Mother of Aurora Theater Shooting Victim: Do NOT Elect George Brauchler

Sandy Phillips (left) with daughter Jessica Ghawi.

Last Friday, survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida visited the Never Again (Colorado) chapter to discuss gun violence prevention at Shorter Community AME Church in Denver. Among the speakers at the March for Our Lives Road to Change event was Sandy Phillips, the mother of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who made a passionate plea to the audience to oppose Republican George Brauchler’s campaign for Attorney General.

The entire event can be viewed on Facebook. Phillips discusses Brauchler’s campaign at the 52:40 mark:

Having gone through the trial with the Aurora killer, we were very supportive of George Brauchler at the time. I ask everyone in this room: Please do NOT elect him as your AG [Attorney General].

We knew that when he decided to try the case, that he was wanting [to pursue] the death penalty. We also knew that we would never get it. We are grateful that they found out so much during that trial – things that none of you should ever have to know. God forbid that you should. So we were grateful that there was a trial, however, that trial cost over $10 million dollars, I believe. And afterwards – we knew that George was very assertive in his opinions – afterwards we really found out how far right he was. When he was running for Governor and got his endorsement from Ted Nugent, who is on the board of the NRA, that was it. That was our last conversation. 

And he said to me, ‘well, you know, there aren’t any laws on the books that could have prevented what happened to your daughter.’ And I said, ‘as a leader of this state, it is your job to make sure that we do have laws on the books that would prevent this from happening.’ [Pols emphasis]

As your AG, he would have the power to try – or not try – to try his best to roll back [gun violence prevention] laws that are in place. So I urge you, please, whoever is running against him…and I don’t know who it is [several people in the crowd yell out “Phil Weiser”]…I will work for him, from now until the [inaudible].

Brauchler is seeking the open seat for Attorney General in November against Democrat Phil Weiser.

Gardner, NRA Tied Up in Campaign Finance Fiasco

And that’s how you make Cory Gardner’s famous “loophole sausage”

Last week Politico Magazine outlined the strange case of a “mystery” organization that received millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to produce a plethora of advertisements promoting Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in 2014. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was one of the primary beneficiaries of this spending, though his campaign’s involvement with the entire process reeks of illegal coordination.

From Politico Magazine:

To get its message out, the NRA turned to an unknown consulting firm, Starboard Strategic, paying it $19 million. More than a third of that money was invested in must-win Senate seats in Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas — three of the most expensive in the country — paying for a host of television, radio and internet ads…

…Acquiring business of this magnitude would be an incredible feat for a firm with no reputation. The question is whether it was really accomplished by Starboard, or another outfit called OnMessage.

Well-established and well-connected, OnMessage is as transparent as Starboard is opaque. What the Federal Election Commission and the public do not know is that the two entities appear to be functionally one and the same. [Pols emphasis]

Friday’s story from Politico Magazine prompted an official complaint today from the Campaign Legal Center “alleging that the National Rifle Association (NRA) violated federal law by using a common vendor to coordinate illegally with four U.S. Senate campaigns.”

“There is substantial evidence that the NRA funneled millions through a shell corporation to unlawfully coordinate with candidates it was backing,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “The NRA using inside information about a candidate’s strategy to create ‘independent’ ads supporting him creates an unfair advantage, and it violates the law. According to the Supreme Court, groups like the NRA can only make unlimited expenditures if they are independent of the candidates they support, and it falls to the FEC to enforce the laws that preserve that independence and prevent corruption.”

As you can see from the graphic at right, OnMessage and Starboard Strategic are essentially the same company, which is a problem when you finish connect the dots on this sordid affair. Let’s go back to Politico Magazine:

In 2014, among OnMessage’s most prominent clients were three Republican challengers vying for Senate seats in the same races where the NRA would pay Starboard some of its biggest outlays of the cycle: Thom Tillis, in North Carolina; Cory Gardner, in Colorado; and Tom Cotton, in Arkansas. All of these candidates would defeat Democratic incumbents, cementing the result for which GOP leaders and the NRA had mobilized: a Republican majority in the upper chamber to match the one in the House. Each challenger paid OnMessage $5 million to $8 million, far more than they paid any other vendors.

Campaign-finance rules prohibit coordination between official campaigns and outside groups, such as the NRA, who support the same candidate. Those restrictions, in turn, give force to a fundamental law governing political spending. Outside groups can independently disburse unlimited sums to influence elections. But they can give no more than $5,000 when giving directly to a candidate…

…Two former FEC chairs, one Republican and the other Democrat, reviewed the findings of Politico Magazine and The Trace, and said they found them troubling. “This evidence raises substantial questions about whether OnMessage and Starboard Strategic were used as conduits for coordination between the NRA and the candidates it was supporting,” Trevor Potter, the Republican, said. “It’s pretty serious,” added Ann Ravel, the Democrat. “It doesn’t seem right.” Both former chairs independently came to the same conclusion: “The FEC should investigate.“

The NRA was apparently funneling millions of dollars to Starboard Strategic at the same time that Gardner’s 2014 campaign was also spending millions of dollars with OnMessage for campaign consulting work. This is about as obvious a case of illegal coordination as we’ve ever seen.

Why Are Republicans Speaking At The ‘Democrats For Life’ Conference?

(For the lulz, obviously – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) is holding its first conference this weekend in Denver, but speakers include no currently-elected Democratic politicians, and several speakers who have been identified as Republicans, Independents, or have no registered party affiliation.

The “I Want My Party Back” conference comes after a recent debate around whether the Democratic Party should make room for candidates who oppose abortion rights.

Some have argued that it’d behoove Democrats who are eager to regain support from Trump voters to field candidates who may not adhere to every single aspect of the party’s platform. But more progressive Democrats say the party’s so-called big tent isn’t big enough for those who would allow limitations on reproductive rights.

But within this debate, one key fact is often ignored: These days, pro-life Democrats are few and far between.

So it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that DFLA, which has aimed to elect anti-choice Democrats since its inception in 1999, apparently struggled to find true-blue Democratic speakers for their upcoming conference.

The only Democratic politicians speaking are two former Congressmen — Bart Stupak of Michigan and Lincoln Davis of Tennesse, both of whom haven’t held office since 2011.

And many of the speakers aren’t Democrats at all, according to a voter database. Lauren Castillo, for example, is the National Church Relations Director for Students for Life of America, and she’s registered in Colorado as a Republican. Castillo didn’t respond to a request for comment and confirmation.


Trump/Putin Summit: As Bad As You Thought. No, It’s Worse.

UPDATE #5: Traitor.


UPDATE #4: As James Fallows writes for The Atlantic, the moment of truth is at hand for Congressional Republicans:

There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not  realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded…

…with every hour that elapses after this shocking performance in Helsinki without Republicans doing anything, the more deeply they are stained by this dark moment in American leadership.


UPDATE #3: Arizona Sen. John McCain with harsh words for President Trump:


UPDATE #2: From the editorial board of the Washington Post:

In Helsinki, Mr. Trump again insisted “there was no collusion” with Russia. Yet in refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia’s behavior, while trashing his own country’s justice system, Mr. Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.


UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner breaks his silence, and, well, just wow:

We had to verify this isn’t a parody account. It’s not. Donald Trump made a mockery of Sen. Cory Gardner’s advice on dealing with Russia (below) today, and Cory Gardner responded by attacking Barack Obama.

It would be funny, just gut-busting comedy, if this was not such a serious matter.


Politico reports as everyone with even a passing interest in the continued sovereignty of the United States–that’s every American, we sincerely hope–picks their jaws up off the floor:

President Donald Trump on Monday publicly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies, refusing to condemn the Kremlin for interference in the 2016 election and saying that “I don’t see any reason” to believe that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic computer servers.

Trump’s remarkable statement, during a joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, after holding a two-hour one-on-one meeting with Putin, came after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russians on Friday over allegations of involvement in the state-ordered election-interference operation…

Trump was directly asked at one point whether he believed the U.S. intelligence agencies, which concluded Russia carried out the hacking of Democratic servers, or Putin, who has said it did not. Trump acknowledged that his own intelligence chiefs “think it’s Russia.”

“I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump went on. “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. But I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties.”

The aghast reaction to this astounding statement from President Donald Trump, defying the mountain of evidence to the contrary and even the indictments last Friday of numerous Russian intelligence agents for their role in subverting the 2016 elections to assist Trump, is at least somewhat bipartisan:

As of this writing, though, there’s no public reaction from Sen. Cory Gardner, but Gardner’s lip service to accountability at a campaign event last Friday left little in the way of wiggle room even for Colorado’s most infamously wiggly Senator:

When President Donald Trump meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Finland, he should hold the foreign leader accountable for his country’s destructive and illegal behavior, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Friday…

Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea and continuing cyber aggression against the U.S., among other things, should land the country on a list of state sponsors of terror, said Gardner, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“The president needs to be very firm,” Gardner said. “If he’s going to meet with (Putin) at all, it’s got to be about our objections to his malign activities.”

Today’s summit, to put it mildly, does not appear to have passed Gardner’s firmness test.

Trump’s shocking rejection in Vladimir Putin’s presence of the conclusion of the entire U.S. intelligence community, whose findings were backed up by the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, is the clearest sign yet that Trump has no intention of doing anything to address a foreign government’s successful campaign to subvert an American election–an absolutely unprecedented situation that former CIA director John Brennan calls “nothing short of treasonous.”

Though unprecedented, this cannot be considered unexpected, even by devoted sycophants like Cory Gardner, given that Trump has denied the facts of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections at every step. The real problem for Republicans, the part they can’t acknowledge, is that they too were beneficiaries of the Russians’ operation to boost Trump, and to acknowledge this fact would inevitably weaken Trump’s legitimacy as President–and by extension, the Republican Party’s unchallenged control of the federal government.

Make no mistake, folks. Something very bad is happening to our country. For Republicans, at least the ones with any conscience or even patriotism left, the surprise victory of 2016 is now the worst-case scenario for their party.

Putin’s victory is now total.

Monday Open Thread

“The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”

–Mark Twain

Please Clap Vigorously While You Caption This Photo

Friday afternoon’s moment of unintended hilarity via the Colorado Republican Party’s Twitter account continues to make Colorado politics chuckle the Sunday after:

The first thing we’re obliged to note is that the photo you see above was voluntarily released into the wild by the official Twitter account of the state Republican Party–not a Democratic tracker, or anyone else looking to damage gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton. During Stapleton’s time as state treasurer and certainly in the limelight now as candidate for governor, the inability of photographers to capture a flattering likeness of Stapleton has become a consistent theme, but this pic is really especially bad. As for the photo’s caption celebrating “vigorous sustained applause” that you’ll have to take their word for, well…

All we can say is, whoever wrote that hackneyed crap had a priapism joke coming.

As for what Stapleton was saying in this picture to elicit all that vigorous sustained applause? Like the Photoshop-ready cutout above (right-click and “save image” to commence the fun), it’s whatever you want it to be.

Republican Attacks on Health Care Blamed for Increase in Rates

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado health insurers have asked state regulators to approve rate increases for health insurance plans averaging about six percent in the individual and seven percent for small groups, according to data released today by the Colorado Division of Insurance.

That’s less of a price increase than last year’s uptick but still bad news for consumers, say progressive watchdogs, who blame Republicans for driving up health insurance rates by attacking the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, and by blocking state laws that could have stabilized prices.

“For a change, most Coloradans aren’t facing massive hikes in their health insurance premiums for next year,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) in a news release. “This really shows the strength of the Affordable Care Act, that despite ongoing GOP sabotage, Colorado’s insurance premiums are more stable this year. However, Coloradans are still struggling to afford their insurance after big rate hikes last year. Coloradans will still see a range of proposed premium changes ranging from -2.64 percent to 21.6 percent in the individual insurance market depending on their insurer and plan.”

In recent years, rural regions of Colorado saw the biggest increase in health insurance premiums. But the rate of such increases appears to have slowed.

“Consumers in the Western and Mountain regions of the state won’t be hit by double-digit increases this year. In fact, they’ll see Anthem asking for a small decrease in their rates,” said Fox. “Even so, considering last year Anthem requested a rate increase of over 30 percent, affordability is still a big concern for Coloradans in these areas. We could have seen more and larger rate decreases this year if it weren’t for the ongoing GOP sabotage creating uncertainty.”

Next year, seven companies in Colorado will be offering insurance plans through Connect for Health for individuals. They are: Anthem (as HMO Colorado), Bright Health, Cigna Health and Life, Denver Health Medical Plans, Friday Health Plans, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Rocky Mountain HMO.

These are the same same companies that sold insurance to on the individual market last year in Colorado, and as in the past, all counties in Colorado will have at least one on-exchange company selling individual health plans.

In total, sixteen companies will offer insurance in Colorado, including those firms that offer group plans.

Kaiser, with the bulk of the individual market enrollments through Connect for Health Colorado, has requested a 7.49 percent increase, Bright Health a 9.7 percent increase, Friday Health Plans 7.5 percent. Rocky Mountain HMO has requested 5.69 percent, and Cigna is asking for a 8.76 percent increase for their plans.

“I’m very pleased to see that we kept the same seven companies selling on-exchange plans,” said Interim Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway in a news release. “Last year we worked hard to keep them in Colorado and I think that work is reflected in their decisions for 2019.”

Gold Dome Sexual Harassment: Only An Election Can Fix This

Senate President Kevin Grantham.

As the Colorado Independent’s John Herrick reports, a few members of the Colorado General Assembly convened yesterday as a “Legislative Workplace Interim Study Committee,” to address an issue that dominated the headlines during the 2018 session of the legislature: what has been exposed to be a pervasive and well-entrenched culture of sexual harassment by lawmakers against lobbyists, legislative staffers, and even fellow elected officials.

Certainly no one can object to a meeting to address this crisis, which resulted in the expulsion of one lawmaker this year and what should have been career-ending allegations against at least one other. Unfortunately, as Herrick explains, there’s little reason to be optimistic that this committee will be able to effectively tackle the problem.

And why, you ask? Because Republicans and Democrats on this committee do not agree on the facts of what happened this year or what to do about it:

Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican, mostly dismissed sexual misconduct complaints brought against three members of his party: Baumgardner, Sen. Jack Tate of Centennial and Larry Crowder of Alamosa. In the House, Duran, a Democrat, called on Lebsock to resign before an investigation into allegations of harassment were completed. She also stripped him and Rep. Paul Rosenthal, who was accused of making unwanted sexual advances on another gay man at a political event in 2012, of their committee leadership positions. Duran dismissed the complaint against Rosenthal because the allegations occurred before he was in office.

Hoping to iron out a policy that can be enforced fairly and consistently, leaders from both the House and Senate called for the summer committee to meet over the interim between sessions. From the Senate, they appointed Sens. Bob Gardner, a Republican from Colorado Springs, Beth Martinez Humenik, a Republican from Westminster, and Dominick Moreno, a Democrat from Commerce City. From the House, they named Lori Saine, a Republican from Firestone, and Faith Winter, a Democrat from Westminster. Speaker Duran — a term-limited Democrat from Denver — appointed herself to the committee that she chairs.

The choices made by Republicans to serve on this committee are problematic to say the least. Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik was a steadfast ally of Senate President Kevin Grantham as Grantham deliberately worked to undermine the investigation into Sen. Randy Baumgardner’s repeated confirmed instances of sexual harassment. It was Sen. Humenik who stood with Grantham at the press conference in which Grantham punted responsibility for the actions of his caucus, arguing that a criminal offense should be the minimum standard for intervening in harassment cases unlike every other workplace in Colorado. Worse, Humenik helped Senate Republicans deflect from the credible allegations against Baumgardner by filing an frivolous retaliatory complaint against a Democratic Senator accused of using an unmarked women’s bathroom.

As for Sen. Bob Gardner, as Herrick reports, he helped kill a bill to set new standards for sexual harassment cases on college campuses that even Sen. Humenik supported, in addition to his loquacious defense of Sen. Baumgardner during the unsuccessful hearing to expel Baumgardner from the Senate. Rep. Lori Saine, one of the legislature’s most embarrassment-prone members herself, claimed that Steve Lebsock’s serial harassment of women and retaliation against accusers simply didn’t rise to the level of expulsion–a view that fortunately didn’t prevail with her fellow House Republicans.

For all of these reasons, there is very little hope that this committee will be able to come up with anything like a comprehensive solution to ensure women who work at the state capitol in any capacity are protected from harassment and abuse. The actions of Republicans in the Colorado legislature have made such a mockery of the proper way any responsible employer should respond sexual harassment allegations that to expect them to come up with a solution is simply ludicrous. There’s no solving a problem when half the people tasked with solving the problem don’t think there’s a problem.

But there is one sure-fire way for the voters of Colorado to make this right, and that is to relieve the Republican Party of its one-seat Senate majority in the November elections. In the end, the failure of the Colorado General Assembly to police itself on sexual harassment is the failure of Republican Senate leadership. Every Colorado Senate race is now a battleground for the #MeToo movement.

If that’s not a powerful message to carry into election season, we don’t know what is.

Stapleton Admits Forgetting to Disclose His Wife’s $30K Income, As Required by Colorado Law

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Over a month ago, the Colorado Times Recorder first reported that Walker Stapleton appeared to have left Jenna Stapleton’s $30,000 salary off his personal financial disclosure (PFD) form, even though candidates like Stapleton are required by law to disclose any income generated by their “spouse.”

Stapleton didn’t respond respond to my request to explain the lapse, but yesterday Stapleton’s campaign manager Michael Fortney told ColoradoPolitics’ Joey Bunch:

Fortney: “When this was pointed out to us, our campaign updated the necessary paperwork within the rules.”

It actually took Stapleton’s campaign over two weeks to update the disclosure form. See it here.

I pointed out the apparent breach of Colorado law on June 6, and Stapleton’s campaign didn’t fix the problem until June 22, the day after the Colorado Times Recorder filed an official complaint about Stapleton’s disclosure stumble, as part of an explanation of the SOS’ new rules for enforcing campaign finance laws.

Stapleton filed a new personal financial disclosure form listing the Harmes C. Fishback Foundation as a “source of income” with “Jennifer Stapleton,” who’s its executive director, being the “recipient.” The Fishback Foundation is Staplton’s family’s $1.4 million foundation.

Jennifer Stapleton is now also disclosed on Stapleton’s list of “all offices, directorships, and fiduciary relationships held by you, your spouse, or minor child(ren) living with you.”

Fortney told Bunch that Stapleton did not break any laws because he did not “willfully” leave Jenna Stapleton’s income off the disclosure form and corrected the mistake within 30 days.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office declined to weigh in on the matter, informing me in a July 3 dismissal of my complaint that the district attorney would be responsible for enforcing any crimes broken by Stapleton under Colorado’s Public Disclosure law.

Stapleton has yet to respond to my request for an explanation of why Jenna Stapleton was omitted from his disclosure forms, going back at least as far as 2012. Was his lawyer responsible fro the lapse? Fortney? Was Stapleton not aware of his wife’s 30K? If this wasn’t willful, then what happened?

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 13)

“God Save the Queen” — and the rest of us — from President Trump. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► President Trump’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin takes on a new wrinkle after a dozen indictments of Russian military leaders by special prosecutor Robert Mueller today. From CNN:

The Justice Department announced indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election against 12 Russian nationals, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.

All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in “their official capacities.”

DOJ says the hacking targeted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to “release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment does not name any American citizen.

A 2016 Republican congressional candidate also appears to be caught up in asking for information from the stolen documents.


Front page of “The Sun” in Britain.

► President Trump is busy burning bridges in England today. As CBS News reports, Trump is scrambling to undo his own criticism of British Prime Minister Teresa May:

President Trump said U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is “doing a fantastic job” as British prime minister, and even said he apologized to her Friday morning before their meeting, after an interview published Thursday highlighted his criticism of her handling of Brexit.

“I think she’s a terrific woman,” he told reporters at a joint press conference Friday at the country estate of the prime minister, Chequers. The president also called the relationship between the U.S. and U.K. the “highest level of special.” But Mr. Trump still thinks, as he told The Sun tabloid, that May’s Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson would be a great prime minister.

According to Mr. Trump, he also did not criticize May and that reports to the contrary were “fake news.”…

…On the day before the news conference, the British tabloid The Sun published an interview with Mr. Trump in he said Johnson would make a great prime minister, and Britain’s trade relationship with the U.S. could face turbulence if May follows through with what’s known as the so-called “soft” Brexit blueprint. The president made the comments ahead of meetings with May and Queen Elizabeth.


As Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, Trump is denying comments that anyone can hear for themselves:

At a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain on Friday, Trump claimed that a newspaper interview that quoted him criticizing May’s Brexit and trade strategies was “fake news.” “I didn’t criticize the prime minister,” he said. He went on to suggest a recording would vindicate him.

The recording exists. And it completely and utterly contradicts Trump’s claim.


A total of 35 “Unaffiliated” candidates filed signatures to make the November ballot in Colorado.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Colorado GOP Successfully Sues Wayne Williams to Place State House Candidate on Ballot

(Election laws are apparently completely pointless — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a brief hearing Tuesday, a Denver district court judge placed a Republican state house candidate on Colorado’s November ballot.  The judge ordered Secretary of State Wayne Williams to add the Alamosa Republican to the ballot after the candidate and party officials missed a series of  deadlines for filing information required of all state office seekers. The ruling is being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Denver District Court Judge Ross Buchanan ruled that despite the weeks-late filing of multiple forms, Alamosa rancher Scott Honeycutt and the Colorado Republican Party “substantially complied” with state election law.

In its June 25 lawsuit seeking ballot access for Honeycutt, the Colorado GOP didn’t argue that Williams’ office did anything wrong by keeping the rancher off the primary ballot.


The Get More Smarter Show: July 12, 2018

Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your host Jason Bane talks with Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, in-depth about Bernie’s past and future, the current state of Democratic and presidential politics, and his new book, How Bernie Won: Inside the Revolution That’s Taking Back Our Country–and Where We Go from Here.

Catch up on previous episodes of the Get More Smarter Show here! And thanks for watching.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 12)

Here’s reason #9,437 why former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin should have never been anywhere close to the levers of power in this country. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► President Trump is currently rampaging through Europe, but he may be coming to Colorado sometime soon to stump for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. In the meantime, back to that Europe trip, as the Washington Post reports:

President Trump reaffirmed U.S. support for NATO on Thursday, after he upended a summit here to admonish leaders and demand they quickly increase their defense spending.

Trump’s ambush jolted the transatlantic alliance, and some diplomats perceived his comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO. But Trump later declared in a news conference, “I believe in NATO,” and, as he prepared to depart Brussels, he reiterated that the United States is committed to its Western allies.

“I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They are going to up it at levels never thought of before.”

NATO member nations committed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024, though only eight countries will reach that goal this year. It was not immediately clear what specific new commitments were made here. Trump said that leaders responded to his demands by agreeing to reach the 2 percent goal soon.

Well, at least the United States (probably) isn’t withdrawing from NATO.


President Trump has arrived in England after wrapping up his NATO rants, and he claims to be fine with the large protests being planned for his visit. As BBC News reports:

Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed at Stansted on Air Force One at 13:50 BST before a helicopter took them to the US ambassador’s residence in London.

He is due to meet Theresa May, who is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal – days after he said the UK was in “turmoil”.

Extra security is in place to police a number of protests but Mr Trump said he thought Britons “like me a lot”.

Yes, Britons love Trump. Why, that giant balloon of a baby Trump is merely a sign of admiration!

The Guardian newspaper has more on Trump’s U.K. visit:

Sandwiched between the psychodrama of his confrontation with his Nato allies, and the amour of his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, there was a chance that Donald Trump, a president who thrives on controversy, might treat his interlude in England and Scotland with indifference.

At one level, a visit bordering on the normal would be mission accomplished for Downing Street, but at another, this visit matters far more to the UK than to the president. Britain needs to register with a president so inattentive to America’s historic ties, and above all hope the instincts of a self-confessed “stable genius” do not lead him to trash the Brexit deal that Theresa May is struggling to sell to her party.

Judging by the inferences behind his remarks at his freewheeling press conference in Brussels, Trump is going to struggle to constrain himself. Saying he had been reading a lot about Brexit in recent days, he repeatedly hinted that he thought May was not delivering what the people had voted for in the referendum. He also drew parallels between his own election and Brexit, saying they were both born out of a revolt against migration. The clear implication was that he was the standard bearer for a global populist revolt.

Downing Street can only hope that by the time he holds a joint press conference with Theresa May on Friday they can find a way to instil some discipline into the Great Disruptor.

Yes. SO much love.


► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is making a slobbering fool of himself as he works overtime on trying to parse the words coming out of the mouth of President Trump.


► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton selected Rep. Lang Sias as his Lieutenant Governor running mate on Wednesday, capping off a wild couple of weeks in which Stapleton’s campaign apparently didn’t understand that they were supposed to select a running mate within seven days of the June 26 Primary Election. Stapleton’s selection of Sias marks the first time that a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado has failed to select a woman as a running mate. 

9News has more on Stapleton’s LG announcement.


Get even more smarter after the jump…