Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 19)

Donald Trump will cease to be President of the United States at 10:00 MST tomorrow. Please celebrate responsibly. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Today is the last full day for Donald Trump to play President of the United States. The Big Orange guy is setting a new record on his way out of the White House, as CNN reports:

Trump ends his term with the lowest average job approval rating — 41% — of any president in the last seven-plus decades, according to Gallup. That’s four points worse than the next, uh, worst — Harry Truman, who averaged a 45% job approval score throughout his time in office. Barack Obama averaged 47.9% job approval in his eight years, while George W. Bush averaged 49.4.

There are other “firsts” for Trump in the Gallup data. Trump is the first president to never break 50% job approval in any single poll conducted by the organization over his term. (The final Gallup poll pegged Trump’s job approval at a dismal 34%.) Trump is also the most polarizing president as measured by Gallup; the average gap between his job approval ratings among Republicans and Democrats was a whopping 81 points — 11 points higher than Obama’s partisan gap, which is now the second-highest ever. (Trump’s average job approval rating among Democrats for his term was 7%.)

President Trump is planning to pardon a whole bunch of people today before he leaves office; thus far, that list does not include pre-emptive pardons for family members.

 

► As The New York Times reports, several of President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees are getting started on their confirmation hearings today:

The Senate has a jam-packed schedule of hearings on Tuesday to begin considering President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominees for his Cabinet, but the process has been badly delayed, likely making Mr. Biden the first president in decades to take office without his national security team in place on Day 1.

The delay by congressional Republicans in recognizing Mr. Biden’s election victory, coupled with two Georgia runoff elections that left the Senate majority up in the air until Jan. 5, held up confirmation hearings for Mr. Biden’s team. That has made it impossible for the Senate to move quickly to fill top national security posts, including the secretary of defense, a job normally filled immediately after the president takes office to illustrate continuity of American power.

Hearings for five nominees — Lloyd J. Austin III to be secretary of defense; Antony J. Blinken to be secretary of state; Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary; Alejandro N. Mayorkas to be secretary of homeland security; and Avril D. Haines to be director of national intelligence — are scheduled for Tuesday. But it will be difficult for them to get floor votes by Wednesday, after Mr. Biden is sworn in at the Capitol.

 

► Pro-Trump protestors hinted at doing something over the weekend, but not much happened. Nevertheless, some high-profile Denver buildings will be operating much differently ahead of Wednesday’s Presidential inauguration.

 

► Colorado’s COVID-19 numbers are still moving in the right direction, but as Meg Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, it’s not yet clear if we have reason to feel more optimistic about the pandemic locally.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (January 15)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Operation Warp Speed WTF:

Via The Washington Post (1/15/21)

As The Washington Post reports:

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark…

…These officials were told that Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to speed the development of vaccines and therapeutics, stopped stockpiling second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the end of last year, instead taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line. The last shots held in reserve of Moderna’s supply, meanwhile, began shipping out over the weekend.

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, expect more problems with the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine because Trump administration officials are literally REFUSING TO CONSULT with staff for President-elect Joe Biden.

Click here for more on the response to this news from Gov. Jared Polis.

Also worth noting: The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 2 million.

 

► As The New York Times reports, Vice President Mike Pence is doing his best to pretend to be President since Donald Trump is no longer interested in the work:

Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his belated assistance — filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump, who is planning to fly out of the capital shortly before Joseph R. Biden Jr. is sworn in next week.

The Pence-Harris conversation, relayed by two officials briefed on the call, was described as gracious and pleasant. The discussion is the first time Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris have spoken since they debated each other last fall.

It also represents the only one-on-one interaction between the dueling 2020 presidential tickets: Mr. Trump has refused to call President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has not even fully conceded defeat.

As for Trump, he plans to leave Washington D.C. the morning before Joe Biden’s inauguration because he has the emotional stability of a toddler.

 

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) says that the U.S. Senate can “walk and chew gum at the same time” in response to questions about handling both President Trump’s impeachment and confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s top appointees.

 

► The Aurora Sentinel reports on how the Colorado legislature is wrapping up a brief return to the State Capitol before taking a recess until February 16.

 

► Federal prosecutors say that a number of terrorists who attacked the Capitol last week planned to “capture and assassinate” elected officials.

 

 

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

 

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TRANSCRIPT: Rep. Jason Crow on The Get More Smarter Podcast

Earlier this week we noted an interview for The Get More Smarter Podcast with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).

In the interview with hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii, Crow discussed the events of January 6; his confrontation with a fellow House Member the morning before the attack; how Crow explains last week’s events to his children; and why impeaching President Trump was unavoidable after he incited an insurrection.

You can listen to the full 15-minute interview below. After the jump, we have included a transcription of Crow’s comments.

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 14)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► We witnessed history on Wednesday when Donald Trump became the first President in American history to be impeached TWICE — thereby cementing his place as the worst President we’ve ever had.

Congress has voted to impeach three different Presidents, but none with as bipartisan a vote as occurred on Wednesday. Chris Cillizza of CNN looks at one of the more surprising YES votes from the GOP caucus:

When Tom Rice voted “yes” on the impeachment of Donald Trump over the President’s role in inciting the riot that led to the storming of the US Capitol, most close congressional watchers assumed he had made a mistake.

After all, there was little to indicate that the reliably conservative South Carolina Republican would join nine other colleagues in breaking with the President (and the party) to back impeaching Trump. Unlike Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Rice hadn’t been an outspoken critic of Trump. And unlike Reps. John Katko (New York) and David Valadao (California), Rice doesn’t represent a swing district.

“Compared to the often raucous members of the state’s congressional delegation, Rice has been more low-profile and focused on his legislative work,” wrote the Almanac of American Politics of Rice, who has represented eastern South Carolina’s 7th district since 2012.

But Rice hadn’t made a mistake or accidentally pressed the wrong button. His vote to impeach was real — and without question, the most surprising of the 10 Republicans who bucked the President.

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post ponders the thought process of the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment.

You probably don’t need us to tell you how Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted on impeachment. The four Democrats voted YES, while the three Republicans voted NO. We double-checked that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) voted NO, since he seems to change his mind on a topic at least once every 24 hours.

 

► Trump’s impeachment trial now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it won’t likely be taken up until late next week at the earliest. As The Washington Post and others have reported, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he might support impeachment, if only to expedite the process of removing Trump’s presence from the Republican Party.

 

9News reports on local law enforcement efforts to secure the area around the State Capitol building in advance of planned “protests” in the next week.

 

► If you thought Colorado Republicans might have learned a lesson from their second consecutive drubbing at the polls in 2020…well, they didn’t. Led by new House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, House Republicans tried a bunch of pointless shenanigans on Wednesday as the state legislature briefly gaveled into session before a recess until Feb. 16 for coronavirus safety precautions.

As Alex Burness of The Denver Post notes:

 

 

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

 

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History is Made: Trump is Only President Twice Impeached

UPDATE #2: Here’s the total:

Via C-SPAN


UPDATE: And here’s another first.

—–

President Trump impeached. Again.

The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump on the charge of “willful incitement of insurrection.” Trump is now the first and only President in the history of the United States to be impeached twice.

At least 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump (no House Republicans voted in favor of impeachment in December 2019). All of the Democrats in Colorado’s Congressional delegation  — Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter — voted YES on impeachment. The three Republicans from Colorado — Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — each voted NO on the question of impeachment.

Final votes are still being counted, but the House has already passed the 217 votes needed to confirm impeachment.

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Another Nonsensical Floor Speech from Lauren Boebert

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-Rifle) delivered her first speech on the House floor a week ago today, just minutes before Trump-inspired terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol. That speech was filled with ominous and threatening language, including her statement that, “I have constituents outside this building right now,” and another quote that should be repeated back at Boebert every time she speaks: “Either we have laws, or we do not.”

Today, Q*Bert took to the House floor again for a short, rambling diatribe about her opposition to impeachment (she’d say more on Twitter, but she can’t). You can watch the full clip below, or read the transcription that follows:

 

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT: Glory to God. Madam Speaker, I rise today to oppose this impeachment and denounce the recent violence at the Capitol, just as I opposed the previous impeachment and the violence that we’ve all witnessed, all summer long across our great country.

Make no mistake here [wagging her right finger]. The hypocrisy of the left is on full display. 

Quote: ‘Go to the Hill. Get in the face of some congresspeople. We’ve got to fight in Congress. Fight in the courts. Fight in the streets. Take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him. Take him…go and take Trump out tonight.’ Sound familiar?

What about the gentlewoman from New York, who defended the looting by saying looters just wanted loaves of bread? Well, the last I checked Best Buy and Teslas and stores of the like do not produce baked goods. Where is the accountability for the left, after encouraging and normalizing violence? Rather than actually helping American people in this time, we start impeachments that further divide our country.

I call, ‘bullcrap’ when I hear the Democrats demanding unity. Sadly, they are only unified in hate. This… [UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: Your time has expired]

What is Boebert “quoting” above? She never says. “Take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him” is something Boebert saw somewhere at some point and she is pretty sure it is relevant to today’s debate.

We should also note the absurdity of Boebert claiming that impeachment discussions are a waste of time when she was delivering a speech last week about overturning the results of the electoral college.

“Glory to God,” indeed.

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Buckpedaling Shifts Into Third Gear

Can this bike go sideways?

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is not known as a man of firm convictions. This is primarily because it is genuinely impossible to know where Buck stands on certain issues at any one time.

You can generally count on Buck, who also serves as the Colorado Republican Party Chairman, to voice at least one idiotic opinion on a particular topic. But three different opinions? That’s a rare treat.

Last week, in a span of 24 hours, Buck went from saying, “I don’t blame the President at all for this” regarding the attack on the U.S. Capitol building, to saying, “I think he’s partly to blame.”

Today, Buck showed up on CNN and offered a THIRD explanation for last week’s terrorist attack:

“What I’m trying to suggest to you is that both sides are at fault,” says Buck in an interview with CNN’s John Berman, who is understandably confounded by Buck’s proposal.

We’re not even going to bother with using a lot of words to explain why Buck’s suggestion that “both sides are at fault” is complete rubbish. There were not two different groups of people laying siege to the Capitol last Wednesday. Period.

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Ed Perlmutter Has Had Enough of This Election Fraud Crap

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) is making headlines today for challenging Republican Rep. Jim Jordan — an Ohio Republican and close ally of President Trump whom Trump is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom — during a remote House Rules Committee hearing on a proposed resolution to encourage implementation of the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office:

Here’s the transcript of today’s exchange:

PERLMUTTER: I would just say, sort of from one lawyer to another, Mr. Jordan, in a cross-examine sort of way…isn’t it true that Joe Biden won the election?

JORDAN: [After a long pause] Um, yes, he’s going to be President. And I’ve never said, as the Chairman indicated earlier, that this election was stolen. What I have said…very clearly, is half of…

PERLMUTTER: Mr. Jordan! Mr. Jordan!

JORDAN: …half of the electorate, both Republicans and Democrats, have concerns, and we have called for an investigation…

PERLMUTTER: Mr. Jordan! Mr. Jordan! It was a simple question. Isn’t it true Joe Biden won…

JORDAN: Yes, he won, but there are serious problems with this election that deserve an investigation, and that’s what I’ve called for. And it’s not just Republicans who think that…

PERLMUTTER: Okay…

JORDAN: Countless numbers of Democrats think that this thing had problems, too. We’ve called for an investigation, but you guys won’t do it…

PERLMUTTER: Mr. Jordan! Mr. Jordan!

JORDAN: End of story. Nevermind the fact that a third of…you asked me a question and I’ve got to give an answer.

PERLMUTTER: I asked you a yes or no question! Please! We’re trying to bring this nation back together, Jim. Jeez! [Pols emphasis]

[pause]

I really just want to bring this back together. I don’t like these resolutions. I support them. We had damage, injury, to this nation…the likes of which we haven’t seen for centuries. And I just want the people to know from somebody who is in a leadership position, as you are, that Joe Biden won the election. Kamala Harris won the election. They’re President-elect, Vice President-elect, and they will be inaugurated into the position of President and Vice President on January 20th. Yes? [Pols emphasis]

JORDAN: You know who has said that? The President of the United States has said that…

PERLMUTTER: Okay. That’s all…

JORDAN: But you guys…want to impeach this President. You want to look at the 25th Amendment.

After a moment of talking over each other, Perlmutter continues…

PERLMUTTER: Look, I’m not trying to bark at ya.

JORDAN: [laughing sarcastically] Well, you could have fooled me.

PERLMUTTER: No. I’m not barking at ya. I just need to have a declarative statement from you so that we can potentially get through the next week without more violence.

JORDAN: Okay.

PERLMUTTER: That’s all I’m asking ya.

JORDAN: Okay.

PERLMUTTER: I mean, you and I have been here together for a long time.

All we can say is this: Thank God there are still some adults left in the room (and we’re not talking about Jim Jordan).

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (January 11)

President Trump will be out of the White House in less than 9 days. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has officially been in office for a little more than a week, and she is already facing significant pressure to resign or be expelled from Congress because of her open support of rejecting results of the Presidental election and inciting attacks on the U.S. Capitol. As Westword explains:

Only a few days into her term as U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Lauren Boebert is already being inundated with calls for her to resign the position or risk being expelled by her new colleagues for allegedly helping to incite the violence that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6. And these efforts are getting national attention, with CNN putting a report about the controversial firebrand in heavy rotation over this past weekend.

Trending on Twitter (1/11/21)

Boebert is being identified as a key voice responsible for inciting last week’s attack on Congress — and fellow Republican Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has even acknowledged her role in stirring up Trump terrorists. Here’s more from Wyoming Public Media:

Their messaging – and the president’s – is what got us here, said Thomas Zeitzoff, a scholar of political violence and political psychology at American University.

GOP lawmakers like Lummis, Boebert, Daines and others acted as Trump’s “coordinators,” Zeitzoff said.

By buoying Trump’s false claims of election fraud, they essentially told their supporters: “Here are the enemies who did it and here are the actions that should be taken,” he said.

Zeitzoff said they created this narrative anchored by a shared set of grievances and Wednesday was the culmination of that.

Trending on Twitter (1/11/21)

A story from Raw Story over the weekend pointing to Boebert’s social media posts on Wednesday is picking up a lot of traction, as is the previously mentioned story from CNN (video). Celebrities such as Debra Messing, Patricia Arquette, and Patton Oswalt are amplifying the concerns about Boebert. A petition calling for the resignation of Boebert and fellow election results-denier Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is apparently getting a lot of traction.

How is Boebert reacting to these claims? Well, she isn’t even trying to pretend that she had nothing to do with last week’s attack. This is pretty much the only thing she’s said even addressing the issue. Perhaps she’s taking the advice of fellow Rep. Eric Swalwell and shutting the hell up. She may also want to familiarize herself with the 14th Amendment.

 

► As POLITICO reports, the House of Representatives has enough votes to impeach President Trump for inciting last week’s violence in Washington D.C.:

Key members of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a single article of impeachment Monday that has already gathered at least 218 cosponsors, according to a congressional aide involved in the process, meeting the majority needed in the House. Pelosi signaled Sunday night that the House would vote on that article if Trump refuses to resign and Vice President Mike Pence won’t initiate other procedures to remove him…

…At a brief House session on Monday morning, the House formally accepted the resignation of Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, who was partly responsible for security arrangements on Jan. 6. And moments later, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) blocked unanimous consideration of a resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) that would have urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment process to remove Trump from power. The House intends to vote on the resolution Tuesday.

Because Republicans blocked a resolution to encourage invoking the 25th Amendment, the House will almost certainly vote on impeachment on Wednesday. A Senate trial on impeachment would not conclude before Trump’s last day in office, on Jan. 20, but the process will still continue.

As 9News explains, Rep. Ken Buck is trying to convince Democrats NOT to impeach Trump because it could be “divisive” for the country. Hopefully you didn’t just pull a muscle rolling your eyes.

 

► New polling from Quinnipiac University confirms that a majority of Americans support removing President Trump from office ASAP:

A majority of voters, 56 percent, say they hold President Trump responsible for the storming of the U.S. Capitol, while 42 percent say they do not hold him responsible.

A slight majority, 52 – 45 percent, say President Trump should be removed from office. Voters also say 53 – 43 percent that he should resign as president.

 

► As The Washington Post reports, there is more concerning news about how last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol made it past security measures:

Two days before Congress was set to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund was growing increasingly worried about the size of the pro-Trump crowds expected to stream into Washington in protest.

To be on the safe side, Sund asked House and Senate security officials for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby in case he needed quick backup.

But, Sund said Sunday, they turned him down.

In his first interview since pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, Sund, who has since resigned his post, said his supervisors were reluctant to take formal steps to put the Guard on call even as police intelligence suggested that the crowd President Trump had invited to Washington to protest his defeat probably would be much larger than earlier demonstrations.

On Sunday, Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) shared details of a conversation he had with the Secretary of the Army regarding last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

 

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (January 8)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► As POLITICO reports, momentum continues to build for impeaching President Trump:

House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol.

Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides.

Whether or not Trump could officially be impeached before his time in office expires at noon on January 20 is less important than holding Trump accountable for this week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol:

If Democrats pass articles early next week — and Pelosi immediately sent them to the Senate — the Senate would be required to begin a trial immediately under congressional rules. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges he abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation, ultimately lasted four weeks before the Senate delivered its verdict.

That timetable suggests the goal of any impeachment is unlikely to be Trump’s removal and is much more focused on the option to prevent him from holding federal office in the future. Some Democrats believe that possibility could woo Senate Republicans, some of whom are eyeing a 2024 bid themselves.

 

CNN reports on another tragic loss resulting from the Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol building:

Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official tells CNN.

Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement.
The death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.

Sicknick was many Capitol Police officers who were attacked with lead pipes and other blunt instruments.

 

 As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there is a growing list of high-profile names and organizations calling on the resignation of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn for taking part in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election:

The letter said the two lawmakers “have betrayed the trust of Colorado voters by helping incite violence against the body you were elected to, a body designed to serve us. By endorsing the president’s unsubstantiated and repeatedly debunked, discredited, and false claims of voter fraud, you encouraged and tacitly endorsed the actions of these terrorists and threatened the basic foundation of our democracy.”…

…Signatories to the letter include seven Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly, city council members in Aurora, Broomfield, Denver and Edgewater; former Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Trish Zornio and Lorena Garcia, and two dozen progressive organizations, including unions, Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado.

Meanwhile, Boebert appears to have no concept of the harm she and fellow Trumpians have caused. In a video released today, Boebert sounds absolutely looney:

Boebert says that she wants people to view her floor speech on Wednesday. We agree. Here it is.

#ResignBoebert.

 

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

 

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Lauren Boebert’s Ominous and Odd Floor Speech

Shortly before the U.S. Capitol was overrun by Trump-supporting terrorists on Wednesday, freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was among the first Members of Congress to deliver a speech on the House floor about her objection to counting the electoral votes from the State of Arizona.

 

You can view the entire speech above, but we’ve also transcribed every word so that there can be no confusion about what Boebert was saying. Boebert’s speech was strange and unsettling at the time, and it is even more concerning when you consider what was happening outside of the U.S. Capitol building at the very moment in which she was speaking. Here is the entirety of Boebert’s objection to the counting of electoral votes from Arizona:

BOEBERT: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and to ease everyone’s nerve, I want you to know that I am not here to challenge anyone to a duel like Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr.

Madam Speaker, my primary objection to the counting of the Electoral Votes of the State of Arizona is based on the Constitution and the direction of state legislatures through state law as spelled out in the following two clauses: Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2, states in part — and I quote — each state shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct a number of electors, AND, the election clause of the Constitution provides state legislatures with explicit authority to prescribe — and I quote — the times, places, and manners of holding elections. End quote.

For more than three decades, Arizona law, set by the state legislature, has required that voter registration end no later than 29 days before an election [Pols note: Boebert is shouting at this point]. This is clear. It is law. Unless amended by the state legislature, this is the way it needs to be carried out. In Arizona the deadline for voter registration for the 2020 Presidential election was October five, 2020.

Using COVID as a reasoning, Democrats filled a…filed a lawsuit to extend this deadline by 18 days. And an injunction was made by an Obama-appointed judge preventing the Arizona Secretary of State from enforcing the constitutional deadline set by the state legislature.

As a result of this frivolous, partisan lawsuit, 10 extra days were added via judicial fiat to allow voter registration…these 10 days were added after voting had already begun. This is completely indefensible. You cannot change the rules of an election while it is underway and expect the American people to trust it [Pols note: Still shouting]. Now, in this 10 day period, at least 30,000 new voters registered to vote in Arizona. All of these votes are unconstitutional. It does not matter if they voted for President Trump, or if they voted for Vice President Biden. They did not register in time for the election.

We’ll stop here for a moment, because this next section deserves its own highlighting:

The law states October fifth. Either we have laws, or we do not. [Pols emphasis]

If we allow state election laws as set forth by the state legislature to be ignored or manipulated…

Boebert is interrupted here by numerous shouts of “Order, order” from other Members of Congress. Boebert pauses for a moment, then abruptly continues.

…partisan lawsuit. Unelected bureaucrats. Un…

Boebert is again drowned out by shouts of “Order, order!” She stops speaking, takes a step back, and looks around in a confused manner. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi uses the gavel and says, “The House will be in order.”

Boebert continues:

If we allow state election laws as set forth by state legislatures to be ignored and manipulated on the whims of partisan lawsuits…unelected bureaucrats, unlawful procedures, and arbitrary rules, then our Constitutional Republic will cease to exist. The oath that I took this past Sunday to defend and support the Constitution makes it necessary for me to object to this travesty. Otherwise the laws passed by the legislative branch merely become suggestions to be accepted, rejected, or manipulated by those who did not pass them.

Here’s another particularly creepy section:

Madam Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now. I promised my voters to BE…THEIR…VOICE. [Pols emphasis]

Yikes. Boebert almost could have said that she had constituents who were about to be inside the building.

In this branch of government, in which I now serve, it is my separate but equal obligation to weigh in on this election and object. [Pols emphasis]

We have no idea what this means, either.

Are we not a government of, by, and for the people? They know that this election is not right, and as their representative I am sent here to represent them. I will not allow the people to be ignored. [Pols emphasis]

Madam Speaker, it is my duty under the U.S. Constitution to object to the counting of the Electoral Votes of the State of Arizona. [Pols note: Boebert is basically screaming now] The members who stand here today and accept the results of this concentrated, coordinated, partisan effort by Democrats, where every fraudulent vote cancels out the vote of an honest American, has sided with the extremist left. The United States Congress needs to make an informed decision, and that starts with this objection.

I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Brian Mast.

This seems like a good time to point out today’s editorial from The Aurora Sentinel calling for the resignation of Boebert and fellow Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn (who also objected to counting electoral votes in several states)

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NBC News Calls Georgia for Ossoff; Democrats Control Senate

As NBC News reports:

Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue and Raphael Warnock won over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, NBC News projects.

The twin wins for Democrats in Tuesday’s election give the party control of the Senate, which will stand at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, allowing incoming Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes. The Georgia election results are a big boost for President-elect Joe Biden, who would have faced stiff opposition from Republicans had they retained the Senate.

CNN is also projecting that Ossoff will defeat Perdue.

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Chaos in Washington D.C. as Protestors Storm Capitol

UPDATE #7: Via CNN and Getty Images:

 

 

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UPDATE #6: President Trump has repeatedly declined to say anything further that might defuse the situation.

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UPDATE #5: President Trump Tweets a very weak response after encouraging the protests earlier:


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UPDATE #4: Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora):

 

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UPDATE #3: U.S. House and Senate have adjourned as protests outside the Capitol intensify.

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UPDATE #2: Rep. Joe Neguse gets his first chance to shine in today’s climactic debate:

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UPDATE #1: We have our first objection. Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona objects to the votes in his own state. Senator Ted Cruz objects from the Senate side. The House and Senate now go back to their respective chambers to debate on the Arizona objection. We might be here until February.

—–

Here we go…

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 6)

Welcome to the first “Get More Smarter” of 2021! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Holy crap, Georgia!

Democrats are close to capturing majority control of the U.S. Senate after Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday; Warnock becomes the first Black Senator from the State of Georgia.

In the other Senate contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over Republican David Perdue, with the majority of the outstanding ballots still to be counted concentrated in Democratic-leaning counties. As National Public Radio reports, Ossoff has declared victory:

Democrat Jon Ossoff — who as of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday leads Republican David Perdue by about 16,000 votes in the Georgia runoff that could give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate — claimed victory Wednesday. The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for its results, has not yet called the contest.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in remarks Wednesday morning.

When Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn-in to office on January 20, she will become the tie-breaking vote in the Senate that will change Mitch McConnell’s title to “Minority Leader.”

Via The New York Times (9:15 am, 1/6/21)

 

► With a new Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, expanded coronavirus stimulus payments could be just around the corner.

 

► Tuesday’s big victories in Georgia for Democrats will undoubtedly sour the mood today when certain Republican Members of Congress — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Doug Lamborn — will make a no-hope attempt at preventing Democrat Joe Biden from becoming President. As POLITICO explains:

…the bicameral session of the House and Senate — which could stretch into the early hours of Thursday — will be the stage for this last stand by Trump allies who have refused to accept the election results.

Inside the Capitol, the effort has splintered Trump’s party, with more than 100 House Republicans and at least a dozen Senate Republicans objecting to Biden’s victory while Senate GOP leadership warned their caucus against the effort. Already, senators are signaling they’ll challenge results in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

But the most intense focus will be on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the 1 p.m. joint meeting, where he’ll be required by the Constitution to count the electoral votes certified by the states. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and a wave of legal challenges by Trump to reverse several states’ results failed at every level of state and federal court.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “it’s all over but the shouting”?

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) will play a key role in today’s nonsense-fest as one of four Democrats assigned to handle the arguments against overturning the election results.

Here in Colorado, local Republicans are promoting a QAnon rally in Denver aimed at showing support for President Trump, or something.

 

POLITICO reports on an absolutely amazing bit of karmic justice:

Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

Biden selected Garland over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, choosing to elevate the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to run the Justice Department.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but his nomination languished in the GOP-controlled Senate at the end of the former president’s term. In recent weeks, Garland has been recusing himself from cases involving the federal government, fueling speculation that he was a leading candidate for the job.

 

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

 

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Neguse Takes Leading Role Opposing GOP Election Challenge

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

A group of Republican Members of Congress on Wednesday will object to efforts to finalize the 2020 election of Democrat Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. These efforts are widely expected to fail, as POLITICO explains:

The Senate Republicans opposed to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win are heading toward a hefty defeat on Wednesday. The only remaining question is this: how badly do they lose?

Just 11 GOP senators have joined the effort led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to object to Congress’ routine approval of Biden’s Electoral College win. That makes 13 supporters — and many more have come out swinging against it…

…At least 21 GOP senators will vote to certify Biden’s election win, according to a series of interviews and statements. As of midday Tuesday, 17 Republican senators had not said what they would do publicly. With every Senate Democrat also sure to reject the challenge to Biden’s victory, President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign will easily fail even as it succeeds in splitting the GOP.

Wednesday’s last-ditch effort by Trump supporters to somehow keep The Big Orange Guy in the White House won’t be without involvement from Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and longtime Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn will both oppose certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory. Colorado’s third Republican Member of Congress, Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, has announced that he will NOT participate in efforts to block Biden’s victory.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is among four members of the House of Representatives who will be responsible for arguing against nonsense claims against decertification. As Kyle Cheney of POLITICO reports:

Neguse and three other Democratic House Members will lead the debate on Republican objections to certifying Biden’s victory. This is another big moment for a Colorado Democrat; last year Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) was among seven House Members given the task of serving as “impeachment managers” in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Crow earned rave reviews for his steady performance, despite the fact that the Republican-controlled Senate ultimately let Trump off the hook.

We don’t expect to hear much from Lamborn on Wednesday, but Republicans may allow Boebert to be among the GOP House Members who will attempt to make some sort of argument in favor of overturning the will of American voters.

In this debate — or any other, for that matter — we’d gladly put our chips behind Neguse over Boebert.

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Top Ten Stories of 2020 #4: Lunacy Becomes GOP Platform

Republican Rep. Larry Liston (now Senator-elect) during special legislative session on November 30, 2020.

Republicans have not been very competitive in Colorado elections in recent years, helping to turn what was once a swing state into a solid blue rectangle. Republican ineptitude was not a new story in 2020, but there was a different flavor to the Colorado GOP’s brand of nonsense in the weirdest year any of us can remember.

It was perhaps inevitable that Colorado Republicans would further descend into madness in 2020 after spending much of 2019 on rudderless grifting operations they called “recall attempts.” But it still would have been hard to predict just how absurd things would get for GOP politicians in our state. Nobody knew much about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert at this time a year ago, but now she’s the face of the Colorado Republican Party despite the fact that virtually every news outlet in the state reported that she basically has no idea what she’s talking about on any issue.

The coronavirus pandemic opened up a new rabbit hole for Republicans, who immediately responded to efforts to contain the spread of the virus by declaring that wearing a mask was against freedom and that stay-at-home orders were reminiscent of a “Gestapo-like mentality.” A group of Republican lawmakers, including then-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, launched a ridiculous effort to convince Douglas County to end its association with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING PANDEMIC. Neville, for one, took this as an opportunity to convince a few idiots to give him money so that he could sue Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks.

The GOP attack on the Tri-County Health Department also included State Sen. Jim Smallwood, who contracted COVID-19 after inexplicably traveling to California when the state legislature paused all activity in mid-March. In other words, the people who were urging others to disregard health precautions were themselves becoming health risks because they disregarded health precautions. Meanwhile, Republicans were also busy trying to paint the COVID-19 outbreak as a racial issue…up until it turned out that deep red counties were being hit harder than anywhere else.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the new face of the Colorado GOP.

Republican attacks on the Tri-County Health Department ended up going nowhere from a practical standpoint, but they had very real and unsettling consequences elsewhere. In May, for example, Aurora police arrested a man for vandalizing a Tri-County Health office and making all sorts of violent threats. It was not a coincidence that these deranged actions happened after local Republicans began rattling cages about health department officials who were just trying to keep people safe.

Things got even weirder in May after global protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers created a new opportunity for Colorado Republican leaders to play the fool. While the rest of us were gripped by rallies and calls for social justice, GOP leaders primarily complained about vandalism in Denver. Some Republican county party leaders were pretty sure that Floyd’s death was just a big ruse of some sort. Others fully supported violent counter-protests around the state. There was even a common refrain that the City of Denver was a burning pile of rubble…something that could be easily verified by anyone who just looked around.

It would take us too long to list every absurd thing that Colorado Republicans said or did in 2020, but here are a couple more examples:

♦ Congressman Ken Buck, who also serves as the State GOP Party Chairman, made a complete fool of himself on Fox News in trying to explain his idea that Antifa was funded by George Soros, or something.

Neville compared the killing of Elijah McClain in 2019 to protestors who tried to super glue themselves to a railing at the state capitol.

♦ Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was far from the only Republican to express belief in QAnon conspiracy theories.

♦ This ridiculous Op-Ed from Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) speaks for itself.

♦ Rather than spend the last weeks of the 2020 election campaigning for Republicans, a group of activists instead devoted their time and effort on once again not recalling Gov. Polis.

Colorado Republicans enter the new year with their party in tatters. Their highest-ranking statewide elected official is CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, and the GOP might just elect disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler as its new Party Chairman. Republicans need to find candidates for five big statewide races in 2022, but it’s hard to envision anyone but the most far-right candidates emerging from the various Primary elections. Heck, it could still be months before some in the GOP finally stop pretending that Donald Trump was re-elected as President.

Colorado Republicans had a lot of problems well before 2020. Thanks to a year of astonishingly-terrible decisions, the future of the state GOP is considerably bleaker today.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (December 21)

Happy “Winter Solstice.” If you can make it through today, the day with the least amount of sunlight in the worst year in memory, then it’s all downhill from here. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Congress really, truly, actually appears to have come to agreement on a coronavirus stimulus bill. As The Associated Press reports:

Top Capitol Hill negotiators sealed a deal Sunday on an almost $1 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package, finally delivering long-overdue help to businesses and individuals and providing money to deliver vaccines to a nation eager for them.

The agreement, announced by congressional leaders, would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

It came after months of battling and posturing, but the negotiating dynamic changed in Republicans’ favor after the election and as the end of the congressional session neared. President-elect Joe Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted this fall.

House leaders informed lawmakers that they would vote on the legislation on Monday, and the Senate was likely to vote on Monday, too. Lawmakers were eager to leave Washington and close out a tumultuous year.

Nothing motivates Congressional Republicans more than threatening to cut into their vacation time. The New York Times has more analysis on what the new stimulus package does and does not accomplish.

 

► Soon-to-be-unemployed Attorney General William Barr is making some effort to show Americans that he still has a tiny bit of a soul. As The Washington Post explains:

Barr said that while he was “sure there was fraud in this election,” he had not seen evidence that it was so “systemic or broad-based” that it would change the result. He asserted he saw “no basis right now for seizing machines by the federal government,” and he would not name a special counsel to explore the allegations of Trump and his allies.

“If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t, and I’m not going to,” Barr said.

Similarly, Barr said he would not name a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, President-election Joe Biden’s son who revealed earlier this month he was under investigation for possible tax crimes. Barr said the investigation was “being handled responsibly and professionally” by regular Justice Department prosecutors, and he hoped that would continue in the next administration.

“To this point, I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel, and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” Barr said.

Barr announced his resignation earlier this month; his last official day is December 23.

 

In his press conference on Monday, Barr also touched on a topic that appears to have little disagreement outside of the guy who sits at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office:

 

Over the weekend, The Nation published a story wondering if civil war is brewing within the Republican Party. As The Denver Post reported on Sunday, we have long since reached that point in Colorado:

This is a low point for the Colorado GOP, now with less electoral power than at any time since World War II. Democrats control both chambers of the statehouse by comfortable margins — 41-24 in the House, 20-15 in the Senate. The governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state are all Democrats. Next year, both of the state’s U.S. senators and four of its seven U.S. representatives will be Democrats. In November, the University of Colorado Board of Regents, previously the last statewide body controlled by the GOP, flipped blue for the first time in 41 years.

Just 18 years ago, roughly the opposite was true.

The Denver Post examined data and spoke to more than 20 Republicans, including many current and former elected officials, and found most attribute the powerlessness of a party that was competitive here just a few years ago, and dominant as recently as 2002, to a mix of factors: allegedly mismanaged campaign money; fundamental disagreements within the party over its direction and message; the increasing strength of the Democratic Party; demographic shifts that contributed heavily to the GOP’s disadvantage in voter registration; and the unpopularity of President Donald Trump, whom one pollster referred to as a “rocket booster” for Colorado Democrats.

Republicans drop much of the blame for recent losses in the lap of the Neville Clan. Outgoing House Speaker Patrick Neville responded to the Post story by doxxing the reporter.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Friday (December 18)

If you count today, there are eight more shopping days left until “Boxing Day.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► A coronavirus stimulus bill is still lingering around, but Congressional lawmakers still haven’t found a way to wrap up the proposed package.

Via The Washington Post (12/18/20)

As The Washington Post reports, the talks will likely continue into the weekend:

Congress appears likely to let funding for the federal government expire Friday at midnight, triggering the beginning of a shutdown, as lawmakers scramble to complete a $900 billion economic relief package, multiple aides and lawmakers involved in deliberations.

Senior Congressional officials are placing a high-stakes gamble that pressure from a looming government shutdown will force lawmakers to compromise on the sweeping economic relief legislation that has been delayed for months.

Lawmakers had hoped to introduce the relief legislation as early as Thursday but have been delayed by numerous contentious issues, particularly a push from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to curb the emergency lending authority of the Federal Reserve.

Aides close to the negotiations said a short-term bill to extend government funding was unlikely to be approved on Friday, meaning government appropriations would lapse Saturday morning. Budget experts said the impact of that lapse would almost certainly be minimal if Congress can approve the government funding deal by the end of the weekend. The nation would face a much more significant disruption if the federal shutdown continued on Monday, when shutdown orders would go into effect.

Great. A Holiday game of “chicken.” As The New York Times reports, the new wrinkle in discussions is about, you guessed it, power:

As they closed in on a $900 billion stimulus deal, top Democrats and Republicans in Congress hit a barrier on Friday over a last-minute Republican effort to cut off the Federal Reserve’s ability to restart pandemic relief programs and limit the central bank’s ability to fight future financial crises.

The proposal, fiercely opposed by Democrats who argue it would revoke a crucial tool to stabilize the sputtering economy, emerged as perhaps the thorniest point of contention among a handful of remaining issues holding up an agreement. It could take away some of the Fed’s power as a “lender of last resort,” and curtail President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s latitude in dealing with the continuing economic fallout from the pandemic.

Though a final deal won’t likely include $2,000 direct payments to Americans — which President Trump reportedly lobbied for — it may still contain a smaller amount of money for eligible Americans.

 

► The Trump administration appears to be botching the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, allowing millions of doses of the vaccine to sit in warehouses while First Son-in-law Jared Kushner tries to decipher his own spreadsheets. As The Washington Post reports today, not only is the federal government falling on its face on a delivery plan — we’re actually paying more money than Europe for a vaccine:

The European Union is paying less money than the United States for a range of coronavirus vaccines, including the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation currently being rolled out across the country, according to a Washington Post comparison of the breakdowns.

The costs to the E.U. had been confidential until a Belgian official tweeted — and then deleted — a list late Thursday.

Comparing that list to calculations by Bernstein Research, an analysis and investment firm, it appears the 27-nation union has a 24 percent discount on the Pfizer vaccine compared to the United States, paying $14.76 per dose compared to $19.50 in the United States. Some of that difference may reflect that the E.U. subsidized that vaccine’s development.

How’s that “running government like a business” thing working for you? Maybe we should have agreed to allow President Trump to call this “The Trump Vaccine” after all.

Colorado has been informed that it will receive about 17 thousand fewer doses than anticipated.

 

New polling from Navigator Research suggests that Americans have had enough of President Trump pretending he didn’t lose the 2020 election. From a press release:

More than three in five Americans (61%) now believe Trump should concede the election, including one in three Trump voters (34%). Moreover, by a nearly 20-point margin, a majority of Americans approve of the way President-elect Biden is handling the presidential transition (56%), mostly citing his focus on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and his selection of Cabinet appointments.

While Republicans disproportionately believe that the 2020 election was somehow illegitimate, the majority of Americans do not share this opinion.

 

The Associated Press reports on a significant appointment expected from President-elect Joe Biden:

Biden plans to nominate New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, according to a person familiar with the decision, a historic pick that would make her the first Native American to lead the powerful federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for generations.

Tribal leaders and activists around the country, along with many Democratic figures, have urged Biden for weeks to choose Haaland. They stood behind her candidacy even when concerns that Democrats might risk their majority in the House if Haaland yielded her seat in Congress appeared to threaten her nomination.

Haaland, 60, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo and, as she likes to say, a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico. The role as interior secretary would put her in charge of an agency that not only has tremendous sway over the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes but also over much of the nation’s vast public lands, waterways, wildlife, national parks and mineral wealth.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 17)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► You should still hold your breath, but it really does look like Congress might soon pass a coronavirus stimulus bill. From The Washington Post:

Congressional leaders are trying to resolve a number of lingering policy disagreements as they race to finalize an approximately $900 billion coronavirus relief package by the end of this week. They involve the powers of the Federal Reserve, aid for theaters and music venues, and whether to extend any flexibility to cities and states, among other things.

Negotiators have cited significant progress in recent days as talks accelerated. Senior lawmakers aimed to unveil legislation as soon as Thursday. While several difficult sticking points remain, aides are expressing optimism that none of the issues that has emerged appeared likely to prevent final passage of an agreement.

Congress must pass a spending bill by midnight on Friday to avoid a government shutdown, and some had hoped to add the stimulus package to that legislation. If the stimulus talks drag on, lawmakers could be forced to pass another short-term spending bill to give them more time, potentially pushing talks into Christmas week.

The stimulus deal could include another round of checks to Americans. As Joe St. George reports for Denver7, money could theoretically be available to the public by the end of the year.

 

► As The New York Times reports, jobless claims in the U.S. are at an all-time high:

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance remained high last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. After dropping earlier in the fall, claims have moved higher, and they remain at levels that dwarf the pace of past recessions.

There were 935,000 new claims for state benefits, compared with 956,000 the previous week, while 455,000 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for part-time workers, the self-employed and others ordinarily ineligible for jobless benefits.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of new state claims was 885,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week.

MAGA, baby!

As Vox.com explains, even a pending stimulus bill won’t be enough to help many unemployed workers.

 

A second COVID-19 vaccine — this one from Moderna — could be approved within the next couple of days. From 9News:

Moderna’s vaccine is largely following the same path as Pfizer-BioNTech’s, which relies on the same groundbreaking technology. Most traditional vaccines use dead or weakened virus, but both of the new vaccines use snippets of COVID-19’s genetic code to train the immune system to detect and fight the virus. Both require two doses, weeks apart…

…If authorized by the FDA, U.S. officials said the initial shipment of nearly 6 million doses would go to health workers and nursing homes. The new vaccine needs to be stored at regular freezer temperatures, but not the ultra-cold required for Pfizer-BioNTech’s shot. [Pols emphasis]

That last detail could prove significant in the race to vaccinate people around the globe.

 

As Yahoo News notes, President Trump might truly believe that he won the 2020 election:

President Trump was privately coming to terms with his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, but he “has now reversed and dug in deeper — not only spreading misinformation about the election, but ingesting it himself,” CNN reports, “egged on by advisers like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis who are misleading Trump about the extent of voting irregularities and the prospects of a reversal.” One adviser told CNN, “He’s been fed so much misinformation that I think he actually thinks this thing was stolen from him.”

There is a lot to unpack in this CNN story being shared widely around the Internet tubes, from potential Presidential pardons to a report that Trump at one point actually considered NOT leaving the White House on January 20, 2021.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 16)

On this day in 1773, colonists living in Boston threw a bunch of tea into the harbor. The original “Tea Party” was much less insane than the modern version. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Don’t blink, but Congress might actually be getting close to approving a new stimulus bill. As The Washington Post reports:

Congressional leaders are near an agreement to add a new round of stimulus checks to a roughly $900 billion relief package as they rush to complete a deal before the end of the week, according to three people familiar with the talks granted anonymity to share internal deliberations.

A bipartisan proposal released earlier this week by a group of moderate lawmakers excluded another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. But as congressional leaders tried to resolve differences in recent days, they decided to try and include a round of direct payments in the emerging legislation.

They are rushing to complete a deal because they must pass a new spending bill Friday night at midnight in order to avoid a government shutdown. House Democrats had sought a much larger stimulus package before the election but have softened their position since President-elect Biden’s victory in hopes of securing some immediate relief.

 

► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on the Senate floor on Tuesday that Democrat Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Later, McConnell reportedly implored his caucus to refrain from any attempts at challenging the legitimacy of Biden’s victory when a joint session of Congress meets to certify the Electoral College results. But as the editorial board of The Washington Post explains, this is no time to pat McConnell on the back:

Millions of Republican voters may now believe that their democracy no longer functions — not because there was fraud, but because their leaders lied to them or remained silent while others did so. Even many Republicans who refused to help Mr. Trump try to overturn the presidential results are signaling that they will pursue new voting restrictions in the name of election integrity, acting on the basis of the falsehoods about the voting system that Republicans have promoted since the election. Their defaming of democracy hurts us all.

Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times does not disagree:

To affirm Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the winners of the election more than a month after the end of voting — as Mitch McConnell did, on Tuesday morning, when he announced that “our country officially has a president-elect and vice-president elect” — is to treat the outcome as unofficial pending an attempt to overturn the result.

In short, Republicans are establishing a new normal for the conduct of elections, one in which a Democratic victory is suspect until proven otherwise, and where Republicans have a “constitutional right” to challenge the vote in hopes of having it thrown out.

We’ve already seen this spread to down-ballot races. Sean Parnell, a Republican House candidate, refused to concede his race against the Democratic incumbent, Conor Lamb, citing voter fraud and signed onto a lawsuit, since dismissed, to throw out mail-in ballots.

But as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, McConnell may not be able to prevent his caucus from being forced to cast a politically-dicey vote in favor of Biden in early January.

 

A Legislative Audit Committee meeting at the state capitol on Tuesday failed to uncover even a hint of impropriety in the 2020 election in Colorado. As The Denver Post reports:

Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, told committee members that Coloradans can be confident that their elections are free and fair, and instances of fraud that may have been successful are in the dozens, not hundreds of thousands.

The motions by Republicans — one to launch an audit of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and another to direct the state auditor to research a potential performance audit — failed on tie votes of 4-4.

Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican, told The Denver Post that while the meeting didn’t uncover massive voter fraud, every person’s vote should be protected. [Pols emphasis]

This is a completely pointless statement from Lundeen that perfectly summarizes yesterday’s worthless hearing.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado church that sued the government in order to be allowed to host as many COVID-19 super-spreader events as it wants.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (December 14)

Happy “Monkey Day“; we have no advice on how to celebrate this one. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► Members of the Electoral College are meeting in states across the country to formalize votes for the 2020 Presidential election. The Washington Post is keeping a running count of the balloting, which is expected to confirm (again) that Joe Biden is the President-elect:

Normally an afterthought, the vote will be closely watched this year as President Trump has sought to subvert Biden’s victory by promoting baseless claims that the vote was tainted by fraud and pressuring state lawmakers to back alternate slates of electors. No states have done so.

Based on the results of the Nov. 3 general election, Biden is set to have 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 by the end of the day. Votes are cast by individual electors, who are typically leaders and loyalists of the political party that won the state’s popular vote. Their ballots will be formally counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

Chris Cillizza of CNN looks on the bright side of this process, which ordinarily nobody would pay much attention:

…there is one good thing that has come out of Trump’s ongoing attempts to overturn an election he quite clearly lost: The average person is following the usually-mundane ways in which the election is certified and confirmed far more closely than at anytime in the past — raising, at least for the moment, our collective civic literacy.

Consider Monday: The votes of the electoral college to confirm Biden’s win. CNN — as well as the other cable networks –are going wall-to-wall with their coverage of the votes in all 50 states.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to speak after all electoral votes have been cast today.

 

► On the subject of being educated about how the electoral process works in the United States…perhaps somebody needs to have a chat with White House adviser Stephen Miller. As The Hill newspaper reports:

Miller indicated that Trump supporters will act as “alternates” in a handful of contested states, including Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, to submit their own, unofficial results. Should the Trump campaign succeed in overturning the outcome in any of those states, Miller said, the alternate electors could then be recognized by Congress.

Nothing in the Constitution or state electoral processes allows for such an “alternate” slate of electors.

In other words, Trump supporters are going to make their own “electoral college.” This will likely be about as effective as last week’s lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that was quickly dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Vaccinations for COVID-19 have begun in the United States, as CNN reports:

A critical care nurse was the first person in New York and among the first people in the United States to get a shot of the coronavirus vaccine authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, New York City, was administered the vaccine during a live video event at about 9:20 a.m. ET on Monday. Dr. Michelle Chester, the corporate director of employee health services at Northwell Health, delivered the shot…

…The first batch of the vaccine was shipped out from a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan, on Sunday headed for over 600 sites across all 50 states. The first deliveries arrived to the University of Michigan, George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC, and more locations on Monday morning.

State and local authorities make their own decisions on who gets vaccinated and when. The CDC has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first.

Colorado received its first shipment of vaccines on Monday morning. The editorial board of The Denver Post considers the question of how to prioritize vaccinations in Colorado. Denver7 has a handy Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

 Congress is getting closer to approval on a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal government from shutting down. As POLITICO explains, this is probably the last 2020 hope for some sort of stimulus funding:

The massive omnibus deal is expected to be the final major piece of legislation pushed through the lame duck Congress — making it a likely vehicle for Covid-related fiscal stimulus if top Republicans and Democrats can reach a long-delayed accord this week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they want to combine coronavirus relief with the annual budget measure.

 

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

 

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So, You Want to Overturn Democracy…

Clockwise from top: Rep. Michael Waltz, Rep. Ken Buck, and Rep. Doug Lamborn kissing arse.

We wrote yesterday about the news that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had both added their names to an amicus brief related to that asinine Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election so that Donald Trump can remain in the White House.

It seems that we are not alone in our dismay over the actions of local Members of Congress. The editorial board of The Orlando Sentinel is pretty pissed off about the decision of Rep. Michael Waltz to join in this circus — so upset, in fact, that it published an editorial in which it apologized for endorsing Waltz in 2020:

We now know what we didn’t then — that Waltz, a U.S. Army Green Beret who served his country — is willing to undermine the nation to ensure his political party remains in control of the White House.

Every American should be appalled at the attempted usurpation taking place, and at the elected officials taking part in this terrifying fiasco and violating their oath to protect the country from enemies, foreign and domestic.

Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret.

We do.

Sadly, the list of Republican Members of Congress signing onto the Texas lawsuit continues to grow. The rationale, as the Sentinel explains, is distressingly simple:

They want to undo 231 years of election tradition and norms so their guy, Donald Trump, can have another four years in office. And so the president won’t send out a mean tweet that might torpedo their chances for reelection.

Back in March 2019, the editorial board of The Denver Post famously un-endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) after finally growing tired of Gardner’s inability to honor his word and his general impotence in dealing with President Trump. The last straw for the Post was Gardner’s flip-flop in support of Trump’s “emergency declaration” so that he could raid military coffers to build his stupid wall along the Mexico border. As the Post wrote:

Gardner has been too busy walking a political tight rope to be a leader. He has become precisely what we said in our endorsement he would not be: “a political time-server interested only in professional security.”…

…We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.

Colorado’s newspaper of record, The Denver Post, can’t un-endorse Rep. Buck; they supported long shot Democrat Ike McCorkle in 2020 rather than give a thumbs up to more of Buck’s nonsense. For obvious reasons, the Post also did not endorse Rep. Lamborn in 2020.

Newspapers such as The Greeley Tribune could still follow the lead of The Orlando Sentinel in voicing displeasure with Buck’s blatant disregard for democracy. If The Colorado Springs Gazette were a real newspaper, they could similarly shame Lamborn (but they won’t).

Regardless, we are encouraged by the actions of The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board. Speaking truth to power is one of the most important roles of a free press. Our democracy may very well depend on it.

Buck, Lamborn and 124 other House Republicans crossed a line this week that should never have even been approachable. As the Sentinel editorial board writes, “Our nation teeters on the edge of constitutional disaster” as a result of the actions of these Republican Members of Congress. Buck and Lamborn need to hear this message, repeatedly, so that this never happens again.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (December 11)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on track to approve a COVID-19 vaccine by Saturday (The New York Times reports it could be as soon as tonight). As The Washington Post reports:

The Food and Drug Administration said early Friday that it “will rapidly work toward” authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on an emergency basis, an action that would kick off an unprecedented effort to inoculate enough Americans to stop a rampaging pandemic.

That decision was expected later Friday or early Saturday, according to two people familiar with the situation, who did not have the authority to talk about the timing and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The rapidly unfolding developments came hours after federal advisers endorsed the vaccine. The agency said in its statement that it has also notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed, “so they can execute their plans for timely vaccine distribution.”

The United States set another record for daily COVID-19 deaths on Thursday with 3,347. If this current death rate continues, we will surpass the 300,000 mark sometime next week. NBCNews.com is devoting its entire front page to the pandemic today.

The United States is not alone in its struggles with the pandemic, as CNN reports:

Europe is in meltdown again as daily Covid death tolls reach record highs and countries scramble to expand testing and rescue hospital systems that are buckling under the pressure.

Russia and Germany reported record daily Covid-19 deaths on Friday, and October was Russia’s deadliest month in a decade. Stockholm’s intensive care units hit 99% capacity as Sweden proposed a spring “pandemic law” to potentially force closures of certain public spaces. And France said its lockdown would not be eased as planned on Tuesday after daily case numbers rose on Thursday compared with last week.

Germany tallied 598 fatalities in a span of 24 hours, according to the country’s center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute.

 

Here in Colorado, it appears that we may have dodged a significant increase in COVID-19 cases as a result of Thanksgiving travel. As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

Two weeks after Thanksgiving, Colorado hasn’t seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, though health officials aren’t ready to breathe easy yet.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said it’s possible an increase still could show up in the next few days, as happened following the Independence Day and Labor Day weekends. But it could be that any increase from holiday travel was offset by decreases in other settings, she said at a meeting of a governor’s advisory committee on Thursday morning.

“So far, we’re not seeing an increased trend associated with Thanksgiving,” she said. “Either it’s too soon, or all the things we did in the state really made a difference.”

The Colorado Springs Independent has more on what (and when) to expect vaccinations in Colorado.

 

► The U.S. Supreme Court is discussing whether or not to even entertain a ridiculous lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that seeks to overturn the results of the Presidential election in four key states (Colorado has some unfortunate connections to this lawsuit). On the other side, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is among many voices urging SCOTUS to reject this last-minute attempt at keeping President Trump in the White House.

Meanwhile, more than 100 Republican lawmakers signed onto an Amicus brief related to the suit, including Colorado Reps. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs). The editorial board of The Orlando Sentinel is not happy that one of its Members of Congress joined the circus:

Via The Orlando Sentinel (12/11/20)

We had no idea, had no way of knowing at the time, that Waltz was not committed to democracy.

During our endorsement interview with the incumbent congressman, we didn’t think to ask, “Would you support an effort to throw out the votes of tens of millions of Americans in four states in order to overturn a presidential election and hand it to the person who lost, Donald Trump?”

Our bad.

Trust us, some variation of that question will be asked of anyone running for Congress in the future, particularly Republican candidates whose party is attempting to upend the way we choose a president.

 

As The Aurora Sentinel reports, Colorado counties are moving quickly to distribute what little COVID-19 relief money is available before an end-of-month deadline. Congress does not appear to be close to reaching an agreement on another COVID-19 stimulus package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Scrooge” McConnell scuttled recent hopes for a new financial package, and it’s now possible that the federal government could shut down altogether for want of any sort of agreement. As POLITICO explains:

On Wednesday, McConnell’s staff informed House and Senate leadership staffers that the bipartisan group’s attempts to marry $160 billion in state and local aid and a temporary liability shield — major sticking points in the ongoing talks — probably won’t fly with most of the GOP, according to a senior Democrat familiar with the discussion.

It marked a major blow to ongoing bipartisan discussions. And Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a leader of those talks, suggested Congress may need to punt disagreements on liability and local government aid until next year.

 

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

 

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Buck, Lamborn Join Dumbass Texas Lawsuit

Rep. Ken Buck (top) and Rep. Doug Lamborn

We wrote earlier about the ludicrous lawsuit out of Texas seeking to invalidate election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin so that Democrat Joe Biden could somehow be un-elected as President. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the dubious lawsuit on Tuesday, and President Trump officially joined on Wednesday. Six other Republicans Attorneys General joined the suit on Thursday.

As Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor explained for CNN: “In a nutshell the President is asking the Supreme Court to exercise its rarest form of jurisdiction to effectively overturn the entire presidential election.”

As Vox.com explains:

But the problem Paxton faces is the same one that has dogged all the legal challenges filed so far by Trump allies: There’s simply no evidence of significant irregularities. Elections officials in dozens of states spanning the red-to-blue spectrum have found no evidence of significant voter fraud marring the results. And they’ve looked.

Election law experts say that the Texas lawsuit has virtually no chance of succeeding, but that didn’t stop two Colorado Congressmen from joining the (lost) cause. Both Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) added their names to an Amicus brief:

 

Look, Rep. Lamborn is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so seeing his name appear on an idiotic lawsuit is not terribly surprising. But Buck is a freakin’ lawyer who was the District Attorney in Weld County for 10 years prior to being elected to Congress. Buck SHOULD know that this is legal horse manure. Frankly, it says a lot about Buck that he probably does know that this lawsuit is nonsense but he agreed to add his name to it anyway.

Buck has shown recently that he’s happy to parrot any suggestion of election impropriety, and he is apparently more than willing to break election laws himself despite serving as the State Republican Party Chairman. The next time Buck tries to tell you about how he is “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C., you can stop him right here.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 10)

Happy “Human Rights Day.” Please be a nice human today. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► The United States broke a week-old record by surpassing 3,000 daily deaths from COVID-19. The good news: Americans could be receiving vaccinations within a matter of days. As The New York Times reports:

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, as well as industry and consumer representatives, is meeting all day on Thursday to discuss whether Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized by the agency. Although the F.D.A. does not have to follow the advice of the panel, it usually does.

If the experts vote in favor of the vaccine, it will clear the way for the F.D.A. to authorize the vaccine within days and for some health care workers and nursing home residents to begin receiving it early next week.

Earlier this week, career scientists at the F.D.A. published more than 100 pages of analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data that showed the vaccine was safe and effective across a variety of demographic groups and also began to show effectiveness after the first of two doses.

Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post have more on how the State of Colorado plans to prioritize the availability of vaccinations, broken down by Winter, Spring, and Summer stages. The short version is that extremely-high risk health care workers and individuals will get the vaccine first, while the general public probably won’t get stabbed in the arm until early Summer 2021.

Prisoners in Colorado jails have been moved down the priorities list, though as 9News reports, the biggest outbreak in the federal prison system is in the Denver Metro area:

A minimum security federal prison in Jefferson County is experiencing the largest outbreak in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) system.

Out of 900 inmates at FCI Englewood, 451 presently have COVID-19, and 50 out of 251 staff have COVID right now, according to BOP.

 

► Scrooge McConnell appears to have scuttled a coronavirus relief package. Again.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still officially on the job until Democrat John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement on January 3. But as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Gardner hasn’t really been doing his job for weeks now:

The email contact form on Gardner’s website disappeared soon after the election, and the “email Cory” link at the bottom of the site’s other pages leads to a 404 page that says, “404. We’re sorry. The page you requested cannot be found.”…

…Gardner’s eight in-state offices in Colorado shuttered for good on Friday, according to a message reached by calling the senator’s Pueblo office. Multiple calls to each of his offices, including the one in Washington, D.C., went unanswered this week.

A Gardner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While it is not at all unusual for Gardner’s office to avoid comment — on pretty much any question — it is not standard practice for outgoing U.S. Senators to just stop doing their job:

Four of the other five departing senators had functioning email contact forms on their Senate websites on Wednesday, and the fifth, retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, greeted constituents with messages urging them to get in touch with other members of the state’s delegation…

Spokeswomen for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow said they’d be happy to help out constituents who can’t reach Gardner’s office. [Pols emphasis]

► Colorado is one of 46 states that have joined an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. As The Denver Post explains:

The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.

“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit and a separate complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission seek to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior by forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, and preventing the company from making any acquisitions for more than $10 million without first alerting officials in the states that filed the suit…

…The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort. The District of Columbia and the territory of Guam did join.

 

 Colorado House Republicans want to hold a hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee in order to “investigate” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have been invited to testify.

 

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

 

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