Will Colorado public officials be more careful about spreading fake news?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republicans did their part in spreading fake news and/or falsehoods on Facebook during the election, as Charles Buchanan has been pointing out on the Colorado Times Recorder.

Below, I’ve pulled together a few examples from Buchanan’s posts (See more here.), and they raise the question of whether public officials, as well as partisan entities, will be more careful, going forward, about fact checking information before they post it on Facebook.

Before and after the election, reporters have been spotlighting fake news and its possible impact on Clinton. Fake news appears to be especially popular among conservative audiences.

In the coming months, I’ll check in with public officials, Republican or Democrat, if they’ve posted or shared fake news or falsehoods on Facebook.

We’ll see if they have sufficient respect for public discourse to remove their inaccurate information, once it’s been proven false.

Here are recent examples, from Buchanan’s work:

In August, Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada), who lost her seat to Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, shared a false meme that vaccines causes autism.


Tim Ryan Challenging Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader

Ohio Rep. Tim RyanAs Politico reports:

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan will challenge House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for the top Democratic leadership post, the first real test of her leadership since Democrats lost the House in 2010.

“Vote for me and I will dedicate all of my energy to lead us back into the majority. Our constituents deserve nothing less,” Ryan, 43, wrote in a letter to colleagues Thursday afternoon.

“Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. This should indicate to all of us that keeping our leadership team completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections,” he added.

There’s significant unrest within the caucus after Democrats’ poor showing on Election Day, but it’s unclear if that will translate into significant support for Ryan. Pelosi’s leadership has clearly been shaken but the longtime leader has a loyal following in her caucus and many think it would take a near-miracle to unseat her.

The 76-year-old Pelosi has helmed the Democratic Congressional caucus for 14 years, and while it would be considered an upset for Ryan to defeat her, a series of disappointing election results certainly help strengthen his argument.

Jon Keyser’s Failed Senate Campaign Is Back in the News

As Marshall Zelinger of Denver7 tweets:

Jon Keyser is the former half-term state legislator whose brief foray into federal politics earlier this year ended in disaster when questions emerged about the validity of petition signatures used to get his name on the Republican Primary ballot for U.S. Senate. Petition gatherer Maureen Moss got tossed under the bus and Keyser managed to keep his name on the ballot, only to get soundly defeated by eventual GOP Senate nominee Darryl Glenn.

We haven’t heard much of anything about Keyser since he all but vanished just before the June 28th Primary; based on what just transpired with Moss, we’d say things could have turned out worse for Keyser and his dog.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (November 17)

GetMoreSmarter-SnowSnow! Sorta. 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.


► President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to meet his first world leader today when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in New York. As CNN reports, Trump’s team is already making it clear to world leaders such as Abe that his campaign rhetoric was only that — rhetoric:

It’s not hard to see why Prime Minister Abe wants to get first word with Trump.

The Japanese government was concerned by remarks made by Trump during his campaign about relations between the two countries. In particular, officials were rattled by Trump’s suggestions that Japan, which until last year had a pacifist constitution, should obtain nuclear weapons to protect itself from North Korea…

A special adviser sent in advance by Abe to meet with members of Trump’s transition team said he was told Japan shouldn’t take Trump’s campaign talk literally. [Pols emphasis]

“All the people shared the same opinion — that we don’t need to be nervous about every single word and phrase said during Mr Trump’s campaign,” Katsuyuki Kawai told Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Sorry, Trump supporters: It’s beginning to look like everything His Hairness said during the campaign was just…words.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on concerns that Trump’s meeting with Abe is taking place before the President-elect has even been briefed on Japanese-American relations:

The 5 p.m. session with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump’s first with a foreign leader since the election, has raised questions among some in Washington’s foreign policy community because Trump has apparently not been briefed by the State Department. Officials said Wednesday that the transition team has not reached out to State.

A former State Department official said such a meeting with a foreign leader would normally be preceded by numerous briefings from key diplomats…

Welp. Here we go…

Oh, never mind. Trump says everything is going “so smoothly.”


► President-elect Trump met with Members of Congress on Thursday and apparently received promises for a short-term spending bill that the Republican caucus doesn’t like at all. From the Washington Post:

House Republicans bowed to his wishes and announced plans to extend government funding through March, despite warnings from top GOP senators that such a spending strategy could wreak havoc on the first several months of his presidency. [Pols emphasis]

The House Appropriations Committee chairman, Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), said Thursday that his staff would immediately begin work on a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through March 31 after consultation with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.


► The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has released ballot return data with breakdowns for party, age, and gender. This will be the last ballot return update issued by the SOS until election results are certified on December 8.


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

The Get More Smarter Show: November 16, 2016

This week on Get More Smarter: Jason Bane and Alan Franklin recap the 2016 elections in Colorado, with particular attention to all the things they (and almost everybody else) got wrong. We got some important stuff wrong. Mea culpa. At least we’re honest.

Missed an episode of the Get More Smarter Show? Click here to catch up!

Denver Neighbors Help Clean Up Pro-Trump Hate



A sad story with a happy ending today from Denver7’s Blair Miller:

A transgender woman says she woke up to find her car vandalized with hate speech, a swastika and a pro-Donald Trump message in Denver’s Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, and police are now investigating…

Among the messages painted on her car were: “fag,” “die he she”, “tranny,” and “Trump.” A swastika was painted on the back tailgate.

A message saying, “Not my president,” appears to have been written on her car prior to the vandalism.

Amber Timmons’ story is unfortunately consistent with incidents that have been reported across the nation of vandalism attacks and acts of violence in the name of President-elect Donald Trump. The Summit Daily News reports on another such incident that occurred in Breckenridge:

After the election, on the morning of Nov. 12, a Breckenridge man reported to Summit County Sheriff’s deputies that his house had been targeted with profane, pro-Trump chalk graffiti and phallic symbols.

The man did not have any political signage in his yard and did not know why only his house appeared to be targeted, although he noted that he was concerned “about the current political climate” because he had two African-American children living at his home.

As of this writing, Ms. Timmons’ original Facebook post has been overrun by internet trolls accusing her of faking the incident. But Timmons’ neighbors responded to the crime with a heartening show of support–Denver7:

Timmons wrote on the post that police were called and showed up to investigate. She added that she went back inside her home, and walked back out to find encouraging sticky notes reading, “You are loved,” and “I am deeply sorry…love and peace wins always!” [Pols emphasis]

…By 11 a.m., Timmons posted that a police report had been taken and that her friends had come over and were cleaning the paint off – apparently with quite good success, according to pictures she posted.


And that, dear reader, is more like the Colorado we know. Let the love be the story, not the hate.

Yes, Trump Gets a Colorado Capitol Rotunda Portrait

President-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump.

As FOX 31’s Michael Konopasek reports, to the victor go the spoils:

State officials soon will begin the lengthy process of commissioning a portrait of President-elect Donald Trump to hang in the Colorado State Capitol.

In the statehouse rotunda is a tribute to the American presidency and the 43 men who have served it.

Every day, visitors admire the art by Lawrence Williams, who painted each portrait from President George Washington to President George W. Bush.

Konopasek reports that the artist responsible for all of the Colorado Capitol rotunda presidential portraits died before completing one for President Barack Obama, and the task then fell to a gifted Colorado Springs painter named Sarah Boardman.

Boardman is certainly qualified to paint Donald Trump’s portrait, and we expect she’ll get the job–but it occurred to us there are plenty of them on the market already. And it’s possible others might want to take a (pardon us) fresh crack at it.

Wednesday Open Thread

“In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me–they hate you, too. They hate everybody.”

–Elie Wiesel

Rep. Polis Responds To Stephen Bannon Appointment

Stephen Bannon.

Stephen Bannon.

Here’s a statement from Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, whose office has been inundated with calls about the announcement by President-elect Donald Trump that controversial political strategist Stephen Bannon will take a high-level advisory job in the new administration:

Today community member after community member has contacted my office about the appointment of Steve Bannon to the Trump administration. I am heartened to serve a community that will not stand idly by. The country needs you now more than ever. They need to know you care and are willing to advocate for the principles and values we hold dear.

While Congress has no authority to stop Trump from appointing Bannon, like you – I choose to use my voice to speak out against discrimination. And like many of you, I find Steve Bannon’s history of racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic rhetoric sickening. That is why I signed onto a letter with fellow U.S. Representatives asking Trump to reconsider. [Pols emphasis]

I assure you that in Congress, I will defend the freedom of all Americans, and advocate on behalf of those who Trump targeted during the election – women, Muslims, immigrants, people of color, and all minorities.

We know the truth. The truth is that our freedom and liberties are all tied together, and none of us can be truly free and liberated while holding back another group.

I still have faith in the American people, and I ask you to keep that faith too. Give your neighbors the benefit of doubt and go out of your way to be welcoming.

I remind you of what MLK said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Mike Coffman Gets His Trump Hat


coffmantrump3TPM’s Lauren Fox reports from today’s post-election meeting of the House Republican conference:

It was the first full conference meeting in the wake of Trump’s stunning election win. Members had been back home, in their districts, trying carefully to balance their bombastic nominee with their own re-elections. In the end, it turned out Trump’s vision helped them.

Now, even Republicans who once kept their distance from their party’s nominee, wanted to be on the right side of their new President. But the cognitive dissonance between what House GOP leaders were saying about Trump before the election and what they’re saying now was not lost on some members.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), a Republican who ran ads against Trump on the trail, shuffled out of the meeting hat in hand.

“I am excited about the next two years and look forward to working with the president,” Coffman said, adding that he was excited to do tax reform and to repeal and replace Obamacare. [Pols emphasis]

“I’ll tell you what is so exciting is I no longer have to worry about executive orders or excesses in the rule making process,” Coffman said.

We took note yesterday of Rep. Mike Coffman’s awkward victory speech, in which he was repeatedly heckled by the audience over his public distancing from his own party’s nominee Donald Trump. After Coffman’s speech ended, his wife Attorney General Cynthia Coffman gave him a quick kiss and then turned to the microphone to shout “Go Trump!” to raucous applause. The scene very much underscored the rank deception of Coffman’s triangulation against the Republican presidential nominee–deception that was aided and abetted by lazy local media repeatedly on the campaign trail this year.

Anyway, now that Coffman has his Trump hat, we know some local talking heads who need to admit they got played like a fiddle.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 15)

Get More SmarterEnjoy the sun, folks; actual winter might be just around the corner. 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.


► President-elect Donald Trump is having a bit of trouble finding qualified people to work in his new administration. As the Washington Post reports, politicos are avoiding a Trump White House like it was the last piece of Halloween Candy:

President-elect Donald Trump prepared on Tuesday to meet with incoming Vice President Mike Pence to discuss Cabinet selections amid continued uncertainty over who will fill key positions and growing acrimony between Trump advisers and some key Republicans…

…Former congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a widely respected voice on national security, announced that he is leaving his position as a senior national security adviser to Trump’s transition team. Bloomberg Politics, citing people familiar with the matter, said Rogers was asked to leave by senior transition team members.

It was unclear why, and Rogers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Eliot Cohen, a leading voice of opposition to Trump among former national security officials during the campaign, blasted Trump’s transition team in a tweet on Tuesday.

“After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming “you LOST!” Will be ugly,’’ tweeted Cohen, who served from 2007 to 2009 as counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He was a driving force behind an open letter last spring — eventually signed by 122 Republican national security leaders — who opposed Trump’s candidacy.

The Post also reports that former Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson will not be a part of a Trump administration after all. You know things are really going off the rails when Ben Freakin’ Carson doesn’t want a job.


► Congressman Mike Coffman and his wife, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, seem to think that the 2016 election and the rise of Donald Trump is pretty hilarious. The joke’s on you.


► One of Colorado’s representatives to the Electoral College is encouraging Republicans to refuse to support Donald Trump for President. #NeverTrump to the bitter end, baby!

For those of you who aren’t fans of Trump, don’t get too excited — this isn’t likely to work.


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

Some Colorado Republicans Stay #NeverTrump To The Bitter End

nevertrump1CBS4 Denver reports on a last-ditch effort by a few members of the Electoral College to thwart Donald Trump’s victory by peeling away fellow electors:

One of Colorado’s Electoral College representatives is working on an attempt to stop Donald Trump from winning the presidency.

Michael Baca of Colorado is one of four who are trying to persuade enough of their Republican electors to bail on President-elect Trump.

They are calling themselves “Moral Electors.”

“This is an American issue, and a moral imperative; someone without the requisite qualifiers should not be allowed to become our Chief Executive,” Baca said in a statement.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney has more on this decidedly longshot attempt:

Chiafalo, a self-described “regular nerdy dude who works for Microsoft” and Baca, a grad student and Marine Corps veteran, insist they’re not seeking the election of Clinton — or even a Democrat. Both, in fact, had already been considering voting against her when the Electoral College meets in five weeks. Rather, they intend to encourage Republican electors to write in Mitt Romney or John Kasich. If enough agree, the election would be sent to the House of Representatives, which would choose from among the top three vote-getters.

Both men acknowledge that their effort is unlikely to succeed. Electors throughout American history have rarely broken ranks. But the fact that members of the college — part of an arcane but powerful constitutional process — are working to undermine Trump could lead to a larger share of dissident electors than the country has seen in decades and put renewed focus on calls to abolish the controversial body.

First of all, of course, this isn’t going to work. Even if these electors were to persuade enough of their colleagues to write in alternatives to Trump, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives would be certain to vote in the winner of the election. Without at least some support from the alternative candidates they are proposing, it’s a fool’s errand.

With that said, the persistent dissent Trump has experienced from within his party since winning the presidential election is noteworthy–even though the GOP’s overall capitulation to Trump speaks much louder than the few dissenters. Here in Colorado, Trump experienced one of the fiercest uprisings against his candidacy of any state Republican Party–a sweep of the state’s primary delegates by Ted Cruz, and a still-unexplained Tweet from the state GOP’s official account celebrating Colorado as a #NeverTrump state.

They won’t say it publicly today, but more than a few Colorado Republicans would be just fine if this Electoral College insurgency against Trump were more than a doomed gesture. And if Trump’s presidency is a disaster, they might become willing once more to speak up.

And yes, this makes it a little easier to say “to hell with the Electoral College.”

Tuesday Open Thread

“If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.”

–Robert Anthony