Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 20)

Fill out that ballot and get it returned, people! Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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 

 

The Washington Post has the latest on efforts by Congressional Democrats to get some sort of big infrastructure deal passed:

President Biden is set to head to Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday to pitch his retooled vision for overhauling federal health care, education, climate and tax laws, even as the future of his signature economic package remains unsettled among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

For Biden and his allies in Congress, the next few days could be critical: Democratic leaders hope they can finally broker a truce to end the public feuding between the party’s ambitious liberals and spending-weary moderates. Some now hope they can reach a deal this week, putting them on track to adopt the full tranche of spending perhaps before the end of the month.

“I think it’s very possible,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after meeting with House Democratic lawmakers.

A day before the speech, Biden huddled again with the two warring factions and presented the rough outlines for a compromise package that could total between $1.75 and $1.9 trillion over 10 years. The still-fluid price tag is far less than the $3.5 trillion that some Democrats initially envisioned, as the White House seeks to strike a balance between preserving its priorities and cutting costs to satisfy two centrist holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

In other words, the path forward is still as clear as mud…as is a proposal to advance some sort of carbon tax.

 

As CNN reports, Senate Republicans are expected to once again vote against new voting rights legislation:

Senate Republicans are expected to block another voting rights bill Wednesday, as some on the left call to change the chamber’s rules to allow the Democratic Party to unilaterally change federal election law.

The Democratic bill, known as the Freedom to Vote Act, would make it easier to register to vote, make Election Day a public holiday, ensure states have early voting for federal elections and allow all voters to request mail-in ballots. The measure would also bolster security on voting systems, overhaul how congressional districts are redrawn and impose new disclosures on donations to outside groups active in political campaigns.

But Republicans have blocked a number of voting rights legislation since Democrats took the House and Senate the past two election cycles.

 

What in the holy hell is going on in Western Colorado?

 

Axios Denver looks at the field of candidates seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2022. The story includes a quote from a well-known Republican that is, shall we say, less than inspiring:

“There is no Cory Gardner sitting out there waiting to get in,” said Greg Brophy, a former Republican state senator and lobbyist. “So you have a whole bunch of people, and we are going to see what kind of campaign they can put together.”

Good luck figuring out how to use THAT statement on a campaign mailer.

 

 

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WTF? “MyPillow Guy” Crashes GarCo School Board Meeting

Western Slope blogger Anne Landman reports: among all of the bizarre spectacles playing out in school board meetings across the nation this fall as parents respond to continuing measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic based on their political persuasion, last week’s meeting of the Garfield County RE-2 school board earned a spot on the highlight reel simply because of a very special guest star:

In a bizarre scene, “My Pillow guy” Mike Lindell made a cameo appearance alongside Rifle election conspiracist and Tina Peters defender Sherronna Bishop at a Zoomed Garfield County School District RE-2 Board Meeting on October 13.

Bishop appears about three minutes into the meeting, speaking during the public comment period and accusing School Board members of abusing children by “forcing medical devices on them.” She condemns the Board for how her “kid had to wear a mask to his homecoming dance” and how the students were “interrupted” by an adult at the dance who reminded students how to correctly wear their masks. Bishop accused the school board of “assaulting and abusing” children by having them wear masks for protection at school amid the pandemic.

After a member of the school board warns Bishop she has 30 seconds left to speak, a man wearing a shirt and tie moves into the frame with Bishop. He then bends down to where viewers can see his face, and it was the clear the man is Mike Lindell. One of the school board members can be heard in the background saying “Jesse, turn it off!” [Pols emphasis]

It’s worth watching the whole performance starting at about three minutes in with a few technical difficulties. Sherronna Bishop, for any who still don’t know, is the former campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert, and close confidante of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters under criminal investigation for an elections system data breach in Peters’ office. Bishop accompanied Clerk Peters on “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s private jet to South Dakota for Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” that examined the stolen data in an ultimately fruitless attempt to show the 2020 elections were stolen.

Bishop has also been very active in the Western Slope’s “resistance movement” against every kind of COVID-19 prevention measure, traveling from her home in Garfield County to help rabble-rouse against the all-GOP Mesa County Board of Commissioners and promoting the usual range of far-right quackery instead of scientifically proven best practices. But much like Bishop’s fact-addled failed attempt to convince Mesa County commishes the election was stolen, after a few minutes of incoherent ranting you always come to a moment like this one:

Where nothing makes sense but there’s a lot of yelling, and you agree Jesse should just turn it off.

“MyPillow Guy” and “America’s Mom.” The new Colorado Republican Dynamic Duo? Denver Republicans may want to move on, but the Slope isn’t having it.

Lauren Boebert’s Silence Roars, Too

As readers know, Colorado’s leading far-right freshman outrageophile Rep. Lauren Boebert is a devoted believer of what’s become known as the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump. During the leadup to the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Boebert did her part rallying the faithful to come to Washington, infamously Tweeting on the morning of the insurrection that “Today is 1776.” Boebert has of course never once conceded that the 2020 elections were legitimate.

Last week, the “Big Lie” went indirectly on trial in a Denver courtroom as a defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems against the Trump campaign, multiple attorneys including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and local conspiracy theorist Joe Oltmann–whose evidence-free claim to have overheard a phone call in which the Dominion employee in question promised to steal the election inspired the entire narrative that Dominion machines had been somehow compromised. Oltmann’s attorneys made no attempt last week in court to prove this call had actually taken place, only arguing that if Oltmann believed it had taken place, that was a defense against defamation. And then everyone above Oltmann’s level in the case simply pointed to Oltmann as the source they were repeating uncritically.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

The disconnect between the acknowledgment in court that a factual basis underpinning the “Big Lie” does not exist and the rhetoric of Oltmann and others who continue to insist the 2020 election was stolen, especially in the wake of last week’s hearings, is getting untenably wide. Here’s Joe Oltmann ranting over the weekend, since the admission in court that there’s no evidence to support his allegations:

“They attack relentlessly those who stay focused yet that focus exposed the massive evidence of fraud and the result is a majority of Americans know the election was stolen,” Oltmann said. “Stay focused. MTG, Boebert, Gaetz, and all those who know what happened and how fraudulent the election was need to focus on the one thing that makes us a great nation… our voice. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. We fix that, we fix EVERYTHING else.”

Take note: this is Joe Oltmann name-checking Rep. Lauren Boebert as one of the Republican politicians in office who know “how fraudulent the election was” and calling for Republicans to “Fix 2020 first”:

The message is simple: Future elections, including 2022, are compromised or worse until doubts held about 2020 are decisively put to rest.

It’s a message we know that GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks will agree wholeheartedly with, along with Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters under criminal investigation for allowing unauthorized access to Dominion Voting Systems hardware–an alleged crime that, once again, did not end up validating any of the underlying allegations. Clerk Peters’ chief confidante over the last few months of developing controversy has been Sherronna Bishop, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager.

But there’s a problem: for reasons no one has yet conclusively determined, Lauren Boebert has refused so far to join in the defense of Tina Peters or Joe Oltmann. After an exchange of barbs on Twitter with Secretary of State Jena Griswold last summer that did not go well for Boebert, Boebert has remained dead silent as the news broke that Clerk Peters is under local, state, and now federal law enforcement scrutiny. Not a word from Boebert while Peters went into hiding for weeks after attending “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s joke of a “symposium” alongside Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop. Nothing while Mesa County’s Republican commissioners pleaded for Peters to return to Colorado and assist in the investigation.

Obviously, if Joe Oltmann is going to invoke Lauren Boebert in his defense, Boebert should be asked whether she supports Oltmann. And that in turn is a fine segue into asking Boebert about the national news playing out in her own district involving Boebert’s former campaign manager, “MyPillow Guy,” and the FBI.

There’s a reason Boebert went quiet about this, and we want to hear it.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 19)

Return those ballots, people! Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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 

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country. She’s making national headlines today for another bad reason: Hosting an in-person event with a conservative speaker who was literally TRYING to get infected with COVID-19. We wrote about this story on Monday, but here’s more from The Washington Post:

Days before he announced he had tested positive, Prager was in Colorado, where he spoke at a campaign event for Heidi Ganahl, a Republican running for governor. Officials with her campaign told KUSA they were not aware of Prager’s plan to get infected with the coronavirus.

“We are reaching out to all those who attended to make sure they are informed,” Ganahl’s campaign told the station in a statement. “We encourage those who attended … to get tested and follow CDC guidelines if they experience any Covid-like symptoms.”

The problem with this response from the Ganahl campaign is this: There is video evidence of Prager flat-out telling Ganahl that he was hoping to get infected with COVID-19.

Here’s more from 9News:

 

The Denver Post updates the latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado:

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to rise over the weekend, but it’s difficult to predict whether that trend will continue.

On Friday, more people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado than at any point since late December. The number of hospitalizations continued to increase, reaching 1,101 people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.

New cases appeared to fall last week, however. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 12,885 cases in the week ending Sunday — a decrease of roughly 2,500, if it stands. The state’s data has lagged in recent months, though, with late reports sometimes erasing any signs of progress.

“We’ve been in a period of uncertainty with the trends in the data,” said Talia Quandelacy, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. “It’s hard to tell what some of these trends are showing.”

The bottom line seems to be the same as it has been: We’re still not yet getting a handle on turning back the coronavirus pandemic as too many Coloradans continue to refuse to get vaccinated. Westword has more on Colorado’s COVID numbers.

In related news, Larimer County is reinstating a mask requirement for residents in indoor public areas. As Colorado Public Radio reports, one of the safest places to be in Colorado, in terms of a high-percentage of people who are vaccinated, is on college campuses.

 

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection plans to move forward today with holding former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to respond to a Congressional subpoena.

 

As The Associated Press reports, Texas has approved a new gerrymandered congressional map that dilutes minority representation.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 15)

Have you voted yet? Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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 

 

We’re just going to say it: Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country. Ganahl has officially been in the 2022 race for about a month…and it’s already time to start the campaign death watch.

Ganahl started the week by hosting an ill-advised forum with right-wing lunatic Dennis Prager, in which her campaign embarrassingly misspelled her first name for people interested in calling in with questions. On Wednesday, her campaign announced anemic fundraising numbers for someone who is supposed to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. And on Thursday, news broke that Ganahl’s campaign manager is leaving the campaign after only a month on the job, which is not something that you can even attempt to legitimately spin as being okay.

This is basically what Ganahl’s campaign looks like at the moment:

 

 

A defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dominion Voting Services in Denver is basically de-pantsing “The Big Lie.” For more on this story, check out Axios Denver, The Colorado Sun, Colorado Public Radio, and 9News, among others.

 

If you’re interested in running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado, you had better hurry up. Pretty much every Republican with a heartbeat is jumping into the field. Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on the seventh Republican now running for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

 

The Department of Justice is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case of a controversial new abortion law in Texas. From The Associated Press:

The Biden administration said Friday it will turn next to the U.S. Supreme Court in another attempt to halt a Texas law that has banned most abortions since September.

It comes as the Texas clinics are running out of avenues to stop the GOP-engineered law that bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks. It amounts to the nation’s biggest curb to abortion in nearly 50 years.

The latest defeat for clinics came Thursday night when a federal appeals panel in New Orleans, in a 2-1 decision, allowed the restrictions to remain in place for a third time in the last several weeks alone.

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the federal government will now ask the Supreme Court to reverse that decision but did not say how quickly.

 

 Check out these 2021 voter guides from Colorado Newsline and The Denver Post.

 

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Unbury This Lede: Dominion Defamation Case Kills The “Big Lie”

Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis.

This week, some of the biggest names from ex-President Donald Trump’s failed legal campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election are defending themselves in Denver District Court from a defamation lawsuit filed by Eric Coomer–a former employee of Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems baselessly accused by a local election conspiracy theorist of plotting with Antifa to somehow alter vote totals.

On the strength of this sole unsupported allegation from far-right activist group FEC United founder Joe Oltmann, Trump and his allies seized on Dominion as the as-yet unknown factor that somehow engineered Trump’s defeat–resulting in death threats against Coomer that forced him into hiding, and a persistent baseless conspiracy theory that motivated a criminal breach of election system security in Mesa County in a fruitless attempt to prove Dominion voting machines were in some way compromised.

The question in this defamation case, however, is much narrower as 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger explains:

To win a defamation case, Coomer must prove “actual malice.” However, Coomer does not have to prove The “Big Lie” was a big lie.

“This plaintiff (Coomer) has to prove that it was false that he attended that Antifa meeting and that he made the statement that was attributed to him. He has to prove that that didn’t happen. He doesn’t have to prove that Joe Biden legitimately won the election,” said Holland & Hart First Amendment attorney Jessica Smith. “He doesn’t have to prove that Donald Trump was deprived a valid and fair election. All he has to prove is that he didn’t attend the Antifa meeting and he didn’t make the statements that were attributed to him.”

The Colorado Sun’s Daniel Ducassi reports on the attempt by defendants in this case to pull the plug under Colorado’s novel anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute:

Defendants in the defamation case — including Rudy Giuliani, Powell, One American News Network and the Trump campaign itself — jockeyed to persuade Judge Marie Avery Moses to dismiss the lawsuit under Colorado’s anti-SLAPP law, which is meant to protect journalists and members of the public from being targeted by frivolous, retaliatory lawsuits aimed at stifling free speech.

The focus of the case is on claims made by conservative Colorado-based media figure Joe Oltmann that he infiltrated an antifa conference call in which Coomer allegedly stated that he had made sure Trump wouldn’t win the election. Conservative media outlets including One American News Network publicized Oltmann’s claims, which Trump-associated lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Powell pushed in post-election news conferences to sow doubt about the integrity of the election.

What has been laid out very clearly in these first couple of days of testimony is the central role of FEC United founder Joe Oltmann in originating the entire nationwide conspiracy theory targeting Dominion Voting Systems. As our readers know from recent events in Mesa County, the damage done to Dominion’s reputation, however baseless, is enormous. But here’s the unsatisfying rub for those hoping for drama in the courtroom: Oltmann is making no attempt to prove his core contention that Coomer actually participated in a phone call where he said the things Oltmann alleged. John Frank at Axios:

Oltmann’s attorney argued in court that it didn’t matter if Coomer was on the call, but whether it was made with a reckless disregard for the truth. An attorney for Giuliani claimed the former New York mayor was just repeating what was in the news from Oltmann and spread by conservative Colorado commentator Michelle Malkin.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Oct. 14)

Happy Belarussian Mother’s Day! 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 

 

Former President Trump on Wednesday made a very strange threat about Republican voters walking away if the 2020 election isn’t overturned:

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has a fascinating column that is worth reading that has some new insight into the Trumpism phenomenon:

Republicans recognize that continuing to pander to those lies may be absolutely essential to keeping Republican voters engaged without Trump on the ballot doing it instead.

Trump’s statement has been analyzed as either the latest projectile vomiting to issue from his disordered mind or as a genuine political problem for Republicans. But few have paused to ask whether it might actually be true that energy among GOP voters turns on keeping alive the idea that the 2020 outcome was dubious or illegitimate, and what that might mean.

Sargent also links to this CNN story about how many House Republicans seem to be openly embracing the possibility of a Trump presidential campaign in 2024.

 

9News reports on a lawsuit filed by a former Dominion Voting Services employee related to “The Big Lie” that may have originated here in Colorado:

Eric Coomer, a former Dominion Voting Systems employee living in Colorado, has sued 16 people or groups for defamation. Those being sued include Donald J. Trump for President, Joe Oltmann, the leader of local conservative group FEC United, Colorado conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, attorney Rudy Giuliani, former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, Newsmax Media and The Gateway Pundit.

Coomer went into hiding after Oltmann claimed, without proof, that he heard a conference call where Dominion was plotting with Antifa to give the election to President Biden.

That call was not recorded and no one besides Oltmann has said they heard the call.

 

What’s this? Oh, just Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf literally THREATENING the board of directors of the Prowers Medical Center for trying to abide by COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

 

Grim milestone: COVID-19 deaths in Colorado cross the 8,000 mark as hospitalizations continue to increase.

 

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BREAKING: Mesa County Clerk Barred From Election Duties

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, the ruling is back in the case seeking to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from her duties overseeing elections while the criminal investigation into her conduct continues–and Peters is officially relieved:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming November election, a judge ruled Wednesday in the latest admonishment of the Republican who is under investigation in a breach of her county’s election system.

The ruling from Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison comes after Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, sued to block Peters from being involved in the November election amid criminal investigations into Peters’ office.

Robison wrote in her 22-page ruling that that Griswold’s office “met the burden of showing that Peters and (Deputy Clerk Belinda) Knisley have committed a breach and neglect of duty and other wrongful acts.” As such, the judge wrote, the pair are “unable or unwilling to appropriately perform the duties of Mesa County Designated Election Official.”

It’s just the first in what we’ve been anticipating for months since the story of a serious breach in election system security in Mesa County first surfaced, and then quickly became part of the desperate canon clung to by supporters of Donald Trump in their by-now entirely faith-based conviction that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The nonsensical justifications for allowing this criminal breach of security and leak of proprietary data to the public offered up by Clerk Peters through her attorney Scott Gessler were always destined for a cold dose of reality once they arrived in front of a judge. The legal system appears to be making short of work of Peters’ defense, like dozens of bogus lawsuits challenging the 2020 election results across the country.

Which, as readers recall, also featured Scott Gessler’s “expertise.”

Almost a year later, no credible evidence that the 2020 election was illegitimate has emerged for any source. Nothing Clerk Peters either allegedly stole or allowed to be stolen has provided evidence to support the baseless conspiracy theory that prompted Peters’ actions. If Peters had any reality-based suspicion of a problem with Mesa County’s election systems, there were channels to address that not requiring the commission of a crime.

These basic facts might be unclear to a mob, but a judge’s job by design is to cut through the bullshit.

And the judging’s not over yet. The criminal side of “MesaGate” is just getting started.

Three of Colorado Republicans’ 2021 Awardees Are Election Fraud Conspiracists

(The Big Lie litmus test – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At the annual Colorado GOP Awards Banquet, held last month in Pueblo, the state party gave its top awards to Republicans who have fostered debunked conspiracy theories about how the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.

Ty Winter posing with Heidi Ganahl at the Colorado GOP Awards Banquet.

Also in attendance at the banquet were former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, Colorado GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown, and current candidate for Governor Heidi Ganahl.

Brown repeatedly questioned the integrity of Colorado’s 2020 election and said that Republicans need to “go on the attack” against Dominion Voting Systems. Ganahl refuses to say whether she believes the 2020 election results are legitimate.

Ty Winter, Republican of the Year

Ty Winter, the chair of the Las Animas County Republicans and chair of House District 64, was named the 2021 Republican of the Year at the banquet.

According to several Facebook posts, Winter believes that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 13)

Today is International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, which doesn’t seem like something that should be limited to a once-a-year deal. 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 

 

Colorado’s 2021 redistricting process is complete. Almost.

As Alex Burness of The Denver Post reports:

It was not immediately clear what the projected split would be on the Senate map, approved Tuesday, since the version the commissioned adopted was drawn on the fly during a live Zoom meeting. That version made slight changes to a previous drafted map that projected 22 districts leaning in Democrats’ favor, to 13 for Republicans.

But both the House and Senate maps would have many potentially competitive seats, which was one of the goals of this commission. Recent election results suggest margins of 3.1% or under in nine House districts, and margins of 3.8% or under in seven Senate districts.

The Colorado Supreme Court will now have to approve both maps by November 15. We’ll likely have more analysis later. For additional reporting, check out Colorado Public Radio and The Colorado Sun. In the meantime, be wary of the misleading narrative that these two maps will allow Democrats to remain control of the State Legislature; if Democrats do maintain majorities in both chambers, it won’t be because of these maps.

CLICK HERE to see the approved map for the State Senate.

CLICK HERE to see the approved map for the State House.

Elsewhere, 9News has more on the Supreme Court hearings for the new Congressional redistricting map approved last week.

 

Colorado Public Radio reports on efforts by Trump-aligned forces to get a favorable court ruling in Colorado. CBS4 Denver has more on a two-day hearing beginning today that may include several notable figures from the “Stop the Steal” crowd. Business Insider also looks at the story from a national perspective, with credit to The Colorado Times Recorder.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on a big announcement in Colorado:

Colorado has become the first state in the nation to require comprehensive gender-affirming care as part of minimum, or “benchmark,” health care plans sold on the individual and small group markets, which accounts for about a quarter of the state’s health care customers.

The gender-affirming care element was announced during a Tuesday news conference that included speakers Gov. Jared Polis and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Brooks-LaSure, whose agency had to approve additional benchmark items, called the move “momentous” and said “gender-affirming care can be life-saving.”…

…The gender-affirming care will be included in plans sold in Colorado on the individual and small group markets starting in 2023. It does apply to insurance obtained through large employers. New benchmark items also include an expansion of behavioral health care, including an annual mental health exam, and more options for substance abuse treatment, which were required as part of this year’s House Bill 21-1276.

John Frank of Axios Denver includes some important — and largely overlooked — key points about this announcement. This is not something that is solely about transgender care; for example, “gender-affirming care” also includes procedures such as breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.

 

 As Westword notes, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado are at their worst level since 2020. Please get vaccinated.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 12)

Able to leap both genders in a single bound! 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 

 

The Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments today about whether to approve a Congressional redistricting map in Colorado. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

The court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday from the commission and from groups who say the commission failed to meet constitutional requirements. In total, fifteen organizations, local governments and individuals have filed briefs supporting or opposing the final map.

Justices will either approve the map, setting it in stone for the next decade, or they will send it back to the commission with guidelines for revisions. The state must have its final map no later than December 15th, which will give Congressional candidates adequate time to prepare ahead of the November 2022 election.

Elsewhere in redistricting news, The Colorado Sun reports on the latest progress on creating new legislative maps:

Democrats would likely maintain control of the Colorado House under a new map of the chamber’s 65 districts headed to the state Supreme Court for final review.

The Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission voted 11-1 Monday night to approve the map, with Commissioner Gary Horvath, a Democrat from Broomfield, casting the lone “no” vote.

The Colorado Supreme Court now has until Nov. 15 to approve the map or send it back to the commission for revisions. Legal challenges are likely.

Democrats have such a sizable advantage in the State House (41-24) that it would have been all but impossible to draw a map that would change this dynamic.

 

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters held a bananas press conference on Monday in which no new information was presented and someone in the crowd was falsely accused of assault. You can watch the entire event or read our diary about the blow-by-blow here.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on Monday’s lunacy:

What began as a press conference Monday, to which no member of the press was actually invited, turned into a brief melee between supporters of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and those who, well, don’t.

At the morning press conference on the steps of the Old Mesa County Courthouse, Peters and Sherronna Bishop, a Garfield County resident who has been side-by-side with the embattled clerk, supporting her in claiming there was election fraud, again presented nothing new to prove their claims.

Instead, they repeated the same “evidence” of problems with Dominion Voting System tabulation machines, repeating claims that computer files were erased, but failing to say whether any of the files had anything to do with previous elections.

Ashby also has more details about Roxanne Lewis, the woman who pretended to be assaulted at the event:

Lewis pleaded guilty in 2016 to stealing money over several months from vending machines at the Canyon View car wash at the corner of Broadway and Redlands Parkway, a business she had sold months earlier to John Pugliese, the then-husband of former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese.

It was reported that Lewis is a member of the local Stand for the Constitution group that has called on local governments to declare the city and county “constitutional sanctuaries.”

B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

 

The Denver Post has the latest on Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates:

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths all moved in the wrong direction over the last week, making it appear increasingly unlikely that the worst of the state’s fifth wave is over.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 1,012 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, up from a recent low of 907 on Oct. 2. On Friday, state health officials raised concerns about the increase in hospitalizations, which had been slowly falling since late September, and urged eligible people who haven’t gotten vaccinated to do so quickly.

New coronavirus infections also were up, with 13,621 cases recorded in the week ending Sunday, though that’s within the range where the numbers have bounced since early September. The percentage of tests coming back positive also rose over the last week, though, raising concerns that the state could be missing infections.

Vax that thang up, people!

 

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Diary of a Bonkers Press Conference in Mesa County

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and right-wing activist person Sheronna Bishop (who was also Lauren Boebert’s 2020 campaign manager) stood in front of the steps of the Mesa County Courthouse on Monday morning for a “press conference” to explain more about why Peters shouldn’t have to worry about being under investigation by four different agencies, including the FBI.

Someone with the Mesa County Democratic Party was on hand to provide video of this absolutely bonkers event. It was so incredibly strange, in fact, that we felt compelled to memorialize the event in a diary format.

Watch the event yourself, or click below to follow along with our event diary, which includes an allegation of assault (which clearly didn’t happen) and multiple extended rants against Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

[*Note: The original video was converted from a vertical format to a horizontal format for easier viewing. The times listed here are from the video.]

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 11)

Happy Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples’ Day! 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 

 

The Associated Press looks ahead to how Congress may finish out the year on the big issue regarding the debt ceiling:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blinked last week. And then he said he wouldn’t blink again.

McConnell said since summer that Republicans wouldn’t supply the votes majority Democrats needed to extend the federal debt limit. But Thursday night, 11 Republicans including McConnell joined Democrats in narrowly overcoming a procedural hurdle so the Senate could subsequently approve $480 billion in fresh borrowing.

House passage, expected Tuesday, would stave off until December a first-ever federal default that could disrupt the global economy, delay government checks to Social Security recipients and others and unleash voters’ wrath on lawmakers.

But the partisan dispute will resume in two months.

Republicans want Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own to underscore their argument that Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social and environment agenda is unaffordable. Democrats want Republicans to put their imprint on the borrowing limit increase, noting that the $28 trillion national debt is for unpaid bills already incurred, including $7 trillion under former President Donald Trump.

By enabling a two-month reprieve on the fight, McConnell angered Republicans who wanted a tougher stance against Democrats including Trump, still an intimidating force in the GOP. Even usual McConnell ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called it “complete capitulation.”

Everybody loves alliteration.

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl held some sort of online interview thing with wacko right-wing bluster machine Dennis Prager over the weekend (if you’re not familiar with Prager, this will give you some idea of what to expect). Ganahl’s campaign is still having trouble with some of the important details of a statewide contest, such as SPELLING YOUR CANDIDATE’S NAME CORRECTLY:

 

The Colorado Democratic Party sent out a press release today with more information on Ganahl’s Prager event:

A few short weeks before the widely expected CDC approval of the COVID vaccine for 5-11 year-olds, Ganahl gave Prager the platform of her gubernatorial campaign to spread dangerous rhetoric about the COVID-19 vaccine. Heidi Ganahl personally kicked off the event by giving Prager the microphone and allowing him to claim it was “child abuse” to give children the COVID-19 vaccine, despite CDC recommendations. Prager also told people in the audience the vaccine was “not good for you” if you had already been infected with COVID-19, disregarding the advice of public health experts, again. The U.S. Surgeon General described COVID misinformation an “urgent threat” and its proliferation a major hindrance towards ending the pandemic.

Prager went on to call schools “poison factories” and praise failed California Republican gubernatorial nominee, Larry Elder. Giving right wing extremists a platform for dangerous misinformation is not new for Ganahl. Prager is yet another addition to the growing list of extremists Ganahl has surrounded herself with such as John Eastman and Lauren Boebert — and we can expect to see more as her campaign continues. [Pols emphasis]

In other Ganahl-related news, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful is trying to distance herself from Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, whose leadership of a militia group is getting a lot of attention. Check out “The Daily” podcast from The New York Times for more on KBB and right-wing conspiracist Joe Oltmann.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on efforts by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) to overhaul how we conduct background checks for gun purchases.

 

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“Divisive Questions”–Ganahl Disavows GOP Chair’s Militia Group

UPDATE: Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown responds as carefully as she may in today’s Unaffiliated newsletter by the Colorado Sun:

“I briefly accepted a role with FEC United where I was never paid and no contract was signed,” Burton Brown said in a statement to The Colorado Sun. “It was my understanding that FEC’s mission was to focus on education and business — with the specific goal of helping parents with choice in schools and helping Colorado small businesses to reopen. Those are priorities that unite Coloradans, and they are the only priorities I ever signed on to help with.”

Burton Brown didn’t deny, however, that she was president of FEC United, which has a militia arm and has spread baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. FEC stands for faith, education and commerce.

9News reported this week that at an October 2020 FEC United recruiting event, Burton Brown said she was “helping spur the growth of FEC United.”

Again, if Brown didn’t depart FEC United until she ran for Colorado Republican Party chair early this year, she was present for a lot more of Joe Oltmann’s conspiracy theorizing than she is letting on today. This statement simply doesn’t add up with the timeline and what is already publicly known.

Per usual these days, it’s an answer that only raises more questions.

—–

Former CU visiting professor John Eastman, CU Regent/GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl.

Since Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl kicked off her campaign in mid-September by refusing to answer repeated questions from reporters about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential elections, this “divisive question” (her words) she insistently dodged has dominated the national news headlines. New revelations about the central role played by former CU visiting professor John Eastman, who Ganahl backed and praised as a CU Regent, in the failed plot to overturn the results of the election on January 6th brought these uncomfortable questions right back to Ganahl’s doorstep where they have smoldered like a flaming bag of poo.

Ganahl’s failure to take a position on the most important political question of 2021 was such a disaster for Ganahl’s campaign kickoff that prominent local conservative pundits weighed in to give Ganahl some space to get her message together (which as of this writing she still had not).

And as 9NEWS reported last night, dodging that 800-pound gorilla of a “divisive question” just got even harder–not just for Heidi Ganahl, but every Republican running for office in Colorado:

The Republican frontrunner for governor of Colorado said she has never had formal ties with the election rigging conspiracy theory group recently run by the state GOP chairwoman, as alleged in court testimony.

In an email to 9NEWS, Heidi Ganahl’s campaign declined to say whether she still has faith and confidence in party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown after it was revealed Burton Brown previously led the extremist group FEC United. [Pols emphasis]

The Republican Party chairwoman’s involvement with FEC United came out recently in sworn testimony as part of a lawsuit. The Colorado Republican Party did not respond to 9NEWS’ questions about the deposition from FEC United’s founder, Joe Oltmann, who said Burton Brown was president of FEC United in November 2020.

“United American Defense Force” militia members in Denver. Photo by Colorado Times Recorder

First reported by the Colorado Times Recorder four days ago, Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown has been outed via court filings as the past leader of the hard-right activist group FEC United–a group that features its own armed militia wing known as the United American Defense Force (UADF), and founded by noted local election conspiracy theorist Joe Oltmann. This disclosure came by way of a deposition in the defamation suit against Oltmann filed by Dominion Voting Systems.

To summarize, you’ve got the chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party, who has herself expressed a desire to “move on” from 2020, wrapped up with the state’s most militant proponent of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump. KBB reportedly didn’t resign as the leader of FEC United until she ran for state party chair in January of this year. That means Kristi Burton Brown led FEC United as a state party vice-chair, and presided over a great deal of election misinformation in her own right before running for Colorado GOP chairwoman on a platform of being more palatable than discredited election denier Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler.

The questions raised by these revelations of direct ties between the leader of the Colorado Republican Party and the state’s most prominent armed militia group are very serious. Only Brown can answer many of them, but Heidi Ganahl has to answer some of them. Ganahl is the only remaining statewide elected Republican in office and a candidate for the state’s highest office. If Ganahl won’t hold her own party’s leadership accountable, who will?

Ganahl should have answered the question when she had the chance to…less divisively.

Started at the Bottom, Digging Deeper

Ron Hanks

The 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado got a bit more interesting last week, with two new Republican candidates joining the field: Ft. Collins developer Gino Campana and State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose). There are now six Republicans running for the chance to lose to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet next November. If this week is any indication of things to come, the Republican Senate Primary is going to be one long race to the bottom.

Let’s start with the candidates, who at this point are separated into two different tiers. Hanks, Campana, and Eli Bremer make up the first tier of “plausible” candidates because they have at least some name ID and/or ability to raise money for a real campaign. Erik Aadland, Peter Yu, and Juli Henry fall into a separate tier; we’d be surprised if any of these three candidates even managed to get their name onto the June 2022 Primary ballot, so we won’t spend any time discussing them in this space.

For now, at least, the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination looks like a three candidate affair.

The most interesting name in the primary tier is Hanks, the copy machine killer who immediately lays claim to the far-right wing in a Republican Primary. Hanks is a full-on election fraud truther, QAnon believer, and proud member of the Donald Trump fan club who has been outspoken in his defense of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and has made pilgrimages to 2020 recount sites such as Arizona’s Maricopa County. As you can see from his campaign launch video, Hanks is going to largely focus on two issues: “Election security” and the Second Amendment. Head on over to the ‘Issues’ page on his campaign website for more policy proposals, which are entertaining to the extent that you can make sense of the rambling rhetoric.

Whether or not Hanks can mount a truly competitive campaign will depend on his ability to raise money, which is unclear at the moment. But his very existence as a Senate candidate changes the dynamic of this race. This is a guy who has no qualms about making a lynching joke on the floor of the House of Representatives. He’ll be traveling the state in the next 9 months to hoover up support from the right-wing base, which is going to scare other candidates into taking positions that are more extreme than they might have preferred…

ELT Bremer

…which brings us to Eli Bremer. We haven’t heard much from Bremer since he first entered the Senate race in July with a clunky video that lacked any real semblance of a message beyond telling people that he is a former Olympian who competed in an event that most people probably didn’t even know existed. The inclusion of Hanks and Campana in the GOP field seems to have prompted Bremer to take things up a notch.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman, Bremer’s campaign announced this week a slate of “county coordinators” that is mostly designed to affirm that Bremer already has a share of the nutty right-wing base:

One of Bremer’s county ambassadors drew national attention in 2014 when he questioned whether the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., “really happened.” [Pols emphasis]

Tom Ready, a dentist and former chairman of the Pueblo County GOP, defended floating a theory that the shooting had in fact been a hoax designed to promote gun control during a debate when he was running for county commissioner.

“Whether it’s true or not, it’s called an open discussion,” Ready said, though he later apologized for the comments.

This is how far things have fallen for Republicans: One of their most plausible Senate candidates literally sought out the endorsement of Tom Ready, who thinks it’s totally cool to have a “discussion” about the idea that a mass shooting of schoolchildren was just a mirage. Bremer may not be familiar with his recent Colorado political history, because having Ready’s support has not generally been a good thing (ask Bob Beauprez). Ready has a long background in Colorado Republican politics, including plenty of allegations of racism and domestic violence. If you seek out this endorsement, it means you want the support of the kind of people who would take Tom Ready seriously. How does this help Bremer if he eventually has to appeal to a wider range of voters in a General Election? (SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t).

Ready isn’t the only questionable name on Bremer’s “county coordinator” list. Also included is Joe Webb, the former chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party who regularly referred to Democrats like Jared Polis as “brown shirts,” (a reference to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi militia); and Don Suppes, the Delta County Commissioner who is known to be a fan of white supremacist websites and a believer in the silly conspiracy idea that the United Nations is coming to take your guns. Again, these are the type of supporters that Bremer is TOUTING in a press release. If you’re standing with Bremer, you’re standing on the same side as these folks.

Hello fellow regular people!

The third plausible Republican Senate candidate is Gino Campana, a Ft. Collins developer and former city council member whose braggadocio about almost being selected as Walker Stapleton’s Lieutenant Governor nominee in 2018 caused significant media problems for the GOP gubernatorial hopeful. Campana is rumored to have the ability to self-fund a Senate race to some degree, which is the primary “qualification” that separates him from the rest of the GOP field.

Campana launched his Senate intentions this week with the release of a meandering three-minute video (titled “I am running for US Senate”) that looks more like a commercial for Ancestry.com than a campaign announcement. Campana’s launch video is mostly about his immigrant father — you don’t even see the name ‘Gino Campana’ until the :33 second mark — interspersed with images of Gino fiddling around with odd pieces of masonry as part of a tortured effort to come across as a regular guy in a plaid shirt.

The winner of the Republican Senate Primary will likely be the candidate who is best able to garner support from the right-wing base. This fact alone will put the eventual GOP nominee in an impossible position for a General Election; there is no realistic Venn diagram in which fire-breathing adherents of “The Big Lie” join with Unaffiliated voters in backing the same candidate in November 2022.

Former Sen. Cory Gardner set the bar pretty low for future Republican Senate candidates with his 9-point loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper in 2020. Don’t be surprised if the 2022 GOP candidates still manage to limbo underneath.

How Trump Almost Got His Way At DOJ

The ex-Prez.

CNN reports on the release today by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee of a damning new report on the critical days in December of 2020, following the resignation of former U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Barr’s admission that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen from Donald Trump, in which Trump attempted to persuade in the interim leadership at the Department of Justice to support his evidence-free quest to overturn the results:

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials…

The 400-page report by Senate Democrats, entitled “Subverting Justice,” slams the actions of [DOJ attorney Jeffrey] Clark, who they say became a crucial player in Trump’s attempt to use the Justice Department for his political gain.

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Thursday they were referring him to the DC Bar for a review of his professional conduct, citing rules that bar attorneys from assisting in fraud and interfering with the administration of justice.

Attorney Jeffrey Clark, who Trump considered installing as acting Attorney General but blinked at the prospect of mass resignations at the Justice Department, had a plan to use the Department to sow doubt in the results and push swing states to appoint “alternate electors”–the same bogus alternate electors former CU Professor John Eastman planned to invoke on January 6th to give Vice President Mike Pence a pretext to hand the election to Trump. Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin explains how this step fit into Trump’s increasingly desperate fallback options:

“First phase, Trump goes to court. Loses every lawsuit, which claims there was voter fraud in the election. Next, he decides he has to take over the Department of Justice and the attorney general, and have the attorney general push this narrative on to the states to tell them to stop from sending in their Electoral College vote totals. When that failed — and our report goes into graphic detail of the efforts that were made — the third step was to turn the mob loose on the Capitol the day we were counting the ballots,” Durbin said, referring to the January 6 riot.

By the morning of January 6th, on which Colorado’s newly sworn-in Rep. Lauren Boebert declared “Today is 1776,” the only remaining possibility was that the violence at the U.S. Capitol might result in a delay of the certification of Joe Biden’s victory giving Trump’s so-called “legal team” more time to cast aspersions on the results. All of these previous gambits had failed, and violent insurrection was all that was left.

Democracy is a fragile thing. We as a country must come to grips with how close we just came to losing ours.

Or next time it’s much more likely that we will.

The GMS Podcast: Map Madness! (Feat. Evan Wyloge)

Evan Wyloge of The Colorado Springs Gazette/Colorado Politics

This week on Episode #88 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk redistricting maps with Evan Wyloge of The Colorado Springs Gazette and ColoradoPolitics.com. Wyloge covered the redistricting process in Arizona in 2001 and has been closely following Colorado’s map-making extravaganza; there are few, if any, people in Colorado who understand redistricting better than he does.

But the discussion this week isn’t all about maps. We also dig into the big Ron Hanks problem now facing Colorado Republicans; the State GOP’s misunderstanding of the first rule of “Fight Club”; and more ridiculous commentary from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert.

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

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

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Ron Hanks’ Senate Campaign Kickoff Is A Literal Bomb

 

Last weekend we learned that freshman GOP state Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks, who has quickly emerged as one of the Colorado GOP House Minority’s go-to sources for full strength conspiracy theory crazypants on a full range of issues from COVID-19 to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, has filed to run for the Republican nomination to face incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in next year’s midterm elections.

Today, we were treated to a campaign kickoff video introducing Rep. Hanks to Republican primary voters, and…well, let us just say that it exceeds our admittedly low expectations. Last election, readers may recall, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia ran a now-infamous ad featuring Greene blowing up signs labeled “SOCIALISM” and “GUN CONTROL.” Well move over, MTG because Hanks just one-upped her by filling an entire copy machine with Tannerite target explosive and labeling it a “DOMINION VOTING MACHINE.”

And gentle readers, you know what happens next! KA-BOOM!

It’s the height of absurdity, and we want to be more jovial about the silliness of it all but we’re tempered by the unfortunate seriousness of the “Big Lie” Ron Hanks is running for the U.S. Senate on as his central campaign plank. A low-budget stunt that makes most of us laugh dismissively is exactly what a majority of Republican primary voters want to hear. It’s harder to laugh when you realize Hanks is promoting misinformation that has already led to violence with still more (admittedly simulated) violence.

Blowing things up in effigy beats the alternative we guess.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 6)

Today is National Noodle Day and National Coaches Day. If you can figure out how to celebrate those together, we’re all ears. 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 Washington Post reports, Senate Republicans are hell-bent on driving the United States right off the fiscal cliff:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday plan to block Democrats from raising the country’s debt ceiling, daring President Biden and his party’s top lawmakers to devise another path forward just 12 days before the U.S. government could run out of flexibility to pay its bills.

For the third time in as many weeks, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is set to hold a vote on a measure that would suspend the borrowing limit into next year, aiming to act before Congress blows past an Oct. 18 deadline that could catapult the country into an economic recession.

But the proposal is likely to be as doomed as the two that preceded it. Democrats for the moment cannot advance in the debate over the debt ceiling unless 10 GOP lawmakers join them — and Republicans once again are refusing to supply the votes as part of their broader campaign to oppose Biden’s economic agenda.

“They basically want us to be aiders and abettors to their reckless spending and tax policies, and we just aren’t going to do it,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). [Pols emphasis]

Now, remember that raising the debt limit is necessary in part to help pay for expensive policies ENACTED UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.

Earlier this week, Chris Cillizza of CNN broke down the dangerous game that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing:

McConnell knows — he’s a very smart dude — that his party’s current stance on the debt limit is utterly hypocritical.

But what he’s betting on is this: Democrats control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Knowing that, voters will put blame on Democrats if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.

That’s the calculation McConnell is making — that complete opposition to anything and everything that happens in Washington between now and November 2022 will best position Republicans to retake the House and Senate majorities.

As for what’s best for the country? That’s not relevant to McConnell or Senate Republicans.

Meanwhile, polling data continues to show that McConnell’s gambit could be the wrong play. New info from Quinnipiac University indicates widespread support for President Biden’s spending proposals in Congress:

Americans say 62 – 34 percent that they support a roughly $1 trillion spending bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband, and other infrastructure projects. This compares to 65 – 28 percent support in August. In today’s poll, Democrats support the bill 85 – 11 percent, independents support it 62 – 35 percent, and Republicans oppose it 58 – 38 percent.

Americans say 57 – 40 percent that they support a $3.5 trillion spending bill on social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks, and expanding Medicare for seniors, compared to 62 – 32 percent support in August. In today’s poll, Democrats support the bill 92 – 5 percent, independents are split with 50 percent supporting it and 48 percent opposing it, and Republicans oppose it 68 – 28 percent.

The Associated Press has more on a pared-down spending bill that is now being discussed. As The New York Times reports, Republican refusal to budge on the debt limit might be moving more Democrats toward supporting changes to the filibuster,

 

We haz more maps!

As Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline:

One week ahead of a deadline to submit its plan for new statehouse districts to the Colorado Supreme Court for review, the state’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission on Tuesday received details of a third and final plan proposed by nonpartisan state staff.

The maps released ahead of the commission’s Tuesday night meeting draw new boundaries for 65 Colorado House of Representatives districts and 35 state Senate seats, as proposed by state staff based on previous feedback from the commission’s 12 appointed members. Any further changes to the two maps must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the panel, which consists of four registered Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters.

The deadline for the commission to submit its maps to the Supreme Court is Oct. 15. If commissioners can’t approve a final plan with at least eight votes by then, the third staff plan will be submitted.

 

Colorado Republicans remain committed to the political strategy of complaining about mask and vaccine requirements, even when that message makes no sense whatsoever. State Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Colorado Springs) is all worked up about the idea that kidney transplant patients might first be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which to most rational people would seem to be a very logical and obvious request.

 

Colorado Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown has some serious explaining to do after court documents revealed that KBB was the leader of FEC United, a far-right conspiracy group, right up until the point in which she started running for the job of GOP Chair. 9News has more on this story:

Burton Brown and the Colorado Republican Party did not respond to 9NEWS’ questions about FEC United, an election rigging conspiracy theory group, and its affiliated militia, the United American Defense Force.

The extent of Burton Brown’s involvement with FEC United was revealed by the group’s founder Joe Oltmann and current president, Stuart Butler, in sworn depositions in September and August, respectively…

…Oltmann testified that Burton Brown was president of FEC United in November 2020 while serving as vice-chair of the Colorado Republican Party and left FEC United to run for state party chair. She was elected to lead the state party in March 2021.

FEC United and the United American Defense Force are extreme right-wing groups with violent histories.

 

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CO Republican Chair Advises Candidates To Accept Biden As Prez, Stay Mum on Alleged 2020 Election Fraud

(Them’s fightin’ words – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a recent radio interview, Kristi Burton Brown, chair of the Colorado Republican Party, advised candidates to sidestep conspiracy narratives about the 2020 presidential election that are favored by many GOP activists, and instead to acknowledge Joe Biden’s legitimacy as the president of the United States.

But Republican candidates who have announced their runs for governor and U.S. Senate appear to be testing different approaches to answering the looming question: “Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen from former president Trump?”

The varying statements by Republican candidates confirm that the party remains divided, with some establishment Republicans, like former GOP chair Dick Wadhams, saying, “We just need to have candidates who have the guts to say, ‘No, the fraud didn’t happen, Trump lost the election,'” and the party base insisting that the election was stolen.

Appearing on KNUS in an interview with former prosecutor and former GOP candidate George Brauchler late last month, Burton Brown acknowledged the legitimacy of the Biden Presidency by saying there’s “no provision in U.S. law” to do anything about it.

Here’s how she advised candidates on how to answer the question about the election, even if they believe it was stolen.

Brauchler: “We discussed this report that came out from Cyber Ninjas in Arizona about the audit that they did of Maricopa County. … Overall, they found that, ‘Look, we think that that Biden won this thing.’ … I bring that up in the context of the question asked of Heidi Ganahl, who’s a candidate for governor, by [9news political reporter] Marshall Zellinger on the day she launched her campaign — you may have seen this — where the first question was, “Was the 2020 election stolen?”. … How does the party tackle that, moving forward?

Burton Brown: “What the Democrats and media think they can do is tie us to the past and say, ‘Well, hey, if we can get Republicans to dwell in the past, they’re going to lose because they lost in the past.’ … We have to acknowledge, yes, Joe Biden is in the White House, and there’s not a provision in U.S. law to do anything about that other than accept the fact [that] Joe Biden is in the White House. … We have to acknowledge the fact, yes, Joe Biden is the president of the United States. Democrats control our nation. Democrats control our state. … We have to say, ‘You know what? We’re acknowledging the facts and we’re going to paint you a vision for the future and how we help working class average Coloradoans like us actually succeed in this state.'”

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What Does Dominion Have To Do With School Boards, You Ask?

Now up in your school board races.

As Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, the El Paso County Republican Party is distributing a questionnaire to local candidates running in school board races this November, party of the state GOP’s unabashed embrace of a favored slate of candidates in what are traditionally–but perhaps never again–nonpartisan races. But it’s not just the existence of a questionnaire in this case that’s raising eyebrows, but also the questions themselves:

One-third of the questions in an email sent by the county GOP to school board candidates are devoted to matters popular among election conspiracy theorists who maintain the 2020 election was rigged, despite no credible evidence having emerged to support the contention…

After warning the school board candidates must answer every question in order for their questionnaire to be considered, [El Paso County GOP chair Vickie] Tonkins asks if they “support eliminating the use of Dominion Voting Systems” and if they “support implementing a full forensic audit of the 2020 Election in Colorado.”

Other than the fact that their own elections are set to be tallied by Dominion Voting Systems hardware, these questions are totally irrelevant to a school board election, and were included for the sole purpose of clarifying loyalties–not just to the Republican Party, but to Donald Trump and the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Luning reports that the dissenting faction of local Republicans who tried and failed to oust chair Vickie Tonkins last year are upset about this questionnaire–presumably for the same reasons Heidi Ganahl refused to answer “divisive questions” about the 2020 election.

We say if the state Republican Party wants to openly partisan-ize school board elections, and the county parties want to enforce partisan loyalty by demanding candidates answer these politically-charged questions, that’s fine.

Because that means every Republican running in Colorado now has to answer those “divisive questions” too.

The Out-Outrage Strategy: Lauren Boebert Scandal Management

 

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

In less than 30 seconds of candid camera time on the far-right One America News network this weekend, freshman GOP controversy magnet Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert breezily dismissed the growing scandal over her misuse of campaign funds to pay personal bills:

BOEBERT: It was an error. Some money came out of the wrong account and we corrected it, self-reported it right away, talked to the FEC. Everything’s fine. We sent a letter.

It’s clear Boebert has rehearsed this answer for calm delivery, and it’s also not surprising that the OAN anchor had no followup questions like a real reporter would. But then Boebert made a startling and unprompted admission about the way she handles not just this latest budding scandal, but her entire public engagement strategy:

BOEBERT: And Democrats want to make a story about it. But here’s the thing, Dan. When I don’t see a headline attacking me, I kind of wonder if I’m not doing something right. Like, wait a second, where are the attacks today? I better start something… [Pols emphasis]

In less than a year in office, Boebert has faced a series of damaging corruption scandals over questionably large mileage reimbursements from her campaign funds coinciding with the payoff of longstanding tax liens, the oddly belated disclosure of huge sums of money paid to Boebert’s husband by the oil and gas industry, and most recently thousands of dollars of personal expenses temporarily covered without interest by “mistaken” charges to the campaign account. This is in addition to unseemly personal scandals both freshly uncovered and resurfaced since Boebert’s election. At the same time, Boebert has struggled to keep pace while more audacious (and capable) far-right demagogues in Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene have hogged the spotlight.

The response to both of these problems for Boebert has been to deliberately provoke public outrage on a continuous basis, in order to both distract from her very real scandals as well as to keep up with her fringe colleagues in Congress as they court essentially the same class of supporters. Boebert is totally unconcerned about hypocrisy, to the extent that she deliberately chooses hypocritical lines of attack in order to confound her critics. Boebert’s tactic of smothering her real problems with continuous bilious rhetoric is right out of her mentor Donald Trump’s playbook.

It’s a dangerous and deplorable game, but it’s undeniably brought Congresswoman Boebert a long way.

And it will work until some kind of breaking point is reached.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 4)

Happy Mother Cabrini Day, the first state holiday named for a woman in American history. 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 

 

Is COVID-19 in retreat? We’ve learned not to get overly excited about a drop in COVID cases, but as The New York Times reports:

The reasons remain somewhat unclear, and there is no guarantee that the decline in caseloads will continue. But the turnaround is now large enough — and been going on long enough — to deserve attention.

The number of new daily cases in the U.S. has fallen 35 percent since Sept. 1.

Worldwide, cases have also dropped more than 30 percent since late August. “This is as good as the world has looked in many months,” Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research wrote last week.

As the Times notes, COVID-19 has a curious habit of showing rapid increases for two months followed by significant decreases in case numbers…for two months.

 

The 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado got a bit more interesting last week, with two new Republican candidates joining the field: Ft. Collins developer Gino Campana and State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose). Hanks immediately lays claim to the far-right wing in a Republican Primary — he is a full-on election fraud truther who has been outspoken in his defense of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters — who will force Republican candidates up and down the ballot to respond to whatever absurd position he decides to take in a given week.

For more on Hanks’ surprise U.S. Senate candidacy, check out Colorado Newsline, The Colorado Sun, and Denver7.

 

Via The New York Times (10/2/21)

The editorial board of The New York Times voices new concerns about the “Eastman Memo” and its author, former University of Colorado visiting professor John Eastman:

However horrifying the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol appeared in the moment, we know now that it was far worse.

The country was hours away from a full-blown constitutional crisis — not primarily because of the violence and mayhem inflicted by hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters but because of the actions of Mr. Trump himself.

In the days before the mob descended on the Capitol, a corollary attack — this one bloodless and legalistic — was playing out down the street in the White House, where Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a lawyer named John Eastman huddled in the Oval Office, scheming to subvert the will of the American people by using legal sleight-of-hand.

Mr. Eastman’s unusual visit was reported at the time, but a new book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides the details of his proposed six-point plan. It involved Mr. Pence rejecting dozens of already certified electoral votes representing tens of millions of legally cast ballots, thus allowing Congress to install Mr. Trump in a second term.

If you’re not familiar with the “Eastman Memo,” click here to get started on learning more.

 

Colorado Public Radio reports on big local rallies on Saturday in protest of a new anti-abortion law in Texas. The Associated Press has more on the Women’s March that drew hundreds of people to the State Capitol in Denver. The Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports on rallies in Larimer County, while The Pueblo Chieftain does the same for Southern Colorado.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

GOP Chair To “Our Candidates”–Shut Up About Tina Peters

MONDAY UPDATE: As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

The somewhat shadowy U.S. Election Integrity Plan, which operates in the Grand Valley and elsewhere in the state, went after GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown over a leaked message from Brown to an unknown school board candidate elsewhere in the state.

In the message, Brown warns the candidate not to post or say anything publicly about Peters while local, state and federal investigators dig into allegations that the Mesa County Republican clerk and others inside and outside of her office may have played a role in possible criminal violations of state election security laws…

We’re sorry to report that the cat has exited the proverbial bag.

—–

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

As the world awaits the next developments in the criminal investigation into Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, accused of allowing/facilitating a major breach of election system security in a clueless and fruitless attempt to prove that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, local Republicans continue to face a delicate balancing act in which some amount of distance is necessarily kept from the glaring misconduct Peters is accused of–while taking care not to offend the substantial faction within the Republican Party rank-and-file who believe the “Big Lie” and consider Peters to be a hero.

A window into that difficult position was provided by the leak of a text message dialogue from late August between Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown and an unknown school board candidate up for election this November. Readers will recall that the Colorado GOP has openly embraced a slate of partisan Republican candidates for nominally nonpartisan municipal and school board races across the state.

What’s the message from on high about Clerk Tina Peters? Clam up about Tina Peters:

This gets rather dicey when you consider that Brown appointed a member of the so-called “U.S. Election Integrity Project,” which is fiercely defending Clerk Peters, to the Colorado GOP’s in-house “Election Integrity Operations Action Committee.” After learning of the message above, USEIP volleyed back hopping mad at Kristi Burton Brown:

Turns out the CO GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown is as feckless as the rest of the GOP establishment across the nation when it comes to election integrity. In a leaked message KBB’s cowardice and lack of understanding of the law is on full display as she encourages candidates to steer clear of the fight in Mesa County. In fact, KBB declined to do her homework that would show many of Griswold’s claims have no legal backing. However, it’s no surprise. KBB has been completely silent on the topic of election integrity since she’s been elected in December…

It’s worth remembering that Peters is being defended in the lawsuit seeker her removal from elections duties by Scott Gessler, who was KBB’s unsuccessful opponent for the job of party chair in leadership elections held in the spring. That may not have been known when KBB sent her message warning about supporting Peters, but it’s a good bet there’s no love lost between the two. Since KBB wrote this message, of course, things have only gotten worse for Peters–it’s now public knowledge, for example, that Peters indeed turned off the security cameras covering the machines.

All told, it was probably good advice–but the reaction Brown got when her advice went public speaks much louder. How can this rift heal without ripping the scab off the GOP’s whole Trumpian identity crisis?

Kristi Burton Brown doesn’t know the answer to this question.

Ron Hanks Will Attack And You Don’t Want That

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

As the Colorado Sun’s political tag team Sandra Fish and Jesse Paul report in case you missed the Friday news dump–the Republican Party’s substantial election-denying insurrection-downplaying conspiracy-theorizing Tina Petersdefending civil war-threatening history-mangling wing has a champion entering the ring for the 2022 U.S. Senate race, and you’d better get ready because if you don’t he might…um, well, physically break your neck:

State Rep. Ron Hanks, a controversial Republican who has peddled unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election being fraudulent, on Friday filed to run for U.S. Senate.

“The U.S. Senate race needs to be shaken up a bit,” Hanks said in a text to The Colorado Sun… [Pols emphasis]

Folks, freshman GOP state Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks doesn’t “shake up” the U.S. Senate 2022 Republican primary so much as take a sledgehammer to it. In less than a year in office, Hanks has gone from no-name absentee COVIDiot to the volume-11 voice of the hard right in the Colorado House GOP minority. Yes, Hanks’ attempt to remove House Minority Leader Hugh McKean failed. And yes, the “stolen election” Hanks was so sure had happened he thought that foreign intelligence services might swoop in to prevent Joe Biden’s inauguration still is lacking that vital component known as evidence.

But you understand none of that matters, right? At least not to the Republican primary voters Rep. Hanks is targeting his message at. Whatever a majority of Americans outside the conservative media message bubble may know to be factual, Hanks is poised to take advantage of one simple reality: a solid majority of rank-and-file Republicans believe the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump.

As of today, Ron Hanks is the U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado willing to tell them so.

It is not a development we would recommend underestimating.