Heidi Ganahl Learns Cory Gardner’s Lesson The Hard Way

The launch this week of Republican Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor, which she herself has described as an improbable “moonshot” of an undertaking, was hobbled from the outset by a string of unforced and entirely preventable errors. After running a thinly-veiled “podcast tour” to build name ID ahead of a formal launch, Ganahl’s campaign bumbled the rollout week by prematurely filing papers for her candidacy on the Friday before the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

After turning her campaign launch into a “Friday news dump,” Ganahl’s formal announcement on Tuesday, literally at the same diner showcased one year before in an ad for Sen. Cory Gardner’s unsuccessful re-election bid, was an unsettling case of deja vu. Ganahl’s subsequent RV “launch tour” generating pitiful turnout in Colorado’s hinterlands has added to the pervading sense of launch failure.

But as Alex Burness writes for the Denver Post’s political newsletter, the biggest problem of all for Ganahl came in her refusal to answer the central political question of our times, the one question nobody gets to dodge while running for office in 2021: do you accept that Donald Trump lost the 2020 elections?

She didn’t have an answer. The first time she was asked, by The Colorado Sun, she spoke generally about how important it is for people to “have confidence that their vote matters.” The second time, she told The Denver Post she wouldn’t “get into that right now.” The third time, she criticized 9News for posing such a “divisive” question.

Everyone understands the political dilemma this question poses for a Republican candidate running in a blue-trending state. If Ganahl concedes that Trump lost, it puts her at a severe disadvantage in the Republican primary. But if Ganahl publicly embraces what a solid majority of Americans call the “Big Lie,” she’ll destroy her credibility outside the pro-Trump propaganda bubble.

So the solution is to do what Cory Gardner did and have it both ways, right?

Recent history tells us it’s not easy to try to credibly run on both paths. Cory Gardner attempted that when he aligned himself with Donald Trump but ran ads about being bipartisan and independent-minded. Reporters had a lot of questions for him, but he rarely spoke to local media and left a lot unanswered.

In the end, Cory Gardner got what he wanted. After winning office in 2014 by aggressively playing down his record on abortion, Gardner made it through the 2020 elections without ever publicly breaking in his unswerving loyalty to Trump–no matter how hard it became to ignore the reporters chasing him to the elevators and stairwells. If your question as a reporter was not on a subject Gardner wanted to answer, you simply didn’t get an answer no matter how awkward that refusal to answer became on live television.

Gardner made his choice, and lost his bid for re-election.

In her repeated refusal to engage on this and other questions which might result in disagreement amongst fellow Republicans, Heidi Ganahl is taking a page from Cory Gardner’s playbook. But whether by her poorer execution or reporters who simply refuse to let candidates arbitrate to their advantage what the relevant issues are, it’s playing out even worse for Ganahl. It’s not voters’ fault that Ganahl faces a dilemma reconciling today’s Republican dogma from the majority’s reality.

If Ganahl doesn’t want to answer the hard questions, no one is forcing her to run for governor.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 16)

Happy Mexican Independence 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 

 

As The Colorado Sun reports, there’s a new proposed congressional redistricting map out for discussion:

The latest draft of Colorado’s congressional map avoids putting the state’s current U.S. House members into the same district, while creating a sweeping district across most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado. The new 8th Congressional District in the north Denver metro region would be nearly 39% Hispanic.

The new map released Wednesday groups most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado into a single, L-shaped 3rd Congressional District. Northwest high-country counties including Routt, Jackson, Eagle, Summit and Grand are grouped with Larimer and Boulder into a proposed 2nd Congressional District. And the new districts would no longer pit Garfield County Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert against Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette.

And the proposed 7th District, now centered in the north and west metro area, would include much of Jefferson County but stretch to South Park in the central Rocky Mountains.

This new map is not without problems, as The Sun notes:

Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, disputed the congressional commission’s formula for determining the political competitiveness of a district.

“Measuring competitiveness by focusing on strong years for one party and ignoring 2014 — which was a strong year for the other party — is simply wrong,” Carroll said in a statement. “As a result, this could very likely end up a 4-4 map after the midterms, which is in no way reflective of Colorado voters.”

The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will debate this new map tonight. If at least eight votes can’t be garnered, the nonpartisan staff will produce a third proposed map on Sept. 23. CLICK HERE to see Congressional Map #2.

In other redistricting news, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is investigating potential illegal lobbying activity committed by a handful of well-known Republican operatives. The Colorado Times Recorder also has the full video of a ham-handed presentation that Republican Rep. Matt Soper gave to several Republicans in July.

 

Republican Heidi Ganahl announced her campaign for Governor on Tuesday and is off to the worst start for a statewide candidate in recent memory.

Former State Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams has some biting criticism that applies to Ganahl, as The Colorado Times Recorder reports:

A day after Heidi Ganahl, the newly minted GOP gubernatorial candidate, refused to tell reporters whether she thought the last year’s presidential election was legitimate, Wadhams said Republicans won’t be “credible in a general election” unless they say the election was not stolen.

“I think candidates ought to look at the reporter and say, ‘I do not believe the election was stolen. I do not believe we should ban 1.6 million unaffiliated voters from voting in the primary.’ And I think we just ought to take a stand on this because it’s defining our party,” Wadhams told Peter Boyles.

“I honestly think we’ve got to have strong candidates who were willing to say, no, the election was not stolen because that’s the only way they can be credible in a general election.”

You know Republicans are worried about Ganahl’s campaign when they immediately start blaming the media for her troubles.

 

The Denver Post reports on a significant new finding from the Colorado Attorney General’s office:

Colorado’s attorney general will require the Aurora Police Department to make sweeping reforms after a year-long investigation found officers’ pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force routinely violated state and federal law.

The department’s officers persistently arrested and injured Black individuals and other people of color at higher rates than white residents, according to the investigation released Wednesday.

Officers also routinely used excessive force against people unnecessarily, failed to de-escalate encounters and failed to properly document information about individuals they stopped as required by state law, the investigation found.

The department’s training and accountability structures are inadequate and create a culture of violence, according to investigators’ 112-page report.

Anyone who has been paying any attention to Aurora in the last couple of years will not likely be surprised by this report. Attorney General Phil Weiser wants to create a consent decree to allow his office to work with the Aurora PD on making widespread reforms.

 

As Denver7 reports, ICU capacity in Colorado hospitals has reached its lowest levels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

Heidi Ganahl’s Gubernatorial Campaign Sputters to Life

UPDATE: Day 2 is not looking much better than Day 1.

—–

Heidi Ganahl during her disastrous interview with 9News on the day of her campaign launch.

Republican Heidi Ganahl finally announced on Tuesday that she is running for Governor in 2022. It may not have been the worst kickoff for a statewide campaign in Colorado history, but only because there really aren’t good records for that sort of thing. We can definitively say, however, that Ganahl’s campaign launch was the worst we’ve seen in Colorado this century.

It was that bad.

Colorado has seen a few rocky campaign starts in recent memory, including Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Cary Kennedy’s cringeworthy Facebook Live moment in 2017 that featured the candidate driving around her neighborhood before pulling into her driveway for the big reveal. But whereas Kennedy’s official announcement was a creative idea that just didn’t work, Ganahl’s launch was a daylong massacre punctuated by one of the worst sit-down interviews we can recall from a Colorado politician.

Ganahl stumbled last week in teasing her campaign launch, first telling reporters that there would be some sort of announcement followed a day later by her campaign inexplicably filing the paperwork to make her candidacy official — thus ruining any last bit of suspense. Her first campaign event on Tuesday was held at Rosie’s Diner in Monument (at 8:00 in the morning), which is an auspicious location that still carries bad juju from former Sen. Cory Gardner’s much-maligned 2020 TV advertisement.

Soon afterward, Ganahl faceplanted in front of a handful of reporters by refusing to answer questions that any rookie campaign staffer should have easily anticipated. It was a foreboding start to a rough day for Ganahl.

“I’ll try and win no matter what the path forward is. Whatever my party decides is the path forward…We’ve got a long road ahead.”

     — Heidi Ganahl’s inspiring words Tuesday, as quoted by The Colorado Sun

After leaving Monument, Ganahl’s campaign continued on a Front Range tour that somebody apparently forgot to prep outside of these weird “Meat Heidi” signs. From what we hear, Ganahl made a stop at a Camp Bow Wow location in Centennial that was attended by plenty of dogs but no human beings. This is particularly strange when you consider that Ganahl lives in nearby Lone Tree; you’d think her campaign could have wrangled a few neighbors to show up in Centennial.

Things already weren’t going well for Ganahl by the time she rolled into Westminster and sat down for a completely disastrous interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News. You really need to watch the entire four minute conversation to truly appreciate just how terrible this was for Ganahl, but here are some of the lowlights:

♦ Ganahl was asked about the fact that she deleted a big chunk of her social media history just last week. She responded by saying that it is her “policy as a businessperson” to nuke her social media posts once every six months or so (yeah, right). When Zelinger asked why, she replied, “I don’t think that’s important.” D’oh!

 

♦ Zelinger then asked Ganahl the same question she had botched earlier with reporters from The Denver Post and elsewhere: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 election?

Ganahl’s response: “Why all the divisive questions?”

When Zelinger pushed her for an answer on what is — again — a very obvious question, Ganahl barfed this out: “Oh my goodness, Marshall. Let’s talk about what’s important to the people of Colorado. And that’s kids, it’s skyrocketing crime. I just said that kids are killing themselves at record rates and we want to talk about other things that aren’t that important to many people.”

Seriously, that was her answer. Word for word.

 

♦ Later, Ganahl was tossed a softball about incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, which she used as an opening to complain about how Colorado handled contact tracing in late 2020 that coincided with an increase in deaths at nursing homes. Zelinger followed up Ganahl via email to ask what she would have done differently had she been in charge, and she responded, “Everything.” Ganahl had time to think about this answer, and she still only came up with “Everything.”

 

An optimist would say that everything will be downhill from here — that Ganahl can’t possibly be any worse than she was on Tuesday. A realist would note that Ganahl has been prepping a run for governor for at least a year now; if this is what happens when Ganahl and her campaign have time to prepare, we can only imagine how rough things will get when Team Ganahl has to think on its feet.

As we’ve seen from polling data, Ganahl wasn’t likely to beat Polis next year no matter how her campaign got off the ground, but nothing that starts this poorly is likely to end well.

California Experts Debunk Local “Hickerbilly” Conspiracy Theories

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder (and fugitive) Tina Peters

With the California gubernatorial recall election having ended in a blowout well beyond any reasonable disputation, we took note of this report in the San Francisco Examiner yesterday about how the recent election system security breach in Mesa County, Colorado was impacting the use of Dominion Voting Systems elections hardware in the California special election.

It’s a tale that has a little bit of everything. But the twists and turns do not include a real threat to the security of the Gavin Newsom recall vote, experts say. Despite the bizarre episode, city and state voting is secure, they insist.

It all started in May, when a county clerk in Colorado named Tina Peters assisted in the theft of voting machine software and other information, Colorado state officials say. The voting machine software and other Dominion voting machine details were posted online and shared elsewhere by hackers and far-right conspiracy theorists. State and federal law enforcement launched investigations, but Peters disappeared. My Pillow founder and staunch Trump ally Mike Lindell said he was hiding the missing Peters. Newsom challenger Larry Elder, meanwhile, has promoted election fraud claims, including Dominion theories…

Rep. Lauren Boebert with 2020 primary campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

To be clear, actual elections experts with actual qualifications in California are looking at the situation now, not the pack of self-described “hickerbillies” who tried and failed to convince Mesa County’s all-Republican Board of Commissioners that something nefarious was to be found in the data pilfered from the Mesa County Clerk’s office. The fact is, now that we’ve seen what was stolen and the lack of proof sought by the thieves of a larger conspiracy that might somehow justify their criminal actions, only one real threat has emerged from the whole controversy:

Eight cybersecurity experts say there is now a legitimate risk to election security – because of the software and other Dominion details leaked by the conspiracy theorists. The conspiracy theorists made their own Dominion claims credible by stealing and circulating sensitive security details about the machines, they believe…

“Release of the code is sufficient to demand emergency action,” David Jefferson, a signer of the letter and retired computer scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory told The Examiner. “We don’t know of any threat to this election, however.” [Pols emphasis]

“The release of the code was apparently politically motivated, and it is not a minor thing,” statistics professor and election security expert Philip Stark, of UC Berkeley, told The Examiner. “They pointed out a security issue – and they are part of it.”

It was clear early on in the investigation into the security breach in Mesa County that despite the breathless insistence of conspiracy theorists including alleged “QAnon” progenitor Ron Watkins, no evidence of anything justifying the wild initial claims about the data stolen from the Mesa County Clerk’s office was forthcoming. County clerks and election system experts alike attest that the affected machines are not connected to the internet, and the software can’t be tampered with remotely in any way. There’s no evidence that has emerged from this breach of any external vulnerability to Dominion’s systems at all–only when trusted individuals turn off cameras and allow tampering in a secure space.

The real risk, as these Bay area experts spell out with admirable clarity we’d love to see more of from local media, is that the exposure of this proprietary data will lead directly to future attempted security breaches. We have every reason to believe Dominion is working right now to address any issues that may arise, but that’s not the point: by leaking this code to the world in the first place, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her fringy band of zealots who refuse to accept the outcome of the 2020 election have given bad actors a wealth of knowledge to attempt the very thing Peters and her accomplices say they don’t want.

If Peters and her co-conspirators figure this out before sentencing, some contrition before the judge might help. But we don’t have to argue with these “hickerbillies” forever. No matter how sincerely and earnestly their misguided intentions, the public trust has been criminally violated for no justifiable purpose.

Just lock them up already.

This is Your Guy? Really?

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.”

     — former President Trump, speaking to Vice President Mike Pence ahead of finalizing the Electoral Vote count

The complete history of the Donald Trump administration has yet to be written, which is good for people who sell books but scary as hell for the rest of us. In fact, we may only know about 30-40% of just how terrible things really were inside Trump’s White House…particularly near the end of his time in the Oval Office.

As CNN reports, a new book from legendary journalist Bob Woodward and Washington Post reporter Robert Costa shows once again how hard many elected officials and public servants had to work to protect America FROM Trump:

Two days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, President Donald Trump’s top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, single-handedly took top-secret action to limit Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons, according to “Peril,” a new book by legendary journalist Bob Woodward and veteran Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.

Woodward and Costa write that Milley, deeply shaken by the assault, ‘was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.’

Milley worried that Trump could ‘go rogue,’ the authors write.

That guy

The Woodward/Costa book also includes more details about Trump’s efforts to convince Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 election to keep him in the White House:

When Pence did not budge, Trump turned on him.

“No, no, no!” Trump shouted, according to the authors. “You don’t understand, Mike. You can do this. I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump called Pence again the morning of January 6. “If you don’t do it, I picked the wrong man four years ago,” Trump said, according to the authors. “You’re going to wimp out,” he said, his anger visible to others in the office.

Trump has often been described — both during and after his Presidency — as a petulant child prone to temper tantrums when things didn’t go his way. But the quote above puts that analogy in a new light. Trump tried to appeal to Pence by saying, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.”

This is completely absurd, which is why you know it must be true. Did Trump also tell Pence that he would be uninvited from his birthday party if he failed to overturn the election?

For Republican candidates such as new gubernatorial hopeful Heidi Ganahl, stories like this prompt the same question over and over again: You’ll screw up your own political future just to continue perpetuating the lie that THIS GUY lost the 2020 election?

Death Threats Against Jena Griswold: You Already Know Why

Fact-deprived conspiracy theorists and the armed activists who love them continue to insist without evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump, the fervent belief in which pushing a small but troublingly well-armed and vociferous segment of the population toward what they tell us could be another civil war. The failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th resulted in a temporary realignment of some Republicans away from Trump and the subversive conspiracy theories underpinning continued resistance to Trump’s defeat, but that proved to be only temporary–GOP congressional leadership soon came crawling back as it became clear that the Republican rank and file were unshakably loyal to Trump.

Today, across the country “dead-ender” supporters of Trump are still agitating without evidence that the election was stolen, though attempts to prove that to anyone outside their own self-reinforcing circle of misinformation have fallen apart. But as Denver7’s Sloan Dickey reports, for those already convinced that what they want to believe is true, there’s no need to wait any longer to start making death threats:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office shared some of those threats with Denver7. The comments were posted to [SoS Jena] Griswold’s personal and public social media accounts and sent in direct messages. The messages make direct and gruesome threats against her life.

“I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, I SEE YOU SLEEPING. BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID. I hope you die,” one message said.

“Everyone knows… there are people looking for you,” another said.

Thousands more posts and threats, many with unrepeatable vulgarity, have filled her online accounts over the past year. She says the threats come as she works to increase access to voting and election security in Colorado.

In Mesa County, where Republican elected officials have been threatened with civil war over public health measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently pilloried for purchasing new election equipment from the same Dominion Voting Systems at the center of the most prevalent conspiracy theories about 2020, the rhetoric hasn’t gotten as personal. Given the vitriol fellow Republicans in Mesa County have contended with for months from their own putative base, it’s not hard to understand how Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State would be targeted with much, much worse.

While in the end you can’t call these grotesque threats against Secretary of State Griswold a surprise, it’s our sincere hope that they’re dealt with as rigorously as the law allows. With the scandal over Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ allegedly criminal actions trying and failing to prove the “Big Lie” dominating the headlines, we feel there’s a need for the public to understand what’s happening to Secretary of State Griswold as a byproduct of the same pressure.

There’s no excuse for any of it, and Republicans have the primary obligation to stand up against it.

Ganahl Faceplants on First Serious Questions

UPDATE: Via “The Unaffiliated” newsletter from The Colorado Sun:

“I’ll try and win no matter what the path forward is,” she said. “Whatever my party decides is the path forward.”

Ganahl has a difficult path ahead of her. “We’ve got a long road ahead,” she said Tuesday, acknowledging her challenges.

Well, we’re certainly inspired.

—–
Newly-announced Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl met the media for the first time as a candidate this morning. It did not go particularly well.

Ganahl was primed and ready to talk about her own life story and to barf out platitudes about “freedom” and “the Colorado spirit” and all the other specious crap that newly-minted statewide Republican candidates recite like mantras.

But when it was time to answer some real questions, Ganahl took a header into the floor:

D’oh!

Look, we get that answering a question about the legitimacy of 2020 election is a delicate task for a Republican candidate in 2022. However…if you aren’t prepared to answer this question, then you shouldn’t be running for statewide office. Period.

In a normal world, this simple question would be met with a straightforward answer: “Yes, the 2020 election was legitimate.” Ganahl either doesn’t believe this to be true or is too afraid to reveal to her Republican base that she is not an election fraud truther.

As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, supporting “The Big Lie” is now part of the Republican DNA:

There’s an interesting nugget buried in the new CNN national poll that shows just how much election denialism has fused with what most people think it means to be a Republican.

Almost 6 in 10 (59%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said that “believing that Donald Trump won the 2020 election” was very or somewhat important to what being a Republican meant to them…[Pols emphasis]

…The idea, then, that the election was stolen is a wild conspiracy theory. But it’s also a wild conspiracy theory that Trump very much continues to push. And that much of the base of the party continues to believe because, well, Trump told them to believe it.

What the poll makes clear, then, is that for a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, believing the Big Lie is an important part of calling oneself a “Republican.”

(For more on this idea, check out Greg Sargent’s take last week for The Washington Post.)

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder (and fugitive) Tina Peters

Ganahl faces a similar problem when it comes to commenting on efforts by the GOP base to remove itself from Colorado’s open primary system. The right-wing base in Colorado wants to have the ability to choose its nominee for a General Election without having to worry about the input of, well, anyone else. Moderate Republicans recognize this potential problem for what it is, but the GOP Central Committee will still try to make it official on Saturday, Sept. 18. Ganahl doesn’t want to take a position on this subject because she could risk alienating the very people who might end up deciding who gets the GOP nomination for Governor in 2022 — a group that could decide that former 2018 candidate Greg Lopez is the more acceptable candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Jared Polis in 2022.

Here’s more from Alex Burness of The Denver Post on Ganahl’s kickoff this morning:

On Saturday, state party officials will vote on a controversial proposal to end open primaries on the GOP side, which would exclude millions of voters from the process of selecting its nominees for major offices. Ganahl declined to take a side in that debate, and also declined to say whether she believed the 2020 presidential election was conducted legitimately. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m not going to get into that right now,” she said. Many state lawmakers say election integrity is a problem, and a smaller faction question whether the election was outright stolen.

Ganahl’s refusal to answer these two questions is a serious red flag about who she is as a candidate. It should also scare the crap out of Republicans hoping to make a serious run at Polis next year. Any dope could have predicted that these questions would be first out of the media chute; it’s inexcusable that Ganahl didn’t have a prepared answer for either one of them. Inexcusable, perhaps, but not surprising giving how bad Ganahl bungled the simple process of just announcing her candidacy.

Statewide Republican candidates have been crushed in Colorado in the last two election cycles, losing to Democrats by an average of 10 points. Somehow, Heidi Ganahl managed to find a way to limbo underneath what was already a very low bar.

Kristi Burton Brown Keeps Using That Word

Responding to the announcement last Friday of a sweeping new mandate from the Biden administration requiring millions of American workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown fired back a volley of pointed if not exactly coherent words in opposition–including the one key word that gets thrown around so often in politics, by persons who know what the word means and those who do not–to CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

The word in question is “unconstitutional.”

“I mean it’s absolutely unconstitutional. Joe Biden does not have the power to tell private business owners what to do with their employees,” she said.

As we discussed last Thursday ahead of the vaccine mandate’s formal announcement, it wasn’t that long ago when even most Republicans were uncontroversially in support of requiring vaccines for a range of childhood diseases. As recently as 2015 both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman saw no political risk in endorsing mandatory vaccination for school-age children. As for the constitutionality of vaccine mandates?

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown.

In a timely in-depth story last week, Politico explains how The U.S. Supreme Court decided that question 115 years ago in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts:

The year was 1904, and when [Rev. Henning Jacobson’s] politically charged legal challenge to the $5 fine for failing to get vaccinated made its way to the Supreme Court, the justices had a surprise for Rev. Jacobson. One man’s liberty, they declared in a 7-2 ruling handed down the following February, cannot deprive his neighbors of their own liberty — in this case by allowing the spread of disease. Jacobson, they ruled, must abide by the order of the Cambridge board of health or pay the penalty.

“There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good,” read the majority opinion. “On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy.”

And that wasn’t the last ruling upholding the constitutionality of vaccine mandates:

In 1922, the Supreme Court further clarified in Zucht vs. King that a school system could refuse admission to a student not meeting vaccination requirements, and that this would not be in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause for singling out a particular class of individuals, the National Constitution Center says on its website Constitution Daily.

Then, in 1944, in Prince vs. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court held that states may require vaccination regardless of a parent’s religious objection, making it clear that religious exemptions offered by states are elective, rather than mandated by the First Amendment, the Constitution Daily explains.

In short, there are words you can use to describe a vaccine mandate. “Unconstitutional” isn’t one. It’s not just factually wrong, it’s tragically ignorant of modern American history.

For generations of Americans in the 20th Century, vaccine mandates to attend school from preschool to university, not to mention as necessary to travel or to work in high-risk professions, were part of everyday life. The eradication of once-devastating epidemics of diseases like polio and smallpox taught a lesson to those generations that they never forgot, but relentless misinformation has chipped away at was once nearly universal consensus in recent years. The partisan politicization of the latter-day anti-vaxxer movement is a phenomenon we have witnessed here in Colorado over the last several years very clearly as local Republicans openly courted anti-vaxxer activists, and that embrace transitioned smoothly into the partisan political resistance to COVID-19 prevention measures.

The consequences of the partisan political backlash against what used to be one of the country’s greatest strengths, the ability to work together to overcome deadly diseases, are far-reaching. But to call what used to be considered our patriotic duty as Americans “unconstitutional” shows how far the reasoning that drives Republican rhetoric has degenerated.

This is the hubris that makes great nations weaker.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 10)

It’s going to be really, really hot outside in Colorado…unusually hot, in fact. 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. 

 

President Biden on Thursday announced new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for all federal workers and a choice for for companies with more than 100 employees to require either vaccines or weekly testing procedures. As The New York Times reports:

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said the policy was necessary, and likened it to military service in a time of war.

“To date, we have relied on a volunteer army,” Dr. Schaffner said. “But particularly with the Delta variant, the enemy has been reinforced, and now a volunteer army is not sufficient. We need to institute a draft.”

Amazon, which will be shipping Covid-19 testing kits at cost, said it was proud to help with the plan.

“We know vaccines, coupled with widespread and convenient testing, serve as powerful tools to help slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, keeping the U.S. economy open, and protecting America’s work force,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy for the retailer.

Biden’s vaccination requirement plan comes amid new reports from the CDC that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts. That didn’t stop the Colorado Republican Party from going all “freedumb”:

 

President Biden is telling Republicans complaining about a vaccine requirement to “have at it.

 

Denver7 has more on how the new vaccine mandates might affect Colorado companies.

 

 The movement by Colorado Republicans to opt-out of an open primary in Colorado gained more momentum. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

Two of the Colorado GOP’s three officers now support forgoing the party’s 2022 primaries to prevent unaffiliated voters from helping to pick Republicans’ general election candidates.

Secretary Marilyn Harris joined Vice Chair Priscilla Rahn in calling for the Colorado GOP’s executive committee to vote Sept. 18 to cancel the primaries and let candidates go through the caucus and assembly process instead.

“After studying all the facts and considering both sides, it is clear that the best option for Colorado Republicans is to opt out of the corrupt open primary system that dishonest Democrats unfairly administer,” Harris wrote in a letter last week. “If we opt out, we ensure election integrity by stopping crooked Democrats from corrupting our nomination elections.”

This is really not a good idea for the GOP, as many more moderate Republicans have pointed out recently. And as The Sun notes:

Republicans cannot win in Colorado without the support of unaffiliated voters, as we’ve written before, who at the end of July represented 43% of registered voters in the state. Republicans, meanwhile, made up just 26% of registered voters.

The vote that could end Republican participation in an open primary system is scheduled for next Saturday, Sept. 18. Those who seek to get out of the open primary process could get some dubious “discounted” legal advice.

 

 As a CU Regent, Heidi Ganahl is currently the sole statewide elected official for the Republican Party. After months of trying to raise her name ID and pondering different campaign scenarios, Ganahl appears to at last be nearing a formal announcement that she will run for Governor in 2022.

 

 President Biden will visit Denver on Monday as part of his “Build Back Better” tour. Details on Biden’s specific destination are still being finalized.

 

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Trump Attorney to Represent State GOP in Suit Against CO Open Primary Law, Says GOP Activist

(As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. — Promoted by Colorado Pols

Grassroots activist leaders in the Colorado Republican Party have new hope in overcoming legal and financial barriers in their 5-year quest to withdraw from open primaries in Colorado, with an apparent offer of discounted legal representation in challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 108, a state law instituted by voters in 2016 that regulates how parties can choose their nominees for state elected office.

Attorney Chuck Bonniwell, publisher of the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle and member of the CO GOP executive committee who has led the effort for opting out of open primaries, announced on Saturday’s KNUS radio show, Wake Up! with Randy Corporon that Corporon, along with controversial constitutional law attorney John Eastman and the Claremont Institute have offered to provide legal representation at an affordable rate in order to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 108.

Previously, motions among the state central committee proposing such a lawsuit were derailed on consideration of the cost involved, and the limited financial resources available to the state Republican Party to fund the challenge.

“I was at the Adams County Executive Committee meeting on Thursday … and the one thing that everyone agreed to — everyone, even the non-opt out people — is there ought to be a lawsuit brought by the Republican Party to vitiate a clearly unconstitutional law,” Bonniwell explained to Colorado’s Republican National Committeeman and attorney Corporon. “And I know you’ve been working [on] that along with John Eastman and others, and maybe there’s a point of agreement among everybody, which the Republican Party sorely needs. … And the question has always been, ‘Well, it will cost too much money!’ Well, you and John [Eastman] and and the Claremont Institute, you know, you’ve been willing to come up and you’ll support it for just a fraction of the money that they say that will be needed. So, it may be the one point on Sept. 18 we all can come together on and fight against this unconstitutional law.”

Despite a clause in Proposition 108 allowing major political parties to opt out of the primary elections in Colorado, there has been debate as to whether the requirement of 75% approval from a party’s entire ruling body in order to opt out of the primaries is too burdensome, and therefore unconstitutional. Republicans have not managed to meet that threshold in two previous attempts to opt out, and weren’t able to even vote due to an absence of quorum.

 

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Vaccine Mandate is a Battle Worth Fighting for All of Us

We have finally reached the point in the battle with COVID-19 in which reality takes precedence over politics. As The Associated Press reports:

President Joe Biden on Thursday is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery.

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Biden was to announce the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new “action plan” to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots that has raised doubts among the public over his handling of the pandemic.

People may still try to oppose the COVID-19 vaccine on the grounds of religious exemption, but as CNN notes:

No major denomination opposes vaccination. [Pols emphasis] Even the Christian Science Church, whose adherents rely largely on prayer rather than medicine, does not impose an official policy. It counsels “respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination.”

And if a person claims their privately held religious beliefs forbid vaccination, that defense is unlikely to hold up in court if challenged, legal experts say. [Pols emphasis]

President Biden

The response from right-wing Republicans to news about vaccine requirements was as predictable as it is dangerous. Vaccine mandates from the federal government come at a time when Republican leaders across the country are spending more time and energy fighting people who are trying to stop COVID-19 than working to stop the spread of the virus. Anti-vax radio hosts are literally dying of COVID-19 on a regular basis.

Not all Republicans are opposing vaccines and mask mandates, however. West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has been apoplectic about people refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Indeed, Republicans used to be more intellectually honest about the need for vaccinations, as this 9News story about a measles outbreak from 2015 notes:

Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman both told 9NEWS that ideally there should be a legal requirement for parents to have their children vaccinated against disease. [Pols emphasis]

The argument that receiving a vaccine should be a “personal choice” ignores the reality of our current situation: Unvaccinated Americans are allowing COVID-19 to mutate and spread at alarming rates. We’re seeing more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases EVERY DAY in this country. Hospitals across the country are rationing care as emergency rooms are overwhelmed with infected patients. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned today that COVID-19 cases in the United States are ten times more prevalent than they should be at this point in a pandemic response.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 hospitalizations are poised to surpass their highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic. We know that unvaccinated people are exponentially more likely to be hospitalized over a COVID-19 infection. we know that COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado schools are also approaching record levels.

Health officials and (many) politicians have spent the last 18 months politely trying to convince people to take appropriate caution to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have access to vaccines that we know are working, but information campaigns haven’t been enough to move the sizable percentage of Americans who flat-out refuse to get vaccinated even if it’s just out of spite and a stubborn refusal to take advice from others. At the same time, polling data indicates that vaccine mandates are actually less divisive than you might think.

We tried to be nice about encouraging vaccinations, but the Delta variant changed the equation. The longer people wait to get vaccinated, the longer the entire country (indeed, the world) will continue to suffer the consequences.

In mandating vaccines, President Biden is taking the inevitable step that responsible leadership requires. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t care about your politics; it’s time to start fighting back without one hand tied behind our backs.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” Barnstorm Bucks Boebert’s Blather

President Joe Biden (D).

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul:

President Joe Biden will make a stop in Denver on Monday as he travels to three Western states…

On Monday, Biden will also travel to Boise, Idaho, where he will visit the National Interagency Fire Center; Sacramento, California, to survey wildfire damage; and Long Beach, California, to participate in an event with Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom is facing a recall election.

We’ll update with details on President Joe Biden’s first trip to Denver as POTUS once they’re available, just one stop on what looks like a busy itinerary next week. Biden touring the West on presidential business should also be welcome news to Rep. Lauren Boebert, who today expressed some affected concern about President Biden’s wellbeing:

Looks to us like Biden is most certainly “in charge,” and a majority of Colorado voters will be glad to see him next Monday just like they were glad to vote for him last November. Don’t look for Boebert’s firehose of vitriol to slacken in the meantime, but the contrast between Biden being presidential and Colorado’s silliest carnival barker spouting nonsense could not be plainer.

Who The Hell Would Want To Be A GOP SoS Candidate Today?

Rose Pugliese (left) and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog took note of a Tweet yesterday from Rose Pugliese, the Republican former Mesa County commissioner widely expected to run for Secretary of State against Democratic incumbent Jena Griswold, putting the brakes on that speculation–which as we noted a month ago was getting wobbly:

“Despite speculation that I am ‘running for something,’ ” Pugliese tweeted, “I have decided not to run for office at this time so that I can focus on providing for my two young children.”

Since early this year, Pugliese has been making the rounds at GOP functions while chatter grew that she intended to run against Griswold, the first Democrat elected secretary of state in nearly 60 years.

The announcement leaves Colorado Republicans without even a rumored candidate for the state’s top election office. Since last year, Griswold has been at the center of a partisan firestorm surrounding voting methods and unfounded allegations of widespread election fraud by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Rose Pugliese shows her support for Tina Peters in 2018.

Pugliese was a regular feature at Republican Party fundraisers through the summer of 2021, often joined by all-but-announced gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl in what very much looked like a preview of the 2022 ticket. Pugliese had set up a generic fundraising entity “Rose For Colorado” chaired by GOP usual suspect functionary Katie Kennedy, and by all accounts was pretty far down the field toward launching a run for Secretary of State–“running for something,” anyway, like we said back in April.

So what happened? Notwithstanding personal circumstances we’re not able to speak to, the simple truth is that Rose Pugliese was severely compromised by the election data breach in Mesa County for which Pugliese’s longtime friend and political ally Tina Peters is now under criminal investigation. There was no way Pugliese could launch a campaign for the state’s chief elections officer without addressing the scandal in Mesa County, and any answer she gave would have the effect of undermining her campaign–with either the Republican base who think Tina Peters is a hero, or everybody else.

And that brings us to the next question: given the chasm between Republicans who believe without evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump and the reality the rest of us live in, what Republican in their right mind would want to run for Colorado Secretary of State in 2022? Republican county clerks who dare to challenge the conspiracy theorists in their own party are subjected to threats and harassment. Trump and his minions are constantly on watch for signs of disloyalty. But at the same time, an SoS candidate who embraces the increasingly nonsensical conspiracy theories pushed by Trump’s dead-enders cannot possibly win a statewide election in Colorado.

If Rose Pugliese sized up this politically untenable situation and decided “no thanks,” it’s tough to blame her. The question is, can any Republican win the Secretary of State race in 2022 with Trump looming over their shoulder?

As of today, that seems unlikely.

Two Things to Not Be Doing on 9/11 Anniversary

This Saturday will mark 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. President Biden will be commemorating the anniversary in an appropriate manner, as The Washington Post reported last weekend:

Biden will travel to New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at all three sites where they occurred, the White House announced Saturday.

Biden will be accompanied by first lady Jill Biden when he visits Lower Manhattan in New York City; Shanksville, Pa.; and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where planes crashed after terrorists hijacked them Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Last Friday, Biden signed an executive order authorizing the release of classified government documents relating to 9/11 investigations, which is something that he had promised to do while campaigning for the White House in 2020.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time of the attacks, will be in Shanksville, PA with wife Laura Bush on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama will recognize the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by visiting New York City.

This is a real thing.

As for former President Donald Trump, he has some different plans for Saturday. As CBS News explains:

On the day other ex-presidents visit memorial sites to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, former President Trump will be providing commentary on a boxing match between former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.

Donald Trump Jr. will join his father during the Triller Fight Club evening matchup in Hollywood, Florida. The Trumps’ “unfiltered boxing commentary” and match will be available on Pay-Per-View and FITE, according to a press release.

There are two things you need to understand about what Donald Trump and Don Jr. will be doing on Saturday: 1) They will provide commentary for the entire four-fight telecast on an “alternate” broadcast, which means they aren’t even going to be the primary event voices, and 2) The main event is a gimmick boxing match between a soon-to-be 59-year-old former boxer and a 44-year-old former MMA fighter. The winner of the main event won’t be any closer to earning a professional boxing title than you or your neighbor.

(NOTE: Holyfield is only on the card as a replacement for recently un-retired fighter Oscar De La Hoya, who was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. This entire event was supposed to take place in California but was moved to Florida over the weekend after the California State Athletic Commission REFUSED TO SANCTION THE BOUT on account of the fact that Holyfield is an old man who hasn’t boxed since 2011).

Trump has rightly been getting roasted on social media for his 9/11 plans. CNN’s Chris Cillizza called it “the single most Donald Trump thing Donald Trump has ever done”:

When I first heard that Donald Trump — you know, the former President of the United States — was going to provide ringside commentary for a boxing match featuring former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, I figured it was a prank. When I found out that the event was set for September 11 — the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history — I was sure it was a prank.

It’s not a prank.

This is the guy that the Republican Party is still devoted to following despite his 2020 re-election loss? Really? REALLY?

Tom Tancredo

Anyway, this isn’t the only completely-inappropriate thing that a Republican is doing on Saturday. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Republican Erik Aadland plans to kick off his 2022 campaign for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat on Saturday at a rally in Lakewood headlined by former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.

A decorated Army combat veteran who joined the GOP this spring, Aadland is one of four Republicans running for the nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year’s election. It’s his first run for office.

Aadland told Colorado Politics that he’s formally launching his campaign on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks because of the date’s importance. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right! “This guy” is hosting former Congressman Tom Tancredo to kick off his campaign for U.S. Senate in Colorado on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The preceding sentence is a string of words that should have never been written or read by anyone, ever. Unfortunately, everything in this entire post is true.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 8)

Happy “International Literacy Day.” Please read 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. 

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado have reached their highest levels since January and are approaching the peak levels of Spring 2020:

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed 12,877 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 957 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The last time more people infected with the virus were receiving hospital care was Jan. 6, when the state was still recovering from the massive winter spike.

Counting only people with confirmed infections, 862 were hospitalized, which is only 26 fewer than on the worst day in April 2020, said Beth Carlton, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Colorado School of Public Health. The state’s COVID-19 trackers generally focus on hospitalizations where the person has tested positive, because of volatility in the number of people being evaluated for the virus from day to day.

“The number of people in the hospital is high, and poised to exceed the April 2020 peak,” she said.

Think about this for a moment: Hospitalizations in Colorado could soon surpass levels from the very first month in which COVID-19 was spreading through our state. Hospitalizations over Labor Day Weekend were worse this year than in 2020.

Vax that thang up, people! And lock up the mindless assholes who are trying to prevent other people from getting vaccinated. And stop listening to these people.

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise everywhere, it seems, with doctors growing more concerned about an uptick in pediatric cases. Some school districts in Texas are moving to mandatory mask requirements after the death of two middle school teachers.

 

The Washington Post reports on a big solar energy announcement from President Biden:

The Biden administration announced a blueprint Wednesday outlining how solar energy could produce nearly half of the nation’s electricity by mid-century, part of its ambitious bid to address climate change.

The new Energy Department analysis shows how the United States can scale up production of solar panels, which now provide 3 percent of the nation’s electricity, to 45 percent over the next three decades.

The move, which would transform the nation’s energy industry and infrastructure, shows how President Biden is determined to reshape the economy and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the face of staunch political opposition.

While the administration has not set a specific solar energy target, the president has called for 100 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from clean energy by 2035.

Remember when we had a President who was so anti-renewable energy that he believed wind turbines caused cancer? Elections matter.

 

The Denver Post reports on the 169 new laws that took effect in Colorado on Tuesday.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

This week on Episode #85 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the whereabouts of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters; we get ready for a Republican campaign for Governor; we wonder (and not for the first time) what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is trying to say; and we ponder the never-ending list of troubles for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle)

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Boebert Bumbles Threat To Telecom Companies

Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

We took note late last week of Georgia GOP freshman freakshow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s threat to “shut down” telecommunications companies who comply with records preservation requests from the U.S. House Select Committee investigating violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. The Select Committee issued a request for records to be preserved pertaining to a number of members of Congress who may have been in contact with insurrectionists plotting the attack or on the scene that day–including Colorado’s own freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. MTG’s threats echoed but were ominously more sweeping than a similar warning issued last week by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

And as HuffPo reports today, Boebert is sure enough busy making threats of her own:

The lawmakers, including Reps. Mo Brooks (of Alabama), Madison Cawthorn (N.C), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.), sent letters to 13 businesses telling them not to comply with requests from the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.

The committee requested that certain phone and social media companies preserve the records of individuals not publicly identified as linked to the insurrection as well as those involved in the “Stop the Steal” rally. The House probe is attempting to determine who was actively involved in planning the violence aimed at overturning the presidential election. Some of the relevant subjects could involve Republican lawmakers, including some of those who sent the letters…

In the letters, the GOP lawmakers reportedly threatened the companies, saying they would use “all legal remedies” to go after them if they comply with the committee’s requests.

Unfortunately, in the case of at least one of those telecom companies, their contact information was more than a little outdated:

The letter that was addressed to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, which was obtained by Forbes, revealed some of the Republican Party’s strong-arm tactics being used against businesses to persuade them to obstruct justice, critics said. Except Mayer departed from Yahoo in 2017. [Pols emphasis] Yahoo’s current CEO is Guru Gowrappan.

We’ll confess that we didn’t know who Yahoo’s CEO is either, mostly because we don’t remember the last time we visited Yahoo. But we shouldn’t lose sight in schadenfreude over Boebert’s bumbled threats against telecom companies of the troubling nature of these threats and what they represent. Despite their angry denial, these lawmakers including Boebert played a direct role in inciting the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. We know about Boebert’s public-facing agitation for some kind of extraordinary event on January 6th, including her infamous “Today is 1776” message on the morning of the riots and stupendously ill-advised Tweet about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location as rioters stormed the Capitol.

There’s a lot more we need to know about what Boebert was expecting to happen on January 6th, and her phone records leading up to and on that day could be the key to uncovering the full extent of her complicity in the violence. Given the certainty of litigation to resolve the question of access to these records, Boebert’s pre-emptive threats against telecom companies look an awful lot like witness intimidation.

No one is asking, “what has Boebert got to hide?” Because it’s obvious.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 3)

Enjoy the last big weekend of summer. 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. 

 

Extended unemployment benefits for thousands of Coloradans will run out on Saturday, as CBS4 Denver reports:

Standard UI benefits are only available for 26 weeks. But with the pandemic came enhanced benefits, providing a temporary boost. That boost is over on Sept. 4.

Claimants on regular state unemployment will still receive their weekly benefits, but the extra $300 provided by Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation every week will end.

About 107,000 Coloradans had come to rely on those extended benefits, though some employers struggling to find workers have claimed that the benefits were preventing many people from applying for jobs. Research has shown that extended UI benefits had no impact on job growth.

As The New York Times explains, the real threat to the American economy is still the COVID-19 pandemic:

The American economy slowed abruptly last month, adding 235,000 jobs, a sharp drop from the huge gains recorded earlier in the summer and an indication that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is putting a damper on hiring.

The Labor Department report on Friday follows a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and deaths that has undermined hopes that restrictions on daily activities were nearing an end.

The unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, compared with 5.4 percent in July. Economists polled by Bloomberg has been looking for gain of 725,000 jobs.

Here in Colorado, the economy is stable enough that residents can actually expect the largest tax refunds in two decades. From The Denver Post:

The savings are split among three categories: a sales tax refund, a temporary cut to the state’s flat income tax rate (in this case, from 4.55% to 4.5%), and reimbursements to local governments.

For the sales tax refund, the average single filer is expected to get $69 on average, the state controller estimates, and joint filers on average should see refunds of $166. Those would be the largest TABOR refunds in 20 years.

 

Republicans across the country are now facing the flip-side of the story related to the draconian new abortion ban in Texas. Republican candidates for 2022 and 2024 won’t be able to avoid answering questions about whether or not they support the Texas law, which is a particular problem in places (such as Colorado) where voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice. Here in Colorado, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer responded to an inquiry on the subject by saying that he “wasn’t comfortable” answering questions about the Texas law.

In related news, Denver7 reports on how the Texas abortion ban is likely to impact Colorado:

Already, Planned Parenthood in Texas is encouraging women to travel to Colorado and other surrounding states to have their abortions after six weeks. Colorado for Life exists to protect and defend every unborn life, which includes ending “abortion tourism” in Colorado.

Karen Middleton is the president of Cobalt, a pro-choice group, that, in part, helps women financially come from more conservative states to Colorado.

“We are already starting to get calls. What will happen is if they can’t get legal access to abortions in Texas, they will go to another state and legally access that elsewhere. Colorado’s doors are open,” Middleton said.

Upwards of 15% of the abortions in Colorado are for women coming from other states, according to Middleton. Many fly in to get the procedure and fly right back the same day.

 

The all-Republican Mesa County Board of Commissioners allowed right-wing activist Sherronna Bishop to present her “proof” of 2020 election fraud this week. Bishop, who was Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s campaign manager in 2020, sat down in front of the Mesa County Commissioners and offered ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that would even begin to corroborate her election fraud clams.

 

As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is insisting that she is doing her job remotely…from wherever she is at the moment:

There is nothing wrong with working remotely, whether it’s from her home office or at some undisclosed location in the nation, according to an email Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters sent to several county officials Wednesday evening.

In a response to the Mesa County Attorney’s Office over a Colorado Open Records Act request from a county resident, Peters scolded Commissioners Janet Rowland and Scott McInnis for implying that she’s not doing her job.

“For the others copied in to this email, I am working starting at 7 a.m. everyday with stand ups and direction for my staff as well as during the day,” Peters wrote. “Regarding the ‘rudderless’ office Scott has asserted, and me being accused by Janet of being ‘MIA,’ I can assure everyone, that is not the case.”

You’ll forgive us if we aren’t inclined to take the word of someone who is hiding out in an unknown location and is currently under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, the Colorado Attorney General’s office, and the FBI.

 

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And Now, the Flip Side of the Texas Abortion Ban

UPDATE: Witness this mealy-mouthed nonsense from Maine Sen. Susan Collins:

 

In other words…SQUIRREL!

—–

Headline via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As NBC News reports, President Biden is reacting strongly to a new abortion ban in Texas that took effect on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene with an opinion:

President Joe Biden said Thursday he is launching a “whole-of-government” response to try to safeguard access to abortions in Texas after the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the state’s near-total ban on the procedure.

In a statement, Biden said he was directing the Office of the White House Counsel and his Gender Policy Council to involve the Health and Human Services Department and the Justice Department to evaluate what “legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”…

…The president called the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling overnight “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade” since the decision nearly 50 years ago.

“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,” Biden said. “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”

Again, via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As we wrote yesterday, the draconian new anti-abortion law in Texas is a harsh lesson that elections have consequences. The reaction to the law from President Biden and other Democratic politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to hold a floor vote on a bill that would ensure a woman’s right to an abortion in federal law — is also a reminder that bad policy positions can themselves have serious political reverberations. This could even be the case in deep-red Texas, since a majority of that state’s voters actually OPPOSE the new law.

Republican politicians (and media outlets) often insist that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and that voters shouldn’t select candidates in a given election based upon their personal beliefs about access to safe abortion and contraception care. In fact, Republican politicians often downplay the issue of abortion because they know that any such discussion can cost them votes. This has been true in Colorado in recent elections, as this Denver Post story from the 2010 U.S. Senate race demonstrates:

As a Republican primary candidate, Ken Buck took absolutist positions on abortion and “personhood” — declaring that if elected to the U.S. Senate he would sponsor a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and backing a proposed state law that would outlaw some common forms of birth control.

Now, faced with televised attacks from incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet over those strident views, Buck is painstakingly trying to modify positions that may not match the beliefs of the unaffiliated moderates who will ultimately decide the contest. [Pols emphasis]

Before the Republican caucuses, Buck answered a Christian family group’s questionnaire and said he supported Amendment 62, the “Personhood Amendment,” on the Colorado ballot.

Buck said Saturday through his campaign spokesman that he will now vote against the measure.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer would rather fight you in a duel than answer questions about abortion.

What was true in 2010 remains that way in 2021. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eli Bremer wants absolutely nothing to do with questions about the Texas law:

El Paso County Republican Eli Bremer, a former GOP official and Olympian, said in a text message to Colorado Politics that he wasn’t comfortable commenting [Pols emphasis] because it wasn’t clear whether the high court was simply waiting for another case that could establish a clearer precedent to reach its docket.

Bremer, like Buck 11 years earlier, is smart enough to understand that while his right-wing base might be fervently anti-abortion, the majority of people in Colorado absolutely ARE NOT. Colorado voters have consistently rejected anti-abortion measures of all shapes and sizes when given the opportunity (just search for “personhood fail” in the sidebar). The polling data below, conducted in November 2020, affirms this point: More than 70% of Colorado voters are clearly in the “pro-choice” category.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt

 

Unlike others such as State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Bremer may prefer to stay far away from commenting on this subject. Unfortunately for Bremer, that’s not how this whole “politics” thing works. Recent statewide Republican candidates in Colorado such as Cory Gardner (U.S. Senate, 2020) and Walker Stapleton (Governor, 2018) were unapologetically anti-abortion, and each lost their respective races by an average of 10 points. Neither Gardner nor Stapleton, however, had to contend with a ridiculous abortion ban that is the subject of widespread derision (note the two headlines from “The Onion“).

The Texas law may or may not survive a court challenge, but either way, it is now a must-answer question for politicians in 2022.

MTG Sweating January 6th Phone Records–What About Boebert?

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Reporter Graig Graziosi writes for the UK Independent about one very upset freshman firebreathing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, freely throwing the threats around against telecommunications companies who might be considering cooperation with the Select Committee investigating the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th by retaining phone records of a number of Donald Trump dead-ender congresspeople including herself:

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has threatened telecom companies, claiming they would be “shut down” if they handed over Republicans’ phone data to the January 6 commission being conducted by the US House.

The commission is investigating the circumstances that led to the Capitol riot, and have request the phone records of several Republican lawmakers, including Representatives Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks, Jody Hice, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar…

“If these telecommunications companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down. And that’s a promise,” Ms Greene told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Random observation made for no particular reason whatsoever.

As usual there’s no legal mechanism by which MTG could follow through on such a grandiose (not to mention anti-free market) threat, but keep in mind that in her campaign commercials from last year’s elections, Greene proposed to solve a variety of problems besetting the nation with the one-size-fits-all prescription of shooting them with a large black rifle.

So the nation’s telecommunications companies, or at least their security departments, can interpret that as needed.

Although Rep. Greene is loudly pushing back against retaining records that could tie members of Congress to culpable figures in the violence on January 6th, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has been far less vocal about it even though Boebert is subject to the same request. Boebert certainly isn’t above making absurd threats she couldn’t possibly carry out, but Boebert’s relative silence on this matter while MTG rages invites the question of which of them has more to worry about in those phone records.

One protests too much, the other not enough. But we strongly suspect it’s top of mind for both.

#MesaGate Vote Fraud Allegations Collapse In Heap Of Nonsense

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

The controversy raging in Mesa County over a breach of election systems security currently the subject of local and federal criminal investigations, as readers know, has its origins in the fervent belief by a substantial percentage of Republican voters across the nation that the 2020 elections were stolen from ex-President Donald Trump. In an attempt to prove this occurred despite all of the counts, recounts, certifications, and litigation surrounding last year’s elections establishing clearly that no election fraud on any scale that could change the outcome of the election took place, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters stands accused of allowing an unauthorized individual access to secure Dominion Voting Systems computers, from which copies were made of proprietary software and then distributed to far-right conspiracy theorists including possible “QAnon” movement progenitor Ron Watkins.

Just days after this breach was publicized on the conservative blog Gateway Pundit and investigations began, Clerk Peters jetted off to a conference in South Dakota hosted by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, billed as a “Cyber Symposium” that Lindell claimed would produce “absolute proof” so compelling that Joe Biden himself would willingly step down. We still don’t know if this bombshell evidence was supposed to come from “packet captures” that Lindell insisted proved fraud, which turned out to be completely indecipherable gibberish, or the data stolen from Mesa County. Either way, no such “absolute proof” emerged from Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” or any other source. Since that event, Clerk Peters has been in hiding in an undisclosed location at Lindell’s expense while the FBI and the local DA continue to investigate the data breach in her office.

Rep. Lauren Boebert with 2020 primary campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

One of the passengers on Lindell’s private jet flying Clerk Peters to South Dakota last month was Sherronna Bishop, who served as now-Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign manager during the Republican CD-3 congressional primary in 2020. Boebert has been oddly silent about the controversy in Mesa County involving so many of her known associates, but Bishop is well-known on the Western Slope as a thought leader among an unhinged and increasingly militant regional far-right movement that believes COVID is a hoax, the 2020 elections were rigged, and civil war is right around the corner. As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports in a story that everyone who doubts the outcome of the 2020 elections should read, Bishop was given a wide-open chance yesterday to prove something–anything–consequential about the data that was stolen. This would, among other things, be very helpful in a defense for Clerk Peters from potential felony charges.

“If you and Tina have these images, why didn’t you go to law enforcement,” Commissioner Janet Rowland asked at the meeting. “If you cared about election integrity, wouldn’t you go straight to the district attorney?”

Neither Bishop, nor her experts, could answer other than to repeat unproven accusations and calls for a forensic audit of the machines.

“The centralizing of our voting systems has been a major contributor to this, what we think is a lot of fraud,” Bishop said. “So, when you’re asking us to trust and go to people who are not willing to admit there’s even a potential for fraud in Colorado, that’s just not accurate.

“Those (elections) companies have far more manpower and money, have tech-savvy people to protect their systems, and yet you guys would try to have us believe, us dimwitted little hickerbillies, that there’s no fraud here in our machines,” Bishop added. “It is possible. It has happened.”

This reportedly went on for over an hour and a half, with Mesa County’s Republican commissioners and former GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams repeatedly asking for the evidence these people say is irrefutable, only to be told that the “evidence” is part of the criminal investigation so it can’t be disclosed–as if that mattered when they stole it–and that it’s the state with the burden to disprove allegations that the accusers can’t even themselves credibly lay out.

We’ve been critical of Williams in this space, but it’s hard to argue with his sentiments after yesterday’s meeting:

“Your parents promise you toys for Christmas,” Williams told The Daily Sentinel after the 1 1/2-hourlong session ended.

“Excited, you arise early in the morning to see what might be under the tree,” he added. “There is nothing. You ask your parents what happened, and they explain how there was a theoretical possibility there could have been something.” [Pols emphasis]

Like Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” but with less media coverage, here was a golden opportunity for the election 2020 “truthers” to finally make their case–to lay out once and for all their theory of how the election was rigged, and how the data they’ve stolen and otherwise aggregated proves that–or for that matter, anything nefarious whatsoever.

And there. Is. Nothing.

Millions of Americans, some sincerely misguided and others who simply don’t want to play the game of democracy after they lose, insist the 2020 election was stolen with absolutely no rational basis for that belief. A growing number are openly threatening violence based on conjecture that breaks down every time it is subjected to critical analysis. When given the microphone and a the unhindered chance to make their case, we learn the simple truth: they have no case. Rarely in history has the nation’s time been so preposterously wasted, yet also so dangerously.

Indeed there is a very important lesson to be learned in Mesa County.

But it’s not the lesson Sherronna Bishop thinks she’s teaching.

There Was ALWAYS a Real Threat to Abortion Rights

“And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

    – The editorial board of The Denver Post (Oct. 10, 2014)

You can argue, as many politicos have, that Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall lost the 2014 election for U.S. Senate in Colorado because his campaign against Republican Cory Gardner was too focused on the issue of abortion. Such an argument would not be without merit; Udall’s campaign may, in fact, have spent too much time and money (and ad space) on the idea that Gardner’s election would be a significant threat to women’s rights in Colorado and across the country.

But as we saw today with the implementation in Texas of the most comprehensive abortion restriction in the country, Udall and his supporters were not wrong to be concerned about what might come next if Gardner and Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate. As it turns out, the threat to abortion rights was very real indeed. So real, in fact, that you can draw a direct line between the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the new law in Texas that went into effect today.

As Molly Jong-Fast explains for The Daily Beast:

The Supreme Court declined to act and let Texas’ insane new abortion law stand, for now, in what looks to be the day Roe v. Wade began to die.

As of today, SB8, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law, bans abortions at six weeks, with no exception for rape or incest, while targeting anyone who “aids or abets” another person’s abortion. The idea is to make anyone who helps a woman get an abortion a legal target, even her Uber driver, with any citizen able to collect a bounty on abortion providers…

…The Supreme Court’s own precedents have barred states from banning abortion before about 22 weeks, when a fetus could be viable outside of the womb. Letting a six-week law stand is a sign that things have changed, dramatically, with the court’s new 6-3 conservative majority.

There’s a lot of legal posturing here, as Republicans made their insane new law complicated by design in the hopes of sneaking it through—to the point that abortion providers had to turn to the Supreme Court, with its new majority just itching to do away with Roe, as their last best hope. And on Tuesday night, the Supreme Court did nothing, and thus let SB8 stand for now, with an emergency request to block the now-in-effect rule still pending.

Cory Gardner

The Texas law, which for all practical purposes amounts to a total abortion ban, is not even that popular IN TEXAS. But it passed because Texas has a Republican-led legislature, and it will now be implemented because the U.S. Supreme Court gave its tacit approval when it declined to offer an opinion on the matter. For this to happen, the Supreme Court needed to be overseen by a majority of justices who are fundamentally supportive of strict abortion bans.

The 2014 election gave Republicans control of the U.S. Senate, which allowed then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse to even CONSIDER President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Then came the Nuclear Option, followed by Neil Gorsuch and later Brett Kavanaugh. And, finally, Amy Coney Barrett. Gardner supported McConnell’s stonewalling of Garland in 2016, but had no such concerns about nominating a new Supreme Court justice at the tail end of a Republican term in the White House. Gardner lost his own re-election bid in November 2020 to Democrat John Hickenlooper, but the damage had already been done.

Lo and behold, elections DID matter.

As recently as the 2020 election cycle, media outlets were still allowing Republicans to insist that Roe v. Wade was perfectly safe, despite whatever they regularly told their right-wing base. But in April of this year, many of those same Republicans — including several from Colorado — began to speak out more plainly in support of overturning Roe v. Wade. Later this year, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of a stringent abortion ban in the state of Mississippi. As The Washington Post notes, “Antiabortion activists have urged the court to use that case to overturn the 1973 Roe decision.”

Could this happen in Colorado? You betcha it could. Here’s Colorado Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown — who previously failed at multiple attempts to enact a “personhood” measure in Colorado — celebrating the new law in Texas:

Polling shows that more than 70% of Coloradans support a woman’s right to choose (see below), but public opinion won’t mean squat if Republicans are able to wrestle control from Democrats in future elections. Republican leaders in Colorado want to end access to reproductive rights for women, and they’ll do just that if given the opportunity.

The threat to reproductive rights was always real…and now we’re here.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt

Bad Bosses: Felony Charges Filed Against Mesa Deputy Clerk

Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, while the criminal investigation into Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters proceeds over a breach of election system security in her office, Mesa County’s Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley finds herself in a potentially felonious pickle all her own:

To avoid being arrested and put in jail, Mesa County Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley turned herself in to Mesa County District Court today and was advised on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor cyber crimes filed against her in relation to a personnel matter and ongoing investigations of her office.

As a result, Knisley, 66, was ordered not to enter the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office while state and federal criminal investigations are ongoing into possible felony charges for breaching election security, according to her arrest warrant.

The charges are separate from two criminal investigations against her and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters by the district attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Deputy Clerk Knisley reportedly disregarded instructions to stay away from the office after being placed on administrative leave, and has since behaved “in a manner that is intimidating” to other county employees. Clerk Peters, of course, is taking…unscheduled leave on her own authority while the FBI and DA investigations into the election system breach in her office continue. Knisley was allegedly caught trying to access county computers using Clerk Tina Peters’ passwords after Knisley’s own credentials had been revoked.

In other words, the usual security policy at the Mesa County Clerk’s office! We can’t say it’s exactly surprising to learn that Colorado’s least secure county clerk’s office is also a toxic work environment, since a general state of unhinged incompetence like Clerk Peters appears to have cultivated in Mesa County tends to bring out the worst in people. But these charges aren’t the end of Deputy Clerk Knisley’s problems, being hip-deep in the larger data breach scandal:

The text of the Secretary of State’s lawsuit against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (pdf) essentially says Deputy Clerk and Recorder Belinda Knisley lied to State employees with Tina Peters’ knowledge when she told them a non-employee County Elections staff allowed to access voting equipment last May was a County employee, when in fact he was not, and had never been a County employee. Knisley, described in the suit as a “possible successor” to Tina Peters in the Elections Department, is specifically named as a Respondent in the suit in addition to Peters.

Call it a delicious appetizer for the main course yet to be served.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 1)

Welcome to September. 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. 

 

There’s good news and bad news on the COVID-19 front, as The Aurora Sentinel explains:

As of Tuesday 75% of Colorado adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, but for children who are too young to be vaccinated, their risk from the virus is as high as it has been since the pandemic started.

At a Tuesday news conference to discuss the coronavirus, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that Colorado has seen a “pretty rapid rise in pediatric cases” beginning in July.

“This is the first time in the pandemic that we’re really seeing this high rate in children,” she said…

…Unvaccinated people make up the majority of hospitalizations, said Scott Bookman, Colorado’s COVID-19 incident commander. The hospitalization rate of the unvaccinated is seven times that or people who are fully vaccinated.

CNN has more on the concerning rise of COVID cases among children:

Contrary to research early in the pandemic, children are just as likely to become infected as adults. According to the CDC, Covid-19 infection rates for adolescents aged 5 to 17 were as high as in adults 18 to 49, and higher than rates in adults over 50.

There have been 4.8 million cases of Covid-19 in children since April 2020, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, making up about 15% of all documented cases in the United States. In the last month, the number of new weekly cases has surged to near-peak levels.

Areas across the country with lower than average vaccination rates are experiencing higher increases in Covid-19 cases among children. In Mississippi, where only 37.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, there has been a 29% increase in cumulative Covid-19 cases in children over the past two weeks.

 

The United States military presence in Afghanistan officially came to an end this week. Colorado Public Radio has reaction from some of the members of Colorado’s congressional delegation. As Axios reports, Denver ranks among the most popular locations for Afghan refugees relocating to the United States.

While boots may be off the ground in Afghanistan, the political infighting continues — driven in large part by a wave of misinformation propagated by Republicans.

Meanwhile, President Biden previewed a new foreign policy goal in a speech defending the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. As The New York Times reports, Biden’s speech points to the end of a long era of attempts at nation-building.
 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) almost seems determined to find a way to get herself into legal trouble. As The Colorado Sun reports:

Boebert has removed her name from business paperwork linked to the oil and gas consulting firm run by her husband, Jayson, after drawing scrutiny for nearly $1 million in payments it received from Terra Energy, a drilling company operating in her district…

…The changes, made after The Colorado Sun reported the congresswoman’s ties to Boebert Consulting, distance Boebert from the two companies, which are registered to the couple’s home in Silt. But it’s not clear what ownership or stake, if any, Lauren Boebert has in either company.

A spokesperson for Boebert’s congressional office did not answer a question last month about whether the congresswoman is an owner of Boebert Consulting, and did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

This sure seems like an admission of wrongdoing on Boebert’s part regarding the mysterious new wealth she recently reported from her husband, Jayson. This comes at a time when her various scandals are piling up quickly and attracting a new level of national attention.

As if Boebert didn’t have enough problems, she learned this week that she is among the Republican Members of Congress who are being investigated for their role in the January 6th insurrection.

 

National Public Radio reports on a new abortion ban in Texas that went into effect today:

With the U.S. Supreme Court mum, a new law went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. That’s well before many women even know they are pregnant.

The law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion — including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing.

The law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.

If federal courts allow the Texas abortion ban to stand, other states around the country will likely move swiftly to enact similar bans of their own. As The Daily Beast notes, this is a hugely significant moment for reproductive rights in America.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Arapahoe County Colorado GOP Official Has Promoted QAnon For Years

(Everybody’s going Q-razy these days – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Stills from Arapahoe GOP Secretary Navarro’s TikTok video of promoting QAnon at Trump’s Feb. 2020 rally in Colorado Springs.

 

On Jan. 19, the evening before Inauguration Day, Schumé Navarro, who is running for Cherry Creek School Board and was recently elected Secretary of the Arapahoe County Republican Party, recorded a video in which she promised her followers that the inevitable wouldn’t happen.

“I want you to know that Joe Biden — ‘President-Elect’ — is not going to become the President,” said Navarro. “This has been an ongoing coup that has been perpetrated by China. Everything — I’m talking about the virus. I’m talking the lockdowns.”

Over the course of a two-part video, Navarro continued to speak for over an hour, promoting a variety of conspiracy theories and quoting Bible verses.

“I’ve just been watchful and this has been the craziest ride I’ve ever been on,” said Navarro. “After that stuff happened, that’s when I fell on to the QAnon stuff and that has been given such a bad rep! And I say that and I feel people’s— ‘Ooo don’t say that!’ I feel people say that! I’m gonna tell you- I’ve held that lightly! I’ve held that like — let’s see, people say, ‘you’re a conspiracy theorist! No more conspiracy theories! I’m tired of conspiracy theories!’ You want to know what? You also have people who are like, ‘I believe science!’ Okay well, have you heard of the scientific method? What you do is you have a hypothesis or a theory. You state the theory and then you find facts that prove or disprove the theory. If they’re supporting things that prove it, then — it’s not a con –it’s like literally a conspiracy. It’s like I mean, it’s like legit. It’s a conspiracy.”

She recounted how she “fell into QAnon” by explaining that she began “doing research” online after she and her husband had fortuitously called off a planned trip to the 2017 Las Vegas country music festival that became the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history.

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