Search Results for: abortion stapleton

Stapleton Won’t Say If He’d Sign Bills Making Abortion Illegal Or Harder To Get in Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor won’t say if he’d sign legislation making abortions illegal or harder to get in Colorado.

“I’m not going to get into a bunch of hypotheticals on a particular piece of legislation. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. We’ll see what happens in future,” Walker Stapleton told CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd last week.

But Boyd’s hypothetical question isn’t so hypothetical now, with the U.S. Senate poised to add Trump’s conservative nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, paving the way for the gutting Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights in America.

In the absence of Roe, state governments would be free not only to pass laws outlawing abortion outright but also to put roadblocks in place to restrict access to abortion.

Such legislation didn’t land on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, but here are three examples of bills that were promoted by anti-choice Republicans in the Colorado legislature just this year:

This bill would have banned abortion in Colorado by defining life as beginning at conception

This bill would have forced a women not only to have a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound prior to having an abortion but also to wait 24-hours before having an abortion after she informs a doctor that she wants one.

This legislation would have stopped the use of a method of abortion used for 95 percent abortions performed during the second trimester.

Those bills aren’t hypothetical, but would Stapleton sign them if they landed on his desk?

He won’t say, but Stapleton told Boyd he’s a pro-life Republican, who believes that life begins at conception. Such a belief would align him with anti-abortion activists who oppose some forms of birth control, which could potentially destroy fertilized eggs, or zygotes. But Stapleton told Boyd his anti-abortion stance includes exceptions for rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life.

During a speech to state Republicans in April, Stapleton vowed to protect the “born and unborn.” He’s said he’ll be a pro-life governor.

Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, is pro-choice, saying that he would not ban any abortion, even late abortions, because “this is a very personal decision for a woman.”

“It’s between her conscience, her god and her doctor… in no way, shape or form should it be the government’s decision to tell a woman what to do with her own body,” Polis told Boyd.

“This is a more real threat than ever before,” Polis told a group at Planned Parenthood, according to CBS4.

Colo Republican Ted Harvey Cites Abortion As a Root Cause of Gun Massacres

(Huh? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A former Colorado Republican lawmaker is arguing that it’s not guns but video games, music lyrics, divorces, and other issues that are the root cause of gun massacres, like the murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“Something has drastically changed in our society,” Ted Harvey, who represented parts of Colorado Springs at the Capitol from 2001-2015, told KNUS radio Wednesday, explaining that when he was growing up in Texas, citizens carried guns into schools and “there was never significant issues down there.” “The disrespect for life,” said Harvey, who currently heads up the Committee to Defend the President. “We are promoting abortions up to infantacide, after the child has been actually been delivered. And you have the Democrat Party saying you should still be able to kill the child even after its born. You have assisted suicide in states around the country.”

The Democratic Party does not say a child should be killed after birth.

Harvey did not return a voice message asking for evidence for his contention that abortion is a motivating factor for gun massacres.

(more…)

Abortion Apocalypse Staved Off, No Thanks To Cory Gardner


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The New York Times reports on the high-drama ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocking a highly restrictive anti-abortion law in Louisiana from going into effect, and revealing in this 5-4 decision the grave danger abortion rights are presently in–despite a persistent unwillingness by reporters locally and nationally to acknowledge this reality:

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a Louisiana law that its opponents say could have left the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority. That coalition underscored the pivotal position the chief justice has assumed after the departure last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who used to hold the crucial vote in many closely divided cases, including ones concerning abortion…

Meanwhile,

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh said they would have denied the stay. Only Justice Kavanaugh published a dissent, taking a middle position that acknowledged the key precedent and said he would have preferred more information on the precise effect of the law.

The Louisiana law in question is what’s known in the reproductive rights community as a TRAP law–“targeted restrictions on abortion providers,” meaning regulations intended to reduce the availability of abortions with no clinically proven benefit. This particular law is a requirement that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital, which is medically unnecessary and would only serve to severely reduce the number of eligible abortion providers.

The narrow and temporary blocking of this bill from taking effect is thanks to a swing vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, who once again took surprising action to avert what could have kicked off the long-awaited final assault on the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights throughout the United States. This apparently represents a swing from Roberts’ vote on a previous similar case, underscoring his self-appointed role as a moderator on a sharply divided court. With that said, the Court is still expected to hear this case in the fall, and numerous other state-level bills intended specifically to challenge Roe are in the judicial pipeline.

Despite this temporary win for pro-choice advocates, it’s clear that abortion rights are today in greater actual peril than at any point since the Roe decision in 1973. Especially if conservatives get another Justice before President Donald Trump leaves office but even with the Court as it sits today, the likelihood of Roe being thrown out is very high. Trump’s two appointed Justices, both of whom were confirmed with Sen. Cory Gardner’s support and one of which was stolen from Democrats in an unprecedented act of Senate treachery, showed in this trial balloon vote that they are ready to do it. Remember that next time anyone tells you that Gardner “would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

The moral of the story? Even here in Colorado where the voters have demonstrated their support for reproductive choice over and over at the polls, we’re only one election away from passing the same legislation that was blocked yesterday–legislation we see introduced in the Colorado legislature year after year. For reasons we’ve never really understood, local political reporters have been openly contemptuous about covering Republican anti-abortion bills in the Colorado General Assembly in recent years.

That complacency really, really needs to stop. “Token” GOP abortion bills in Colorado are not theater.

They are a warning.

Andrews Deleted Tweet About Stapleton Due To The “Hysteria” It Was Causing


(Smashing choice of words – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews created a mini-frenzy on Twitter yesterday, when he wrote that Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor, told a luncheon crowd of 20 “faith leaders” that Stapleton would be “pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom.”

“I saw this thing spiraling away unproductively, the way it happens so often on Twitter, and I thought, I have better things to do with my time and better ways to support my preferred candidate for governor,” he said, adding that he knows there are screen shots of his Tweet out there. “I wanted to do my small part toward sanity and civility and pull the plug.”

“What I wrote was that Stapleton told us he is pro-life, pro-family,” he said, “and pro-religious freedom. I’m saying that if someone were to ask him today, ‘Is that so?’, he would treat it as a shrug: ‘Everyone knows that’s so.'”

While that’s generally true, the details about Stapleton’s positions on those topics aren’t fully known.

For example, he’s said he’d be a “pro-life governor,” and will protect the “born and unborn.”

But he wouldn’t tell a television reporter if he’d sign legislation making abortion illegal or harder to get in Colorado.

That’s a question that’s salient given the U.S. Supreme Court’s shift to the right and likely move back from protecting abortion rights.

“I was having words in my mouth,” said Andrews. “Stapleton was having words put in his mouth. I didn’t want to put Stapleton and his campaign team in a position of having to answer to some spittin’ match that Andrews started.”

“I’m proud of the photo [of himself and Stapleton that accompanied the Tweet],” he said, saying it was the “follow-on hysteria” that bothered him.

It Worked! Right-Wing Base Loves Stapleton For Appearing With Tancredo


(Remember, you’re not the only audience – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Political observers were left scratching their heads last week over why Walker Stapleton, who’s  Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor, would appear at a fundraising event with former Congressman Tom Tancredo, whose views on undocumented immigrants (kick them out), Mecca (bomb it), abortion (ban it) and much more don’t align with the swing voter sensibility that most rational candidates aim to mimic in a general election like the one coming up in November.

One explanation: Stapleton has no prayer of winning the general election if his GOP base voters, including the ones who love Tancredo, aren’t enthusiastic about Stapleton. And Tanc is an enthusiasm magnet for the GOP base.

This could explain not only why Stapleton wrapped Tancredo in a tighter embrace last week but also why Stapleton told a radio host again a couple weeks ago that he’d like to campaign with Trump here in Colorado. He said the same thing in June.

If Stapleton’s intent was to fire up his base, it appears to have worked, according to the right-wing focus group of Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden, radio hosts on KNUS 710AM’s afternoon show.  They approved!

“I give Walker Stapleton a ton of credit,” said Hayden, a former Denver TV reporter. “He did not back down one iota. You know, Tom introduced him, gave a great speech…. Congratulations to you, Walker Stapleton!”

Hayden’s advice: Let Tancredo “go out to every event. They need a cheerleader type to rev people up.”

Boniwell, who’s been described as the id of Colorado’s Republican Party, was impressed by the Tancredo-Stapleton event, but he predicted that Stapleton will lose in November.

“It’s over, you know, basically,” said Bonniwell, who’s also the owner of the Glendale/Cherry Creek Chronicle.

(more…)

Protesters at Walker Stapleton Campaign Event Say They Were the Target of a Nazi Slur


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reproductive rights activists are saying they were the target of a Nazi slur last month at a campaign event for Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor.

The activists were protesting at the July 13 Walker Stapleton campaign event to raise awareness about threats to abortion rights following the recent announcement that President Trump would appoint Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The event, which was hosted by the Jefferson County Republican Party, featured Stapleton and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

According to five protesters, following the event, a man they had previously seen walking from the venue to his car carrying a “Walker Stapleton for Governor” yard sign drove up next to them and yelled “Sieg Heil” out the window while holding his arm outstretched in a Nazi salute.

“He was so close we could have touched the car,” said Katie Farnan of the progressive activist group Indivisible Front Range Resistance.

The man, they say, then sped off in a teal Volvo.

(more…)

Walker Stapleton: The Candidate Nobody is Afraid to Face


Walker Stapleton

Walker Stapleton will almost certainly be the Republican nominee for Governor.

This is almost certainly not great news for Colorado Republicans.

We’re just days away from the June 26 Primary, and the overwhelming favorite for the GOP gubernatorial nomination is running a campaign that has Republican observers positively terrified.

“I’m starting to worry that Bill Owens might be the only Republican governor in my lifetime,” said Dick Wadhams in a recent interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Wadhams is the Republican strategist and former State GOP Party Chair who was pulling many of the strings that helped elected Owens in 1998 (and again in 2002) and Sen. Wayne Allard in 1996 and 2002. Things have not gone well for Republicans (or Wadhams) ever since. Cory Gardner is the only Republican candidate to win a race for U.S. Senate or Governor in Colorado in the last 16 years, and it sure doesn’t look like he’s going to have any company this fall.

As Wadhams recently suggested to Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent, Stapleton is earning a new nickname: “Walker Stumbleton.”

Congressman Jared Polis remains the likely frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for Governor, and Colorado Republicans have long expressed their desire to challenge the Boulder-area Congressman in a General Election. But here’s something you might not have heard: Stapleton has always been the candidate that Democrats hoped to face in November. It’s not hard to see why…

 

(more…)

Anti-Abortion Group: Top GOP Candidates for Governor are Dodging Abortion Questions


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Campaign for Life, a statewide anti-abortion group, says two leading Republican candidates for governor won’t answer specific questions about abortion.

The silence from the two candidates, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, has led Colorado Campaign for Life to accuse them of being “squishy” on their alleged “pro-life” stand.

In a Facebook post this week, Colorado Campaign for Life asserted Stapleton and Mitchell “mouth Pro-life rhetoric in private” but won’t say whether they believe life begins at conception or whether they support a proposed law mandating women receive an ultrasound and the option of seeing it, prior to having an abortion.

A review of statements about abortion by Mitchell and Stapleton shows that they’ve both signaled their vague support for the anti-abortion cause, even though their campaign websites are silent on the subject.

The “Issues” section of Stapleton’s website, for example, lists “Sanctuary Cities, Retirement, Education, Energy and Land, Transportation, Second Amendment, and Jobs.” Nothing about abortion rights. In a Facebook interview last week, Stapleton said he’d defend the Colorado Constitution’s ban on state funding of abortion. And during a speech to state Republicans in April, he vowed to protect the “born and unborn,” according to the liberal blog ColoradoPols.

Stapleton did not return an email from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking details on his abortion positions.

Mitchell wrote on Facebook last year that Colorado Republicans “should nominate pro-life candidates,” but he reportedly also believes that Roe v. Wade is settled law–a view that’s considered more pro-choice. And he said he doesn’t support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado, according to a questionnaire he filled out for the Colorado Independent. He contradicted this stance earlier this year when he said he wants to ban late-term abortions in Colorado. Mitchell did not return an email asking for an explanation of this stance.

Two other Republicans in the GOP primary race appear to have hard-line anti-abortion views.

“I believe that only God has the right to take a life, whether in the womb, beginning at conception, or before natural death,” states the campaign website of Greg Lopez, a former mayor of a Denver suburb, on his website. “I am pro-life, without exceptions.”

Another Republican in the primary race, businessman Doug Robinson, has said he voted for Colorado’s personhood amendment, which would ban all abortion, even after a rape. But responding to a questionnaire from the Colorado Independent, Robinson skipped a question asking if he would support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado.

Surveys show Republican primary voters  to be anti-choice, but with a recent poll showing Stapleton ahead by double digits, his campaign tactics may already be focused on  the general election, where voters overwhelmingly favor abortion rights.

February poll conducted by a GOP consulting firm showed that 47 percent of Republican voters would reject a pro-choice primary candidate.

But polling generally shows Colorado’s general election voters to be pro-choice. A 2014 Pew Poll, for example, found 59 percent of the state’s population wants abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

A Leading GOP Candidate for Governor Says He Once Voted to Ban All Abortion in Colorado


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mitt Romney’s Nephew.

A leading Republican candidate for governor told a talk radio host Saturday that he voted for a constitutional amendment that, if it hadn’t been overwhelmingly defeated by Colorado voters, would have banned all abortion, even for rape, and possibly some forms of birth control.

Asked by KNUS 710-AM host Craig Silverman if he voted for the “personhood amendment,” which would have bestowed legal rights to fertilized human eggs, also called zygotes, Robinson said, “I sure did, yeah.”

Robinson went on to tell Silverman that although he’s “pro-life” and has been his entire life, his anti-abortion stance would not “be the main focus of my administration.”

“I am pro-life,” said Robinson on air. “I don’t expect this is going to be the main focus of my administration. You know, I’m going to be focused on really making lives better every day for Coloradans, in terms of our roads and our schools, reducing the cost of health care. Those are going to be my priorities.”

Robinson’s opponents in the GOP primary apparently haven’t been asked about their support for a personhood amendment, which was a major issue in the 2014 senatorial election here, with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner saying he supported a personhood bill in Congress but opposed an nearly identical amendment here in Colorado–even though he’d previously supported state personhood measures in Colorado as well. 

Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican front runner for governor, hasn’t said much about his abortion stance, though he vowed to protect the “born and unborn” during his April speech at the Republican state convention. Republican Greg Lopez didn’t return an email asking about his stance on personhood and abortion-related issues. Democrats in the gubernatorial race are pro-choice.

(more…)

Colorado Week in Review: 5/17/19


Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.

Why Can’t Colo Republicans Win? Bad Campaign Tactics? Or Bad on the Issues?


(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republicans are standing chest-deep in blue water that crashed here in November.

They’re soaking wet, the water isn’t receding, and they’re frustrated, trying to figure out what went wrong, so they can dry out and win again in their lifetimes.

But pretty much all they’re talking about is changing their campaign tactics. More digital ads. Fewer mailers. Better mailers! More money.

GOP operative Mark Hillman, a former Colorado Treasurer, wants Republican donors to pony up big bucks like progressive groups allegedly get.

Former State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) wants fellow Republicans to stop spending money on certain failed political consultants–and instead spend their money on other failed political consultants. Former State House Speaker Frank McNulty has the same idea, but he’s likely thinking of the opposite consultants.

State GOP chair candidate Ken Buck wants to identify more Republican voters and increase turnout.

What they’re not talking about are the issues.

Aren’t Colorado Republicans going to have to change substantively to make more people like them? Specifically, to get more love from Unaffiliated voters, whose support they must have to win in Colorado?

Yes, say moderate Republicans I spoke with, on and off the record, over the past week.

(more…)

After the wave: what you can do to fight back this week (November 13)


It was an historic night.

One week ago today, Colorado struck back at the polls against Trump and the Republican takeover of Washington, D.C. Colorado’s congressional delegation has a Democratic majority again for the first time since 2010, helping progressives take back the U.S. House of Representatives. We elected the first openly LGBTQ man governor of any state in American history. We recaptured the Colorado Senate. Progressives won the Attorney General’s office, the Secretary of State, and the State Treasurer’s office, too.

We did this. YOU did this. Because of your resistance, because of all of your work, all of your door knocks and all of your phone calls, Colorado’s future is a bright and deep blue.

Cory Gardner’s time is almost up. As chairman of the Republican Senate campaign organization, Gardner closed ranks with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in the 2018 campaign. But after Colorado rejected the Party of Trump in historic fashion this year, Gardner’s collusion with Trump will be his undoing. We’re counting down until Cory Gardner’s time runs out at corycountdown2020.com. Check it out and share it with your friends.

Modernize your resistance with the RiseUp app! To everyone who has found these weekly update emails to be a useful resources and told us so, thank you. We’ll keep them coming. But there’s another easy way to get the latest information and progressive action alerts in real time. Download the RiseUp app today for your iPhone or Android and never miss another chance to make your voice heard.

Thanks again for everything you have done to resist the far right and make history in this year’s elections. The fight is far from over–here are some ways to take action for the week of November 13:


Coloradans For Immigrant Rights General Monthly Meeting

Join us the Second Tuesday of every month for our general meeting where we report back on our projects. Currently, Bird dogging during the congressional recess, the Crossing South Resource, and Sanctuary Everywhere efforts.

Where: AFSC & Coloradans For Immigrant Rights, 1420 Ogden Street, Suite 201, Denver
When: Tuesday, November 13 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Putin: A Russian Journalist’s View

Julia Ioffe, writer for The Atlantic Monthly, will share her views — as a Russian expat — on the impact Putin is having on her home country. If you watched coverage of the Trump-Putin Helsinki meetings, you’ve seen her on most major networks and cable channels.

Where: The Warwick Hotel, downtown Denver
When: Tuesday, November 13 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Denver Concerned Citizens: Hear 2 Candidates for Denver Mayor: Calderon & Tate

Join City Park Friends And Neighbors (CPFAN) and give a warm welcome to Denver Mayoral Candidates, Lisa Calderon & Penfield Tate. Candidates will have 45 minutes each to address the gathering and to answer questions. A social hour will follow from 8 – 9 PM. Parking in rear of church.

Where: Messiah Community Church, 1750 Colorado Blvd., Denver
When: Tuesday, November 13 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Change The Name Stapleton: Gregg Deal: White Supremacy & The History of This Land

Attendance is free of charge. The event is funded by the Strengthening Neighborhoods Grant, through The Denver Foundation. Event will be held in the Greenberg Commons. As you enter the school, turn right toward the High School (red doors). The Commons is the main space that you will enter upon going through the doors.

Where: DSST: Stapleton High School, 2000 Valentia Street, Denver
When: Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Genocide and Slavery Roundtable Conference

What can be done when we see acts of Genocide or Slavery lead to social death, stripping victims of names, cultural traditions, and other forms of identity in a way that allows crimes against humanity? How can we raise awareness before these tactics are used to justify economic gains by one part of society at the expense of another?

Where: Address upon RSVP
When: Wednesday, November 14 at 10:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Denver Streets Congress

The Streets Partnership hosts the Denver Streets Congress to build and engage dialogue with the public about how to support people-friendly streets in Denver.

Where: Parr-Widener Room (389) 1437 Bannock St, Denver
When: Wednesday, November 14 at 11:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Bring Your Government: F*ck, Chuck, or Marry Edition!

How it works: 3 presenters tell you about government programs they want to keep, get rid of, or flirt with. Kalyn Heffernan (Wheelchair Sports Camp), James Roy II, Jamie Perkins. 2 comedians make you laugh. Andrew Orvedahl, Janae Burris. 1 lightning round where you offer your perspective.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Thursday, November 15 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: In Our Own Words: Women, Religion and Choice

We are pleased to invite you to explore women’s and abortion rights from a faith-based perspective. Two nationally regarded religious scholars will discuss their books and beliefs. Join us to hear and meet: Dr. Monique Moultrie. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University, author of Passionate and Pious: Religious Media and Black Women’s Sexuality, and Dr. Rebecca Todd Peters, Presbyterian Minister and Religious Studies Professor at Elon University in North Carolina, author of Trust Women: A Progressive Argument for Reproductive Justice.

Where: Iliff School of Theology, Shattuck Hall 2201 S. University Blvd, Denver
When: Friday, November 16 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


A History of Race and White Supremacy in the U.S.

How did we get here? How did racism emerge as a such a pervasive social structure in the U.S.? What is the reality of “race”? It’s a question many of us have asked at one time or another, and it has a clear answer. Race is a social construct, a tool for oppression. In short, racism is real, but race is not. Race also has a definitive origin story, and one that every anti-racist or social justice activist should know. Join this training to learn a brief history of racial classification in the U.S., and how it influences our mistaken perception of race today, and its implications for anti-racist work in the future.

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado 5001 Pennsylvania Ave, Boulder
When: Saturday, November 17 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Lynching Memorials: Preston Porter Jr.

You are invited to attend a memorial of remembrance and mourning organized by the Colorado Community Remembrance Project, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, to honor the life and death of Preston Porter Jr. who was killed by a lynch mob just outside of Limon in 1900. Porter was accused of a murder, coerced into confessing, and was burned at the stake by members of the community.

Where: 1000 1st St, Limon
When: Saturday, November 17 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Impact – Sack Lunches for the Homeless

It doesn’t take much, just everyone pitching in $10, or $20 bucks making up some lunches and going and handing them out downtown. I can tell you the simple act of kindness towards another human being really changes your perspective. It really is just about having a small impact on someone’s life that trust me they appreciate!

Where: Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, 2635 Welton St, Denver
When: Sunday, November 18 at 12:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Thank you for helping make Colorado the progressive success story that made the whole nation proud this year. We’ll see you after the Thanksgiving holiday!

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 26)


The news is 30-40% Kavanaugh today. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► And then there were three.

A third woman has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct on the eve of Thursday’s hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. From the Washington Post:

A third woman came forward Wednesday to accuse Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying he was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a “gang” rape.

The woman, Julie Swetnick, a Washington resident, is represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti, who revealed her identity on Twitter and posted her photograph.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a copy of the testimony that Kavanaugh is expected to deliver on Thursday.

 

What do 11 Republican Senators do when they are worried about saying something awful when a woman testifies about sexual assault? They hire a woman to do their work for them. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee…confirmed what had been rumored for days — that Rachel Mitchell, a deputy county attorney in Maricopa (Arizona) County, was coming on as outside counsel and would handle the bulk of questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teenagers…

…Every one of the 11 Republican senators on the current Judiciary Committee are deathly afraid of becoming the next Specter or Heflin — a man who looks either condescending, clueless or both when talking to a woman about her own story of experiencing sexual misconduct. The party, writ large, has massive concerns that even a single moment in which one of their senators looks to be out of touch or bullying could trigger even larger problems for Republicans at the ballot box in 41 days time. Less than 3 in 10 women said they approved of the job President Donald Trump was doing in the latest CNN-SSRS poll, and the party is looking at a major gender gap on the generic congressional ballot…

…Desperate times call for desperate measures. And that’s exactly what this move by Grassley is.

As James Hohmann writes for the Washington PostPresident Trump’s comments about Kavanaugh’s second accuser likely played a role in this decision by Grassley.

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on Monday appeared to support the idea of investigating claims of sexual misconduct levied at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. On Tuesday, Gardner stood next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a press conference in which Senate Republicans all but guaranteed that Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the highest court in the land.

What will Gardner say today?

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 7)


Take THAT, glass ceiling. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Trump is flipping out over that anonymous Op-Ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday afternoon. On Friday Trump said that the Justice Department should try to identify the author because it is a national security concern, but as the Washington Post writes, “It is unclear what law he believes was broken.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the White House has identified 12 potential suspects who might have authored the Op-Ed.

Who do you think is the author of the infamous Op-Ed? Cast your vote in our poll.

 

► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is suing Purdue Pharma L.P. over the company’s marketing and distribution of the dangerous painkiller Oxycontin. This will be a big issue in the race to succeed Coffman in November; Republican candidate George Brauchler has been reluctant to say much about the opioid epidemic because his campaign is heavily-funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

 

► Hey, look: Tom Tancredo’s support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton is becoming more problematic by the day. It turns out that making racist public comments isn’t very helpful for Stapleton. Whodathunkit?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 6)


Do you know what happened on this day in history? Not much, apparently. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is in his third day of Senate hearings, and things in Washington D.C. are getting pretty heated. Kavanaugh has generally refused to offer answers on consequential questions: he won’t say whether he believes the President is obligated to respond to a subpoena or could be legally indicted for a crime; he won’t divulge his opinion on Roe v. Wade; and he won’t say how he might deal with the question of pre-existing conditions as it relates to the Affordable Care Act (the Washington Post has a detailed list of important questions Kavanaugh is dodging).

Today’s hearings took a new turn when Democrats — led by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — started to push back on the lack of available information on Kavanaugh. From Politico:

Democrats have fumed for weeks over the withholding of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s years in the George W. Bush White House, including a massive tranche of records that lawyers working for Bush had limited only to Judiciary Committee senators. That secrecy collapsed in dramatic fashion Thursday as Democratic senators vowed to begin releasing records they said were unfairly shrouded and highly relevant to the confirmation.

One of those confidential documents, obtained by POLITICO, shows Kavanaugh leaving the door open to the high court overturning Roe v. Wade. “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since [the] Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so,” President Donald Trump’s nominee wrote in 2003.

That characterization is a distinct contrast with the more measured view of Roe as precedent that Kavanaugh offered on Wednesday. But the day before the document leaked, Kavanaugh was asked on about the exact sentiment he shared back in 2003 and portrayed it as merely a restatement of legal scholars’ opinion, “different from … my position as a judge.”

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) are publicly backing up Booker’s decision to release the documents in question.

 

► President Trump is in full “witch hunt” mode as the White House struggles to contain damning information indicating that Trump is not in contact with all of his marbles. The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon published an anonymous Op-Ed reportedly written by a “senior official in the Trump administration” that reveals an internal “resistance” working diligently to try to prevent Trump from destroying us all. Trump is characterizing the anonymous Op-Ed as “treason” and is reportedly stalking the White House looking for scalps.

As Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, it’s hard to argue that we are NOT dealing with a serious threat to Democracy. Stephen Collinson of CNN believes we have crossed a new threshold with Trump:

It’s impossible to know in the moment when a presidency begins to dissolve. But after a devastating 48 hours, it’s already clear that Donald Trump’s will never be the same. [Pols emphasis]

Whatever your view of Trump, his behavior and his presidency, Washington is watching the opening act of a stunning attempt to topple the elected leader of the nation.
Damaging twin portraits of the President in a New York Times op-ed and Bob Woodward’s new book are using the words of current top officials to fracture the mythology of vanity and bombast, conmanship and intimidation of Trump’s personality cult.

In an attack from an enemy within, top officials who see Trump up close, including one calling the band of renegades the “resistance,” are finally daring to say — albeit under Washington’s invisibility cloak of anonymity — what outside critics have long believed.

They warn the President of the United States is not only unfit to be the most powerful man in the world, but is a venal mix of ignorance and ego, pettiness, malignancy and recklessness that is putting the republic and the world itself at risk.

The most popular parlor game in Washington D.C. is trying to figure out the identity of the anonymous Op-Ed author (Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say they didn’t do it). As Politico reports, this is just the beginning.

 

President Trump is touting the support of…wait, what?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 24)


At least you’re not Jeff Sessions. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► This can’t be good news for President Trump, as the Washington Post reports:

Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, was one of the executives who helped arrange $420,000 in payments to Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen to help reimburse him for hush money he paid an adult-film star.

Weisselberg was granted immunity by federal investigators in New York in exchange for his truthful testimony about his role in the payments, according to people familiar with the discussions. [Pols emphasis]

Weisselberg is the person identified in court filings as “Executive-1,” who prosecutors said helped authorize $420,000 in payments to Cohen, one person said. He testified last month before a grand jury investigating Cohen.

In addition to being the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Weisselberg is also one of two trustees of the trust that controls the president’s assets.

Weisselberg’s name is not as well known — publicly, at least — as other Trump “advisers” like Michael Cohen, but his cooperation with the government could be devastating for Trump. As NBC News reported late last month, Weisselberg “knows where all the financial bodies are buried within the Trump organization.”

News of Weisselberg’s cooperation is the latest blow for Trump in what has been a terrible week for the White House. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that David Pecker, chairman of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, has also been granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation.

From NPR:

Pecker…was granted immunity in exchange for giving prosecutors information about Cohen and Trump’s knowledge of those payments, according to The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

The Enquirer allegedly used a tactic known as “catch-and-kill” — when a publication buys the rights to a damaging story for the purpose of sitting on it and keeping that story out of the news.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the magazine even had a location where records of these payments were stored: a safe full of documents, not only relating to Trump, but similar “catch-and-kill” deals with other celebrities.

 

► Arizona Republican Senator John McCain is discontinuing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family announced on Friday. From CNN:

Although McCain’s colleagues had braced for the worst following his cancer prognosis a year ago, Friday’s announcement left them shaken. It effectively closes a tumultuous Washington career that included two unsuccessful presidential runs and saw McCain emerge as a singular political figure, an icon of the Senate and latterly as a vehement critic of President Donald Trump.

“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the family of the Arizona Republican said in a statement.

As CNN explains further, this latest news about McCain hit hard on Capitol Hill.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 10)


If you’ve ever wondered if you could really fry an egg on the hood of your car, today would be a good day to try. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► President Trump on Monday evening nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, setting up what is expected to be a very tense confirmation battle in the Senate. CNN breaks down where Kavanaugh stands on a number of key issues. Fox 31 Denver has reaction to Kavanaugh’s nomination from Colorado elected officials.

As Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, Kavanaugh got off to an…interesting start with his first public comments on Monday evening:

Almost immediately, he made a thoroughly strange and quite possibly bogus claim.

“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” Kavanaugh said.

It may seem like a throwaway line — a bit of harmless political hyperbole. But this was also the first public claim from a potential Supreme Court justice who will be tasked with interpreting and parsing the law down to the letter. Specificity and precision are the name of the game in Kavanaugh’s chosen profession. How on earth could he be so sure?

There have been 162 nominations to the Supreme Court, according to U.S. Senate records, over the past 229 years. (The Supreme Court began in 1789.) For Kavanaugh to make such a claim, he would have to have studied not just those confirmations, but the often-secretive selection processes that preceded them. These things, quite simply, are not a matter of public record or even all that well documented by reporters.

 

► If the Denver Post were still publishing editorials, perhaps they would be inclined to offer a “my bad” for their 2014 endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate.

 

► The nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is drawing mixed reviews from social conservatives, as Vox.com reports:

The selection of Brett Kavanaugh as a replacement for retired Justice Anthony Kennedy has been met by mild disappointment by some Republicans who were hoping for a more exciting (and base-invigorating) pick, someone they would be certain would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As National Review’s David French wrote Monday night, “I’ll defend [Kavanaugh] vigorously from unfair critiques tomorrow, but tonight I join many conservatives in a slight sigh of regret. There was a better choice.”

French was referring to Amy Coney Barrett, who was viewed by many conservatives as a choice more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. But Kavanaugh, meanwhile, gives some on the right pause because of what they view as insufficiently anti-abortion arguments made in two cases and an opinion in another case that helped shore up the Affordable Care Act. But most Republicans view Kavanaugh as a solid anti-abortion vote, pointing to his decisions on other cases and his lengthy tenure in conservative legal circles.

As Robert Barnes writes for the Washington Post, Kavanaugh represents a conservative shift for SCOTUS, but perhaps not a “lurch” to the right.

 

► President Trump issued a very controversial pardon of two Oregon ranchers who sparked a standoff with federal agents six years ago. From CNN:

Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond were granted executive grants of clemency by Trump, according to a White House statement. The father-son duo are cattle ranchers and were convicted in 2012 of committing arson on federal lands in Oregon…

…Dwight Hammond has served approximately three years in prison, and his son Steven has served four years, according to the White House.

The Hammonds said they started a fire on their property in 2001 to protect it from wildfires and reduce the growth of invasive plants, but that the fire got out of hand, CNN affiliate KTVZ reported. Prosecutors said in 2016 they set fires to cover up evidence of poaching…

…The perceived unjust sentence for the Hammonds inspired Ammon Bundy to lead an armed standoff in early 2016, when a group of armed men broke into the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 28)


If you still have a ballot sitting on your kitchen table, you should recycle it or something. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► Republican leaders have confirmed that they will push for a quick confirmation hearing of a new Supreme Court nominee after Wednesday’s news that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire. As the Washington Post explains:

The vacancy promises to play a prominent role in the midterm elections, with leaders in both parties seeking to energize their voters by promoting the nomination fight as one with dramatic consequences for the country. Even if Kennedy’s replacement is confirmed before voters head to the polls in November, strategists in both parties said the intense focus on the court pick will be a galvanizing issue.

“Nothing less than the fate of our health-care system, reproductive rights for women and countless other protections for middle-class Americans are at stake,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech, calling the Kennedy vacancy the “most important . . . in at least a generation.”

Republicans are pitching the opening as an opportunity to lock in a reliably conservative majority after years of decisions that hung on which way Kennedy would vote. Referring to the court opening and rulings on issues such as the president’s entry ban, unions and abortion, Josh Holmes, a longtime adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said, “For anybody who is right of center, this entire week has been five straight Super Bowls.”

There is a strong likelihood that Roe v. Wade could be overturned within 18 months depending on how the new SCOTUS nomination plays out. This is not hyperbole.

Politico breaks down five key issues where a new Supreme Court Justice could portend major changes in the United States for generations to come.

 

President Trump is preparing for an in-person meeting in Helsinki next month with Russian President Vladimir Putin by once again trying to discount the idea of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. From CNN:

President Donald Trump continues to cast doubt on US intelligence assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential contest, just as his aides announced details of his upcoming summit talks with President Vladimir Putin.

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. He went on to question why US law enforcement agencies weren’t investigating other perceived influences on the election, which he has repeatedly said was rigged for his opponent Hillary Clinton.

“Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!” he wrote.

The President’s tweet was sent roughly a half hour before the White House announced the two leaders will meet on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, where they will “discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues.”

Make America Russia Great Again!

 

 Check out our list of Winners and Losers from the 2018 Colorado Primary Election. Two tight statewide races were unofficially concluded on Wednesday when Phil Weiser captured the Democratic nomination for Attorney General and Brian Watson emerged victorious in a Republican Primary for State Treasurer. Democrat Joe Salazar is not conceding the race for Attorney General, but the math is not on his side.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, more than 1.17 million people cast a ballot in the Primary.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Winners and Losers from Colorado’s Primary Election


The 2018 Colorado Primary Election is finally over – even the GOP race for State Treasurer – so it’s time for us to run through our list of Winners and Losers. Let’s get to it…

 

WINNERS

Jared Polis
This is an obvious takeaway from the Primary, but there’s more to it than just calling Polis a “Winner” because he won the Democratic nomination for Governor. Polis cruised to victory by a 20-point margin in what was expected to be a much-closer race. Perhaps more impressively, Polis should end up with in excess of 30,000 more total votes than Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton. That’s not a good sign for Colorado Republicans.

 

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) as a fictional character.

Doug Lamborn
You can make a compelling argument that Lamborn is the dimmest bulb in the entire Congress, but when it comes to winning Republican Primary elections, he’s a proven commodity in Colorado. Lamborn captured nearly 53% of the vote in what appeared to be shaping up as a difficult race, and he’s a lock to win re-election in the fall in an overwhelmingly-conservative CD-5. Various Republican factions have tried for years to squeeze Lamborn out of office; it might be time for potential challengers to concede that Lamborn is here until he decides otherwise.

 

Joe Neguse
The Boulder-area Democrat cruised to an expected victory in a CD-2 Primary, which means he will almost assuredly become the first African-American elected to a federal office from Colorado.

 

Michael Dougherty
Dougherty had been among the Democrats seeking the nomination for Attorney General until Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett stepped down from his post in the spring. Dougherty left the AG’s race after being appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve the remainder of Garnett’s final year, and on Tuesday he was handily elected to a full four-year term as Boulder DA in an anticlimactic battle with state Rep. Mike Foote. It’s not often that a candidate for one major race is able to make a late change and still emerge victorious. Dougherty won’t likely be leaving the Boulder DA’s office anytime soon, but he will certainly have plenty of options in his political future.

 

Dave Young
The Democratic Primary for State Treasurer might have been the least-discussed race of the Colorado Primary season. Young always seemed to be the favorite over Democratic challenger Bernard Douthit, but the lack of interest in this campaign made it difficult to handicap. In the end, Young walked away with the nomination with 68% of the Democratic vote.

 

Less-Overtly Racist Republican Candidates
Two of the most outspokenly racist members of the Republican House caucus were handed their walking papers on Tuesday. In HD-47 (Southern Colorado), Rep. Judy Reyher lost a Republican Primary to Don Bendell. In HD-56 (Adams County), something called a Rod Bockenfeld positively destroyed incumbent Rep. Phil “Maybe Japanese Internment Camps Weren’t Bad” Covarrubias. Reyher and her Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat were responsible for many ridiculously-racist utterances, though there will always be a special place in our heart for her fantastical claim that she couldn’t be a racist because she once went to a wedding in China. Covarrubias was a general train wreck in his brief time in the legislature – earlier in the 2018 legislative session he also equated abortion with prostitution – and the Republican Party is certainly better off without him among its ranks. Perhaps Bendell and Bockenfeld will prove to be as bigoted as their predecessors, but at least they had the good sense to not talk about it so openly.

 

Television Stations
The 2018 race for Governor should be the most expensive statewide (non-federal) battle in Colorado history. That’s great news for people who sell advertising.

 

Mitt Romney’s Nephew
Doug Robinson faded from the Republican race for Governor in late May, but he kept his sense of humor and displayed admirable class throughout the campaign. Mitt’s Nephew had trouble making his own name for himself, though we’d posit that he’s well-positioned to make another run for office in the future. Colorado Republicans would be smart to find a place for Robinson (which means they probably won’t).

 

Honorable Mention: Lois Landgraf, Emily Sirota, Diane Mitsch Bush, Jason Crow, and Diana DeGette.

 

LOSERS

Owen Hill
Things looked pretty good for Hill in late April when incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn appeared to have failed to make the ballot, but once Lamborn had squeezed his way into the Primary, Hill was in trouble. Hill would certainly have done better in a GOP field that did not include the longtime incumbent Republican, but his disappointing finish behind Lamborn and 2016 U.S. Senate nominee Darryl Glenn probably ends his future hopes of higher office. The Colorado Springs State Senator ended up being a complete non-factor in the race once voters started returning ballots.

 

One-Named Candidates
The Lakewood City Council member known as “Shakti” – that’s her full legal name – was soundly defeated in a Democratic Primary for State Representative in HD-28. Kerry Tipper doubled-up Shakti’s vote total with a strong campaign and deserves plenty of credit here, but going by one name works much better for pop stars than for politicians.

 

Fake Polls
In advance of Tuesday’s Primary we saw a rash of “fake polls” touting Cary Kennedy, Mike Johnston, or Victor Mitchell as the great bearers of momentum in their respective races for Governor. This was all predictably silly, but the campaigns nevertheless managed to convince a handful of journalists and observers that there might be some merit to their madness. More news outlets should err on the side of caution and heed an Associated Press decision to stop promoting poll results that might even have some truth to them.

 

Donna Lynne

Donna Lynne
Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor pledged not to seek the top job in the state after being appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in early 2016. She should have listened to herself. Lynne’s campaign was a disaster from the very beginning; the bulk of her campaign staff jumped ship in early May; and Democratic debates exposed her as woefully unprepared for the spotlight. The best thing you can say about Lynne’s campaign is that she kept Mike Johnston from the ignominy of a last-place finish.

 

George Brauchler
The Magnificent Putz” hoped he would be the Republican nominee for Governor at this point, but that was before Brauchler completely imploded as a statewide candidate with even the slightest of hurdles in front of him. Brauchler is still relevant thanks to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s decision to not get elected Governor, and he was really, really hoping that Joe Salazar would win the Democratic Primary for AG instead of Phil Weiser. Brauchler has demonstrated a baffling inability to raise money, which will be a serious problem in a General Election against Weiser’s insatiable fundraising.

 

Less-Honorable Mention: Walker Stapleton, Polly Lawrence, Levi Tillemann, and Victor Mitchell’s bank account.

 

Yes, Reporters Still Think You’re Stupid on Health Care


Rep. Jared Polis (D).

One of the biggest factors undermining the popularity of the Affordable Care Act ever since its passage in 2010 was the broad prevalence of misinformation about the law’s provisions and effects. This misinformation ranged from the wildly inaccurate–“death panels” and similar baseless nonsense–to much more subtle inaccuracies like bogus 2014 story in the Denver Post about “$10,000 individual deductibles” and Sen. Cory Gardner’s wantonly deceptive claims of “hundreds of thousands of policy cancellations.” For every news story that accurately explains the law’s benefits and problems, there have been a dozen just plain wrong stories that served to needlessly mislead and scare the public.

Health care is one of those issues where it’s very easy for anyone lacking the specialized knowledge of both the existing system and proposals to reform it to get the story wrong. Because Democrats have been on the defensive over health care for nearly eight years in defense of the Affordable Care Act, such misinformation–intentional and unintended–has generally resulted in political liability for Democrats. As a result, Republicans have been very…tolerant of health care misinformation, to put it mildly.

Case in point: a new extremely uninformed attack on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis from the Phil-Anschutz-owned Walker Stapleton-loving Colorado Springs Gazette:

Jared Polis has a new ad touting his strong support for universal health care. The 2016 election might suggest it’s a lost cause as far as the Colorado electorate goes.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate and sitting congressman touts Medicare-for-All, a load-bearing pillar of universal health care. A similarly purposed Amendment 69, the so-called ColoradoCare single-payer plan, took a 4-to-1 thumping, just two years ago.

Full stop. Amendment 69, the state-level universal health care proposal that was shellacked at the polls in 2016, is a totally different animal from the Medicare For All proposal being proposed at the federal level. The biggest and most essential difference is that Medicare For All would be implemented nationwide, eliminating one of the biggest problems with Amendment 69’s plan to implement single-payer health care all by Colorado’s drop-in-the-bucket self. Other small states like Vermont attempting to implement single-payer health coverage on their own quickly discovered the numbers don’t work. A nationwide solution is the only solution.

Almost 79% of Colorado voters voted against Amendment 69, including (this is very important) thousands of progressive Democrats who support “universal health care.” The prior example of Vermont combined with specific problems with the way Amendment 69 would roll out single-payer coverage, like the conflict with Colorado’s constitution that would have eliminated coverage for abortion, are what doomed it to such a lopsided fate–not opposition to the concept of universal health care.

The difference between the state-level Amendment 69 and nationwide proposals for universal health care like the Medicare For All plan being embraced by Democratic candidates at all levels this year is great enough that to simply equate the two like this story does is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. Either the author is too ignorant to know the difference, or he does know and is willingly misleading his readers.

In the end, the effect is the same.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 30)


Wait…it’s almost June??? It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

President Trump seems like a great guy to work for…just ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump Tweeted on Wednesday that he wished he had never selected Sessions to be his Attorney General.  

 

 As the Washington Post reports, President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigrants has left thousands of families shattered:

The number of migrant children held in U.S. government custody without their parents has surged 21 percent in the past month, according to the latest figures, an increase driven by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” crackdown on families who cross the border illegally.

Although the government has not disclosed how many children have been separated from their parents as a result of the new measures, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it had 10,773 migrant children in its custody, up from 8,886 on April 29.

Under the “zero tolerance” approach rolled out last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, anyone who crosses into the United States illegally will face criminal prosecution. In most cases, that means parents who arrive with children stay in federal jails while their children are sent to HHS shelters.

Those shelters are at 95 percent capacity, an HHS official said Tuesday, and the agency is preparing to add potentially thousands of new bed spaces in the coming weeks. HHS also is exploring the possibility of housing children on military bases but views the measure as a “last option,” according to the HHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the agency’s preparations.

 

► Democrat Mike Johnston has been spending a lot of time talking about his ideas for combating gun violence in his bid to win the Democratic nomination for Governor…which makes this story from the Vail Daily a little strange:

Vail native and former state Sen. Mike Johnston says he’s the only Democrat in a crowded Colorado governor’s race for his party’s nomination in the June 26 primary who owns guns and knows how to use them.

“I own four guns right now and I’m very proud of it, and I’ve owned guns since I was 10,” Johnston said. “I’m comfortable to challenge anyone in the race, Republican or Democrat, to a shooting contest if they want to do that.”

Uh, okay.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 29)


Let’s get you caught up on everything that happened over the Memorial Day weekend. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

President Trump is taking his anti-Robert Mueller conspiracy theories to new heights (or lows, really). As CNN explains:

President Donald Trump alleged Tuesday — without providing any evidence — that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will meddle in the midterm elections to benefit Democrats…

Trump’s claim is his latest attack on the credibility of the Russia investigation as being politically motivated, though it’s a significant new step in his attacks on what is intended to be an independent probe working to get to the bottom of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

“The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls,” Trump tweeted. “There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!”…

…Tuesday’s conspiracy theory was accompanied by a barrage of Trump tweets on the Russia probe, which repeated his previous requests for investigations into his political enemies.

As Z. Byron Wolf writes in a separate story for CNN, Trump’s demonization of Mueller and the special investigation might be working as intended.

 

 As the Washington Post reports, Trump is pushing ahead with his plan to institute massive tariffs on goods from China:

President Trump said Tuesday that he would proceed with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports and introduce new limits on Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries as part of a broad campaign to crack down on Chinese acquisition of U.S. technology.

“The United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese people and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology,” the White House said in a brief statement.

Specifics of the new limits will be announced by June 30 and will take effect “shortly thereafter,” the White House said. In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 400 points, or 1.7 percent, on renewed concerns over the unsettled Italian political situation and U.S.-China tensions.

The moves come less than 10 days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war with China was “on hold” and appear designed to create bargaining leverage for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is due to arrive in Beijing on Saturday for talks aimed at cooling trade tensions between the two countries.

The stock market was down for most of the day on Tuesday in part because of economic fears over Trump’s proposed tariffs.

 

► The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling on Tuesday that could allow an Arkansas law to take effect that essentially seeks to block medication-induced abortions. Meanwhile, the Associated Press takes a look at some big LGBTQ-rights cases in the Supreme Court pipeline — including the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that originated in Colorado:

A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Lakewood baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Courts are engaged in two broad types of cases on this issue, weighing whether sex discrimination laws apply to LGBT people and also whether businesses can assert religious objections to avoid complying with anti-discrimination measures in serving customers, hiring and firing employees, providing health care and placing children with foster or adoptive parents.

The outcome of baker Jack Phillips’ fight at the Supreme Court could indicate how willing the justices are to carve out exceptions to anti-discrimination laws; that’s something the court has refused to do in the areas of race and sex.

Colorado Public Radio has more on potential outcomes in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case. The Supreme Court could announce its decision on “Masterpiece” as soon as this week.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 25)


It’s going to be a scorcher this Memorial Day Weekend — don’t forgot your sunscreen. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► If you’re heading out for a road trip this Memorial Day Weekend, make sure to bring along some extra cash for rising gas prices. The average price of gasoline is creeping toward the $3.00 per gallon mark — an increase of 31% in the last year and the highest average mark since 2014. As Politico explains, rising gas prices are happening at a bad time for Republicans:

President Donald Trump is hoping a wave of tax-cut-fueled economic euphoria will boost his approval ratings and his party’s political fortunes this fall. A sharp spike in gas prices could slam the brakes on all of that…

…The increased cost of fuel is already wiping out a big chunk of the benefit Americans received from the GOP tax cuts. And things could get worse as summer approaches following the administration’s standoff with Iran and a move by oil-producing nations to tighten supplies.

The result: The economic and political benefits Trump and the GOP hoped to reap from cutting tax rates could be swamped by higher pump prices that Americans face every time they hit the road.

“If you look at the benefits of what households are getting from lower rates, roughly one-third of that is wiped out if these higher gas prices are sustained,” said Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley. “And when we drive down the street, every block we see glaring signs about how much gas costs that day and it’s all over the media. The tax cuts were a one-off. It’s a one-time level shift in your paycheck that you are not reminded of every day.”

The rise in gas prices has a greater effect on lower-income Americans, particularly those from the Southern U.S. and the blue-collar voting base that supporter Donald Trump in 2016.

 

 The editorial board of the New York Times takes another broad look at the Trump administration:

So, for the fourth time in a year, we’ve compiled a list of Mr. Trump’s more egregious transgressions. These items don’t represent disputes about policy, over which reasonable people may disagree. They simply serve to catalog what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the other Trump-supporting Republicans in Congress and across America, through their silence, have now blessed as behavior befitting a president of the United States.

We find this guide a helpful way to avoid growing numb to what is so abnormal about this presidency, and to remind ourselves that a day may yet come when dignity and decency will matter again, even, perhaps, to Mr. McConnell and his fellow hypocrites.

Check out the entire bullet-point list from the Times, but make sure you have the antacid within reach.

 

Chris Cillizza of CNN examines the (faceless) government conspiracy being peddled by President Trump:

Over the last 72 hours, the President of the United States has leaned into a conspiracy theory that goes like this: During the 2016 presidential race, President Barack Obama — via the FBI — placed a “spy” within Trump’s campaign for purely political reasons.

Trump made that charge plain in a tweet Friday morning:

“Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!”…

…But the fact that this is what Trump does shouldn’t distract us from the allegations here: Donald Trump is saying his predecessor as president used the leading law enforcement entity in the country to spy on him because Obama/the “deep state” didn’t want someone as unconventional as Trump to be president.

To be clear: There is zero public evidence that Trump’s claims are anywhere close to the truth.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 15)


At least your employer isn’t telling reporters that you haven’t really retired yet. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► Today is Election Day in four states looking to pick their nominees for key November races. Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania head to the polls today. Pennsylvania is one of the more interesting states to watch today because candidates for Congress are running for nominations in newly-drawn districts; this includes the return of Republican Rick Saccone, who lost a Special Election earlier this spring to Democrat Conor Lamb and is now running in a new district.

 

► Students are back in school after teachers in Pueblo agreed to a new two-year contract.

 

► President Trump’s pick to be the next Director of the CIA is taking a stronger position opposing torture, as CNN reports:

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next CIA director, says in a new letter that the CIA should not have conducted then-President George W. Bush’s interrogation and detention program where waterboarding and other brutal interrogation tactics were used on detainees.

In the letter to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel takes a position she wasn’t willing to state publicly last week, writing that the interrogation program “is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”

“While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” Haspel wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN. “With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”

Haspel’s written comments go further than the statements she made during her public confirmation hearing last week. At the hearing, she said she would not permit the CIA to resume an interrogation program, but she also would not condemn the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program beyond saying she supported the “stricter moral standard” that is now the law.

 

► Some of President Trump’s staunchest 2016 supporters are expressing a growing frustration that they were bamboozled. From the Washington Post:

Small business owners who voted for Trump might be forced to shut down because the president is making it harder for them to hire guest workers. Here’s a story that appeared over the weekend in the Herald Leader of Lexington, Ky.:

“Eddie Devine voted for [Trump] because he thought he would be good for American business. Now, he says, the Trump administration’s restrictions on seasonal foreign labor may put him out of business. ‘I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,’ said Devine, owner of … Devine Creations Landscaping. ‘I feel so stupid.’ Devine says it has been years since he could find enough dependable, drug-free American workers for his $12-an-hour jobs mowing and tending landscapes for cemeteries, shopping centers and apartment complexes across Central Kentucky. So for years he has hired 20 seasonal workers, mostly from Guatemala, through the U.S. Labor Department’s H2-B ‘guest worker’ program. Importing these workers for a few months cost him an additional $18,000 in fees and expenses beyond their wages, which must be the same as he pays American workers. But that’s the only way he could serve his customers.

“Restrictions on guest-worker visas, which began during President Barack Obama’s second term as immigration became a hot issue for conservatives, have gotten worse under Trump. And it’s even more of a problem now that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years. Devine says he lost a $100,000 account because he didn’t have enough men to do the job.

 

► Politico reports on another big scandal brewing from the Environmental Protection Agency:

Scott Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis, after one Trump administration aide warned it would cause a “public relations nightmare,” newly disclosed emails reveal.

The intervention early this year — not previously disclosed — came as HHS’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry was preparing to publish its assessment of a class of toxic chemicals that has contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia.

The study would show that the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than EPA has previously called safe, according to the emails.

“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan. 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the OMB. The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

ICYMI: Beyond the Headlines from State Assemblies


Both Democrats and Republicans held their state conventions/assemblies on Saturday. While you’ve probably seen the headlines from everything that happened over the weekend – including multiple Congressional District assemblies last Thursday and Friday – there are a lot of secondary stories that you may have missed. Let’s get you caught up…

 

“When President Trump Says Something, He Really Means It!”
This is an actual quote from Rep. Mike Coffman’s speech at the State Republican assembly on Saturday. You might remember that Coffman spoke out forcefullyabout challenging Trump during the 2016 election, but that was back when it seemed improbable that Trump might be elected President. Coffman has since decidedthat he needs to work with Trumpand has even warmed to the idea of campaigningwith Trump in 2018. Coffman’s backpedaling reached its apex on Saturday when he thoroughly buried his face in Trump’s backside.

 

Greg Lopez: Not Walker Stapleton
Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez managed to surpass 30% of the vote at the GOP state assembly on Saturday to formally get his name on the ballot in June. Up until Saturday, the only thing anybody really knew about Lopez is that he was one of the first politicians to actually answer the question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

According to Michael Roberts at Westword, Lopez finds his name on the ballot because of a rousing speech he delivered on Saturday. This is a nice story, but it’s not particularly accurate (watch Lopez’s nothingburger speechyourself). The reason Lopez is on the ballot is because other Republican gubernatorial candidates decided that Lopez was their best potential foil for Stapleton on Saturday. In an interview last week on “The Ross Kaminsky Show,” Mitt Romney’s Nephew let slip that he planned to vote for Lopez (Mitt’s Nephew was a delegate himself, but is seeking to make the GOP Primary ballot for Governor via the petition route). Lopez became the go-to candidate for Republican delegates who didn’t want Walker Stapleton to run away with the vote at the state assembly, and that’s why he’ll be on the ballot in June.

 

Walker Stapleton Talks Abortion
This might not seem like a big deal, but Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Walker Stapleton has rarely brought up his positions on abortion in the past. On Saturday, Stapleton’s speech to Republican delegates included a line about protecting children “born and unborn,” which is about as far as he’s ever gone (publicly) on this issue. Stapleton still has a long way to go to make up with Republicans on a number of issues.

 

Stapleton and Tancredo, for Better or Worse
Last week former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo made the surprise announcementthat he would endorse Stapleton for the GOP nomination for Governor. On Saturday, Tancredo did one better by taking the stage himself to nominateStapleton. Having Tancredo’s support no doubt helped Stapleton with the GOP delegate crowd, but this may turn into quite the albatross for Stapleton in a General Election. There’s no going back now – take a look at the digital ad (right) that circulated on Saturday from “Better Colorado Now,” a SuperPAC that exists ostensibly to support Stapleton’s bid for Governor.

 

Judy Reyher Gets 2ndPlace
Republican state Rep. Judy Reyherand her Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat won’t be top line on the GOP Primary ballot in June. Republican Don Bendell outpolled Reyher at the HD-47 GOP assembly on Friday.