Rep. Ron Hanks Says Wayne Williams Is Part Of The Conspiracy

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

As we discussed yesterday, a protest over the weekend in Grand Junction in support of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is under investigation for a breach of election system security that resulted in proprietary data being leaked to far-right election conspiracy theorists was attended by freshman GOP state Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks of Penrose. Hanks accused Secretary of State Jena Griswold of conducting a “false flag” operation against Peters’ office, asserting “there’s no evidence she did anything wrong”–while Cory Anderson of the so-called “Election Integrity Project” matter-of-factly described Peters’ direct role in copying the data in question.

Clearly, there’s a need for Peters’ defenders to get their stories straight.

On the subject of Peters’ replacement to run Mesa County elections after Peters was ruled incapable of doing so by the Secretary of State, however, Rep. Ron Hanks is coming out strongly against the appointment by Mesa County Commissioners of former SoS Wayne Williams, an appointment currently the subject of a court fight between the commishes and Griswold’s office. Even though Commissioner Scott McInnis claims Clerk Peters was fine with Williams running the elections a year ago when the possibility of a recall arose against Peters, according to Rep. Hanks today Williams might as well be in on the conspiracy:

The appointment of Colorado Springs City Councilman Wayne Williams to any position in Mesa County also seems questionable and ill-advised. As evidence compounds daily that the 2020 elections were replete with fraud, the confidence of the citizens of Colorado will not be restored by empowering a former Secretary of State responsible for bringing the suspect and vulnerable Dominion Voting Systems to Colorado. Williams is also is a consultant to the Runbeck Company, whose role in the 2020 election is under scrutiny by investigators.

Colorado Springs City Councilman Williams has called on Clerk Tina Peters to resign. He has no grounds nor evidence to make such a demand. In doing so, he has discredited himself by presuming Clerk Peters to be guilty – not innocent, as is the American legal standard – based on Jena Griswold’s shaky press conference and her Gestapo-style raid… [Pols emphasis]

It wouldn’t be Ron Hanks if it wasn’t offensive, folks! Hanks of course has no use for the replacement selected by the Colorado Secretary of State, former Clerk (and fellow Republican) Sheila Reiner. Ron Hanks says that even after Peters let some unauthorized rando make copies of secure election system data, turning off the security cameras to hide their actions before handing the data over to the guy a lot of people think is “Q”–data that once again did not produce evidence of anything nefarious–should still be in charge of Mesa County’s elections.

And that makes us wonder how the hell Loren Ron Hanks ever had a security clearance.

Hundreds Of Q-razy Protesters Help Clerk Tina Peters Confess!

UPDATE: Fog of war, Marshall Zelinger clarifying that the call between Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was last year, not recently:

Superseding a previous update. Original post follows.

—–

Rep. Ron Hanks (left) with Cory Anderson of the so-called “Election Integrity Project.”

Veteran Western Slope journalist Nancy Lofholm reports for the Colorado Sun from Grand Junction, where this past weekend hundreds of far-right supporters of embattled and presently holed-up Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters turned out to show their love–and their unshakable belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump:

“Our hero, Tina,” as some of her conservative constituents refer to her, was the absent star of a rally organized in her honor by a group called Mesa County Concerned Citizens. She is in hiding because of what some of her supporters say, without evidence, are threats against her life.

Peters has been incommunicado with the media and away from her office since Tuesday, when she was a featured speaker at a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, cyber symposium hosted by MyPillow CEO, Trump supporter and election fraud conspiracist Mike Lindell. Lindell had promised that he would disclose evidence at that symposium that the 2020 election was rigged. No such evidence was presented by Peters or any other speakers.

Leading the faithful at Saturday’s rally for Clerk Peters was the freshman state representative who seems to be everywhere sedition wants to be–Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks of Fremont County:

Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, of Penrose, an outspoken Peters supporter, spoke at the rally, calling the clerk a “gold star mom and public servant.” Peters’ son, Remington Peters, a Navy SEAL, died in 2017 when his parachute malfunctioned during an airborne demonstration in New York.

“There is no evidence she did anything wrong,” Hanks said to loud applause.

Hanks asserted, “evidence is mounting daily” that Griswold’s “raid” on Peters’ office was a “false-flag operation” [Pols emphasis] and a way for Griswold to “divert attention from her own derelict criminal actions.”

It’s not like Rep. Hanks has a track record of factual statements that should give him any credibility whatsoever, but let’s be clear: facilitating a breach of security to allow the theft and eventual public distribution of proprietary election system data is a crime, and that is why everyone from the local DA to the FBI is investigating.

But it’s not like it’s necessary to take Hanks’ word. As Colorado Public Radio reports, at least one speaker at this rally readily admitted, even celebrated the crime Clerk Peters is under investigation for:

“One thing you have heard about Tina Peters is true,” said Cory Anderson, who heads the local chapter of the Election Integrity Project, which has been trying to use voter canvassing to prove fraud. “There was a before and after image taken of the Dominion system in clerk Peter’s office. [Pols emphasis] I think we’ll be very glad that happened. Preserving the truth is important to discovering the truth.”

We don’t know if Clerk Peters has retained a criminal defense attorney yet in this case, but if she has that attorney should be aghast at these idiots in essence blaring Peters’ conviction into a megaphone. The data that Peters allegedly stole has already been “analyzed” by crack and quack researchers alike who gave “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell one final chance to prove his theories about the 2020 elections at Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” earlier this month–and other than Peters herself rushing the stage in a too-late attempt to cover her ass, absolutely nothing nefarious emerged.

In short, the “defense” offered up for the crime Cory Anderson just confessed to on Clerk Peters’ behalf is a conspiracy the data she helped steal doesn’t support. It’s a “whistleblower” too clueless to realize she is sounding a false alarm. Which means it’s not a defense at all, just that usual bit of deranged nonsense a guilty person blurts out before the judge gavels them into silence at their initial hearing.

Great job, freedom fighters! This is certain to end well for all concerned.

Get More Smarter on Monday (August 23)

Happy Back to School Day for some of you. 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, you have one less reason to continue ducking the COVID-19 vaccination:

Federal regulators Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine — a milestone that could help increase inoculation rates and spark a wave of vaccine mandates by employers and universities amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations fueled by the ferocious delta variant.

The Food and Drug Administration action marks the first licensing of a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has swept the United States in repeated and punishing waves since early 2020, exhausting nursing staffs, filling intensive care units and raising fears among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

The vaccine has been approved for two doses, three weeks apart, in people 16 and older. It remains available under emergency use authorization for adolescents ages 12 to 15.

“As the first FDA-approved covid-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” FDA acting commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

Vax that thang up, people!

 

Rocket surgeons rally in Grand Junction on Saturday (Stina Sieg/CPR News)

The story of “missing” Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters — who allegedly committed a serious crime in her zeal to prove the existence of a fictional crime — took a predictably stupid turn over the weekend. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

More than 100 people rallied in Grand Junction Saturday in support of Mesa County clerk Tina Peters, who is being investigated to determine whether she participated in a security breach of her office’s election equipment…

…An investigation by the Secretary of State’s office found that earlier this year Peters allowed an unauthorized man into a secure area where the election equipment is stored, and that he apparently made copies of hard drives ahead of an update by Dominion Voting Systems, the company that makes the equipment. Someone in the clerk’s office also ordered the cameras that monitor the equipment to be turned off for an extended period of time.

One of the speakers at Saturday’s rally appeared to confirm some of those events.

“One thing you have heard about Tina Peters is true,” said Cory Anderson, who heads the local chapter of the Election Integrity Project, which has been trying to use voter canvassing to prove fraud. “There was a before and after image taken of the Dominion system in clerk Peter’s office. I think we’ll be very glad that happened. Preserving the truth is important to discovering the truth.”

Peters is being investigated by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, and the FBI. Peters is so innocent that she is hiding out in an undisclosed location in Texas.

The Colorado Sun has more on this story, including an amazing quote from State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) indicating that he actually doesn’t understand the meaning of the phrase “false-flag operation.”

 

Former President Donald Trump blurted out on Friday that he personally made the decision to relocate the HQ of U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Alabama, which is a HUGE slap in the face to Colorado Republicans specifically. Colorado Public Radio looks at whether Trump’s decision can now be revisited.

 

 The Denver Post answers questions about whether you should start thinking about a third “booster” shot for COVID-19.

 

 

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“Single-Handedly”–Trump’s Final Insult To Colorado

Rep. Doug Lamborn and He Who Must Not Be Named.

A late-breaking story yesterday confirmed what everybody in Colorado politics knew from the beginning, but only one side of the aisle was politically able to admit–as the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, ex-President Donald Trump boasting to an Alabama radio show ahead of a rally there tonight that he “single-handedly” made the decision to relocate the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado Springs to that state in the final days of his presidency:

In the final week of Trump’s presidency, the U.S. Air Force announced that Space Command’s headquarters would be relocated from Peterson Air Force Base to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

Democratic and Republican officials in Colorado have opposed the move ever since and alleged it was Trump who did it. Huntsville is in the district of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican and staunch Trump ally who led attempts in January to stop the certification of President Joe Biden‘s victory over Trump in the 2020 election…

“Space Force — I sent to Alabama,” Trump said. “I hope you know that. (They) said they were looking for a home and I single-handedly said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama.’ They wanted it. I said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama.’”

For those who have been getting this wrong like Trump, the U.S. Space Command is not the same entity as the U.S. Space Force. Space Command is a multi-service organization under the Department of Defense, while the Space Force is a separate branch of the military. But be assured, everyone in Colorado Springs where Space Command is currently located knew what Trump was talking about–and as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Tom Roeder reports, the anger in Colorado’s biggest conservative stronghold is palpable:

“We have maintained throughout the process that the permanent basing decision for U.S. Space Command was not made on merit. The admission by former President Trump that he ‘single-handedly’ directed the move to Huntsville, Alabama, supports our position,” [Colorado Springs Mayor John] Suthers said via email.

Even the area’s doggedly pro-Trump Rep. Doug Lamborn, who voted to challenge the 2020 election results in order to keep Trump in office, is slamming Trump openly:

Colorado Springs U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said Trump’s announcement shows national security wasn’t his top concern.

“When a decision is based on politics and personal preference, national security comes in second,” said Lamborn, [Pols emphasis] a longtime Trump supporter who broke with the president over the basing decision.

Lamborn’s affected surprise from learning that Trump made his decisions as President based on “politics and personal preference” is truly one of the most laughable “belated” realizations we’ve ever read. During Trump’s entire term in office, as Doug Lamborn and everyone else who lived through the last four years knows, personal loyalties and politics guided basically all of Trump’s decision-making. Gov. Jared Polis admitted to holding back his criticism of Trump’s disastrous mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to not jeopardize desperately needed aid to the state. Sen. Cory Gardner’s widely-mocked attempt to secure a small number of ventilators for Colorado after federal officials appropriated an order for many more is another example of cronyism poorly substituting for leadership.

And in their gushingly fulsome endorsement of Sen. Gardner’s re-election last year, the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board even tried to spin Trump’s corrupt management style as an asset to Gardner–and by extension all of Colorado:

“I turned to the president and said, ‘If you want, while the governor is here, you can tell us the permanent home of Space Command is Colorado Springs.’ The president smiled and said, ‘We should talk about that,’ just as he walked into the Oval Office,” Gardner said.

Two days later, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett told Gardner that Space Command will remain in Colorado for at least the next six years. The decision almost guarantees it will remain permanently in the Springs, as no one can defend a scenario in which taxpayers fund six more years of investment into the new combat command only to start over somewhere else.

Because of Gardner, more than anyone else, Colorado will reap the economic and cultural rewards of hosting Space Command and Space Force for years — and likely generations — to come. Gardner has relentlessly advocated for Colorado with the president [Pols emphasis] and multiple Pentagon officials.

As we all know in Colorado now, Trump only rewards loyalty when it suits him. Despite their steadfast loyalty, once Gardner and Lamborn could do nothing more for Trump the largesse for Colorado was over. Trump’s inherently corrupt transactional leadership style meant that at some point, as Doug Lamborn bitterly laments today, “politics and personal preference” would inevitably win out over what’s right. Corruption wasn’t a bug. It was a feature of Trump’s leadership.

And until Colorado Republicans accept that, they’re making excuses for corruption they participated in–and complaining only because they ended up the losers.

It’s Official: “MyPillow” Guy Harboring Maybe-Fugitive Tina Peters

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

Vice confirming an unverified report we noted two days ago: drain-circling 2020 election conspiracy theorist Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell, fresh off his disastrous so-called “Cyber Symposium” which revealed absolutely no election fraud last week in South Dakota, is presently harboring Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters at an undisclosed location while the combined federal and state investigation into the breach of security in Mesa County’s elections systems continues:

Lindell told VICE News that he had initially taken Peters to Texas following his three-day Cyber Symposium last week, where the Colorado official was a star attraction. But a disgruntled member of Lindell’s own security team leaked Peters’ location earlier this week and so she was moved to another, unknown, location.

“She’s worried about her safety, these people are ruthless,” Lindell told VICE News on Wednesday evening, referring to Dominion Voting Systems—which is suing the MyPillow CEO for $1.3 billion—and to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who has opened an investigation into Peters’ actions.

On Tuesday, the FBI announced it was working with the District Attorney’s office in Colorado “on the forensic review and analysis of county voting systems to determine if there was a potential federal criminal violation,” FBI Denver office spokeswoman Courtney Bernal told the Denver Post.

We don’t know at this point to what extent (if any) Clerk Peters is cooperating with the investigation proceeding back home in Mesa County, or the whereabouts of Sherronna Bishop, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager to traveled to Lindell’s event with Clerk Peters. Investigators have reportedly obtained a search warrant seeking access to a wide variety of communications in various formats and also Peters’ physical cell phone. The continuing disclosures about Peters’ personal role in allowing unauthorized access to and duplication of Mesa County’s election system data, going so far as turning off security cameras protecting the equipment, all appear to implicate her directly in the felony offenses alleged.

Bernal did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment on whether the office had been able to speak to Peters, or if Lindell could face prosecution for his role in both promoting the stolen data and preventing Peters from being questioned.

The one thing we can say with certainty is this impasse will not be allowed to go on for long. The Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County DA, and the FBI all on the ground in Grand Junction have no obligation to coddle anybody involved, whether subjects of the investigation or someone who might at some point soon be harboring a fugitive from justice–which is, in case Mike Lindell wasn’t aware, also a crime.

Stay tuned, we’re pretty sure the exciting part of this made-for-TV crime drama is about to start.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 19)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

Where is Tina Peters?

That’s the question everybody is asking lately about the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder who is facing multiple investigations over a breach of election security in May. Peters might be hiding out in Texas at the moment, harbored (at least in part) by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

In related news, former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams thinks Peters should resign from her position, but the State Republican Party in Colorado can’t figure out what to say:

Click here to read more about the weird story of Peters and some of her fellow conspiracy-minded Western Slope cronies.

 

Yahoo! reports on new polling related to the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan:

Amid the swift and sudden collapse of Afghanistan this week — and widespread coverage of the chaos that has engulfed the war-weary country as the Taliban seized control again — support for both the long-planned withdrawal of U.S. forces and for President Biden’s handling of foreign policy has declined significantly, according to a new Yahoo News poll.

At the same time, more Americans still favor the U.S. withdrawal than oppose it — and there are early signs that the political fallout for the president could be limited in the long run. [Pols emphasis]

Biden’s polling slide on foreign policy is largely due to unease from Republican voters.

 

 Colorado organizations are preparing to assist in relocating Afghan refugees to our state.

 

The 2022 election is fast approaching, so why do Colorado Republicans STILL not have serious candidates for most of the major statewide races on the ballot next November?

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) continues to use her campaign account as her own personal slush fund. Federal investigators are looking into some strange reimbursements from her last campaign finance report.

Meanwhile…

 

Let’s not make any effort to come up with new explanations here. There is a term for this already: It’s called “lying.”

 

 

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Mesa County Commissioners Have Got A Lot Of Nerve

Clockwise from bottom left: Scott McInnis, Cody Davis, Janet Rowland, and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

Colorado Public Radio reporters Megan Verlee and Bente Birkeland have the latest on the continuing election equipment security breach scandal in Mesa County, where Clerk Tina Peters is under both local and FBI investigation after passwords and data from election systems was stolen and leaked to far-right conspiracy theorists, in a fruitless attempt to uncover supposed election fraud:

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Peters will be barred from overseeing the election, due to evidence that she facilitated a major security breach in her office. Peters is accused of helping unauthorized people copy the hard drives of sensitive election equipment and release that information on the internet.

Griswold named Mesa County’s former clerk Sheila Reiner — who is now the county treasurer — to step in for the next election. To assist Reiner, Griswold named an advisory panel that includes state Rep. Janice Rich, who is also a past Mesa County Clerk, former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, and Ouray Clerk and Recorder Michelle Nauer.

Reiner and Rich are Republicans, Buescher is a Democrat, Nauer ran as a Republican but the Grand Junction Sentinel reports she recently switched to unaffiliated.

“The people of Mesa County deserve safe and secure elections. I am confident that with these appointments, voters in Mesa will be able to exercise their constitutional right to have their voices heard in our democracy,” said Griswold in a release announcing the appointment.

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

But as 9NEWS reports, all-GOP Mesa County Board of Commissioners is pushing back against Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s orders, and seeking to appoint none other than former Secretary of State Wayne Williams–who Griswold ousted from the job she holds today back in 2018:

Just after Griswold’s announcement, Mesa County commissioners began a meeting in which they discussed nominating a supervisor of their own.

“There’s an immediate need, in my opinion, an immediate need, to counter what the Secretary of State is doing. Our position is she is out of her lane, this is our territory, not her territory,” said Commissioner Scott McInnis (R).

The Mesa County Commissioners ultimately voted to have former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who was defeated by Griswold in the 2018 election, run Mesa’s November 2021 election. Williams is currently a Colorado Springs City councilman.

That’s right–instead of allowing the Secretary of State to appoint the immediate past Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner, a widely-respected Republican official with a long history of integrity under fire from Republican election conspiracy theories, the Mesa County commissioners are choosing to undercut the Secretary of State and snub the clear best choice to oversee Mesa County elections–in favor of a much more overtly partisan Republican who lives 300 miles away and is already busy serving as a Colorado Springs city councilor.

It’s most likely going to come down to a court fight, and the Secretary of State insists she has the authority to appoint the replacement in addition to the authority everyone agrees she has to remove Clerk Peters from her election management responsibilities. Either way, it’s politically extremely risky for the Mesa County’s all-GOP commissioners to be pushing for what could easily be interpreted as a crony appointment over a highly qualified local they don’t happen to like as much. Whether they like it or not, Mesa County is now at the epicenter of a nationwide scandal involving fellow Republicans who refuse to accept that Donald Trump lost the election–and are now committing crimes of their own while trying and failing to prove it:

Peters’ appearance at Lindell’s event and the information she allowed to be leaked to other conspiracy theorists was intended to show that election equipment supplied and maintained by Dominion, which Mesa and most other Colorado counties use, are somehow faulty. Her evidence, however, offered no such proof.

If Cody Davis, Janet Rowland, and Scott McInnis don’t want themselves to be forever tainted by the crimes Tina Peters is alleged to have committed in pursuit of the “Big Lie,” we suggest a lot less territoriality and a lot more cooperation.

Hola FBI: Mesa County Elections Breach Probe Goes Federal

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Whoa.

—–

UPDATE: Fugitive from justice, anyone?

It seems to us as though Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters ought be in Colorado where so many people want to talk to her, for example the Mesa County DA and the FBI. On the upside, if Peters is on the lam she can’t complain much about being relieved of her elections duties.

How will it end? Your guess is as good as ours, but it’s getting crazier by the minute.

—–

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

CNN updates with the latest developments in the investigation into a security breach in the Mesa County clerk’s office that resulted in passwords and data from Dominion Voting Systems election computers being publicly distributed by Ron Watkins, who is alleged to be in large part behind the “QAnon” conspiracy theory movement.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who fled the state last week while search warrants were executed on her office to attend Mike Lindell’s thoroughly discredited “Cyber Symposium,” could get a one-way ticket to Club Fed before all is said and done:

The FBI Denver field office has joined a Colorado district attorney’s investigation into the County Clerk’s office and how voting machine logins from the county wound up in a QAnon-affiliated video, an FBI spokeswoman told CNN.

Voting machine logins from Mesa County were featured in an August 3 video posted on a QAnon-affiliated Telegram ​channel about 2020 election fraud claims.

In a press conference last week, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold blamed Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters for the leak, saying the secretary of state’s office could not establish a verifiable chain of custody ​for the machines, and that Peters brought a “non-employee” to a May 25 “trusted build” meeting where closely guarded voting machine login credentials were visible to attendees. Griswold said her employees had been misled to believe that the “non-employee” in question was a county employee.

The FBI joining the case is important for two reasons: first and foremost obviously they are investigating potential violations of federal law. But there’s also been some concern expressed as this scandal has developed that fellow Republican Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein might not be as eager to press charges against Peters out of partisan loyalty. The FBI in addition to Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s close eye on the situation should go a long way toward encouraging Rubinstein to faithfully execute his responsibilities.

Meanwhile, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, the usual-suspect far-right mobs who have been showing up to Mesa County Board of Commissioner meetings to threaten civil war over having to wear facemasks turned out in force yesterday to defend Tina Peters:

Earlier on Monday, a large group of Mesa County residents asked the county commissioners to condemn Griswold for her investigation and to stand behind Peters, saying the clerk is a hero for trying to uncover cracks in the state’s election system…

Monday’s appearance by two dozen local residents, many of whom were part of an effort in June calling on the county to declare itself a “constitutional sanctuary,” questioned the results of the 2020 election, all offering anecdotal evidence to support their claims.

When these same angry mobs were threatening civil war over public health orders to control the spread of COVID-19 a few weeks ago, the all-Republican Mesa County Board of Commissioners found itself in the strange position of having to argue against the message of the area’s representative in Congress, Rep. Lauren Boebert. After all, Boebert’s regular attacks on preventative measures and the “experimental vaccine” directly fueled the fire of the mob who showed up to threaten Mesa County commissioners. It’s difficult to have sympathy for Republicans who have benefited from this same irrational political movement when it turns and bites them as it has in Mesa County, but the conflict was and remains highly revealing.

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland (R).

In that spirit we turn to Commissioner Janet Rowland, who can best be described as distastefully conservative, yet nonetheless rebutted yesterday’s mob questioning the results of the 2020 elections so perfectly we couldn’t have written it better ourselves:

“There is an ongoing investigation, not just by the Secretary of State, but by our own elected district attorney, Dan Rubinstein, who I’m guessing most of you voted for,” Rowland said…

“When I hear questions about the election results being compromised in Mesa County, what I hear is you are saying (U.S. Rep.) Lauren Boebert wasn’t legally elected in Mesa County,” Rowland said. [Pols emphasis] “(Rep.) Janice Rich, (Rep.) Matt Soper, (commissioners) Janet Rowland, Cody Davis, none of us were legally elected, there was fraud. That’s what I hear. I’m having a hard time understanding that.”

Folks, Janet Rowland is not just right. With one simple counterpoint, Rowland has effectively refuted every Republican–especially every Republican elected to office in 2020–who claims without evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen. Because if we can’t trust the system in one case, how can we trust it in any case? Boebert has no answer for this, neither does Rep. Matt Soper who baselessly second-guessed Dominion Voting Systems hardware after his preferred candidates lost the Grand Junction City Council elections last spring–despite his own victory the prior November being counted on Dominion machines.

By the time this is over, Mesa County’s Republican commissioners, simply by being forced to confront the byproducts of Republican misinformation in their jurisdiction, could do more to undo the GOP narrative in 2021 than any Democrat possibly could. For whatever reason, this deep-red county is where the rubber of Republican rhetoric is meeting the road–and it is not going well.

Every American should know what’s happening here.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 17)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

The big political news continues to revolve around the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the swift takeover of that country by the Taliban. While the Taliban takeover was not unexpected, it did happen quicker than many analysts had suggested.

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora), a former Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan, was among those on Monday who were critical about the process of withdrawal. As The Denver Post reports:

“I’m not going to mince my words on this: We didn’t need to be in this position,” the Centennial Democrat said during a news conference. “We didn’t need to be seeing the scenes we’re seeing at Kabul’s airport with our Afghan friends climbing aboard C-17s.”

“We should have started this evacuation months ago,” Crow added. “Had we done that, tens of thousands of folks could have been brought to safety. It could have been done deliberately and methodically. That was a missed opportunity.”

The collapse of Afghanistan’s government over the weekend has left tens of thousands Afghans who translated for or otherwise helped U.S. soldiers desperate for a way out of the country. Those who remain fear they will be killed by the Taliban, a terror group that controls the country.

Compared to Crow’s criticism of the process of the American withdrawal in Afghanistan, other Colorado Republicans have been busy doing their best to blame the very idea of withdrawal on President Bidennevermind that this contradicts everything they themselves have said in the previous couple of months.

Denver7 provides a list of resources for military veterans and families impacted by the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

 

 If there is a “deep end” to be found in the rhetoric about Afghanistan, you’ll find Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) frantically trying to be the first to reach the very bottom.

 

Were it not for the situation in Afghanistan, the big story today would be news that the federal government is for the first time requiring mandatory water reductions for some users of the Colorado River. Arizona will be hit hardest, losing 18% of its allocation of Colorado River water beginning in early 2022.

As Colorado Public Radio explains, Monday’s decision comes at the same time that Gov. Jared Polis and other Western Governors are asking the Biden administration for additional federal resources because of severe drought in 99% of western states.

 

ANYONE entering a Jefferson County school will be required to wear a mask after a new decision Monday by the Jefferson County Public Health Department.

9News tries to keep up with the various mask requirements for school districts across the state.

 

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters had better find herself one hell of a lawyer:

 

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Has Boebert Finally Gone Too Far?

“The Taliban are the only people building back better.”

Freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, as readers know painfully well by now, seeks by design to be one of the most outrageous voices contributing to the din around every major news story. On any available subject, Boebert can be consistently depended upon to offer a shocking statement more or less entirely for its shock value, in hope that sheer bombast will lead to either news coverage or at least an avalanche of social media attention–attention which Boebert does not bother to distinguish between support and condemnation. Generally speaking, it’s all the same to her.

But yesterday, as Newsweek’s Jack Beresford reports, Boebert appears to have miscalculated the response to the Tweet you can see above, which unambiguously expresses support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan while American officials try desperately to evacuate thousands of allies and American citizens from the country:

GOP congresswoman Lauren Boebert has been criticized for appearing to express support for the Taliban and also mocking footage showing several Afghans clinging to a U.S. military plane on Monday.

Boebert has been a vocal critic of President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan in a move that has seen Taliban insurgents seize control of much of the country over the past week.

However, her latest tweets have not sat well with many on social media, who were quick to take the freshman Representative to task over her choice of words.

Huffington Post:

There are grave concerns the Taliban will roll back basic human and democratic rights, especially for women, and oversee a return to the extremist Islamic rule that Afghans lived under from 1996 to 2001.

Boebert, a major cheerleader for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election lies, has faced scrutiny over her role in inspiring the violent insurrection led by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Her critics slammed her for the Taliban-friendly quip after she helped foment a domestic terrorism incident.

They also recirculated a notable February tweet in which Boebert called out Biden for delaying the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan: “We need to end the endless wars,” she said at the time.

As with so many Republicans savaging the Biden administration for what everyone agrees was a more troubled exit than anyone hoped for, Rep. Boebert has a long record of hypocritical statements enthusiastically supporting former President Donald Trump’s similar promises to pull American troops out of Afghanistan–including Trump’s boast just a month ago that his actions had forced the Biden administration to stay on track to withdraw against their wishes. Republicans aren’t even trying to reconcile these contradictory viewpoints as they pile on the administration today.

From what we can see, Boebert is the only Republican who took the additional step of praising the Taliban.

The vitriol in American politics has grown immeasurably in recent years, most of it coming from the right as Trump smeared and slandered his way to power. But when partisan hostility grows so intense that one side starts cheering on a foreign enemy posing an immediate threat to thousands of Americans and our allies, something has got to give.

Or this isn’t the country it used to be.

Go Ahead and Ignore Republicans on Afghanistan

President Biden spoke this afternoon from the White House regarding the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of American forces from that country and the subsequent takeover by Taliban forces. As The Washington Post reports:

In remarks at the White House Monday afternoon, President Biden acknowledged that the collapse of Afghanistan’s government and security forces took place more rapidly than expected — but maintained that withdrawing U.S. troops from the country was the correct decision.

“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden said. “So what’s happened? Afghanistan’s political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, some … without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”

He added: “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Meanwhile, both around the country and here in Colorado, Republicans are crowing about the perceived failures of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s the kind of back seat driving/Monday morning quarterbacking that Republicans have long favored as opposed to offering up any sort of actual policy proposal of their own.

Former President Trump is accusing Biden of having “surrendered” to the Taliban — and even, absurdly, calling on Biden to resign as President — while insisting that he would have handled the withdrawal of military forces differently. Never mind that it was the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION that negotiated the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan back in December 2020

In fact, here was Trump in July 2021 (yes, LAST month):

 

Nobody would argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan is going well, but it’s likely that the swift Taliban takeover in the region was going to happen whenever America finally left Afghanistan. As The Washington Post explains, the complete failure of the Afghan security forces to offer any real resistance to the Taliban was not a huge surprise. 

Yet in their zeal to pin all of the negative effects of the withdrawal on Biden, Republicans are again completely ignoring their own history. For example, here’s Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle):

In that last Tweet, Boebert quotes right-wing talking head Jack Posobiec, whom Reddit users already discredited over the weekend.

Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Boebert’s Colorado colleague, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), haughtily condemned the Biden administration over the Afghanistan withdrawal:

We are a strong country with a weak President…

…President Biden was misleading the American people and putting Americans at risk, and foreigners at risk, inside Afghanistan with just a foolhardy plan.

This is interesting, considering that just a few months ago Buck was clamoring for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. Here’s what he wrote in a letter co-signed by Rep. Barbara Lee in March of this year:

“We support your administration’s pledge to advance a negotiated end to this war, and we believe that meeting the May 1 deadline is vital to this effort…But it is long past time for the United States to end its military role in a complex conflict that predates our initial invasion two decades ago.”

Congressman Buck has long been an adherent of taking every side on every issue, so his mealy-mouthed talk on Afghanistan is no huge surprise. This is all illustrative (again) that Republican politicians largely have absolutely nothing useful to add to the problem.

Republicans are going to say something today that is completely different than whatever they said yesterday, and if the situation changes tomorrow…then they’ll say something else. It’s as predictable as it is useless.

The Sad Continuing Decline Of Rep. B.J. Nikkel

Longtime readers will recall former GOP state representative Betty June “B.J.” Nikkel of Loveland, whose star briefly shined in the mid-2010s as a social-issue reasonable conservative Republican after she signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of LGBT marriage equality–and might have been a contender for higher office had the Colorado GOP as a unit become more tolerant (it of course did not).

Unfortunately, former Rep. Nikkel’s sensible shine started to fade after she became a devoted supporter and Colorado chair of Women for Trump in 2016. Throughout Trump’s single term in office, Nikkel’s social media relentlessly broadcast every kind of Trump agit-prop and nugget misinformation, leading in the days after the January 6th insurrection to the inevitable:

Twitter may have shut down Nikkel’s account when it became too insurrectionist for their terms of service, but apparently Facebook’s standards are lenient enough that Nikkel is allowed to keep her platform there. And checking in last week while “MyPillow” conspiracy guy Mike Lindell’s flop sweat-laden “Cyber Symposium,” which revealed precisely zero promised proof of election fraud last week, we see that Nikkel was cheering on this most epochal of nothingburgers:

Is any of this unique? No. But in Nikkel’s case, because of her once-reasonable record it’s more than a little bit sad. There may be something to the theory that being rejected by the Colorado GOP due to Nikkel’s adverse position on LGBT rights made her more susceptible to Donald Trump’s insurgent (at least in 2016) message. But to still be clinging to this discredited dead-ender denial over Trump’s defeat last November tells us Nikkel won’t be coming back to reality anytime soon, maybe ever.

All these years later, Nikkel is a cautionary tale: even some of the “good ones” went off the deep end for Trump.

The Get More Smarter Podcast (ft. Rep. Ed Perlmutter)

This week on Episode #83 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) about all of the work he and his fellow Democratic Members of Congress are doing to bring back federal money to their districts for community projects and infrastructure improvements.

Later, we look into the news that Joe Biden is still the President of the United States despite the efforts of “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, with some bizarre (and probably illegal) help from Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

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 the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th — the only such day of 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 

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

 

The U.S. Census Bureau released a trove of new demographic data from the last decade on Thursday. The big national takeaway is that the number of white people in the United States fell for the first time in the country’s recorded history. More specific to Colorado, the Greeley metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and the City of Denver is one of the 10 cities in the U.S. with the biggest population gain over the last decade.

The Denver Post elaborates on the Colorado-centric aspects of the data release:

Colorado fits right in with several of the biggest nationwide trends shown by the data, including continued migration south and west, away from the midwest and northeast. The state and country are also less white overall. A record low of about 58% of people nationally now identify as non-Hispanic white, the census reports.

The Washington Post also highlights the growth in Colorado’s northern Metro area.

 

President Biden and Vice President Harris are still in office at this moment and do not appear to be close to resigning their positions. Today, of course, is the day that adherents of “The Big Lie” (including “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell) predicted would be the end of the Biden administration.

It has now been 283 days since the November 2020 election. Move it along, people.

For more on how Lindell’s “cyber symposium” worked out, check out Aaron Blake’s column in The Washington Post titled, “The spectacular implosion of Mike Lindell.”

 

 Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is in some pretty deep doo-doo. As the Colorado Secretary of State’s office outlined on Thursday, it appears that someone in the Mesa County Clerk’s office turned off security cameras at exactly the same time that screenshots from the electronic voting software were captured. As a result, Mesa County will have to go to considerable expense to replace all of its election equipment. Peters, naturally, is invoking “Nazi Germany” in her self-defense. As The Denver Post explains, Peters addressed the issue publicly while attending Mike Lindell’s “cyber symposium” in South Dakota:

“My job looks like it’s on the line but you know what? The people of Mesa County elected me, not the secretary of state,” Peters said.

“If those passwords were compromised, why can’t they just change them? How many of you have had to change your email password before? Is that a big deal? You just change it. We’re not in the middle of an election right now,” she said. “It’s not like some secret people came and did something nefarious.”

Um, well, actually…

Peters repeatedly referred to a search Tuesday — in which secretary of state’s office employees and Mesa County district attorney’s office employees investigated the election equipment, cameras and visitor logs — as a “raid.”

“This is not Nazi Germany. We cooperate together. We have bipartisan judges. Why couldn’t we have bipartisan judges in there in that room when they were raiding my office?” she told the crowd.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Sentinel has more on Peters’ vague comments from Thursday.

 

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MesaGate: When The “Truthers” Turn The Cameras Off

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports from a press conference held this morning by Secretary of State Jena Griswold, in which Griswold disclosed damning new details about the recent security breach in Mesa County election systems that resulted in confidential information being leaked to far-right conspiracy theorists–and ordered all affected elections equipment in Mesa Country immediately decertified:

The Mesa County Clerk’s Office allowed an unauthorized person into sensitive areas where its election equipment is located, had turned off surveillance cameras that were supposed to be monitoring those machines and failed to show proper chain of custody after new software was installed, The Daily Sentinel has learned.

Those are the conclusions that the Secretary of State’s office just announced today, prompting Secretary of State Jena Griswold to officially decertify all of the county’s election equipment…

That means that 41 individual scanners, servers, tablets and other election equipment that the clerk’s office owns cannot be used. How much it would cost the county to either replace them or find a way to get them re-certified is unknown. Altogether, they are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Everything reported so far points to Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ direct involvement in the breach of security in May during an update of election hardware that resulted in passwords being leaked to the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit by way of infamous 8chan founder and suspected QAnon puppeteer Ron Watkins. But perhaps the most damning evidence yet directly implicating Peters’ office was disclosed in today’s report:

The order says that Peters or someone else in her office order that those cameras be turned off before that installation occurred. They were not reactivated until sometime in August, “which is inconsistent with the department’s understanding of the normal course of business practice in Mesa County.”

As with every criminal investigation, there are degrees of culpability to consider. It would be one thing for an outside operative to steal sensitive information without Clerk Peters’ knowledge. Just providing that unauthorized person access to breach security is bad enough, of course, but the question now becomes whether or not Peters allowed or even intended for that third party to leak it.

Turning the cameras off strongly suggests either Peters or someone in her office was in on the whole thing.

Again, and it’s necessary to say this every time so there’s no confusion: these passwords could not have been used to change the results of any election. These are by all accounts local-only passwords for hardware not even connected to the Internet, which means no one outside the room could do anything with them to tamper with election results. That’s why it’s so important to know who’s in the room.

At this point, there’s no question that the criminal investigation underway by Mesa County’s Republican DA Dan Rubinstein is necessary–and we hope Rubinstein can carry it out impartially. Rather than proving election fraud, which nothing they uncovered proved, Clerk Peters and her unhinged band of conspiracy theorist friends may have shown once again how far Republicans are willing to go to prove that election fraud is possible despite any evidence it is actually occurring.

Far enough to make criminals of themselves.

CO GOP Selects Member of QAnon-Linked Conspiracy Group That Organized Jan 6 Caravan As Its ‘Election Integrity’ Chair

(The asylum is under new management – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

One of USEIP’s map for its Jan 6 caravan featured white nationalist meme Pepe the Frog.

The chair of the Colorado Republican Party’s new committee to safeguard the state’s elections is also a member of and working closely with a QAnon-linked election fraud conspiracy group.

The group, the U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP), was founded in Colorado last November. It not only promotes the debunked “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, but coordinated a caravan of protestors from Denver to Washington D.C. for the January 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, providing routes, racial maps of the city, and a forum where attendees discussed tactics and weapons to bring to the event, which they expected to be, as President Trump called it, a “wild protest.”

Colorado’s Republican Party leader, Kristi Burton Brown appointed USEIP member Emily Brake, a Boulder County GOP member, earlier this year to run the party’s “Election Integrity Operations Action Committee.” Brown herself has questioned the validity of the 2020 election results both nationally and in Colorado.

USEIP organized several election fraud conspiracy rallies at the Colorado Capitol in late 2020 and early this year. and also coordinated a caravan of members. Its planning for the caravan to attend the “Stop the Steal” January 6 rally in Washington DC included not only logistical support such as carpooling, routes and lodging options, but also discussion of which weapons would be best suited for carrying during the event.

In a USEIP chat room, member Theresa Watson, who also serves as the Boulder County GOP Chair, referenced videos about how to use a “tactical pen,” which is a heavy metal pen intended not to be used as a writing instrument but as a weapon for stabbing an opponent.

“A tactical pen is a good equalizer to carry in a crowd,” posted Watson. “Jason Hanson, former CIA agent has a good quality one — I’d avoid Amazon and Walmart versions –and he has many videos about how to use and getting away quick. Plus things you thought you’d never need to know.”

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Holy Symposium: Mesa County Clerk Scandal Explodes

UPDATE: Sure thing, folks:

We’ll update. Maybe. It had better be good.

—–

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters with “MyPillow Guy” conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.

Yesterday’s Colorado political news headlines were dominated by an investigation ordered by Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s into an alleged serious breach of election systems security in Mesa County, in which passwords to access Dominion Voting Systems workstations was leaked and eventually wound up posted to a right-wing blog falsely claiming they could be used to remotely log into (and therefore tamper with) election systems.

Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has previously made bizarre and unfounded claims about elections systems in support of ex-President Donald Trump’s contention the election was stolen despite having certified her own county’s results last November with no issues, issued a statement in response to Secretary of State Griswold’s demand for record that vaguely suggested she was involved in this breach–saying “The citizens of Mesa County have been critical of election integrity” and “I will do everything in my power to protect their vote.” Whether Peters’ vow to “protect their vote” was by finding out how this breach occurred or facilitating the breach was left unclear.

Until last night, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters made a surprise appearance at Mike Lindell’s symposium Tuesday, an event that purports to be looking into allegation that the 2020 president election was rigged. She said state officials were “raiding” her office while she was in flight to the South Dakota event.

Peters, who faces possible criminal charges for security breaches, told the symposium audience that whoever entered her office in Grand Junction Tuesday could have accessed whatever they wanted, and implied that they were planting false evidence.

Peters was the featured speaker at Lindell’s symposium, [Pols emphasis] an event that the My Pillow company and fervent supporter of former President Donald Trump promised would provide a smoking gun to prove that the election was rigged, regardless of a massive amount of evidence to the contrary.

Rumored 2022 GOP Secretary of State candidate Rose Pugliese regrettably shows her support for Tina Peters in 2018.

Heidi Beedle of the Colorado Springs Independent reported via Twitter that at least two additional Colorado-based “Big Lie” peddlers of note traveled to South Dakota to appear at “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” with Clerk Peters: including “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery” freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks and Sherrona Bishop, a close associate of Rep. Lauren Boebert. As the Washington Post’s Joseph Marks reports this morning, no evidence of election fraud is emerging from Lindell’s so-called “symposium” despite Lindell’s insistence that a bombshell was forthcoming:

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell yesterday kicked off a “cyber symposium” that promised digital proof of his outlandish claims the 2020 election was hacked.

But by the end of the first day, all he’d provided was a smattering of data that amounted to nothing, according to experts in attendance…

“This is a big fat nothing and a distraction,” Harri Hursti, a longtime election security expert who attended the conference to fact check any technical evidence, told me. Hursti is among the most prominent critics of voting machine security but has slammed election-fraud claims by Donald Trump and his supporters for lacking any hard evidence.

…Lindell began the day claiming the conference itself was the victim of hacking. Throughout the lengthy day, he alleged bombshell evidence would soon arrive that never materialized. [Pols emphasis]

Was Clerk Peters the “bombshell” Mike Lindell promised? If so, she failed to deliver the goods. This nonetheless represents a major escalation by the “Big Lie” conspiracy theorists in Colorado, who are now rallying around Peters despite no evidence Peters has done anything other than commit a crime, and capitalizing on her situation to win face time with Mike Lindell. But make no mistake, nothing Peters is doing here will help her in a potential criminal defense, which it looks like she’s going to need:

Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein has launched a criminal investigation. He said he hasn’t spoken to Tina Peters, the Clerk and Recorder for Mesa County, in quite some time.

Politically, this escalating scandal could become a debacle for Colorado Republicans looking to take back statewide offices in 2022. Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, a longtime ally of Clerk Peters (photo above right), faces tough questions about Peters (and the 2020 elections in general) that could be enough to dissuade her from running for Secretary of State–or render her unelectable if she does run.

As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s hubris for Colorado Republicans to participate in this baseless relitigation of the 2020 elections. Colorado, with our proven record of secure and accessible elections overwhelmingly trusted by the voting public, is the wrong battlefield for “Big Lie” dead-enders. If the obsession with second-guessing 2020 becomes the face of the Colorado GOP in 2022, a third consecutive disaster awaits them at the polls.

As for “MyPillow Guy,” hopefully he holds on to enough of his money to help Clerk Peters make bail.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 11)

Your horoscope today says something about progress and fulfillment (probably). 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. 

 

Oregon will join Louisiana and Hawaii in instituting a statewide mask mandate as concerns grow over the Delta variant of COVID-19. From The Washington Post:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is expected Wednesday to put in place a statewide indoor mask mandate and a vaccination requirement for state employees, citing concerns over growing coronavirus cases due to the more transmissible delta variant.

The indoor mask mandate will make Oregon the third state — following Louisiana and Hawaii — to apply the measures to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, as bans on mask and vaccine mandates play out in a number of Republican-run states such as Texas and Florida. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) last month mandated that face coverings be worn indoors in public settings in counties with “substantial or high transmission.”…

…Brown’s decision comes as schools and political leaders battle over masks elsewhere. Florida’s second-largest school system is now threatening legal action to challenge the ban on mask mandates by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and voted Tuesday evening to keep its own requirements in place for students and staff.

The Broward County School Board — which voted 8 to 1 on Tuesday to uphold its mask mandate despite DeSantis’s move to curb such restrictions and subsequent threat to stop paying superintendents and school board members who defy his orders — said in an evening news conference that it told its legal counsel to prepare a challenge.

Local leaders are increasingly rejecting efforts by Republican governors from Florida to Texas to prohibit mask mandates. Private companies are also implementing vaccination requirements despite threats from Republican governors.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are the worse they have been since May.

 

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release final data on Thursday that will guide the process of redistricting. As Colorado Public Radio explains, there are a lot of criticisms for the redistricting commissions to sift through:

When the U.S. Census Bureau releases its final numbers on Thursday, it will start the clock on a mad dash to prepare final congressional and statehouse maps.

Nonpartisan state staffers will have just over three weeks to combine that data with feedback on the state’s draft map and release an updated version for the state’s new Redistricting Commission to consider.

For the past six weeks, Coloradans of all stripes have been weighing in on where the lines should go for the state’s congressional and statehouse districts. The final result could shape the balance of power between the parties, and the level of representation for different interest groups, for the next decade.

Several Latino organizations have raised concerns that preliminary maps dilute the political power of the state’s second-largest ethnic group.

There’s a similar story today from Denver7:

 

Big news for former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar:

 

 Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is furiously digging as deep a hole as possible for herself. Following news that Peters may have been involved in a serious breach of election security, she showed up at “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s lunatic election fraud symposium on Tuesday that is allegedly going to unveil “proof” of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election any day now.

 

 

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What Did Mesa County’s Q-razy Clerk Do?

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R).

Media outlets across the state are alight this morning over allegations that GOP Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters may have been involved in a serious breach of election systems security that resulted in alleged passwords to access voting equipment posted on the conspiracy theory blog Gateway Pundit and elsewhere. The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby:

Secretary of State Jena Griswold issued a direct order to Peters early Monday demanding that she disclose surveillance recordings and other documents related to the illegal release of passwords to Mesa County election computers, including detailed information for an unknown employee who may or may not work for her who Peters allowed to have access to sensitive election information…

“This is a very serious breach in chain-of- custody and security protocols, Griswold added. “If the Mesa County clerk cannot show proof in the chain of custody or if the voting equipment after inspection, if there is anything that comes to our attention, the voting equipment will be decertified.”

Griswold also said that possible criminal charges could be filed as a result of the security breach, but declined to say whether Peters herself or someone else in her office could held liable pending the outcome of her office’s investigation.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter has additional details on the alleged breach:

Secretary of State Jena Griswold believes the alleged breach occurred May 25 during the installation of new Dominion Voting Systems software. On Aug. 2, images of the software were posted to the social media site Telegram and conservative blog The Gateway Pundit. Dominion has been a target of conspiracy theories that claim it changed votes in the 2020 presidential election.

The social media and blog posts do not mention Colorado or Mesa County but, according to Griswold’s order, the images include “passwords specific to the individual hardware stations of Mesa County’s voting system.”

Here’s the most important point: the Sentinel reports that the passwords leaked online are useless for anyone not physically present in front of a Mesa County elections workstation. The password is not for a remotely accessible login to any election system because the machines are not connected to the internet. That means all the contentions made by Gateway Pundit, et al are made up.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters revealed herself as an unapologetic 2020 election dead-ender in January despite her firsthand experience with Dominion Voting Systems election hardware used by her and almost all 64 counties in Colorado. Peters joined in the online pile-on against Denver-based Dominion executive Eric Coomer over libelous fiction that Coomer helped steal the election, and called the results in 2020 “fraud on a grand scale.”

With all of these facts in view, it is not at all inconceivable that Clerk Peters might have given an outside party passwords or the means to obtain them in order to prove the conspiracy theory she has already alleged involving Dominion Voting Systems. In Peters’ response to the order from Secretary of State Jena Griswold, there’s a hint that Peters knows very well what’s going on:

“Confidence in the election process is paramount,” she said. “The citizens of Mesa County have been critical of election integrity. They have brought me their concerns and I have told them I will do everything in my power to protect their vote.”

“Protecting the vote” by undermining election security? Talk about destroying the village in order to save it. If that’s what happened, it’s another stunning case of Republicans wishing so hard for election fraud they have to do it themselves.

Stay tuned, this story could turn explosive at any moment.

Get More Smarter on Monday (August 9)

There are 137 shopping days left until Christmas. 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. 

 

If you hadn’t noticed from the massive wildfires or barely-breathable air, Climate Change is a serious problem. As The Washington Post explains, scientists are pounding the ‘alert’ buttons:

Via The Washington Post (8/9/21)

 

The landmark report, compiled by 234 authors relying on more than 14,000 studies from around the globe, bluntly lays out for policymakers and the public the most up-to-date understanding of the physical science on climate change. Released amid a summer of deadly fires, floods and heat waves, it arrives less than three months before a critical summit this November in Scotland, where world leaders face mounting pressure to move more urgently to slow the Earth’s warming.

Monday’s sprawling assessment states that there is no remaining scientific doubt that humans are fueling climate change. That much is “unequivocal.” The only real uncertainty that remains, its authors say, is whether the world can muster the will to stave off a darker future than the one it already has carved in stone. [Pols emphasis]

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called the findings “a code red for humanity” and said societies must find ways to embrace the transformational changes necessary to limit warming as much as possible. “We owe this to the entire human family,” he said in a statement. “There is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

Experts say that the Earth needs a coordinated international effort to combat Climate Change — one that can begin work IMMEDIATELY.

 

As The New York Times reports, Congressional Democrats are close to proposing a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint:

Democrats on Monday launched their push for the most significant expansion of the nation’s social safety net since the Great Society, unveiling a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would boost spending on health care, child and elder care, education and climate change while bypassing a promised Republican filibuster.

The blueprint, which the Senate hopes to pass by the end of this week, would allow Senate Democrats to piece together social policy legislation this fall, fully paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, large inheritances and corporations. And if Democrats and their two independent allies can hold together, that measure could pass the Senate without a Republican vote.

That measure would pass after a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill likely clears the Senate on Tuesday. Together, they would secure the remainder of President Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda, but the two-step effort will test Mr. Biden’s ability to both work with Republicans and maneuver around them.

Colorado Newsline has more on the separate infrastructure proposal that could be close to making it through the Senate.

 

Colorado Republicans are promoting their legislative priorities for 2022…in August of 2021.

 

There are no words.

In related news, The Colorado Sun notes that Republicans are prioritizing efforts to pass ballot measures because they have proven so inept at winning other elections recently.

 

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“Reprehensible”–Liz Cheney Calls Out GOP Colleagues In Aspen

Rep. Liz Cheney (R).

As the Aspen Times’ Rick Carroll reports, yesterday the Aspen Insitute hosted a conversation with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming about her role on the select committee investigating the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by dead-ender supporters of ex-President Donald Trump on January 6th in an attempt to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential elections. Cheney’s refusal to accede to the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from Trump, and her unrelenting condemnation of the events of that day even as her Republican colleagues fell back in line behind Trump, have made Cheney a pariah within her own party.

But that won’t be the judgment of history:

“It was mob, and you’ve seen the video now, attempting to tear people limb from limb,” Cheney told interviewer Eric Schmidt, also former chairman and CEO of Google, inside the Greenwald Pavilion on the Aspen Meadows campus. “And so when I hear my colleagues say it was a group of tourists, when I hear them say this was nothing to be afraid of, when I hear Donald Trump say the crowd was full of love, I think it is reprehensible and indefensible, [Pols emphasis] and I think that all of us have a duty and a responsibility not to look away from the reality of that day and the reality of how we got to that day.”

Cheney voted with Donald Trump 92.6% of the time he was president and also voted to re-elect him in 2020. The daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney assumed office in January 2017 and has said she will seek re-election in the 2022 mid-terms.

Republicans removed her from her GOP leadership position after she impeached Trump over the insurrection, and Trump reportedly has been meeting with potential challengers to Cheney in next year’s primary. Cheney, however, said the insurrection probe is a search for the truth of what happened Jan. 6, also the byproduct of a fragmented America, part of which has drifted from the country’s democratic principles.

Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, January 6th 2021.

Rep. Cheney has no love for the left, and the feeling up until Donald Trump forced a different kind of moral alignment upon the country was certainly mutual. But we defy anyone on either side of the aisle to question Cheney’s insight regarding the events of January 6th:

“I look at this moment that we have arrived at and I think in many ways that we need to have a very serious, sustained national discussion about American history, about civics, about the Constitution and about the rule of law,” she said. “And when you look at what happened in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and look at what happened on Jan. 6, and when you look at the response of my party in the days and weeks and now months afterwards, it’s very clear that some people are willing to accept what I think was a line that can never be crossed, and I think as Americans, for us it’s a moment where we have to put politics aside and we have to say ‘this isn’t about a policy debate, this isn’t about where you are on taxes or on government regulation or on national security issues; this is about the fundamental underpinnings of our society.’” [Pols emphasis]

Never before and maybe never again, but what Liz Cheney said.

Aspen is a liberal enclave in the heart of freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert’s district. During Boebert’s run for office in 2020, Cheney hosted a fundraiser for Boebert, but now that Boebert calls Cheney “a cancer to our party and to our caucus” that’s obviously all in the past. Rep. Ken Buck stoutly defended Cheney when the House GOP conference voted to boot Cheney from leadership, but since then Buck has come back to the “Big Lie” in his own peculiar way and certainly has no appetite for an investigation into the events of January 6th. At no point has Buck attempted to reconcile his view of Cheney with Boebert’s, a massive contradiction that has simply festered while events have taken their course.

It’s not going to work forever. Liz Cheney came to Aspen to throw down in the backyard of one of her most acrimonious detractors. Boebert can’t respond to Cheney’s criticism of Trump and the enablers of January 6th with facts, only with scorn and cheap-shot aspersions. And anything that Ken Buck says at this point will only get him in more trouble with his own party one way or the other.

It’s a real pickle for every Republican except Liz Cheney, who has nothing left to lose.

As for this greater question “about the fundamental underpinnings of our society,” Cheney is on the side history will favor.

Republican State Reps. Hanks, Williams Off The “Big Lie” Deep End

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

Reporter Heidi Beedle of the Colorado Springs Independent has a feature-length story out today on two Colorado Republican state representatives, Reps. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs and Ron Hanks from an undisclosed location in Fremont County, who have fully embraced the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump despite a lack of any credible evidence this occurred.

As readers know, Rep. Hanks attended the January 6th “Rally To Save America” that degenerated into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and has now admitted to being inside police lines while somehow still pretending that it was Antifa doing the rioting. A few days before Joe Biden took office, Hanks still held out hope that foreign intelligence services would swoop in with proof the election was stolen. Nonetheless during the legislative session this year, Hanks objected to being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” during debate over DOA Republican bills to suppress and second-guess the vote.

But as Beedle reports for the Indy, on July 17th at a town hall in Colorado Springs hosted by Rep. Williams, Rep. Hanks earned the label with interest:

Hanks MADE claims about election fraud THAT were both grandiose — stating that there were “well over 100,000 incidents of irregularities” in Maricopa County — and vague. He prefaced his claims with words like “hypothetically,” “conceptually” and “theoretically.” He suggested that Runbeck, an Arizona company that prints ballots, could possibly be reusing returned ballots to sway the election. “Here’s a hypothetical for you — and it has been asked — what happens to the ballots that are sent to an address but that person doesn’t live there anymore and the Postal Service, through some grace, returns it?” he asked. “It’s going to go back to the sender, and the sender is Runbeck, and there’s some questions about what they’re doing. What do they do with those ballots? Do they fill them out? Put them in a drop box that makes it rather easy to spread the extra votes? That’s a concern we have. They did 30 million [ballots], and on top of that there’s the 168,000 paper ballots on the wrong kind of paper. You heard Rep. Williams make the point that 5,600 people they found so far in Colorado that were deceased, but on our voting rolls. Arizona came up with the same thing. Thousands.”

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

Although Beedle goes a good job of refuting most of the claims made by Hanks in her story as quickly as they’re transcribed, this business about “168,000 paper ballots on the wrong kind of paper” rang a bell with us–because Politico debunked it last month after Donald Trump first invoked it:

TRUMP: “168,000 fraudulent ballots printed on illegal paper (unofficial ballots)”

THE FACTS: All of that is false. The ballots were not unofficial or printed on illegal paper, and even [Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan never alleged they were fraudulent.

Logan pointed to ballots with the printing slightly offset between the front and back. He claimed this could cause votes to be counted for the wrong candidate if ink from one side bleeds through to another. He said the alignment issues were mostly from polling-place ballots, which are printed onsite, and said about 168,000 ballots were cast that way. The overwhelming majority of Arizona voters cast ballots by mail.

As for the claim that “dead voters” cast ballots in Colorado, this is a perennially recycled mix of whole-cloth falsehoods and a simple misunderstanding of how mail ballots work: with a window of several weeks between the delivery of ballots and Election Day, some number of voters will statistically return a mail ballot and then, you know, die. That’s unfortunate but one thing it’s not is fraudulent.

Though as Beedle’s story continues, the real mistake we may be making is trying to make sense of anything Rep. Ron Hanks says:

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“Leave The Rest To Me” (And Lauren Boebert)

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert meets with Donald Trump in early December 2020.

As the U.S. House special investigation into the assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of ex-President Donald Trump on January 6th continues, details continue to emerge showing how Donald Trump intended for his Republican allies in Congress to find a way–any way–to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory that day, and leaning on officials at the Justice Department to provide him with even the thinnest rhetorical justification for continuing to resist Biden taking office. AP reporting:

“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” [Pols emphasis] Trump said at one point to then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, according to notes taken by Richard Donoghue, who was then Rosen’s deputy and who was also on the call.

The notes of the Dec. 27 call, released Friday by the House Oversight Committee, underscore the lengths to which Trump went to try to overturn the results of the election and to elicit the support of senior government officials in that effort. Emails released last month show Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud, forwarding them conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed with the Supreme Court.

The pressure is all the more notable because just weeks earlier, Trump’s own attorney general William Barr, revealed that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results. Unsubstantiated claims of fraud have been repeatedly rejected by judge after judge, including by Trump appointees, and by election officials across the country.

“Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” Trump said. In addition to incumbent Republican members of Congress like Jim Jordan, who is now under scrutiny for his conversations with Trump prior and/or during the January 6th insurrection, Trump was in at least some amount of contact with Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert. On December 27th, the day of this alleged conversation between Trump and acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, Trump was pushing January 6th on his Twitter feed and Boebert was amplifying:

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Republicans Might Have Backed the Wrong Horse…Again

 

UPDATE #2: And again…

 

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UPDATE: To our point…

Via The Washington Post (7/30/21)

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Could become a popular item (the bag).

Philip Bump of The Washington Post has an interesting new column out today that prodded us to take a new look at a question we’ve long pondered: Are Republicans SURE that following Donald Trump is their best option in 2022? 

Bump notes that Trump is no longer able to drive a national conversation like he once could — in part because of his banishment from major social media sites — and points out that Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans have been steadily dropping since the Jan. 6 insurrection. Add in the fact that Trump’s endorsement hasn’t been all that effective lately (more on this in a moment), and it leads Bump to conclude the following:

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for Trump to be seen as decisive. It’s why when a political action committee associated with Trump nemesis John Bolton published a poll suggesting that Trump’s grip had weakened, Trump’s team did a full-court press to rebut the insinuation. His then-spokesman Jason Miller sent a flurry of rejoinders insisting that Trump was still as strong as he liked the world to think. (Incidentally, Miller’s replacement by Liz Harrington is in its own way a diminishment of Trump’s ability to hold the party in his grip.) Trump needs people to think he can make or break their careers.

It’s probably true that, for many, he still can. But this week has been a good reminder that such bullying can very quickly fall apart under the right conditions. At some point next year, as primaries unfold, Trump may see his power collapse and see a bunch of Republicans he opposed headed back to Washington — shaking their heads at him as they go, amazed that they had ever feared him. [Pols emphasis]

On Monday, Trump endorsed Susan Wright ahead of a special election in Texas to fill the remainder of her late husband’s term in Congress (Rep. Ron Wright died earlier this year after being infected with COVID-19). Susan Wright went on to lose to fellow Republican Jake Ellzey by about seven points. 

As POLITICO reports, the outcome in Texas’ 6th Congressional District had Trump lackeys running scared:

[Wright’s] loss Tuesday night sent shockwaves through the former president’s inner circle. Many privately concede the pressure is on them to win another special election next week in Ohio, where a Trump-backed candidate is locked in a close primary.

Advisers worry that a second embarrassing loss would raise questions about the power of Trump’s endorsement — his most prized political commodity, which candidates from Ohio to Wyoming are scrambling to earn before next year’s midterms. [Pols emphasis] More broadly, losses could undermine his standing in the Republican Party, where his popularity and influence has protected Trump’s relevance even as a former president barred from his social media megaphones.

A bit later, POLITICO noters that Trump didn’t do much for Wright aside from his generic endorsement rhetoric:

Some Republicans, however, pin partial blame for Wright’s loss on Trump. While the former president sent out statements reiterating his support for Wright and hosted a late tele-rally for her, he did little to help her build her campaign war chest — something he could have done using his vast small donor network. Recently released finance reports showed Ellzey significantly outraising Wright.

Trump has backed Mike Carey for Congress in a special election in Ohio next week, where the story is much the same. Carey is being vastly outspent by a different Republican candidate, former state lawmaker Ron Hood, who is backed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and other conservative Super PACs. Trump advisers are right to worry about what it will say for The Big Orange Guy’s influence if his preferred candidate loses what is essentially a Republican primary for the second time in a week.

These are not the only signs that Trump’s influence might not be as strong as his supporters — including Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert — would like to believe. 

In late Spring, Trump rolled out a new blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” that lasted all of 29 days after proving to be less popular than even lesser-known pet-adoption and recipe websites. Organizers of a proposed winter tour headlined by Trump and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly are having a hard time selling tickets; consumers are apparently much more interested in paying money to see the likes of comedian Katt Williams or podcast host Joe Rogan

Republicans across the country have stuck with Trump even after his departure from the White House in January, but doubts are growing. Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, who earlier this year declared that the State GOP would “never” go back to “the pre-Trump era,” has been walking back those declarations in recent interviews. 

Cool, you’ve got these voters. What about everybody else?

Republicans have been basing their entire 2022 political strategy around support for “The Big Lie,” either because they truly believe that the 2020 Presidential Election was fraudulent or (more likely) because they are terrified that Trump could derail their political careers by supporting a GOP challenger. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is so frightened of receiving a primary challenge that he recently started inventing his own ridiculous election conspiracy theories. After waffling for months on whether or not the 2020 election was legitimate, Buck dove headfirst down the rabbit hole in July to prove his fealty to falsehoods. Was it worth it, politically-speaking, for Buck to avoid the ire of Trump? 

Maybe not.

Politicians such as Buck, Boebert, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have staked their 2022 election hopes on the power of Trump’s influence, an allegiance that has compelled them to speak up more forcefully ON THE SIDE OF THE INSURRECTIONISTS. Historically it has not generally been a good political strategy to openly support terrorists; the upside of remaining on Trump’s Christmas card list might not prove to be a fair trade in 18 months. 

Trump is still the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican nominee for President in 2024, so there’s still reason to believe that keeping your nose in Trump’s butt will be a (politically) rewarding strategy.

But it’s tough to argue that Trump’s influence isn’t trending in the wrong direction…and that should make a lot of Republicans very, very nervous.

So Much For “Needle Nazis”–Who’s Going Door To Door Now?

Rep. Ron Hanks (R) in Phoenix observing the Arizona election “audit.”

As The Dispatch in York, Pennsylvania reports, local police are on alert for activists going door to door as part of a so-called “Election Integrity Project,” approaching voters to question them about how they voted in 2020 and who they voted for:

Various local officials say they have received reports that the group is visiting residents’ homes and questioning how the homeowner voted and who they voted for. The questioning comes as county officials weigh whether to comply with a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election spearheaded by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin County.

“There is an intimidation factor, and that’s what their intent is,” said Chad Baker, chair of the Democratic Party of York County. “The timing of this doesn’t seem suspect given the recent request of the audit by Sen. Mastriano.”

The individuals claiming to be a part of the committee seem to be targeting Democrats in an attempt to seek out voter fraud, a baseless claim that has cemented itself as a rallying cry for supporters of former President Donald Trump, Baker said.

Despite the thorough process of counting, auditing, and in several swing state recounting the 2020 vote which found no irregularities on a scale that could change the outcome of the election, Republicans continue to pursue baseless theories of election fraud in multiple states. In Arizona, the GOP-controlled State Senate authorized an open-ended fishing expedition by a dubious private contractor which months later has produced nothing but easily-debunked misinformation. Undeterred, other states with dead-ender Trump contingents holding the power to do so are preparing their own so-called audits, because, well, they can.

Going from endlessly recounting the same ballots over and over to accosting Democratic voters in their homes about their vote, however, represents a significant and disturbing escalation–not to mention hypocritical after Republicans lost their minds over misinformation regarding door to door promotion of COVID vaccines. In Pennsylvania, voters targeted were confused, perhaps by design, about whether the “election integrity committee” they claim to work for was in some way official.

The self-proclaimed committee touring southern York County used tactics that were nearly identical to a forensic audit being conducted by a company hired by state Senate Republicans in Arizona. The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, in a May 5 letter obtained by The York Dispatch, accused the firm Cyber Ninjas of voter intimidation because of its door-knocking practice.

You’re probably asking by now–why are we talking about this in Colorado? Unfortunately, there’s a pressing reason. Last weekend, an organization calling itself the U.S. Election Integrity Project with ties to freshman election conspiracy theorist of note GOP Rep. Ron Hanks allegedly began its own door to door “canvass” of voters in the Colorado Springs area:

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