark. We understand that Colorado law as it stands today is intended to protect defendants in civil suits by forcing plaintiffs to consider the consequences of frivolous lawsuits. In this case, however, much like the suit by Jessica Ghawi’s parents against online weapons dealers, it was not a frivolous suit–certainly not when you realize that Cinemark was about to settle.

Today it’s being reported that the plaintiffs are appealing the order to pay Cinemark $700,000 in “reasonable” court costs. We hope that this situation is resolved in a way that doesn’t cause further harm to victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting. Looking ahead, a legislative revisiting of this unfortunate situation seems called for.

This is not an outcome for anyone to celebrate.

Laura Woods raffles off an AR15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Sen. Laura Woods wants to be sure you’re clear:

—–

woodsar15

Desperate for attention and apparently cash starved, one brick shy of a full load Senator Laura Woods has decided to auction off every mass killer’s weapon of choice, an AR15 to fund her floundering campaign.

This is good news for Rachel Zenzinger, Woods’ sane opponent, in that these types of antics will not work in the Arvada/Wesminster senate district they are both seeking to represent.

Yes Folks, Darryl Glenn Is a Whackadoo

CBS4’s Stan Bush reports on a budding scandal involving Colorado GOP U.S. Senate nominee Darryl Glenn, caught on tape in June speculating about the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier that month:

At a candidate forum June 22 the El Paso County commissioner made unsubstantiated claims that President Obama directed the FBI to not investigate the Orlando night club shooter, Omar Mateen, before the massacre.

“But it sounds like there might be some political things happening where they’re given direction to look a different way. Why don’t we start there?” said Glenn…

Glenn said the FBI takes “direction from the top” in his answer, and repeats his claim two more times before completing his response.

“I think we need to have hearings on this. I think people need to be held accountable. I want to know whether or not our FBI personnel were personally directed to look the other way. [Pols emphasis]

“The president should be held to account for that if he gave direction that limited the FBI.”

The allegation that President Barack Obama might have “directed” the FBI to end their investigation of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen was just one of many ways that right-wing armchair prognosticators tried to rationalize the politically inconvenient aspects of that shooting in its immediate aftermath–much the way the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter was widely speculated to be a “transgender leftist” on the flimsiest of evidence in that shooting’s aftermath. In this case, the usual right-wing presumptions that Obama is some kind of Al Qaeda “Manchurian Candidate” President who wants to make us all pray to Mecca underly the whole discussion.

But as FactCheck.org had already reported before Darryl Glenn made these ill-advised remarks, there’s not a shred of truth to any of this foolishness:

FBI Director James Comey has said that the FBI over the course of two preliminary investigations in 2013 and 2014 recorded Mateen’s conversations, followed him, introduced him to confidential sources, interviewed him, “review[ed] transactional records from his communications, and search[ed] all government holdings for any possible connections.” Both investigations closed without the FBI taking any action against Mateen, because, Comey said, there was no reason at that time to suspect Mateen had terrorist ties or intentions…

The fact that the preliminary investigation closed after 10 months indicates that the agency felt its investigation was completed. FBI rules discourage conducting preliminary investigations beyond a year, but a longer extension can be approved “by the appropriate FBIHQ operational section for ‘good cause.’”

Don Borelli, a retired FBI counterterrorism supervisor in New York, told the New York Times that the danger in keeping an investigation open without good cause is the impact that it can have on innocent people. “Imagine if you can’t get a job because you’re on some watchlist and there’s no basis for it,” Borelli told the Times.

When you get past one or two logical points about the FBI’s investigation of Mateen, it becomes clear that any attempt to personally blame President Obama for the attack is just mindless whisper-campaign prattle–the kind of thing that prior to the advent of Donald Trump had much less credibility. Rep. Mike Coffman came somewhat close to embracing this conspiracist narrative when has said that Obama is a “recruiting tool” for terrorism, but obviously Glenn suggesting that Obama helped Mateen escape scrutiny before the Orlando shooting is a big step further.

Into the Twilight Zone, folks. This might play will with the hardcore talk-radio right, but it’s the kind of talk that turns off undecided middle-road voters and donors — and, really, anyone who has ever employed the use of logic. In a race already rapidly dwindling in national importance due to the growing consensus that Glenn is out of his league, his propensity for nutty rhetoric is enough to put the question to rest.

Darryl Glenn is just not a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Laura Woods Blames “The Left” For Yard Sign Vandalism

woodsvandalized1

Let’s start by saying unequivocally that we don’t condone vandalism, against politicians or anybody else. As you can see in the photo above being circulated by Republican Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign, somebody vandalized one of her yard signs being displayed on the fence of an Arvada constituent earlier this month.

And if you’re to the left of Woods on the political spectrum, she blames you.

Within 5 days Team Woods has had two banners vandalized. One at 92nd and Ingalls was stolen within 20 hours of being hung, and one on Pierce was spray painted! All of this brought to you by the “tolerant left”!! [Pols emphasis]

In a comment on Facebook to the photo posted above, Woods explains her blame further:

In two election cycles, I’ve had banners painted, vandalized, knocked down and stolen and my opponent’s signs are untouched. THAT’S why I blame the left…

Now, we of course don’t know who decided to tag Woods’ yard sign, but from experience we can tell you in these situations it is almost never one’s political opponents who commit crimes like petty vandalism of yard signs. It’s true that Woods has big vinyl signs all over Senate District 19–and their ubiquitous presence might all by itself be a motivator for some juvenile delinquent with a can of spray paint to deface one.

Either way, it’s silly and irresponsible to blame one’s opponent for this kind of thing with no proof. Woods claims she has installed motion-sensing “game cameras” near some of her banners in an attempt to record future acts of vandalism. If Woods actually catches an adult with any bonafide connection to her opponent vandalizing her signs, or has her allegations against “the left” confirmed in any way by competent investigators, we’ll be the first to apologize and correct the record.

Otherwise, it’s another exercise in paranoia–from a lawmaker so paranoid she was afraid to use her real name on the radio.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Read this, then go outside and get some fresh air. 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…

► Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others injured by a sniper targeting police during a protest against police violence. From CNN:

The ambush began with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed.

Now investigators are trying to piece together answers to key questions: Who was responsible for the shootings, which began Thursday night during a protest against police violence and left parts of downtown Dallas under siege for hours? And are any other suspects on the loose?

The deadly gunfire erupted in Dallas as videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota spurred protests and debate over police use of force across the country.

The Dallas sniper attacks are yet another horrific example of violent gun crime in America, and the deadliest single day for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. In the wake of the shootings, the spokesperson for the Colorado Senate Republicans inexplicably and disgustingly took to social media to blame President Obama for the attacks. As we wrote earlier today:

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

Sean Paige, the mouthpiece for the Senate Republicans, is a former editor at the Colorado Springs Gazette and staffer at the Koch brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

 

► Jason Salzman catches a curious edit to an archived story in the Denver Post, in which a quote from Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) about his marriage to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been mysteriously removed. The former Post reporter who wrote the original story, Lynn Bartels, confirms the missing quote’s existence.

 

► If you thought that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was above the kind of silly political bickering that has gridlocked Congress, then you haven’t been paying attention. As the Denver Post reports:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has joined in efforts to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearances, part of a coordinated GOP effort to continue to take advantage of her e-mail scandal.

On Thursday, Gardner and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, both Republicans, announced they had introduced a bill to revoke security clearances from Clinton and her key aides when she was secretary of state. Several of those aides are in her campaign’s inner circle. The bill they introduced, the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies (TRUST) Act of 2016, would put Congress on record saying that Clinton should have no access to classified information “until she earns the legal right to such access.”

“If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it.”

In other words, if law enforcement officials can’t make a case against Clinton, Republican Senators will dress one up instead! As Politico notes, this bit of political theater is unlikely to go anywhere…but it beats actually working on policy issues.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Colorado Senate GOP Blames Obama For Dallas Police Killings

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Senate President Bill Cadman.

Last night’s horrific shooting of multiple police officers assigned to a protest against police brutality in Dallas is a central point of discussion today across America. It’s a time to mourn not just the killings, but the setback such violence against police represents for an honest solution to the related issues of use of force against civilians and easy access to weapons in the United States.

Unless you’re the official mouthpiece of the Colorado Senate Republicans.

We pray today not just for the victims of these murders, and for all the loved ones and colleagues of the dead or injured in Dallas, but for this great but troubled country, which hasn’t seen domestic upheavel [sic-Pols] like this since the 1960s.

Barack Obama came into office hailed as a great “uniter,” who would heal old wounds and bring Americans together. On that count, too, he must be judged a failure, as evidenced by the division, fear, lawlessness and almost total lack of “domestic tranquility” he leaves in his wake. [Pols emphasis]

If you’re thinking Senate President Bill Cadman’s press office should have stopped at (and spell-checked) the first paragraph, well, suffice to say that we agree. We most certainly cannot see any rational path to blaming the nation’s first African-American President for the larger problem of police brutality in America, which is committed disproportionately against African-Americans. To suggest that President Barack Obama is even peripherally responsible for last night’s attack on police officers in Dallas relies on fundamentally racist presumptions.

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

At the very least, please don’t accuse the gun control folks of “politicizing a shooting” ever again.

Colorado Crime Report Shows Guns are Still Killing People

Outside of the United States, you are more likely to be killed by a falling object than by gun violence.

Outside of the United States, you are more likely to be killed by a falling object than by gun violence.

Do guns kill people? Or do people (with guns) kill people?

The answer is: Yes.

As the Denver Post reports on the release Tuesday of the annual “Crime in Colorado” report:

Colorado residents were most likely to be killed in their homes by someone they knew who had a gun. [Pols emphasis] Of the 172 homicides last year, 70 percent of the people who died knew their killers whether they were acquaintances, spouses  or parents; 55 percent happened inside a residence; and 66 percent were shot to death.

Opponents of any sort of gun safety measures like to use the talking point, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” as though there is some sort of meaningful difference in the two statements. In the United States, you are as likely to be killed by a gun as you are to die in a car accident. These are statistical facts. Period.

Of course, guns are not the only way to kill people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated as a significant health and safety risk. In Colorado, you are more likely to be murdered by a gun than by any other instrument of harm — including anvils. We understand the Second Amendment arguments surrounding firearms and the delicate political nature of these discussions. But as the latest crime report in Colorado demonstrates once again, suggesting that “guns” are not a very real and documented problem is just plain silly.