Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 17)

On this day in 1985, hockey player Alexander Ovechkin was born. 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 

 

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters returned from a long self-imposed exile and resurfaced finally in Grand Junction on Thursday. As The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared at an event in Grand Junction on Thursday night, vowing to fight investigations into her office, chastising the Colorado Secretary of State and asking supporters for donations to fund her legal defense.

“I’m so happy to be home. This is where my heart is and this is where we’re going to take back America,” Peters told a crowd gathered at Appleton Christian Church.

The event, which was livestreamed on the Stand For The Constitution Grand Junction Facebook Page, was billed as a “Stand With Tina” rally and featured a handful of speakers. It was Peters’ first public appearance in Grand Junction after an investigation into her office was announced in August….

…In addition to detailing a website where supporters could contribute to her defense fund, standwithtina.org, Peters also explained some of the events that led the clerk to allegedly tamper with county voting machines, prompting an investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office as well as the District Attorney.

Peters said after the 2020 election, she received calls and emails from hundreds of residents who believed the election was illegitimate, and she began investigating those claims on their behalf.

That’s right. Despite being under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County DA, the Colorado Attorney General, and the FBI, Peters is back in town and soliciting donations to assist her legal defense for a crime she willingly committed.

CLICK HERE to read more about Peters.

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl doesn’t want to answer questions about whether the 2020 election was legitimate (SPOILER ALERT: It was), but as she is learning, every major media outlet in Colorado absolutely DOES consider this to be a litmus choice sort of question for candidates seeking public office in 2022.

Headline from The Denver Post (9/16/21)

 

 

As Jason Salzman of The Colorado Times Recorder writes, the ongoing Republican civil war in Colorado could have major implications as soon as this weekend. Colorado Republicans may vote to opt out of Colorado’s open Primary system so that right-wing activists can more easily control who wins the GOP nomination for any particular office. Many more moderate and rational Colorado Republicans are pleading with their base to not commit what many believe would be political suicide. Here’s more on what might happen Saturday from Axios Denver and The Colorado Sun.

 

 Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is facing calls for his resignation following a report from the Colorado Attorney General’s office outlining significant longstanding racial biases and excessive force allegations surrounding the Aurora Police Department.

Fox 31 News has more on the response to the AG’s report from the Aurora police officers’ union. The Aurora Sentinel, meanwhile, details the problematic staffing troubles facing the APD:

A record number of Aurora police officers have left the department so far this year, surpassing the number of departures in all of 2020 and further straining an increasingly lean agency, according to data presented to Aurora city council members this week.

A total of 96 officers have parted ways with the Aurora Police Department so far in 2021, with another two staffers expected to split by week’s end, Deputy Chief Darin Parker told members of the council’s public safety policy committee Sept. 16…

…The number of exits among APD ranks through the middle of September already dwarfs totals from last year, when 87 officials left Aurora police — a 61% increase over 2019.

 

 

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Heidi Ganahl’s Gubernatorial Campaign Sputters to Life

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

—–

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

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

It was that bad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Seriously, that was her answer. Word for word.

 

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

 

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

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

Has The Fever Of Recallpalooza Finally Broken?

UPDATE: Here’s how the Recall Polis ringleader was pre-coping with yesterday’s loss Monday afternoon:

We haven’t seen any word since. Perhaps we won’t.

—–

Now-Rep. Lauren Boebert gathering Recall Polis signatures in front of Shooters Grill in Rifle.

The Los Angeles Times’ political unit recaps last night’s failure to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, rejecting the recall question by a slightly greater margin than Newsom enjoyed in his 2018 election win–an historic victory over far-right activists abusing the recall process meant to resolve serious cases of malfeasance to force electoral do-overs with a “reweighted” electorate. That’s a victory, as we’ll discuss, that will resonate beyond the borders of the Golden State:

The recall offered Republicans their best chance in more than a decade to take the helm of the largest state in the union. But the effort was undercut when Newsom and the nation’s leading Democrats, aided by visits to California by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, portrayed the campaign to oust the governor as a “life and death” battle against “Trumpism” and far-right anti-vaccine activists…

[Larry] Elder was a perfect foil, [GOP strategist Dave] Gilliard said. The Republican opposed abortion rights and supported offshore oil drilling, anathema to the state’s Democratic majority. Elder has also been a die-hard supporter of Trump, an immensely unpopular figure in California. In fact, Gilliard said, recall proponents pleaded with Trump’s advisors to “convince him to stay out of it,” which was successful until recent days when he started making baseless claims that California’s recall election was “rigged.”

…Newsom is the second California governor to have faced a recall election, which was projected to cost $276 million dollars, a price tag blasted by Democrats. In 2003, California voters upset over rolling power outages, budget cuts and a steep increase in vehicle license fees recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office and elected actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who remains the last Republican to have served as the state’s chief executive.

“Herbie the Hate Bug.”

The massive expense of the 2021 California recall election is even more outrageous when you consider that Newsom was already up for re-election in 2022. Far from being at a disadvantage after this fight, however, Newsom has a fully operational campaign ready to march triumphantly into next year’s elections. The specter of the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California, which has been the model for every subsequent recall election organized by conservatives in recent years, has been decisively put to rest.

What does this mean in Colorado–where Republicans in 2019 made a serious, party-sanctioned effort to recall opportune target Democratic lawmakers, followed by two “official” and a whole slew of fundraising operations masquerading as recall campaigns against Gov. Jared Polis? After 2019’s incoming Colorado Republican party chair Ken Buck promised to teach Democrats how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L” and his vice-chair now successor Kristi Burton Brown personally spearheaded the disastrous recall campaign against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial, in Colorado the GOP recall movement quickly degenerated into small-scale grifting operations whose questionable spending habits and complete lack of progress toward their stated objectives became a major embarrassment to Republicans at all levels.

As of today, we have a pretty good indicator of what Colorado’s recall evangelists and grifters would have done with millions of dollars had they ever been given access to that kind of money. The Recall Polis campaign fleeced small donors for their welfare and pension checks, so in that respect one might feel more sympathy over the smaller amount of money grifted here versus the millions and millions wasted in California trying to recall Gavin Newsom. The scale of the financing would only have magnified the scale of their failure.

And in both places, the idea of trying again, without a justification of the kind recalls were actually created for…

Well folks, that’s the most ridiculous thing we can possibly imagine. How about you?

Ganahl Faceplants on First Serious Questions

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

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

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

Well, we’re certainly inspired.

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

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

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

D’oh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heidi Ganahl Recycles 2020 Loser Cory Gardner’s Ad Venue

Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl launched the campaign she herself has described as a “moonshot” bid to unseat the popular incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis today, and while there’s more analysis coming on the particulars of that launch, sharp-eyed observers took note last night that the location chosen for Ganahl’s kickoff announcement early this morning in Monument, about an hour south of where most reporters covering the gubernatorial race live, is a place we’ve seen before. That is, quite recently:

 

It’s not deja vu: Ganahl launched her campaign this morning from the same Rosie’s Diner prominently featured in a Cory Gardner for Senate ad from almost exactly one year ago. This particular ad saw heavy airplay across the state last summer and fall, being glowingly positive and focused on Gardner’s come-lately support for big servings of federal stimulus cash–the “Santa Cory” approach Gardner tried and failed on the way to defeat in last November’s elections.

By now you’re rightly asking yourself: why would anybody do this on purpose? We suppose recycling venues like this might be a decent idea had Gardner actually won his election last year. As it is, we’re half expecting Ganahl’s first ad to portray her washing John Hickenlooper’s Maserati.

It’s just weird, folks. And it starts conversations that don’t help Heidi Ganahl.

Heidi Ganahl to Announce Something Eventually

UPDATE #2:

—–

UPDATE: It’s official, at 3:00PM on Friday afternoon via the Denver Post:

Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican to hold a statewide elected office, filed Friday as a candidate for governor, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Ganahl is an entrepreneur who founded the pet care service Camp Bow Wow and currently serves as a University of Colorado regent.

She told Colorado Politics she is making an “announcement” Tuesday in Monument, but did not specify what she’d say. She did not answer The Post’s calls Friday afternoon. The filing shows a “Heidi for Governor” candidate committee, which is the finance arm of a campaign.

It’s not just you–this most certainly an unforced error that takes the suspense out of Heidi Ganahl’s announcement Tuesday. Then again, since it’s been obvious that Ganahl was running for something for many months now, her contrived “podcast tour” pre-launch campaign was turning into an ethical dilemma all its own.

Let the word go forth for the Friday news dump: Heidi Ganahl is definitely running for something.

—–

Heidi Ganahl

As we first reported here at Colorado Pols, Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl — the sole remaining statewide elected official for the GOP — will announce next week that she will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022.

Probably.

As Joey Bunch and Ernest Luning report for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Ganahl…will end the mystery of her political future at an event next Tuesday in El Paso County.

She’s saving the news until then. The event is being planned in Monument, but the time and location have not yet been disclosed.

Apparently Ganahl’s entire announcement is one big riddle wrapped inside an enigma stuffed inside a gum wrapper:

At various times, observers have speculated that she might run for state treasurer, which has long been a springboard to higher office for Colorado politicians — see Roy Romer, Bill Owens, Gail Schoettler, Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton…

…More remotely, Ganahl has been sized up to take on U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the Democrat’s re-election bid next year.

“I’m making a big announcement on Tuesday in the town where I grew up, Monument,” Ganahl told Colorado Politics Thursday night. “I love Colorado and our future is too important to risk.”

Ganahl has been prepping for a 2022 campaign of some sort since late 2020, and it’s not for re-election as CU Regent (that seat likely won’t even exist in 2022). She was initially focused on challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, but earlier this summer her thinking was drifting more toward a potential run for State Treasurer — in no small part because many observers (including some prominent Republicans) worry that Polis could be unbeatable in 2022. We had heard some brief chatter about a potential bid for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet, but that never seemed to be a serious consideration for Ganahl.

Thus Ganahl has zeroed in on Polis, particularly in recent weeks, and Tuesday’s announcement is almost certainly going to be that she is running for Governor. Ganahl won’t be the only Republican candidate seeking the top job in the state — former 2018 gubernatorial hopeful Greg Lopez basically never stopped campaigning for another chance — but she’ll be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Ganahl’s big move toward running for higher office in Colorado has been stage-managed as much as possible by GOP advisers (though it hasn’t been helped by regular rumors of waffling about WHICH office to seek in 2022), including a statewide “podcast tour” that was largely ignored by media outlets. This all changes next week, when Ganahl will have to start answering real questions about issues such as whether or not the 2020 election was fraudulent (get ready to hear a lot more about Ganahl’s connections with Trump insurrection adviser John Eastman) and how she would deal with the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving all of the freedumbs that a right-wing Republican base seems to value more than the health of their own families.

Assuming that Ganahl is actually running for something in 2022, she’ll immediately take the mantle as the best statewide candidate that Republicans can muster this election cycle. And, no, that’s not really a compliment.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

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

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 3)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 1)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Polis/Griswold Recall 2021 Still Allegedly Happening! For Reals!

When we last checked in back in July on what’s being billed as the third attempt to recall Gov. Jared Polis in as many years–now having tacked on Secretary of State Jena Griswold for good measure–the countdown to kickoff of the latest campaign’s 60-day window to collect over 630,000 valid voter signatures had counted down to zero, but no petition drive ever kicked off. In a major blow to the campaign’s organizing capacity, the principal Facebook group associated with the campaign was shut down around the same time, presumably for spreading the usual assortment of misinformation of the electoral and pandemic variety.

But for the diehard lead organizer of the “Recall Polis 2021” campaign, Lori Cutunilli, recalling Gov. Jared Polis is a dream that simply won’t go away:

When asked if the recall is ever going to become a reality, Cutunilli says you betcha:

There you have it, folks! Just “a couple more weeks.” It’s possible they’re hoping for a boost in momentum once the gubernatorial recall election in California wraps up, but the polls say that’s a false hope–and that’s before you consider how much more difficult it is proportionately to obtain the signatures required in Colorado vs. the Golden State. This is the principal reason why both previous attempts to get a recall question on the ballot against Gov. Polis failed to obtain even half the required number of signatures despite raising and questionably distributing tens of thousands of dollars.

On the upside, if they stay at it the Recall Polis 2019 2020 2021 campaigns might actually keep recall speculation bubbling from Gov. Polis’ swearing in all the way through his re-election!

Which will go down as one of the most ridiculous “achievements” in Colorado political history.

Heidi Ganahl Needs Help with Stump Speech Math

Heidi Ganahl

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl is the sole remaining statewide Republican elected official in Colorado. She probably can’t run for re-election in 2022 because her seat will likely be eliminated as a consequence of redistricting, but Ganahl has had her eye on higher office anyway.

Ganahl has been teasing a potential run for Governor since late 2020, doing everything short of saying the words “I am running for Governor” against Democrat Jared Polis in 2022. In fact, Ganahl might even be in some legal hot water because she is doing everything possible to look and sound like a candidate for Governor without fulfilling the required legal obligations that come with being such a candidate. From what we hear, Ganahl is likely to (finally) formally announce a gubernatorial bid shortly after Labor Day. She might want to take that extra time to work on her stump speech.

As Julia Fennell reports for Colorado Newsline, Ganahl was the headline speaker at the Teller Republicans’ “Big Tent Event” in Woodland Park on Saturday. She opened her speech with a predictable quote from former President Ronald Reagan before things went sideways:

Former President Donald Trump won more votes in Colorado in 2020 than Polis won in 2018, Ganahl said.

“So there are about 300,000 voters who showed up in 2020 to vote for Trump that did not vote in 2018 in the governor’s and the other races that year,” she told the crowd. “How about we get those folks out to vote, and perhaps we might be able to win statewide elections again in Colorado, there you go!” [Pols emphasis]

First off, you might have more luck exciting a crowd by NOT telling them that “perhaps we might be able to win statewide elections again in Colorado.” Alas, Ganahl could clean up that line, but her story problem still needs some work.

Republican Donald Trump received 283,806 more votes in Colorado (in 2020) than Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton collected in 2018. But even with the higher turnout in a Presidential election year, Trump would have barely defeated Polis. Trump’s 2020 vote total in Colorado was only 15,719 more than what Polis earned in 2018 (a margin of 0.0057%).

Of course, Ganahl also neglects to mention that Democrat Joe Biden received 439,745 more votes than Trump in 2020. Thus, Ganahl’s path to victory in 2022 only works if she manages to keep GOP turnout at Presidential election levels AND figures out a way to depress Democratic turnout back to 2018 totals. That seems totally plausible! (It would also help if more than 30% of Colorado voters could even recognize the name ‘Heidi Ganahl’).

If Ganahl does have a path to victory next November…this ain’t it.

Not that there is a better option; there’s a good reason why Republicans such as State Sen. John Cooke consider Polis to be “unbeatable” in 2022.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 27)

We’re almost three-quarters of the way through 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. 

 

 One day after a bombing at an airport in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members, Marine Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, indicated that more attacks are expected to come from “ISIS-K.” The New York Times explains everything you need to know about “ISIS-K,” the different flavor of ISIS that is responsible for the attack in Kabul.

On Thursday, President Biden promised that the U.S. would retaliate against ISIS-K for the suicide bombing attack that killed more than 100 people in total. From The Washington Post:

In emotional comments at the White House, Biden made clear that the attack would not cause him to rethink his strategy. Rather, he said, it reinforced his belief that the war must end and that the evacuation must proceed. He framed the deaths as the sacrifice of heroes performing a noble mission, and he suggested that any move to cut short the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan supporters would amount to caving to the terrorists.

“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that has happened,” Biden said, addressing the nation hours after the deadly attack. His voice broke as he invoked Scripture, history and personal loss to decry the double suicide bombing at the entrance to the Kabul airport, which stands as the last small acreage controlled by the United States in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the war began.

Biden promised to track down the killers responsible for the massacre, who he suggested were members of the terrorist group ISIS-K. “To those who carried out this attack: We will not forgive,” he said. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) addressed Thursday’s attack in Kabul in an interview with MSNBC. The former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan reaffirmed his belief that the withdrawal of U.S. forces was the correct decision, but stressed that the U.S. must remember its obligation to Afghanistan allies.

 

 As The Associated Press reports, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that evictions may resume in this country after a long COVID-related moratorium.

In related news, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that it might be time to start thinking about scaling back stimulus efforts as the economy continues to show signs of improvement even amidst another surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, the Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, Priscilla Rahn, has come out in support of efforts to cancel the GOP Primary Elections in order to help ensure that only the most strident right-wing candidates can win the Republican nomination for basically every elected office. This is a terrible idea for Republicans that is opposed by many moderates, but supporters such as Rahn believe that the only way forward for the GOP is to lurch ever rightward.

 

 The Denver Post asks the same question that has been top of mind for many Colorado politicos lately: WHERE IS TINA PETERS?

The Mesa County Clerk and Recorder has been hiding in an undisclosed location for weeks since being investigated for helping to break in to election computers in order to prove some sort of cockamamie argument about 2020 election fraud. Peters and her supporters have insisted that she is on the lam because of concerns for her personal safety, but a recent review of emails received by the Mesa Clerk’s office indicates that this is complete nonsense.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 20)

Happy “World Mosquito Day.” Please celebrate by turning on your bug zapper. 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. 

 

MSNBC takes note of Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s no good, very bad week:

It’s not unusual for members of Congress to have family members who work in a variety of capacities for assorted industries, many of which relate in some way to federal policymaking. In this instance, the fact that the Coloradan is married to energy consultant is not, in and of itself, notable.

What makes Boebert’s situation controversial are the relevant details: she’s spent much of her first year on Capitol Hill pushing proposals to benefit the energy industry without disclosing the fact that her husband made nearly $1 million through energy consulting.

If you need a refresher on Boebert’s week from hell, you can start here to continue along with the story of her newfound reported wealth. This here is an entirely separate problem than the one involving her husband, Jayson’s, “employment.” Both stories involve potential campaign finance violations, but the issue with her husband’s lavish oil and gas consulting fees is the one that is likely to open up a whole new can of worms for the Rifle Republican.

If you only want to read one story on Boebert’s recent troubles, make it this one from The Washington Post.

 

More than 100 people rallied in Denver on Thursday to celebrate “Afghan Independence Day” and bring attention to the needs of incoming Afghan refugees following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Department of Homeland Security says that Afghan refugees are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine before they travel elsewhere in the United States.

The Denver Post has more on what you can to do help Afghan refugees coming to Colorado.

 

Republican State Rep. Matt Soper appears to have been coaching people about how to get involved in Colorado’s redistricting process, unintentionally unmasking the presence of several Republican operatives in the process. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette:

On the video training, Rep. Matt Soper, a Delta Republican, lamented the fact that the independent redistricting commission system is designed to elicit input from non-political, everyday people talking about their communities, and not from incumbent lawmakers who want to keep a safe seat for themselves.

“It’s been really frustrating because throughout the process,” Soper, who led the training, said, “I’ve heard over and over again, they don’t want to hear from incumbents.”

The state constitution prohibits drawing districts to protect incumbent lawmakers.

And here’s where Soper sucks in other Republican operatives:

In the video, Soper also told the training participants that a set of high-profile lobbyists who work for an organization whose donors are secret have been advocating for the GOP lawmakers’ interests, even though the group’s representatives have said they aren’t working for Republicans.

“The Colorado Republican Party, the House Republicans and Senate Republicans hired Alan Philp, Greg Brophy and Frank McNulty to represent our interests,” Soper told the training participants. [Pols emphasis]

Frank McNulty is a former Colorado House Speaker. Greg Brophy is a former Colorado House and Senate member. Alan Philp runs a political consulting firm and is a registered lobbyist for the organization that the three are working under, called Colorado Neighborhood Coalition.

Whoops!

In a response, Philp laughably told the Gazette that he doesn’t know Soper.

The Unaffiliated newsletter of The Colorado Sun has more on this story. We’d link to it for you if there WAS a link, because here’s one of the best parts:

Delta County Republicans were told by GOP officials to “take one for the team,” Soper said during the virtual meeting. “That was just a slap in the face. And it really just shows we’re a divided Republican Party as well.”

 

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has the latest on the massive elections fraud scandal in Mesa County:

It may come down to the courts to decide who has the legal authority to name a temporary designated election official in Mesa County, the Board of Commissioners or the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

That legal question has put both elected agencies at an impasse as a result of Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s declaration Tuesday that Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is unfit to serve because of her alleged involvement in an election security breach. Currently, Griswold’s office, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and the FBI are investigating the matter, which could lead to criminal charges.

Elsewhere, The Huffington Post picks up the story of “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell apparently providing safe harbor in Texas for Tina Peters.

 

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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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“The Big Line: 2022” Updates (August 2021)

Back in June, we went through the five statewide offices that will be on the ballot in 2022 in an attempt to provide some clarity about who (on the Republican side) might be running for what in Colorado. Two months later, the 2022 election situation (and The Big Line) remains what you might charitably call, “fluid” for the GOP. Here’s a look at where things stand as of today with each of the five big statewide races…

 

En garde!

U.S. SENATE

Former El Paso County Republican Party Chairperson Eli Bremer made it official earlier this month that he will seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022, with his eyes on incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet next November. Bremer is virtually unknown to most Colorado voters and isn’t even a slam dunk choice for more politically-astute Republicans, but he’s probably a better option for the GOP than Juli Henry, strange newcomer Erik Aadland or Peter Yu, who ran a no-hope campaign in CO-02 in 2020 before losing to incumbent Democrat Joe Neguse.

The big remaining question for Republicans is whether someone else might join the GOP field for Senate, with right-wing radio host/attorney Dan Caplis still pondering a campaign of his own. Caplis is certainly not more likely to defeat Bennet in a General Election, but he could make the Republican Primary more interesting.

 

Bottom Line: If Republicans had a good candidate to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, that person would likely already be in the race. Bennet wasn’t going to be a national target for Republicans anyway — not after former Sen. Cory Gardner face-planted last November — so the eventual GOP nominee is essentially just the person who will finish in second place 15 months from now.   

 

Heidi Ganahl

GOVERNOR

Republicans know that they aren’t going to beat incumbent Democrat Jared Polis in 2022, but somebody has to try. Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez has been running for Governor since [checks calendar] August 2019, but his ceiling isn’t much higher than the third place finish he had in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary.

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl is the lone remaining Republican statewide officeholder in Colorado. She has been teasing a potential run for Governor since late 2020. After flirting with the possibility of running for State Treasurer instead, it appears that Ganahl will indeed jump into the race (officially) sometime in early September.

 

Bottom Line: This is Polis’ race to lose. Ganahl’s candidacy doesn’t change that.

 

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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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Polis Is Unbeatable in Next Year’s Election, Says GOP State Sen. John Cooke

(Moment of clarity – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Appearing on right-wing talk radio yesterday, state Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley) said he thinks Republicans can’t unseat Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) in next year’s election, due to the incumbent’s potential war chest and the absence of a “viable” candidate so “late in the season.”

“Can Polis get beat?” KNUS radio host Peter Boyles asked Cooke, who’s the Republican Assistant Minority Leader in the Colorado Senate.

“You know, I would like to say yes, but no, I don’t think he can at this point,” replied Cooke, who praised Polis as smart and popular. “You know, it’s unfortunate, but money runs campaigns. And one, we need to have a good candidate, and it’s really getting late in the season.”

Cooke’s comments came as a surprise, as leaders of political parties don’t usually predict that their party will lose upcoming elections for fear of scaring away donors. Yet Cooke lamented one GOP candidate’s lack of money.

“We have one person that announced [to run for governor],” said Cooke on the radio. “Greg Lopez, good guy. But if you ask 99, if you ask 100 people, walk up to strangers say, ‘Who’s Greg Lopez?’ Ninety-nine, I bet, maybe even all 100 would say, ‘I have no idea.’ And so he has no name recognition. And if you don’t have name recognition, you’re not going to raise the money. And if you don’t have the money, you’re not going to get the name recognition. So it’s kind of a Catch 22. So we don’t really have a viable candidate yet running for governor. Nobody seems to be out in the wings waiting. And, you know, Polls can write his own checks.”

Asked by Boyles about defeating U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cooke said it will be “tough” to unseat him.

“You know, maybe in Colorado,” said Cooke on air. “It’s going to be tough unless we get organized and unify on a message, then I don’t know if that could be beaten either.”

Cooke’s assessment of the Republican Party’s prospects in next year’s election is largely supported by voter surveys and expert opinion, which point to Democratic victories in the absence of a fundamental political shift. That’s seen as not likely but always possible.

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Masks Are Back, And Lauren Boebert Is Raging

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert shows the world what tyranny looks like.

As the Denver Post’s Megan Wingerter reports, hope you didn’t throw all of yours away:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor public places in counties with “high” or “substantial” spread of COVID-19 — which includes the majority of Colorado.

New coronavirus infections have increased in Colorado in recent weeks, and hospitalizations are trending up, though significantly more slowly than they did during the state’s four previous waves of cases.

The CDC defines substantial transmission as 50 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last week. About 60% of U.S. counties are above that threshold, officials said.

As of this writing, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado is not planning on reinstating the state’s mask mandate. At least for now, increasing case rates in Colorado are not putting as much strain on hospitals–a sign that vulnerable populations are better protected today than in previous COVID-19 infection waves. In Congress, however, it’s a different story after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi re-imposed a mask requirement on the chamber effective today.

Take a guess how that’s going:

In response to the mask mandate returning to the House, in addition to childishly taking her frustrations with Pelosi’s mask mandate out on a staffer, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert launched into a Twitter tirade this morning about the “anti-science, totalitarian mask mandate” and went full-on conspiratorial on the so-called “Perma-demic’s” non-medical motives:

Permanent masking. Permanent state of emergency. Permanent control. This will go on until the American people just say enough is enough. The tyrants aren’t giving this up!

So folks, we don’t like wearing masks. We don’t know anyone who does. We don’t want or expect to live in a world of “permanent masking.” As for the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least here in the U.S. this has become a crisis almost entirely affecting the unvaccinated population. Boebert has been openly discouraging her supporters from accepting the “experimental vaccine” from the very beginning, even as Mesa County in her district became the state’s epicenter for continuing spread of the virus.

In short, Boebert is doing everything she can to make this emergency permanent. By encouraging her supporters to go unvaccinated and resist mask wearing–the two most effective steps we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19–Boebert is helping make her own dark prophecy come true. Except for the nefarious motives, of course, though fortunately for Boebert she never has to prove that part.

If the goal is really to end the pandemic, Boebert is her own worst enemy.  She either doesn’t know that or doesn’t care. Either way, Boebert represents the worst-case scenario for leadership at a moment when leadership is desperately needed.

So Many Captions For One Awkward Photo

Committed to the public domain by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s official Twitter account, from yesterday’s visit by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (center) to Grand Junction accompanied by (from left) Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Joe Neguse, Gov. Jared Polis, and Sen. John Hickenlooper:

There’s a lot going on here, and 90% of it doesn’t need to be said.

Take care of the other 10%, gentle readers.

Hurting The Unemployed: How About No?

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

CBS4 Denver reports on yet another request this week by business interests asking Gov. Jared Polis to cut off the expanded unemployment benefits being paid to workers by the federal government through the first week of September prematurely, in hopes that doing so will “motivate” those workers to return to their pre-pandemic stations:

A group of more than 100 business owners in northern Colorado sent a letter to Gov. Polis, saying the extra weekly payments are disincentivizing people to go back to work, and causing a shortage of workers.

The expanded unemployment benefits that have been flowing to workers for over a year now, already cut in half from the original $600 per week, are set to end in about six weeks. As we’ve explained each time Republicans and business lobbyists have called for the money to be cut off over the last few months, there’s scant evidence that expanded unemployment benefits are slowing workers return to the workforce. This is especially true in Colorado where the minimum wage is well above the federal $7.25 an hour, and is off-base in all cases since workers in every state are required to look for new jobs while they receive unemployment benefits.

In his response to this latest request, Gov. Polis makes the argument even simpler: he would be a fool to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Colorado’s economy.

“I wish that we could use the money for something else, but this is $600 to $800 million that the federal government is pumping into Colorado,” Gov. Polis said.

Polis said the weekly payments are temporary and helping businesses in Colorado.

“This current money is only here for another month, but if we cut it off, it would be less money for our retail businesses, for our stores,” Polis said Wednesday.

Once you realize that expanded unemployment benefits are not the reason employers can’t fill many entry-level low paying positions, any rational basis for cutting the benefits off disappears. No one who wants Colorado to recover as quickly as possible from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic should support a single dime of available money to not be flowing into the state–especially money going directly into the hands of working class people who are most likely to plug it right back into the economy.

It seems like an eternity ago, but the reality is that Colorado’s “labor shortage” was in the headlines long before the pandemic. Rather than meanspirited, shortsighted attempts to punitively motivate workers into accepting the status quo ante, maybe it’s time for businesses to make better job offers.

After all, an employee’s job market is a free market too.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 22)

Happy Pi Approximation Day; please celebrate approximately. 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 New York Times reports, the head of the CDC is warning that America is at a “pivotal point” in the battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struck a new tone of urgency on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the United States is “not out of the woods yet” and is once again at a “another pivotal point in this pandemic” as the highly infectious Delta variant rips through communities with low rates of vaccination.

The warning from the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during a briefing by members of the White House Covid-19 response team, was a marked shift from just weeks ago, when President Biden threw a big Fourth of July party on the South Lawn of the White House to declare independence from the virus.

It reflects a growing concern among administration officials that the gains they appeared to have made are being erased — and that the current surge in cases will overwhelm health systems in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low and hospitalizations are high. Still, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a fraction of their previous devastating peaks. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant.

Vaxx that thang up, people!

 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is in Denver today ahead of a visit to Grand Junction on Friday in which the future of the headquarters location for the Bureau of Land Management will be discussed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is part of a MASSIVE settlement agreement with several major drug companies regarding their role in the opioid epidemic:

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday unveiled a historic $26 billion multistate settlement with the nation’s three largest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson designed to address the nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Weiser said during a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon. “We need to make the most of it.”

The settlement between more than 40 states, thousands of municipalities and AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson would bring $300 million to Colorado, the attorney general said.

That, combined with a previous settlement with Purdue Pharma, would total $400 million in funding to address what Weiser called an “American tragedy.”

 

Remember when several big corporations spoke out against new restrictive voter laws passed in Georgia this Spring? The Washington Post has an unfortunate update:

Three months ago, Comcast responded to the passage of Georgia’s sweeping voting law by saying, “Efforts to limit or impede access to this vital constitutional right for any citizen are not consistent with our values.”

That was then.

On June 30, the telecommunications giant contributed $2,500 to Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, who has vigorously defended the law, which critics say will curtail voting access, including by limiting use of drop boxes for absentee ballots and making it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line…

…Comcast was one of several companies that raised alarm about the voting restrictions but then contributed more than $20,000 collectively between April and June of this year to Georgia politicians who voted for or publicly defended the legislation, according to an examination by Advance Democracy, a nonprofit research group headed by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI analyst who led the Senate investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

If only Comcast’s customer service was this reliable. Amirite?

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 21)

A new study says that Denver is the fourth-fittest city in America. 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, more Republican officials are starting to promote the COVID-19 vaccination before the virus kills off their entire voting base:

A growing number of top Republicans are urging GOP supporters to get vaccinated as the delta coronavirus variant surges across the United States, marking a notable shift away from the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorizing that has gripped much of the party in opposition to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the virus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was part of the rising chorus on Tuesday, stressing the need for unvaccinated Americans to receive coronavirus shots and warning that the country could reverse its progress in moving on from the pandemic.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” McConnell said during his weekly news conference. “I want to encourage everybody to do that and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.” [Pols emphasis]

Republicans such as Rep. Steve Scalise, the #2 person in the GOP House leadership, are now encouraging vaccinations. Even Fox News talking monkey Sean Hannity is now talking up the vaccine…and he once called the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax.

There’s one prominent Republican who is still NOT encouraging Americans to get vaccinated: Former President Donald Trump.

 

Colorado Democrats such as Gov. Jared Polis ran for office in 2018 promising to reduce health care costs for Coloradans. New data shows that these efforts have paid off BIGLY, resulting in significant reductions in health care premiums across the state.

 

As POLITICO reports, “centrist” Republican Senators are trying to lock down support for their watered-down version of a new infrastructure plan as the GOP stymies an effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a discussion on the issue today.

 

A right-wing lunatic attacked a couple of reporters at the State Capitol on Tuesday, as Westword explains:

On July 20, a woman who identified herself as homeless physically attacked Colorado Politics reporter Pat Poblete in the press room of the Colorado State Capitol simply because he is a journalist. And while Poblete wasn’t injured and ultimately declined to ask that the woman be charged with assault — or for stealing items belonging to one of his reporting colleagues, Marianne Goodland — he’s troubled that she appears to have acted out because she believes the terrible things said about the media by ex-President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric she spouted during her violent outburst.

“This wasn’t the sort of hyper-online, hyper-partisan, QAnon, deep-dive type of person who’s ingrained in this stuff,” Poblete says. “This was just a woman who’d heard what the former president said about journalists and took that to heart. Even at that level of information and intake, it’s still penetrating the public psyche.”

Poblete, who publicly revealed the attack in a thread on his Twitter account, is the legislative reporter for Colorado Politics, and even though the Colorado Legislature isn’t currently in session, he was at the Capitol to cover an event celebrating a statue of World War II hero General Maurice Rose that will be placed in nearby Lincoln Veterans’ Memorial Park (click to see his article on the topic).

Words matter, people.

 

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Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 Deep-Sixed By The Zuckster?

Checking in on the website for what would be the third attempt since 2019 to recall Gov. Jared Polis with Secretary of State Jena Griswold thrown in this time because it’s all fantasy and why the hell not, we see that the countdown clock for starting their 60-day petition circulation campaign has ticked down to zero:

We should be on the edge of our seats!

Now, as was the case with Polis Recall 2019 and 2020’s “Polis Recall 2.0,” this is the golden period of opportunity for the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign to be furiously drumming up whatever buzz and earned media they can, in order to maximize any chance at achieving the goal the two prior campaigns couldn’t even get halfway to reaching: over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures needed to qualify a recall question for a future statewide election.

Instead, it looks like the Polis Recall campaign has a more basic problem on their hands:

It would appear that somebody in the private Facebook group where recall organizing was to be taking place posted something stupid–we’re guessing they posted a lot of stupid things–about the COVID-19 pandemic that eventually brought the dreaded ball gag of Mark Zuckerberg down around the piehole of the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign on that platform. You would think by now most of these very fine people would have moved to Parler or Gab or whichever alternative network it is these days that allows people to lie about stuff without any consequences. That’s not Facebook anymore, and most people we know not named Ken Buck are pretty happy about that.

But to the extent the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign was relying on Facebook to organize, it’s back to square one! Perhaps they’ll see reason and just start getting ready for the next regular election in 2022, but we have no reason to expect rational behavior at this point. There’s neither fun nor grift in that.

Thanks, Democrats: Health Care Costs Declining in Colorado

Reinsurance Savings 2021

Legit BFD

In 2019, Governor Jared Polis and legislative Democrats passed a reinsurance program that almost immediately created significant cost savings on health insurance for many Coloradans. According to a new press release from Polis’ office, those savings are getting bigger:

Governor Polis and the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), released preliminary information about the health insurance plans and premiums for 2022, for the individual market (meaning health insurance plans for people who don’t get their insurance from an employer) and the small group market (for small businesses with 2-100 employees).

“We need to do more, but our effort to save people money on healthcare is working. Saving people money on health care continues to be a top priority for our administration especially as we build back stronger and the bipartisan reinsurance program is delivering real results. Keeping premiums down an average of 24.1% in the individual market through the reinsurance program means hardworking families will have more money for things like after-school activities, a summer vacation or help with housing,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The savings from the reinsurance program have increased this year. The Colorado Option which Governor Polis signed this year and its standard benefit plan will give Coloradans another tool to save money on health care starting in 2023.

In addition, insurance companies continue to expand where they are offering plans across the state, in both the individual and small group markets. In the individual market, the companies’ proposed expansions for 2022 will leave only one county with a single on-exchange insurance company available – down from 10 counties in 2021, and 22 counties in 2020.

To quote former Vice President Joe Biden from the ACA signing in 2010, this is a “big f***ing deal” that proves out campaign promises from Polis and other Democrats that they would reduce health care costs in Colorado if elected by voters. Average health care premiums in the individual market are now 24% lower than they were before Polis took office.

That’s…huge.

These numbers are likely to decrease even more once The Artist Formerly Known as The Colorado Option — a bill approved in the 2021 legislative session — is fully implemented in 2023. These are significant policy changes that will benefit people across the state, and the narrative poses a very difficult political problem for Colorado Republicans. Democrats told voters that they would save them money on health care…and they’re doing it. How do you downplay this in 2022 if you are a Republican candidate in Colorado? (SPOILER ALERT: You can’t).

If there is a logical campaign slogan that the Colorado GOP can use to counteract this Democratic message, we’re anxious to see what it looks like. Good luck with THAT, Republicans.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 13)

Don’t believe the rumors you might have heard: The Home Run Derby actually did come to an end. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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