Search Results for: tina peters

GOP Chair To “Our Candidates”–Shut Up About Tina Peters

MONDAY UPDATE: As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

The somewhat shadowy U.S. Election Integrity Plan, which operates in the Grand Valley and elsewhere in the state, went after GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown over a leaked message from Brown to an unknown school board candidate elsewhere in the state.

In the message, Brown warns the candidate not to post or say anything publicly about Peters while local, state and federal investigators dig into allegations that the Mesa County Republican clerk and others inside and outside of her office may have played a role in possible criminal violations of state election security laws…

We’re sorry to report that the cat has exited the proverbial bag.

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Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

As the world awaits the next developments in the criminal investigation into Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, accused of allowing/facilitating a major breach of election system security in a clueless and fruitless attempt to prove that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, local Republicans continue to face a delicate balancing act in which some amount of distance is necessarily kept from the glaring misconduct Peters is accused of–while taking care not to offend the substantial faction within the Republican Party rank-and-file who believe the “Big Lie” and consider Peters to be a hero.

A window into that difficult position was provided by the leak of a text message dialogue from late August between Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown and an unknown school board candidate up for election this November. Readers will recall that the Colorado GOP has openly embraced a slate of partisan Republican candidates for nominally nonpartisan municipal and school board races across the state.

What’s the message from on high about Clerk Tina Peters? Clam up about Tina Peters:

This gets rather dicey when you consider that Brown appointed a member of the so-called “U.S. Election Integrity Project,” which is fiercely defending Clerk Peters, to the Colorado GOP’s in-house “Election Integrity Operations Action Committee.” After learning of the message above, USEIP volleyed back hopping mad at Kristi Burton Brown:

Turns out the CO GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown is as feckless as the rest of the GOP establishment across the nation when it comes to election integrity. In a leaked message KBB’s cowardice and lack of understanding of the law is on full display as she encourages candidates to steer clear of the fight in Mesa County. In fact, KBB declined to do her homework that would show many of Griswold’s claims have no legal backing. However, it’s no surprise. KBB has been completely silent on the topic of election integrity since she’s been elected in December…

It’s worth remembering that Peters is being defended in the lawsuit seeker her removal from elections duties by Scott Gessler, who was KBB’s unsuccessful opponent for the job of party chair in leadership elections held in the spring. That may not have been known when KBB sent her message warning about supporting Peters, but it’s a good bet there’s no love lost between the two. Since KBB wrote this message, of course, things have only gotten worse for Peters–it’s now public knowledge, for example, that Peters indeed turned off the security cameras covering the machines.

All told, it was probably good advice–but the reaction Brown got when her advice went public speaks much louder. How can this rift heal without ripping the scab off the GOP’s whole Trumpian identity crisis?

Kristi Burton Brown doesn’t know the answer to this question.

The GMS Podcast: Operation Naptime/ Tina Peters Returns

This week on Episode #87 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii break down the worst Colorado campaign kickoff this century (take a bow, Heidi Ganahl!) Elsewhere, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters returns to Colorado and immediately starts begging for money in order to help pay off what are sure to be MASSIVE legal bills related to breaking into her own office computers in order to prove voter fraud that doesn’t exist.

Further down the metaphorical road, we explain how the Colorado Republican Party found itself in a place in which everybody thinks everybody else is always out to get them. As if things weren’t bad enough for the GOP, new polling shows that they are absolutely on the wrong side of the bus when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines and mask mandates.

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

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

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Meritless Defense: “Honey Badger” Can’t Save Tina Peters

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

We’ve been holding our peace over the past few days as the “defense” of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters against allegations that she allowed unauthorized access and the subsequent public leaking of proprietary election system data has taken shape. Represented by former Secretary of State and discredited election conspiracy theorist in his own right Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler, Peters is arguing she should not be stripped of her election supervisory duties owing to Peters’ supposedly good intentions. The Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports:

Last week, Peters — who had been out of the state for more than a month and has become popular among 2020 election conspiracy theorists — responded to the lawsuit by providing to commissioners and the court a report that alleges wrongdoing by the secretary of state’s office and says that a state upgrade wiped out election records that elections officials are required to keep…

Peters’ attorney, former Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, acknowledged in a Sept. 17 legal filing that there was an “unauthorized release of information on one or more publicly available web sites,” [Pols emphasis] but said the actions by Griswold and the county commissioners to remove Peters and Knisley were “wholly disproportionate and directly violate Colorado law.”

Gessler also wrote that Peters “suspected that the Secretary’s trusted build process (annual system update) wiped out election records that she is required to preserve under Colorado law.” So Peters had a consultant copy the hard drive of the county’s Dominion Voting Systems equipment and commissioned the report “which appears to validate (Peters’) suspicions,” Gessler wrote.

Scott Gessler.

In her response filing yesterday, Secretary of State Jena Griswold effectively shredded these convoluted misinformed arguments, explaining how they betray basically total ignorance of how these systems work. CBS4’s Jennifer McRae:

The brief also states that “there is nothing further from the truth” in regards to Peters’ false claims about the destruction of election records during the routine trusted build. Election records are required to be maintained by county clerks for up to 25 months.

Griswold cited the Colorado Election Code and referenced that election records “include items such as: accounting forms, certificates of registration, pollbooks, certificates of election, signature cards, all affidavits, voter applications, other voter lists and records, mail ballot return envelopes, voted ballots, unused ballots, spoiled ballots, and replacement ballots. None of these items were named in the “report” produced by Peters.”

“The Secretary would have no objection to a county backing up its log files for its voting systems—in fact, Larimer County requested to backup their log files prior to a trusted build, and the Department of State helped Larimer County perform such a backup,” the brief states. “Instead, Peters made copies of the entire hard drive, exposing the security of the entire election system when those copies were posted on the Internet.” [Pols emphasis]

Again, the idea that the proper procedure for Clerk Peters to follow if she suspected some kind of illegal act was to commit another crime is so ridiculous it’s embarrassing to anyone making the argument. Helping uncredentialed unqualified conspiracy theorists steal secure data and then going on the lam for a month instead of cooperating with the investigation is not how legitimate whistleblowers call out problems. The so-called “forensic examination” conducted on Peters’ behalf doesn’t appear to take into account what data is legally required to be preserved, and they don’t know enough about the data they were improperly allowed to access to assess the significance (if any) of files being updated or deleted in a system update. And at no point are they able to demonstrate even hypothetically how any of this adds up to changing the results of an election.

In short, Peters’ response is an epic pile of hopelessly uninformed nonsense–just like Gessler’s garbage legal brief for Donald Trump suggesting the presidential election in Nevada was stolen, and just like Gessler’s fruitless failed quest to uncover “tens of thousands of illegal voters” that landed his political career on the rocks back in 2014. Even the all-GOP Mesa County commissioners acknowledged that the Secretary of State has the power to relieve Clerk Peters of her election responsibilities. It’s a completely meritless defense, and we’re awaiting only the judge’s ruling saying so.

And then at some point after that, hopefully soon, criminal charges.

Clerk Tina Peters Comes Home–Perp Walk Countdown Begins?

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

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Tom Hesse reports–embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has been in hiding since mid-August as a criminal investigation began into the breach of election system security in her office that resulted in proprietary Dominion Voting Systems data being leaked to far-right conspiracy theorists, made a triumphant (at least for now) return to Grand Junction last night at an event in her honor:

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

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

“It’s places like Mesa County that can be the catalyst to take back our country. And we need your help,” Peters told the crowd. “And it starts today.”

That’s pretty close to what Clerk Peters’ benefactor over the last month, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, said at the beginning of his so-called “Cyber Symposium” last month devoted to exposing once and for all the “absolute proof” that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump. They’re going to “take back our country” with…revelations of vote fraud…

That never materialized.

Here we arrive at the disconnect. Not even Peters’ closest supporters, like Rep. Ron Hanks who was present last night in Grand Junction or Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop, can substantiate any specific allegation of fraud based on the data that was stolen in Mesa County on Clerk Peters’ watch. They tried. And when they couldn’t find any proof, Bishop marched into the all-GOP Mesa County Board of Commissioners to demand they find it.

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Keep this in mind as Clerk Peters publicly confesses to the crime she’s under investigation for:

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

Peters and her deputy, Belinda Knisley, are both the subject of local, state and federal investigations into possible criminal violations that involved revealing secure passwords and hard drives to Dominion voting machines with voter fraud conspiracy theorists. As a result, both also have been temporarily prohibited from conducting this fall’s elections and Secretary of State Jena Griswold is taking action to have Peters removed from election duties…

Again, this is Clerk Tina Peters freely admitting at least some involvement in the theft of this data as part of her “investigation” of concerns expressed about the legitimacy of the 2020 elections. The security of the compromised voting machines in question was Peters’ responsibility. The only way this becomes in some way justifiable, and even then not really since there are official channels to investigate non-fantasy problems, would be if there was actually some game-changing proof in the stolen data to substantiate the “Big Lie” as alleged by dead-end supporters of Donald Trump. But as we know now, that doesn’t exist. The only “security risk” that emerged from this breach of security is the one Clerk Peters created.

As surely as the “QAnon Shaman” had to face the music, there’s a day of reckoning coming in Clerk Tina Peters’ case too. All of this nonsense stops cold once this moves to a criminal courtroom. The criminal justice system has a remarkable way of cutting through unfounded bullshit, as hundreds of January 6th insurrectionists are discovering in federal courtrooms as we write this.

Let Clerk Peters explain the plan to “take back America” to a judge.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

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

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

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

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There’s No Threat To Tina Peters (Except The FBI)

Mike Lindell, Tina Peters.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, under criminal investigation over a major breach of election system security in her office that (this goes in the lede of every post now, sorry) did not uncover any evidence of a conspiracy by Dominion Voting Systems to steal the election from Donald Trump, has been in hiding at an undisclosed location provided by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell for over two weeks now. Mesa County’s all-GOP Board of Commissioners issued a public plea this week for Peters to “come home” and cooperate with the investigation.

Lindell asserts that he is hiding Peters out of concerns for her safety after playing a starring if not exactly revealing role at Lindell’s so-called “Cyber Symposium” earlier this month. Looking for more information that could perhaps justify that contention, the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby filed an open-records request for Peters’ emails:

Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters claims that it isn’t safe for her to come home in the wake of investigations into her potential involvement in a security breach in her elections office, but there is no evidence of any actual threats based on numerous emails she has received over the past two weeks.

The results of a Colorado Open Records Act request of those emails by The Daily Sentinel showed that the preponderance of them, 43 of 65, supported her actions in attempts to demonstrate alleged problems with the Dominion Voting System equipment that Mesa and all but two other Colorado counties have used to tabulate ballots for years.

Only 22 were negative, either calling Peters a moron, a traitor to democracy or asking her to resign her position, many of which were laced with profanity…

One of those latter types of messages, you’ve got to admit, is pretty funny:

“You are going to look great in an orange jumpsuit. Enjoy your time in jail. Hope they give you a Mr. Pillow for your bed in your cell.”

It’s “MyPillow” not “Mr. Pillow,” but close enough.

Lindell says he is covering Clerk Peters’ expenses while she remains in hiding, and has promised to pay for her legal defense in any forthcoming criminal case. That’s probably illegal under Colorado’s Amendment 41, which strictly limits allowable gifts to public officials. But Amendment 41 is small potatoes compared to the only real “threat” to Clerk Peters: being brought to justice by actual law enforcement. The moment a criminal indictment is issued in this case, if Peters does not immediately surrender to the appropriate authorities she’ll be a fugitive from justice–and “MyPillow Guy” will be the harborer of one.

We just feel it should be very clear for the record who Tina Peters is hiding from, and why.

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

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

Superseding a previous update. Original post follows.

—–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 15)

Have you voted yet? Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

We’re just going to say it: Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country. Ganahl has officially been in the 2022 race for about a month…and it’s already time to start the campaign death watch.

Ganahl started the week by hosting an ill-advised forum with right-wing lunatic Dennis Prager, in which her campaign embarrassingly misspelled her first name for people interested in calling in with questions. On Wednesday, her campaign announced anemic fundraising numbers for someone who is supposed to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. And on Thursday, news broke that Ganahl’s campaign manager is leaving the campaign after only a month on the job, which is not something that you can even attempt to legitimately spin as being okay.

This is basically what Ganahl’s campaign looks like at the moment:

 

 

A defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dominion Voting Services in Denver is basically de-pantsing “The Big Lie.” For more on this story, check out Axios Denver, The Colorado Sun, Colorado Public Radio, and 9News, among others.

 

If you’re interested in running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado, you had better hurry up. Pretty much every Republican with a heartbeat is jumping into the field. Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on the seventh Republican now running for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

 

The Department of Justice is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case of a controversial new abortion law in Texas. From The Associated Press:

The Biden administration said Friday it will turn next to the U.S. Supreme Court in another attempt to halt a Texas law that has banned most abortions since September.

It comes as the Texas clinics are running out of avenues to stop the GOP-engineered law that bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks. It amounts to the nation’s biggest curb to abortion in nearly 50 years.

The latest defeat for clinics came Thursday night when a federal appeals panel in New Orleans, in a 2-1 decision, allowed the restrictions to remain in place for a third time in the last several weeks alone.

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the federal government will now ask the Supreme Court to reverse that decision but did not say how quickly.

 

 Check out these 2021 voter guides from Colorado Newsline and The Denver Post.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Oct. 14)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS 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 

 

Former President Trump on Wednesday made a very strange threat about Republican voters walking away if the 2020 election isn’t overturned:

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has a fascinating column that is worth reading that has some new insight into the Trumpism phenomenon:

Republicans recognize that continuing to pander to those lies may be absolutely essential to keeping Republican voters engaged without Trump on the ballot doing it instead.

Trump’s statement has been analyzed as either the latest projectile vomiting to issue from his disordered mind or as a genuine political problem for Republicans. But few have paused to ask whether it might actually be true that energy among GOP voters turns on keeping alive the idea that the 2020 outcome was dubious or illegitimate, and what that might mean.

Sargent also links to this CNN story about how many House Republicans seem to be openly embracing the possibility of a Trump presidential campaign in 2024.

 

9News reports on a lawsuit filed by a former Dominion Voting Services employee related to “The Big Lie” that may have originated here in Colorado:

Eric Coomer, a former Dominion Voting Systems employee living in Colorado, has sued 16 people or groups for defamation. Those being sued include Donald J. Trump for President, Joe Oltmann, the leader of local conservative group FEC United, Colorado conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, attorney Rudy Giuliani, former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, Newsmax Media and The Gateway Pundit.

Coomer went into hiding after Oltmann claimed, without proof, that he heard a conference call where Dominion was plotting with Antifa to give the election to President Biden.

That call was not recorded and no one besides Oltmann has said they heard the call.

 

What’s this? Oh, just Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf literally THREATENING the board of directors of the Prowers Medical Center for trying to abide by COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

 

Grim milestone: COVID-19 deaths in Colorado cross the 8,000 mark as hospitalizations continue to increase.

 

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BREAKING: Mesa County Clerk Barred From Election Duties

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, the ruling is back in the case seeking to remove Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from her duties overseeing elections while the criminal investigation into her conduct continues–and Peters is officially relieved:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming November election, a judge ruled Wednesday in the latest admonishment of the Republican who is under investigation in a breach of her county’s election system.

The ruling from Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison comes after Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, sued to block Peters from being involved in the November election amid criminal investigations into Peters’ office.

Robison wrote in her 22-page ruling that that Griswold’s office “met the burden of showing that Peters and (Deputy Clerk Belinda) Knisley have committed a breach and neglect of duty and other wrongful acts.” As such, the judge wrote, the pair are “unable or unwilling to appropriately perform the duties of Mesa County Designated Election Official.”

It’s just the first in what we’ve been anticipating for months since the story of a serious breach in election system security in Mesa County first surfaced, and then quickly became part of the desperate canon clung to by supporters of Donald Trump in their by-now entirely faith-based conviction that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The nonsensical justifications for allowing this criminal breach of security and leak of proprietary data to the public offered up by Clerk Peters through her attorney Scott Gessler were always destined for a cold dose of reality once they arrived in front of a judge. The legal system appears to be making short of work of Peters’ defense, like dozens of bogus lawsuits challenging the 2020 election results across the country.

Which, as readers recall, also featured Scott Gessler’s “expertise.”

Almost a year later, no credible evidence that the 2020 election was illegitimate has emerged for any source. Nothing Clerk Peters either allegedly stole or allowed to be stolen has provided evidence to support the baseless conspiracy theory that prompted Peters’ actions. If Peters had any reality-based suspicion of a problem with Mesa County’s election systems, there were channels to address that not requiring the commission of a crime.

These basic facts might be unclear to a mob, but a judge’s job by design is to cut through the bullshit.

And the judging’s not over yet. The criminal side of “MesaGate” is just getting started.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 12)

Able to leap both genders in a single bound! 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 Colorado Supreme Court will hear arguments today about whether to approve a Congressional redistricting map in Colorado. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

The court will hear oral arguments on Tuesday from the commission and from groups who say the commission failed to meet constitutional requirements. In total, fifteen organizations, local governments and individuals have filed briefs supporting or opposing the final map.

Justices will either approve the map, setting it in stone for the next decade, or they will send it back to the commission with guidelines for revisions. The state must have its final map no later than December 15th, which will give Congressional candidates adequate time to prepare ahead of the November 2022 election.

Elsewhere in redistricting news, The Colorado Sun reports on the latest progress on creating new legislative maps:

Democrats would likely maintain control of the Colorado House under a new map of the chamber’s 65 districts headed to the state Supreme Court for final review.

The Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission voted 11-1 Monday night to approve the map, with Commissioner Gary Horvath, a Democrat from Broomfield, casting the lone “no” vote.

The Colorado Supreme Court now has until Nov. 15 to approve the map or send it back to the commission for revisions. Legal challenges are likely.

Democrats have such a sizable advantage in the State House (41-24) that it would have been all but impossible to draw a map that would change this dynamic.

 

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters held a bananas press conference on Monday in which no new information was presented and someone in the crowd was falsely accused of assault. You can watch the entire event or read our diary about the blow-by-blow here.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on Monday’s lunacy:

What began as a press conference Monday, to which no member of the press was actually invited, turned into a brief melee between supporters of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and those who, well, don’t.

At the morning press conference on the steps of the Old Mesa County Courthouse, Peters and Sherronna Bishop, a Garfield County resident who has been side-by-side with the embattled clerk, supporting her in claiming there was election fraud, again presented nothing new to prove their claims.

Instead, they repeated the same “evidence” of problems with Dominion Voting System tabulation machines, repeating claims that computer files were erased, but failing to say whether any of the files had anything to do with previous elections.

Ashby also has more details about Roxanne Lewis, the woman who pretended to be assaulted at the event:

Lewis pleaded guilty in 2016 to stealing money over several months from vending machines at the Canyon View car wash at the corner of Broadway and Redlands Parkway, a business she had sold months earlier to John Pugliese, the then-husband of former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese.

It was reported that Lewis is a member of the local Stand for the Constitution group that has called on local governments to declare the city and county “constitutional sanctuaries.”

B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

 

The Denver Post has the latest on Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalization rates:

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths all moved in the wrong direction over the last week, making it appear increasingly unlikely that the worst of the state’s fifth wave is over.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 1,012 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, up from a recent low of 907 on Oct. 2. On Friday, state health officials raised concerns about the increase in hospitalizations, which had been slowly falling since late September, and urged eligible people who haven’t gotten vaccinated to do so quickly.

New coronavirus infections also were up, with 13,621 cases recorded in the week ending Sunday, though that’s within the range where the numbers have bounced since early September. The percentage of tests coming back positive also rose over the last week, though, raising concerns that the state could be missing infections.

Vax that thang up, people!

 

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Diary of a Bonkers Press Conference in Mesa County

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and right-wing activist person Sheronna Bishop (who was also Lauren Boebert’s 2020 campaign manager) stood in front of the steps of the Mesa County Courthouse on Monday morning for a “press conference” to explain more about why Peters shouldn’t have to worry about being under investigation by four different agencies, including the FBI.

Someone with the Mesa County Democratic Party was on hand to provide video of this absolutely bonkers event. It was so incredibly strange, in fact, that we felt compelled to memorialize the event in a diary format.

Watch the event yourself, or click below to follow along with our event diary, which includes an allegation of assault (which clearly didn’t happen) and multiple extended rants against Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

[*Note: The original video was converted from a vertical format to a horizontal format for easier viewing. The times listed here are from the video.]

 

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The Crazy Runs Deep in Mesa County

Today Tina Peters held a press conference, which I attended. There were probably 50 people in attendance, of which a few were there to protest.

The presser was scheduled to coincide with the Board of County Commissioner’s regular meeting, on the steps of the building where the commissioners meet. (Odd time and place.) Some of us hoped she would be announcing her retirement, but alas she wanted to try her case in public. For the life of me, I cannot understand why her attorney (Scott Gessler) has not convinced her to just stay quiet.

Meeting organizers were aggressive about keeping people away from Tina. As an example when I started filming, a large man stood in front of me in order to block my view. My companion, Benita Phillips, asked a few questions loudly and a woman tried to silence her. When the woman kept grabbing Benita’s shoulder and telling her (rudely) to shut her mouth, Benita told her to keep her hands off.

The presser started with Sherronna Bishop introducing Tina. A man in the audience questioned why Ms Bishop was sowing division in Mesa County, since she lives in Garfield County. He was tall and had a large anti-Tina sign in his hands. He was immediately surrounded by the “enforcers.” As he tried to go around the men, a woman fell to the ground. She said she was pushed. He said he didn’t push her, but was just trying to get around the people blocking him.

The woman on the ground was the same woman who had been grabbing Benita’s shoulder. Since Benita is an RN, she immediately rushed to help. Her help was declined. It was Benita’s opinion that the woman was not hurt, based on her reaction to falling, things she said and looking at her eyes to see if they were clear. Benita was later interviewed by a police officer who was called to the scene to investigate an assault. Although an ambulance eventually was called, it never left with the woman.

As if all that wasn’t crazy enough, Tina then went on to accuse Charles Ashby, Lynn Bartels, Wayne Williams, and Sheila Reiner of conspiring against Tina, since the four are all “friends.” Sheila heard it all. She was standing right behind me at the event. Kudos to Sheila, she was calm and answered questions from concerned citizens after Ms Bishop identified her to the crowd.

Even better, according to Tina’s supporters, Janet Rowland, Cory Davis, and Scott McInnis are fake Republicans. I’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that these same supporters all voted for Rowland, Davis and McInnis.

So what do we have? A woman under investigation who continues to speak in public, making her defense problematic and a bunch of supporters who are willing to believe any conspiracy theory regardless of how nonsensical it sounds. Yep. The crazy runs deep in Mesa County.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 11)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS 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 Associated Press looks ahead to how Congress may finish out the year on the big issue regarding the debt ceiling:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blinked last week. And then he said he wouldn’t blink again.

McConnell said since summer that Republicans wouldn’t supply the votes majority Democrats needed to extend the federal debt limit. But Thursday night, 11 Republicans including McConnell joined Democrats in narrowly overcoming a procedural hurdle so the Senate could subsequently approve $480 billion in fresh borrowing.

House passage, expected Tuesday, would stave off until December a first-ever federal default that could disrupt the global economy, delay government checks to Social Security recipients and others and unleash voters’ wrath on lawmakers.

But the partisan dispute will resume in two months.

Republicans want Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own to underscore their argument that Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social and environment agenda is unaffordable. Democrats want Republicans to put their imprint on the borrowing limit increase, noting that the $28 trillion national debt is for unpaid bills already incurred, including $7 trillion under former President Donald Trump.

By enabling a two-month reprieve on the fight, McConnell angered Republicans who wanted a tougher stance against Democrats including Trump, still an intimidating force in the GOP. Even usual McConnell ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called it “complete capitulation.”

Everybody loves alliteration.

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl held some sort of online interview thing with wacko right-wing bluster machine Dennis Prager over the weekend (if you’re not familiar with Prager, this will give you some idea of what to expect). Ganahl’s campaign is still having trouble with some of the important details of a statewide contest, such as SPELLING YOUR CANDIDATE’S NAME CORRECTLY:

 

The Colorado Democratic Party sent out a press release today with more information on Ganahl’s Prager event:

A few short weeks before the widely expected CDC approval of the COVID vaccine for 5-11 year-olds, Ganahl gave Prager the platform of her gubernatorial campaign to spread dangerous rhetoric about the COVID-19 vaccine. Heidi Ganahl personally kicked off the event by giving Prager the microphone and allowing him to claim it was “child abuse” to give children the COVID-19 vaccine, despite CDC recommendations. Prager also told people in the audience the vaccine was “not good for you” if you had already been infected with COVID-19, disregarding the advice of public health experts, again. The U.S. Surgeon General described COVID misinformation an “urgent threat” and its proliferation a major hindrance towards ending the pandemic.

Prager went on to call schools “poison factories” and praise failed California Republican gubernatorial nominee, Larry Elder. Giving right wing extremists a platform for dangerous misinformation is not new for Ganahl. Prager is yet another addition to the growing list of extremists Ganahl has surrounded herself with such as John Eastman and Lauren Boebert — and we can expect to see more as her campaign continues. [Pols emphasis]

In other Ganahl-related news, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful is trying to distance herself from Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, whose leadership of a militia group is getting a lot of attention. Check out “The Daily” podcast from The New York Times for more on KBB and right-wing conspiracist Joe Oltmann.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on efforts by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) to overhaul how we conduct background checks for gun purchases.

 

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Started at the Bottom, Digging Deeper

Ron Hanks

The 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado got a bit more interesting last week, with two new Republican candidates joining the field: Ft. Collins developer Gino Campana and State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose). There are now six Republicans running for the chance to lose to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet next November. If this week is any indication of things to come, the Republican Senate Primary is going to be one long race to the bottom.

Let’s start with the candidates, who at this point are separated into two different tiers. Hanks, Campana, and Eli Bremer make up the first tier of “plausible” candidates because they have at least some name ID and/or ability to raise money for a real campaign. Erik Aadland, Peter Yu, and Juli Henry fall into a separate tier; we’d be surprised if any of these three candidates even managed to get their name onto the June 2022 Primary ballot, so we won’t spend any time discussing them in this space.

For now, at least, the race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination looks like a three candidate affair.

The most interesting name in the primary tier is Hanks, the copy machine killer who immediately lays claim to the far-right wing in a Republican Primary. Hanks is a full-on election fraud truther, QAnon believer, and proud member of the Donald Trump fan club who has been outspoken in his defense of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and has made pilgrimages to 2020 recount sites such as Arizona’s Maricopa County. As you can see from his campaign launch video, Hanks is going to largely focus on two issues: “Election security” and the Second Amendment. Head on over to the ‘Issues’ page on his campaign website for more policy proposals, which are entertaining to the extent that you can make sense of the rambling rhetoric.

Whether or not Hanks can mount a truly competitive campaign will depend on his ability to raise money, which is unclear at the moment. But his very existence as a Senate candidate changes the dynamic of this race. This is a guy who has no qualms about making a lynching joke on the floor of the House of Representatives. He’ll be traveling the state in the next 9 months to hoover up support from the right-wing base, which is going to scare other candidates into taking positions that are more extreme than they might have preferred…

ELT Bremer

…which brings us to Eli Bremer. We haven’t heard much from Bremer since he first entered the Senate race in July with a clunky video that lacked any real semblance of a message beyond telling people that he is a former Olympian who competed in an event that most people probably didn’t even know existed. The inclusion of Hanks and Campana in the GOP field seems to have prompted Bremer to take things up a notch.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman, Bremer’s campaign announced this week a slate of “county coordinators” that is mostly designed to affirm that Bremer already has a share of the nutty right-wing base:

One of Bremer’s county ambassadors drew national attention in 2014 when he questioned whether the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., “really happened.” [Pols emphasis]

Tom Ready, a dentist and former chairman of the Pueblo County GOP, defended floating a theory that the shooting had in fact been a hoax designed to promote gun control during a debate when he was running for county commissioner.

“Whether it’s true or not, it’s called an open discussion,” Ready said, though he later apologized for the comments.

This is how far things have fallen for Republicans: One of their most plausible Senate candidates literally sought out the endorsement of Tom Ready, who thinks it’s totally cool to have a “discussion” about the idea that a mass shooting of schoolchildren was just a mirage. Bremer may not be familiar with his recent Colorado political history, because having Ready’s support has not generally been a good thing (ask Bob Beauprez). Ready has a long background in Colorado Republican politics, including plenty of allegations of racism and domestic violence. If you seek out this endorsement, it means you want the support of the kind of people who would take Tom Ready seriously. How does this help Bremer if he eventually has to appeal to a wider range of voters in a General Election? (SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t).

Ready isn’t the only questionable name on Bremer’s “county coordinator” list. Also included is Joe Webb, the former chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party who regularly referred to Democrats like Jared Polis as “brown shirts,” (a reference to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi militia); and Don Suppes, the Delta County Commissioner who is known to be a fan of white supremacist websites and a believer in the silly conspiracy idea that the United Nations is coming to take your guns. Again, these are the type of supporters that Bremer is TOUTING in a press release. If you’re standing with Bremer, you’re standing on the same side as these folks.

Hello fellow regular people!

The third plausible Republican Senate candidate is Gino Campana, a Ft. Collins developer and former city council member whose braggadocio about almost being selected as Walker Stapleton’s Lieutenant Governor nominee in 2018 caused significant media problems for the GOP gubernatorial hopeful. Campana is rumored to have the ability to self-fund a Senate race to some degree, which is the primary “qualification” that separates him from the rest of the GOP field.

Campana launched his Senate intentions this week with the release of a meandering three-minute video (titled “I am running for US Senate”) that looks more like a commercial for Ancestry.com than a campaign announcement. Campana’s launch video is mostly about his immigrant father — you don’t even see the name ‘Gino Campana’ until the :33 second mark — interspersed with images of Gino fiddling around with odd pieces of masonry as part of a tortured effort to come across as a regular guy in a plaid shirt.

The winner of the Republican Senate Primary will likely be the candidate who is best able to garner support from the right-wing base. This fact alone will put the eventual GOP nominee in an impossible position for a General Election; there is no realistic Venn diagram in which fire-breathing adherents of “The Big Lie” join with Unaffiliated voters in backing the same candidate in November 2022.

Former Sen. Cory Gardner set the bar pretty low for future Republican Senate candidates with his 9-point loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper in 2020. Don’t be surprised if the 2022 GOP candidates still manage to limbo underneath.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 6)

Today is National Noodle Day and National Coaches Day. If you can figure out how to celebrate those together, we’re all ears. 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 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Senate Republicans are hell-bent on driving the United States right off the fiscal cliff:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday plan to block Democrats from raising the country’s debt ceiling, daring President Biden and his party’s top lawmakers to devise another path forward just 12 days before the U.S. government could run out of flexibility to pay its bills.

For the third time in as many weeks, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is set to hold a vote on a measure that would suspend the borrowing limit into next year, aiming to act before Congress blows past an Oct. 18 deadline that could catapult the country into an economic recession.

But the proposal is likely to be as doomed as the two that preceded it. Democrats for the moment cannot advance in the debate over the debt ceiling unless 10 GOP lawmakers join them — and Republicans once again are refusing to supply the votes as part of their broader campaign to oppose Biden’s economic agenda.

“They basically want us to be aiders and abettors to their reckless spending and tax policies, and we just aren’t going to do it,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). [Pols emphasis]

Now, remember that raising the debt limit is necessary in part to help pay for expensive policies ENACTED UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.

Earlier this week, Chris Cillizza of CNN broke down the dangerous game that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is playing:

McConnell knows — he’s a very smart dude — that his party’s current stance on the debt limit is utterly hypocritical.

But what he’s betting on is this: Democrats control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Knowing that, voters will put blame on Democrats if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.

That’s the calculation McConnell is making — that complete opposition to anything and everything that happens in Washington between now and November 2022 will best position Republicans to retake the House and Senate majorities.

As for what’s best for the country? That’s not relevant to McConnell or Senate Republicans.

Meanwhile, polling data continues to show that McConnell’s gambit could be the wrong play. New info from Quinnipiac University indicates widespread support for President Biden’s spending proposals in Congress:

Americans say 62 – 34 percent that they support a roughly $1 trillion spending bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband, and other infrastructure projects. This compares to 65 – 28 percent support in August. In today’s poll, Democrats support the bill 85 – 11 percent, independents support it 62 – 35 percent, and Republicans oppose it 58 – 38 percent.

Americans say 57 – 40 percent that they support a $3.5 trillion spending bill on social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks, and expanding Medicare for seniors, compared to 62 – 32 percent support in August. In today’s poll, Democrats support the bill 92 – 5 percent, independents are split with 50 percent supporting it and 48 percent opposing it, and Republicans oppose it 68 – 28 percent.

The Associated Press has more on a pared-down spending bill that is now being discussed. As The New York Times reports, Republican refusal to budge on the debt limit might be moving more Democrats toward supporting changes to the filibuster,

 

We haz more maps!

As Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline:

One week ahead of a deadline to submit its plan for new statehouse districts to the Colorado Supreme Court for review, the state’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission on Tuesday received details of a third and final plan proposed by nonpartisan state staff.

The maps released ahead of the commission’s Tuesday night meeting draw new boundaries for 65 Colorado House of Representatives districts and 35 state Senate seats, as proposed by state staff based on previous feedback from the commission’s 12 appointed members. Any further changes to the two maps must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the panel, which consists of four registered Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters.

The deadline for the commission to submit its maps to the Supreme Court is Oct. 15. If commissioners can’t approve a final plan with at least eight votes by then, the third staff plan will be submitted.

 

Colorado Republicans remain committed to the political strategy of complaining about mask and vaccine requirements, even when that message makes no sense whatsoever. State Rep. Tim Geitner (R-Colorado Springs) is all worked up about the idea that kidney transplant patients might first be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which to most rational people would seem to be a very logical and obvious request.

 

Colorado Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown has some serious explaining to do after court documents revealed that KBB was the leader of FEC United, a far-right conspiracy group, right up until the point in which she started running for the job of GOP Chair. 9News has more on this story:

Burton Brown and the Colorado Republican Party did not respond to 9NEWS’ questions about FEC United, an election rigging conspiracy theory group, and its affiliated militia, the United American Defense Force.

The extent of Burton Brown’s involvement with FEC United was revealed by the group’s founder Joe Oltmann and current president, Stuart Butler, in sworn depositions in September and August, respectively…

…Oltmann testified that Burton Brown was president of FEC United in November 2020 while serving as vice-chair of the Colorado Republican Party and left FEC United to run for state party chair. She was elected to lead the state party in March 2021.

FEC United and the United American Defense Force are extreme right-wing groups with violent histories.

 

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CO Republican Chair Advises Candidates To Accept Biden As Prez, Stay Mum on Alleged 2020 Election Fraud

(Them’s fightin’ words – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a recent radio interview, Kristi Burton Brown, chair of the Colorado Republican Party, advised candidates to sidestep conspiracy narratives about the 2020 presidential election that are favored by many GOP activists, and instead to acknowledge Joe Biden’s legitimacy as the president of the United States.

But Republican candidates who have announced their runs for governor and U.S. Senate appear to be testing different approaches to answering the looming question: “Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen from former president Trump?”

The varying statements by Republican candidates confirm that the party remains divided, with some establishment Republicans, like former GOP chair Dick Wadhams, saying, “We just need to have candidates who have the guts to say, ‘No, the fraud didn’t happen, Trump lost the election,'” and the party base insisting that the election was stolen.

Appearing on KNUS in an interview with former prosecutor and former GOP candidate George Brauchler late last month, Burton Brown acknowledged the legitimacy of the Biden Presidency by saying there’s “no provision in U.S. law” to do anything about it.

Here’s how she advised candidates on how to answer the question about the election, even if they believe it was stolen.

Brauchler: “We discussed this report that came out from Cyber Ninjas in Arizona about the audit that they did of Maricopa County. … Overall, they found that, ‘Look, we think that that Biden won this thing.’ … I bring that up in the context of the question asked of Heidi Ganahl, who’s a candidate for governor, by [9news political reporter] Marshall Zellinger on the day she launched her campaign — you may have seen this — where the first question was, “Was the 2020 election stolen?”. … How does the party tackle that, moving forward?

Burton Brown: “What the Democrats and media think they can do is tie us to the past and say, ‘Well, hey, if we can get Republicans to dwell in the past, they’re going to lose because they lost in the past.’ … We have to acknowledge, yes, Joe Biden is in the White House, and there’s not a provision in U.S. law to do anything about that other than accept the fact [that] Joe Biden is in the White House. … We have to acknowledge the fact, yes, Joe Biden is the president of the United States. Democrats control our nation. Democrats control our state. … We have to say, ‘You know what? We’re acknowledging the facts and we’re going to paint you a vision for the future and how we help working class average Coloradoans like us actually succeed in this state.'”

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 4)

Happy Mother Cabrini Day, the first state holiday named for a woman in American history. 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 

 

Is COVID-19 in retreat? We’ve learned not to get overly excited about a drop in COVID cases, but as The New York Times reports:

The reasons remain somewhat unclear, and there is no guarantee that the decline in caseloads will continue. But the turnaround is now large enough — and been going on long enough — to deserve attention.

The number of new daily cases in the U.S. has fallen 35 percent since Sept. 1.

Worldwide, cases have also dropped more than 30 percent since late August. “This is as good as the world has looked in many months,” Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research wrote last week.

As the Times notes, COVID-19 has a curious habit of showing rapid increases for two months followed by significant decreases in case numbers…for two months.

 

The 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado got a bit more interesting last week, with two new Republican candidates joining the field: Ft. Collins developer Gino Campana and State Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose). Hanks immediately lays claim to the far-right wing in a Republican Primary — he is a full-on election fraud truther who has been outspoken in his defense of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters — who will force Republican candidates up and down the ballot to respond to whatever absurd position he decides to take in a given week.

For more on Hanks’ surprise U.S. Senate candidacy, check out Colorado Newsline, The Colorado Sun, and Denver7.

 

Via The New York Times (10/2/21)

The editorial board of The New York Times voices new concerns about the “Eastman Memo” and its author, former University of Colorado visiting professor John Eastman:

However horrifying the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol appeared in the moment, we know now that it was far worse.

The country was hours away from a full-blown constitutional crisis — not primarily because of the violence and mayhem inflicted by hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters but because of the actions of Mr. Trump himself.

In the days before the mob descended on the Capitol, a corollary attack — this one bloodless and legalistic — was playing out down the street in the White House, where Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and a lawyer named John Eastman huddled in the Oval Office, scheming to subvert the will of the American people by using legal sleight-of-hand.

Mr. Eastman’s unusual visit was reported at the time, but a new book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides the details of his proposed six-point plan. It involved Mr. Pence rejecting dozens of already certified electoral votes representing tens of millions of legally cast ballots, thus allowing Congress to install Mr. Trump in a second term.

If you’re not familiar with the “Eastman Memo,” click here to get started on learning more.

 

Colorado Public Radio reports on big local rallies on Saturday in protest of a new anti-abortion law in Texas. The Associated Press has more on the Women’s March that drew hundreds of people to the State Capitol in Denver. The Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports on rallies in Larimer County, while The Pueblo Chieftain does the same for Southern Colorado.

 

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Ron Hanks Will Attack And You Don’t Want That

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

As the Colorado Sun’s political tag team Sandra Fish and Jesse Paul report in case you missed the Friday news dump–the Republican Party’s substantial election-denying insurrection-downplaying conspiracy-theorizing Tina Petersdefending civil war-threatening history-mangling wing has a champion entering the ring for the 2022 U.S. Senate race, and you’d better get ready because if you don’t he might…um, well, physically break your neck:

State Rep. Ron Hanks, a controversial Republican who has peddled unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election being fraudulent, on Friday filed to run for U.S. Senate.

“The U.S. Senate race needs to be shaken up a bit,” Hanks said in a text to The Colorado Sun… [Pols emphasis]

Folks, freshman GOP state Rep. “Raging” Ron Hanks doesn’t “shake up” the U.S. Senate 2022 Republican primary so much as take a sledgehammer to it. In less than a year in office, Hanks has gone from no-name absentee COVIDiot to the volume-11 voice of the hard right in the Colorado House GOP minority. Yes, Hanks’ attempt to remove House Minority Leader Hugh McKean failed. And yes, the “stolen election” Hanks was so sure had happened he thought that foreign intelligence services might swoop in to prevent Joe Biden’s inauguration still is lacking that vital component known as evidence.

But you understand none of that matters, right? At least not to the Republican primary voters Rep. Hanks is targeting his message at. Whatever a majority of Americans outside the conservative media message bubble may know to be factual, Hanks is poised to take advantage of one simple reality: a solid majority of rank-and-file Republicans believe the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump.

As of today, Ron Hanks is the U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado willing to tell them so.

It is not a development we would recommend underestimating.

Colorado Election Fraud Group Is Training Conspiracists in Other States to Knock Doors in Search of ‘Phantom Ballots’

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Photos of voters’ homes taken by election conspiracist volunteers trained with USEIP resources

Election conspiracists in Colorado who pioneered a field campaign that involves volunteers, some of whom are potentially armed, going door-to-door in search of phantom ballots, are now helping to export that tactic across the country, perhaps in as many as 30 states.

More accurately, volunteers for the U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP) aren’t “looking for fraud” that they believe may have occurred, rather they are intent on “exposing fraud” they are convinced took place. Their certainty comes in large part from the man behind the pseudo-science underlying this conspiracy, Dr. Douglas Frank.

On Sept. 13, he explained the conspiracists’ reasoning and motivation for door-to-door canvassing to his followers on Telegram, which is currently the favorite social media platform of extremists and conspiracists who’ve been removed from mainstream platforms.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 1)

Happy “World Vegetarian Day.” Try the grilled cheese. 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 

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, a debt limit disaster has been averted for the time being:

Congress made a last-minute dash to avert a government shutdown on Thursday, with the U.S. Senate and House approving a short-term spending bill just hours ahead of a midnight deadline.

Every Democratic and independent senator and 15 Republicans supported the bill in the 65-35 vote. The GOP senators in the “aye” tally included Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy of Louisiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Roy Blunt of Missouri; and Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Both of Colorado’s senators — Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper — are Democrats.

The House later passed the federal spending bill — which will keep government agencies funded at current levels through Dec. 3, and provide $28.6 billion in aid for regions struck by extreme weather — on a vote of 254-175.

All three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation — Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — voted ‘NO.’

 

…But the slog continues. The Associated Press updates on efforts by Congressional Democrats to work out an infrastructure deal while avoiding a debt ceiling disaster that Republicans refuse to even discuss:

Democrats were back at it Friday, doggedly determined to rescue a scaled-back version of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion government overhaul and salvage a related public works bill after a long night of frantic negotiations that resulted in no deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was gathering the party’s lawmakers for a private morning session to assess the path forward. She vowed there would be a “vote today” on the companion $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is popular but has become snared in the broader debate. But the situation was highly uncertain, and no schedule was set.

Holdout Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia sank hopes for a compromise late Thursday, despite hours of shuttle diplomacy with White House aides on Capitol Hill, when he refused to budge on his demands for a smaller overall package, around $1.5 trillion. That’s too meager for progressive lawmakers who are refusing to vote on the public works measure without a commitment to Biden’s broader framework on the bigger bill.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson again said the quiet part out loud regarding discussions on an infrastructure deal in Congress: The only Republican policy idea is performative obstruction:

 

If you could use a primer on all the drama in Congress, this rundown from The New York Times might be helpful:

 

 

State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown has been advising Colorado Republican candidates to avoid talking about Mesa C0unty Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters. This seems like perfectly reasonable advice, but KBB is doing it quietly because Republicans are still terrified of upsetting a base that believes deeply in “The Big Lie.”

 

If you’re not familiar with the “Eastman Memo,” then you should really get acquainted with the specifics.

 

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Don’t Do It, Lang!

Lang Sias (right) with GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton in July 2018.

Colorado Republicans are having a difficult time finding candidates willing to run for statewide office in 2022. Since the GOP can’t manage to find anyone new who is willing to embrace the base and turn off everyone else, they are now looking at ways to recycle.

We’re just 14 months away from the 2022 election, and Republicans still need candidates for Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State. As we’ve said many times in this space, the Republican bench in Colorado is a phone booth after two massive Democratic wave years that saw topline candidates pummeled by an average of 10 points. The candidates that Republicans DO have are a disaster, which certainly doesn’t help recruitment efforts; we wouldn’t want to share a ticket with Heidi Ganahl and Eli Bremer, either.

There haven’t been many rumors of potential candidates for Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser has already raised more than $1.7 million for his re-election campaign. Republicans thought they had a candidate for Secretary of State (SOS) in former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, but she decided against a run in part because of the Tina Peters disaster. Term-limited Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Meyers is now rumored to be looking at challenging incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold, assuming Peters doesn’t run herself.

That leaves us with the office of State Treasurer, where the GOP is apparently going back to a well that has already turned up dry multiple times. That’s right, friends: Lang Sias still isn’t done getting kicked in the face by Colorado voters.

If you’re not familiar with Sias, that’s probably because he hasn’t had much success in Colorado politics. The 2020 election marked the first time in a decade that Sias was not a candidate for public office.

Sias has sought elected office in Colorado five times for four different seats. His only November victory came in 2016, when he was an “incumbent” State Representative by virtue of having been selected by a Republican vacancy committee a year earlier. Since 2010, Sias has lost races for State Senate (twice), Congress, and Lieutenant Governor; he didn’t even make it past the Primary Election in half of those contests.

The beatings will continue until Lang Sias improves.

 

So why would Sias return to the political stage in 2022? Because he…can? Honestly, we have no idea.

There are certainly some Republican political consultants who are telling Sias that he can totally beat Democratic incumbent Dave Young, which might be music to Lang’s ambitious ears. Of course, some of those consultants are probably the same people who told Sias that he could be a State Senator or a Congressman (they are also the same people who will read this and tell Sias that “Democrats are afraid of you,” as though anyone would be scared of a candidate with his track record of failure).

By most accounts, Sias seems to be a likable guy with big dreams but limited charisma who is more interesting to Republican power brokers than he is to Colorado voters. If Sias runs for Treasurer and can avoid a Republican Primary, maybe he can change his political fortunes. History would suggest otherwise.

We’re all guilty, from time to time, of listening to what we WANT to hear at the expense of what we NEED to hear. In Sias’ case, what he needs to hear is this: Maybe you should try something else.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 29)

Today is “National Coffee Day,” which means you might be able to score some free coffee from your favorite retailers. 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 

 

We haz a map!

After months and months of meetings and discussions, Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee approved a new Congressional map late Tuesday night. Now we just need the State Supreme Court to approve the new boundaries…

As Colorado Public Radio reports:

Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commission agreed on a congressional map at its final meeting Tuesday, just minutes before a midnight deadline. It will now go to the Colorado Supreme Court for approval.

The new map is largely modeled after Colorado’s current congressional boundaries, while making room for the state’s new 8th congressional district which will sit along the I-25 corridor north of Denver.

Politically, the map creates four Democratic seats, three Republican ones and a swing district — the new eighth — that leans slightly to the left. The boundaries give all of Colorado’s current members of Congress a strong chance of holding on to their seats.
This final map was a Democratic amendment to a plan drawn by nonpartisan staff based on public feedback. In the end, it was supported by eleven of the panel’s twelve commissioners, with just Democrat Simon Tafoya voting against it.

You can view the approved map below. Visit the Colorado Redistricting website for more details, or check out reporting from Alex Burness in The Denver Post.

The map!

 

 

Business groups and Republican leaders are working to secure GOP votes in the House of Representatives for an infrastructure vote scheduled to take place on Thursday. From The New York Times:

Although the measure is the product of a compromise among moderates in both parties, House Republican leaders are leaning on their members to reject the $1 trillion infrastructure bill by disparaging its contents and arguing that it will only pave the way for Democrats to push through their far larger climate change and social policy bill.

Their opposition has ratcheted up pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has the more progressive members of her Democratic caucus threatening to withhold their support for the infrastructure package until Congress acts on that broader bill. If Republicans unite in opposition, Ms. Pelosi can afford to lose as few as three Democrats on the bill.

But some Republican senators who helped write the bill, along with influential business groups who support it — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable — have started a countereffort to try to persuade House Republicans to back the legislation.

Across the aisle, Democrats are still working to secure support for President Biden’s economic agenda. From a separate New York Times story:

President Biden and his aides mounted an all-out effort on Wednesday to salvage Mr. Biden’s economic agenda in Congress, attempting to forge even the beginnings of a compromise between moderates and progressives on a pair of bills that would spend trillions to rebuild infrastructure, expand access to education, fight climate change and more.

Mr. Biden canceled a scheduled trip to Chicago, where he was planning to promote Covid-19 vaccinations, in order to continue talking with lawmakers during a critical week of deadlines in the House. One crucial holdout vote in the Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist from Arizona, was set to visit the White House on Wednesday morning, a person familiar with the meeting said.

Ms. Sinema was one of the Democratic champions of a bipartisan bill, brokered by Mr. Biden, to spend more than $1 trillion over the next several years on physical infrastructure like water pipes, roads, bridges, electric vehicle charging stations and broadband internet. That bill passed the Senate this summer. It is set for a vote this week in the House. But progressive Democrats have threatened to block it unless it is coupled with a more expansive bill that contains much of the rest of Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda, like universal prekindergarten and free community college, a host of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tax breaks for workers and families that are meant to fight poverty and boost labor force participation.

New polling from Colorado shows that voters in our state remain overwhelmingly supportive of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. Biden’s plan has the support of 80% of Democrats and 60% of Unaffiliated voters; 27% of Republican voters agree with the proposal.

 

Colorado will use $500 million in federal COVID relief funding to boost child care resources throughout the state. Money from the American Rescue Plan amounts to more than double what Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood is normally able to spend in a given year.

 

 Republicans such as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert aren’t even pretending to couch their beliefs about “replacement theory” in a less-overtly racist tone.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Sept. 28)

Happy “World Rabies Day.” Please don’t celebrate by getting rabies. 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 

 

Senate Republicans, as promised, blocked efforts to avoid a government shutdown on Monday. Today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a dire warning:

Yellen on Tuesday told Congress that the U.S. will run out of flexibility to avoid breaching the debt limit on Oct. 18, setting a new deadline for lawmakers to avoid a catastrophic default on its payment obligations…

…Yellen’s letter came less than 24 hours after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would suspend the debt ceiling and prevent a government shutdown on Friday. Senate Republicans have said they would support a stand-alone measure to prevent the shutdown but they largely have opposed efforts by Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling.

The U.S. government runs a large budget deficit, spending far more than it brings in through tax revenue. To address this imbalance, the government borrows money by issuing debt. But it can only issue debt up to a limit set by Congress. That limit is repeatedly raised or suspended, and lawmakers are now up against another cap.

House Democrats huddle over simmering tensions about budget and agenda.

If Congress doesn’t raise the limit, the Treasury Department will not have the capability to pay all of its bills. Yellen’s new letter lays out that this crunch will really tighten after Oct. 18. She called on Congress to act as swiftly as possible, an overture she has tried for weeks without much success.

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post recommends that Democrats respond to Republican obstruction in a manner that could stop some of this nonsense:

Democrats appear likely to opt for Plan B, which is to raise the debt limit in the reconciliation process. But if so, they have another option: They can try to use reconciliation to effectively nullify the debt limit, which if it works would end this nonsense for good.

Can President Biden get a deal done to avoid a government shutdown. As Chris Cillizza of CNN writes, Biden has spent his entire life preparing for this moment.

Colorado Newsline has more on this story with a local perspective.

 

Maps, maps, maps!

Sandra Fish and Thy Vo of The Colorado Sun explain — as much as anyone can — how Colorado’s redistricting process is nearing its conclusion:

Eight of the 12 members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission must agree on a map by the end of Tuesday to prevent a staff-drawn proposal from being sent to the state Supreme Court for final approval.

There are about 30 different maps commissioners can consider at a 2 p.m. meeting Monday or another meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

By this time tomorrow, we might know what Congressional map we are going to be arguing about. The final step could still involve a decision by the State Supreme Court.

The process for approving new legislative maps, meanwhile, seems likely to go smoother:

The latest draft state House and Senate maps released last week appear to each have the support of at least eight members of the Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission.

While commissioners have discussed changes they’d like to see to the maps, an informal straw poll last week indicated a supermajority of commissioners would, if the latest drafts were the final maps for consideration, vote for the proposals.

In related news, Evan Wyloge of the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman reports on new interactions related to a redistricting lobbying complaint against several Republican operatives, including Alan Philp, Frank McNulty, and Greg Brophy.

 

Colorado Republicans are not shy about offering their opinion that GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl is going to get positively pummeled by incumbent Democrat Jared Polis in 2022. 

 

► David Leonhardt of The New York Times suggests a new moniker for the pandemic in the United States:

Via The New York Times (9/27/21)

 

New data from Gallup backs up this assertion. Roughly 92% of Democrats say that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 56% of Republicans.

 

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