Coup Attorney John Eastman Charged By California Bar

John Eastman speaking at the January 6th, 2021 protest to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

A press release moments ago from the California State Bar announced the filing of 11 misconduct charges against attorney and former University of Colorado Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy John Eastman over Eastman’s role in plotting the failed legal strategy behind ex-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections:

The State Bar of California’s Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona announced today the filing of a Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC) against attorney John Charles Eastman (State Bar No. 193726). The 11 charges arise from allegations that Eastman engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states.

Specific charges allege that Eastman made false and misleading statements regarding purported election fraud, including statements on January 6, 2020, at a rally in Washington, D.C., that contributed to provoking a crowd to assault and breach the Capitol to intimidate then-Vice President Pence and prevent the electoral count from proceeding.

The Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) intends to seek Eastman’s disbarment before the State Bar Court.

In March 2022, Cardona invoked a public protection waiver to announce that an investigation of Eastman was underway. Eastman now faces multiple charges that he violated Business and Professions Code section 6106 by making false and misleading statements that constitute acts of “moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption.”

“There is nothing more sacrosanct to our American democracy than free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power,” said Cardona. “For California attorneys, adherence to the U.S. and California Constitutions is their highest legal duty. The Notice of Disciplinary Charges alleges that Mr. Eastman violated this duty in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land—an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy—for which he must be held accountable.”

Eastman, who after drawing on CU’s payroll inserted himself into Colorado Republicans’ legal squabbles, and association with defeated 2022 gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl accelerated Ganahl’s historic crash and burn, joins former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in facing disbarment over ethical breaches committed while attempting to keep Trump in office past his constitutional expiration date. Both New York and California have robust attorney regulation oversight. Less clear as of this writing is the fate of the third principal attorney who worked closely with Giuliani and Eastman to help overturn the 2020 election, Colorado traffic court lawyer-turned “constitutional scholar” Jenna Ellis of Colorado Christian University. A complaint seeking Ellis’ disbarment was filed almost a year ago with the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.

Ellis, who was in on the Trump coup plot up to her eyeballs and authored her own legal strategy for blowing off the results of the 2020 elections, deserves the same sanction. The lack of repentance among all of these figures after their unprecedented and violent attempt to overthrow American democracy cries out for the maximum lawful penalty.

Unless he’s a damned fool, Eastman’s not smirking anymore. And that’s a measure of accountability.

Pettersen Lands Spot on “A-List” Committee

Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

Democrat Brittany Pettersen, a freshman lawmaker from Lakewood now representing CO-07, picked up an important committee assignment this week.

As POLITICO explains:

Democrats also named their rosters for the most desired “A” committees — Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means…

…Just two freshmen — Reps. Wiley Nickel (N.C.) and Brittany Pettersen (Colo.) — nabbed a spot on one of the panels. They both landed on Financial Services.

This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for Pettersen to be one of two freshmen — along with the fantastically-named Rep. Wiley Nickel — to earn an assignment on one of the four most influential House committees (Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means).

Only one other Member of Congress from Colorado sits on one of these top four committees: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is a member of the House Energy & Commerce committee.

Congressman Joe Neguse of Boulder was also recently appointed to the House Rules Committee, which is sort of like a “B-Plus Committee” but with the caveat that he’s going to have to deal with a whole lot of crazy; Reps. Chip Roy, Thomas Massie, and Ralph Norman are among the Republican members of the House Rules Committee.

LM cnda

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 25)

Enjoy the not-as-cold weather today, because temperatures are predicted to drop significantly by the weekend. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

The Gazette “newspapers,” led by the Denver Gazette, are picking a public fight with The Denver Post in a strange attempt to increase stagnant readership numbers.

 

Colorado educators are badly in need of more assistance, as Denver7 reports:

The Colorado Education Association released its annual State of Education report and concluded the state’s education system is in a state of crisis.

The largest teachers union in the state — representing 39,000 public educators and school staff — says it is seeing a large number of educators who are considering leaving the profession because of low pay, staffing shortages, work load and safety issues — all problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers cite safety issues as their number one concern, followed by the consistent problem of low pay for educators. The Colorado Sun has more on the results of the new survey.

 

As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post, Democratic lawmakers at the State Capitol are looking at trying to eliminate bans on rent control in Colorado:

Nearly half of Colorado’s House Democrats have signed on to a bill that would allow local governments to enact rent control, repealing a decades-old prohibition and setting up a potential showdown with Gov. Jared Polis.

HB23-1115 does not institute any rent control or stabilization policies statewide. But it removes a state-level block on local officials rolling out one of their own, and it comes as lawmakers and Polis weigh an array of legislation to address Colorado’s growing housing crisis.

“Rents are too high,” said Rep. Javier Mabrey, a Denver Democrat, eviction attorney and one of the bill’s primary sponsors. “And that does not just mean essential workers like grocery store workers and servers. It’s unaffordable for teachers and nurses.”

Mabrey, a freshman lawmaker, is joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, of Glenwood Springs, as prime sponsors in the House. Twenty other members — all Democrats — have also signed on. That list includes nearly all of the chamber’s leadership, including Majority Leader Monica Duran, Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon and the House’s two whips, Reps. Iman Jodeh and Andy Boesenecker.

The Colorado Apartment Association is one of the more vocal opponents of the idea of rent control, because of course it is.

 

As Colorado Newsline explains, a national debt default could be catastrophic for the economy, but House Republicans are still playing games with demands for spending cuts:

If Congress doesn’t come to an agreement before the default date, expected in early June, economists have warned it could have drastic repercussions for Americans and across the globe. The Treasury would no longer have borrowing authority to pay for the country’s bills in full and on time, which has not happened before in the country’s history.

“Global financial markets and the economy would be upended, and even if resolved quickly, Americans would pay for this default for generations, as global investors would rightly believe that the federal government’s finances have been politicized and that a time may come when they would not be paid what they are owed when owed it,” said Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi and Assistant Director Bernard Yaros in a September 2021 report that came out during the last round of debt limit brinkmanship.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, said in a town hall with news reporters that right-wing Republicans don’t want to “exert fiscal responsibility.” She said the debt ceiling was something people on both sides of the aisle always agreed on until the Tea Party Republicans fought raising it in 2011, like she said the MAGA Republicans are doing now.

DeGette said she’s “disturbed” by the rhetoric she’s heard from the far right and how a default could “wreak havoc” on the country’s economy.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) thinks the debt default concerns are overblown, which says more about Buck than it does about the problem at hand.

 

 

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Oversight Committee Chair Pre-Emptively Disses Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert with reality-based friends MyPillow Guy, Rudy Giuliani, and couptastic attorney Jenna Ellis.

As the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner’s Marisa Schultz reports today, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House Oversight “Q-mittee,” to which newly-installed Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy appointed nether-right rivals Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, is laying down a warning to the committee’s newest crackpot conspiracy theorists that evidence-free flights of fancy won’t be tolerated:

The House Oversight Committee chairman leading investigations into President Joe Biden said his panel being stacked with “MAGA” firebrands will not undercut the seriousness of the committee’s work.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY) brushed off reports that the White House was celebrating the appointment of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to his committee, saying he talked to the newest and most outspoken members about keeping the committee on track.

“They’re all passionate about oversight,” Comer said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “And I’ve spoken with them, and I said: ‘We’ll probe and investigate lots of things, but nothing’s going on Oversight stationary unless there’s evidence to back it up.’” [Pols emphasis]

It’s a pre-emptive admonition that seems to concede some of these new members like Greene and Boebert would be perfectly fine wasting the Oversight Committee’s precious time with “MyPillow Guy”-grade conspiracy theories if not kept on a short metaphorical leash. Which calls into question their suitability to service on the House Oversight Committee to begin with, but as readers know it wasn’t Rep. James Comer’s decision to make.

Can Chairman Comer hold the “MAGA Qaucus” blowhards installed on his committee to his word, and keep their investigations rooted in evidentiary reality? Can MTG and Boebert restrain their deepening personal animus long enough for the Oversight Committee to do its job credibly trolling the Biden administration? Or will the Jewish space lasers rain fire like Elijah called down from Heaven to impress the backsliding prophets of Ba’al?

Put on your hip waders and stay tuned.

How to Go the Full Alan Salazar (feat. Alan Salazar)

Alan Salazar (left) and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with legendary Colorado politico Alan Salazar and coin a new term from his vast experience. Currently serving as Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Salazar has been a top adviser to Congressmen, Senators, Governors, and even Presidents — for familiar names such as Roy Romer, Mark Udall, John Hickenlooper, and Bill Clinton. We discuss the traits that these successful politicians all have in common (other than hiring Alan Salazar).

Later, Jason and Ian also dive into the debt ceiling and try to understand why Colorado Republican lawmakers refused to co-sponsor a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

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

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Boebert Completes Whackadoo GOP House Oversight Q-mittee

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

With Republicans in narrow control of the U.S. House of Representatives, it’s widely expected that the next two years will feature a variety of retaliatory investigations into President Joe Biden–looking to balance the scales after Donald Trump’s unprecedented scofflaw presidency generated two impeachments, and more recently Trump’s long-concealed income tax returns showing that you probably paid more taxes than Trump for at least part of Trump’s time in office. That’s before we even start talking about Javanka and the Saudis.

Although the reciprocal investigations set to be launched by the new GOP House majority are certain to take up a lot of time and oxygen, as Politico reports, the White House is breathing a major sigh of relief after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stacked the House Oversight Committee with what can best be described as some of his most dysfunctional caucus members:

House Republicans’ installation of some of their most incendiary conservatives on the Oversight Committee is sparking an unexpected feeling inside the White House: unbridled glee.

The panel tasked with probing Biden policies and actions, as well as the president’s own family, will be stocked with some of the chamber’s biggest firebrands and die-hard Trumpists — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) — ideal figureheads for a White House eager to deride the opposition party as unhinged.

No administration wants to feel the heat of congressional investigations, and Biden’s team is no different. But privately, the president’s aides sent texts to one another with digital high fives and likened their apparent luck to drawing an inside straight. One White House ally called it a “political gift.”

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar both lost their committee postings in the previous Congress for their unhinged-trending-threatening rhetoric directed at colleagues. In Kevin McCarthy’s House, they get a starring role in what’s expected to be the focus of the new majority. As readers know the once-fast friendship between MTG and Colorado’s premiere far-right edgelady Rep. Lauren Boebert has soured to the point that we wouldn’t intentionally place them in the same room of any kind, let along a committee hearing room.

The theory in Biden’s favor here is that an Oversight Committee dominated by some of the least credible, most distractable extremists in the Republican caucus will be self-limited by its own incompetence and infighting. Although MTG has restored her good standing in the caucus with her loyalty to McCarthy in the clutch, she’s still the same discredited lunatic who gave the world the “Jewish Space Laser” conspiracy theory.

Just like Lauren Boebert said. Boebert, “very familiar” with QAnon and “Great Replacement” conspiracy theories of her own, has little room to criticize MTG in this regard–which of course doesn’t stop her. As for Paul Gosar? Our best suggestion is to not make eye contact.

If you’re wondering how this crew of proudly counterfactual misfits is possibly going to convince the American people that Biden is anywhere near as corrupt as Trump was, you’re not alone. But this is what the GOP-controlled U.S. House is going to spend the next two years leading off the news with.

Who’s Holding Boebert Accountable? MTG, Not Colorado GOP

UPDATE: Pundit emeritus Chris Cillizza has more on Marjorie Taylor Greene’s recent rehabilitation, at least in part at Lauren Boebert’s expense:

How did Greene pull off such a coup? How did she go from an outcast in Congress to a member of the House Republican conference in good standing?

…Part of what changed is that McCarthy realized that he needed MTG more than she needed him. McCarthy was laser-focused on being Speaker and long before the 2022 election, Greene made clear that any path to that job went through her.

…MTG 2.0 is a far savvier version of the original, and someone who had quite clearly made the conscious choice that being a backbench bomb thrower isn’t enough for her.

With that, Boebert has taken MTG’s place as the GOP caucus’ “backbench bomb thrower.”

—–

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R).

As readers know, the once-enthusiastic friendship between the “Q-some Twosome” in Congress, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado has transformed, in the way some high-profile relationships sadly do, into a bitter and increasingly public rivalry.

It was reported as far back as last spring that Boebert was growing tired of MTG hogging the far-right spotlight–and despite Boebert’s own footsie played with “QAnon” conspiracy theorists, Boebert believes that MTG is an even bigger liability to the GOP than…anyone else would say Boebert herself, but she obviously doesn’t feel that way about herself.

During the protracted struggle over Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to the Speakership, in which Boebert emerged as one of the final obstinate holdouts raking McCarthy over the coals to the bitter end, the animus between MTG and Boebert was on full public display on social media and conservative outlets frequented by both. The Daily Beast broke the story yesterday of a confrontation between MTG and Boebert on January 3rd that reportedly just about became a scene from a movie:

On the first day of Congress this year, Jan. 3, the mounting tension between Greene and Boebert reached its boiling point. According to multiple sources, the two women were nearly in a screaming match in the Speaker’s lobby ladies room just off the House floor…

The first source said Greene was in a stall and, upon coming out, confronted Boebert about taking money from McCarthy for her re-election and then turning against McCarthy when it came time to vote. The Colorado Republican was allegedly unaware that Greene was also in the bathroom at the time.

“That’s when Lauren said, ‘Don’t be ugly,’” the first source said, before she—in the words of this source—“ran out like a little schoolgirl.”

The point here is not to poke fun at adolescent drama playing out in a bathroom between people with “Honorable” in their titles, although it’s all there for public consumption. From the point of view of any Republican who wants the new GOP House majority to appear united and functional, which might encourage American voters to vote Republican again in future elections, MTG was in the right to call Boebert out–while Boebert’s antics were destructive to the new Republican majority’s credibility at a moment they could least afford it.

In short, MTG was doing what Colorado Republicans are too scared to do: hold Boebert accountable.

For the moment, Boebert doesn’t appear to have been directly punished by McCarthy, receiving despite her behavior during the confirmation battle a post on the House Oversight Committee to join in the coming two years of bedevilment of Joe Biden’s administration. But especially given Boebert’s vulnerability to a viable challenger demonstrated in last year’s elections, Boebert needs all the friends can. McCarthy spent big to prop up Boebert’s underperforming re-election. Much like Liz Cheney herself, who held a fundraiser for Boebert before January 6th rent them asunder, MTG is right to point out Boebert’s disloyalty to those who have tried to help her.

Notwithstanding Matt Gaetz, Boebert is relieving herself of friends instead of gaining them. There’s no way that ends well for Boebert, or her longsuffering constituents, in the long run.

Get More Smarter on Friday the 13th (Jan. 13)

There was only one instance of “Friday the 13th” in 2022; it will happen again in 2023 in October. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

► Tax cuts do NOT pay for themselves.

Don’t take our word for it: The House Rules Committee, overseen by Republicans, just inadvertently acknowledged as much. As Catherine Rampell writes for The Washington Post:

Via The Washington Post (1/12/23)

Congress sets rules for what kinds of budgetary changes it can pass under what circumstances, including what kinds of programs must be “paid for” by nipping and tucking elsewhere in the budget. Often, lawmakers want to change the law in a way that would cost money (i.e., increase deficits), either by reducing tax revenue or increasing spending. In recent Congresses, when lawmakers made that kind of change, they were generally supposed to find something to offset the cost so that long-term deficits didn’t grow…

…This GOP-led House has done something a bit different.

Under the new rules package, the budgetary requirements are more one-sided — in favor of tax cuts. Going forward, tax cuts do not need to be offset with any sort of savings elsewhere in the budget. They can add trillions to the debt. No problem.

But this is not true of spending programs. Spending program increases still have to be paid for.

Not only that, but the savings to offset expansions of mandatory programs have to come from cuts to other spending programs. They cannot be offset by tax revenue increases. In practical terms: An expansion of food stamps can’t be paid for by raising taxes on the rich — only by cutting, say, Medicaid or disability benefits. So basically any attempt to provide more support for poor or middle-income people is likely to come from other programs that help those same groups.

In related news, POLITICO reports that House Republicans are setting up a government shutdown this fall by implementing impossible spending requirements:

House Republicans are vowing to put Don Quixote to shame by tilting at a huge windmill: slashing federal spending by at least $130 billion without cutting defense.

It’s a proposition that’s severely unlikely on its face, before factoring in a Democratic Senate and White House that would never accept such cuts. Even the GOP’s fallback plan for avoiding a shutdown later this year — passing a short-term funding patch that would trigger reductions as an incentive for lawmakers to finish comprehensive spending bills — is inconceivable this term…

…that funding work is one of the few items Congress has to accomplish this year as part of basic governing. While lawmakers had always expected appropriations would be a struggle this term, the spending concessions negotiated by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his conservative foes have raised members’ blood pressure. Those House GOP demands could set the stage for a government shutdown, unless conservatives relent or enough moderate Democrats come to other Republicans’ rescue.

“I don’t think we’ve had a really good full-throated discussion and debate about what is politically doable,” said Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, a Republican appropriator.

 

The New York Times digs into some clearly-problematic and probably illegal campaign finance issues related to the Congressional campaign of the New York Republican who claims to be named George SantosMeanwhile, four Republican Members of Congress are calling for Santos to resign. In a separate story from The New York Times, Colorado Rep. Ken Buck BLAMES DEMOCRATS for the existence of Rep. Santos:

Representative Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, said he believed Mr. Santos’s actions were wrong. But he blamed Democrats for failing to raise concerns about Mr. Santos before his election and said there was little chance of removing him from Congress now.

“If the Democrats had done their research and exposed things, the voters would have had more information,” Mr. Buck said. “I think what he did was wrong, but whether he gets a committee assignment is up to Kevin,” he said, referring to Mr. McCarthy.

Mr. Santos’s committee assignment remained unclear on Wednesday, but he did not receive a spot he coveted on the House Committee on Financial Services. Mr. McCarthy had said earlier in the day that Mr. Santos would not get a spot on choice committees.

What a schmuck.

 

The Colorado Sun reports on the swearing-in of Attorney General Phil Weiser for his second term in office. 

 

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This is Why You Don’t Put Republicans in Charge

Totally not creepy Ryan Zinke

Last week’s debacle that saw Kevin McCarthy finally ascend to the role of Qanon House Speaker after 15 different votes — a delay not seen since before the Civil War — was just a preview of what to expect from the new narrow Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

Republicans may talk a big game about working on the issues that matter to American families, yada, yada — but their actions are very different.

The U.S. House is voting on two anti-abortion measures today, one day after agreeing to create a new committee under the control of Rep. Jim Jordan that will investigate the federal government basically over anything that makes Jordan sad.

In fact, conspiracy theories were very popular among House Republicans on Tuesday. Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana even took to the floor of the House to vomit out this ridiculous rant:

As MSNBC explains:

Zinke, speaking from the floor of the House during a congressional debate, seriously asked people to believe that there are nefarious political actors, using the levers of federal power, coordinating plots with allies, and running secret campaigns to advance their insidious agenda.

As for why in the world Zinke made such an argument, it probably has something to do with his extensive record of ethics scandals…[Pols emphasis]

…Zinke ultimately resigned under a cloud of controversy. But even after leaving the nation’s capital, he was haunted by his record.

Last February, the Interior Department’s inspector general concluded that Zinke lied to investigators about his involvement in a Montana land deal and had run afoul of federal ethics rules. In August, the inspector general’s office released the findings of an entirely separate matter in which Zinke was also found to have knowingly — and “repeatedly” — made false statements to federal investigators.

Voters in Montana’s 1st Congressional District elected him anyway, though it was close, and the Republican didn’t quite crack the 50% threshold.

Cowboy

Zinke served two terms in Congress before Donald Trump nominated him to be Interior Secretary in January 2017. Zinke lasted less than two years in Trump’s Cabinet, resigning after a series of scandals that included his frequent use of charter flights for his own personal use.

Back in Congress on Tuesday, Zinke claimed that dark money Democratic groups want to “destroy” the American West and added that “in many cases they want to wipe out the American cowboy completely.”

Wait, what? Zinke believes that evil Democratic gazillionaires are plotting to eliminate all cowboys?

Don’t ask why. It doesn’t matter.

These are not serious people interested in serious issues.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 11)

Good luck trying to catch a flight today anywhere in the country. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Qanon House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has his caucus running on full grievance mode in his first week since slogging through 15 different votes before he officially claimed the Speaker’s gavel.

The House will vote today on two abortion-related issues, as The Washington Post explains:

One would condemn attacks “on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches,” while the other would force medical practitioners to provide care to infants who survive an abortion — a very rare occurrence. Neither is expected to advance in the Senate, but the measures underscore a marked change in messaging on the issue now that Republicans control the chamber.

Republicans damn near failed to take the majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 in large part because of voter fears about abortion restrictions stemming from the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. It makes absolutely zero sense to kick off their first full week in control by voting on two fairly-obscure anti-abortion measures — as opposed to talking about the economy and inflation — but that’s what happens when you give the “Freedom Caucus” control over everything.

 

That’s not all that House Republicans are doing this week. From The Washington Post:

The subcommittee, approved on a party-line 221-211 vote, will be empowered to investigate any federal agency that collects information about Americans, even in cases of an ongoing criminal investigation — a carve-out at odds with the Justice Department’s long-standing practice of not providing information about ongoing investigations.

The subcommittee, which will be housed under the Judiciary Committee and led by that panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), is expected to have resources akin to the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — a concession extracted last week from GOP leaders by hard-line detractors of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in exchange for the votes necessary to make him the new speaker.

The broad resolution also explicitly authorizes the select committee to seek access to highly classified information provided by intelligence agencies to the House Intelligence Committee. Members of that panel are often briefed on extremely sensitive information with contents that, if widely shared, could damage national security and endanger the lives of American intelligence officers and their assets.

“Its mandate is whatever Jim Jordan wants to do,” said one congressional investigator who works on oversight issues and who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions and plans.

Maybe the American people will be really happy to hear that Republicans are sticking their noses into any federal investigation they choose.

The more likely outcome is that this goes completely awry, classified information ends up leaking, and evidence in important investigations is tainted by Rep. Jim Jordan’sPolice Squad.”

 

Governor Jared Polis was formally sworn-in to a second term on Tuesday. Here’s coverage from The Denver Post; Colorado Newsline; The Colorado Sun; and 9News.

The headline of the day, however, comes from Colorado Public Radio in reference to a loud cannon salute:

 

 Denver7 has more on the legal threats from gun nuts in the wake of news of several new gun safety measures from the state legislature and local municipalities. 

In related news, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed an assault weapons ban into law on Tuesday evening.

 

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The Boebert/MTG Rivalry Is Over–And MTG Wins

UPDATE: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues to slam Lauren Boebert, dismissing Boebert’s claims of additional concessions from Kevin McCarthy to win that precious “present” vote:

—–

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert in happier times.

Over the past few months and culminating in the protracted drama over now-Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s historically fraught confirmation vote, the rivalry between what are generally agreed to be the two most unapologetically immoderate Republican women in Congress, sophomore Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, has exploded into public exchanges of insults.

But as Politico reported back in April of last year, the tension between these two cantankerous lawmakers has been simmering for quite a while:

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert look from the outside like MAGA twins, both loathed by Democrats for their incendiary right-wing rhetoric. But inside the House GOP, they’re not quite buddy-buddy.

Privately, Republicans say Boebert (R-Colo.) — who’s seen as more of a party team player than Greene — detests being tied to her Georgia colleague. [Pols emphasis] And when the House Freedom Caucus board of directors gathered last month at its usual spot a few blocks from the Capitol, the two tangled over Greene’s appearance at a February event organized by a known white nationalist.

Their confrontation grew so heated that at least one onlooker feared the Greene-Boebert back-and-forth might escalate beyond the verbal cage match had another board member not stepped in to de-escalate, according to a GOP lawmaker who was granted anonymity to describe what happened…

Following the battle over McCarthy’s speakership, in which Boebert was one of the last two holdouts in an impasse that just about turned violent on the House floor, the notion that Boebert is “more of a party team player than Greene” has been turned completely on its head. Following her own readily-acknowledged quid pro quo of being allowed back on House committees, Greene emerged as one of Kevin McCarthy’s stoutest defenders–which also happened to be the Donald Trump loyalist position, with MTG photographed trying to pass her phone with Trump on the line to recalcitrant lawmakers.

The end result is that MTG has greatly improved her standing with Republican leadership, but to paraphrase Machiavelli, Boebert struck at the proverbial king and did not kill him. The narrow majority and the concessions made by McCarthy could make it more difficult to punish the holdouts, but the idea that Matt Gaetz and Boebert helped their standing with their Republican colleagues is laughable. Gaetz has always been something of a pariah, and now Boebert and Gaetz and inextricably linked. It’s a disaster for Boebert whether she realizes it or not, but more importantly it’s a disaster for Boebert’s constituents–who will pay the price for Boebert alienating her own leadership.

Politically, MTG is in a much better position to buck fellow Republicans than Boebert from Greene’s ultra-safe Republican district. Boebert, who barely survived in a district that she should have won by ten points, has no more margin for preventable error.

The problem, at the end of the day, is that Lauren Boebert does not know how to change course.

And MTG does. It could make all the difference in the rivalry between them.

l uDcu k B

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Jan. 10)

Vote early AND often for Denver Nuggets’ players Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon as NBA All-Stars. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Happy inauguration day! Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera were sworn-in for their second term in office this morning. Click here for more.

 

The opening day of Colorado’s legislative session on Monday clarified how Republicans plan to deal with their new micro-minorities: By doing the same shit that got them in the voters’ doghouse in the first place. The complete lack of self-awareness from Republicans — including freshman Rep. Ken DeGraaf — is actually pretty remarkable:

 

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Monday was not a good start for Republicans:

“A little blip.”

That’s what House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, R-Wellington, called the disruption Monday by the GOP superminority in the House during the launch of the legislative session. The “blip” was caused by new Republican state Reps. Scott Bottoms and Ken DeGraaf , both of Colorado Springs. DeGraaf nominated Bottoms for speaker (who seconded his own nomination) to protest Democrats’ support for abortion access and gun control measures.

It’s traditional for the House speaker vote in Colorado to be unanimous, [Pols emphasis] and since Democrats are in control of the chamber that means they chose the leader — Julie McCluskie. Bottoms’ nomination failed (he picked up eight GOP votes) and McCluskie was sworn in with bipartisan support. McCluskie’s nomination, in fact, was seconded by Lynch…

Here’s the question that may define the 2023 legislative session in the House: Democrats have signaled they are willing to bring Republicans into the conversation. But are Republicans willing to work with Democrats? Eight members of the House GOP caucus signaled “no” on Monday.

The takeaway: Democrats don’t have to work with the GOP to get their agenda passed this year. And Bottoms and DeGraaf on Monday gave them another reason not to bother. [Pols emphasis]

House Republicans haven’t quite hit rock-Bottoms yet, but they’re on the wrong track.

The Denver Post has a gallery of photos from opening day.

 

► As Marshall Zelinger reports for 9News, Democrats in the state legislature are planning to do more about gun safety. Nick Coltrain of The Denver Post notes that Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is gearing up for a fight with its rapidly-waning influence. Public opinion is definitely on the side of Democrats:

According to a poll commissioned by Giffords and conducted by the highly regarded Global Strategy Group, 73% of voters this November considered gun violence an important factor in their decision. And of the 78% that cited crime more broadly as an important factor, two-thirds said shootings and mass shootings were among their more specific concerns — outstripping crimes like burglary, carjackings, and retail theft.

“Nationally, we’ve seen a huge shift in the politics of the issue,” Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler said. “It’s gone from having this sort of third-rail reputation to being something that has significant bipartisan appeal. Colorado has been at the epicenter of that transformation.”

Republican Rep. Ron Weinberg of Loveland is inadvertently strengthening these arguments with his own idiotic decisions.

 

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Kevin McCarthy’s Speaker Bid: The 15th Time’s A Charm

UPDATE #9: After 15 rounds of voting, Kevin McCarthy will barely become the next Speaker of the House with the final six “Never Kevins” including Rep. Lauren Boebert voting “present.”

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UPDATE #8: The U.S. House floor erupts in chaos as the 14th vote for Speaker comes down to two intransigent members, one of which is Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert:

Just wow. Stay tuned.

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UPDATE #7: In the 14th round of balloting, Rep. Lauren Boebert waves the white flag and votes “present.”

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UPDATE #6: The House of Representatives adjourns until 8:00 pm (MST).

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UPDATE #5: Via The Washington Post, Colorado Republican Rep-elect Ken Buck finds himself in a rare position of being useful:

 

Via The Washington Post

 

Buck returned to Colorado on Thursday for what his office has called a “non-emergency planned medical procedure.”

 

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UPDATE #4: Lucky Vote #13 will fail as Rep. Lauren Boebert obstinately votes with Rep. Matt Gaetz for Rep. Jim Jordan.

 

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UPDATE #3: Kentucky Republican Rep-elect James Comer formally nominates Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker, so we’re off and running with Round 13.

 

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UPDATE #2: Kevin McCarthy will lose the twelfth ballot for Speaker, though by a smaller margin as last night’s dealmaking appears to have flipped some members of the “Never Kevin” coalition.

McCarthy finishes Round 12 with 214 votes, marking the first time that he has gained votes in successive rounds.

 

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UPDATE: As the twelfth round of balloting gets underway, Rep. Matt “Giggity” Gaetz returns to Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan of Ohio for his next Speaker nomination. Rep. Lauren Boebert renominates Rep. “Alt-Kevin” Hern.

 

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MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle nonverbally speaks for all of us. Day Four of Kevin McCarthy’s showdown with the monsters he helped create gavels in at 10:00AM Mountain:

 

 

Updates will follow. It’s the only game in town.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 5)

Believe it or not, there are other political stories not related to the GOP’s persistent inability to select a House Speaker. 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Congressional Thunderdome got underway on Thursday at 10:00 with Republican Rep-elect John James of Michigan (first elected in November) nominating Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker. CLICK HERE to keep up with our updates, starting with vote #7.

A desperate McCarthy made new concessions to right-wing holdouts on Wednesday evening. As The Washington Post reports:

McCarthy has made fresh concessions to a group of 20 GOP lawmakers in hopes of ending their blockade of his speakership ahead of votes Thursday, a stunning reversal that, if adopted, would weaken the position of speaker and ensure a tenuous hold on the job.

During late-hour negotiations Wednesday, McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed to the proposed rule changes, according to four people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.

In a major allowance to the hard-right Republicans, McCarthy offered to lower from five to one the number of members required to sponsor a resolution to force a vote on ousting the speaker — a change that the California Republican had previously said he would not accept.

McCarthy also expressed a willingness to place more members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus on the House Rules Committee, which debates legislation before it’s moved to the floor.

To track the votes on a member-by-member basis, check out this handy guide from The New York Times.

 

Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert rose to nominate Florida Republican Rep-elect Byron Donalds on Wednesday, kicking former President Donald Trump in the nuts in the process. As POLITICO explains:

It was the second day of chaos on the floor of the House of Representatives when Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) took the previously unthinkable step of thumbing her nose at Donald Trump, the ex-president she otherwise venerates.

“Let’s stop with the campaign smears and tactics to get people to turn against us — even having my favorite president call us and tell us to knock this off. I think it actually needs to be reversed and the [former] president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw,” Boebert said. “Ooo”s from Democrats could be heard from the chamber.

The inability of McCarthy to secure the needed votes to be House Speaker — despite six tries at doing so — represents a unique failure on his part. But it has also called into question the extent of Trump’s own power to shape the party in his image, coming at a time when some Republicans have openly soured on his current run for the presidency.

Boebert is clearly enjoying her role as potential spoiler, telling reporters that there is NOTHING McCarthy can do to get her vote for Speaker. Boebert is also she’s getting hammered by right-wing McCarthy supporters — including Sean Hannity of Fox News and former Trump cabinet member Ryan Zinke:

 

Colorado’s other Republican Members of Congress are diverging in different ways. Colorado Springs Republican Doug Lamborn has steadfastly voted for McCarthy, as has Greeley’s Ken Buck

…but Buck has offered several conflicting answers on what might happen to end this circus. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver somehow managed to put together a story with AN INACCURATE INTERVIEW from Buck’s own mouth.

 

Colorado lawmakers kick off their legislative session next week; they’ll be able to get right to work because there is no confusion about who will be House Speaker (Julie McCluskie). As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post reports, rent control could be front-and-center:

For years, the idea of rent control in Colorado simmered at a low temperature. Advocacy groups have pushed for it, some lawmakers have nudged at it, but there was no broad political movement to cap rising rents.

Even as Minneapolis, St. Paul and the state of Oregon have enacted or are considering policies capping how much rent can be raised in a given year, Colorado has eschewed it. When one lawmaker proposed limited rent protections for mobile home residents last year, Gov. Jared Polis threatened to veto it. A state law, on the books for more than 40 years, prohibits local governments from enacting any form of rent caps.

“It’s important to remember — this housing crisis we’re in right now, this affordability crisis, it’s actually a very new thing,” said Brian Connolly, a lawyer who works in land use policy and has taught at the University of Colorado law school. “Even five years ago, there was such little conversation — even though it was a problem — so little conversation about housing affordability and how we address this.”

The problem is not what it was five years ago. The housing crisis in Colorado has come to a head, several state and local officials say, prompting broader conversations about how to address it. The lessons of the pandemic — which required tens of millions of dollars of federal intervention to stave off mass evictions — and broader questions about the state’s role in addressing a statewide problem have reframed the housing debate.

Rent for Denver apartments increased more than 14% between 2021 and 2022, according to one survey. Another found that suburban rents had jumped 25% on average since the pandemic began.

This discussion also touches on local control issues; cities and counties aren’t thrilled at the idea of the state government dictating their housing policies.

The Colorado Sun has more to discuss in its preview of the upcoming legislative session.

 

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Will The Real Ken Buck Please Stand Up?

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Throughout the stalemate in the U.S. House over the selection of the next Speaker of the House that has dominated national political news all week, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado has become increasingly vocal about the dilemma faced by would-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Although Rep. Buck has voted for McCarthy in each of the six rounds of balloting so far, Buck has made no secret of his growing consternation, telling almost everyone who asks that McCarthy is quickly running out of time and support. Jeff Rice reports for the Sterling Journal-Advocate, a Buck-friendly publication in his district:

Buck told CNN on Wednesday that he had talked with McCarthy and with Rep. Steven Scalise of Louisiana about the possibility of McCarthy stepping aside to see whether Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House, could garner the votes needed to win the Speaker’s chair.

Buck told CNN’s Jake tapper on Wednesday that he can no longer support McCarthy because it’s become clear the California Republican cannot break the deadlock that Boebert and her cohorts have caused.

“Kevin McCarthy, I think, will make the decision at some point and what’s going to happen and what should happen sooner rather than later, is some of the senior members, some the cardinals on appropriations and the committee chairman and some of the other folks who have been here a long time, have supported Kevin are going to have to have that private conversation with him that this doesn’t make sense and we need to move forward,” Buck said.

9NEWS:

“I’ve had a number of conversations with Kevin, and I basically told him at some point this needs to break loose,” Buck said in the interview. “He either needs to make a deal to bring the 19 or 20 over, or he needs to step aside to give somebody the chance to do that.

“I don’t know what that timeframe is, but it makes sense that at some point today we’re able to move forward in a way that we elect a speaker,” Buck continued…

Buck suggested Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise is “next in line” if progress can’t be made on McCarthy’s bid to lead the House.

Listening to Rep. Buck on CNN, you would certainly agree with the growing consensus that McCarthy’s bid for the speakership is damaged beyond repair. The problem is, Buck basically contradicted all of this in a story last night from CBS4 Denver’s notoriously slanted political reporter Shaun “Furry Panic” Boyd:

Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, says the Republican Party will emerge stronger from a standoff at the nation’s capitol over who should be the next Speaker of the House.

Buck says McCarthy’s opponents aren’t cohesive – some want rule changes, others want policy commitments – and they keep changing their demands.

“You got 20 people dissenting at this point and they have 20 different reasons,” Buck said. “They were voting for Jim Jordan and Jim Jordan was voting for Kevin McCarthy, and that didn’t make sense to anybody. So they nominated Byron Donalds, who was voting for himself, so it made a little bit more sense.”

Buck believes McCarthy will ultimately prevail… [Pols emphasis]

The interview that Buck gave to Shaun Boyd is so far removed from what Buck told CNN that’s it’s almost impossible to believe it was same person talking. We assume this was done for the purpose of giving Buck cover after contributing significantly to McCarthy’s deteriorating position in Buck’s CNN interview. But it takes a shamelessly credulous reporter like Shaun Boyd to write this story knowing–or at least who should have known–what Buck was telling literally everyone else.

As for Ken Buck, never assume he’s telling you anything except what he thinks you want to hear.

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Still No House Speaker After Six Rounds of Voting

UPDATE #13: After a brief gavel-in, the leaderless U.S. House is in recess until noon Eastern tomorrow.

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UPDATE #12: The GOP circus is officially in recess until 8:00 pm EST.

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UPDATE #11: Kevin McCarthy fails on Ballot #6 with the same number of Republicans (21) refusing to support his candidacy.

House Republicans reportedly want to take a break from bashing their foreheads against a wall:

 

“The Daily Show” wins the Internet for today:

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UPDATE #10: After five failed ballots, it’s less a question of which side blinks first, since nobody is blinking–but rather how much more humiliation Kevin McCarthy can take:

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UPDATE #9: And…McCarthy will fail on Ballot #5.

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UPDATE #8: Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert rises to nominate Byron Donalds for House Speaker. She has a lot of grievances with Kevin McCarthy, apparently.

Boebert says the job of the House is not to “go along to get along” and calls on McCarthy to withdraw his name for consideration. This is how Boebert “turns down the temperature” in a toxic partisan swamp.

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UPDATE #7: Democratic Rep-elect Pete Aguilar nominates Hakim Jeffries again, noting that Jeffries has been the top vote-getter in the last three rounds of voting. That’s gotta sting.

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UPDATE #6: Republican Rep-elect Warren Davidson of Ohio nominates Kevin McCarthy to be House Speaker, kicking off Round 5 of Congressional Thunderdome.

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UPDATE #5: Gah!

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UPDATE #4: We have our first “present” vote — Indiana Republican Rep-elect Victoria Spartz (who was previously a McCarthy vote). Round 4 is complete.

In the third Speaker vote on Tuesday, 20 Republicans voted against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker — one more than the 19 who had picked someone else in the first two rounds of voting.

Last night, former President Donald Trump endorsed McCarthy for House Speaker. Today, 21 Republicans voted for someone other than McCarthy.

Trump’s endorsement is now a net negative for Republicans.

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UPDATE #3: Welp, that didn’t take long. We didn’t even get through the ‘C’s in the alphabet before McCarthy’s hopes were dashed again.

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UPDATE #2: Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert votes for Byron Donalds. Colorado Rep-elect Ken Buck goes with Kevin McCarthy, as does the corpse of Doug Lamborn.

Boebert voted for Rep-elect Jim Jordan of Ohio three times on Tuesday. Buck and Lamborn have stuck with McCarthy.

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UPDATE: Rep-elect Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin opens the day by nominating Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker (again). Gallagher starts with a lame speech about how “Democracy is messy” and how it is just really neat that they can have disagreements in Congress.

Texas Republican Rep-elect Chip Roy then rises and nominates Florida Republican Rep-elect Byron Donalds as Speaker. Donalds was first elected to Congress in 2020.

It looks like today is going to go about the same as it did on Tuesday.

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The microphone tells the story for Kevin McCarthy

So, uh, now what?

The House of Representatives reconvenes today (click here to watch live) without a House Speaker and with every member in the chamber still carrying the title of “Rep-elect” because they haven’t yet been officially sworn in to office. Republican Rep-elect Kevin McCarthy failed on Tuesday to secure enough votes to become House Speaker…not once, not twice, but thrice.

As Charlie Sykes writes for The Bulwark, McCarthy suffered a “hat trick of humiliation” on Tuesday:

Historians should note that the party that lost control of the House brought popcorn to the ceremony. The party that “won” blew itself up. And then did it again. And again. And then left for a night of pizza, bitterness, and recriminations. Meanwhile, the MAGA crackup accelerated as crackpots fought with nihilists, wingnuts pointed fingers at extremists, and grifters started slap-fights with one another.

This isn’t just about the embarrassing chaos that Republicans have inflicted on themselves, because as Philip Bump explains for The Washington Post, the entire chamber is in limbo:

A report from the endlessly useful Congressional Research Service explains the chain of events that usually leads to the swearing-in of members of the House. First, the House convenes (at noon on Jan. 3, unless the prior Congress changes things). There’s no clerk of the House yet, so the clerk of the preceding Congress checks that there’s a quorum — meaning that at least half of the full body is present. Then, the chamber votes on a speaker, itself a role defined in the Constitution. The speaker is sworn in.

The speaker then swears in the members-elect. That happens en masse on the House floor, but photographs are banned; the photos you see of new members posing with the speaker are ceremonial, souvenirs.

You can see the problem. On Tuesday, after three votes, the House had failed to select a speaker. Without a speaker, there was no administration of the oath to the new members. So they wait at the starting line, “runners” instead of runners. Or, to use the proper vernacular, members-elect instead of members.

Rep-elect Brittany Pettersen

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for all members to be sworn-in to office so that friends and family in Washington D.C. for the event can go back to their own lives. All of Colorado’s elected Representatives — including its two newest members, Democrats Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo — are still waiting to be officially inducted as members of the new Congress. But it’s not clear if this can take place without an election for Speaker.

In short, the lower chamber is effectively paralyzed until somebody is selected to hold the gavel.

We will update this space throughout the day as we did on Tuesday.

Boebert Helps Foil Kevin McCarthy’s Hopes of First Ballot Victory

UPDATE #9: Rep. Ken Buck, who was good enough to show up to work today, warns after three failed ballots that Kevin McCarthy is more likely to lose support in successive rounds of voting than turn things around:

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UPDATE #8: Rep. Joe Neguse revels in the schadenfreude as Kevin McCarthy loses a third round of balloting, with Rep. Lauren Boebert and the “Never Kevins” seeing no reason whatsoever to budge:

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UPDATE #7: For round three, Rep. Steve Scalise nominated Kevin McCarthy. Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert still voted again for Jim Jordan.

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UPDATE #6: Via The Washington Post, here are the Republican opponents of McCarthy:

 

Meanwhile, McCarthy is reportedly playing a game of “chicken” with his opponents to see which side will fold first. We can’t see Rep. Lauren Boebert changing her mind — it’s too much fun for her to be on this list.

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UPDATE #5: There will be a THIRD vote for House Speaker. Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert is among those who voted for Rep. Jim Jordan instead of Kevin McCarthy.

This is shaping up to be a loooonnggg day.

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UPDATE #4:  Kevin McCarthy will lose the first ballot for Speaker of the House, the first such humiliation for an incoming majority in exactly 100 years.

 

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UPDATE #3: Declaring that Kevin McCarthy is “taking the path of Nancy Pelosi” (whatever that means), Rep. Lauren Boebert casts her vote for Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

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UPDATE #2: Looks like Colorado Rep. Ken Buck is throwing in with the nutball caucus. Here he is sitting with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz earlier today:

Rep. Ken Buck (left) and Matt “Giggity” Gaetz

 

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UPDATE: As expected, the new Republican “majority” in Congress is off to a bad start.

 

This headline from The Atlantic got us thinking about a poll idea, so please weigh in below.

What's the Deal With House Republicans?

View Results

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Lauren Boebert is the MVP (for the Democrats)

Rep. Lauren Boebert plays “Candy Crush” on her phone (probably) while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Congress.

To paraphrase the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:

The only thing that Lauren Boebert has learned from history is that Lauren Boebert has learned nothing from history.

Earlier this month we considered whether Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert might have actually learned a lesson in self-preservation after her near-defeat in 2022. Despite representing what should be a safe Republican district — Donald Trump carried CO-03 by 9 points in 2020 — Boebert needed a mandatory recount to confirm her 546-vote victory over Democrat Adam Frisch. In the days before and after the election, local voters spoke to news outlets nationwide to explain that they had grown tired of Boebert’s toxic antics and silly grievances — a form of politics that has come to be dubbed “Angertainment.” Boebert’s political base may be the national gaggle of low-dollar donors who consider themselves “MAGA Republicans,” but she still needs the voters of CO-03 in order to keep her job.

Boebert seemed to understand that her constituents want someone to do the job of being a Congressional Representative rather than focus on slinging mud and silly one-liners at her political enemies. Boebert even talked about “taking the temperature down” in Washington DC and showing that Republicans can lead with “strength” and “grace.”

And then she just went right back to being the old Boebert.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a passionate speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening, thanking the United States for its continued support as it defends itself from a Russian invasion. Boebert and her creepy BFF — “Beavis” lookalike Matt Gaetz — couldn’t even bother to feign interest in what was a significant foreign policy moment for the United States:

 

 

Despite visibly not paying attention to the speech, Boebert even had the nerve to post a video on Twitter afterward complaining that she didn’t hear Zelensky account for the money that the United States has already sent to help Ukraine in its war effort.

Boebert has also been making the wrong kind of news for Republicans lately because of an increasingly-nasty spat with fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene related to Boebert’s refusal to voice support for wannabe House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. In fact, Boebert has managed to do something that no other person in Republican politics has been able to accomplish: She makes Marjorie Taylor Greene seem like the adult in the room.

Boebert’s antics have provided a useful bludgeon for new House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who wasted little time using Boebert as a prime example of Republican dysfunction in Congress:

 

 

Boebert is an embarrassing bore as an elected official, but she’s much more of a problem for the GOP than she is for Democrats. Her childish rhetoric makes Republicans look stupid and its leaders weak for allowing her to shine the spotlight in ugly corners.

As we’ve said before, Colorado Republicans would be wise to support a strong Primary challenger for Boebert in 2024. Boebert does nothing helpful for the Colorado GOP — she didn’t endorse any candidates in 2022 and doesn’t dip into her campaign account to help others — and she is an endless source of terrible headlines for national Republicans. Prior to Zelensky’s speech, Boebert was one of just 28 Republicans to vote ‘NO’ on legislation to help victims of child sexual abuse.

What’s the argument in favor of Boebert at this point? Seriously — we’d like to know.

In fact, if there was a Most Valuable Player award in national politics, you could make a decent case for Boebert as MVP…for the Democrats.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Dec. 20)

It’s about to get really freaking cold in Colorado. Like, dangerously cold. Bundle up, people! 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

State Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown announced on Monday that she will not seek another term after leading the GOP to its worst election year defeat in generations. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, there’s a new name who could be interested in half-assing the job for the 2024 cycle:

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, a fierce gun rights advocate and familiar face at Republican events, is strongly considering running next year to become the Colorado GOP’s next state party chair.

Reams told The Colorado Sun on Monday there’s a greater than 50% chance he makes a bid for the job when the Colorado Republican Party votes for a new leader in March, but that he still has “some work to do to convince myself fully.”

Reams was reelected Nov. 8 to a third four-year term as sheriff, meaning he would have to balance his position as sheriff with the demands of being state party chair. That’s his biggest consideration in weighing whether to make a party chair bid. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck served as party chair from 2019 to 2021 while he was also a congressman.

Colorado Republicans lost every statewide race in 2022 by at least 10 points; lost a new Congressional seat in CO-08; and fell further into minority party status in the state legislature. What Republicans definitely need now is a new leader who already has a full-time job and can’t devote 100% of his time to being GOP Party Chair. Here’s how well that approach worked when Congressman Ken Buck tried doing two jobs at once in the 2020 cycle.

Reams says he will decide by the end of the year whether to run for Party Chair, where there are a handful of perennial losers lining up for the job. Casper Stockham, who loses political campaigns like children lose baby teeth, is running once again to be State Party Chair. Two-time gubernatorial loser Greg Lopez is also apparently looking at running, as is outgoing Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters (who might well be in prison by next summer); outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams (who lost a Republican Primary in CO-05 in June); and Holly Osborne Horn (who managed Attorney General candidate John Kellner’s debacle of a campaign in 2022).

In fairness, Republicans would probably prefer a candidate for State Chair who has not recently lost a campaign of some sort, but those people don’t really exist.

 

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection referred Donald Trump and several associates to the Justice Department for prosecution on Monday. Republicans who have always rushed to Trump’s defense have been noticeably silent this week, as The Associated Press reports:

The Republican Party quickly and forcefully rallied behind Donald Trump in the hours after federal agents seized classified documents from his Florida estate this summer.

Four months later, that sense of intensity and urgency was missing — at least for now — after the Jan. 6 House committee voted to recommend the Justice Department bring criminal charges against him. Leading Republicans largely avoided the historic criminal referral Monday, while others pressed to weigh in offered muted defenses — or none at all.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell called for “an immediate and thorough explanation” after the FBI executed the August search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. On Monday, he told reporters he had only one “immediate observation” about the criminal referral: “The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day.” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who called for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s resignation in the wake of the search, was silent on the committee’s referral, focusing instead on alleged FBI missteps…

…The divergent responses are a sign of how quickly the political landscape has shifted for Trump as he faces a new legal threat and mounts a third bid for the presidency. It’s a marked change for a party that has been defined, above all, by its unconditional loyalty to Trump under any and all circumstances for the last six years.

 

Regents at the University of Colorado are finally calling a spade a spade, as Elizabeth Hernandez reports for The Denver Post:

The chair of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents called John Eastman “an embarrassment” Monday and said the elected board respects the ability of the Justice Department to weigh the Jan. 6 committee’s request that the attorney be prosecuted in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

Eastman was employed by CU Boulder as the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization while he was advising President Donald Trump on how to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

On Monday, the House Jan. 6 committee recommended to the Department of Justice that Trump be charged with violating four criminal statutes, including aiding an insurrection, and that Eastman be prosecuted on two of the same statutes as Trump: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding…

…CU Regent Chair Lesley Smith, an at-large Democrat, issued a new statement Monday on behalf of the university’s governing board:

“John Eastman has not been affiliated with CU for some 20 months. As CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano clearly noted immediately following the Jan. 6 riot, Eastman’s conduct in the weeks preceding Jan. 6 and on that day was shameful and it certainly does not reflect CU’s values. He is an embarrassment. We respect both the January 6 Committee’s right to make a referral to the Justice Department and the department’s ability to evaluate the evidence and determine whether to seek charges against him.”

We would imagine that CU Regent Hiedi Heidi Ganahl does not agree with this statement, given her repeated excuses for Eastman.

 

 

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Kevin McCarthy’s Season of Discontent

UPDATE: Shots metaphorically fired as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene bodyslams Rep. Lauren Boebert for her lack of fealty to Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy:

Perhaps in the end there really can be only one.

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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is 1-2-3-4-5 votes short of the speakership.

There will be a vote on January 3, 2023 to elect the next Speaker of the U.S. House. But as CNN’s Manu Raju reports, what happens then is more up in the air than it has been in exactly 100 years:

Republicans who will chair House committees in the next Congress are warning that if Kevin McCarthy’s detractors deny him the 218 votes needed to become speaker, they are at risk of undermining the slim majority they won in November.

“Let us not squander this majority before we even take back the gavels,” the incoming chairs write in a letter on Monday. “Time is of the essence, and the American people want us to get to work now. Majorities are earned, never given – and the American people will remember how we choose to begin ours.”

The letter is part of the growing public pressure campaign against the five GOP dissidents – Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana – who promise their numbers will only grow in a race in which McCarthy can’t lose more than four GOP votes. Former President Donald Trump has called on the five members to back off their opposition to McCarthy and the House GOP leader has contended that their opposition could put the Republican agenda “in jeopardy.”

The so-called “Never Kevin” bloc of Republican hardliners could grow to many more than the five sufficient to deny Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy the speakership before January 3rd, but just the five who have promised to vote as a bloc are enough to derail McCarthy’s easy ascension. The 188-31 vote in late November by the Republican caucus formally nominating McCarthy for the position left him well short of the support needed if Democrats choose not to intervene on McCarthy’s behalf–and we haven’t seen anything to suggest that Democrats are interested in alleviating McCarthy’s pain.

If Democrats leave McCarthy to twist at the hands of his caucus, and they should, McCarthy may be forced to make concessions beyond what’s already been offered to the far right of his caucus, including Rep. Lauren Boebert’s demand that rules be changed to allow speakers to be ousted from their position at any time. Boebert herself claims to have “made up her mind” about McCarthy last week, but is not publicly revealing how she intends to vote. On the other hand, Boebert’s partner in headline-seeking far-right antics, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has been pretty upfront how McCarthy purchased her support as the New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer reports today:

I followed Greene after her speech and asked what McCarthy had promised her. We were walking briskly in the direction of the House floor. Her press aide was filming our exchange with his phone. “I’m looking forward to serving on the Oversight Committee,” she said, [Pols emphasis] naming a House committee likely to lead congressional investigations into the Biden Administration. “That’ll start in January.”

Winning the House majority however narrowly has been good for Boebert, who was appointed to the Republican Policy Committee after barely surviving what should have been an easy re-election. But unfortunately for Boebert, the one thing McCarthy is reportedly resisting is the thing Boebert is demanding:

Recently, McCarthy has been in marathon meetings with members of the Freedom Caucus, trying to reach agreements on changes to the House rules. The one demand he has actively resisted is the “motion to vacate the chair,” the strategy that pressured Boehner: it would allow a single member to force a vote on McCarthy’s ouster. It’s the only deal breaker for McCarthy because it’s the only one that directly threatens his Speakership. [Pols emphasis] He appears to be flexible on nearly everything else.

If McCarthy gives in and allows this change to allow any member to file a motion to oust the speaker, it severely weakens McCarthy as he tries to maintain control over his fractious little majority. But if Boebert caves and votes for McCarthy without this concession, Boebert is the one who looks weak. There are absolutely no ideological conflicts in play here, only power mechanics. The inmates want a say in the management of the asylum.

Salvation may yet await McCarthy in a smoke-filled backroom between now and January 3rd, and in that case we’ll find out when everybody else does. A protracted floor fight over McCarthy’s fate when the new House convenes would be another backside-baring embarrassment for Republicans and stymie momentum for the new majority’s vow to waste the country’s time on two nonstop years of retaliatory investigations, but it probably won’t turn into another January 6th.

It’ll be January 3rd. And hopefully no one cares enough about Kevin McCarthy to start a riot.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 15)

Where’d everybody go? Did we move Christmas up 10 days? 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Survivors of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs last month were in Washington D.C. to talk to Congress about their experience. As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post:

The hearing — focused on the rise of anti-LGBT violence and extremism in the United States — came a day after President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects same-sex and interracial unions. Haynes attended the signing ceremony and told the committee it was the first joy he’s experienced since the shooting…

…The testimony came as national lawmakers race to finish their work for the year. To the frustration of many Democrats, the year-end agenda doesn’t include legislation to ban semiautomatic firearms due to firm Republican opposition.

The House passed legislation in July that would ban assault weapons for the first time since 2004, but it failed to pass in the Senate. Republicans dismiss the bill as an attack on Second Amendment rights.

Wednesday’s hearing also came on the 10-year anniversary of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of 20 students and six teachers. Mass shootings haven’t abated since then, with another deadly attack at a school occurring just this summer in Uvalde, Texas.

Colorado Newsline notes that witnesses at the House hearing also brought up violent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from Republican politicians:

Survivors of a deadly attack at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs and other advocates told a U.S. House panel Wednesday that political rhetoric and policy fights dehumanize LGBTQ people and contribute to such violence.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee largely sympathized with the survivors, but drew different conclusions about the root issues and what should be done next. Republicans said Congress should focus on rising crimes against all victims, pledging to make the issue a priority when they take control of the House next month.

Ah, yes, the “All Lives Matter” response from Republicans has returned.

 

As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post, Congressional Republicans may need a new argument in the next Congress:

Has the worst of the pandemic-induced inflation already passed? The latest economic data released this week suggest so. That leaves Republicans in a quandary: After dedicating practically all of their midterm messaging of substance to President Biden’s supposed mishandling of the economy, they might have little left to stand on…

…Should the economy continue to improve, the GOP would have few ideas left for its agenda. It could go back to advocating tax cuts for rich people, but that would be inflationary. It could attack Biden’s legislative achievements, such as limits on prescription drug prices, but those are popular. It could advocate for more drilling permits, but oil companies are not making use of the public leases already available to them.

There’s always Hunter Biden’s laptop, amirite?

 

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun takes his turn at considering whether the U.S. Supreme Court might end up undermining Colorado’s redistricting process.

 

As The Associated Press reports, plotters who intended to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 will be spending a long time in prison:

A judge on Thursday handed down the longest prison terms so far in the plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor, sentencing three men who forged an early alliance with a leader of the scheme before the FBI broke it up in 2020.

Joe Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar were not charged with having a direct role in the conspiracy but were members of a paramilitary group that trained with Adam Fox, who separately faces a possible life sentence on Dec. 27 for his federal conviction.

The trio was convicted in October of providing material support for a terrorist act, which carries a maximum term of 20 years, and two other crimes.

Musico was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison, followed by his son-in-law Morrison at 10 years and Bellar at seven. They will be eligible for parole after serving those terms.

Speaking in a recorded video, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged the judge to “impose a sentence that meets the gravity of the damage they have done to our democracy.”

Hooray for laws!

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Dec. 13)

There are 13 more days until Boxing Day. Now, 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

We made it!

The 2022 election in Colorado is finally complete. According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has announced the certification of the 2022 General Election, making the results of the election official and final. The certification was conducted after each county’s bipartisan canvass boards submitted their official abstract of votes to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as the conclusion of a mandatory recount in the race for Colorado’s U.S. Congressional District 3 and permissive recount of the Colorado House District 43 race…

…After the election, the Secretary of State’s office worked with Colorado’s county clerks to complete a bipartisan risk-limiting audit that verified the results of the election. After the audit, each county’s bipartisan canvass board certified the election results. The canvass boards then submitted the final results to the Secretary of State’s office, including the recount results from the 3rd Congressional District and House District 43.

Colorado voters had more options than ever to cast a ballot in the November 8 General Election. In addition to Colorado having 411 drop boxes – a more than 65% increase from the 2018 midterm – and 366 voting centers available to voters, the Secretary of State’s Office worked with Colorado Ute Tribal communities to increase access to early voting; voters in the RTD region had two zero fare days to take the bus or train to cast their ballot at no cost; and the office launched a Language Assistance Hotline to assist voters who don’t speak English as their primary language with ballot content.

Returning a mail ballot was the preferred method for voters with 95.3% of voters choosing to cast their mail ballot during the 2022 General Election – accounting for 2,444,360 total ballots returned – and only 4.7% of voters choosing to vote in-person – 120,159 total ballots returned.

Also on Monday, the SOS office announced the results of two recounts — in CO-03 and HD-43 — that predictably ended up making no meaningful change to the final results.

Via the Colorado Secretary of State

 

 

 Now that Boebert has officially won re-election, will she tone down her nonsense rhetoric and learn a lesson from her near-defeat?

Nah.

 

President Biden will sign into law the “Respect for Marriage Act” today, with a prominent guest from Colorado in attendance. From The Associated Press:

Among the attendees will be the owner of Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado where five people were killed in a shooting last month, and two survivors of the attack. The suspect has been charged with hate crimes.

Plaintiffs from lawsuits that originally helped secure the nationwide right to gay marriage are also expected to be there, according to the White House.

The new law is intended to safeguard gay marriages if the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverses Obergefell v. Hodges, its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex unions nationwide. The new law also protects interracial marriages. In 1967, the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws in 16 states barring interracial marriage.

 

A proposed anti-abortion ordinance in Pueblo appears to have been defeated. If you can figure out how in the hell to access your account with The Denver Post, you can probably even read this story from Seth Klamann:

Pueblo’s City Council voted down a proposal Monday night that would’ve effectively banned abortions in the city, ending a contentious month-long saga that threatened to pit Pueblo against state law and drag it to the forefront of America’s abortion fight.

After the council president read a statement criticizing the measure as hastily drafted and outside the body’s authority, the council voted 4-3 to pull it from the agenda and table it, effectively killing it. It had passed two weeks before on an initial reading, albeit because some council members — who complained that they knew little about it — wanted more information about it before making a final decision.

The ordinance would’ve banned providers in Pueblo from receiving abortion-related materials in the mail under a federal law that’s nearly 150 years old. Experts and opponents of the ordinance cast the approach as the latest attempt by anti-abortion activists to limit abortion access nationally, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in June that struck down Roe vs. Wade. Supporters said they wanted Pueblo to be in compliance with federal law and that the ordinance wouldn’t specifically ban abortion.

Heather Graham, the council’s president, rejected that argument and said abortion access was not something the city could — or should — wade into.

This dude needs a new hobby.

 

 Be careful out there, particularly if you are traveling in Eastern Colorado or trying to navigate your way to Denver International Airport.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 9)

Mighty Brazil was ousted from the World Cup today in a penalty kick shootout with Croatia. Now, 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Questions continue to swirl about what law enforcement officials did NOT do that might have prevented the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month. As The Denver Post reports:

The 2021 criminal case against the Club Q shooting suspect that involved an alleged threat to become the “next mass killer” was dismissed by a judge after the suspect’s family members refused to participate in the court process, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said Thursday.

Law enforcement officials seized two guns from Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, after that incident, including a 9 mm pistol that was a “ghost gun,” as well as an AR-15 rifle. But, Allen said, those guns were never returned to Aldrich, who now stands accused of carrying out a mass shooting with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.

Five people were killed and another 22 injured, 17 by gunfire, in the Nov. 19 attack at the LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. Prosecutors this week charged Aldrich with more than 300 criminal counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes.

The new revelations about Aldrich’s arrest last year on felony kidnapping and menacing charges came only after El Paso County District Court Judge Robin Chittum unsealed the case Thursday morning, citing a “profound” public interest in the 2021 arrest and prosecution that significantly outweighs Aldrich’s right to privacy.

Republican officials in Colorado Springs — including District Attorney Michael Allen, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, and incoming Sheriff Joe Roybal — are all outspoken opponents of Colorado’s “red flag” laws that are intended to prevent exactly this sort of scenario. Elder is doing a lot of back pedaling these days.

 

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema seems hell-bent on making sure nobody likes her. From POLITICO:

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.

In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.

Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.

Sinema would not address whether she will run for reelection in 2024, and informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of her decision on Thursday.

Sinema began her career in public office as a member of the Green Party before winning elections to Congress and U.S. Senate as a Democrat. By this time next year, she’ll be calling herself a “Whig.”

 

Colorado Public Radio reports on advancements toward passing a new National Defense Authorization Act:

The House took the first step Thursday to passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense policy bill Congress has approved every year for more than 60 years. The bill passed 350-80. It now heads to the Senate.

GOP Rep. Ken Buck was the lone Colorado vote against the bill. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Doug Lamborn, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter all voted for it.

After the vote, Buck said he couldn’t support spending the amount of money the NDAA authorizes.

The bipartisan bill totals almost $858 billion for defense programs, which is $45 billion more than President Joe Biden sought. It includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.

Ken freaking Buck, ladies and gentlemen!

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and a discussion about the “Infinity War” within the Colorado Republican Party.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 8)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day. Now, 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Journalists at The New York Times are on strike after contract negotiations broke down, so there will be no links to the Times in this edition of “Get More Smarter.”

 

After Roe v. Wade was overturned last June, there were lots of rumblings that conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court might be interested in going after same-sex and interracial marriage protections next (Justice Clarence Thomas openly spoke about that desire). Today, Congress took final steps to make sure that those protections remain in place regardless of what the Supreme Court does next.

As The Associated Press reports:

The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition of those unions that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes.

President Joe Biden is expected to promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is a relief for hundreds of thousands of couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized those marriages and have worried about what would happen if the ruling were overturned.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed 258-169 with almost 40 Republican votes, would also protect interracial unions by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.” After months of negotiations, the Senate passed the bill last week with 12 Republican votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the vote as one of her last acts in leadership before stepping aside in January, wiped her eye as she became emotional before signing the bill, which sent it to the White House immediately after the vote. She called the bill “a glorious triumph of love and freedom.”

Every Democrat in Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted in favor of the “Respect for Marriage Act.” Every Republican — Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — voted ‘NO.’

 

► Brittney Griner, the WNBA basketball star who has been detained for months in Russia, was finally freed in a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Biden administration. Griner is expected to arrive in the United States at some point today.

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and a discussion about the “Infinity War” within the Colorado Republican Party.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 2)

The United States Men’s soccer team faces Netherlands on Saturday in the World Cup Round of 16, but you’ll have to wake up early to watch the game (8:00 am MST). Now, 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Fox 31 News is heavily promoting an interview with Rep. Lauren Boebert that will run on its Sunday political show. During the interview, Boebert doubles-down on her vile comments about the LGBTQ community and then makes a completely absurd statement about Colorado’s “Red Flag” laws that proves — once again — that Boebert has no grasp whatsoever of any policy issues:

The suspect in the Club Q shooting did have a past run-in with law enforcement in Colorado Springs. The suspect’s mother called police after she was threatened with a homemade bomb in 2021. Many, including Boebert, questioned why Colorado’s red flag law wasn’t used.

Derp

“Why did this (person) have a firearm if we have red flag laws in the state of Colorado?” Boebert said. “I’m not in favor of red flag laws. It’s just pointing out the hypocrisy of using this against law-abiding citizens, having this law on the books, which is completely unconstitutional. But then where it could have potentially matter, it wasn’t used.” [Pols emphasis]

Why wasn’t the “Red Flag” law used in Colorado Springs? This isn’t a mystery. It wasn’t used because Republican officials in El Paso County, including District Attorney Michael Allen and Sheriff Bill Elder, openly admit that they refuse to abide by the law.

 

Meanwhile, elected officials in Colorado who actually DO understand what is happening in our state continue to discuss potential new gun safety measures. From The Colorado Sun:

A host of changes to Colorado’s gun laws, from a ban on so-called assault weapons to tweaks to the existing red flag law, are already being considered by Democrats at the state Capitol in response to the shooting last month at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

“Pretty much everything is on the table,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat. “The question now is: What seems like a priority?”

Democrats will return to the Colorado Capitol in early January with expanded majorities in both the House and Senate and facing pressure to act after the state’s latest mass shooting. Five people were killed and more than a dozen others wounded in a Nov. 19 attack on Club Q allegedly carried out by a 22-year-old shooter armed with a semi-automatic, AR-15-style rifle.

Gun policy could be the first big test of Democrats’ expanded majorities at the Capitol next year. Memories of the 2013 recalls of Democratic lawmakers over tougher gun regulations adopted in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting certainly remain, but Colorado is a different state politically than it was a decade ago, and the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate are almost guaranteed until January 2027. [Pols emphasis]

 

The U.S. economy just won’t die, despite what Republicans told you for the last 10 months. From The New York Times:

America’s jobs engine kept churning in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, a show of continued demand for workers despite the Federal Reserve’s push to curb inflation by tamping down hiring.

Employers created 263,000 jobs, even as a wave of layoffs in the tech industry made headlines. That was only a slight drop from the revised figure of 284,000 for October.

The unemployment rate was steady at 3.7 percent, while wages have risen 5.1 percent over the year, more than expected.

The labor market has been surprisingly resilient in the face of successive interest rate increases by the Fed, adding an average of 323,000 jobs for the last six months.

Some economists are still fretting about particular aspects of the labor market, but finding things to be nervous about is sort of a requirement for an economist.

 

Remember when Weld County rancher/oil and gas development land owner Steve Wells made headlines for promising to spend $11 million of his own money to defeat Democratic Gov. Jared Polis?

The Dream Team: Steve Wells and Heidi Ganahl

That was all nonsense.

As The Colorado Sun reports:

Steve Wells, the deep-pocketed Weld County rancher and oil and gas booster who made waves over the summer when he dedicated $11 million toward a longshot effort to unseat Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, ended up spending only about 30% of the money.

Wells has refunded himself about $7 million from the super PAC, Deep Colorado Wells, he formed to defeat Polis and support Republican candidates, leaving about $850,000 in the committee’s coffers for future political spending. [Pols emphasis]

Wells said he always intended to spend the full $11 million but that he stopped at $3.3 million about a month before Election Day after he realized other GOP donors weren’t going to open their wallets in Colorado and as he saw how much money Polis, a wealthy self-funding candidate, was dedicating to his reelection bid.

Sure thing, Steve. We all totally believe you.

 

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