Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 14)

It was fun while it lasted; now we can go back to not having professional baseball in Colorado. 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 used a speech on Tuesday to make the case that Republicans are attempting an all-out assault on voting rights in this country. As The Washington Post explains:

President Biden on Tuesday delivered his most forceful condemnation yet of the wave of voting restrictions proposed in Republican-led states nationwide — efforts the president argued are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.

Biden’s speech was an attempt to inject new life into flagging efforts to pass federal legislation addressing the issue. But while he intensified his explanation of the stakes, his speech did not include a call for the Senate to change the filibuster, which is seen by advocates as the best, and perhaps only, way to usher in the kinds of changes Biden is seeking.

At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, in a room filled with images of Benjamin Franklin and quotes from Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt, Biden compared the new laws to voter suppression by the KKK and to the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised nearly all voters who were not White or male. He railed against laws that restrict access — calling them “raw and sustained election subversion” — and said that the 2022 midterm elections could highlight the damaging impacts of the new laws.

But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, many progressives aren’t particularly pleased with the fact that Biden left out a very key point in his speech:

“On voting rights, President Joe Biden is failing to meet the moment,” said Adam Jentleson, who worked for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and now heads the Battle Born Collective, a progressive group.

The problem isn’t how Biden describes the threat he perceives from Republican efforts to roll back electoral practices they blame for their 2020 White House loss, partly by empowering their partisans to oversee and overrule the results.

It’s that he hasn’t sided with the left in calling for an end, or a significant change, to the parliamentary tactic thwarting Democratic legislation in the 50-50 Senate — the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to get bills to passage.

These are legitimate criticisms. The Senate can move forward with passing a big voting rights package that has already made it through the House of Representatives, but it probably can’t happen unless the filibuster or the 60-vote threshold is changed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, a whole bunch of restaurants in Colorado got big money from COVID relief funds:

This spring and summer, 1,762 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and caterers in Colorado received a combined $480 million in grants from the federal government — money that doesn’t need to be repaid and can be spent on a wide array of business expenses.

Four Colorado businesses received $10 million each, the largest amount possible: Mission Yogurt, based in Westminster; The Kitchen American Bistros in Boulder, which has four restaurants and is owned by Elon Musk’s brother; Breckenridge-Wynkoop breweries in the Denver metro; and Illegal Pete’s, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the 75 largest beneficiaries in the state – which received a combined $191 million – 74 are along the Front Range (the other is in Aspen). In Denver, 423 companies received $183 million. In Boulder, 97 took in $47 million. In Colorado Springs, 139 businesses received $33 million.

 

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains, the final days of the Trump Presidency were even worse than you thought:

This is, in sum, a man deeply unfit for the presidency. (That is not a partisan statement. It is a statement of fact based on the clear portrait we have of how Trump behaved while in the most powerful office in the country.) A man who, by his inability to understand the sanctity of the office he held, threatened to destroy that sanctity for those who would follow him into the White House. And a man who was, without any question, an active danger for every single American – whether they supported or opposed him.

 

Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissioners heard from constituents at a public hearing in Arvada on Tuesday…and much of what they heard was not positive toward the initial new maps presented last month.

 

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America First or Burn It Down: Jenna Ellis Bails From GOP

Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis.

USA TODAY’s David Jackson reports–while of the of three people in the photo at right are facing sanctions up to and including the loss of their law license, ex-Trump couptorney Jenna Ellis of Colorado continues her high-profile transformation from lawyer with all those pesky strict ethical obligations to Newsmax pundit where…well, don’t be silly:

A lawyer who worked on Donald Trump’s election challenges says she is leaving the Republican Party in the wake of reports that an RNC official described her election fraud claims as “a joke.”

“The Republican Party has failed Donald Trump and true conservatives under swamp leadership,” attorney Jenna Ellis tweeted Monday about the latest dispute between Trump loyalists and GOP leadership, particularly the Republican National Committee.

In a November email, RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer said Ellis and fellow Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani were pushing nonsensical conspiracy theories about election procedures in President Joe Biden’s victory, according to a new book by author Michael Wolff.

“What Rudy and Jenna are doing is a joke and they are getting laughed out of court,” Riemer said in an email. “They are misleading millions of people who have wishful thinking that the president is going to somehow win this thing.”

Naturally, Ellis sees things…a bit differently:

Ellis claims further that the Republican National Committee under Ronna Romney McDaniel has possession of some $200 million raised by ex-President Donald Trump for the purpose of overturning the 2020 elections, which is obviously not being used for that right now and most self-interested Republicans should be fine with that. Don’t look for Ellis’ departure from the GOP to be permanent, either–in fact, there’s a groundswell on the MAGA right forming right now that could topple the current RNC leadership rather than let resistance to the “Big Lie” live on even in the closet. In a few months Ellis may well announce her triumphant return to a fully purged MAGA-owned GOP.

Even while her lawyer colleagues in Trump’s attempted overturning of democracy suffer the consequences, Ellis is reaping benefits beyond anything she could have hoped for as a low-level right-wing sort-of-lawyer with a grossly inflated resume. Riding Trump’s maleficient resurgence instead of mourning her career’s ignominious end is a fate Ellis should be grateful for–and we assume she is, just for all the wrong reasons.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 13)

Don’t believe the rumors you might have heard: The Home Run Derby actually did come to an end. 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. 

 

The New York Times reports on the first child tax credit payments going out this week, a big victory for Democrats — including longtime champion Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver):

With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent…

…While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.

“It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of F.D.R.,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “America is dramatically behind its industrial peers in investing in our children. We have some of the highest child poverty rates, but even families that are not poor are struggling, as the cost of raising children goes higher and higher.”

Among America’s 74 million children, nearly nine in 10 will qualify for the new monthly payments — up to $250 a child, or $300 for those under six — which are scheduled to start on Thursday. Those payments, most of which will be sent to bank accounts through direct deposit, will total half of the year’s subsidy, with the rest to come as a tax refund next year.

Colorado Newsline has more on how the program will work. Democrats are trying to make the child tax credit a permanent policy.

 

At least you don’t live in Mesa County…unless you do, in which case, that sucks and we are very sorry.

 

 Voting rights are still a top issue as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off on Tuesday night. The Denver Post has more on an unusually-political meaningless baseball game.

 

Texas Republicans are once again trying to restrict voting rights, which has forced Democratic lawmakers to flee the state in a last-ditch effort to preserve election integrity.

 

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Voting Rights Drives Lit All-Star Week In Colorado

It’s a big-ticket week in Colorado, as the not long- but highly- anticipated Major League Baseball All-Star Game’s week of events leading up to tomorrow’s big game draw thousands of spectators and millions of dollars to lower downtown Denver. Despite a sporting willingness by Colorado’s Democratic elected leadership to downplay the politics of the All-Star Game’s relocation from Georgia to Colorado, politics is unavoidably front and center in this week’s celebrations after Republicans outside of Colorado wept, wailed, and ultimately sued to stop MLB’s decision to not reward Georgia’s passage of vote suppression legislation earlier this year.

With that said, as Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter recapped the story of the 2021 All-Star Game’s move to Denver, it wasn’t just Colorado’s model accessible and secure elections that lured the All-Star Game to Coors Field, but also quick work by Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to freshen an existing proposal to host the game in future years:

Denver’s city government had spent five years polishing and presenting a plan for an All-Star Game at Coors Field. It first tried for 2022, then 2024. But here was a more immediate option. State and city officials went to work.

Gov. Jared Polis, a baseball fan, called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Rockies owner Dick Monfort and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. The opportunity was so unexpected that the city’s marketing arm, Visit Denver, didn’t have time to update its proposal. Instead, it began sending messages to MLB that Denver’s hotels and convention center were available in July.

Obviously, without Colorado’s model accessible and secure election system we would not have been worthy of landing the All-Star Game after MLB pulled the game out of Georgia in the first place. But it was being serendipitously ready with a plan to execute the event on short notice, and political leaders keen to jump on the opportunity presented by the decision to pull out of Georgia, that made this week’s multimillion-dollar economic boon for Colorado as easy call.

As for Colorado Republicans? It depends on who you ask, but it’s awkward:

“People watch sports to be entertained, not to be lectured about politics,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Silt Republican, said in a news release. “… I’ve lost trust in the MLB, the American people have lost trust in the MLB and now this organization must be subject to the same antitrust laws as everyone else. Let me be clear, if you go woke, you go broke.”

Next came a lawsuit by a conservative group, the Job Creators Network, that would have forced MLB to play the game in Georgia. Its lawyer was Howard Kleinhendler, who had tried and failed to overturn the 2020 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump. The lawsuit was criticized almost immediately by a judge who called it “weak and muddled.” It was later dropped entirely.

The Job Creators Network, as readers know, seemed to have an awful lot of ties to Colorado Republican politics right up until this half-baked lawsuit was filed. Heidi Ganahl, whose announcement to (probably) run for governor is considered imminent, is the former director of the Job Creators Network–but when asked by 9NEWS about the lawsuit she insisted she had nothing to do with it. Ganahl claimed further to be happy about the All-Star Game having moved to Denver…but also said it was “not fair” to Georgia. This is what’s known in politics as “flopping like a fish,” and it was not a good sign for Ganahl’s incipient campaign.

Others, like Rep. Lauren Boebert as you can see, could care less about Colorado’s economy! For Boebert, choosing Republican sour grapes over Colorado jobs comes naturally.

Look folks, we get it. Republicans like baseball just like Democrats, and everyone wants Republicans to spend their money boosting Denver’s economy. Unfortunately for Republican baseball fans, a major Republican political mistake is inextricably linked to the game’s presence in Denver this week. That’s just the way it is. Much like acknowledging the fact that kids need to learn the truth about racism, they’re going to have to suck it up and admit that Georgia made a mistake passing vote suppression legislation to appease Donald Trump’s ego–and the market can respond how it wants.

In the long run, there’s no question how this all will be judged by history.

Trump: Insurrectionists Were Great People

Following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017, then-President Trump infamously said that “there are very fine people on both sides” in reference to a violent confrontation spurred by white supremacists who were angry about the potential removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Trump was roundly condemned for those comments by Democrats and Republicans alike; hell, even former Sen. Cory Gardner found a conscience and spoke out against Trump’s statement (which was basically the last time Gardner publicly criticized Trump).

On Sunday, Trump took what was probably the inevitable next step in his journey toward normalizing white supremacy and insurrection. As POLITICO reports:

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday widely praised those who attended the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the insurrection at the Capitol, repeatedly using the word “love” to describe the tone of the event…

…Speaking on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” on the Fox News Channel, he also said the rally participants were patriots, that some of them were unjustly arrested and jailed, and that a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the insurrection was a great hero.

The remarks reflected recent efforts by Trump and his supporters to cast themselves as the aggrieved parties from the Jan. 6 riot, which left five people dead and others injured — and, for a brief time, halted the wheels of democracy as President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College was being confirmed by Congress.

Here’s exactly what Trump said to Fox News talking muppet Maria Bartiromo on Sunday:

You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That’s why they were there. And they were peaceful people. These were great people.

The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love — the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.

And that’s why they went to Washington…

…And they’re tremendous, in many cases, tremendous people, tremendous people.

Capitol Police officers bar the door to the House Chambers on Jan. 6 to keep out the “love.”

As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post, the rubicon has been crossed:

It was obvious on Jan. 6 that Trump was sympathetic to the rioters, as he made clear in his public comments on that day. Both because he was quickly muted by social media companies and, apparently, during a period of political temperature-taking, he largely didn’t wave away the rioters’ actions in the months that followed the violence. But he’s slowly been moving back to his original position, the one he reportedly articulated to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a mid-riot call that day: that the rioters simply loved their country…

…So now the Capitol rioters are tremendous, blue-collar folks battling an unfair system. They were simply in Washington to have their voices heard on the false belief that Trump and allies, including Bartiromo, fostered. They were the allies of law enforcement, not a mob that was seen on video attacking and abusing Capitol Police officers.

Trump’s comments on Sunday are more than just his typical airing of grievances and conspiracy theories. With this one interview, Trump has officially and unequivocally placed himself — and all those who continue to follow him, including Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert — 100% ON THE SIDE OF THE INSURRECTIONISTS WHO BROKE INTO THE CAPITOL.

Trump isn’t even bothering with the “both sides are great” bullshit anymore. If you forced your way into the Capitol in hopes of kidnapping Nancy Pelosi, killing Mike Pence, and/or overthrowing the Electoral College on Jan. 6, then you are Trump’s kind of person. None of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone with a functioning brain, but it’s still jarring to see the former President of the United States of America completely embrace an insurrection.

To what extend it was ever possible, politicians can no longer stand with Trump and condemn the Jan. 6 insurrection. The line is clear.

From “Always Trump” to “Maybe Not So Much Trump”

Colorado Republicans are having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to prepare for the 2022 election with the specter of 2020 and Donald Trump still looming large behind them.

Earlier this week, former Colorado Republican Party Chairman and current Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) performed his signature “Buckpedal” move by diving into a new conspiracy theory about how the 2020 Presidential election was somehow rigged by Google. This was quite the turnabout for Buck, who had previously vociferously defended the handling of the 2020 election as perfectly safe and aboveboard. What changed for Buck? It’s hard to say for sure, since Buck has a history of contradicting himself, but the smart money says that Buck is worried enough about avoiding a Primary in 2022 that he feels compelled to make it clear that he can out-crazy any other potential Republican challenger.

Buck’s successor as State GOP Chair, Kristi Burton Brown (KBB), is running into this same conundrum — but in the opposite direction. Brown was elected Party Chair earlier this year in part because of her consistent defense of “The Big Lie.” Indeed, all but one of the candidates for State Party Chair regularly expressed doubts about the validity of the 2020 election results (the only one who didn’t, Jonathan Lockwood, was never a serious contender for the job). But while KBB told the GOP faithful what they wanted to hear in order to get elected Party Chair, she’s coming to realize that the job of actually winning seats in a General Election is going to require a different approach.

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, KBB spoke Thursday to the Foothills Republican club and sounded a lot different than she did just a few months ago:

Burton Brown was peppered with concerns about election integrity during the question and answer portion of Thursday’s event.

“The biggest issue for me is voter cheating and this whole national election, as we all know, was a set up. I just would like to know if you know about … what was done here,” a man asked.

Burton Brown said it’s a question that she is getting “all around the state,” and that the Colorado GOP is encouraging people to “get involved” and “get your eyes in the room” by becoming poll watchers and election judges. But she said there has been no proof of mass fraud in Colorado and that the only sure way for Republicans to lose in 2022 is for the party’s voters not to show up on Election Day because they think their vote won’t count. [Pols emphasis]

(There is no proof of widespread election problems in Colorado or across the country that would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.)

Burton Brown encouraged Republicans to move on from 2020. “The more we talk about the past, the more we talk about what happened instead of what we are going to do in 2022, the more our candidates are put at a disadvantage,” she said. “Because we are focusing on something we cannot control.”

At least one-third of the 700+ Republicans who have filed to run for Congress in 2022 (U.S. House or U.S. Senate) have been very clear about their belief that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. Many of these Republicans are no doubt making the same calculation that Buck is making — that they’ll worry first about winning a Republican Primary before they concern themselves with re-positioning ahead of a General Election.

Now that she’s been GOP Chair for a few months, KBB obviously sees the math differently. Her mission is to help Republicans win races in a General Election — not to concern herself with getting candidates through a Republican Primary. In order to fulfill that goal, KBB is realizing that re-litigating the 2020 election nearly two years later isn’t something that Colorado voters are going to be particularly interested in doing.

The problem for KBB, of course, is that her new message doesn’t match her old rhetoric, and the GOP faithful doesn’t seem to be all that interested in shifting gears. Trump remains the overwhelming favorite to be the 2024 Republican Presidential nominee, and there’s ZERO chance that he’s going to stop talking about the 2020 election anytime soon.

You could argue that KBB is telling Colorado Republicans what they need to hear, but Buckpedaling on her concerns about the 2020 election results won’t endear her to the Republican base in our state. This is a problem that Republicans created themselves; we’re just happy that we don’t have to try to find the solution.

VIEW PAC Disowns “Carnival Barkers” Greene, Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Hill reporting on the decision by a Republican political action committee specifically devoted to increasing the number of Republican women in Congress to not endorse for re-election in 2022 the “Q-Some Twosome” freshmen: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado:

“While we rightfully celebrate the number of GOP women serving in the House, I’ve always professed quality over quantity,” VIEWPAC Executive Director Julie Conway told the outlet…

“Our women have fought too hard for too long to be respected and taken seriously as legislators, policy makers and thought leaders. We cannot let this work be erased by individuals who chose to be shameless self promoters and carnival barkers.” [Pols emphasis]

VIEW PAC, which has raised more than $20 million for Republican female candidates since 2010, said it will not be endorsing the Greene or Boebert in the 2022 midterm elections, when both lawmakers will be seeking a second term in Congress.

This is by far the most overt condemnation of Boebert we’ve yet seen from any national Republican interest group, and it’s a sign that Boebert’s Trump-style strategy of dragging the news cycle from one relentless outrage to another may be wearing thin with the GOP establishment–especially with MTG and Boebert now one-upping each other in daily validation of Godwin’s Law.

The problem, of course, is that MTG and Boebert are tapped into the same base of pro-Trump support over which whatever the GOP “mainstream” consists of in 2021 has less control over today than ever before. For all practical purposes, MTG and Boebert under a resurgent ex-President Donald Trump are the party now.

With that said, even in this scathing expression of no confidence from fellow Republican women, Boebert plays second fiddle:

“I think that they would rather draw attention to themselves, and really Marjorie Taylor Greene more than Boebert, but they’re cut from the same cloth,” Conway said, according to Insider.

We’re not sure what’s worse for Boebert–being disavowed by a leading PAC devoted to electing Republican women, or still being merely MTG’s understudy in loathsomeness while it happens? Even in scorn, Boebert just doesn’t measure up to her more bombastic peers.

As for Republicans actually holding Boebert accountable? We’ll see once the 2022 primary (if any) is over.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 8)

It’s really hot today. It’s going to be really hot tomorrow, too. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. 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. 

 

Western Colorado is very dry and in significant danger of suffering serious wildfires. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the federal government is trying to help:

There’s a confluence of events happening in the West this summer: extreme heat, extreme drought and the possibility of another record-breaking wildfire season, all driven by a long-term drying trend worsened by climate change. It’s so serious that President Joe Biden convened a meeting last week with Western governors to talk about wildfire preparedness and response.

“This is an area that has been under-resourced. But that’s going to change, if we have anything to do with it,” Biden said. “We can’t cut corners when it comes to managing our wildfires or supporting our firefighters.”

Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have their own ideas for how to deal with the twin problems of drought and wildfires.

[Cattle rancher Mark] Roeber says he’s talked to Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as his local representative, Republican Lauren Boebert, about the need for financial assistance for the ag industry, in particular flexibility in some existing programs, as well as better water efficiency policies and water infrastructure — from storage to piping.

Western Slope leaders probably shouldn’t count on much help from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who remains more interested in scoring political points than policy victories:

Boebert backs increasing water storage capacity, something she hit on during a recent hearing.

“I support efforts to streamline cumbersome and bureaucratic policies in order to allow the construction of new water storage projects,” she said.

Boebert sits on a water subcommittee in the House, but when it held a public hearing on the subject, she did not ask any drought-related questions. Instead, she focused on potential conflicts of interest by Elizabeth Klein, the Interior official testifying at the hearing.

As CPR notes, supporting more water storage isn’t an idea that’s going to do much to help with severe drought conditions NOW.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is worried enough about a potential Republican Primary opponent that he’s gone full “election truther.” Buck is spinning a strange tale about Google somehow manipulating search engine results to allow Democrat Joe Biden to defeat Republican Donald Trump, or something like that. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then, that isn’t the point, is it?

 

The Denver Post reports on a law signed by Gov. Jared Polis — inspired by the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora — that restricts the use of ketamine by first responders.

 

New data again shows the importance of receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect against rising strains of the “Delta Variant.” The “Delta Variant” is overwhelming medical response teams in unvaccinated areas such as Southwest Missouri. As POLITICO reports, the “Delta Variant” is probably much more widespread than federal officials can even estimate.

In related news, a Colorado mother of four is the final winner of a $1 million lottery for receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

 

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The Big Lie, Ken Buck Style

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck has been in a real predicament over the past few months. As a Republican who conceded that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election relatively quickly, and by that we still mean taking over a month, Buck has emerged as a major problem for adherents of what’s become known as the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Buck, in his former position as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, organized an event last December with Republican county clerks to explain to the party faithful that even though Colorado uses Dominion Voting Systems hardware and sends “unsolicited” mail ballots to all active voters, our elections are secure and accurate.

Because debunking the Big Lie here in Colorado effectively debunks it everywhere else, this has had the effect of making Buck considerably less popular with his fellow Republicans–a problem that only got worse after Buck publicly defended Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming while Cheney was being excommunicated for her own refusal to back the Big Lie. This was originally taking place amid speculation that Buck might retire from Congress, but in April Buck announced that he would run again for re-election in 2022.

Which leads to the next logical question: how does Ken Buck intend to stave off a pro-Trump primary challenge? Today, courtesy Lauren Windsor of the Undercurrent, we got the answer:

As you can see in the clip above, Ken Buck now says the 2020 election was “stolen”–not by rigging the actual votes, but because Google supposedly changed their search algorithms to “disadvantage” Donald Trump and advantage Joe Biden. Buck asserts that fully 15 million votes for Trump were “moved” to Biden due to this action by Google, though probably not members of his audience since they “Google in a more sophisticated way.” Under questioning Buck admits that the 15 million number is speculative, but he insists that the downranking of conservative media outlets in search results was all by itself enough to flip the 2020 elections. And since Americans are “so upset with boys playing girl sports, Critical Race Theory, and all the other things that are going on,” Buck says, Republicans will win back the House in 2022 and immediately hold hearings to prevent “the algorithms” from happening again in 2024.

And with that, yes, Buck probably avoids a MAGA primary. Democrats who found themselves in the odd position of praising Ken Buck for his honesty immediately after the election can stop now, because Buck has given the faithful a replacement conspiracy theory for the thoroughly debunked Big Lie that can truly live on forever. This was never about trust-busting for Buck, but an ideological quest to force internet companies to abandon their high-profile struggle against the spread of dangerous misinformation–which (there’s no nice way to say this) fully explains any downranking of right-wing “news” sites in search results by Google.

In the end, Buck came crawling back to Trump–like the whole Republican Party has.

Republican Congressman Calls Out Boebert on Insurrection

Boebert’s infamous Jan. 6 Tweet

Today is July 6, which marks six months since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Last week, The New York Times published an exhaustive video review of the events of Jan. 6 that should be required viewing for every American. On Monday, The New York Times published an interview with Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger in which the four-term Republican called out Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her role that day. Kinzinger says that he wants to know what Members of Congress knew about the insurrection prior to the events of Jan. 6, which leads to this question and answer:

Do you suspect that some members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen that day and supported it?

I won’t name names, but yes, I do have that suspicion. I will say, if you just looked at Twitter — the whole reason I brought my gun and kept my staff home and told my wife to stay in the apartment was looking at Twitter. I saw the threats. When Lauren Boebert — I will call her out by name — tweeted “Today is 1776,” I don’t know what that meant other than this is the time for revolution. [Pols emphasis] Maybe it was a dumb tweet that she didn’t mean. Fine. I’ll give her that credit for now. But if you have members of Congress who were involved in nurturing an insurrection, heck yeah, we need to know.

Boebert’s “Today is 1776” Tweet was viewed by critics as an open call for revolution. As the editorial board of The Denver Post wrote on January 14:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s words and actions before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were dangerous.

We can say with certainty that her words on Twitter, in interviews and on the floor of the U.S. House supported the lie that the U.S. election was fraudulent and that Democrats were stealing the election from President Donald Trump. Without those lies, we believe there would not have been an insurrection, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick would still be alive.

Boebert has since defended her messaging referencing 1776, claiming in a response to a proposed House Ethics complaint that “It is an expression of my pride for America’s Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the establishment and endurance of this great country.” Judging by the comments made by Rep. Kinzinger, this is not an explanation that has been widely accepted.

Boebert has also continued to claim that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. At a Trump rally last week, she even made that clear from her place in the audience:

Last month, Boebert was one of only 21 Republicans in the House of Representatives — and the only member of Colorado’s delegation — to vote AGAINST awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police Officers. Her explanation of that vote was as vapid as most of her comments on the subject.

Cheney, Pelosi Call McCarthy’s Bluff on Jan. 6 Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Weeks after Republicans in both the House and Senate killed efforts to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead with forming an investigative committee anyway.

As The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will chair the select committee that will probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will serve as a member.

Cheney has been outspoken in her criticism of former president Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for “incitement of insurrection.

The House on Wednesday approved legislation establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week warned Republicans not to accept a position on Pelosi’s Jan. 6 committee, threatening to strip Members of all current committee assignments if they accepted an invitation. Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, for one, was not impressed with McCarthy’s threats:

Via POLITICO (7/1/21)

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney was equally unimpressed and has accepted Pelosi’s invitation to join the investigating committee. Cheney issued this statement, as reported by POLITICO:

“What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”

Prior to McCarthy’s warning, Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) had suggested that she would be interested in serving on the Jan. 6 committee. Pelosi apparently took that idea about as seriously as anything else Boebert says.

Colorado On Track for 70% Vaccination by July 4th

Gov. Jared Polis symbolically pummeling COVID-19 in March 2021.

According to a press release from the office of Governor Jared Polis, which includes a subtle little jab at our southern neighbors:

Colorado continues to be on track for 70% of adults to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and achieve President Joe Biden’s aspirational goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans aged 18 and up by July 4th. To date, 69.64% of Coloradans 18 and older have received at least one dose of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.

“Colorado is on track to vaccinate 70% of eligible adults by July 4th and that is a testament to the spirit and resilience of Coloradans. People across our state wore masks, socially distanced, and are now doing their part by getting vaccinated and starting to enjoy their summer of freedom,” said Governor Polis. “We still need more Coloradans to get the free, quick, and easy vaccine to protect themselves and our economy.”

Other Western states lag behind President Biden’s ambitious goal and only Colorado’s neighbor to the south, New Mexico, which is home to an inferior chile is also home to a slightly higher vaccination rate of the eligible population. [Pols emphasis]

Our battle with the coronavirus is far from over, of course. In Los Angeles, officials are urging vaccinated and unvaccinated residents alike to return to wearing masks in public because of the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Here in Colorado, both ignorance and negligence are keeping vaccination rates lower in some counties than elsewhere in the state, with 35 counties still lagging behind at a vaccination rate of less than 50%.

Nevertheless, most Coloradans should be proud that 70% of the state’s population is on track to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Around the country, 18 states have already surpassed Biden’s July 4th goal, with Colorado and Oregon soon to be #19 and #20.

If you still haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccination, click here for more information on how to join the 70% club.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 30)

Peace out, June. 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. 

 

We’re not done with the coronavirus just yet, friends. As The Washington Post reports:

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-May rescinded almost all masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cited a growing share of new cases linked to the delta variant, which was first detected during India’s catastrophic surge of infections and has upended reopening plans across the globe, in “strongly recommending” a return to masking. Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people with the rest of California on June 15, with limited exceptions for public transportation, hospitals and schools.

Here in Colorado, 35 counties are still below a vaccination rate of 50%. Axios looks at how Colorado is adjusting its vaccination rollout.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will announce new resources for fighting Western wildfires:

President Joe Biden will announce measures to expand the federal government’s wildfire response and mitigation efforts and increase pay for wildland firefighters during a meeting with Western governors and Cabinet officials on Wednesday, a senior administration official said.

Fueled by climate change, extreme heat and drought across much of the West have led to a highly active start to the 2021 wildfire season, with more than 1 million acres already burned across 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Arizona, the Telegraph Fire has burned more than 193,000 acres since igniting on June 4, while officials in northern California on Tuesday issued evacuation orders amid the rapid growth of several fires in the Mount Shasta area.

Biden will meet virtually on Wednesday with governors from Western states, who are gathering for the annual meeting of the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association, based in Denver. He is expected to announce a series of actions aimed at expanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s wildfire response capabilities, as well as “critical new investments” in federal grant programs that help communities mitigate fire risks, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

 

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Trump organization will be charged with tax-related crimes as soon as this week. From The Huffington Post:

News of the looming criminal charges, reported by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, come after prosecutors reportedly gave former President Donald Trump’s attorneys until this past Monday to convince them not to file the charges over the company’s financial dealings.

It has been previously reported that the investigation relates to non-monetary corporate perks and gifts awarded to the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. The WSJ and The Associated Press reported he is also expected to be charged.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission released a PRELIMINARY set of maps for redrawing State House and Senate districts. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on the map release, including this very important quote:

The proposed maps are only preliminary and are certain to change.

“These will never be approved by anyone,” Jessika Shipley, the legislative redistricting commission’s staff director, told commissioners. “They are merely a baseline starting point for conversations across the state.”

 

The New York Times published an exhaustive look into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Lauren Boebert Pushes January 6 Hypocrisy To The Max

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As Politico reports, U.S. House Democrats are proceeding with the establishment of a select committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump seeking to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory by the Congress. This comes after Republicans scuttled a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day, revise history to downplay what happened, and cheer while Trump’s political comeback rallies get underway:

Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, and most have said little since on the matter. There is close to zero appetite within their party now to break with Trump.

And Trump is once again the GOP’s undisputed kingmaker, holding rallies and flexing his grassroots fundraising might as he seeks to influence Republican primary campaigns. House Democrats are likely to take full advantage of that political reality as they move ahead with a select committee to examine the siege on Congress.

Which leaves Republicans with a big challenge: how to discredit and distance themselves from that investigation — which moderates and conservatives alike are criticizing as a partisan setup — and retake the House in 2022, a tantalizingly close possibility that would doom President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who condemned the violence on January 6th and for at least a few days afterward was willing to assign blame where it belonged with Trump personally, is now in a situation where all those words have come back to bite him. Although January 6th broke the back of Trump’s resistance to leaving office two weeks later, at length it has failed to dislodge Trump’s personal grip on the Republican Party. A new Morning Consult poll released yesterday shows more Republicans actually blame Joe Biden and Democrats for the January 6th insurrection than blame Trump and fellow Republicans. And fully 68% of Republicans polled in this survey say the January 6th riot has received “too much attention.”

A majority of Republicans probably do want to stop talking about January 6th, which we would assume does not mean helping increase the profile of the select committee. But fascinatingly, some of the Republican members of Congress who should be most interested in keeping their heads down are instead hoping to turn the committee into a circus of hypocrisy:

Already some of the GOP’s biggest firebrands are asking McCarthy to join the panel, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia publicly pushing to be seated on the panel. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is also openly expressing his interest. And Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado is also seeking to land a spot, according to GOP conference sources.

The latest word is the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reserving the right to refuse McCarthy’s committee picks, and we’d say if any of these three are actually put forward Pelosi has an obligation to not let them near this investigation. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a proud leader in the campaign of social media incitement that led to the violence on January 6th, absolutely must not be part of any investigation into that day. It’s literally like saying Al Capone should serve on his own grand jury. This was the case when Democrats were trying to get Republicans on board with a bipartisan commission, and it’s just as true today.

It’s become a predictable formula: the greater the hypocrisy, the more Lauren Boebert leans in.

Boebert obviously believes this works for her, but it’s a strategy that need only fail once.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 28)

Happy Tau Day, which is like “Pi Day,” but different. 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. 

 

Oh, look: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to derail an infrastructure bill because…um…well…as POLITICO reports:

Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders to further weaken the link between a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bigger liberal-leaning spending bill, warning Monday that Biden’s party wants to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.”

The Senate GOP leader called on Biden to request that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple passage of the bipartisan bill from a second, Democrats-only effort set to raise corporate taxes while spending on education, child care and fighting climate change. Biden on Saturday reversed a vow to not sign the bipartisan bill until he also has the separate, more progressive bill in hand.

McConnell’s gambit raises fresh doubts about whether the Senate minority leader will ultimately support the package negotiated by five of his rank-and-file members.

Performative obstruction. This is the Republican brand. There is no broader goal — just getting in the way of anything supported by Congressional Democrats.

 

The Associated Press reports on the passage of new methane rules as part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver):

Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

The House gave final legislative approval Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.

The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it. Twelve Republicans joined 217 Democrats to support the measure.

Democrats and environmentalists called the methane rule one of the Trump administration’s most egregious actions to deregulate U.S. businesses and said its removal would help launch a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to tackle climate change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, packing a stronger punch in the short term than carbon dioxide.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will release a first look at potential new maps for state house and senate districts on Tuesday — a day later than planned. These maps were originally slated for release today.

 

As CNN explains, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled in favor of a transgender student who just wanted to use the bathroom:

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, a victory for the LGBTQ community that has been fearful the high court would take up the case and reverse a lower court opinion.

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Libertarians (ft. Jon Murray of The Denver Post)

This week on Episode #79 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Jon Murray of The Denver Post about his profile of the Libertarian Party and its roots in Colorado.

Later on, we talk about the one person on the Republican bench in 2022; we do some prognosticating on the statewide races this cycle; and we introduce a new segment called “Stuff We Tweeted.”

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 25)

That went fast — today is the last Friday of June. 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. 

 

The search for survivors of a building collapse in Miami, Florida continues, with 159 people still unaccounted for. Among the missing is Cassandra Stratton, wife of longtime Colorado Democratic political consultant Michael Stratton.

Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate the reasons behind the collapse of the condo building. As USA Today reports, it may very well be an issue related to a changing climate:

A Florida high-rise that collapsed early Thursday was determined to be on unstable land a year ago, according to a researcher at Florida International University.

The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.

When Wdowinski saw the news that the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed, he instantly remembered it from the study, he said.

“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said.

Meanwhile, owners of units in the building have already filed a lawsuit against the Champlain Towers South condo complex association.

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Justice Department is suing the State of Georgia over a new voting law:

“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news conference at the Justice Department. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”

The lawsuit is among the highest-profile enforcement actions to be brought under the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a key provision that allowed the Justice Department to stop states from passing laws viewed as facilitating voter discrimination.

The lawsuit shows that the Justice Department under the Biden administration intends to use the remaining tools it had to aggressively fight state actions that it sees as potentially disenfranchising minority voters. Mr. Garland vowed earlier this month that the department would deploy all of its available law enforcement options to combat voter discrimination.

The lawsuit comes days after congressional Republicans blocked the most ambitious federal voting rights legislation in a generation, dealing a blow to Democrats’ efforts to preserve voting rights. President Biden and Democratic leaders pledged to continue working to steer federal voting rights legislation into law.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. The first look at a potential Congressional redistricting map came out this week, with an initial version of the legislative redistricting version due out on Monday.

Here’s what you need to know about the PRELIMINARY first map released this week. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on a first map that appears to be very favorable for Republicans.

 

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s request for a new trial in the killing of George Floyd was rejected by a judge. Chauvin is expected to be sentenced for his crimes today.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting the U.S.-Mexico border today. Republicans have long complained that Harris didn’t visit the border sooner so that she could…look at stuff, or something.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

And The Moral Of The Story Is, Trust No One

Sofia LaRocca and Beau Maier, GOP operatives posing as Democratic donors last fall.

The New York Times has an in-depth investigative report out today documenting what appears to be a failed attempt by Republican political operatives to effect a deep-cover infiltration of the Democratic political establishment in several states, including right here in Colorado:

The young couple posing in front of the faux Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas fit right in, two people in a sea of idealistic Democrats who had arrived in the city in February 2020 for a Democratic primary debate.

Large donations to the Democratic National Committee — $10,000 each — had bought Beau Maier and Sofia LaRocca tickets to the debate. During a cocktail reception beforehand, they worked the room of party officials, rainbow donkey pins affixed to their lapels.

In fact, much about them was a lie. Mr. Maier and Ms. LaRocca were part of an undercover operation by conservatives to infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns and the offices of Democratic as well as moderate Republican elected officials during the 2020 election cycle, according to interviews and documents.

Using large campaign donations and cover stories, the operatives aimed to gather dirt that could sabotage the reputations of people and organizations considered threats to a hard-right agenda advanced by President Donald J. Trump.

James O’Keefe wearing a Mark Udall sticker in 2014.

It’s a plot reminiscent of the Illegals Program run by the Russian foreign intelligence service over the course of decades, where spies inserted into the country built fake lives and pursued long-term infiltration whose full objectives either weren’t achieved or remain unclear after the ring was broken up in 2010. GOP operatives Sofia LaRocca and Beau Maier reportedly met at the Wyoming ranch of Erik Prince, former head of the mercenary organization Blackwater and brother of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was hosting a “training” for James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas–a legendarily shady outfit we’ve had the pleasure of discussing in this space in several previous election cycles.

Although Project Veritas’ specialty is sending low-level volunteers to infiltrate Democratic and progressive groups in their endless and frequently legally dubious quest for out-of-context gotchas and any other material that could be used to embarrass Democrats, sending “donor class” infiltrators writing $10,000 checks is a novel and potentially concerning strategy for infiltration of political operations at a much higher level. In the case of Beau Maier, it’s apparently not hard to discover that he is in fact right-wing commentator Glenn Beck’s nephew–but Maier was reportedly ready with a cover story about how he and Uncle Glenn don’t agree politically. There are plenty of legal questions raised, including whether their large donation was illegally reimbursed.

With all of this in mind, it does appear that the damage done by this couple despite the large investment in their strategy was minimal. Although the two operatives did attend a presidential debate last year thanks to a Colorado-based Democratic fundraiser who now knows he was duped, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have denied them many of the networking opportunities that would have been the logical reward for their investment. A $1,250 donation to Secretary of State Jena Griswold got them into a Washington, D.C. fundraiser where Griswold was present, but there’s no indication anything useful came of it. Likewise the couple made donations to Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and the Wyoming Democratic Party–all of which are suspicious now for illegal reimbursement either directly or indirectly. It does appear that the payoff for their long-term infiltration of Western Democratic politics was still over the horizon, and their exposure in this story has prematurely ruined the plan.

It’s creepy stuff, and there’s no analogue for it on the left that we know of. In politics, writing checks opens doors, and until–unless–that changes this is just another risk Democratic candidates and organizing groups will have to consider.

And thank your lucky stars, we guess, that Erik Prince isn’t sending actual mercenaries.

Lauren Boebert Can’t Keep Up With More Flamboyant Crazies

Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Washington Post’s eminent columnist Dana Milbank turns his rapier-like wit on Colorado’s most outrageous Republican freshman member of Congress ever, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, and Milbank’s conclusion in his latest column is similar to what we’ve been warning about for some months now. Boebert, despite a willingness to say absolutely any wacky thing that comes to mind if it keeps her in the headlines, is losing the charisma competition to the more experienced or, failing that, just plain more outrageously crazy conservative fringe luminaries she shares the congressional spotlight with:

[S]he has languished as a poor man’s Sarah Palin and a third-rate Josh Hawley, [Pols emphasis] as others seize the spotlight with superior antics. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), another QAnon aficionado, inflamed the House with her antisemitic talk of Jewish “space lasers” and likening public health guidelines to the . Rep. Louie Gohmert at a confab of QAnon types where the violent overthrow of the U.S. government was contemplated. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) compared the Jan. 6 insurrection to a “normal tourist visit.”

Boebert had to raise her game. And on Wednesday, she gave it her best shot. She assembled 10 colleagues in the House TV studio to announce her new resolution to censure Biden — a reprimand that a chamber of Congress has delivered only once in U.S. history, to Andrew Jackson — over Biden’s border policy. “The Biden regime has punched our Border Patrol agents in the face!” she shouted, after calling Vice President Harris “Cackling Kamala.”

Not bad. But Boebert was immediately overshadowed by her colleagues, who put on a clinic in crazy talk…

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

Like fellow freshman low-info bombthrower Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert is constantly in a race to eclipse her last controversy by instigating a fresh one–the classic Donald Trump strategy by which individual events that could become major political catastrophes are continuously subsumed by the next jaw-dropper, thus reducing the harm done by any of them. This constant drumbeat of partisan hyperbole also in theory is what keeps the campaign coffers full of grassroots cash, but as we’ve seen so far this year Boebert has not been able to turn her fringe-right persona into cash with nearly the efficiency of MTG or Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

And why is that? Well, Dana Milbank thinks Boebert just isn’t as good at staying in control of her message:

Fox News’s Chad Pergram asked Boebert — twice — to contrast her Biden censure with the Jackson censure, in 1834. Both times, Boebert’s answer betrayed no indication that she knew who Andrew Jackson was.

While Boebert struggled, Greene used the questions to deliver unrelated rants about socialism, Fauci, antifa, BLM and defund the police. “This is systematic destruction to our country,” she said. “We have many members in the Democrat Party that you could definitely look at … and you could call them communist.”

Boebert stood silently, hands clasped. She was in the presence of a master.

It’s not that MTG knows more about American history or any other subject than Boebert. The difference is that MTG makes no attempt to respond to questions she does not understand, pivoting seamlessly her own list of talking points that need have nothing to do with the question. Boebert on the other hand doesn’t have the self-awareness to know when she’s providing a clueless answer, and doesn’t have the stage presence to bridge the obvious gaps in her comprehension of the issues.

At a certain level, it’s not about the politics, fringe or otherwise. This is about stagecraft, charisma, and the ability to stay on message under pressure. There are public figures who do this well, and others who despite their initial buzz simply do not.

“Boring Boebert” made a splash in Colorado’s hinterlands, but she’s not keeping up in the big pond.

“Communities of DISinterest” Rule in First Congressional Map

Via “Axios” (6/24/21)

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan staff of the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released its first look at a potential new map for 2022. Colorado Pols readers had a lot to say about the new proposed map (click here for a better browsing version), and with good reason.

After spending more time looking at the new map and the associated data, we thought it might be helpful to publish a short Q&A in which we provide both the questions and the answers. Let’s get to it…

 

Q: This map seems like it might cause a lot of chaos for Congressional races, amirite?

A: Well, sort of. But before we go any further, you must understand that this is a PRELIMINARY map drawn by the nonpartisan staff of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. Every redistricting process eventually has to start somewhere, and that’s what we have here — a start. The final map approved for the 2022 election cycle will look different than this; the question is more about HOW different it will be.

This initial map has not been endorsed or rejected by the Redistricting Commission, members of which will travel around the state in July and August to hear comments and concerns about various options for re-drawing the districts. If members of the public, especially ones waking up to see Golden/Lakewood and Douglas County in the same district (see below) have a chance to weigh in on some of these proposals, it’s hard to imagine how this map doesn’t change.

 

Q: At first glance, which political party comes out ahead in this map?

A: Oh, the Republicans, and it’s not even close. As Kyle Clark explained Wednesday evening on 9News (“Next with Kyle Clark”):

“The preliminary map for eight congressional districts in Colorado is a dream for Republicans.”

This map would essentially create four seats that lean toward Democrats and four seats that lean toward Republicans even in the most neutral electoral climate.

 

(more…)

Giuliani’s Law License Suspended While Jenna Ellis Moves Up

UPDATE: In response to this post, it was brought to our attention that Donald Trump’s attorney in partnership with Rudy Giuliani Jenna Ellis is in fact licensed to practice law in Colorado under a different name, Jenna Lynn Rives:

We’ve edited our post below, and in case anyone may be interested the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel’s complaint page may be found here. Thanks as always to our loyal readers for helping us keep the record straight.

—–

 

Rudy Giuliani, Colorado’s Jenna Ellis.

CNBC reporting today on more bad news for America’s ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose perspiratory campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections on behalf of his now ex-client Donald Trump has pretty much obliterated whatever was left of the man’s credibility–which after the release of the Borat sequel last December we’ll concede wasn’t much to lose:

A New York court on Thursday suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in New York state due to making “false and misleading statements” about the election loss of former President Donald Trump, his client.

The suspension, which takes effect immediately, is a stunning blow to Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who previously served as a top Justice Department official, and as the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan…

Giuliani’s suspension, which came a day short of his 52nd anniversary as a licensed lawyer in New York, was sought by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, which encompasses Manhattan. The suspension was granted by the Appellate Division for that same department of state Supreme Court.

“We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020,” the court’s order said.

It’s been a mixed bag for Trump’s legal team since the complete failure of their strategy to overturn the results of the presidential election in key competitive states, which was revealed at length to not be a legal strategy at all but merely delay tactics to enable a political overturning of the election either by state legislatures or by the Congress when they convened to certify the results of the election on the fateful day of January 6th. Giuliani has faced a widening criminal investigation into his attempts to strong-arm Ukraine into helping smear Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 elections. Sidney Powell along with Giuliani faces a billion-dollar lawsuit from Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems over their promulgation of baseless conspiracy theories about the company that severely damaged their business.

As for Jenna Ellis, the Colorado-based (load-bearing quotes) “constitutional law attorney” who stood with Giuliani and repeated the same lies that just got Giuliani’s law license suspended? As The Hill reported this week, things are going…a little better for Ellis:

Newsmax has hired former President Trump’s campaign’s legal adviser Jenna Ellis and former Trump campaign spokesperson and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley as contributors, the network announced Monday.

Ellis will comment on the 2022 and 2024 elections from a legal and faith-based standpoint, according to the announcement, while Gidley will be a political analyst.

Ironically, it’s the lack of qualifications uncovered by the New York Times last December in their damaging profile on Jenna Ellis that could help her escape accountability. Although Ellis was front-and-center with Giuliani in publicly spreading the fictional narrative of a stolen election that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, her name reportedly does not actually appear on any of the filings for the dozens of worthless court cases filed around the country challenging the 2020 election results. Although we should all be able to agree that lying is always bad, from a professional misconduct point of view it’s worse to lie in writing than merely to lie on television, which Ellis is about to get plenty of practice at working for Newsmax.

In any moral sense, Jenna Ellis is every bit as guilty as Giuliani of lying about the results of the election. But in Jenna Ellis’ case, the same misconduct is being handsomely rewarded.

In the end, the only moral of the story may be that it sucks to be Rudy Giuliani.

‘It’s Not a Pipe Dream:’ Boebert Wants Trump To Be Speaker of the House in 2022

(It’s more of a “bong dream” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congresswoman Boebert with former President Trump on June 10.

By James O’Rourke, Colorado Times Recorder

U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert (R-CO) appeared on the Steffan Tubbs Show Monday. There, she chatted with radio host and conspiracy theorist Randy Corporon about the problems Republicans face in today’s political sphere.

During the interview, Boebert spoke on her hopes for the future of the Republican party. In her mind, the path is clear: “We will take the House back in 2022.”

Many fractures have formed in the Republican Party, following the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump’s continued lies that he won the 2020 presidential election. The GOP’s removal of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), an outspoken critic of Trump, shows how deeply troubled the party will be as it tries to regain power during midterm elections next year.

Boebert, however, was full of optimism, saying that “I think the Republican party is stronger than ever, and it’s very obvious that President Trump is still the leading voice of the Republican party.”

Just two weeks ago Boebert and nine other members of the Republican Study Committee met with Trump at his county club in New Jersey.

“I’m just ready for [Trump] to announce that he’ll be speaker of the House, and then we can really live in the minds of those crazy left wing lunatics,” she continued.

Technically, there is no congressional rule dictating that the speaker of the House must be a sitting member of Congress. To date, all speakers have been chosen from current congresspeople, but in theory any willing U.S. citizen could be chosen for the role. 

The crucial key word there is ‘willing’. According to a spokesman for the ex-president, Trump has “zero desire” to be speaker of the House.

Still, Republicans can dream of a comeback with Trump’s leadership renewed. Corporon expressed his wish for Trump, as speaker, to “call for the impeachment of Kamala, and Zombie Joe, especially … for all of his China connections.”

Since the early months of his presidency, Biden has repeatedly made his enmity for China clear. His American Jobs Plan claims that China is a threat on par with the climate crisis.

Breaking into laughter, Boebert agreed with Corporon. “I like the order that you put that in,” she said, “because it probably would be Kamala [who gets impeached first].” 

This statement paid homage to a prolific right-wing conspiracy theory, that Vice President Harris is the true U.S. president. According to this theory, the Democrats have secretly planned for Joe Biden to step down due to health issues, so that Harris can take the presidency in his stead.

Democratic officials have decried this theory and others like it. They attribute the dearth of accusations targeting Harris to her status as a Black woman in a position of power. 

Boebert showed no expectation of good faith from her Democratic colleagues.

“Democrats aren’t afraid to lie,” she said. “They will take a lie and run with it. And [Republicans] are the party of the truth, we are the party of values and principles, and that’s what I’m running on.”

This comes after Boebert has put so much stock in the spurious conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election. She, like so many of her Republican colleagues, has taken the lie in her hands, and she shows no intent to stop running with it any time soon.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 23)

Today is the Grand Duke’s Official Birthday in Luxembourg, so send him a Starbucks gift card or something. 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 The Washington Post reports, Senate Republicans have killed a massive voting rights bill proposed by Congressional Democrats:

Senate Republicans banded together Tuesday to block a sweeping Democratic bill that would revamp the architecture of American democracy, dealing a grave blow to efforts to federally override dozens of GOP-passed state voting laws.

The test vote, which would have cleared the way to start debate on voting legislation, failed 50-50 on straight party lines — 10 votes short of the supermajority needed to advance legislation in the Senate.

It came after a succession of Democrats delivered warnings about what they said was the dire state of American democracy, accusing former president Donald Trump of undermining the country’s democratic system by challenging the results of the 2020 election in a campaign that prompted his supporters in numerous state legislatures to pass laws rolling back ballot access.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had long ago promised to torpedo S.1 (the “For the People Act“), so Tuesday’s actions weren’t a huge surprise…but a disappointment to many nevertheless.

 

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions will be touring the state in July and August to elicit feedback on potential new maps for 2022. Things will get a LOT more interesting on the redistricting front this afternoon, when nonpartisan staffers will introduce the first look at a potential new map of Colorado’s Congressional districts.

Click here for more on the redistricting commissions.

 

The El Paso County Republican Party announced that Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the featured speaker at its big annual fundraising dinner in August. Yes, really.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will soon meet with Western Governors to talk wildfires — which are already exploding in Colorado — and he’s taking up the cause of firefighters as well:

Biden said Tuesday that he will host a meeting next week of Western governors, Cabinet members and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials “to prepare for heat, drought and wildfires in the West.”

Biden at a White House FEMA briefing also sharply criticized the low salaries paid to federal wildland firefighters.

“There’s an old expression: God made man. Then he made a few firefighters. They have a higher incidence of severe injuries than police officers do. They are incredibly, incredibly brave at what they do…. And I just realized — I didn’t realize this, I admit — that federal firefighters get paid 13 dollars an hour,” Biden said.

“That’s gonna end in my administration,” he said, banging the table for emphasis, according to a pool report. “That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.”

Meanwhile, 9News is tracking the status of various wildfires in Colorado. The smoke from some of these fires is now visible (and smellable) in the Denver Metro Area.

 

 Governor Jared Polis will sign 14 different pieces of legislation into law at various stops in Colorado today.

 

 An Indiana woman will today become the first person to be sentenced for taking part in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

 

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Arizona State Senator Thanks CO Conservative for Educating AZ Lawmakers on ‘Our Ability To Do the Audit’

(At the center of every Tootsie Pop is a Colorado Republican operative – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

An Arizona lawmaker thanked a Colorado conservative last week for educating the Arizona legislators about their authority to challenge the state’s certified 2020 presidential election results–and about their ability to conduct an audit on ballots cast in the populous urban center of Maricopa County.

Rob Natelson, a senior fellow at the Independence Institute, a local conservative think tank, denies advising the AZ legislators to launch the audit. He said that the AZ lawmakers invited him to present over two Zoom calls, and that he incurred no expenses in giving his presentation.

“I wanted to give a shout out to Rob Natelson, our country’s premier Constitutional scholar, who educated the legislators in Arizona on the plenary power we possess in elections, our abiliyt to do the audit, and our responsibility to finding the truth, all at no cost,” stated Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Republican, on Telegram, a messaging app that’s been described as a haven for the far right.

In response to an inquiry from the Colorado Times Recorder, Natelson said:

“My communications with the [Arizona] legislature were limited to clarifying issues of constitutional law. I informed lawmakers that … the Constitution grants the state legislature power to determine the method of choosing presidential electors. I said that they should take action only if they thought there were irregularities and if they thought those irregularities might have changed the election result. I don’t recall suggesting any particular course of action.”

Arizona Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) did not respond to a request for comment regarding her social media post mentioning Natelson, who is a weekly columnist for The Epoch Times.

The “recount” of all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, was launched by the GOP-controlled AZ state senate in late April, five months after the 2020 presidential elections results in AZ were certified and following two formal audits of random samplings of Maricopa ballots and a formal hand-recount that revealed no discrepancies.

By statute, formal audits are required before certifying results in more than 40 states, including in Colorado.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 21)

Happy Summer Solstice; please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

As John Ingold writes for The Colorado Sun, the Delta coronavirus variant is exploding in Colorado…which is bad news for anyone who is still unvaccinated against COVID-19:

The Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India and is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in Colorado in late April. By the first week of this month — a period of about six weeks — it had grown to account for an estimated 40% of all new infections in Colorado.

For comparison, it took eight weeks for the Alpha variant — also known as the B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant — to reach 40% of the state’s total cases. As of early June, that variant made up an estimated 48% of total cases in Colorado, but its share is falling as Delta’s rises.

Nationwide, the Delta variant is believed to account for about 10% of new cases.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the Delta variant is believed to be about 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more transmissible than the original form of the virus.

Fully-vaccinated people don’t have to worry much about contracting the new variant.

Meanwhile, Westword looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Mesa County, Colorado, thanks primarily to a stubborn reluctance from many to get vaccinated.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of student athletes in the debate over whether athletes should be compensated for the revenue they help generate for their respective universities.

 

New polling data from Colorado-based conservative pollster Magellan Strategies shows that 60% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colorado Sun has more on the Magellan poll, and so does Colorado Pols.

 

According to an account published in a new book, former President Trump suggested moving Americans infected with COVID-19 TO GUANTANAMO BAY in Cuba. From The Washington Post:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

Read those paragraphs one more time.

 

 

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