“We Must Think Anew and Act Anew”, Colorado New Deal Edition

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Original Seal, USDA

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture and he later called it “The People’s Department.”  Lincoln believed in a robust, agrarian system.  Five days later he would sign The Homestead Act, bringing the opportunity of land ownership to over 400,000 families.  Six weeks later he would sign The Morrill Act, establishing our land-grant university system to “benefit the agricultural and mechanical arts.” 

President Lincoln created an ecosystem, one that ultimately gave birth to the greatest agriculture powerhouse in the world – thanks to political will and government resources. in 1922 Congress enacted the Capper-Volstead Act, giving “associations” of persons producing agricultural products certain exemptions from antitrust laws. It is sometimes called the Magna Carta of cooperatives

Dust Bowl, circa 1934

Less than a decade later those in the West would endure the hardships of two calamities: The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl.  FDR’s New Deal gave us rural electrification, price supports, a new soil conservation service, and the CCC.

Post-WWII was a time when we saw the vast expansion of our rural electrics, made possible through government resources; cooperative telephone companies, and farmer-owned cooperatives. The Eisenhower Interstate System gave way to a more robust transportation system to move our goods.

In the late ’50s, the development of groundwater resources brought a new wave of prosperity and production to not only our eastern plains, deriving its water from the Ogalla Aquifer but the San Luis Valley region.  The former becoming a powerhouse in corn and livestock production, the latter becoming one of the largest potato growing regions in the US, along with barley, and alfalfa.

San Luis Valley

San Luis Valley

Today, the future of both of these groundwater regions is at risk.  The eastern plains grappling with both dwindling groundwater resources and compliance obligations under the Republican River Compact; the San Luis Valley with very similar dynamics centered around the Rio Grande River.

For context, each of these areas contains approximately 500,000 acres of irrigated land; (collectively they represent approximately the same land footprint as Israeli farmland, a global, agricultural powerhouse).

Republican River Water Conservation District

The future for both of these critical agricultural areas, and our rural communities that depend upon them, is increasingly uncertain. Both districts, while collectively representing only something near 2% of Colorado’s population, also represent the majority of Colorado agriculture that depends on groundwater withdrawals.

Just like we did 159 years ago today (and every transition since), we face both our challenges – and – our opportunities with the requisite to couple government resources, research institutions, and our farming/ranching community with political will.

Building carbon-rich soils

If we’ve been taught anything over the last 159 years, it’s that within every crisis lies the seed of opportunity.  This September our legislature may have a generational opportunity to create the Colorado New Deal via its appropriation of stimulus funds; an opportunity to provide the necessary financial resources to transition Colorado agriculture into something designed with our Colorado values in mind. A generational opportunity to support the development of infrastructure that will bear generational fruit from our rural communities.  Significant opportunities abound in the growing US hemp sector; we’ve already piloted a successful fiber project in the San Luis Valley this past year. The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of food and flowers, all accomplished with water-sipping, chemical-free production with 36,000 acres of greenhouses (3.6% of the combined groundwater district’s footprints).  Conservation opportunities to benefit from the emerging carbon credit marketplace will touch every farm and ranch in our state.

Next Generation Colorado Rancher

I’m writing this, knowing full well just how difficult our political divides make such a conversation. The legislators who will ultimately settle the allocation of these stimulus funds are characterized as the enemy by a vast majority of residents in rural Colorado. We’re in the midst of a third recall attempt of the Governor and it’s likely the very people, rural constituents, who could benefit from this discussion are amongst the first names on the latest petitions.   The stakes are high, high enough that it’s time for some earnest soul searching on our part.  For many irrigators, the proverbial wolf is at the door; many are wondering aloud Who Moved My Cheese? 

Next-generation food, feed, fuel, and fiber

If we look at the resources we have through the lens of Israeli and Dutch technologies there is little reason we, too, can’t be a global powerhouse in emerging markets, those driven in large part by Gen Z and Millennials who bring a new set of values and expectations to the global marketplace.  But this can only be done if we, rural Colorado, can humbly sit at a table and have this long-overdue conversation with our counterparts.  There is no them and us. We, rural Coloradans, are not independent, we’re interdependent.  

We can not and will not survive in a vacuum.

Let’s have this conversation.

 

Match Made In Hell: Lauren Boebert, Meet Candace Owens

UPDATE MAY 15: Guess who’s coming to dinner:

Looks like Rep. Lauren Boebert will have to stop dodging questions about Matt Gaetz’s love life now.

Original post follows…

—–

Lauren Boebert, Candace Owens.

From a press release announcing next weekend’s Ohio Political Summit, we learn that Colorado’s most notorious freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert is the star of what’s being billed as the Buckeye State’s first major 2022 cycle event to “discuss, share in forum setting, and promote candidates who will work for good government and America First policies.”

Strongville, Ohio (we’ll admit this is a cool name for a town) is very far from Colorado’s Third Congressional District, so safe to say there will be no town halls for Rep. Boebert’s hapless constituents that weekend.

Co-starring with Boebert is a conservative activist whose name we keep thinking we’ve heard for the last time, only to pop up again: Candace Owens, formerly of the “teen fash” right-wing organizing group Turning Point USA:

On May 15, 2021 the Ohio Political Summit will feature Republican Leaders considering a run in 2022 for U.S. Senate, House 16 and Governor (all viable candidates have been invited to the event headlined by Conservative Commentator Candace Owens and Conservative Congresswoman Lauren Boebert).

“I am very excited to escape Fort Pelosi, and come to the Ohio Political Summit,” said Representative Lauren Boebert (R) Colorado. “As a strong voice for freedom, I look forward to sharing thoughts about taking back our country with like minded conservatives; I encourage everyone to participate.”

“We are very pleased to be hosting this watermark event, as of today virtually every viable candidate is participating,” said Shannon Burns, Strongsville GOP President and CEO of WAB Strategic. “Ohio is a bellwether state, and we have an incredible group of candidates. We are very excited to have Candace Owens and Lauren Boebert headline the start of a great season.”

It’s a fair and debatable question which of these two individuals is more discrediting to the other. Although locals have been saturated with Boebert’s non-stop firehose of ludicrous falsehoods and calculatedly offensive pronouncements on every available subject for months now, Candace Owens has been playing the outrageousness for cash and prizes game much longer than Boebert has. From disastrously trying to loop the clueless Kanye West into her bogus “Blexit” movement to suggesting that if “Hitler just wanted to make Germany great” he would have been “fine,” which resulted in the University of Colorado chapter of her own organization calling for her resignation, we were honestly surprised to see Owens headlining any event–much less co-starring with someone with a reputation to defend like a member of Congress.

Looks like it’s time to revise those standards down again.

Are You Ready To Ditch The Mask?

Colorado Public Radio reports, the most visible and hotly-debated symbol of the nation’s fraught battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is about to go away, as both federal health officials and Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado say it’s safe for vaccinated residents to stop wearing masks even in most crowded indoor settings. In practical terms this is the end of the mask mandate outside specific high-risk situations and private establishments who choose to enforce one, since there’s no way at this point to easily sort the vaxxed from the unclean:

“If you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask at all,” [Gov. Jared] Polis said. But he added that if you are not vaccinated the state will continue to “suggest” that you wear a mask when indoor around strangers.

Masks may still be required at events with more than 500 people, and will be required for most schools, childcare and health care settings and in any other business that mandates them. But now even teachers and students who are fully vaccinated can ditch the mask for the last few weeks of school if their school district agrees, even inside the school if they choose.

For the most part, what was required for much of the past year is now simply “suggested” or “advised” and only for the unvaccinated.

“This is certainly a big step,” Polis said. “We have reached a level of immunization where the pandemic isn’t over, but we are safer.”

For those of you who believed that the mask mandate would never be lifted because Democrats were secretly looking to impose them upon American society like burqas, we’re sorry to disappoint you! As it turns out nobody, not even tyrannical socialist babysmugglers like Joe Biden and Jared Polis, wanted us to wear masks longer than it was medically necessary to slow the spread of a disease that has killed over 585,000 Americans. On the reality-based side of this debate, on the other hand, there are those who argue not without evidence that the state hasn’t reached the case decline to safely justify ditching the mask mandate.

Are you happy the mask mandate is ending?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 14)

On this day in 1796, the first person was inoculated against smallpox. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Get vaccinated and you can get back to normal. As The New York Times explains:

“We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said as she announced the shift at a White House news conference on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

Fully vaccinated people are still told to cover their faces when flying or taking public transit, when visiting health care facilities, and in congregate settings like prisons and homeless shelters.

The recommendations came as a surprise to many people in public health. They offered a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times, who said that until many more Americans were vaccinated, there would be too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail…

…On Thursday, the governors of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, and the mayors of New York City and Washington, D.C., all Democrats, said that they were taking the new guidance under advisement before adopting it. Los Angeles County also said that it and the State of California were reviewing the new guidelines. In deference to local authorities, the C.D.C. said vaccinated people must continue to abide by existing state, local or tribal laws and regulations, and to follow local rules for businesses and workplaces.

The Denver Post reports on how Colorado is reacting to the new CDC guidance:

Colorado’s mask mandate is going to change in the near future to align with new federal guidance that says vaccinated people can safely go without masks in most indoor settings, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday afternoon…

…The new guidance issued Thursday doesn’t have the force of law, so states, counties and other governments will have to decide how they want to respond. It also doesn’t suggest policies for public settings, where vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) says that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is equivalent to the “mark of the beast” from Revelations.

In a related story, CNN reports that Congressional Democrats have a 100% vaccination rate.

 

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is being sued by a former staffer and Marine Corps veteran for promoting an unsafe working environment and forcing staffers to run personal errands for he and his wife. The lawsuit also claims that Lamborn has been allowing his son to live in a utility closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

POLITICO has more on what is shaping up to be a serious problem for Lamborn:

“Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” That’s what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–Colo.) allegedly told a staffer in October 2020, right after discovering that his Capitol Hill office was turning into a hotbed of Covid-19 infections.

It’s one of the many eye-popping accusations in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in the District Court for the District of Columbia by Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer who says he vocally pushed back on what he called the congressman’s “reckless and dangerous approach” to the pandemic — and was fired for it.

The lawsuit claims that Lamborn ignored congressional pandemic protocols and endangered his own staff, mocked aides who wanted to wear masks, forced staffers to show up for work in person and dismissed social-distancing guidelines. Eventually, those actions resulted in “widespread transmission of the virus throughout both the district and Washington DC offices,” the lawsuit states, leading both offices to shutter for a time.

 

Colorado lawmakers are continuing debate on SB-200, legislation that would lay out specific guidelines for meeting emissions-reduction goals, despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis. As Judith Kohler reports for The Denver Post, a new report should make it harder for Polis to justify a potential veto:

A new report says Colorado will fall drastically short of its goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions without more ambitious targets and enforceable limits on pollution, a feature of a bill in the legislature that has Gov. Jared Polis threatening a veto. [Pols emphasis]

The analysis released Friday by Energy Innovation and RMI, formerly Rocky Mountain Institute, says their modeling projects Colorado’s overall emissions will drop from 2005 levels by just 3.4% by 2030 and only 18% by 2050. That’s a long way from the goals of at least 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 set by a 2019 law and in the “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap” issued by Polis in January.

The state law includes the near-term goal of a 26% decline in emissions by 2025. Supporters of Senate Bill 21-200 say the specific limits on emissions in the new bill are intended to build upon the objectives set by previous legislation and the governor’s road map.

“Our climate goals are only as strong as our plans to execute them. This bill takes Gov. Polis’ climate goals and works to ensure that his plan happens,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado. “If the governor’s team has another way of building more certainty into their road map, we’d love to hear that.”

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has about one month left in the 2021 session…

The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is calling on Gov. Polis to veto HB-1051.

Colorado Public Radio looks at a long list of transgressions included in new legislation aimed at reforming Colorado’s misdemeanor offenses.

RealVail.com updates on the progress of legislation to fund much-needed transportation infrastructure repairs in Colorado.

The Colorado Sun reports on the advancement of legislation aimed at helping immigrants. In a separate story, the Sun looks at a bill that seeks to require more transparency in how companies track their employees.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on a positive reception for a media literacy bill in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Lamborn Sued by Former Staffer for Long List of Complaints

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Ahole Boss)

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: The Denver Post obtains emails between staffers that back up some of the claims in the lawsuit. And then there’s this:

Lamborn told Colorado Public Radio on Friday morning that Pope was a disgruntled employee. He called the lawsuit weak and denied any ethical violations, but did not specifically deny one allegation — that he allowed one of his sons to live rent-free for weeks in a storage area of the U.S. Capitol’s basement.

“I gave my son temporary housing as my guest because the housing market in Washington, D.C., is very tight,” Lamborn said, though he refused to go into details when asked whether he let his son stay in his office or in a storage unit.

Q: Did you allow your son to live in a storage closet at the U.S. Capitol?

A: Squirrel!

—–

FRIDAY UPDATE: This story from POLITICO makes Lamborn look really bad:

“Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” That’s what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–Colo.) allegedly told a staffer in October 2020, right after discovering that his Capitol Hill office was turning into a hotbed of Covid-19 infections. [Pols emphasis]

It’s one of the many eye-popping accusations in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in the District Court for the District of Columbia by Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer who says he vocally pushed back on what he called the congressman’s “reckless and dangerous approach” to the pandemic — and was fired for it…

…Pope — a Marine veteran who started with Lamborn as a Wounded Warrior fellow before being promoted to defense policy adviser — claims in the suit that early in the pandemic, he raised safety concerns to a superior. He suggested teleworking or at least some social distancing in the office after hearing from colleagues who were worried about the health risks of in-person work because of immunocompromised family members. Those suggestions were ignored, Pope says.

According to Pope’s lawsuit, early on in the pandemic, when most congressional offices moved to remote work, Lamborn insisted that his staff continue to operate in-person — allegedly saying that he would not allow House leadership to dictate how he ran his office, and “belittl[ing] any staffer who raised health-related concerns.” When Pope suggested that one staffer with health conditions at least be afforded a “zip wall” to limit exposure to other staff, Lamborn denied those requests.

—–

Definitely a red face day for Rep. Doug Lamborn.

We don’t normally spend a lot of time in this space talking about Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) for obvious reasons. Even though Lamborn has represented CO-05 since 2007, he doesn’t tend to DO anything aside from popping his head up now and then to fire off strange Tweets or pen nonsensical Op-Eds. People in Colorado Springs generally acknowledge that Lamborn is about as useful as a wooden saw.

Thus, if we’re talking about Lamborn here, it’s usually because of something that is not particularly flattering to the eight-term Congressman. Today is no exception.

As NBC News in Washington D.C. reports, Lamborn is being sued by a former staff member for generally being a pretty terrible boss:

The suit alleges the congressman flouted U.S. House safety rules, ignored warnings about unsafe conditions, and required staff to provide personal favors and tasks for the congressman’s family.

The suit also accuses the congressman of sleeping in his congressional office in D.C. after he knew his staffers were exposed to the coronavirus.

The lawsuit also said the congressman allowed his son to live in a storage space in the basement of the Capitol for weeks when his son was relocating to Washington.

In the suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, former Lamborn military aide Brandon Pope claims he was the victim of retaliation for “seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions in the workplace.”

Yikes! Where do we even start unpacking this story? The foundation of the lawsuit seems to be that Lamborn refused to allow his employees to wear masks or to take social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This doesn’t seem unlikely given Lamborn’s dismissive public comments about the pandemic. As The Denver Post reported in October 2020:

Two members of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Washington, D.C., staff have tested positive for COVID-19, staffers of the Colorado Springs Republican confirmed to The Denver Post on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Lamborn is back in Colorado attending fundraisers and refusing to take a test himself, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. [Pols emphasis]

A few weeks later, Lamborn’s office confirmed that the Congressman was indeed infected with the COVID virus that he didn’t believe existed. Former aide Brandon Pope, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that he was fired after speaking out upon contracting COVID-19 in November.

The lawsuit against Lamborn also contains some interesting accusations about staffers being forced to run personal errands for Lamborn and his wife and being required to buy Christmas gifts for the couple. And then there’s that particularly strange line about how Lamborn “allowed” his son, Luke, to live in a storage space in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn (or vice-versa)

Here’s how Lamborn is responding, according to The Denver Post:

Lamborn, from Colorado Springs, issued a statement through his spokeswoman Cassandra Sebastian: “The workplace safety allegations made by Mr. Pope are unsubstantiated and did not result in the termination of his employment. Congressman Lamborn looks forward to full vindication as all facts come to light.”

Lamborn’s seat in CO-05 has been fairly safe ever since he was first elected in 2006, though plenty of Republicans have tried to unseat him in Primary elections. Lamborn has always managed to survive politically with the bare minimum effort — he raised a little over $5,000 TOTAL in Q1 2021 — because he is fairly boring and does just enough work on behalf of the powerful military interests in his district.

But Lamborn is also not particularly well-liked among fellow Republicans and Members of Congress. There won’t be a long line of people queuing up to show their support if Lamborn’s troubles escalate, and that’s where this lawsuit could be a real problem: It gives Republican voters a tangible reason to back a different horse in 2022. Lamborn probably SHOULD be on his way out of Congress after 16+ years of unremarkable representation in Colorado Springs — particularly if the allegations in this lawsuit are true.

Could you do worse than having Lamborn in Congress? That’s debatable, but you could definitely do a lot better.

Mark Of The Beast, Anyone?

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R).

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Revelations chapter 13, here’s the Bible passage Rep. Lauren Boebert is referring to in the New International Version:

16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,

17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. [Pols emphasis]

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast,  for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Just so we’re clear what’s happening here, this is an elected member of Congress from Colorado seriously suggesting that the choice of wearing a mask or getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is tantamount to what End Times-believing evangelical Christians call “The Mark of the Beast.” For those of you who don’t know the story, that’s as bad as it gets if you believe in the book of Revelations. Anyone who wants you to “take the Mark” works pretty much directly for Satan at this point in the story and if you do take the Mark, it’s lake of fire for you no matter how pious a person you may have been in life. If you die or otherwise suffer persecution because you don’t have the Mark it’s all good, because Jesus is coming back soon afterward to Armageddon things right.

If you’re one of the millions of faithful Christians who has either been vaccinated or wear a mask to protect yourself and others until you are or the pandemic ends, apparently you’re in the service of the devil now! Sorry about that, we don’t make the rules.

In an era of American when nothing seems able to shock the conscience anymore, we’re taken aback once again. It’s not that this kind of talk is new. It’s that it’s coming from Congress, and speaking for Colorado.

That is indeed scary.

Friday Open Thread

“It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.”

–Chief Joseph

“We Must Think Anew and Act Anew”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I share the admiration of Abraham Lincoln with a majority of Americans; in surveys conducted since 1940, he has consistently ranked among the top 3, most often #1. Abe was the only president to hold a patent; he signed the first of the Homestead Acts, allowing poor people to obtain land. He established the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862 and nearly two months later signed the Morrill Act, which led to the creation of our land-grant university system. He established the progressive nature of income tax in the US. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery in the US. He established the US National Banking System, thus, a national currency. Apart from banks, Lincoln helped the economy flourish through canals, railroads & factories. He led the Union to victory in the Civil War; he laid the foundation for Reconstruction.

Lincoln kept us from being a ‘nation divided”, reuniting our nation rather than alienating the South.

Recently I had the chance to travel a significant portion of The Lincoln Highway (starting six miles north of Julesburg, ending in San Francisco),  America’s first national memorial to President Abraham Lincoln, predating the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., by nine years. As the first automobile road across America, the Lincoln Highway brought great prosperity to the hundreds of cities, towns, and villages along the way. The Lincoln Highway became affectionately known as “The Main Street Across America”.  

Just east of Laramie a monument to our 16th President marks the high point of this Atlantic-to-Pacific highway, which begins in Times Square in NYC and terminates near Lincoln Park in San Francisco.  There, an imposing bronze of Lincoln occupies the Summit rest area under the vast Wyoming sky; a plaque reads:

“We Must Think Anew and Act Anew”

Those seven words set the tone for the next 24 hours of driving.  It was a time to reflect on our national priorities today through the eyes of Lincoln as I enjoyed the ease of traveling the Eisenhower Interstate System; I passed by farms and ranches established under the Homestead Act, have sustained themselves through the early research efforts in our land-grant university system and the Ag Extension network. The convenience of an ATM machine and electronic swipes at cash registers, tied to our national banking system.

Satellite radio.

Instant, global communication.

What would Lincoln be thinking today? Would he go big or go home?

As I scanned the radio dial I listened to Senate Minority Leader McConnell say he’s 100% focused on blocking the efforts of the Biden Administration; hardly a “we must think anew and act anew” moment for a man (and party) who claims to be the party of Lincoln.  Abe wouldn’t have been a shrinking violet, held captive by zealots.  In the face of the challenges that face us, he would have been uncompromising.  He’d go big.  He’d be uncompromising about infrastructure; he’d support a strong educational system.  He’d focus his priorities on those who built America: the middle class. He’d be unyielding in his belief that “labor before capital” was the only way to build a just, sustainable economic system. He’d believe that a nation that survived The Great Depression, thanks to progressives and The New Deal,  defeated fascism, rebuilt western Europe, eradicated polio, electrified rural America, put a man on the Moon and a spacecraft on Mars, is more than capable of meeting the challenges of a 21st-century economy.  He’d stand by his belief that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

This is our time to create.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 13)

Happy Rotuma Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 A bunch of former Republican elected officials and Party officers are speaking out against the GOP and pledging to do…something in the wake of the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from House leadership on Wednesday. From an Op-Ed in The Washington Post:

The Republican Party made a grievous error this week in ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the House leadership for telling the truth about Donald Trump’s “big lie,” which has wreaked havoc in our democratic republic by casting doubt over the 2020 election.

Cheney rightfully struck back against party leaders and warned about the GOP’s dangerous direction. She is not alone.

Alongside dozens of prominent Republicans, ex-Republicans and independents, we are announcing “A Call for American Renewal,” a nationwide rallying cry against extremist elements within the GOP, and highlighting the urgent need for a new, common-sense coalition.

We urge fellow Americans to join us.

Former Republican Rep. Cole Wist, once the assistant minority leader for the House GOP, is among the local Colorado Republicans joining this cause. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is not a signatory of the letter, though he did vocally oppose efforts to remove Cheney.

Meanwhile, Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post reports on the ultimate in irony from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who voted to oust Cheney:

“Liz Cheney, she has taken her eyes off the prize,” Boebert told Breitbart News. “Instead of focusing on passing conservative policies, she focused on media hits.” [Pols emphasis]

And then there’s Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who may not have even understood what was happening on Wednesday:

Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, did not say how he voted in a statement. Instead, he praised Cheney as “a strong conservative” and “a crucial voice for national security” but said her ouster was about “supporting the will of our voters.” He also blamed the news media for dividing Republicans.

 

As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post, the exodus from the Republican Party is underway. The New York Times voices similar Republican concerns, while NBC News has more from Rep. Cheney herself:

“It’s a scary thing,” Cheney said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s “TODAY” co-host Savannah Guthrie when asked how Republicans who chose not to remove her from leadership in February supported doing so on Wednesday.

“For reasons that I don’t understand, leaders in my party have decided to embrace the former president who launched that attack,” Cheney said in the interview, which aired Thursday. “And I think you’ve watched over the course of the last several months, the former president get more aggressive, more vocal, pushing the lie.”

 

Tensions in Israel are reaching a boiling point, as The New York Times explains:

Clashes between Arab and Jewish mobs on the streets of Israeli cities have given way to warnings from Israeli leaders that the decades-old conflict could be careening toward a civil war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the scenes of arson and violence as “anarchy” and appealed for an end to “lynchings.”

When Mr. Netanyahu visited the town of Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab city, on Thursday, he said that the violence there was motivated by nationalistic rioters and that soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces could be brought in.

“There is no greater threat now than these riots, and it is essential to bring back law and order with these means,” he said. Riot control measures such as water cannons and administrative arrests may also be used, he said. The police have put strict measures in place in Lod, limiting entry into the city from 5 p.m. and instituting an 8 p.m. curfew…

…Israel carried out more airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, where the death toll rose on Thursday to 83 people since the fighting began early this week, according to the Gaza health ministry. Palestinian militants fired volleys of rockets that reached far into Israel, where seven have died since Monday.

 

Let’s get caught up on news from the state legislature:

Governor Jared Polis will sign three new bills into law today: SB21-167  (Regulation Of Child Care Centers); SB21-013 (Reversing COVID-related Learning Loss); and SB21-059 (Juvenile Justice Code Reorganization).

Lawmakers will not stop Colorado businesses from requiring employees to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Democrats rejected an effort from Republicans to mandate that the state interfere in private business matters.

As The Colorado Sun reports, lawmakers are advancing legislation that would increase the punishment for threatening an elected official in Colorado.

The big health care bill moving through the state legislature could ultimately deliver Coloradans the lowest insurance premiums in the country.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Pay Attention To Me, AOC!

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

As the Washington Post reports via The Hill, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia’s quest to make working class white America look as bad as possible in the eyes of the rest of the world continues with another trademark walk-up accosting–this time targeting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, in hope of provoking a verbal sparring match that might miscast them as intellectual equals:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) office is calling on top lawmakers to ensure that Congress remains “a safe, civil place” for members and staff after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) reportedly accosted her on Wednesday and accused her of supporting “terrorists.”

The incident was witnessed by two Washington Post reporters, according to the newspaper, which reported that Ocasio-Cortez exited the House chamber before Greene shouted “Hey Alexandria” multiple times to get her attention.

Ocasio-Cortez did not stop to address Greene, and the Georgia lawmaker continued shouting while asking her why she supports antifa and Black Lives Matter, claiming they are “terrorist” groups, according to the Post.

Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg.

As she amply demonstrated in her stalking of encounter with a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting outside Congress in 2019, MTG simply doesn’t understand how these kinds of random confrontations in informal settings leaves her as the only party looking bad. There is of course an audience for this kind of boorish behavior, enough to sustain MTG’s ego while she treats left-wing luminaries this way, but to a majority of people including plenty of conservatives she’s just a terrible ambassador for her own cause.

Then this morning as controversy raged over yesterday’s incident, MTG’s “Q-some Twosome” wingperson Rep. Lauren Boebert swooped in to lay down some cover fire:

That appears to be the formula, just like with David Hogg: MTG does the in-person heckling, and Boebert follows on with trollbait for her vast social media following. The whole objective is to keep their names in circulation opposite the GOP’s most vilified boogeywoman of color in elected office–or at least AOC was until Kamala Harris became vice president. By harassing objectively much more qualified colleagues (this is the polite way of saying it) in hallways and on the Twitters, Boebert and MTG hope to bully their way to parity.

The old saying has never been more true than in this case: don’t feed the trolls.

Republicans Announce Legislation Proving They Aren’t Racist

Here’s a pretty fair assumption that can apply to most situations: Whenever you find both Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene standing behind a podium in front of the U.S. Capitol, it’s a safe bet that they aren’t talking about something good.

Via NBC News

 

On Wednesday, Boebert and MTG joined fellow Republican white people like North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop at a news conference to talk about why there is no way you could call them racist. As NBC News reports:

A group of House Republicans on Wednesday took recent attacks on critical race theory a step further by introducing a pair of bills to ban diversity training for federal employees and the military.

Some 30 GOP representatives have signed on to support both the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act and the Stop CRT Act, Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina said at a news conference in Washington.

The first bill is a companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas that aims to prohibit teaching “Anti-American and racist theories” such as critical race theory at any academic institution related to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Stop CRT Act works to codify former President Donald Trump’s executive order banning diversity and racial equity training for federal employees — an order President Joe Biden reversed in January.

These federal efforts follow legislation in several states to pre-emptively ban “critical race theory” (CRT), including a fairly substantial bill that just passed in Texas.

Boebert herself spoke at today’s event, which went about as well as you would expect:

From the “Combatting Racist Training in the American Military Act of 2021”

Via “The Recount,” here’s what Boebert had to say today:

Our children are so valuable. Their future is so valuable. And we can not lose it to something like this racist, critical race theory.

Racist Democrats have always been after our children. They pushed for segregation in schools in the ’60s. And now they’re pushing this critical race theory in our schools, which is nothing more than modern day racism. Democrats want to teach our children to hate each other. [Pols emphasis]

“Racist Democrats…pushed for segregation in schools in the ’60s.” We’re not going to bother with explaining why Boebert is WAYYYY off in this regard. It would be a bigger story, in fact, if Boebert actually understood her American History correctly. That discussion, and a broader dive into CRT, is a different post for a different day. In the meantime, here’s a decent explainer on the back and forth of Critical Race Theory from CNN.

For today, we just wanted to point out that Boebert and a handful of other nitwits in her caucus would like you to know that “all men are created equal” because the Declaration of Independence said so and that’s the way it is and pfffttt if you try to argue otherwise.

Can Elway Save Colo Republicans With a Run for Office?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Elway-Neville.png
Elway and Neville

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At this point, the Colorado Republican Party finds itself in a situation like the one John Elway faced in 1987 in Cleveland, with five minutes on the clock and the 98 yards to go to win the game. They need an Elway miracle to win a statewide election here.

Except they have Donald Trump on their team, not Elway.

But what if John Elway came to their rescue? His name pops up when the dregs of a political conversation turns to GOP miracles.

That’s because Elway is a Republican whom Coloradans actually like (sometimes). And over the years, he’s considered a run for office, if you believe the rumors.

Elway seems to like politics. He’s a reliable GOP donor, and he endorses Republicans in key races.

And he’s unafraid to be associated with losers–which would be a requirement if he ran for office in a blue state like Colorado.

In 2018, Elway backed, among others, then-state Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton), who lost his seat that year, as well as other state senate candidates whose collective losses resulted in a Democratic takeover of the state Senate.

More recently, during last year’s election, Elway gave over $85,000 to federal GOP candidates, mostly losers, including Donald Trump. He gave over $15,000 to the losing Republican efforts in the Georgia Senate races.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Elway-Humenik.png
Elway & former GOP lawmaker Martinez Humenik

Elway’s winning connections last year included far-right conservative U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

So would Elway run in Colorado?

Democratic pollster Chris Keating doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think John Elway is going to do it,” Keating told me last week. “I don’t think he wants to put himself and his family and his football career through the wringer. “I’m sure people are going to tell him it’s a great idea. I would tell him it’s really dumb idea. We love you John. Even Democrats like myself, we remember fondly all the stuff he’s done. And we don’t want to think about that other stuff. We love the Broncos and John Elway. “It’s insanely stupid for him to do that. He would just get dragged down into it. That’s not necessary.”

And Elway would have another problem: He’d lose.

Elway would likely clear the Republican primary because he’s a Trump backer and because he’s John Elway.

We don’t know if he’s an election conspiracist, but you’d think so based on the GOP cohort.

Then Elway would face the same unaffiliated voters whom any other Republican would need to win in Colorado. A clear majority of these swing voters are Trump-hating and progressive–and lean heavily toward Democrats.

There aren’t many athletes like Elway who’ve jumped successfully to big-time politics. In Colorado, U.S. Ben Nighthose Campbell was an Olympic star. Republican Jack Kemp of New York was an NFL quarterback. Wresting sensation Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota.

And you have to consider the fact that Elway oversaw a losing football team in recent years.

It all adds up to a political nose dive, not a winning drive, for Elway.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 12)

Happy Birthday to Gov. Jared Polis, who is 46 years old today. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As had been expected, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from caucus leadership ranks for the crime of refusing to pretend that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election. As The Washington Post reports:

The voice vote to remove her as chair of the House Republican Conference underscored that the party will not tolerate disagreements with Trump, whose active support many argue is needed for the party to win the House majority in the 2022 midterm election.

Cheney, 54, has called her decision to publicly fight Trump a matter of principle, warning that allowing him to falsely claim that the election was stolen amounts to an attack on Democracy and is destructive to the GOP and its values.

“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy,” Cheney told her Republican colleagues Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with her remarks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting. “But I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln.”

We don’t yet know the results of the voice vote, though it’s safe to assume that Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) voted to oust Cheney. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) appears to have been one of the few dissenting Republican voices on removing Cheney. Said Buck, “Liz Cheney was cancelled today for speaking her mind.”

As Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times, this is a very big deal:

It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.

If House Republicans follow through on their plan to replace Cheney, it will not constitute the end of American democracy as we’ve known it, but there is a real possibility we’ll look back on May 12, 2021, as the beginning of the end — unless enough principled Republicans can be persuaded to engineer an immediate, radical course correction in their party.

 

It wasn’t that long ago that Liz Cheney was hosting a fundraiser for Lauren Boebert:

 

In related news, The Associated Press reports that Senate Republicans are pushing back against Democrat efforts to ensure fair elections:

Republicans in the U.S. Senate mounted an aggressive case against Democrats’ sweeping election and voter-access legislation, pushing to roll back proposals for automatic registration, 24-hour ballot drop boxes and other changes in an increasingly charged national debate.

The legislation, a top priority of Democrats in the aftermath of the divisive 2020 election, would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would remove hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security and curtail the influence of big money in politics…

…Though it is federal legislation, Republicans are fighting a national campaign against it rooted in state battles to restrict new ways of voting that have unfolded during the pandemic. Just Tuesday, the Arizona Legislature sent the governor a bill that would make it easier to purge infrequent voters from a list of those who automatically get mail-in ballots, the latest battleground state to push through changes likely to take months or years to finally settle in court.

 

Let’s get caught up on news from the state legislature:

Colorado Newsline reports on a “tax fairness” proposal from Democrats that would limit tax breaks for high-income individuals and businesses.

The Colorado Sun examines how Colorado can and cannot spend federal stimulus funds.

El Paso County Commissioners are opposing legislative efforts to create a Front Range rain line.

Denver7 reports on legislation concerning businesses charging a fee when customers opt to pay with a credit or debit card.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

  • RECENT COMMENTS