Get More Smarter on Friday (May 20)

Enjoy the slush. 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 

 

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, really worked overtime in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. As The Washington Post reports:

Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear…

…The messages show that Thomas, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, was more deeply involved in the effort to overturn Biden’s win than has been previously reported. In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.

Thomas’s actions also underline concerns about potential conflicts of interest that her husband has already faced — and may face in the future — in deciding cases related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Those questions intensified in March, when The Post and CBS News obtained text messages that Thomas sent in late 2020 to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, pressing him to help reverse the election.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports for its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Governor Jared Polis says he may push lawmakers to further delay implementation of a new gas tax depending on the state of the economy.

 

The District Attorney who covers Mesa County — Republican Dan Rubenstein said on Thursday that election conspiracy theories promoted by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder (and Secretary of State candidate) Tina Peters are complete nonsense and without merit. In fact, as The Associated Press reports:

There was “extensive evidence” that Peters’ conclusions were false and no proof found of outside election interference, Rubinstein wrote in a summary to commissioners.

Unfortunately, this probably won’t stop Peters from continuing to issue her “reports.” Her “report #4” is right around the corner.

 

Republicans in Colorado’s Congressional delegation talk a big game about the need to increase production of baby formula, but when it comes time to vote…they vanish. Republicans Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn voted NO on a $28 million funding bill to increase production. Boebert was also one of only NINE REPUBLICANS TOTAL who voted against legislation intended to make it easier for low-income families to purchase baby formula.

As Denver7 reports:

When asked Thursday why Boebert voted against both measures – despite chastising the administration in a tweet about the formula shortage on May 12 – she claimed the Biden administration and Democrats created the issue. Abbott has maintained no evidence shows its formula and plant caused the death of the infants, but the FDA investigation is ongoing.

“Increasing salaries for FDA bureaucrats without addressing the production and supply chain issues isn’t going to solve the shortage,” Boebert said in a statement. “Democrats should be shamed for offering false hope messaging bills, and not real solutions for moms and dads trying to feed their children.”

Nobody is preventing Boebert from offering up her own solution or legislation.

 

We made a small, but significant, adjustment to “The Big Line” on Thursday. For the first time this cycle, we moved Greg Lopez ahead of Hiedi Heidi Ganahl in the race for Governor. Neither Lopez nor Ganahl are likely to defeat incumbent Democrat Jared Polis, but it’s looking like Lopez might have a better chance of winning the GOP nomination on June 28.

Speaking of Lopez, he has a (not cool) idea for destroying Democracy in order to give Republicans an advantage in Colorado that even they couldn’t screw up.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Falling on Ridiculously Dull Swords

This week in episode 108 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii look back at the 2022 legislative session and highlight some of the more important pieces of legislation to come out of the Gold Dome.

Later, Jason and Ian talk about Joe/John “O’Dancing” O’Dea (it will make sense when you listen); John Eastman; and Tina Peters.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@ .com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 12)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

The 2022 Colorado legislative session is in the books!

For a recap of the final days and the session overall, check out these stories from The Denver Post; Colorado Public RadioColorado Newsline; and Denver7.

Here’s a statement from the office of Governor Jared Polis on the results of the legislative session. Lawmakers held a press conference this morning to discuss the session in more detail.

ProgressNow Colorado lists its annual “Winners and Losers” from the 2022 legislative session.

 

Andrew Kenney of Colorado Public Radio explains how legislation dealing with fentanyl — the biggest issue in the final weeks of the session — turned out at the end:

After months of debate, Colorado lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday night to the state’s new “fentanyl accountability” bill.

The bill introduces tougher criminal penalties for the possession of a smaller amount of fentanyl, or other drugs laced with fentanyl. At the same time, reformers were able to win some new funding for treatment and other services.

The measure passed the legislature with the support of most Democrats and a small minority of Republicans. Many Republicans argued it didn’t go far enough to punish people involved with fentanyl, while some liberal Democrats warned it could help to restart a harmful “war on drugs” approach to addiction.

Perhaps the most notable change in the law is that the limit for felony possession of fentanyl has been lowered from 4 grams to 1 gram. Governor Jared Polis praised lawmakers for working “in a bipartisan, and comprehensive manner to reduce fentanyl deaths and get dealers off the streets and fentanyl our of our communities.” Blair Miller of Denver7 has more on the final bill.

 

Colorado high school students are walking out of class to protest the likely reversal of Roe v. Wade:

 

The story of John Eastman, the former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado who played a key role in Donald Trump’s attempted coup in 2021, just keeps getting worse and worse for the players involved. New emails from the University of Colorado have prompted a bunch of national stories, including from POLITICO, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

 

President Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to mark the death of 1 million Americans from COVID-19.

 

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Thirteen Republicans Voted Against Funding the Police

Don’t mind us. We’re just “backing the blue.”

The Colorado legislature passed into law SB22-145 today, legislation that provides some $30.5 million in funding for Colorado law enforcement.

As Hannah Metzger reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Under the bill, the funds would be distributed over two years with $15 million for the crime prevention program and $7.5 million going to each of the workforce programs. Another $400,000 would pay for oversight from the Department of Public Safety and $100,000 would fund a statewide forum to solicit suggestions on crime prevention measures.

Of the $15 million for crime prevention, at least $5 million would be reserved for community-based organizations and another $5 million for law enforcement and local governments. At least 20% of the grant funds would be required to go to rural communities if they apply.

Senate Bill 145 was bipartisan in nature — with two GOP sponsors — yet 13 (13!) Republicans in the State House of Representatives voted NO: Mark Baisley; Terri Carver; Tim Geitner; Ron Hanks; Stephanie Luck; Pat Neville; Andres Pico; Kim Ransom; Janice Rich; Shane Sandridge; Matt Soper; Kevin Van Winkle; and Dave Williams.

The next time you hear ANY of these Republican legislators talking about how Democrats are trying to “defund the police” or about how Republicans “back the blue,” please kindly tell them to stick their heads in an appropriately dark place.

Vote Republican if You Want Nothing to Get Done

UPDATE: Straight from the elephant’s mouth, via Axios Denver:

The image of governing through obstruction is not pretty, particularly when must-pass legislation to fund schools and deliver pandemic relief dollars hangs in the balance.

State Rep. Patrick Neville, who formerly served as the GOP caucus leader, said it’s a bad look. “I don’t know if we have an agenda,” [Pols emphasis] he told Axios Denver.

—–

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (left) and Senate Minority Whip Paul Lundeen are trying to play chess with checkers.

The 2022 Colorado legislative session must end by midnight on Wednesday (which means lawmakers have all of Wednesday to complete their work). There are a lot of bills that still must receive votes, and a lot more that are going to die on the vine, so to speak, because time is running out on the session.

Not only are Colorado Republicans fine with this — it’s actually part of their strategy (again). As The Colorado Sun explains in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

Anything left on the calendar when 11:59:59 p.m. Wednesday comes is dead. And, at this rate, there could be many bills left on the calendar.

The House worked until 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday — nearly 24 hours straight. When the sun came up on Tuesday, the challenge ahead for Democrats also rose into view. “It’s only Tuesday …” one lawmaker texted.

Take this scene as an example of the fraught situation: House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, was talking with state Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, at 9 p.m. on Monday outside the Capitol, presumably trying to negotiate an end to the impasse, while inside the building a bill was being read at length by a computer.

Ah, yes. Republicans have returned this week to one of their favorite pastimes — demanding that every bill be read out loud in order to run out the clock on the legislative session. Republicans employed a similar tactic of performative obstruction in 2021, ultimately admitting that their big play didn’t do much; State Rep. Richard Holtorf acknowledged that this accomplished nothing, and former House Minority Leader Pat Neville expanded on that concern, saying: “It seems like when we’ve done it, there hasn’t been a sense of purpose behind it. There’s been no objective.”

Here we are one year later, and there’s still no objective. Let’s go back to the “Unaffiliated”:

“I might suggest that we look at this from the day and the week after,” state Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Fremont County, told his fellow caucus members during a meeting Monday night. “How much could we have killed and how much could we tell the entire state ‘We left 50 bills on the table because we fought this’? [Pols emphasis] I just want to say this: if anybody wants to fight, I will make myself available.”

That’s your plan for the 2022 election? You’re going to regale voters with tales of all the things that you didn’t do?

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, meanwhile, is pretending that there is a larger goal here related to trying to squeeze concessions from Democrats. “We’re just getting to order off the kids’ menu,” he told The Colorado Sun. “It’d be nice to know that we can actually get into some of the entrées.” This is patently stupid, of course, because negotiations are pointless when THERE IS NO TIME LEFT TO DO ANY NEGOTIATING.

Colorado Republicans began the 2022 legislative session by claiming that Democrats were stealing their ideas. They’re going to end the session by gumming up the works so that Democrats can’t pass the bills…that were supposedly Republican ideas in the first place?

Voters in Colorado already know that Republicans are the go-to party if you don’t want anything to ever get done; they certainly don’t need to be reminded of that. It would have made sense for Republicans to have taken a different approach in an election year.

But yet again, it seems the Colorado GOP is not in the business of making sense.

Get More Smarter on Monday (May 9)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

The 2022 legislative session in Colorado is down to its final days. Lawmakers have until Midnight on Wednesday to wrap up a number of important bills.

Axios Denver runs down a list of the most high-profile pieces of legislation still to be finalized. In a separate story, Axios looks at where things stand on perhaps the biggest issue yet to be decided: a change in the law regarding fentanyl possession:

The House is slated for a final vote Monday on the controversial legislation before advancing it to the state Senate, where sponsors Sens. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and John Cooke (R-Greeley) will attempt to take it to the finish line.

Why it matters: Fentanyl deaths are soaring in Colorado, outpacing most other states — and many overdoses are occurring as users unknowingly ingest the synthetic opioid laced with other drugs.

What’s new: A GOP-sponsored, zero-tolerance amendment that would make any possession of fentanyl a felony failed on Friday with an unanimous down vote from House Democrats.

The current draft bill now makes it a felony to possess more than 1 gram of fentanyl in any form, while tightening criminal penalties for distributing the drug.

The editorial board of The Denver Post encourages lawmakers NOT to “criminalize addiction” in Colorado.

 

The Colorado Sun breaks down the latest on a Capitol battle over property taxes:

Colorado’s property tax arms race ended Friday morning after conservative and liberal groups moved to withdraw the ballot measures they were pursuing for the November ballot that would have dramatically altered the tax code.

Democratic leaders in the legislature, meanwhile, vowed not to pursue an opposing ballot initiative that would have prevented property tax changes from being made through the statewide ballot.

In exchange, the legislature will move forward with Senate Bill 238 without changes, a measure that, if it is signed into law in the coming days as expected, will reduce projected property tax increases by $700 million over the next two years. The legislation was aimed at heading off an even bigger reduction being pushed by business interests.

The decision by all sides to back down ends a high-stakes game of chicken that threatened to grip the Capitol in the final days of the 2022 legislative session. In jeopardy were billions of dollars in funding for schools and local governments.

 

Why stop with outlawing abortion when you can ban contraception as well? The Washington Post reports on yet another reason to never, ever visit Mississippi:

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Sunday refused to rule out the possibility that his state would ban certain forms of contraception, sidestepping questions about what would happen next if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Reeves confirmed that, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a trigger law passed in Mississippi in 2007 would go into effect that essentially outlaws abortions in the state, although it makes exceptions for rape and for the life of the mother.

When asked if Mississippi might next target the use of contraceptives such as the Plan B pill or intrauterine devices, Reeves demurred, saying that was not what the state was focused on “at this time.” 

Some Republicans are even going so far as to call for a ban on condoms. No, seriously.

 

 Legislation to allow collective bargaining rights for municipal employees is struggling to stay afloat in the legislature’s final day.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 6)

On Wednesday you could say, “May the Fourth be With You.” Thursday was Cinco de Mayo. Today is just May 6. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

The job market in the United States is pretty, pretty good right now. From The New York Times:

April produced another solid month of job growth, the Labor Department reported Friday, reflecting the economy’s resilient rebound from the pandemic’s devastation.

U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs, the department said, the same as the revised figure for March. The unemployment rate in April remained 3.6 percent…

…The U.S. economy has regained nearly 95 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the height of coronavirus-related lockdowns in the spring of 2020. And labor force participation has recovered more swiftly than most analysts initially expected, nearing prepandemic levels. The labor supply over the past year has not kept up with a record wave of job openings, however, as businesses expand to meet the demand for a variety of goods and services.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado will likely become one of the epicenters for abortion care should Roe v. Wade get overturned:

As Coloradans await the final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the fate of Roe v. Wade, abortion rights advocates are preparing for what they consider an inevitable influx of patients from out of state.

According to data from the state health department, that uptick of abortion patients from outside of Colorado is already happening.

From 2017 to 2019, 11% of abortions in Colorado were performed on patients from out of state. In 2020, it went to 13% and was nearly 14% last year, according to the state health department. That accounts for 1,560 procedures out of the state’s total of 11,580 abortions in 2021.

Politically-speaking, the coming battle over abortion rights is a 2022 issue that smart Republicans in Colorado were hoping to avoid.

 

Colorado lawmakers are rushing to close out several important bills with the last day of the 2022 session coming up on Wednesday. Here’s a look at what’s being discussed:

♦ Legislation regarding penalties for fentanyl distribution is near the home stretch;

The Colorado Sun looks at last-minute battles over property taxes;

♦ Denver7 reports on the progress of an election integrity bill, as does The Colorado Sun;

♦ Colorado Public Radio has more on the advancement of a ban on flavored tobacco products;

KDVR reports on legislation dealing with nursing shortages;

Lawmakers hope an 18-month study can help settle longstanding battles over liquor.

 

 9News explains more about what to expect regarding upcoming TABOR refunds.

 

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Get More Smarter on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo. Please celebrate responsibly and go easy on Federal Blvd. 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 

 

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is among many Democrats calling on the U.S. Senate to act quickly to protect abortion rights in the wake of a “leaked opinion” suggesting that the United States Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade. From Denver7:

DeGette, the co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, implored the Senate to act and pass House-passed legislation protecting people’s right to abortion care, despite it failing to do so earlier this year, after the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act last September in a 218-211 vote, with all Republicans voting against the measure and all Democrats voting in favor except for Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

But when the motion to proceed to a vote in the Senate came up on Feb. 28, the measure failed to get the 60 votes necessary to proceed in a 46-48 vote, with all voting Republicans voting against the measure along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

As The Washington Post reports, the White House is also working hard to find solutions for protecting abortion rights…though there might not be much they can do:

Officials are discussing whether funding, whether through Medicaid or another mechanism, could be made available to women to travel to other states for an abortion, according to outside advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, but many doubt whether that is feasible.

 

Meanwhile, you likely won’t hear Republicans saying much about abortion or Roe v. Wade, because they’ve been instructed to focus their talking points on the “leaked opinion” instead. Not all Republicans are following that advice, however; CO-08 candidates Lori Saine and Barbara Kirkmeyer couldn’t hide their glee over a possible court ruling.

 

As Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel notes, the June Primary ballot in Colorado is officially set. 

 

 Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder finally turned over copies he made of his county’s election/voting servers to Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. This has become a big issue in Colorado with advocates of the “Big Lie,” and if Republicans had their way, it would continue in future elections:

 

 

Colorado lawmakers are nearing an endpoint in the discussion over changes to fentanyl possession laws, with the State Senate hearing debate today.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 29)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

As the Washington Post reports, Russian billionaires who both owe Vladimir Putin and also in a way own him (that’s how oligarchies work) are getting tired of the war on Ukraine:

Even as opinion polls report overwhelming public support for the military campaign, amid pervasive state propaganda and new laws outlawing criticism of the war, cracks are starting to show. The dividing lines among factions of the Russian economic elite are becoming more marked, and some of the tycoons — especially those who made their fortunes before President Vladimir Putin came to power — have begun, tentatively, to speak.

Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
For many, the most immediate focus has been their own woes. Sweeping sanctions imposed by the West have brought down a new iron curtain on the Russian economy, freezing tens of billions of dollars of many of the tycoons’ assets along the way.

“In one day, they destroyed what was built over many years. It’s a catastrophe,” said one businessman who was summoned along with many of the country’s other richest men to meet Putin on the day of the invasion.

Meanwhile, Europe is working furiously wean itself off Russian fossil fuels, and  President Joe Biden has proposed a massive $33 billion aid package to Ukraine.

 

Continuing revelations about apprehension and outrage from Republican leadership against Donald Trump and some of their own members (see: Rep. Lauren Boebert) in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th , 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressing Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to explain himself–The Hill:

Pelosi said during her weekly press conference that audio of McCarthy raising issues regarding rhetoric from fellow Republicans in the days after the attack was “inconsistent” with his past opposition to efforts such as installing magnetometers at the House chamber entrance.

“It was interesting to me that the leader talked about the concern that he had — if in fact those were his words, which that’s up to you to decide — that he was concerned about his members causing danger here and at the same time complaining that we have magnetometers to keep guns off the floor of the House. It just seemed inconsistent to me,” Pelosi said…

“And they can’t say on one breath, I’m afraid that they’re going to cause danger to other members, and at the same time complained about my having magnetometers on the floor of the House,” she added.

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing to make good on campaign promises to provide some degree of student loan forgiveness–just how much and how soon remains unknown.

 

In a congressional hearing yesterday, Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck let his inner nativist out to play in a wild race-baited tirade against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

 

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Well, That Was Stupid

Rep. Dave Williams (R-idiculous).

9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger:

Republican Colorado State Rep. Dave Williams cannot use “Let’s Go Brandon” as a nickname that would appear on the June 28 primary ballot for 5th Congressional District (CD5)…

In a Wednesday morning ruling, Denver District Judge Andrew McCallin said that Williams proved proper use of “Let’s Go Brandon” as a nickname, but that Democratic Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold used proper authority to disallow it from being used on the ballot.

We’ve already spent more time on this than it deserves. He’ll get a few primary votes for the attempt.

And we’re all a little dumber from the experience. Carry on.

From Major Media Outlet To Personal Vendetta Machine

Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs).

A substantial portion of the 2022 session of the Colorado legislature has been dominated by debate over policy to address the particularly dangerous synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, which has been responsible for an escalating overdose and death rate for nearly a decade as this cheap and powerful drug is smuggled in large quantities into the U.S. from foreign suppliers and dangerously substituted for other less-deadly street drugs. Although the fentanyl crisis is in no way unique to Colorado, local Republicans successfully engineered a moral panic in the press over fentanyl in this state by blaming the proliferation of fentanyl on a state law passed in 2019 making simple possession of most drugs a misdemeanor.

Standing in the way of the GOP’s campaign turn fentanyl into a partisan political weapon has always been the fact that the 2019 reform was passed with bipartisan support and sponsorship. In the Colorado Senate, Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, GOP Senators Owen Hill, Jack TateDon Coram, and Kevin Priola all voted in favor of the bill. But in 2022, it was Rep. Shane Sandridge of Colorado Springs who stood up to his own party to denounce the fearmongering and partisan attacks on policy he helped make law. Eerily resembling the treatment of Republican who don’t toe the party line on the “Big Lie” that Donald Trump won the 2020 elections, Sandridge appears to have paid for his honesty with his political career, announcing he wouldn’t run for re-election with party favorites already measuring the proverbial drapes in his office.

But it appears that even that was not enough. Over the weekend, Rep. Sandridge had some kind of confrontation with Wayne Laugesen, the controversial chair of the editorial board of the right-wing gazillionaire Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

It’s shocking how a Colorado Springs Gazette board member requests a conversation on a Sunday evening, questionably drunk, and barks out orders then threatens to disparage me if I don’t quickly comply. Ummm, my constituents are the only people I answer to, not the local drive by media. Threaten all you want. I don’t cave to the lobbyist and I won’t cave to you.

This morning, we found out what this was about–Laugesen isn’t happy that Sandridge supports legislation this year tightening penalties for fentanyl that passed the House last Friday, but still preserving a misdemeanor charge for possession of a minimal quantity in keeping with the spirit of the 2019 law. But in today’s Colorado Springs Gazette editorial we see not just the rank falsehoods that have made debating this issue so difficult this year, but scurrilous personal attacks on Rep. Sandridge that seem as out of place in a mainstream news outlet’s editorial as Will Smith slapping Chris Rock:

Four grams can cause more than 2,000 overdose deaths, and it’s happening. Because of the Sandridge Law, Colorado has become a hub for drug dealers. They risk little and are wise to relocate here from almost anyplace else.

As we’ve explained in this space several times, the scare tactic of claiming that “a misdemeanor’s worth of fentanyl can kill thousands” is completely off base, since distribution of fentanyl is now and has always been a felony and you can’t “kill thousands” without distributing it. Also, fentanyl is almost always sold in a highly diluted form, but the total weight of the compound containing fentanyl is what counts toward the limit.

None of these facts matter to Laugesen, who has no doubt been told repeatedly how this is a gross mischaracterization of the fentanyl problem and simply chooses to keep lying about it–much like Laugesen claimed “Antifa” was responsible for the January 6th riot he was himself present for. That’s par for the course with for the Gazette, but here’s where Laugesen goes over the line:

Colorado has the country’s fastest-growing fentanyl crisis — by far —thanks mostly to Republican Shane Sandridge… [Pols emphasis]

In his conversation with The Gazette, he continued denigrating law enforcement. He said he knows more than cops and prosecutors because he went from work as an “inner-city police officer to a Ph.D. program” in criminology…

Sandridge is unfit for future public service of any type. The Gazette regrets falling for his deliberately deceptive song-and-dance about cracking down on crime. He wrote a law to escalate crime, at an ongoing cost to innocent lives.

This is horrendously inappropriate character assassination coming from a major newspaper’s editorial board, and though we’re not lawyers we have to wonder if the outrageously false claim that Colorado’s fentanyl crisis is “thanks mostly to Shane Sandridge” could be legally actionable. Fentanyl overdoses and deaths are growing all over the country, including all of our neighboring states, and including states where simple possession with no intent to distribute fentanyl is a felony.

The Colorado Springs Gazette in recent years has become a haven for far-right commentators who have managed to make themselves persona non grata with Denver media outlets (here’s looking at you, Jon Caldara). Laugesen has long pushed the boundaries of appropriateness for his often not just wrong but downright wacky editorial pieces, with no sign of displeasure from the closely-held paper’s ownership.

At some point, and maybe this is it, Laugesen could cost Phil Anschutz real money.

The GMS Podcast: Get Off the People’s Lawn! (feat. Christy Powell)

This week in episode 106 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome back Christy Powell, last week’s wildly-popular guest host, for a new segment breaking down the latest questionable spending in fundraising reports for federal campaigns in Colorado.

Later, we listen in as Republican gubernatorial candidates Greg Lopez and Hiedi Heidi Ganahl explain how THEY would have gotten control of the May 2020 riots in Denver [Spoiler Alert: They would have basically used a stern voice with protestors]. We also do our best to decipher a celebratory video from CO-08 Republican candidate Lori Saine.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Get More Smarter on Good Friday (April 15)

If we’re going to pardon turkeys at Thanksgiving, shouldn’t we pardon eggs at Easter? 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 

 

It ain’t over yet! As The Associated Press reports, another COVID wave is on the way:

No one expects a peak nearly as high as the last one, when the contagious omicron version of the coronavirus ripped through the population.

But experts warn that the coming wave – caused by a mutant called BA.2 that’s thought to be about 30% more contagious – will wash across the nation. They worry that hospitalizations, which are already ticking up in some parts of the Northeast, will rise in a growing number of states in the coming weeks. And the case wave will be bigger than it looks, they say, because reported numbers are vast undercounts as more people test at home without reporting their infections or skip testing altogether…

…The Northeast has been hit hardest so far — with more than 90% of new infections caused by BA.2 last week compared with 86% nationally. As of Thursday, the highest rates of new COVID cases per capita over the past 14 days were in Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska, New York and Massachusetts. In Washington, D.C., which also ranks in the top 10 for rates of new cases, Howard University announced it was moving most undergraduate classes online for the rest of the semester because of “a significant increase in COVID-19 positivity” in the district and on campus.

 

Russia sent a “diplomatic démarche” to the United States demanding that America stop sending weapons to Ukraine. From The Washington Post:

Russia this week sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States warning that U.S. and NATO shipments of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine were “adding fuel” to the conflict there and could bring “unpredictable consequences.”

The diplomatic démarche, a copy of which was reviewed by The Washington Post, came as President Biden approved a dramatic expansion in the scope of weapons being provided to Ukraine, an $800 million package including 155 mm howitzers — a serious upgrade in long-range artillery to match Russian systems — coastal defense drones and armored vehicles, as well as additional portable antiaircraft and antitank weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition.

The United States has also facilitated the shipment to Ukraine of long-range air defense systems, including Slovakia’s shipment of Russian-manufactured Soviet-era S-300 launchers on which Ukrainian forces have already been trained. In exchange, the administration announced last week, the United States is deploying a Patriot missile system to Slovakia and consulting with Slovakia on a long-term replacement.

“Démarche” is like a fancy word for a diplomatic letter.

 

“Get off my lawn!”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl still won’t talk about whether the 2020 election was legitimate, something that probably won’t change until (and if) she wins the GOP nomination in June. The Colorado Sun reports on a GOP gubernatorial forum in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

Ganahl was once again asked by moderator Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado GOP, whether she thinks the 2020 presidential election was stolen. And, once again, she didn’t directly answer the question.

“Joe Biden is our president,” she said before harping on how people need to feel confident in the election system.

When she finished her response, two people in the audience called out “answer the question!” and “you didn’t answer the question!”

“I did,” Ganahl said. “I did.”

Lopez, meanwhile, stood by his vow Saturday at Republicans’ statewide assembly to pardon embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters if he’s elected and she’s convicted. He didn’t really elaborate.

Thursday’s forum in Golden seems like it was quite the event. At one point Greg Lopez apparently advocated for the return of this television ad, while Ganahl told the crowd that Gov. Jared Polis should have used a bullhorn to tell 2020 demonstrators (following the murder of George Floyd) that they should just go home.

 

 Meanwhile, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger appears to be embracing a ridiculous conspiracy theory about outdated clickers that she says kept her off the June Primary ballot.

 

 The “long bill” is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. Colorado Newsline has more on what made it into this year’s budget bill.

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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Sad, Cynical Politics Behind Push To Re-Felonize Drug Possession

House Speaker Alec Garnett (D-Denver).

Today in the Colorado House, intense negotiations are underway over legislation that would tighten penalties for the distribution of the dangerous synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, which has been responsible for a sharp increase in overdose deaths due to the drug’s potency and frequent substitution for other street drugs. CBS4 Denver’s Shaun Boyd reports:

Speaker of the House Alec Garnett isn’t pulling punches. He says some lawmakers are putting election year politics ahead of saving lives…

Garnett…[has] spent hundreds of hours on a bill that makes distribution of even small amounts of fentanyl a felony and requires mandatory prison for those who sell fentanyl resulting in death, whether they knew it was fentanyl or not.

But some lawmakers say unless the bill includes felony charges for anyone caught with any amount of fentanyl, they’ll oppose it.

Under the bill, less than 4 grams is a misdemeanor.

“I am frustrated that people across the state just think that just zeroing out possession on fentanyl is somehow going to solve this problem,” says Garnett. [Pols emphasis]

In 2019, Colorado passed bipartisan legislation making simple possession–meaning possession for personal consumption with no intent to distribute–of most drugs a misdemeanor. This reform to sentencing laws in favor of treating addiction as a medical as opposed to a criminal problem has been wrongly blamed for an increase in fentanyl-related deaths in recent years that while significant is not unique to Colorado–which then allowed it to be turned into a political football by Republicans hoping to capitalize on public fears about rising crime for electoral advantage in the November midterms.

One of the biggest problems with fentanyl’s illicit distribution is that the drug is frequently misrepresented, substituted, or added to other street drugs without the end user’s knowledge. This leads directly to overdose deaths by users who either have no idea what they’re ingesting or mistake fentanyl for a drug they would consume in far greater quantities. This reality may mean that the arbitrary standard of 4 grams in the case of fentanyl is too high, but it doesn’t change the fundamental intention of the 2019 legislation: that drug addicts should be treated medically instead of forced into a lifetime of second-class citizenship that comes with a felony conviction.

And that means Colorado should not go back to making simple possession of drugs a felony. Punish dealers, not addicts. It’s a simple and politically defensible message that Democrats can win on if they stay strong against the current wave of emotion and political opportunism.

Let’s hope they do, because their heart–and good politics in the long run–was right the first time.

The GMS Podcast: Whose Demon is it Anyway?

Sen. Julie Gonzales and Scott Wasserman

This week in episode 104 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with State Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Bell Policy Center President Scott Wasserman about what Colorado can (and should) do with TABOR refunds and affordable housing funding.

But first, we talk about a demon named Ba’al and why you should never use words like “sacrifice” and “altar” when you are a candidate for Congress and your name is Tim Reichert.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Jerry Sonnenberg Opposes Taxpayer Money Not Going to Him

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling)

On Thursday the Colorado State Senate voted on SB22-184, which authorizes paid leave for lawmakers in the event of a long-term illness, parental leave, or other situations subject to approval by the leadership of a member’s respective chamber. The bill passed through the State Senate by a vote of 32-2, with the only opposition coming from Senators Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) and Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling).

Sonnenberg spoke on the Senate floor prior to the vote in order to explain his opposition. Here was his rationale:

SONNENBERG: I am old school, and I struggle with utilizing taxpayer dollars to pay for not working. [Pols emphasis] And I don’t have an exception for mothers and fathers regarding raising children. From my perspective, I struggle with it all the way around…

…Fundamentally, I struggle with paying somebody when they’re not doing their job. Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll be a ‘NO.’

It’s interesting to hear Sonnenberg say that he is so opposed to “utilizing taxpayer dollars to pay for not working.” He claims to “struggle with it all the way around,” but not if it comes back around to him.

Here’s how Environmental Working Group describes the federal farm subsidies program (all emphasis is ours):

The 1996 Freedom to Farm Act envisioned a move away from subsidized farming and into a free-market system. As a transition, the 1996 farm bill established a direct payment program to wean farmers off the government dole. Payments are based on a formula involving the historic production on a given plot of land in 1986. This set payment went to the current landowner or farm operator every year. The program has been maintained beyond its intended lifetime and became a federal entitlement program for farmers that cost the government about $5 billion per year. 

Sonnenberg is apparently still in the “weaning” stage of this transition, having collected at least $185,991 between 2016-2020. Sonnenberg will happily accept taxpayer money in the form of farm subsidies, but he draws the line at providing paid leave for lawmakers who only earn about $40k per year in the first place.

The GMS Podcast: Mayor in Her Free Time (feat. Dusti Gurule)

Dusti Gurule

This week in episode 103 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Dusti Gurule, Executive Director of COLOR, about the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) which should be signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis today.

But first, we talk through a bizarre candidate forum among Republicans running for Congress in CO-08. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann had a lot to say…and a lot of it was really weird.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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On Brand: Republicans Want You To Vote In Fear

Rep. Tom Sullivan with members of Moms Demand Action and Colorado Ceasefire.

The Denver Post’s Nick Coltrain reported Friday and we wanted to be sure got a mention:

People won’t be able to flaunt their firearms within 100 feet of a polling place under a law signed by Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday.

House Bill 1086, dubbed the Vote Without Fear Act, makes it a misdemeanor to openly carry firearms near ballot drop boxes, buildings with polling locations or vote counting facilities during elections. The open carry of firearms is otherwise legal in much of Colorado. The law still allows for permitted Coloradans to carry concealed firearms, and exempts on-duty law enforcement officers and people who open carry on property they own that’s within the buffer zone.

Polis, a Democrat, at the bill signing ceremony called voting “one of our most sacred rights as Americans,” and said this law will help keep Coloradans from feeling intimidated when they vote. He noted that Colorado already limits other rights, such as prohibiting people from advertising on behalf of a candidate, within that 100-foot area.

Unattended ballot drop boxes to collect mail ballots have proven convenient and very popular with Colorado voters, but they create a novel opportunity for intimidation by individuals taking advantage of Colorado’s highly permissive open carry gun laws. It’s true that opportunity has always been there to intimidate voters since the state adopted mail ballots and drop boxes, but it’s only in the last couple of years that the prospect of militant political activists actually doing something like this one a large scale has made the urgent need for a law evident.

And of course, like almost every piece of gun safety legislation passed in Colorado in recent years, the Vote Without Fear Act passed without a single Republican voting in support:

Republicans argued it would be an infringement of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, unfairly penalize people who accidentally enter the 100-foot zone with otherwise legal firearms on their hips, and questioned why it doesn’t apply to other weapons, such as clubs being brandished.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl who praised the recent highly controversial door-to-door armed “canvassing” by the so-called U.S. Election Integrity Project (USEIP) likewise opposed the bill, calling it Democrats’ “latest tactic to water down our rights.” But the Supreme Court has repeatedly held even in the much-cited Heller decision affirming basic gun rights that reasonable restrictions on guns are not incompatible with the Second Amendment. And if we can’t regulate guns in order to protect the right to vote, there’s an argument we’ve lost sight of what those rights are all about.

Some of us, it appears, already have.

Gessler Swoops In To Save GOP From Felonious Assembly Winner

One and done? Freshman GOP Rep. Mary Bradfield (R).

We wrote last week about the tremendous turnover in the ranks of elected officials in arch-conservative El Paso County, the result of a combination of upward ambition and what far right organizing group FEC United claims is a sweeping takeover of the slate from below. In southeast Colorado Springs’ House District 21, incumbent Republican Rep. Mary Bradfield was unexpectedly knocked off the June 28th ballot by newcomer opponent Karl Dent. Dent along with a third candidate held Rep. Bradfield below the 30% threshold needed to gain a spot on the ballot, and Bradfield didn’t submit petition signatures as insurance.

It doesn’t seem to have troubled HD-21 assembly delegates that Dent has a criminal record featuring such endearing offenses as felony trespassing and violating protective orders filed by a woman Dent allegedly threatened to kill. HD-21 is not considered competitive, so unless something unexpected happens Dent is in all likelihood headed for an awkward rendezvous with lawmakers at the Capitol in January. There is even the possibility that fellow lawmakers might refuse to seat Dent, and at the very least he represents a serious optics problem for the “party of law and order.”

Which is why it’s not surprising that 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports today:

The ubiquitous Scott Gessler, who has become the go-to representative for Republicans in controversy Donald Trump’s fruitless lawsuits to overturn the 2020 election to Tina Peters in Mesa County to Douglas County’s backroom-dealing school board, is suing to undo the results of the HD-21 assembly. Zelinger reports that Gessler is asking for a vacancy committee to appoint a candidate for HD-21 or a do-over of the assembly–either of which would likely result in Rep. Bradfield being allowed on to the June 28th primary ballot. There was some reported confusion at the El Paso County GOP assembly regarding delegate credentials, but whether this one crucial vote that kept Bradfield off the ballot was properly cast is a question we have to take the party’s word on.

Back in 2020, readers will recall, a remarkably similar situation turned into a prolonged political nightmare for then-GOP party chairman Ken Buck when he pressured the GOP chairman for Senate District 10, Eli Bremer, to falsely certify a result that fudged one of the candidates in that race above 30% and on to the ballot. This time around, it’s a court fight to “round off” a close but undesired result. This is about saving the party from further embarrassment, and not allowing a safe GOP seat to come into play due to a disastrous mistake made by the rank-and-file.

However the judge rules in this case, respecting democracy has nothing to do with it.

Debate Diary: Not So Great in CO-08

Republican candidates for Congress in the new CO-08 got together last Thursday for a debate/forum at KHNC radio in Johnstown, so we decided to listen in and peck out another of our world famous “Debate Diaries.” 

The forum was sponsored by a group called the Youth Federalist Initiative (YFI), which touts itself as some sort of candidate training organization. The YFI “team” moderated the debate together – three young white dudes named Kawika Berthelette, Austin Rollison, and Evan Underwood

There were four candidates in attendance at the debate: Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, and a guy named Tyler Allcorn who says little about his background other than that he is a former “Green Beret” in the Army Special Forces.

Click here to listen to the debate yourself, or keep reading for our recap. If you’d rather just skip to our conclusions, here you go:

This was a debate of Republican candidates for Congress aimed entirely at Republican Primary voters. With that in mind, we’d have to call Saine the winner: She was the most consistent in her extreme right-wing rhetoric and maintained a single narrative as the one candidate most likely to stay true to her right-wing Republican roots.

Kirkmeyer was a close second, as the only candidate to mention her anti-choice position on abortion and her fondness for former President Donald Trump.

Allcorn has nothing insightful to say about anything; there’s no reason a Republican voter would back him over any of the other candidates based on what transpired in this debate.

The biggest surprise was Kulmann; we expected her to be more polished and prepared, but her answers were all over the place. She repeatedly stepped on her own narrative of being the “outsider” by talking about her decade in local elected office, and she flat-out lied about once being a candidate for school board. Kulmann also had the single worst line of the night when she said this: “I’m an oil and gas engineer, and I’m a mayor in my free time.” Kulmann really wants you to know that she works in the oil and gas industry, but that insistence came at the expense of her other qualifications. It’s not a good look to say that you are a half-assed mayor.

NOTE: What follows is a chronological re-hash of last Thursday’s debate. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and/or the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

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You Will Never Make The Fearmongers Happy

Heidi Ganahl: eating her own to own the libs.

Last week, as most area news outlets reported, Gov. Jared Polis and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers unveiled legislation meant to crack down on the distribution of the deadly synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, which in recent years has been mass-produced and in some cases substituted to users without their knowledge for other drugs with lethal consequences. The rapid proliferation of fentanyl and corresponding sharp rise in overdose deaths have turned policy toward the drug into a political hot button–and in Colorado, we’ve been covering as the conflict developed this legislative session, an attempted partisan election-year wedge.

But as Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports and we’ve been watching the whole session as the issue has developed, the partisan grandstanding over fentanyl doesn’t comport with reality past or present:

In a rare bipartisan press conference in the 2022 session, Gov. Jared Polis, legislators, families who have lost loved ones and district attorneys on Thursday announced a comprehensive bill to confront the state’s burgeoning fentanyl crisis, arguing its passage would make streets and homes safer.

The bill will focus on both heightened penalties for fentanyl distribution – but not possession – and more resources for a state education campaign and treatment for those addicted to the compound drugs that now often contain fentanyl.

Thursday’s press conference introducing what’s become known as the “fentanyl bill” featured Republican sponsors of the legislation, including Rep. Mike Lynch of Wellington and Sen. John Cooke, the former Sheriff of Weld County, as well as prosecutors from both sides of the aisle in support including Republican Mesa County DA Dan Rubinstein. Denver7:

Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, a former Weld County sheriff who is one of the sponsors of the bill, said bringing those cutoff points down was “critical if we are going to go after the people responsible for these deaths.” Several district attorneys from both parties also said they supported the changes.

“Through this legislation, we will be able to respond aggressively to dealers taking lives when distributing this deadly drug,” said Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, a Republican…

“This is not a partisan issue. This is a leadership issue,” Lynch said at the news conference. “It’s where we come together as a state to find and fix problems, and I’m honored to be a part of it.” [Pols emphasis]

But just as we saw with Republican Rep. Shane Sandridge’s brave stand against misinformation from fellow Republicans about the 2019 bipartisan sentencing reform bill that reduced possession–but not distribution–of most drugs to a misdemeanor below a specified quantity, partisan usual suspects are simply refusing to acknowledge this year’s bipartisan effort to address fentanyl. That’s resulting in some rather…awkward situations:

Folks, if you’ve ever met Sen. John Cooke, the former Weld County Sheriff who would on most days gladly bend fold and spindle reality to “own the libs,” you know how preposterous it is to refer to Cooke as a “far-left lawmaker.” But that’s what GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl just did! Hopefully they can make amends, or the next Weld County Lincoln Day dinner could be a dicey affair.

Moving past the laughably misplaced partisan fingerpointing over another bipartisan effort, the fixation for opponents remains on undoing perhaps the most important concept behind the 2019 reform bill, which was separating the medical problem of drug addiction from the crime of drug dealing. And this bears a moment of discussion.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 29)

March isn’t really going out like a lamb or a lion. 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 

 

Russia says it will scale back attacks near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as peace talks continue. There is some hope that negotiations are bearing fruit that could lead to a potential ceasefire. 

 

NATO is increasing its forces in support of Ukraine as Russian forces continue to get bogged down in their invasion. From The New York Times:

NATO is doubling its battlegroups on the alliance’s eastern flank in response to Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine, the group’s secretary general said on Wednesday before a major summit in which President Biden will meet with European allies in Brussels in the coming days.

The secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, also focused on what import Russia’s potential use of any chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine could hold for NATO, saying that such use would “fundamentally change the nature of the conflict.” And he upped the rhetoric on China’s role in bringing the conflict to an end, cautioning Beijing not to provide material support to Moscow.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that Russian casualties from the war in Ukraine have surpassed 15,000.

 

Things keeping looking worse for former President Trump as investigations continue into the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. From The Washington Post:

Via The Washington Post (3/29/22)

As Bob Woodward and Robert Costa explain:

The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) — and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The House panel is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through backchannels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, known as “burner phones,” according to two people with knowledge of the probe, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. The committee is also scrutinizing whether it received the full logs from that day.

One lawmaker on the panel said the committee is investigating a “possible coverup” of the official White House record from that day.

 

 Meanwhile, a bombshell federal court ruling against John Eastman, the former visiting professor at the University of Colorado who helped Trump try to plan his 2021 coup, seems to indicate that Trump likely committed a crime in his pre-insurrection dealings. This is also bad news for Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, who was a big Eastman booster in her role as a CU Regent. 

The Denver Post has more on this story.

 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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The GMS Podcast: Caucus Conundrum (feat. Rep. Joe Neguse)

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

This week in episode 102 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii examine the results of a very strange weekend for Colorado Republicans at their county assemblies.

Later, we talk with Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) about campaigning in a newly-redrawn congressional district; chairing the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands; passage of legislation to create the Amache National Historic Site; and his efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees escaping the war with Russia.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 23)

Happy Day of the Sea. 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 

 

Senator Dick Durbin, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling out Republican Senators for focusing on conspiracy theories and political posturing on day three of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. For many Republican Senators, the hearings have been more of a trial balloon for the 2024 Presidential race than an actual confirmation process.

And if Republicans tell you this is not about race…you can just go ahead and ignore them.

 

NATO is increasing its forces in support of Ukraine as Russian forces continue to get bogged down in their invasion. From The New York Times:

NATO is doubling its battlegroups on the alliance’s eastern flank in response to Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine, the group’s secretary general said on Wednesday before a major summit in which President Biden will meet with European allies in Brussels in the coming days.

The secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, also focused on what import Russia’s potential use of any chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine could hold for NATO, saying that such use would “fundamentally change the nature of the conflict.” And he upped the rhetoric on China’s role in bringing the conflict to an end, cautioning Beijing not to provide material support to Moscow.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that Russian casualties from the war in Ukraine have surpassed 15,000.

 

 Which Colorado campaigns should be considered the worst of the century (thus far)? We worked out a bracket format to consider the question:

 

 Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers store that killed 10 people. Denver7 reports on how Colorado officials commemorated the anniversary. Westword looks at when (or if) the alleged shooter might go on trial. 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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“Party Of Law And Order” Picks Another Winner

One and done: Freshman GOP Rep. Mary Bradfield (R).

We reported yesterday on the nearly clean sweep of Republicans from state legislative districts in arch-conservative El Paso County, a turnover driven by a number of factors including the infiltration of the county party apparatus by the far-right organizing group FEC United. In the case of first-term incumbent GOP Rep. Mary Bradfield representing southeastern Colorado Springs, however, something a little more out of the ordinary appears to have happened:

A sitting Colorado state representative narrowly missed making this year’s Republican primary ballot, losing at the GOP assembly on Saturday to an intra party challenger who was convicted in August of felony trespassing and who currently faces misdemeanor charges including allegedly violating a protection order…

No GOP candidates made it on the primary ballot through the signature-gathering route, which means that Dent is the only Republican on the ballot in a district that leans heavily in the GOP’s favor. In other words, he is likely to become a state representative barring any major shake up.

Dent’s felony conviction and pending court cases will force Republican leadership at the Capitol and at the state party to decide whether to support his candidacy…

It’s a result that Republican leadership may not have expected, but against an incumbent who claims she was too busy with the legislative session to knock on doors ahead of the assembly, shoe leather and persistence paid off for Karl Dent–who was able to dominate over the incumbent despite a third candidate on the ballot who also failed to reach the 30% threshold. And because Rep. Bradfield didn’t bother to collect petition signatures to make the ballot as insurance, she’s effectively out of the race for her seat. At this point, unless the GOP prevails on Mr. Dent to withdraw on his own or Democrats are able to mount a massive education campaign in an overwhelmingly GOP district, Dent has already passed the biggest hurdle he’ll have to taking office next January.

Which will make Karl Dent the El Paso County Republican Party’s greatest brand ambassador in the legislature since the doctor who lost his medical license or the defrocked chaplain who thinks most Democrats are demon possessed! In addition to the less than a year old felony conviction for trespassing, Dent is also reportedly facing misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, and yet another charge for violating a protection order granted to an ex-girlfriend. With all of this in mind, fellow lawmakers may have some serious and justifiable reservations about pulling all-nighters with Dent at the Colorado Capitol next January.

As for Rep. Bradfield? Like Scott Tipton says in retirement, complacency can have…very bad outcomes.