Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 29)

We’d say, “let’s get ready to rumble,” but we don’t want to get sued. Instead, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

Debate!

The first General Election debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden takes place tonight in Cleveland, OH. The 90-minute, commercial-free debate at Case Western Reserve University begins at 7:00 pm (Colorado time).

Tonight’s debate may be the last good chance Trump has for defining Biden. POLITICO explains why the stakes are so high. A new poll from The Washington Post shows Biden opening a big lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

 

There have now been more than 1 million deaths worldwide from COVID-19. As The Associated Press reports, that’s probably a low estimate:

Even at 1 million — greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas, more than four times the number killed in the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean — the toll is almost certainly a vast undercount.

Many deaths were probably missed because of insufficient testing and inconsistent reporting, and some suspect concealment by countries like Russia and Brazil.

And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by new outbreaks and experts fear a second wave may await the U.S.

Here in Colorado, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise — as does the number of hospitalizations related to the virus.

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is one of nine male Republican Senators who will meet today with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Gardner is the only one of the nine who is in danger of losing re-election in 2020; going ahead with this meeting anyway indicates that Gardner realizes his goose is cooked. [UPDATE: Or maybe Gardner is NOT participating in the meeting today?]

Meanwhile, The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Gardner is changing up his tune on why he opposed a confirmation hearing for a SCOTUS nominee in 2016.

 

The New York Times dropped another story in what is expected to be a series of new pieces about President Trump’s finances. The takeaway: Trump sucks at business but is good at being Trump:

But while the story of “The Apprentice” is by now well known, the president’s tax returns reveal another grand twist that has never been truly told — how the popularity of that fictional alter ego rescued him, providing a financial lifeline to reinvent himself yet again. And then how, in an echo of the boom-and-bust cycle that has defined his business career, he led himself toward the financial shoals he must navigate today.

Mr. Trump’s genius, it turned out, wasn’t running a company. It was making himself famous — Trump-scale famous — and monetizing that fame.

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, the latest NYT story further demolishes the narrative of Trump as a successful businessman.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 24)

Election Day is now 40 days away. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

► Dear Leader Trump is worried enough about his odds of winning another term in office that he is refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the increasingly-likely scenario in which he loses to Democrat Joe Biden. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (9/23/20)

Asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election,” Mr. Trump demurred, passing on a chance to call for a calm and orderly election process.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told a reporter during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”…

…“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” the president said. That was an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, which for months he has railed against, without evidence, as rife with fraud and likely to produce a delayed, tainted or outright illegitimate election result.

Mr. Trump’s refusal — or inability — to endorse perhaps the most fundamental tenet of American democracy, as any president in memory surely would have, was the latest instance in which he has cast grave uncertainty around the November election and its aftermath. Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly questions the integrity of the vote and suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses.

Democrats may be growing increasingly alarmed, but what about Republicans? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that there would be an “orderly transition” in January but wouldn’t comment on Trump’s earlier statement. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) blasted the suggestion that a peaceful transfer of power would even be questioned by a sitting President. But for the most part, Republicans stayed quiet. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner? He said some…words:

 

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s recent comments about the upcoming election are quite troubling:

Add it all up and we have a President who is now on record saying: a) he won’t commit to a peaceful transition of power unless b) all mail-in ballots are eliminated because c) that would mean he would win again and d) has repeatedly raised the possibility of staying on beyond even the eight-year term limit on the presidency…

…So, what Trump is doing is creating the perfect excuse to never concede: He is saying that the vote will be fair and he will agree to a peaceful transition of power if there are no mail-in votes. Which he knows literally cannot happen. And so, if he loses, he already has his fallback plan in place: The acceptance of mail-in ballots means the entire election was a hoax and a fraud. And why should he admit he lost an election that was rigged against him?…

…If you don’t think that’s a uniquely dangerous position to hold for the continued strength of our democracy, well, you’re just not paying attention.

 

With coronavirus cases increasing in the area, Boulder County Public Health issued a new order for residents between the age of 18-22. As Denver7 reports:

In an effort to slow the sharp rise of positive COVID-19 cases in Boulder, and transmission of those 18 to 22 years old, Boulder County Public Health issued a new public health order that prohibits all people in that age group from gatherings of any size.

This applies to all indoor, outdoor, on-campus and off-campus locations, according to the order.

In addition, the order identified 36 addresses where people have repeatedly violated the public health orders, and requires those individuals to stay at their residence at all times. The only exceptions to this part of the order are to seek medical care, exercise outside alone, and obtain necessary supplies such as food, pet food, medical supplies and products needed for safety and sanitation via curbside pickup or contact-less delivery.

 

► Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun takes a look at Senate District 27, which appears to be the top State Senate battleground of 2020. This story is not good for Republican candidate Suzanne Staiert:

Staiert is representing a dark money nonprofit whose affiliated super PAC spent $175,000 on advertising supporting her campaign.

It’s the newest twist in a nasty campaign filled with mailers and digital and TV advertising that question her past job as deputy secretary of state. She even filed a criminal complaint regarding one of the mailers that she says is false.

Staiert faces Democrat Chris Kolker, a financial planner, in a seat being vacated by current Republican state Sen. Jack Tate. Kolker is an afterthought in the campaign, barely mentioned in the messages from outside political groups who are aiming at Staiert, the attorney who pressed ethics complaints against former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

More than $508,000 in outside spending is targeting Senate District 27, most of it opposing Staiert. It’s one of the Democratic Party’s top legislative contests in the November election, and a Sun analysis shows the district is seeing the most outside money of any statehouse race so far.

Staiert has a strange record of shady affiliations with dark money groups. She is also very sensitive to any sort of criticism. “It’s been really just stressful and unpleasant,” says Staiert of the common practice of examining candidate records and backgrounds.

 

 Several new data points make the case that another Blue Wave is coming to Colorado. Read until the end for the “Holy Shit Numbers.”

 

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

 

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Hello Again, Blue Wave

Welcome back

At this point two years ago, it was becoming clear that the 2018 election in Colorado was going to be very good for Democrats. We wouldn’t find out until much later that the 2018 cycle would be historically good for Democrats, but the signs were there by late September: Democrat Jared Polis was running away with the governor’s race, for example, and there was unmistakable “Crowmentum” in CO-6.

This year, the June Primary gave us an early glimpse that 2020 could be another strong year for Democrats in Colorado. Polling has consistently shown the top of the ticket with unmistakable blue undertones — both Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper have enjoyed a solid advantage for months now. President Trump’s re-election campaign is virtually non-existent in Colorado, with no indication that the Big Orange Guy will eventually turn his focus back to a state that he lost comfortably in 2016. And Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has turned his own re-election campaign into a vessel focused on making weird imitations of Hickenlooper.

Today we saw three more indications that 2020 is shaping up to be another banner year for the Blue Team: 1) A national prognosticator moved Colorado’s Senate race from “Toss Up” to “Lean Democrat”; 2) The DCCC is spending money on television in order to boost Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in Colorado’s most competitive Congressional race; and 3) Polling results from Douglas County suggests that a once solid-red county is now very much in play. Let’s break down each of these points individually, saving the biggest news for last…

 

Cook Political Report Projects Hickenlooper Victory

As Jessica Taylor writes for Cook Political Report, Gardner’s decision to support a confirmation process for a new SCOTUS nominee has probably doomed him to a November loss:

In the past we have been hesitant to move incumbents out of Toss Up unless there are extenuating circumstances. We have for two incumbents so far this cycle. First, Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama remains the heavy underdog in a state that Trump won in 2016 by 28 points. We now rate that contest as Lean Republican, with former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville favored to win. Then, in July, we moved Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally to the Lean Democrat column — who was appointed to this seat after losing a race for the same position just two years ago — after consistently trailing Democrat Mark Kelly.

There has been a dearth of quality public polling in Colorado too. But in talking with sources privately, Democrats have never had this race very close, often showing a low double-digit gap that has since closed to high single digits. Still, Hickenlooper has retained the edge. And several Republicans who are monitoring the race closely who may have initially hoped that Gardner could outperform the president enough to win now seriously doubt that is the case…

Gardner’s vote, though, may well seal his fate, even if it was probably heading toward a loss anyway. [Pols emphasis]

The writing has indeed been on the wall for Gardner for some time, as evidenced by the regular reluctance of Republican Super PACs to spend big money in Colorado. The status change by Cook Political Report just says out loud what many political observers in Colorado have been saying for months: There’s no good path to victory for Gardner in 2020.

 

Democrats Start Spending in CO-3

Diane Mitsch Bush was also the Democratic candidate for Congress in CO-3 in 2018, but she was running against an entrenched incumbent in Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). Tipton’s loss to the comically-unqualified Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in the June Primary opened up a new lane for Mitsch Bush that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is eager to exploit. Remember: The DCCC did not invest significant resources in CO-3 in 2018, and that bet proved correct when Mitsch Bush lost to Tipton by nearly 8 points.

In 2020, things are noticeably different for Mitsch Bush. She earned “Red to Blue” status from the DCCC in August — a marker that she wasn’t able to reach two years ago — and two consecutive polls have shown that CO-3 is essentially a toss-up. Polling shows that Biden and Trump are running neck-and-neck in this district, which is a YUGE difference from 2016, when Trump carried CO-3 by 12 points.

Voters in CO-3 are opening the door for Democrats, who are plenty happy to stroll inside and take a seat on the couch.

 

Douglas Freakin’ County is a Toss Up

Darien Wilson, Democratic candidate for Douglas County Commissioner

Colorado Republicans are having trouble focusing in 2020; many of their activists are out chasing their tails instead of campaigning for candidates. Whether it is the result of apathy or ignorance (probably a little of both), this sort of behavior is a dangerous combination when you add in a tough national environment for Republican candidates. Sprinkle in a bit of COVID and BLM truther idiocy, and you have a full-fledged recipe for disaster on your hands.

According to the campaign of Darien Wilson, a Democratic candidate for Douglas County Commissioner, polling data shows that this once hopelessly-red county is up for grabs in 2020. Via press release from Meyers Research:

According to the results of our recent survey, Democrat Darien Wilson has a clear path to defeating Republican incumbent Lora Thomas in the contest for Douglas County Commission. The combination of Trump’s collapse of popularity in this county and the Mountain West generally, combined with Thomas’ political attacks on the public health system during a global pandemic, create a dead heat race once contrast messages are introduced.

Wilson has the real opportunity to grow her support thanks to Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. Trump and Joe Biden are locked in a tight race, with neither candidate reaching majority at the outset: 48 percent of Douglas County voters support Biden today while 49 percent support Trump.

Initially, Thomas sits just above the majority threshold, capturing 52 percent to Wilson’s 42 percent. Once voters are introduced to contrast messages on both candidates, the race moves to a dead heat, with 48 percent of voters backing Democrat Darien Wilson and an equal 48 percent supporting Republican Lora Thomas. This race has the potential to go down to the wire come Election Day.

These are what we would call “Holy Shit Numbers.” Donald Trump carried Douglas County by better than 18 points in 2016, and Republican Walker Stapleton’s no-hope gubernatorial bid in 2018 still garnered him 55% of the vote in the southern Denver suburbs.

If Douglas County is this close in 2020, then suburban Republicans should start boarding up the windows.

 

There is still plenty of work to be done before (and after) ballots start arriving in mailboxes in three weeks, but it is definitely “freak out time” for the Colorado GOP.

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The Death of RBG and the SCOTUS Battle Ahead

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The news came late on Friday of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). Soon afterward, stories began swirling about the political impact of a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) vacancy just six weeks before Election Day. There is a LOT of news to unpack after a weekend flurry of reports and updates, so we’re breaking it down — Q&A style — into smaller bites of information to aid in digestion.

 

Q: Before We Get to the Political Stuff, What About the Memorial Service?

The body of Justice Ginsberg will lie in repose outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday. A private internment service will take place some time next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Q: How Soon Will President Trump Nominate a New Justice?

Very soon. Trump says that he will announce a nominee by the end of this week and is encouraging the Senate to act quickly on completing the nomination process before Election Day.

 

Q: But What About Ginsberg’s Final Request?

According to RBG’s family, here’s her final statement: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.”

President Trump wasn’t going to worry about this anyway, but on Monday he suggested that RBG’s last words were written by Democrats. So, not only is Trump going to ignore RBG’s final wish — he’s going to pretend it never happened.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

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

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

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

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

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

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In Which Ken Buck Gets to the Bottom of Antifa

It’s true because I said it.

Ken Buck has it all figured out. Mostly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serious journalist person Brian Kilmeade (right)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 17)

Today is Constitution Day in the United States; or as President Trump would say “The What?” Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 16)

The Denver Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals after becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from consecutive 3-1 series deficits. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Cory Gardner is Hiding Under a Desk Somewhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

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

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

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Boebert Gets Complete and Total Endorsement Curse

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

Hmm…why does this seem familiar?

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


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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 10)

This is one of those days where it feels like we’re drinking from a news firehose. So, let’s make sure you’re caught up and so you can Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Via Vox.com (9/10/20)

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 3)

The Denver Nuggets begin their second-round playoff series tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

► President Trump told voters in North Carolina on Wednesday — TWICE — that they should vote by mail AND in person. You, uh, can’t do that.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr is totally on board with whatever election security nonsense President Trump dreams up. From The Washington Post:

For example, claiming that expanding mail-in balloting is “changing the rules” is like saying that restaurants moving to outdoor service is “changing the rules.” There’s a reason for the shift: limiting the risk posed by the coronavirus. Admittedly, it’s not ideal, but it’s also something that could have been done all along.

Then there’s Barr’s citing “logic” to dismiss mail balloting as risky. He did so again at another point in his interview with Blitzer:

BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?

BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.

BLITZER: Pardon?

BARR: Logic.

You know who else falls back on “logic” as a defense of their beliefs? QAnon adherents.

Chris Cillizza of CNN calls Barr’s “defense” of scaring people about ballots “indefensible.” Barr repeatedly claimed that he wasn’t sure if it was legal to vote twice in the United States, but what would he know? He’s only THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

 

Colorado Republicans are going all-in on President Trump’s re-election message that everything is on fire and we’re all going to be killed if Joe Biden wins in November.

 

Hey, Jefferson County Department of Health: WTF?

As Denver7 reports, the Jeffco Health Department has still not commented on Tuesday’s COVID CHAOS superspreader rally.

 

As The Nation reports, the coronavirus response among major health-related agencies in Washington D.C. is a full-on “clusterfuck.” POLITICO can confirm said “clusterfuck.”

 

The real killer of police officers in the United States? COVID-19. As The Washington Post explains:

In a speech this week in Pittsburgh, Joe Biden linked the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus to its handling of protests and riots with a surprising statistic: “More cops have died from covid this year than have been killed on patrol,” he said.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s claim is true, according to data compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, two nonprofits that have tracked law enforcement fatalities for decades.

As of Sept. 2, on-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than gun violence, car accidents and all other causes combined, according to the Officer Down group.

NLEOMF reported a nearly identical number of covid-related law enforcement deaths. It also noted that fatalities due to non-covid causes are actually down year-over-year, undermining President Trump’s claims that “law enforcement has become the target of a dangerous assault by the radical left.” [Pols emphasis]

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 2)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

► As The Colorado Sun reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner still very much wants to get rid of Obamacare…but that’s about the extent of his health care plan. Gardner and other Republicans are finding that ACA opposition is not very popular with voters.

Via The Colorado Sun (9/2/20)

 

In case you missed it, this happened on Tuesday:

As we noted yesterday, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November.

 

Democrat Joe Biden raised $364.5 million dollars IN AUGUST. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to announce that his campaign raised more than $300 million IN AUGUST. As The New York Times explains:

The sum would shatter past monthly records as small donors have poured money into Mr. Biden’s coffers, especially since the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, and big contributors, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, have given checks that can be as large as $721,300.

In a sign of the financial momentum behind Democrats, ActBlue, the main site that processes donations to the party, reported the second-biggest fund-raising day in its history on Monday, with more than $35 million donated. A majority of Mr. Biden’s August total came from online grass-roots donors, according to another person familiar with the figures.

The people familiar with Mr. Biden’s fund-raising did not know the exact final figure for the month of August, or how much higher than $300 million it would be.

Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign holds the current record for fundraising in one month at $193 million. Biden will OBLITERATE that number.

 

Senate Republicans and President Trump’s campaign have announced new ad buys in several states…none of them in Colorado. In other words, it sucks to be Cory Gardner.

 

 If you know anyone who attended the “Covid Chaos” event at Bandimere Speedway in Jefferson County on Tuesday, you should probably not go anywhere near them for the next 14 days.

Gah!

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 1)

Four more months, and we’re done with this wretched year. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► President Trump says that…wait, what?

As The Washington Post explains:

As the nation grapples with volatile protests, President Trump on Monday night claimed in a Fox News interview that “people that are in the dark shadows” are “controlling the streets” and manipulating his Democratic opponent Joe Biden to sow chaos.

When host Laura Ingraham suggested the claim “sounds like conspiracy theory,” Trump doubled down, launching into a tale of a plane that allegedly flew from an unnamed city to Washington, D.C., this weekend loaded with “thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear.”

The strange exchange prompted head-scratching from prominent Trump critics and produced few clear answers about what precisely Trump was referring to.

Seriously…what?

The Fox News host then asked who the president believed was pulling the strings. Trump replied, “People that you’ve never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows.”“What does that mean?” Ingraham asked. “That sounds like conspiracy theory. Dark shadows — what is that?”

“No, they’re people that you haven’t heard of,” Trump continued. “They’re people that are on the streets, people that are controlling the streets.”

Trump then described a plane “from a certain city this weekend, and on the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear.” Ingraham asked where the plane was coming from, but the president demurred.

“I’ll tell you sometime,” he said. “It’s under investigation right now.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump, the actual President of the United States of America, appears to be promoting debunked conspiracy theories of airplanes full of protestors — Antifa Airlines! — descending on cities across the country.

 

Speaking of Trump, the White House is facing increased pressure to explain why the President really made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November. As Chris Cillizza reports for CNN:

Days before Thanksgiving 2019, President Donald Trump made an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed hospital, a trip the White House later dismissed as nothing more than a “quick exam and labs” as part of his annual physical.

Even then, the explanation was fishy. Presidents don’t make trips that members of the press don’t know about almost ever — unless they are flying into a war zone and their safety is at risk. And the leader of the free world certainly doesn’t just pop in to the hospital to get an early start on his annual physical — especially without the medical staff at the hospital being given a heads up.

And now, thanks to a new book by New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, we now know that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert to take over the duties of president if Trump had to be anesthetized during the trip. [Pols emphasis]

Maybe Trump just gets a different kind of physical examination than every other person in America. Yeah, maybe.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is out with a new re-election ad in which he takes credit for a Paycheck Protection Program that was approved by a 96-0 vote in the U.S. Senate. Just think: If not for Gardner, the vote might have been 95-1!

 

Denver police officials are making it clear that they do NOT want self-appointed militia members showing up to “help” them deal with protests.

 

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

 

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Does Character Matter? Boebert Hopes It Doesn’t

Lauren Boebert’s mug shot taken upon her arrest in February, 2017

Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on a long list of criminal offenses and general disregard for law enforcement associated with CO-3 Republican candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert — who often espouses a pro-police, law-and-order message on the campaign trail — has been arrested and summonsed at least four times over the past decade, records show.

While the three arrests and one court-ordered summons were for petty crimes — and in one case all charges were dropped — Boebert’s record is unusually long for a congressional candidate. [Pols emphasis]

You could perhaps argue about the relative level of severity related to Boebert’s various troubles with the law, but there is one constant in all of these cases: Boebert doesn’t think she has any responsibility to follow the same laws as everyone else.

While she was being handcuffed for disorderly conduct, Boebert tried to twist away from police, according to deputies’ reports. She allegedly shouted that her arrest was unconstitutional, that “she had friends at Fox News and that the arrest would be national news.” It did not become national news.

Boebert was released from custody and told to appear in court that August but missed her court date because, as she told a judge, she forgot what day of the week it was. “I am now aware today is Friday,” she wrote on Aug. 28, 2015, hours after she was supposed to be in court.

The judge, Craig Henderson, rescheduled for later that year. But Boebert again was a no-show at a Nov. 20 hearing. In a handwritten note to the judge, she did not include a reason for her absence…

…Failing to appear for court also landed Boebert in jail a year later. As first reported by the Colorado Times Recorder, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a Garfield County ditch in the summer of 2016. They were minor traffic charges, but Boebert skipped an October court date.

Voters in Colorado’s third congressional district — Republican or otherwise — have a similar moral quandary about Boebert as they have with President Trump. Either character matters…or it doesn’t. You can scrub away with “Supreme Court justices” and “abortion” until your skin bleeds, but it doesn’t change the truth about Trump’s various affairs and questionable humanity in general.

If character is important, then you aren’t voting for Trump in November, and you definitely aren’t voting for Boebert. If you can convince yourself that character doesn’t matter, well…we’re just glad we don’t have to look in your mirror every morning.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 27)

Happy Banana Lovers Day. Please keep that celebration to yourself, whatever it is. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► President Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight in an address from (gag) the South Lawn of the White House. As POLITICO reports, Trump plans to blame Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden for pretty much anything that went wrong in the last 50 years:

“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.”

While Republicans have spent this week going after Biden, the president’s aides contend that the media has filtered the convention and hasn’t adequately highlighted criticisms of Biden’s policies. Over the course of this week, additional policy attacks have been added to Trump’s speech.

This is the part where we remind you that the Republican Party quite literally DOES NOT HAVE A PLATFORM FOR 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Wednesday evening and assured convention-watchers that everything is totally cool with the coronavirus.

 

As The New York Times reports, the director of the CDC is (sorta) backing off of controversial new coronavirus testing guidelines issued this week:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scaled back the agency’s recommendation advising some people not to get tested after exposure to the novel coronavirus, now saying “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

The statement by Dr. Robert R. Redfield was issued to some news outlets late Wednesday, and more broadly Thursday morning, after a storm of criticism over the new C.D.C. guidelines — involving potentially asymptomatic people — which were the product of the White House Coronavirus task force and not the C.D.C.’s own scientists. Dr. Redfield made the statement in an effort to clarify the new policy, an official said. However, the guidelines issued earlier this week remained on the C.D.C.’s website as of Thursday morning, and it appears unlikely that the agency will change them…

…The clarification is unusual. Public health experts say clear, consistent communications are essential to fighting an infectious disease outbreak, and Dr. Redfield’s comments may further confuse things.

 

Dear Leader Trump is fleecing American taxpayers, as The Washington Post reports:

Via The Washington Post (8/27/20)

 

Trump has now visited his own properties 270 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — with another visit planned for Thursday, when he is scheduled to meet GOP donors at his Washington hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.

Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

 

Hurricane Laura came ashore in Louisiana on Wednesday as one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in recorded history. Fortunately, the storm is slowing significantly as it moves northward.

 

 It’s long past time to do something about army-playing militia members bringing assault rifles to protests in hopes of picking a fight.

 

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

 

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Doug Lamborn Sees the Future and Is Sad

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) posing with a big orange guy.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is finishing up his seventh term in the House of Representatives. He will almost certainly be re-elected for an eighth term in November. Because CO-5 has long been centered in the conservative city of Colorado Springs, winning a Republican Primary is pretty much the whole enchilada (just like winning a Democratic Primary in Denver virtually guarantees a General Election victory).

Lamborn earned his ticket to Washington D.C. with a narrow win in a 6-way Republican Primary in 2006. Because 15,126 Republican voters checked Lamborn’s box in August of that year, he gained the power of incumbency in a heavily-partisan district that won’t likely be rid of him until he decides to do something else (Lamborn’s predecessor, Joel Hefley, is the only other person to have held this seat in its history; he served 20 years in Congress before retiring).

The point of this history lesson is to explain the very low bar that Lamborn must clear every two years in order to remain in office, and to help you understand how a sitting Member of Congress could be responsible for authoring something as spectacularly stupid as the Op-Ed you’re about to see. If you were ever able to hold a contest to identify the dimmest bulb in Congress, Lamborn would be a strong betting favorite; just a few months ago, for example, Lamborn declared that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing for another coronavirus stimulus package because she secretly wanted to secure the release from prison of the infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Now that you’re all caught up with that bit of history, we can comfortably look ahead to the future. According to Lamborn (or, more likely, someone on Lamborn’s staff who can spell big words), the United States of America will be a smoldering ruin if Democrat Joe Biden is elected President in November. The ultra right-wing newspaper The Washington Examiner published a very gloomy Op-Ed signed by Lamborn that predicts all of the terrible things that will happen in the first year of a Biden administration.

As a public service, we decided to break down Lamborn’s argument point-by-point so that Colorado Pols readers can fully understand the dark ages ahead. If you’ve been anxious to read an unabashedly racist, sexist, factually-inaccurate and fear-mongering editorial from a sitting Member of Congress, then (WHOO, BOY!) you came to the right place!

Let’s get to it…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 25)

Happy Liberation Day to all of our francophile friends. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday with a lot of anger and bluster. The big story of the RNC is more about what’s missing — like previous Republican elected officials (such as former President George W. Bush) and a party platform. That’s right! Republicans literally don’t have a party platform in 2020. Nothing. Nada.

As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, the public portion of the RNC got off to quite the “culty” start:

It has now become widely accepted that President Trump has essentially hollowed out the Republican Party and turned it into little more than a personality cult. But no level of appreciation of this state of affairs could possibly have prepared us for what we’re witnessing at the GOP convention.

What was truly striking about the convention’s first night, in addition to the widely expected parade of white grievance we’re seeing, is the sheer unbridled messianism that’s been on display.

In this telling, Trump’s performance as president hasn’t just been infallible on every front, though of course it has been that. His personal qualities, too, have been a divine gift to the nation, one that should keep us bowed in deep reverence and thankfulness at all times.

Check out this example provided by Sargent of an “elderly nursing supervisor” speaking directly to Dear Leader Trump:

I am so in awe of your leadership. Honestly, I know many people have said often interesting things, but it takes a true leader to be able to ignore all that stuff and do what is right, and not be offended by all the words being said.

Uh…yeah. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza concludes:

Monday night’s festivities were a remarkable demonstration of how the Republican Party at this moment is less a collection of like-minded people gathered around a set of common principles and much more a cult of personality built around the man one GOP delegate called “Donald J. President.” Virtually every speaker — Sen. Tim Scott was a notable exception — dedicated at least some chunk of their speech to fawning praise of the President, often in terms that would make the average person blush.

Colorado Congressman/State Party Chairman Ken Buck stuck to the script from the beginning, praising the Trump administration because “they’ve protected us from a worldwide pandemic.” Just for reference, there have been nearly 6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and nearly 180,000 deaths. So, yeah, bang up job!

 

New coronavirus cases are down in Colorado for the fourth straight week, but the virus continues to rage around the country. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is concerned about “an alarming trend” in cases in Kansas; at least one person has now tested positive for COVID-19 in every county in the state.

 

We’ve discussed in this space the disgusting political tactics used by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is pretending to run a bill protecting pre-existing medical conditions even though his entire career has been about eliminating things like pre-existing medical conditions. 9News dismantled all of this in a must-watch “Truth Test” on Friday.

The Colorado Times Recorder has more on the yacht-sized loopholes in Gardner’s bill.

 

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

 

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Loopholes in Gardner Bill Allow Denial of Coverage to Those With Pre-Existing Conditions

(In other words, this “bill” is worthless — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is claiming that legislation he introduced this month “would guarantee Coloradans with pre-existing conditions have health insurance coverage protections.”

In fact, his bill does not provide such protections due to multiple loopholes that insurance companies would use to avoid covering people with pre-existing medical conditions, say experts and journalists who’ve reviewed Gardner’s legislation.

The loopholes that insurance companies would exploit are currently closed due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which protects people with pre-existing conditions.

But if the ACA were repealed, Gardner’s bill wouldn’t stop health insurance companies from again using common strategies for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions that they used before the law was passed, say experts and fact-checkers.

“Big picture, [Gardner’s] bill does include some protections, but when you open up loopholes for insurance companies to avoid covering people with pre-existing conditions, they will take advantage of them,” said Sabrina Corlette, who directs the Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

“Effectively, there is no protection at all,” said Corlette.

Corlette outlined four of the loopholes or issues involved in Gardner’s bill in a telephone call with the Colorado Times Recorder.

Denial Based on Health Status

“The biggest, and most glaring is that under this bill there is nothing to prevent an insurance company from just denying you a policy outright,” said Corlette.

“Before the Affordable Care Act, if you were applying for insurance, typically you’d be asked to fill out a health questionnaire, and you’d also have to check a box or say that you would allow the company to go back through your medical history. There’s nothing to prevent the company from doing that under this bill and then saying, ‘We’re not going to issue you a policy. Go somewhere else. If we don’t think you’re an insurable person, we won’t cover you.'”

Insurance Policies Designed for Healthy People

A second loophole in Gardner’s bill would allow insurance companies to design policies that don’t cover people with specific diseases or conditions, said Corlette.

“Prior to the passage of the ACA, insurance companies would design policies that would only work for healthy people,” explained Corlette. “They would do this, for example, by designing a policy that doesn’t cover drugs needed for specific diseases, like HIV/AIDS or hemophilia or cystic fibrosis.

“There’s nothing in the bill that restricts [insurance companies’] ability to design a benefit package that attracts only healthy people.”

Coverage, Yes, As Long As It’s Not Too Expensive

Third loophole: Gardner’s bill would allow insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions but not pay for their care if it got too expensive.

Before the ACA, if you had an expensive medical condition (systic fibrosis, organ transplant, hemophilia), you would hit annual or lifetime caps on your benets. So you’d be left paying with your own money.

“The ACA prohibited those [benefit caps], and this bill does not address that,” said Sabrina. “So, if a plan stated, ‘We’ll cover a full plate of benefits but after $100,000, you’re out of luck,’ it would be allowed. Well, if you have hemophilia, that means this policy isn’t going to do you much good. There are conditions that require a million dollars per year for treatment.”

Incentives to Cover the Healthy

The ACA, Corlette says, incentivized insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and Gardner’s bill does nothing to keep those incentives in place.

“The ACA included risk-management programs that essentially tried to change incentives for insurance companies to manage risk, instead of avoid it. Bottom line, it tried to shift rules of the game so that insurance companies could take people with heart disease or diabetes, for example, and manage their care in such a way as to be a financial win for them.”

“If the ACA is repealed those incentive programs go away, and so insurance companies to a large degree are going to revert to the days when they win by avoiding risk entirely.”

Gardner Hasn’t Addressed Criticism of His Bill

Gardner did not return a call asking if he sees any problematic loopholes in his proposed law.

The senator has insisted for years that he supports requirements that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions–even as he’s voted multiple times against the ACA, which protects people with pre-existing conditions.

His bill appears to be intended to be part of his response to his critics.

But while he may point to it as a symbol of his stance on the issue, it’s not convincing analysts or journalists that it will make a substantive difference for people with pre-existing conditions, if the ACA is repealed.

Denver’s NBC affiliate, 9News, quoted Larry Levitt, vice president of Kaiser Family Foundation, as saying Gardner’s bill “is missing certain words that requires insurance companies to take anyone.”

9News anchor Kyle Clark was more blunt, calling the bill “horse excrement.”

9News’ Marshall Zellinger reported that Gardner didn’t respond to his requests for an interview.

So it appears Gardner’s only comment on the bill is contained in a news release distributed Aug. 7 when the bill’s title, without any text, was released.

“My bill is simple – it guarantees coverage for people who have pre-existing medical conditions and ensures that people cannot be charged more because of a pre-existing condition,” said Gardner in a news release. “I will continue to fight for pre-existing condition protections as well as measures to lower health care costs, strengthen innovation, and expand access for all Coloradans, including those with pre-existing medical conditions.”

Over 2 million Coloradans have pre-existing conditions, according to one report.

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Republicans Both Dismiss and Embrace QAnon

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and President Trump

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is facing a potential challenge to his caucus leadership thanks in part to the prevalence of QAnon-loving congressional candidates who are making rank-and-file Republicans more than a little bit nervous. Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene has gotten the ‘Q’ headlines recently, but the GOP’s Q troubles include Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the Republican nominee for Congress in CO-3.

As The Washington Post reported last week:

A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference. And a small group of members is discussing whether someone should challenge him for minority leader if Trump is defeated Nov. 3.

The matter bubbled to the surface this week with the primary election of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fringe House candidate in Georgia who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory and has made numerous racist comments. Multiple Republicans implored McCarthy to help defeat her by supporting her primary opponent. But McCarthy refused, phoning the candidate in an apparent peace accord before the primary, while Trump embraced her on Twitter this week as a “future Republican Star.” [Pols emphasis]

McCarthy seems to have gotten the message that he needs to pretend to oppose QAnon conspiracists, telling multiple news outlets this week that he does not agree with QAnon theories and that “there is no place” for QAnon in the Republican Party. Except, well, that’s not really true.

Via The Hill (8/21/20)

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence said “we dismiss conspiracy theories around here out of hand.” But earlier this week, President Trump publicly embraced QAnon followers, in no small part because Trump “understands” that QAnon followers tend to think he is some sort of pedophile-hunting superhero.

Despite his admonitions about QAnon-supporting candidates, McCarthy is headed to Aspen later this month to raise money for Boebert. The Rifle restaurant owner sometimes says she is not a QAnon believer but can’t seem to stop promoting QAnon conspiracy theories (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE).

Boebert infamously said back in May that she hoped QAnon was real. In an interview on the Q-loving show “Steel Truth,” Boebert said this about QAnon:

“Honestly, everything that I’ve heard on ‘Q’ — I hope that this is real, because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values. And that’s what I am for. And, so, everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”

It’s not hard to see what’s happening here. McCarthy doesn’t want his caucus (or sane voters) to think Republicans actually believe in QAnon conspiracies, but candidates such as Boebert and Greene have gone too far down that rabbit hole to plausibly pretend that they aren’t true ‘Q’ adherents. McCarthy will thus pay lip service to dismissing QAnon — and will instruct Boebert and friends to do the same — but in the meantime he’ll keep on campaigning and raising money to help bring ‘Q’ to Congress.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 21)

Today is National Senior Citizens Day AND National Spumoni Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 Vice President Joe Biden is now officially the Democratic nominee for President in 2020. Biden accepted the Democratic nomination in an emotional speech on Thursday night from his home base in Wilmington, Delaware. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post hits on a theme that seemed to be picked up everywhere in media coverage of the last night of the Democratic National Convention — Biden’s humanity:

President Trump has tried every dirty trick in the book — and a few new ones — to cast doubts about the workings of Joe Biden’s brain. But Trump has been focusing on entirely the wrong organ. Biden’s appeal is from the heart.

The Democratic presidential nominee, in the most crucial speech of his long career in public service, had no problem clearing the low bar Trump had set. The evening began with a clip of Biden quoting Kierkegaard and ended with him quoting the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

But the power of Biden’s acceptance speech — and the power of his candidacy — was in its basic, honest simplicity. The rhetoric wasn’t soaring. The delivery was workmanlike (he botched an Ella Baker quote in his opening line). But it was warm and decent, a soothing, fireside chat for this pandemic era, as we battle twin crises of disease and economic collapse and we only see each other disembodied in boxes on a screen. Biden spoke not to his political base but to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.

While Biden was preparing to deliver his acceptance speech, President Trump was spouting some ridiculous nonsense at a Pennsylvania rally before being interviewed by Sean Hannity of Fox News. Chris Cillizza of CNN looks at some of Trump’s more absurd statements on Fox News.

Elsewhere in Biden news, POLITICO takes an early look at a potential Biden cabinet.

 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and exclaimed that it was “outrageous” that anyone would accuse him of trying to hamper voter turnout this fall. Amber Phillips of The Washington Post breaks down 5 big takeaways from DeJoy’s testimony today.

DeJoy will speak to the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is (sorta) speaking up about the dangers of QAnon candidates in the Republican Party. McCarthy is facing questions about his continued role leading the GOP caucus after some members accused him of not doing enough to stop the candidacy of QAnon lover Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia. Appearing on Fox News on Thursday, McCarthy took a stronger stance, as The Hill reports:

“Let me be very clear,” McCarthy told Fox News. “There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it and the candidate you talked about has denounced it.”

Greene also came under fire after videos emerged of her making bigoted remarks and questioning whether a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, comments she later walked back.

A number of GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that Greene’s comments and association with QAnon could stain the party’s image and potentially have a negative effect on vulnerable members’ races this year.

McCarthy emphasized Thursday that Greene has distanced herself from the QAnon theory and deserves a chance to prove herself once elected to the deep-red district. [Pols emphasis]

Greene has only pretended to back away from her support for QAnon. Here in Colorado, Republican congressional candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has made half-hearted attempts to “distance” herself from QAnon, only to continue to repeat some of their most-trafficked conspiracy theories.

 

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

 

(more…)

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The GMS Podcast: Cardboard Cory and QAnon Madness

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast

We interview filmmaker Nick Rosen about his new Cardboard Cory documentary and check in with journalist Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times Recorder about a QAnon rally in Denver.

Also, we talk Kamala Harris as the VP pick; we find Sen. Cory Gardner writing empty bills and advertising everywhere but in Colorado; we update the GOP’s war against the post office; check Lauren Boebert’s arrest records, and so much more.

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up or scroll through all of our past episodes at GetMoreSmarter.com.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 20)

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

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 actual President of the United States of America has now essentially endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theories. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump did something incredibly dangerous.

Asked by a reporter about QAnon, a conspiracy group that has been labeled a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI, Trump said this:

“Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. But I don’t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity and from what I hear it’s — these are people that — they watch the streets of Portland — when they watch what happened in New York City in just the last six or seven months, but this was starting even four years ago when I came here. Almost four years, can you believe it?

“These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland, and places like Chicago, and New York and other cities and states. And I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don’t like seeing it.”

…The President of the United States has now said that he thinks a group of violent conspiracy theorists are “people who love our country” and are a sort of antidote to the protests and violence in major cities in the country.

It’s stunning — even for Trump. And it’s extremely dangerous because it emboldens people who have already shown a willingness to act on their wild conspiracy theories in violent ways.

If this doesn’t concern you, then you should be aware of Trump’s endorsement of Florida Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer. If THAT doesn’t concern you…well, then enjoy your day.

 

Private fundraising efforts to collect enough money to help “build the wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border have turned out to be a giant scam, with help from a couple of notable names in Colorado. Steve Bannon, who was President Trump’s chief political strategist, is among those who have been indicted in the scheme. This leads us to another headline today from The Washington Post:

Via The Washington Post (8/20/20)

On the topic of a border wall, here’s a fun old post for #ThrowbackThursday.

 

The editorial board of The New York Times cuts straight to the point:

Via The New York Times (8/20/20)

 

Vote! Vote! Vote! As The Associated Press explains, Democrats are hammering home a simple message this week at the Democratic National Convention:

Former President Barack Obama warned that American democracy could falter if President Donald Trump is reelected, a stunning rebuke of his successor that was echoed by Kamala Harris at the Democratic Convention as she embraced her historic role as the first Black woman on a national political ticket.

Obama, himself a barrier breaker as the nation’s first Black president, pleaded with voters Wednesday night to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that’s what is at stake right now. Our democracy.”

Throughout their convention, the Democrats have summoned a collective urgency about the dangers of Trump as president. In 2016, they dismissed and sometimes trivialized him. Now they are casting him as an existential threat to the country. The tone signals anew that the fall campaign between Trump and Joe Biden, already expected to be among the most negative of the past half-century, will be filled with rancor and recrimination.

Yet on the third night of the Democrats’ four-day convention, party leaders also sought to put forward a cohesive vision of their values and policy priorities, highlighting efforts to combat climate change and tighten gun laws. They drew a sharp contrast with Trump, portraying him as cruel in his treatment of immigrants, disinterested in the nation’s climate crisis and in over his head on virtually all of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

This big news from Wednesday night at the DNC was Kamala Harris’s acceptance of the nomination for Vice President and former President Obama’s complete dismantling of Trump. The DNC’s virtual week winds up tonight with Joe Biden’s acceptance speech for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Fate of Obamacare to be Decided…After Election Day

UPDATE: Gardner’s nonsense bill about pre-existing medical conditions doesn’t even work anyway:

—–

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R) want to dismantle the ACA, but not before Election Day — because voters wouldn’t like it.

President Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and many other Republican elected officials have long campaigned on dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama a little more than 10 years ago. Legislative efforts to dismantle the ACA have failed (thanks, John McCain!), so Republicans are now hoping to kill Obamacare through a lawsuit that will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As CNBC reports, the highest court in the land will indeed hear the case against the ACA…but not until AFTER the November election:

The Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the landmark health care legislation known as Obamacare on Nov. 10, one week after Election Day.

A decision in the case, which could disrupt the health care coverage of tens of millions of Americans, is expected by June of 2021.

The announcement comes in the middle of the Democratic National Convention, which has featured criticism of the president’s muddled health care promises, and could provide a boost to liberal efforts to target Trump on the issue.

But the move to hear the case after Election Day also pulls the notoriously opaque Supreme Court out of the electoral spotlight somewhat, ensuring that the arguments themselves will not influence November’s contest.

Opposing the ACA served Trump well in 2016 and was the driving narrative behind Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign. But in recent years Americans have consistently expressed support for the ACA (most recently by a 51-36 margin), which puts Republican candidates in a difficult position in 2020 — and no doubt played a role in convincing the courts to wait until after the election to hear the case. In Colorado, for example, Republican congressional candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is so worried about how the issue plays in CO-3 that her campaign won’t even answer questions about whether or not she supports the ACA lawsuit.

Gardner also does not like to answer questions about this lawsuit or his general opposition to the ACA, despite voting dozens of times to eliminate the ACA or its various protections. Gardner affirmed his support for the ACA lawsuit just a few months ago, though he comically ducked six different questions on the subject in a July interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio. Gardner is now trying to inject life into his struggling re-election campaign by introducing a one-sentence bill in the U.S. Senate meant to convince voters that he actually does support things like protections for people with pre-existing conditions (just last month, The Washington Post fact-checked Gardner’s claim that he supports protecting pre-existing medical conditions as false, with its highest nonsense rating of “Four Pinnochios”).

Gardner’s new pre-existing conditions bill is an effort to allow him to look like he’s doing something on the issue, even though there is no chance his bill goes anywhere before Election Day. But actually doing something isn’t the point, just like actually destroying the ACA through the Supreme Court isn’t as important as telling your base that you want it to happen.

Meanwhile, Gardner’s opponent in the Senate race, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, released a new ad today highlighting his work to ensure health care coverage for 500,000 Coloradans. Hickenlooper talks about what he did do to help Coloradans with health care, while Gardner can only discuss what he might do differently. It’s not a hard choice for voters.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 18)

The Denver Nuggets have a 1-0 series lead over the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA playoffs. 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.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

► There’s big news today on the story of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (8/18/20)

A sprawling report released Tuesday by a Republican-controlled Senate panel that spent three years investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference laid out an extensive web of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russian government officials and other Russians, including some with ties to the country’s intelligence services.

The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, totaling nearly 1,000 pages, provided a bipartisan Senate imprimatur for an extraordinary set of facts: The Russian government undertook an extensive campaign to try to sabotage the 2016 American election to help Mr. Trump become president, and some members of Mr. Trump’s circle of advisers were open to the help from an American adversary…

…the report showed extensive evidence of contacts between Trump campaign advisers and people tied to the Kremlin — including a longstanding associate of the onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom the report identifies as a “Russian intelligence officer.”

The Senate report for the first time identified Mr. Kilimnik as an intelligence officer. Mr. Mueller’s report had labeled him as someone with ties to Russian intelligence.

This report from the Senate Intelligence Committee — which is CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS — pretty well blows up President Trump’s claims of a “witch hunt.” Mike Littwin of The Colorado Sun calls the report “maybe the most shocking moment from the U.S. Senate since John McCain’s thumbs-down vote on ending Obamacare.” The Huffington Post zeroes in on the finding that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was deemed a “grave” security threat.

 

Postmaster Louis DeJoy is scheduled to testify at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Friday about funding requirements for the postal service to handle mail ballots this fall. As POLITICO reports, DeJoy is already bending to widespread criticism:

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday that he was suspending “longstanding operational initiatives” at the United States Postal Service, amid fears that the changes could delay election mail this fall in the middle of the pandemic.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, as The Washington Post reports, state governments aren’t waiting for the feds to take action:

At least 20 states plan to file lawsuits this week against the U.S. Postal Service and its new postmaster, Louis DeJoy, seeking to reverse service changes that have prompted widespread reports of delays and accusations of an intentional effort to thwart voters from mailing their ballots this fall.

The suits, expected to be filed in federal court imminently, will argue that the Postal Service broke the law by making operational changes without first seeking approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. They will also argue that the changes will impede states’ ability to run free and fair elections, officials from several state attorney general offices told The Washington Post. The Constitution gives states and Congress, not the executive branch, the power to regulate elections.

“We’re trying to stop Trump’s attacks on the Postal Service, which we believe to be an attack on the integrity of election. It’s a straight-up attack on democracy,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) said in an interview. “This conduct is illegal. It’s unconstitutional. It’s harmful to the country. It’s harmful to individuals.”

“We’re asking a court to make him stop,” he said.

Colorado is among the states filing lawsuits.

 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper is going after Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) for his silence on efforts by President Trump to defund the U.S. Postal Service as a means of suppressing votes in the 2020 election. As The New York Times reports:

But Democrats running for the Senate in states that rely heavily on the mail made clear they would continue to press the issue. John Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, took to Twitter in a campaign video to upbraid the impact of the delays and laid the blame squarely on Mr. Trump and his Republican opponent, the incumbent Cory Gardner.

“It just makes me want to pull my hair out, and Cory Gardner hasn’t said a word,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner has said some words about the postal service — quite a few of them, actually — but he has yet to offer a coherent public comment about the issue.

 

Day One of the Democratic National Convention is in the books. POLITICO is tracking all of the DNC news, including Monday’s big speech from Michelle Obama. As The Washington Post notes, this speech from the former First Lady is not one that Melania Trump is going to want to borrow. Check out CNN for more analysis on the highlights and lowlights from Monday.

President Trump denigrated Michelle Obama on Tuesday — at an event celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage, no less — because he is sad that Obama said that Trump was “in over his head.”

 

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

 

(more…)

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