The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we talk with Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia about Pueblo politics, CO-3 candidates, and green chiles.

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also discuss a new poll showing what lots of other polls are showing: Trump and Gardner are losing by double digits and progressives and their policy positions are popular! President Trump knowingly lied about the coronavirus and has blood on his hands (including that of 2,000 Coloradans); and Cory Gardner still hasn’t said jack about it. We also find Cory auditioning for his next career as a luxury car washer and revisit some more old political slogans to see if there’s any wisdom in them.

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

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

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Cory Gardner Isn’t “Mourning” Anybody

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks at Club20 yesterday.

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports:

Forty-five days before the fight of his political life, and one day after being thrust into a national spotlight by the death of a Supreme Court justice, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner addressed the high court’s vacancy for the first time Saturday but declined to say whether President Donald Trump should be able to choose the next justice.

“I hope that before the politics begins — because there will be plenty of time for that — that we have some time for this country to reflect on the legacy of a great woman who rose to our nation’s highest court and the work that she has done for this nation, whether you agree or not,” the Republican senator told Club 20, a Western Slope business group.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby:

“Whether you agree or not, there is time for debate, there is time for politics, but the time for now is to pray for the family, and to make sure that we keep their family in our hearts and prayers as we mourn as a nation.”

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he intended to go ahead with naming a replacement for Ginsburg despite her dying wish for him to wait…

Coming from Colorado’s famously evasive junior U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, who routinely vilified the liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court led by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in the most charitable interpretation this is an obvious dodge of the question which has been dominating nationwide political discussions ever since word broke late Friday of RBG’s death. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are respectfully eulogizing Ginsburg, and also dealing honestly with the inevitable subject at hand: when RBG will be replaced on the Court, and by who.

If you really believe that Cory Gardner is so affected by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that he can’t comment on the singularly weighty question that follows…well, we’re not going to even worry about it, because nobody believes that. Hiding behind this pretense of mourning, when so many of Gardner’s Republican colleagues are quickly staking out their positions for and against proceeding with a nominee to replace Ginsburg before the next President is sworn in in January, might honestly be considered offensive.

Especially since, as the Sentinel continues, Gardner’s not “pausing” a damn thing:

Zach Hudson, spokesperson for the left-leaning political action committee American Bridge 21st Century, said Gardner is slated to hold a fundraiser Monday with U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has been on Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court in the past. [Pols emphasis]

“Raising money with a potential Trump nominee for the Supreme Court is a disturbing sign for Coloradans waiting to hear form Cory Gardner if he’ll keep his word and let them have a say before filling a lifetime appointment,” Hudson said. “For once, Cory Gardner needs to stand up to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump and demand the American people have a voice in choosing the next Supreme Court justice.”

Gardner’s pretense is particularly galling because it’s just a new excuse for the same total inability for Sen. Gardner to show leadership on any issue without pre-clearance from Senate Republican leadership. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already offered up the talking points for the plain hypocrisy of denying Merrick Garland a vote nine months before the election in 2016 versus rushing to replace RBG six weeks before the election in 2020. Gardner’s unequivocal statements in 2016 that the voters need to weigh in on a lifetime SCOTUS pick have already been undercut–it’s just a question now of whether Gardner will admit this to the state he’s losing by double digits.

If Cory Gardner would just cut the shit and say what everyone knows, he’d be much better off.

But even in the dire straits Gardner finds himself, that’s not who he is.

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With a Supreme Court Seat Now Open, Will Gardner Argue for Delay, As He Did Four Years Ago?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Times Recorder is re-posting this piece, published on the four-year anniversary of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, in light of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

—-

Exactly four years ago today, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep at a Texas ranch.

About an hour after Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told startled reporters that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice” and “therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Five days later, on Feb. 18, 2016, Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner, agreed with McConnell that the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice should be delayed until after the 2016 presidential election, which was later won by Trump.

Gardner told fellow conservative Dan Caplis, who was on KNUS radio at the time:

GARDNER: “Again, I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”

“We are deep in the heart of a political campaign, a divisive election, a divisive president, who has done nothing but overreached Congress time and time again,” he added.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known health problems appear to be at bay for now, but the question arises of what Gardner would do this time around if Ginsburg’s or another seat became vacant.

Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking comment, but in interviews at the time, he pointed to Democrats who’d made similar arguments about delaying confirmation of a Justice.

If Gardner follows the same logic of his arguments in 2016, he’d again call for delay.

Back in 2016, Gardner went on to join McConnell and other Republicans in denying Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s choice to replace Scalia, even the opportunity for a hearing before the Senate.

In fact, Gardner refused to meet Garland at all.

On March 16, 2016, even before Obama finished introducing Garland to the country, Gardner issued a statement that “our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in the process as the next Supreme Court justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come.” In 2016, Gardner’s refusal to meet with Garland earned Gardner a personal rebuke from Obama.

“Sen. Gardner has not been doing his job as a senator,” Obama told The Gazette in a short interview after the Air Force Academy graduation. “He is perfectly free after having met with Judge Garland to conclude that ‘this is not somebody that I am going to vote for.'”

“If we start getting to the point where the Senate operates in such a partisan manner that even someone like Merrick Garland can’t get the courtesy of a hearing and a vote, then that’s going to start breaking down the system to the point where we can’t get any judges confirmed,” he said. “Our system of justice is going to break down, and that’s going to have consequences for all of us.”

After Obama left office, Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed for Supreme Court positions.

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In Which Ken Buck Gets to the Bottom of Antifa

It’s true because I said it.

Ken Buck has it all figured out. Mostly.

The Republican Congressman from Greeley, who also serves as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, was a guest this week on the “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio. Buck told the talking muppet from Fox & Friends — whom Fox bills as “America’s receptive voice,” whatever that means — that he knows that “Antifa” has a well-funded leadership structure and that local law enforcement officials are not cooperating with the Department of Justice in making arrests and trying to topple “Antifa.”

Of course, Buck eventually acknowledges that he doesn’t have any specific information about any of this, but because he was a prosecutor for 25 years, he sees the bigger picture unlike the rest of the saps in Congress.

We transcribed Buck’s interview with Kilmeade so that you can get the full experience of Buck’s fearmongering nonsense:

KILMEADE: Why are you the one who has to lead the charge into finding out who’s behind Antifa, and what is their role in places like Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and New York?

BUCK: Well, I tell you, I had the privilege of prosecuting for 25 years, and so I think I look at crime a little bit differently. I think a lot of Members of Congress see individual acts of crime, and I see the organization, the money behind the crimes. [Pols emphasis] Who is funding the folks that are traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast to engage in these violent acts — to commit arson, to beat up people who they don’t agree with? And so, I am really interested in going after the funders as a way to shut down the violence.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t hold your breath waiting for Buck to mention the 17-year-old man who traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha, WI and ended up killing two people and wounding another with his AR-15 rifle. What we really need to figure out is this: Who is supplying the bricks?

KILMEADE: Over in Colorado, Congressman Buck, we’re seeing Antifa everywhere. They seem organized. Some of them have radios. They seem somewhat rehearsed. We watch what they did in New York after George Floyd was killed. We saw bricks being dropped off, bats being dropped off. They have a plan.

BUCK: Absolutely. And I write about it in my book and talk about the fact that the left can’t get to their socialist utopia with our constitution in the way and with our history in the way, and with our values. And so, what they have to do is, they have to try to cancel our culture. They have to try to rewrite history and have teachers ignore history, and adopt the terrible curriculum that was written by The New York Times and try to push this, this…this really, lie, about America out to the public.

Serious journalist person Brian Kilmeade (right)

How did we get from “Antifa” to The New York Times and its “1619 Project“? Get us back on topic, Kilmeade!

SPOILER ALERT #2: Buck doesn’t actually KNOW anything about any of this.

KILMEADE: So, you have this group…who are they? Who finances them, from what you know right now?

BUCK: Sure, well, I don’t know specific donors and I won’t speculate about specific donors, but it’s clear to me that there is, a…while it appears to be a loosely-knit organization, there’s also a leadership structure that is very tightly-knit and is, uh, well-funded. [Pols emphasis] And I think that, if you look at who is funding the Left when it comes to other activities, I think undoubtedly there are the same people who are funding a lot of this activity. And I think they’re trying to disrupt President Trump’s agenda, and I think they’re doing everything they can to scare people. I think it will backfire. What I see in Colorado is that voters are concerned about this and are looking for a strong, steady hand to lead the country. 

Just a few minutes ago, Buck said he was absolutely sure that “Antifa” is a well-funded organization. When pressed for details, Buck has…bupkis. It’s frightening to remember that Buck was the freakin’ district attorney in Weld County for 10 years.

Kilmeade then asks Buck to respond to an unspecified report that a former justice department official is saying that there is some sort of “proof” that these protests are actually organized violence and not just organic actions by a few bad actors. Kilmeade compares “Antifa” to Al Qaeda and ISIS; to Buck’s credit, he at least doesn’t perpetuate this nonsense: 

BUCK: Well, I think there’s a difference between foreign terrorists and domestic terrorists, and I think what we need to do, and I think what the Department of Justice is doing, is conducting a grand jury investigation. I think they are doing their best to gather bank records and other records to determine where this funding is coming from. 

But before we can injure ourselves patting Buck on the back, he crosses a pretty important line. This is where Buck moves from red meat posturing to more dangerous (and highly irresponsible) territory: Accusing local law enforcement officials of ignoring “Antifa”:

BUCK: Really, what it depends on, when you deal with major drug organizations and cartels from outside the country, and other organized crime efforts, like the mafia, you need to make sure that you have state and local officials who are arresting at the local level and then using those folks at the local level to gather information on the organization. The problem here is that we don’t have officials in Portland and other areas who are cooperating with the federal government, oftentimes because of sanctuary city policies and other policies that prohibit that kind of cooperation. And so, I think that the Department of Justice has a more difficult problem than it has in the past. [Pols emphasis]

What is Buck’s suggestion here? That local law enforcement officials should arrest more people on suspicion of being part of something that as far as anyone can tell HAS NO STRUCTURED ORGANIZATION? What would the paperwork say? This warrant is based on the belief that suspect is affiliated with an organization that we can find no evidence of existing?

Buck’s comments are at odds with what actual law enforcement officials are saying about “Antifa.” On Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and told lawmakers that “Antifa” is an ideology and not an organization. From The Associated Press:

Wray did not dispute in his testimony Thursday that antifa activists were a serious concern, saying that antifa was a “real thing” and that the FBI had undertaken “any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists,” including into individuals who identify with antifa.

But, he said, “It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement or an ideology.” [Pols emphasis]

Clearly, the FBI Director has not been talking to supercop Ken Buck, who believes that the Department of Justice is collecting bank account information that it can use to tie people to an ideology and prove that George Soros is the mastermind of our discontent.

Does Buck actually believe this crap, or is he just playing a role that serves him well politically? It’s tough to say which is worse: That he would knowingly tout misinformation or that he has completely bought into this baloney. Either way, it says a lot about both Ken Buck the Congressman and Ken Buck the GOP Chairman.

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Cory Gardner Can Run and He Can Hide

Can’t talk now. I have a phone.

Whoever said, “you can run, but you can’t hide,” has obviously never met Sen. Cory Gardner.

Labor Day has come and gone, and Gardner has made no attempt to distance himself from President Trump. Dropping Trump’s electoral anchor is about the only thing that Gardner hasn’t tried to do in order to win re-election in 2020. We’ve argued that it’s too late for Gardner to even try to dump Trump at this point, and it seems that the Yuma Republican has come to the same conclusion.

To get around this problem, Gardner does what he always does: He runs.

As CNN reports today, can’t-talk-itis seems to be contagious:

As Election Day draws near, Trump’s controversies have grown — and so has the Republican indifference to them. For much of Trump’s presidency, Republicans have rarely pushed back at Trump’s self-inflicted controversies and scandals, knowing that doing so would prompt a Twitter attack from the President and a revolt from his vocal supporters — something that GOP lawmakers, particularly in difficult reelection races, can ill-afford.

And with polls showing Trump commands the support of an overwhelming number of Republican voters, GOP lawmakers are in a bind as they try to court swing voters put off by Trump while avoiding criticizing a President who demands total loyalty from his party.

“In a bind,” you say? Here’s how Gardner navigates such a bind:

The White House this week wasn’t full of controversies, given the historic accords between two Gulf nations and Israel — a move that relieved Republicans and earned Trump bipartisan praise. But such moments have been overshadowed by more than three years of controversies and offensive tweets — and Republicans have grown weary of answering questions about them.

This way I don’t have to listen to the dial tone.

Many in difficult reelection races avoid answering questions from reporters, taking back staircases and entrances to avoid areas where the press congregates.

Sen. Cory Gardner, who faces a tough reelection bid in Colorado, was spotted on the phone four times between Tuesday and Wednesday as he entered and exited the Senate through a back staircase, declining to answer questions.

Asked if he could stop and take questions as he left the Capitol after the final vote Tuesday, Gardner said no: “I’m on the phone,” he responded as he headed to a car that pulled up the moment he walked out, a move that kept reporters from approaching him. A spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

This leads us back, as it always does, to that infamous commercial from Gardner’s 2014 U.S. Senate campaign:

And when I’m pretending to be on the phone, don’t talk to me.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 17)

Today is Constitution Day in the United States; or as President Trump would say “The What?” 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► We’re just a few weeks into the 2020-21 school year, and the coronavirus pandemic is overruling well-made plans for safe student instruction. Three days before the nation’s largest school district was set to bring kids back to class, New York Mayor Bill deBlasio — for the second time — delayed in-person classroom instruction.

Here in Colorado, administrators are trying to get a handle on significant outbreaks at universities and colleges. Jefferson Junior/Senior High School in Jefferson County is moving to online instruction after three students tested positive for COVID-19. Half of the students at Cherry Creek High School in Denver are now doing remote learning after an outbreak believed to be related to a weekend party. New data from the State of Colorado shows infection rates trending upward in Colorado.

 

Two new television ads from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are being picked apart by fact-checkers and generally not holding up well. The fact that KDVR calls Gardner’s anti-Hickenlooper ad “Gardner’s Maserati Ad” proves exactly what we were saying about the spot when we first saw it last week.

 

► The Federal Reserve says a quick economic recovery won’t happen unless Congress acts on another stimulus bill. On Wednesday, President Trump endorsed a bigger stimulus package than what Senate Republicans have discussed.

 

A new poll shows the race in CO-3 between Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush and Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert to be a neck-and-neck battle:

 

As The Washington Post reports…just read it for yourself:

Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.

D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.

In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters…

…But DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.

There’s a decent chance someone actually uttered the phrase, “Bring me the heat ray.” This year is so weird.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Trump’s Service Slurs: If El Paso County Believes, It’s Bad

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) with President Donald Trump.

Pam Zubeck at the Colorado Springs Independent has a must-read story up today expounding on a question we’ve been wondering ourselves: will alleged remarks by President Donald Trump in 2018 disparaging fallen American soldiers as “losers” shake up the vote in El Paso County, home to the bulk of the state’s military bases and personnel?

The answer is a definite maybe–depending on where you get your news:

Several other news organizations, including Trump’s favored Fox News, have since substantiated portions of the report. But Trump and his allies labeled the report false, including Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, who called the magazine article “more ‘fake news’ such as we have seen many times from the Left.”

Colorado Springs City Councilor Andy Pico, a Navy veteran who’s running for State House District 16, predicts “zero impact” on election results here.

“An ugly, baseless and blatant smear by ‘anonymous’ gutless cowards that has been thoroughly refuted by a dozen witnesses who were there at the time, two years ago, is seen for the unethically dishonest fabrication that it is,” Pico says via email…

The short version is, if you’re of a mind to pre-emptively dismiss any negative information about Trump as “fake news,” you’re likely to do that once again in this case. But for at least some retired generals along the Ronald Reagan Highway, these comments are all too believable:

Retired Brig. Gen. Martin France, a 41-year veteran and lifelong Republican, and Democrat retired Major Gen. Irv Halter, who ran against Lamborn in 2014, had plenty to say, however.

“The comments are consistent with past offensive comments about Senator [John] McCain and others,” France notes. “Plus, I think the corroboration has been strong enough to remove any doubt from all but the most committed members of Trump’s cult of personality.” [Pols emphasis]

That said, France says Trump’s comments likely won’t move the needle locally for two reasons: Few voters remain undecided, and many “less conservative” officers and enlisted personnel cast absentee ballots in home states outside Colorado.

A Military Times poll released just a few days before Trump’s alleged remarks about dead American servicemen were reported by The Atlantic showed that support for the president has dramatically weakened from the huge majority of military support he enjoyed in the 2016 elections. It remains to be seen how much this shift in support will register in the election in El Paso County, in the presidential race itself or–perhaps more importantly given the likely statewide result–down the ballot.

In the end, it depends on whether individual voters are in the loop for any negative news about Trump.

If they are, and they believe it, the presidential race for them is over.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 16)

The Denver Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals after becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from consecutive 3-1 series deficits. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► President Trump is disputing — despite recordings of his own voice — that he downplayed the coronavirus pandemic by inventing himself a new word: “Up-played.” As NBC News reports:

President Donald Trump told a voter that he did not downplay the coronavirus in the early days of his administration’s Covid-19 response — even though he has been heard on tape saying he did — during an ABC News town hall Tuesday.

“If you believe it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?” a voter asked Trump.

Trump responded: “Yeah, well, I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.” [Pols emphasis] The voter appeared to try to follow up and remind the president that he acknowledged having downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in a taped interview with journalist Bob Woodward earlier this year.

During the town hall, Trump said that many people don’t want to wear masks and claimed that “there are a lot of people think that masks are not good.”

Asked who those people are, the president said, “Waiters. They come over and they serve you, and they have a mask. And I saw it the other day where they were serving me, and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what happens. They’re playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good.”

As The Hill reports, Trump also came up with a new turn-of-phrase regarding one potential approach to combating the pandemic:

President Trump defended his assertion that the novel coronavirus would “disappear” with or without a vaccine on Tuesday, saying the United States would develop what he called “herd mentality.”

“With time it goes away,” Trump said during an ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania when pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on his public comments about the virus. “You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”

Trump was (probably) referencing “herd immunity,” which is a different thing than “herd mentality” (you’re on your own trying to explain “herd-developed.”) Medical experts say that “herd immunity” would require both a vaccine and at least one million coronavirus deaths in the United States; “herd immunity” is thus more of a consequence than a strategy.

The Washington Post fact-checked Trump’s ABC News appearance and might have run out of ‘Pinocchios.’

 

 Roughly half of the students at Cherry Creek High School near Denver have been moved to remote learning because of a COVID-19 outbreak being blamed on a weekend party.

 

► The Colorado Springs Independent looks at the potential election fallout from President Trump’s persistent denigration of the military.

 

As The Durango Herald reports, Republican Congressional candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is having trouble keeping her origin story straight. This may be partially because her talking points don’t make a ton of logical sense.

 

 Tuesday’s Primary Election in Delaware was the last Primary of the 2020 election season.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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GOP Mail Ballot Scare Tactics Continue To Backfire

One of the principal unintended consequences we’ve been watching for from President Donald Trump’s low-information crusade against mail ballots is potentially damaging mistrust in the election system instilled in Republican voters, which could impact turnout in an election all polls already show Republicans set to lose badly.

This alert from Gunnison County Republicans late last week shows it’s a real concern:

Of course, Donald Trump is very much down on drop boxes for mail ballots too, so it’s possible this advice will be updated at some point. A large percentage of Colorado voters already utilized drop boxes before this election, out of convenience not paranoia–but despite the ongoing chicanery from the Trump-appointed postmaster general of the United States Postal Service, we do believe our local postal workers will get your properly postage-paid mail ballot to your clerk within the specified timeframes if you select that option. And new for 2020, every voter in Colorado can track their mail ballot from start to finish to make sure it happens.

So take heart, Gunnison County Republicans–mail it in, drop it off, or vote in person as long as you don’t give each other COVID! Just make sure you don’t get so caught up fearmongering about voting that your own voters decide not to bother.

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The Most Important Election Ever!

The 2020 election is the most important election ever. We know this to be true, because everybody says so.

Of course, “everybody” said the same thing in 2018, and 2016, and 2014…

We need to get to the bottom of this, so click after the jump to cast your vote.


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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 15)

By this time one month from now, you may have a 2020 ballot on your kitchen table. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Vulgarity. That’s the difference between President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner. Both Republicans are shameless opportunists who will seek to exploit any issue for their own political gain; Gardner just doesn’t directly say as many awful things as Trump.

Why do we bring this up? Because Gardner is out with a new television ad that is beyond despicable. Gardner is sitting at a table with his mother, who is a cancer survivor, and talking about his legislation to protect pre-existing medical conditions — legislation that doesn’t do anything and is anathema to everything Gardner has always espoused about government health care. But Gardner is trailing Democrat John Hickenlooper in the 2020 Senate race, so he’s flipping his own script.

As NBC News reported over the weekend:

Sen. Cory Gardner ran his first Senate campaign railing against the newly enacted Affordable Care Act, but six years later, the once-maligned law is getting little mention in his bid for re-election.

The Colorado Republican isn’t alone.

After years of campaigning against Obamacare, Republicans trying to retain control of the Senate appear to be conceding that attacking the ACA is no longer politically advantageous, a shift compounded by the millions of people who now depend on the law for their coverage, including protections for pre-existing conditions.

“Now with Obamacare being entrenched into people’s daily lives, they just don’t want their health care messed with, and so it becomes hard for Republicans to articulate on that point,” said Doug Heye, who worked on repeal efforts in 2014 as deputy chief of staff to then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Shameless.

 

A group of Colorado Republicans are AGAIN trying to recall Gov. Jared Polis, and their timing couldn’t be worse for the rest of the GOP. Instead of spending the next two months trying to get Republicans elected, these recall folks are instead going to be chasing a Nov. 13 petition signature deadline that they cannot possibly meet.

 

Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on the continuing fallout regarding President Trump’s comments to Bob Woodward that he intentionally played down the coronavirus pandemic — including Trump’s insistence in March/April that everything “re-opens” before Easter:

This timeline is brutal for Trump. It makes clear that he knew, even as he was urging the country to reopen and for churches to be packed on Easter Sunday, that the virus was incredibly easy to pass from person to person.

For Trump to say that his entire strategy was to avoid panicking the public by “downplaying” the virus is bad enough.

But to actively encourage the reopening of the country when he knew that the virus was extremely contagious is, in a word, irresponsible. And in two words, dangerously irresponsible.

 

Haze from multiple wildfires in the Western United States is now visible in New York City.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Trump: Support Our (Russian) Troops

Last week, it was President Donald Trump’s nomination for something his campaign called the “Noble Prize?” This week, the president’s digital campaign advertising campaign gives the world another unintentional meme, this one positively dripping with irony:

The image used in this ad for Trump’s re-election campaign is available on Shutterstock:

And yes, diligent planespotters, as Politico reports:

“That’s definitely a MiG-29,” [Pols emphasis] said Pierre Sprey, who helped design both the F-16 and A-10 planes for the U.S. Air Force. “I’m glad to see it’s supporting our troops.”

…Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, confirmed that the planes are Russian MiG-29s, and also said the soldier on the far right in the ad carries an AK-74 assault rifle.

Once again, it’s such a manifold hilarious mistake that it seems like sabotage–like somebody in the bowels of the Trump re-election campaign is deliberately sabotaging ads by making them hilarious in the worst possible way for Trump.

It’s funny, to paraphrase the old saying, because it might as well be true.

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Of Course There is Another Polis Recall Effort

This calls for the “Quad Facepalm.”

Polling data continues to indicate that Colorado Republicans are in big trouble in 2020. But instead of organizing phone banks or fundraisers in the 50 days left before Election Day, a group of GOP activists have decided to hunker down and focus instead on trying to recall Gov. Jared Polis.

Again.

You may recall that in 2019, Republicans tried to recall a half-dozen different Democrats in Colorado. All of the recall attempts failed miserably — and we do mean miserably. The Colorado Republican Party supported these efforts to varying degrees before eventually calling for a full evacuation from Hurricane Recall. That message was apparently not received by some activists, as Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday approved the petition drafted by “Recall Polis 2020,” which is tied to at least one of the people behind the failed efforts last year to remove the Democrat from office.

The organization has 60 days — or until Nov. 13 — to collect 631,266 signatures to force a special election to decide whether or not Polis, who is halfway through his first term in office, should be recalled.

Thus far, the Recall Polis 2020 issue committee, formed on June 10, reports raising only about $4,000 in cash. Organizer Lori Ann Cutunelli, of Summit County, reported donating more than $7,300 to pay for drafting the petition wording and to make a downpayment on printing costs. Additionally, a GoFundMe campaign has raised about $7,600 from 275 donors.

If you’re still worried that this new Polis recall effort might be successful, go ahead and read this paragraph:

Greg Merschel, one of the people behind Resist Polis PAC — which Coloradans Against Polis was formerly known as — is listed as one of the organizing members of Recall Polis 2020.

We’d love to explain this better, but we’d need an entire office wall and two rolls of red string to map out the lunacy in full.

Efforts at recalling Polis in 2019 did not end well, unless you measure success based on how many people you trick into writing you a check; in fact, you could make a strong argument that the primary purpose of trying to oust Polis was so that a couple of people could earn some extra cash. There were at least two separate groups claiming to be the “real” recall effort in 2019. “Resist Polis” and “Official Recall Jared Polis” sniped back and forth for months, and by the end of their “campaigns” they were openly rooting for each other to fail.

Before she was “Q*Bert,” Lauren Boebert collected Recall Polis petitions at her Rifle restaurant.

The “Resist Polis” campaign eventually held a comical press conference outside of the State Capitol in Denver, where several plastic boxes full of “petition signatures” were piled up on the West Steps as proof that “Resist Polis” did a thing. Organizers claimed to have collected more than 300,000 signatures, though they refused to submit their bounty to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for verification. We can at least confirm that some of the boxes definitely contained pieces of paper.

Confusion about the recall Polis efforts persisted until the very end. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, now the Republican nominee for Congress in CO-3, literally drove across the state so that she could be there in person when the recall petitions were (not) submitted.

When Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was asked about the recall efforts last summer, he was perplexed that Republicans would be spending time and resources focusing on work that was completely unrelated to the upcoming 2020 election. As The Denver Post reported in July 2019:

Even the state’s highest-ranking Republican officeholder, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, danced around the question when asked about the Polis recall.

“You know what, we gotta focus all we can on winning in 2020; getting our congressional seats back, getting our state legislature back … ,” Gardner said at a recent Republican Party event in El Paso County. “That’s where I’m at. You may agree or disagree, but boy I think we gotta get our nuts and bolts together so that we can win.”

Gardner wasn’t necessarily opposed to the idea of trying to recall Polis; he was more concerned that organizers were diverting the attention of volunteers and donors when the GOP really needed them for the actual upcoming election. This was definitely a problem for Republicans in 2019, but in 2020 it’s an outright disaster.

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Did You Get Your Mail Ballot Misinformation Mailer?

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the latest attempt by the Trump-addled United States Postal Service, deliberately and/or by sheer incompetence, to screw up mail balloting that has worked flawlessly for years in Colorado elections:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Saturday her office filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service over a pre-election mailer being mailed out to every postal customer.

Griswold contends that the USPS mailer is misleading and will cause confusion for Colorado voters.

“The mailer incorrectly asks that voters request a mail ballot 15 days before the election and return their ballots by mail at least seven days before the election. In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election,” Griswold wrote in a statement released Saturday.

The postcard in question.

AP’s Jim Anderson reports that after a temporary restraining order was granted halting the delivery of these postcards containing incorrect and incomplete information about mail ballots in Colorado, USPS had the effrontery to argue it’s too much work to stop them:

The USPS mailer tells voters they must request a mail-in ballot for the November elections. In Colorado, every registered voter receives a mail ballot.

The mailer also recommends that voters mail back their ballots at least a week before the Nov. 3 Election Day. Griswold argued that could make people believe they must mail their ballot in but voters in Colorado can mail their ballots, drop them off at drop boxes or voting service centers, or vote in person…

The postal service asked Martinez on Sunday to reconsider, arguing that more than 200,000 postcards were in the process of being delivered. It said the judge’s order would be “extremely burdensome, requiring examination of mail by thousands of postal employees.” It added it had ceased processing of other Colorado-bound postcards.

Given that these postcards have apparently already been delivered in many states, we suppose it’s possible their delivery in some cases can’t be physically prevented to Colorado households despite the restraining order. But if they can be recalled at any expense, they should be. If delivered, the errors in this postcard with respect to how mail ballot elections in Colorado work are very likely to result in a flood of erroneous calls to the Secretary of State’s office requesting mail ballots that will already be mailed, taking staff time and resources away from their actual jobs. While maybe not as egregious as telling voters to get their ballots in by Election Wednesday, it’s another example of incompetence, indifference, or both from a vital government service provider Americans counted on for generations before Donald Trump became President.

Call it another case of those who say “government doesn’t work” proving it’s true–when they’re the government.

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Former CO GOP House Leader, Former Chair of CO Republican Party Back Biden

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

Former Colorado Republican Chair Ryan Call, along with former Republican House leader Cole Wist, are supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Last week, Ryan Call joined Republicans and Independents for Biden, organized by the Lincoln project, a group founded by anti-Trump Republicans.

Wist discussed his support for Biden on the Craig Silverman Show podcast Saturday, saying Trump is “not a conservative.”

Asked what his breaking point for Trump was, Wist talked about Charlottesville, where a protester was killed by neo-Nazis.

“Charlottesville was, I think, a turning point for a lot of folks, because what it suggested was that this president was more interested in stirring the pot and dividing the country, rather than trying to appeal to unity to bring the country together.”

“We needed to say loud and clear after Charlottesville that bigotry is not welcome in the Republican Party,” Wist told Silverman.

Wist, who was assistant GOP house minority leader from 2016 and 2018, voted for Trump in 2016, he said, because he hoped Trump would “rise to the occasion.”

“I think a lot of people are leaving the party because they don’t believe that the standard-bearer of party represents their values,” he said.

Former Republican State Rep. Cole Wist.

Wist said the risks of four more years of Trump are unacceptable to him, including the risk of more division, more racial tension, less fiscal discipline. He also cited Trump’s lack of respect for the Constitution, separation of powers, and congressional authority.

The risks of a Democratic president are less, he said, calling Biden a moderate.

“Most importantly to me, [Biden is] a person who’s a decent, fine man,” said Wist, who has “no desire to be a Democrat.”

Reached by phone today, Call, who served twice as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, declined comment.

Both Wist and Call spoke out against Republican efforts last year to recall Democratic lawmakers in Colorado.

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GSG: Trump Down 11, Gardner Down 10

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper.

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports as the usual mid-September anxiety sets in over the usual mid-September election year question in Colorado–“sure Democrats are ahead, but is it close?”

After a couple of polls inspired speculation that in Colorado, the race for President and our state’s U.S. Senate seat was “narrowing,” a new survey out today from Global Strategy Group for liberal group ProgressNow Colorado once again shows the Democratic candidates in both these races with the double-digit leads we’ve been accustomed to for months now:

The findings were released by the liberal advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado, which contracted with Democratic firm Global Strategy Group to conduct the survey. The pollsters surveyed 800 likely Colorado voters between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1, with a breakdown of party affiliations — 43% unaffiliated voters, 27% Republicans and 30% Democrats — that roughly mirrors the latest statewide breakdown reported by the Secretary of State’s Office. The poll has a 3.5% margin of error.

The poll finds Joe Biden leading Trump by 11 points in the presidential race. Kanye West will be on the state’s ballot in that race, too, and he received 1% support.

The poll finds that in the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Gardner is down 10 points to Democratic challenger Hickenlooper, the former governor. Other recent polls have shown Gardner within single digits of Hickenlooper, including one released last week that put Gardner just five points behind. Many view Gardner as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Senate, and the outcome of this race could be a deciding factor in whether Democrats can gain control of the chamber.

Read the details here. It’s a poll loaded with good news for Democrats and fans of recent Democratic policy accomplishments like the Senate Bill 217 police accountability law, which is favored by 69% of respondents, and a solid 58% approval of Gov. Jared Polis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with 36% disapproving. President Donald Trump’s approval on handling the pandemic is stuck at 40% with 58% of Coloradans disapproving–and in tough news for CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert, only 8% of Coloradans have a positive view of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory.

Individual polls aren’t gospel, for anyone seeking a clear picture of any race or question polling is about informing averages. But these numbers feel pretty close to reality to us, and they’ll provide some comfort to Democrats riding out the September of their discontent.

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Have Some Pride, Dan Caplis

Dan Caplis, possibly via Glamour Shots.

Dan Caplis is a conservative talk radio host in Denver who desperately wants to be a candidate for statewide office. The key word in that sentence is “desperately.”

During his KHOW radio show on Thursday, Caplis made it known that he is absolutely considering running against Gov. Jared Polis in 2022, which is an embarrassing statement if you are at all familiar with Caplis’ long flirtation with politics. Caplis made this declaration in response to a question from a caller identified as “Karen from Greeley” about whether he is looking at the 2022 Governor’s race:

“Of course I’m considering it. I don’t know how anybody right now — anybody alive in this state — could not be thinking about what they need to do to make sure this guy doesn’t get a second term. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. I’m a long, long way from deciding to do it. But of course I’m considering it.”

At the end of the call, Caplis reiterated what he just said in case you weren’t paying attention:

“It’s a long way from here to there, but the question is, are you considering it? Of course. How could you not right now?”

This discussion followed a long tirade from Caplis calling Polis “the wimpiest governor in Colorado history,” mostly because Polis did not insist that high school football is played this fall (seriously, that’s not an exaggeration on our part). Here are some other things that Caplis said about Polis on Thursday:

“He blew this thing in the beginning. Colorado got wiped out by COVID. Now, Polis is trying to pretend like, well, wait a second, it’s all about the fewest number of COVID cases possible. No, that’s a phony goal. That’s a phony standard. That’s not what it’s about.”…

…“Guess what? These kids don’t get to play now because Polis has this phony goal of fewest cases.”…

…“Colorado essentially — and I’m not saying this in a pure scientific sense, but in a practical sense — Colorado got wiped out under Polis on such a large scale early on, because Polis invited in from all over America’s ‘Wuhans,’ tens of thousands of people with COVID.”…

…“Colorado got so wiped out early that there weren’t as many susceptible hosts left later.”

To recap, the reason Colorado is not a COVID-19 hotspot today is because everybody died in the spring when Jared Polis intentionally invited infected people to travel to Colorado. This absolutely checks out [insert eyeroll].

Via KHOW radio (9/10/20)

Dan Caplis is no rocket surgeon, but could he really be a candidate for higher office? Probably not.

Caplis has rarely failed to float his name for statewide office; he was perhaps the most quiet about his political hopes in 2012, when there was no race for Governor or U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Caplis really wanted to be the Republican Senate candidate in 2008. Ahead of the 2010 election cycle, Caplis sent up trial balloons for both Governor and U.S. Senate. He talked about running for Governor in 2014, and again for U.S. Senate in 2016. In fact, Caplis said he was “very serious” about mounting a campaign in 2016, although as he told Jason Salzman, “It would hard to be a lot more serious than we were about it before.” When he says, “before,” does Caplis mean 2008, 2010, or 2014? It’s impossible to know.

In 2018, Caplis talked openly about his political dreams, telling Westword: “I’ve wanted to run for office for a long time. It’s very front-burner, and that flame is burning hotter than ever.” 

Near as we can tell, Caplis first started obsessing about being a candidate in 2007, using his radio show to continually suggest that he might run for U.S. Senate the following year. Caplis even started making the early rounds at Republican events, but to say he failed to pick up traction would be overly generous. As The Colorado Independent reported in April 2007, a Caplis campaign was really only on the mind of one person:

“I don’t know any Republicans who are taking that seriously,” says Lynne Cottrell, a former Arapahoe County GOP chair and longtime Republican activist who knows Caplis personally. “I don’t know anyone who is supporting him. Dan’s a good guy, but I don’t know where [the media] is getting this idea that he is a potential candidate.”

Attorney John Zakhem, a well-known GOP insider, is equally blunt when asked if he knows of any Republicans who are taking Caplis seriously as a candidate.  “Nobody [is talking about him],” he says. “He’s not on the radar for me or any other Republicans that I know of.”

Adds another Republican insider who wished to remain nameless speaking about the U.S. senate race: “Caplis? No. There isn’t anybody who is thinking about Dan Caplis as a potential candidate.” [Pols emphasis]

Caplis did not respond to repeated attempts for comment, so it’s hard to say whether he is seriously thinking about running for the U.S. senate or if floating his name is just a publicity stunt.

If this is all some long, drawn-out publicity stunt, Caplis at least deserves some credit for maintaining the ruse for so many years. 

If this is not a publicity stunt…that’s almost too sad to contemplate. Let’s just call it a publicity stunt and move along.

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Cory Gardner is Hiding Under a Desk Somewhere

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs on February 20th.

FRIDAY UPDATE: CNN’s Manu Raju updates with comment from Sen. Cory Gardner on this very issue on a “tele-town hall” last night:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who has perhaps the toughest reelection race of any Republican member, was asked in a telephone town hall on Thursday evening whether it was “appropriate” for Trump to “lie to the American public” by publicly downplaying the threat of coronavirus in comparing it to the flu, while knowing that it is more dangerous.

Gardner did not directly answer the question, responding that he “certainly” takes the pandemic seriously and that he worked with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to obtain tests and masks, according to a recording of the event obtained by CNN.

Instead of addressing the President’s comments, he accused the media and Democrats for not taking the pandemic seriously enough back then. He said that “unfortunately” the first question CNN asked him after he left a coronavirus briefing in January was about Trump’s impeachment during the trial. And he criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for inviting people to Chinatown in San Francisco in February.

In his preferred scripted forum of a “tele-townhall” where staff controls every mic and any follow-up question that is permitted, Gardner appears to have forgotten all about the rally attended by thousands starring himself and Donald Trump on February 20th in Colorado Springs–an event that belies every claim by Gardner that he was “taking the virus seriously” at this critical time. To pivot to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Chinatown days later without even acknowledging his own folly is so perfectly hypocritical…

It could only come from Cory Gardner. It’s simply ridiculous.

—–

Manu Raju of CNN is working the halls at the U.S. Capitol building trying to get Republicans to comment on President Trump’s OWN WORDS that he always understood the full dangers of the coronavirus pandemic but intentionally downplayed the threat and undersold safety precautions. As you might expect, Raju is getting a lot of blank looks in response.

We don’t know of Raju is still lurking in a hallway somewhere, but it’s fun to think about what Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) might be doing at the moment.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 11)

There are 53 days until Election Day. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Both President Trump and his 2020 opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, are visiting Shanksville, PA today to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post looks back at what each candidate was doing on that fateful Tuesday:

Joe Biden was on an Amtrak train on Sept. 11, 2001, when his wife called to tell him about the attacks on the World Trade Center, and when he reached Washington, he grew frustrated that he couldn’t get to the Senate floor for a speech because the U.S. Capitol had been evacuated.

Biden nonetheless found ways to make his point — that institutions like Congress and NATO are bulwarks against such assaults on democracy. “I refuse to be part of letting these bastards win,” Biden said that day.

Hundreds of miles to the north — and four miles from Ground Zero — Donald Trump was sitting in a tower bearing his name, watching CNBC and preparing to call a local TV station to offer his own commentary, including a lament that the stock market was forced to close.

Given the coronavirus pandemic and the racial justice protests, Ishaan Tharoor of The Washington Post wonders if the “9/11 era” is now over.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is doing a better job than the federal government of preventing fraudulent benefit claims:

More than three out of four claims made for unemployment assistance under a program for self-employed workers and independent contractors since July 18 were fraudulent, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.

“We have prevented $750 million to $1 billion in improper unemployment insurance payments going out the door,” said Cher Haavind, the department’s deputy director during a press call Thursday morning. About $40 million in federal money, however, may have gotten into the hands of criminals.

Revisions to initial claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the weeks of July 18 to Aug. 22 showed that of the 62,498 initial claims approved, only 14,292 were deemed legitimate, the department said. And in the two weeks since Aug. 22, the department estimates it has been hit with 40,000 to 50,000 fraudulent PUA claims.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was set up under the CARES Act to help individuals who didn’t pay premiums for unemployment insurance but suffered a loss of income due to the outbreak.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado will soon begin paying out a temporary — and partial — extension of unemployment benefits related to an executive order from President Trump.

 

As POLITICO reports, Democrats are out to a big lead in early voting across the country:

Democrats are amassing an enormous lead in early voting, alarming Republicans who worry they’ll need to orchestrate a huge Election Day turnout during a deadly coronavirus outbreak to answer the surge.

The Democratic dominance spreads across an array of battleground states, according to absentee ballot request data compiled by state election authorities and analyzed by Democratic and Republican data experts. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats have a roughly three-to-one advantage over Republicans in absentee ballot requests. In Florida — a must-win for President Donald Trump — the Democratic lead stands at more than 700,000 ballot requests, while the party also leads in New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa.

Even more concerning for Republicans, Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 are requesting 2020 ballots at higher rates than their GOP counterparts. The most striking example is Pennsylvania, where nearly 175,000 Democrats who sat out the last race have requested ballots, more than double the number of Republicans, according to an analysis of voter rolls by the Democratic firm TargetSmart.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for President Trump to spend so much time and effort casting doubts about mail ballots.

As The New York Times reports, wildfires in the Western United States are getting perilously close to large population centers:

The wildfire crisis on the West Coast grew to a staggering scale on Friday, as huge fires merged and bore down on towns and suburbs, state leaders pleaded for firefighting help, and tens of thousands of people were told to evacuate.

Oregon, Washington State and California are enduring a wildfire season of historic proportions, with the firefighting effort compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and misinformation online. At least 15 people have died in the fires, with more expected as teams search through burned homes.

The fires have consumed more than three million acres in California, almost a million acres in Oregon and destroyed entire towns in Washington. The blazes have torn through idyllic mountain towns, reduced subdivisions to beams and embers, and spewed foul smoke-filled air across a region that is home to millions of people.

The Mayor of Portland has declared a state of emergency as a wildfire approaches the city’s suburbs.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Everything Trump Touches Turns To Fail

UPDATE: The Daily Beast vouches for its authenticity:

The unintentionally hilarious Facebook advert falsely claimed that the president “has achieved PEACE in the MIDDLE EAST,” and attached a graphic of a grinning Trump with the caption: “President Trump was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.” The ad was confirmed as authentic by The Daily Beast. (Trump himself misspelled it in April in a tweet attacking journalists covering his Russia investigation.) Even if it was spelled correctly, the nomination is barely worth celebrating. As has been widely noted, anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and hundreds of people get put forward every year…

—–

No additional commentary needed, spot the problem yourself:

It’s like he’s being sabotaged, folks. Please don’t start that rumor though, because he’s not.

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Boebert Gets Complete and Total Endorsement Curse

President Trump is using his Twitter machine to talk about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the GOP nominee for Congress in CO-3.

Hmm…why does this seem familiar?

Oh, right: Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who was defeated by Boebert in the June 30 Primary, also had Trump’s “Complete and Total Endorsement!”


Maybe you don’t believe in “curses” or other enchantments, but Boebert definitely does! Q-D’oh!

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 10)

This is one of those days where it feels like we’re drinking from a news firehose. So, let’s make sure you’re caught up and so you can 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Over the years, political candidates in Colorado have produced television ads of varying degrees of quality and usefulness. Some of these ads are so terrible that you remember them years later. This new spot from Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has joined what we like to call the “Pantheon of Dumbassery,” alongside all-time awful commercials from the likes of Bob Beauprez and Walker Stapleton.

 

► The U.S. Senate voted today on a doomed half-assed coronavirus relief bill introduced by Senate Republicans earlier in the week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is spinning a losing vote as a political victory because he was able to get most of his caucus to support a pointless endeavor. As Roll Call reports, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is not impressed:

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer in his rebuttal reiterated his attack on the bill as “emaciated.” It lacks, among other things, housing assistance, nutrition assistance, aid to state and local governments and funding to build out broadband connections that Democrats insist on, he said.

“It is one of the most cynical moves I’ve seen, a fairly transparent attempt to show that the Republicans are doing something, when in fact they want to do nothing,” Schumer said.

House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion package in May, but have since offered to meet the Senate GOP roughly halfway at $2.2 trillion.

That last part is particularly important. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, and the Senate has been sitting on their thumbs ever since. But today Senate Republicans finally figured out that they should at least vote on something, so they did. Now they’re planning a parade for themselves. As The Huffington Post reports, don’t expect any more help from Congress anytime soon.

Via Vox.com (9/10/20)

 

It didn’t take long for Joe Biden’s campaign to produce an ad featuring President Trump’s own damning words about the coronavirus pandemic, in which Trump admits to lying to Americans about the severity of the problem:

The White House is absolutely flipping out trying to figure out how to spin this away for Trump.

 

As The Colorado Springs Independent reports, a much-maligned TV spot from Sen. Cory Gardner is getting more negative attention because of the embarrassingly-amateur effort that went behind creating a fake environmental group to give Gardner some credibility.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees his job as less of a public service and more of a Republican Party service. As CNN reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was on a mission. It was late February, and two vulnerable Republican senators facing voters this fall were pushing a bill that had generated opposition from conservatives but was important to their states — and their own reelections.

So on the morning of February 27, as Washington was coming to grips with the coronavirus, McConnell took Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana to the White House where they made the case to Trump to get behind a public lands bill. Trump quickly got in line, and quipped to his budget chief, Russell Vought:

“Sorry, Russ,” according to sources familiar with the episode.

Four months later, McConnell set aside precious floor time and scheduled votes on the bill even though it was not on the radar for much of Washington, paving the way for its passage — and for Gardner and Daines to cut campaign ads touting the achievement.

“Not only was it the right thing to do from a good government point of view, but sure — it ought to help Cory and Steve, they did a lot of work on it,” McConnell told CNN this week.

In other words, the big public lands bill that Gardner loves to tout was not because of the Yuma Republican’s persistent work…but because he is in danger of losing his re-election bid in 2020. If you like your politics to be purely transactional, this should be right up your alley.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice versa), is running a new fundraising ad that touts his support for NOT wearing a mask AND shooting a gun.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Trump Knowingly Lied to Americans About COVID for Months

The President of the United States of America knew the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic…and lied about it.

Indefatigable journalist Bob Woodward (yes, THAT Bob Woodward) is reporting ahead of the release of a new book that President Trump knew full well — from day one — about the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic BUT INTENTIONALLY DOWNPLAYED THE THREAT TO AMERICANS.

As The Washington Post explains (we’re excerpting a bit more than we would normally because of the gravity of this news):

President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

“It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff.”

— President Trump on February 7, 2020

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. [Pols emphasis]

“I always wanted to play it down.”

— President Trump on March 19, 2020

Now, we know what you’re thinking: Trump is just going to deny he said any of this and we’re just going to go around in circles about it for months and months.

But there are tapes.

Go over to The Washington Post or CNN and listen to the audio yourself. There’s nothing to misinterpret. President Trump repeatedly says that he knew the coronavirus would lead to a deadly pandemic, but he downplayed it for months and discouraged social distancing measures (and mask wearing) because…well, apparently because he could.

There’s also a Colorado-specific angle to all of this. Trump told Woodward about the dangers of COVID-19 on February 7, 2020. Two weeks later, on February 20, Trump held a massive campaign rally in Colorado Springs.

Trump KNEW that it was dangerous for thousands of people to be congregating in one place to hear him speak. Trump KNEW how the coronavirus could spread if just one of the people in attendance were infected.

But he did it anyway.

This is your President, America.

 

Colorado Springs, CO (Feb. 20, 2020)

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Trump Campaign is Running on Fumes

Ruh-roh.

As The New York Times reported on Monday, the re-election campaign for President Trump has burned through whatever cash advantage it might have had over Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaign raised a staggering $364 million IN AUGUST ALONE. The Trump campaign has still not disclosed its fundraising numbers for August.

According to the Times, Trump’s campaign has somehow managed to burn through more than $800 million of the $1.1 billion it raised from the beginning of 2019 through July 2020. Trump replaced campaign manager Brad Parscale in July, elevating Bill Stepien to the top of the re-election pile, and it’s no stretch to suggest that Parscale’s budgeting troubles led to the change. As the Times explains:

Under Mr. Parscale, more than $350 million — almost half of the $800 million spent — went to fund-raising operations, as no expense was spared in finding new donors online. The campaign assembled a big and well-paid staff and housed the team at a cavernous, well-appointed office in the Virginia suburbs; outsize legal bills were treated as campaign costs; and more than $100 million was spent on a television advertising blitz before the party convention, the point when most of the electorate historically begins to pay close attention to the race.

Among the splashiest and perhaps most questionable purchases was a pair of Super Bowl ads the campaign reserved for $11 million, according to Advertising Analytics — more than it has spent on TV in some top battleground states. It was a vanity splurge that allowed Mr. Trump to match the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg’s buy for the big game.

There was also a cascade of smaller choices that added up: The campaign hired a coterie of highly paid consultants (Mr. Trump’s former bodyguard and White House aide has been paid more than $500,000 by the R.N.C. since late 2017); spent $156,000 for planes to pull aerial banners in recent months; and paid nearly $110,000 to Yondr, a company that makes magnetic pouches used to store cellphones during fund-raisers so that donors could not secretly record Mr. Trump and leak his remarks.

The Times also reported that Parscale had his own car and driver, which is most definitely not a normal thing for a campaign manager.

We have this many monies.

President Trump spoke about his campaign’s finances on Tuesday, promising that he would self-fund his re-election campaign if necessary. Via POLITICO:

Trump denied Tuesday that his campaign was in dire financial straits but pledged he would contribute “whatever it takes” from his own personal fortune to ensure the success of his reelection effort.

“If I have to, I would,” Trump said of potentially donating to his campaign. “But we’re doing very well. We needed to spend more money up front because of the pandemic and the statements being made by Democrats, which were, again, disinformation.”

Bloomberg News reported today that Trump is considering self-funding his campaign to the tune of at least $100 million, though it’s unclear how plausible this might be for a man whose personal wealth is famously fungible.

Biden’s campaign has been outspending Trump by a better than 10-to-1 margin in recent weeks, including huge disparities in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign recently went dark (off the air) in Arizona, for example, and may not return to the airwaves in that state until October.

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Take Trump’s Advice? Jena Griswold Says She’ll Lock You Both Up

Donald Trump.

As the Denver Post’s David Migoya reports, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold responded with emphasis to last week’s suggestion by President Donald Trump that voters in North Carolina cast both mail and in-person ballots, meaning vote twice, which is in case you didn’t already know this is a crime everywhere including in Colorado:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Monday she would consider referring President Donald Trump for prosecution in cases where double-voting is suspected in the state.

In the latest salvo against Trump and his call for voters to test the integrity of election systems by casting both mail-in and in-person ballots, Griswold tweeted that her office is serious about combating voter fraud…

“It’s important to underline to the president and the U.S. attorney general and anyone who is confused that it’s illegal to double vote,” Griswold told The Denver Post in an interview Monday. “We have safeguards in place, including signature verification, laws on ballot collection, and checking the participation in other states. If the president is causing people to vote twice, he could be partially to blame and we’ll explore the options if it happens.”

As we all learned again exhaustively during the impeachment proceedings, a sitting President can’t be criminally prosecuted, but assuming Trump becomes a private citizen in January it’s certainly possible that Trump could find himself criminally liable for this and any number of other misdeeds–as Rep. Ken Buck sussed out himself in questioning special prosecutor Robert Mueller. It’s fair to note that objectively speaking, encouraging voters to commit election fraud could find itself down the list of prosecutable offenses.

Republicans like Sen. Cory Gardner commonly downplay Trump’s rhetorical outrages by claiming it doesn’t matter, and Trump “blowing off steam” doesn’t do any real-world harm. This becomes a more difficult pretense to maintain when the President instructs his supporters in detail to commit felonies, and reminds us as he did after he told “his people” to “slow the testing down” that he never makes jokes.

Here’s another fair warning: don’t try it, at least not on Jena Griswold’s watch.

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