El Paso County GOP’s Worst Case Scenario Lincoln Day Dinner

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports that the El Paso County Republican Party, controlled by a hard-right faction of local party activists led by controversial party chair Vickie Tonkins and backed up by the literal muscle of the FEC United/United American Defense Force militia group, has invited to Colorado the one member of Congress who could be considered an even greater embarrassment than Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert:

The El Paso County Republican Party has booked U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican who was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year, to deliver the keynote speech at the party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner.

Props to Luning for a two-paragraph summary of just how crazy Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene really is, which should be required to follow every press mention of Greene’s name:

Greene, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has sparked a near-constant stream of outrage since her election last year and in February was removed from her committee posts in an overwhelmingly party-line vote after social media posts calling for the execution of Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, came to light.

She’s also declared that the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a “false flag” operation meant to scare Americans into supporting gun control, and in 2018 suggested that a devastating California wild fire was started by space lasers controlled by a powerful Jewish family.

MTG’s most recent offense of comparing mask mandates to the experience of Jews during the Holocaust resulted in an extremely rare apology, but that came only after Republican House leadership and Jewish groups across the country spoke out in condemnation of MTG’s remarks. There’s little evidence that her apology was taken seriously, and having lost her committee assignments in a bipartisan vote after unsuccessfully trying to sort-of atone for her past misdeeds in February, MTG’s only job now is to delay and disrupt and demagogue from the sidelines.

Obviously, it’s a sign of how far to the fringe the El Paso County GOP has lurched in recent years to see them reward the very worst behavior from any Republican elected official in 2021 with their keynote address. You don’t do this by accident. The message is unmistakable. The only question now is whether the Colorado Republican political establishment, which includes influential Jewish Republican donors like Larry Mizel, will tolerate the slap in the face this represents.

If they do, a new bottom will then be sounded.

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 21)

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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As John Ingold writes for The Colorado Sun, the Delta coronavirus variant is exploding in Colorado…which is bad news for anyone who is still unvaccinated against COVID-19:

The Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India and is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in Colorado in late April. By the first week of this month — a period of about six weeks — it had grown to account for an estimated 40% of all new infections in Colorado.

For comparison, it took eight weeks for the Alpha variant — also known as the B.1.1.7 or United Kingdom variant — to reach 40% of the state’s total cases. As of early June, that variant made up an estimated 48% of total cases in Colorado, but its share is falling as Delta’s rises.

Nationwide, the Delta variant is believed to account for about 10% of new cases.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said the Delta variant is believed to be about 50% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which itself was 50% more transmissible than the original form of the virus.

Fully-vaccinated people don’t have to worry much about contracting the new variant.

Meanwhile, Westword looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in Mesa County, Colorado, thanks primarily to a stubborn reluctance from many to get vaccinated.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of student athletes in the debate over whether athletes should be compensated for the revenue they help generate for their respective universities.

 

New polling data from Colorado-based conservative pollster Magellan Strategies shows that 60% of Coloradans approve of the way that Gov. Jared Polis has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colorado Sun has more on the Magellan poll, and so does Colorado Pols.

 

According to an account published in a new book, former President Trump suggested moving Americans infected with COVID-19 TO GUANTANAMO BAY in Cuba. From The Washington Post:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea, worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.

Read those paragraphs one more time.

 

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 15)

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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

New information is emerging showing the depths to which former President Trump and his minions sank in their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. As The Washington Post explains:

President Donald Trump’s staff began sending emails to Jeffrey Rosen, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, asking him to embrace Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election at least 10 days before Rosen assumed the role of acting attorney general, according to new emails disclosed by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in advance of a hearing to probe the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

On the same day as the electoral college met to certify the election results — which was also the day Trump announced that William P. Barr would be stepping down as attorney general — his assistant sent Rosen an email with a list of complaints concerning the way the election had been carried out in Antrim County, Mich.

The file included a forensic analysis of the Dominion Voting Systems machines the county employed, alleging they were “intentionally and purposefully” calibrated to create fraudulent results, and “talking points” that could be used to counter any arguments “against us.”…

…The claims were false.

The email — one of several previously undisclosed records released by the Oversight Committee Tuesday morning — sheds light on the type of pressure Trump was putting on the Justice Department to take up his crusade against Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

The good news here is that DOJ official seem to have responded to Trump’s demands with the appropriate level of dismissal:

 

As The New York Times reports, the Biden administration is putting together plans for combatting domestic extremism:

The Biden administration is aiming to bolster information sharing with technology companies, potentially expand hiring of intelligence analysts and improve screening of government employees for ties to domestic terrorism as part of a much-anticipated plan expected to be released on Tuesday detailing how the federal government should combat extremism.

President Biden ordered the review of how federal agencies addressed domestic extremism soon after coming into office, part of an effort to more aggressively acknowledge a national security threat that has grown since the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

The 32-page plan synthesizes steps that have been recommended by national security officials — including bolstering relationships with social media companies and improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies — into one blueprint on how to more effectively identify extremists in the country after years of heightened focus on foreign terrorists.

 

Things are getting weird(er) in Grand Junction, as COVIDiots come out to yell at the Mesa County Commissioners.

 

Governor Jared Polis is holding bill signing ceremonies in Northern Colorado today, with stops in Longmont, Greeley, and Ft. Collins on the schedule.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Save the Filibuster…So Republicans Can Kill it First!

Senate Minority “Leader” Mitch McConnell

For anyone who still believes that good-faith bipartisanship remains possible in the U.S. Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would like to assure you otherwise.

As The Hill reports:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled Monday that Republicans, if they win back control of the upper chamber, wouldn’t advance a Supreme Court nominee if a vacancy occurred in 2024, the year of the next presidential election.

“I think it’s highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

McConnell was asked if a GOP-controlled Senate would take the same tack in 2024 that it did in 2016, when they refused to give Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s final Supreme Court pick, a hearing or a vote on his nomination to fill the vacancy created by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia…

…McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if a justice stepped down in mid-2023 and Republican controlled the Senate.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell said, asked by Hewitt if the nominee would get a fair shot.

Via POLITICO (6/14/21)

This is the same Mitch McConnell who said earlier in May that he was “100 percent focused” on stopping the administration of President Joe Biden — regardless of the policies presented by the White House. McConnell is saying unequivocally now that he would prevent the advancement of a Supreme Court nominee by President Biden, just as he prevented the advancement of Merrick Garland in 2016 and rammed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett — the kind of nomination that was supposedly done “too close” to an election.

As Sahil Kapur of NBC News points out:

It is ludicrous for Democratic Senators such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to continue to protect “institutions” of the Senate — such as the filibuster — when there is absolutely no question that Senate Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about tradition or fair play or hypocrisy or anything else. If Democrats don’t push for changes to the filibuster or the 60-vote rule in the Senate, it’s only matter of time before Republicans do it themselves.

Mitch McConnell would probably even tell you as much if you asked.

Colorado’s Eighth Congressional District Taking Shape

This proposal from COHCC places an 8th CD in the North Metro area (the pink map).

As The Colorado Sun explains in “The Unaffiliated” newsletter, the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (COHCC) is pushing for a congressional redistricting map that places a new 8th CD in the North Metro area:

The group wants the new district to be drawn in north metro Denver and be 35% Hispanic.

The district would include Berthoud, Greeley, Firestone, Dacono, Frederick, Fort Lupton, Longmont, Erie, Northglenn, Brighton and Thornton. In a video, the Hispanic Chamber noted the Interstate 25 corridor north of Denver had the highest growth in the state in the past decade, based on 2019 population estimates.

The chamber said the common interest among those cities includes balancing public health with the economics of oil and gas development.

The city of Aurora would remain in the 6th District, under the Hispanic Chamber’s plan.

A zoomed-in look at the Congressional redistricting map proposed by COHCC.

This proposal from COHCC seems to be gaining some traction in the redistricting discussion. According to a press release from COHCC, “The district prioritizes communities of interest that may be subject to federal legislation around growth and transportation and the intersection of oil and gas development with air- and water-quality concerns.” The group’s website explains the new 8th CD thusly:

This 8th CD is designed as a minority-influence district, with Latinos comprising nearly a third of the voting-age population, and should be competitive for both parties…

…We believe it is critical to avoid any attempts to “pack” minority voices into a single district under the guise of creating a majority-minority district.

The nonpartisan staff for Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will release a first look at a potential new map on June 23.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Stop Trying to Make “Gerrymandering” Happen

This week on Episode #77 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii explain why Republicans aren’t going to get “Gerrymandering” to stick in Colorado; we bid farewell to Donald Trump’s sad blog; and we revisit two popular segments in “Legislating With Crayons” and “The Boebert Report.”

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

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

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

This Guy for U.S. Senate in 2022

We did not Photoshop this image. This is really what it says on his website.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republicans at last have a candidate for U.S. Senate to challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) in 2022.

Although (or should we say, Aaaand…) they might want to keep looking for other options.

As Luning explains, some dude named Erik Aadland, who literally just became a registered Republican voter in Colorado a few weeks ago (March 1, 2021, to be exact), is ready to take on Bennet after being trained in the ways of politics by — wait for it — Casper Stockham:

Aadland said he decided to launch a campaign after going through candidate training with America First Republicans, a nonprofit started late last year by perennial GOP congressional nominee Casper Stockham.

“I found America First because I was following Casper on Twitter leading up the 2020 elections and then was somewhat devastated by what transpired in the elections,” Aadland said Monday in an appearance with Stockham on the conservative PJNET Live video podcast.

“I just felt divinely inspired to show up there. Very quickly, he planted a seed that I should run for office,” Aadland said, referring to Stockham, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter last year and lost a bid for state Republican Party chairman in April…

…”I think I’m called by God and it’s been a series of synchronicities and meeting the right people and not making this decision on my own,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Righto!

[Side Note: Stockham also tried unsuccessfully to run for Congress in CO-01 and CO-06 in recent years, so maybe he’s not the best political mentor.]

Aadland is a West Point graduate who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and currently lives in Pine, Colorado. According to a bio on his website, Aadland worked in the oil and gas industry until recently. In 2020, he apparently earned a Master’s degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology…whatever that means.

And why, you may ask, does Aadland want to run for U.S. Senate? (aside from the fact that there might not be a robust job market in the field of “Depth Psychology”) As Luning reports, Aadland had this to say to the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club in Wheat Ridge:

“This country is on the brink of being taken over by a communist government and perpetuating their communist agenda. We need to open up our eyes and be very aware of that. That’s what’s happening,” he said.

“The 2020 election, it was rigged. Absolutely rigged.”

Um…alright.

In a normal timeline, this might be disqualifying. But as we wrote earlier this week, Republican candidates for federal office — across the country — believe that speaking up about “The Big Lie” is essentially a requirement if you want to win a Republican Primary in 2022. Heck, 3 in 10 Republicans still believe that Donald Trump is going to magically be reinstated as President in a couple of months.

It’s still hard to imagine that this guy could actually win the Republican Senate nomination in 2022, but stranger things have happened to Sen. Bennet. Like Darryl Glenn, for example.

Court Records Show Boebert Hasn’t Paid Off Lien Resulting From Her Refusal to Garnish Wages

(You know what that means…road trip!!! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just before she was elected to Congress last year, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) finished paying off the state of Colorado nearly $20,000 in back taxes owed by her restaurant, Shooters Grill, located in Rifle.

The debt took the form of eight tax liens assessed since 2016 for failing to pay unemployment insurance.

But a ninth lien, assessed by the Garfield County Court after Boebert refused to garnish an employee’s wages, remains unpaid, according to the Garfield County Court, in a response last week to a records request by the Colorado Times Recorder.

The outstanding lien of $2,578 was assessed against Shooters Grill after Boebert and an employee, who’d been sued by a debt collector, failed to respond to the court and the lawyers involved.

Boebert not only failed to respond to written requests to deal with the matter, but she also skipped two hearings arranged by the court. In one case, she’d received and ignored a summons to appear.

Garfield Court Judge Jonathan Pototsky eventually issued a default judgment that required Shooters Grill to pay the $2,578, which included the initial debt of the employee, plus attorney’s fees, court costs, and interest.

The debt collector, Professional Finance Company Inc., that sued Shooters Grill is representing a nonprofit organization in the case, according to court documents.

It’s possible that Boebert has paid off the debt, according to a Garfield County Court spokesperson, and Professional Finance Company Inc. has failed to notify the court that payment was received.

Multiple calls to Professional Finance Company Inc. were not returned.

Boebert’s office likewise didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Boebert’s failure to respond to the Garfield County Court in this garnishment case is part of a pattern of not showing up for court hearings.

During the past five years, she failed to appear for court hearings in two minor, easy-to-deal-with criminal matters, resulting first in arrest warrants and then two actual arrests, which left a trail of fingerprints and mugshots that have been spotlighted by her opponents.

Boebert after a 2017 arrest.

Now Boebert mocks her arrest record, saying, “I even got a pretty mugshot out of it.”

RELATEDBoebert’s Defenders Say Let Her Grow Up. But Read the Report of Her Arresting Officers and See What You Think

Boring Boebert Makes Fool of Herself at Border

Don’t bother watching. This is the whole schtick.

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) has become little more than a living, breathing cliche. Boebert’s brand of politics is “Performative Obstruction,” which largely entails two things: 1) Being opposed to anything that Democrats suggest, and 2) Yelling about any one of a handful of predictable social issues of which she has little to no understanding.

Boebert defeated incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in a 2020 Primary because she presented a new, more interesting caricature of a politician at the same time that Tipton had basically stopped trying to appeal to voters in CO-03. Her gun-toting, smack-talking persona did enough to convince voters in a heavily-Republican district to support her in the General Election, and she has continued that simple shtick into Congress.

On Tuesday, Boebert released a new video on social media that follows a familiar formula. She struts around near an unfinished section of wall along the U.S./Mexico border firing off silly one-liner attacks about how the Joe Biden administration somehow created an immigration crisis out of thin air (nevermind that immigration has been a significant issue for every Presidential administration of her lifetime). Then comes the “big reveal”: Boebert is shown carrying a cardboard cutout (SO CREATIVE!) of Vice President Kamala Harris. The message is that Harris — and therefore the Biden administration — is not doing enough to address the issue of undocumented immigrants because Harris is not standing around at the border pointing at stuff.

So what exactly is the Vice President doing at the moment? As The New York Times reports:

During her first foreign trip as vice president, Kamala Harris said the United States would bolster investigations into corruption and human trafficking in Guatemala, while also delivering a clear, blunt message to undocumented migrants hoping to reach the United States: “Do not come.”

Ms. Harris issued the warning during a trip that was an early yet pivotal test for a vice president currently tasked with the complex challenge of breaking a cycle of migration from Central America by investing in a region plagued by corruption, violence and poverty.

While President Biden campaigned on unwinding some of the Trump administration’s border restrictions, allowing migrants to apply for asylum at the U.S. border, Ms. Harris amplified the White House’s current stance that most of those who crossed the border would be turned away and would instead need to find legal pathways or protection closer to their home countries.

Vice President Harris was in Guatemala on Monday, where she met with President Alejandro Giammattei. Today, Harris is in Mexico to meet with President Andrés Manuel López ObradorAs CNN reports, Harris is actually working on the immigration issue in a manner that seems more likely to produce results than merely taking a field trip to a fence:

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The Big Lie is Still the Only Truth for Republicans

Not Donald Trump at work in The Oval Office.

It has been 216 days since the last Presidential election…unless you are a Republican candidate for public office in 2022. Republican politicians exist in an alternate reality from everyone else; they can’t discuss the future because they’re still obsessed with re-writing the past. For them, the Big Lie is still the only truth that matters.

As The New York Times explains:

Across the country, a rising class of Republican challengers has embraced the fiction that the 2020 election was illegitimate, marred by fraud and inconsistencies. Aggressively pushing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he was robbed of re-election, these candidates represent the next generation of aspiring G.O.P. leaders, who would bring to Congress the real possibility that the party’s assault on the legitimacy of elections, a bedrock principle of American democracy, could continue through the 2024 contests.

Dozens of Republican candidates have sown doubts about the election as they seek to join the ranks of the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying President Biden’s victory. There are degrees of denial: Some bluntly declare they must repair a rigged system that produced a flawed result, while others speak in the language of “election integrity,” promoting Republican re-examinations of the vote counts in Arizona and Georgia and backing new voting restrictions introduced by Republicans in battleground states.

They are united by a near-universal reluctance to state outright that Mr. Biden is the legitimately elected leader of the country… 

…But Republicans’ unwavering fealty to the voter fraud myth underscores an emerging dynamic of party politics: To build a campaign in the modern G.O.P., most candidates must embrace — or at least not openly deny — conspiracy theories and election lies, and they must commit to a mission of imposing greater voting restrictions and making it easier to challenge or even overturn an election’s results. The prevalence of such candidates in the nascent stages of the party primaries highlights how Mr. Trump’s willingness to embrace far-flung falsehoods has elevated fringe ideas to the mainstream of his party. [Pols emphasis]

Multiple news outlets — including the Times — reported last week that former President Trump remains completely consumed by the idea that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from him. These aren’t just the bitter ramblings of a fragile ego; Trump actually believes that he is going to end up back in the White House within a matter of months. As Charles Cooke of the conservative National Journal writes:

I can attest, from speaking to an array of different sources, that Donald Trump does indeed believe quite genuinely that he — along with former senators David Perdue and Martha McSally — will be “reinstated” to office this summer after “audits” of the 2020 elections in Arizona, Georgia, and a handful of other states have been completed. [Pols emphasis] I can attest, too, that Trump is trying hard to recruit journalists, politicians, and other influential figures to promulgate this belief — not as a fundraising tool or an infantile bit of trolling or a trial balloon, but as a fact…

…The scale of Trump’s delusion is quite startling. This is not merely an eccentric interpretation of the facts or an interesting foible, nor is it an irrelevant example of anguished post-presidency chatter. It is a rejection of reality, a rejection of law, and, ultimately, a rejection of the entire system of American government.

Cool pants

As Cooke continues, even if there were irrefutable proof that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump, there is absolutely nothing that can change the fact that Joe Biden is the current President of the United States.

None of this apparently matters to many Republicans, who continue to insist that their ideal 2022 candidates look and act like Trump. This is a real problem for the GOP, because the majority of Americans prefer to see 2022 candidates who are as ideologically different from Trump as possible. This devotion to The Big Lie also prevents Republicans from even pondering their next steps. As The Associated Press reports:

Republicans are fighting to seize control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they’d do if they win.

Look no further for evidence of the GOP’s muddled governing agenda than battleground North Carolina, where party leaders packed into a convention hall Saturday night to cheer former President Donald Trump. Even with a high-stakes U.S. Senate election looming, the Republicans there were united not by any consistent set of conservative policies or principles, but by Trump’s groundless grievances about the 2020 election and his attacks against critics in both parties…

…“I’m unaware of a GOP agenda. I would love to see one,” said Texas-based conservative activist and former tea party leader Mark Meckler. [Pols emphasis]

How do Republicans in Colorado move forward in 2022 when they are so chained to 2020? How can someone like Heidi Ganahl seek the GOP nomination for Governor when she risks losing the support of her base just by answering the question, “Is Joe Biden the President?”

Insisting that Biden is not really the President might still work for the likes of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) or Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), but it’s not going to win much support outside of deep-red districts. Colorado will gain an eighth Congressional seat in 2022; it’s likely that the winner of an eventual GOP Primary will be someone who declares that 2020 never happened. Good luck explaining that in a General Election.

There’s an old saying about how those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat the same mistakes in the future. This still applies even if you pretend the past never happened.

Joe Manchin Torpedoes For The People Act, Filibuster Reform

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-ish).

CNN reports, and if there’s anything anybody can legally do about it, now’s the time to show us your plan:

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday defended his decision to vote against a sweeping voting rights bill and reiterated his opposition to gutting the filibuster, declaring in the strongest terms yet that he is not willing to change Senate rules to help his party push through much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, wrote in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette.

Manchin’s opposition to changing filibuster rules stands as a major roadblock to Biden’s legislative priorities, as current rules allow Republicans to hold up many of the progressive bills the administration supports, including infrastructure spending, federal voting legislation and climate change legislation.

Sen. John Hickenlooper plays the banjo in support of the For The People Act.

From Sen. Joe Manchin’s column in the Charleston Gazette, which Democrats coast to coast are either seething over or in denial of this Sunday morning:

Democrats in Congress have proposed a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act. This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican support. Why? Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?

The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.

With that in mind, some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.

With no margin to overcome Sen. Manchin’s dissent, the Democratic agenda in the U.S. Senate could now be effectively stalled. Manchin says the alternative to doing away with the filibuster will be “frustrating and slow,” and “will force compromises that are not always ideal.” The problem here is that Manchin assumes there will be any compromise from Republicans who now thanks to Joe Manchin have no incentive to do so. Their obstruction of Biden’s agenda, which is the sole political objective of Republicans between now and the 2022 midterms, has just been fully enabled.

As for coming out against the For The People Act beyond merely opposing ending the filibuster in order to pass it, Manchin says “voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.” But that’s exactly what Republicans are doing with their wave of vote suppression legislation being run by Republicans in state houses across the country. The For The People Act would put a stop to vote suppression in the name of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” which is the far greater offense than anything in the For The People Act to protect voting rights. Manchin is not just wrong, he’s wrong at the worst possible moment for American democracy.

In the meantime, the one thing we don’t want to see is misguided attacks on Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators over Joe Manchin’s intransigence. Sen. Michael Bennet has been very strong in 2021 about not letting the arcane rules of the U.S. Senate forestall necessary legislation. Sen. John Hickenlooper is a major, if not perfect-pitched proponent of the For The People Act. There’s always a temptation to rage indiscriminately at our own when frustrating political news hits, but there’s just nothing to indicate today that either of Colorado’s Senators are part of the problem.

The best hope now is that when that fabled Republican “compromise” fails to manifest, perhaps Manchin will see reason. If Democrats want to achieve anything beyond throwing money at problems via the budget reconciliation process before the midterms, he’ll need to.

Colorado Announces First COVID Lottery Winner

One of these pictures shows Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver)

As 9News reports, we have a winner in the first $1 million drawing for Coloradans who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination:

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday announced that Sally Sliger of Mead was the first $1 million winner of the Colorado Comeback Cash COVID-19 vaccine drawing.

“The odds of me and my family being given $1 million overnight seemed impossibly small,” Sliger said at a news conference Friday at the Governor’s Residence. “Even with this winning, I’m still having a hard time believing our luck of the draw.”

The Colorado Lottery is holding five drawings between June 4 and July 7. Anyone 18 and older who is a Colorado resident and has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered. You can check if your record is in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) here.

The winner is definitely not Denver Rep. Diana DeGette, though there is a decent chance that they are somehow related based on the two pictures above.

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 4)

The Denver Nuggets have advanced to Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs after dispatching the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday; Game One is scheduled for Monday evening in Phoenix. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, Congressional Democrats unveiled an ambitious new transportation funding plan:

Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a $547 billion transportation funding package Friday that would ramp up spending on rail and transit, while encouraging states to repair existing roads rather than build new ones.

The biggest chunk of the bill is $343 billion for road and bridge construction, as well as highway safety, a boost of more than 50 percent over the last transportation bill Congress passed in 2015. It also calls for $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for rail — including a tripling of funding to Amtrak.

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the committee, said the proposed legislation embodies a core piece of President Biden’s infrastructure plans, “seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future.”

 

As The Associated Press reports, COVID-19 is still very much a danger to Coloradans — particularly those who refuse to get vaccinated:

About 500 people remain hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19 even though the pandemic seems to be receding, and health officials say almost all of the patients share a common trait: They’re unvaccinated.

“We’ve taken a deep look at this,” Dr. JP Valin, chief clinical officer at SCL Health, told Colorado Public Radio. “Ninety-five percent of the patients who have been hospitalized since February are unvaccinated.”

After more than a year of dealing with the pandemic, the near-constant churn of unvaccinated patients is wearing on front-line doctors and nurses, and their frustration arises in part because at least some of the cases may have been avoidable.

“We are tired,” said Dr. Sandeep Vijan of Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. “We’ve been doing this for a year. We are emotionally tired; tired of seeing people die. We are physically tired.”

The CDC is again encouraging teenagers to get vaccinated quickly.

Get your damn shot, people. Help our first responders out.

 

The 2021 legislative session needs to end by June 12, though lawmakers are hoping to gavel out sometime next week. In the meantime, Democrats keep passing major pieces of legislation that will positively impact nearly everyone in Colorado. Here’s what’s happening in the last few days of the session…

Women in the Colorado legislature are focusing their efforts on ending discrimination in the workplace, as The Denver Post reports. CBS4 Denver has more on how Sen. Faith Winter is working on sexual harassment changes that are guided in part by her own experiences.

House Bill 1325 seeks to provide more resources for the education of higher-needs students.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, legislative Democrats think they have reached a deal with Gov. Jared Polis that will allow a significant climate change bill to move forward.

A massive transportation funding bill is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis.

Legislation that allows local governments to make their own gun control measures is headed to the desk of Gov. Polis. It will be joined by a bill that prevents HOAs from getting all up in your business, and legislation that bans the use of Native American mascots.

Fox 31 reports on the passage of five economic stimulus bills.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on the progress of a late bill dealing with property tax changes.

Westword has the latest on potential changes related to Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 1)

One year ago today, then-President Trump ordered peaceful protestors to be tear-gassed so that he could do a photo op with an upside-down Bible. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Texas Democrats did their part in trying to stop the latest Republican effort to severely restrict voting rights. Now they’re calling on Congress to join the battle, as The Washington Post reports:

Texas Democrats who defeated a Republican effort to pass a suite of new voting restrictions with a dramatic late-night walkout from the state House chamber on Sunday have a message for President Biden and his allies in Congress: If we can protect voting rights, you can, too.

The surprise move by roughly 60 Democratic lawmakers headed off the expected passage of S.B. 7, a voting measure that would have been one of the most stringent in the nation, by denying Republicans a required quorum and forcing them to abruptly adjourn without taking a vote.

The coordinated walkout just after 10:30 p.m. Central time jolted the national debate on voting rights, putting the spotlight on Democratic-backed federal legislation that has been stalled in the Senate all spring, even as state Republicans move to enact new voting rules…

…Republicans control every branch of Texas government and hold firm majorities in both the House and Senate. While Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vowed late Sunday to bring the voting measure back at a special legislative session for redistricting later this year — and threatened to defund the legislature in a tweet on Monday — the walkout represented an unmistakable and shocking defeat for Republican leaders who had assumed the bill would pass ahead of the House’s midnight deadline to finish its 2021 business.

 

We’ve seen and heard the conspiracy theories — including from the “MyPillow Guy” — but this is the first time we’ve seen a real reporter confirming that Donald Trump actually buys into this crap. As Maggie Haberman reports for The New York Times, Trump apparently REALLY BELIEVES that he will be “reinstated” as President in August.

 

The Denver Post reports on changes to health restrictions related to COVID-19:

Planners of large indoor events will no longer need the state’s approval to host more than 500 people according to a public health order issued Monday by Colorado’s state health department.

The amended order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment goes into effect on Tuesday as transmission of COVID-19 and hospitalizations due to the disease level off. The order is scheduled to expire July 1.

“Individuals are encouraged to remain at least 6 feet away from non-household contacts, wash their hands, and wear a face covering to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission,” the order states. “As we continue to combat COVID-19 in our communities, continuing some limited requirements to mitigate disease spread remain appropriate.”

In related news, you may want to double-check that your name is included for a $1 million COVID vaccination award drawing.

 

Let’s catch you up on state legislative news…

Colorado Public Radio looks at how Democrats are moving forward with important new programs for Coloradans.

Colorado could become just the third state in the country to pass a data privacy law.

A bill that would give Colorado more power in restricting charter schools was voted down in a committee hearing.

Denver7 ponders what might happen to the 200 bills still on the legislative calendar with less than two weeks left in the 2021 session.

Republican lawmakers call vaccine requirements “discrimination,” because of course they do.

Democrats are working on legislation that could cut the cost of prescription drugs by as much as 40% in Colorado. This includes a bill that would fix a hole in Colorado’s insulin price cap.

Lawmakers are pushing ahead with a bill that would tell HOAs to stop being so damn bossy.

 

 

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

 

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Crow Calls Out Republicans Blocking January 6 Commission

FRIDAY UPDATE: Politico reporting the expected, accountability for January 6th has been kicked down the road despite six Republican Senators who broke ranks and voted to get the facts:

The 54-35 vote, with six Republicans breaking ranks to join every Democrat in favor, came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lobbied his members forcefully against the House-passed commission measure. The vote was delayed through the night by a handful of Senate Republicans who obstructed China competitiveness legislation, though Democrats decided to punt that bill until after the Memorial Day recess week in order to push forward on the commission bill…

The six Republican senators who voted to advance the commission proposal were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio. All but one of them also voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year. All six received public thanks from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), evicted from her party’s House leadership 16 days ago after vocal criticism of Trump and his role in the riot.

A seventh GOP senator who also voted to convict Trump this year, retiring Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, would have supported advancing the House-passed commission bill had he not been called away from Washington for a family commitment, a spokesperson said.

Both Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper were present and voted yes today, and spoke to NBC News’ Chuck Todd on the way to the airport about getting rid of the filibuster after today’s vote:

—–

Rep. Jason Crow (D).

CNN reports after an appearance by Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado on Don Lemon Tonight last night, blasting Republicans for their attempts to obstruct a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that attempted to thwart the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory by Congress:

Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat and veteran who helped comfort other lawmakers during the US Capitol insurrection, said Wednesday evening there’s a “domestic terror movement” in the US as he sought to highlight the risk of not investigating the January 6 riot.

“We have a domestic terror movement in America. It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump,” Crow told CNN’s Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight.”

“That’s the sad reality. If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk. This is not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6. We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe.”

Rep. Jason Crow comforts a fellow House Member during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Since the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Rep. Crow has been at the forefront of lawmakers demanding accountability for what happened all the way to the top. Crow has compared the assault on the Capitol by supporters of now ex-President Donald Trump to his own experiences in combat as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, and a photo of Crow trying to comfort a fellow representative as rioters stormed through the building has become one of the iconic images of this terrible day in American history.

The vote in the U.S. Senate on the January 6th commission bill passed by the House is by all accounts a foregone conclusion, with Republicans led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell having locked down around a demand for false equivalence between the events of that day and unrelated recent protests such as the Black Lives Matter movement as their pretext to vote against. Despite the fact that McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and some other Republican leaders were in the immediate aftermath willing to assign blame for the January 6th insurrection where it belongs, with Trump personally, their courage in this regard has since evaporated. Which restores their complicity, assuming it was ever lost:

No matter what Republicans said in shock following the attack on the Capitol, covering it up now is all that matters in terms of their legacy. Trump, who once boasted he could shoot a man in the street and not lose support, has proven himself correct beyond what even most of his critics could have anticipated. The normalization of what happened on January 6th by Republicans refusing to hold Trump accountable, perhaps more than any other factor, is setting the stage for the next round of political violence.

And that, readers, is why Rep. Crow is angry. You should be too.

At the end of the day, it may simply be too much to ask the guilty to convict themselves.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Legislating With Lunatics

Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Crazytown)

This week on Episode #76 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what it means that so many Republicans think Donald Trump is still President; we explain why Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is full of crap; and we hear firsthand why Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) will have a hard time making a case for re-election. Also, our popular segment “Legislating With Crayons” gets its own mini-segment called “Legislating With Lunatics.”

This episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast won’t get you all the way through your Memorial Day Weekend road trip, but it’s a start…

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

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

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

Republican Claims of Gerrymandering Ring Hollow in Colorado

If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em! This is the Republican motto for the 2022 election, born out of “The Big Lie” that all good little Republican boys and girls are expected to endorse in order to avoid the wrath of Donald Trump and get around having to admit that the GOP lost both the White House and the U.S. Senate in 2020. 

Confronting your failures and assessing your shortcomings is an uncomfortable undertaking. Expanding your outreach to appeal to a broader swath of voters is difficult work. Adjusting policy positions to appeal to said voters requires engaging in arduous conversations. Preventing far-right candidates from winning Republican Primary Elections, and becoming liabilities in a General Election, demands a lot of organizing and planning. 

Republicans could reject Trumpism and try to understand what Americans actually want, but they seem to have come to the conclusion that it is easier and more comfortable to change the rules than to alter the way they play the game. 

“There is a very real probability that 2018 will be known as the election when it became apparent that the Republican Party no longer has the voter registration numbers to be competitive in Colorado.”

 — Post-2018 election memo from Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies

This is why Republicans are instead focused on trying to make it harder for people to vote in 2022. It’s working in states like Georgia and Texas, but not in Colorado. So the next step in our state is for the GOP to construct a different boogeyman: Gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a very real and very legitimate issue in American politics. As The New York Times examined in 2019, gerrymandering is particularly egregious in some pockets of the United States:

Currently, rigged maps tend to be most prevalent, and most tilted, in states under Republican control. That is in part because Republicans did exceptionally well in the 2010 elections, giving the party far wider control of state legislatures, which oversaw redistricting after the 2010 census. The national Republican Party had poured money and expertise into state legislative races with the specific aim of gaining control over redistricting; the Democratic Party had not.

Many political scientists consider the House maps in Republican-controlled states like North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio and Texas to have the most pronounced partisan slants. (Pennsylvania was also on the list until its map was redrawn last year.) Among Democratic-held states, Maryland, Illinois and — to some observers — California are regarded as the most tilted. Illinois is especially notable for its “pizza slice” division of metropolitan Chicago, using generous helpings of urban Democrats to offset the heavily Republican suburbs in district after district.

In Colorado, gerrymandering has not been nearly as big of a problem…unless you listen to a small but loud cadre of Republicans who are desperately trying to build a false narrative to convince members of Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions that new district lines must be particularly helpful for the GOP in order to make up for the fact that they can no longer figure out how to win elections.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 27)

Governor Polis has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in remembrance of eight people killed during yet another mass shooting — this time in San Jose, California. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Biden is proposing a whopper of a federal budget, as Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times:

President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade.

Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending.

The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change.

Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up.

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is speaking out (again) about Republican efforts to ignore the January 6 insurrection. Via Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, warned on Wednesday night that failing to investigate the Capitol insurrection that Trump incited would be dangerous.

“We have a domestic terror movement in America,” the Democrat told CNN. “It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump. That’s the sad reality.”

“If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk,” he continued.

The Democrat asserted that the House’s bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection is “not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6.”

“We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe,” he said.

Crow could be referring to any number of Republicans, but his comments seem particularly well-suited for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:

The Senate minority leader told Republican colleagues that they should oppose the creation of a Jan. 6 commission, no matter how it is structured, because it “could hurt the party’s midterm election message,” as Politico’s Burgess Everett reported.

And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans…

…McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”  [Pols emphasis] True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators.

Performative obstruction is the Republican brand.

 

Is it any wonder that Republicans and Americans want very different things in 2022 and 2024? At least some Republicans are privately worried that Donald Trump really will attempt to run for President again in 2024.

 

The artist formerly known as “The Colorado Option” is on the verge of passing through the legislature after a few more tweaks. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

A proposal to create a new government-backed insurance plan passed another significant hurdle as Democrats voted to advance the “Colorado Option” through the state Senate on Wednesday.

The approval means that the bill is nearly guaranteed to become law. Once it’s in effect, new health insurance plans would be offered on the individual and small-group markets. That includes up to 15 percent of the state’s population, including hundreds of thousands who don’t have insurance right now. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance…

…Democrats claim that the bill could lower insurance premiums 15 percent by 2025, allowing more people to afford a new insurance plan that is also designed to lower out-of-pocket costs. The bill would force insurance companies to sell the Colorado plan across the state, and it would allow the state to regulate the price of medical services to achieve those savings. Instead of a true “public option,” it’s more like a public-private option.

You may call it whatever you’d like; the bottom line is that the bill will cut health care premiums by at least 15% for Coloradans.

Here are a few more updates on news from the state legislature as Sine Die draws ever closer…

Legislation that limits the ability of emergency responders to use the drug ketamine is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.

Republicans who make opposing abortion their central tenet are trying to derail a bill that seeks to provide better maternal care services for women.

Colorado Public Radio reports on the latest iteration of a bill seeking to reform sentencing and prison populations in Colorado.

Legislation to speed up the process of bond hearings is nearing the finish line.

A bill to fund early childhood education made it out of a committee hearing.

Governor Polis signed a bill that ends a requirement for colleges in Colorado to use ACT or SAT scores as a guideline for admitting new students. The bill also ends “legacy admissions” for higher education institutions in the state.

 

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

 

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Republicans, Americans Want Different Things

New polling data released today by Quinnipiac University crystallizes the problem Republicans face in 2022 (and 2024). From a Quinnipiac press release:

As candidates begin to enter races for the 2022 mid-term elections, more than 8 in 10 Republicans (85 percent) say they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office that mostly agree with Donald Trump, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll of adults released today. Overall, a majority of Americans (53 – 39 percent) say they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office that mostly disagree with Trump.

Asked whether they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, Republicans say 66 – 30 percent they would. Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66 – 30 percent) say they do not want to see him run.

As Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy notes:

“The numbers fly in the face of any predictions that Donald Trump’s political future is in decline. By a substantial majority, Republicans: (1) believe the election was stolen from him, (2) want Trump to run again, and (3), if they can’t vote for Trump, prefer someone who agrees with him.”

These poll numbers are certainly good news for Donald Trump, but not so much for the Republican Party in general. Republicans overwhelmingly say they want to see a continuation of Trumpism in 2022, but the majority of everyone else is horrified at this thought. In short, this means that Republicans are more likely to nominate extremist candidates for office in 2022 who are not well-equipped to appeal to voters in a General Election.

This same trend is even more apparent when looking ahead to 2024:

Asked whether they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, Republicans say 66 – 30 percent they would. Overall, two-thirds of Americans (66 – 30 percent) say they do not want to see him run.

Two-thirds of Americans DO NOT WANT MORE TRUMP. Yet here in Colorado, recently-elected State GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown says that the Republican Party is “never” going back to the pre-Trump days.

Republicans have made it clear that they are determined to give America more of what it doesn’t want. This is not a political strategy that we would ever suggest, but what do we know?

Good Times: Remembering Ken Buck’s Mueller Probe Blunder

Who has a seat in Congress and uses it to ask stupid questions? This guy!

As The Washington Post reports, the Manhattan District Attorney has some bad news for former President Donald Trump:

Manhattan’s district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself, should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development…

…The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance thinks he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump, by someone potentially close to him or by his company.

Vance’s investigation is expansive, according to people familiar with the probe and public disclosures made during related litigation. His investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation.

The district attorney also is examining the compensation provided to top Trump Organization executives, people familiar with the matter have said.

The news of a grand jury looking into Trump and his organization reminds us of one of the more notable blunders in recent Colorado political history. In July 2019, former special counsel Robert Mueller was testifying before Congress on matters related to his investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign when Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) butted in to ask a few questions. Buck, a former District Attorney in Weld County, broke the cardinal rule of never asking a question about which you don’t already know the answer:

D’oh!

Late July 2019 was not a good news cycle for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)

As Paul Waldman of The Washington Post noted at the time:

That is what soccer fans call an “own goal.” What Buck inadvertently argued, with Mueller’s help, was that while the evidence of Trump’s personal cooperation with Russia was insufficient to sustain a conspiracy charge, the evidence may well have been sufficient to sustain an obstruction charge, and it may have only been Trump’s current position that is saving him from an indictment.

Buck later tried to defend himself by attempting a ridiculous narrative that Mueller had somehow “misunderstood” his questions, as though Buck’s queries were too complicated for someone like Mueller to comprehend.

LATER THAT SAME WEEK, Trump held his infamous “perfect” phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he threatened to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky “investigated” Trump’s Democratic political rivals (specifically Joe Biden).

Perhaps in an effort to atone for his idiocy during the Mueller testimony, Buck would become a harsh critic of efforts to impeach Trump. Buck said that only “very soft people” were worried about Trump’s alleged crimes, and then turned into a devotee of “The Sideshow Bob Defense,” which essentially held that it was illogical to punish Trump for only attempting to extort a foreign government for personal political gain. When the (first) Trump impeachment hearings got underway in late 2019, Buck pivoted to a bizarre “everybody does impeachable things” defense of Trump.

We’d love to tell you that Buck has since reformed his ways and given in to the siren call of logic, but that is not the case. Ah, well…we’ll always have the Mueller testimony.

As Promised, Federal Aid Rights Colorado’s Fiscal Ship

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Colorado Newsline’s Moe Clark reports on plans announced yesterday by Gov. Jared Polis and the Democratic majority leadership in the General Assembly to spend almost $4 billion in federal assistance coming to the state as a result of the American Rescue Plan passed soon after President Joe Biden took office:

Colorado Democratic leaders and lawmakers gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Monday morning to unveil their preliminary plan for how to distribute $3.8 billion in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress…

State lawmakers will decide how to allocate approximately $2 billion of the allotment by June 12, the current end date for the 2021 legislative session.

More details will be released on where those funds will be allocated once state lawmakers introduce their forthcoming stimulus bill (or bills). These bills will go through the typical legislative process, meaning there will be multiple opportunities for members of the public to give input on the proposals.

Lawmakers plan to convene an interim committee during the summer and fall to determine how the remaining $1.8 billion will be spent. Lawmakers will then vote on the proposals during the 2022 legislative session.

During the acrimonious election-year debate last fall over a second round of economic relief legislation to help the country make it through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest sticking points for Republicans in Congress was aid to state and local governments. Although state and local governments were some of the hardest hit by revenue declines during the pandemic, and in many cases like Colorado have severe limits on the ability to borrow money to cover shortfalls, Republicans chose to vilify “wasteful” state and local governments and fiercely opposed what became known as the “blue state bailout.”

Then as readers know there was an election–actually a couple of elections–after which it became possible to pass the American Rescue Plan without any Republican support. The $3.8 billion in federal stimulus funds Colorado now gets to use to close the budget shortfall created by the pandemic as well as make new investments in housing, education, healthcare, and infrastructure is all money that Republicans in Congress, including Colorado’s three Republicans, did not want the state of Colorado to receive. And by refusing to even request funding for projects in their districts which have in many cases been waiting for years due to political objections to the process, Colorado Republicans are short-changing their constituents even more.

Federal pandemic aid won’t last forever, of course, and there will still be hard fiscal questions for Colorado to answer once this relief money has come and gone. But in the end, the good these investments will do will speak louder than the objections.

And voters, in the clearest terms possible, know who to thank.

Get More Smarter on Monday (May 24)

The end is near…for the 2020-21 school year, that is. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado officials are announcing plans for spending $3.8 billion in federal stimulus money. As Alex Burness writes for The Denver Post:

Colorado’s top Democrats, both state and congressional, assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Building on Monday morning to explain their plan. About $2 billion will be allocated in the coming weeks, while the remainder will be spent next session.

“We don’t need to passively look toward better days,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “We have to actively bring them into existence.”

Some of the bigger spending proposals include $1 billion to fortify the state budget via K-12 spending; $817 million on COVID-19 recovery and relief; roughly $550 million to “build housing supply” and “remove barriers to increase housing affordability and address homelessness”; approximately $550 million to address mental and behavioral health; and $414 million for “shovel-ready” transportation, infrastructure, parks and agricultural projects.

 

Carrot or stick? Governor Jared Polis chose the carrot as his preferred method for encouraging more Coloradans to get back to work. In related news, Colorado’s most recent unemployment numbers are about the same as they were in March.

 

 The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado fell last week for the first time since late March. In an effort to get more Coloradans vaccinated, the state appears to be leaning toward implementing a lottery-type sweepstakes that has proven popular in Ohio.

 

Time is running out on the 2021 legislative session, and Republicans are working hard to waste every last minute. Here’s more on what’s happening in state legislative news:

Colorado Public Radio examines discussions underway around a big climate change bill in the legislature — particularly how it pertains to a ginormous coal plant in Pueblo.

Governor Jared Polis will sign the following bills on Monday: HB21-1099 (Policies And Procedures To Identify Domestic Abuse); HB21-1212 (Diversity Of Governor’s Appointments To Boards); HB21-1056 (Cost Thresholds For Public Project Bidding Requirements); and HB21-1186 (Regional Transportation District Operation).

Colorado Newsline looks at changes to legislation attempting to “de-populate” Colorado’s prison system.

CBS4 Denver takes credit for legislation dealing with regulations in assisted living centers.

Westword is tracking the progress of all the weed bills.

 

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

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: The Big Lie is The Only Truth

This week on Episode #75 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss why “The Big Lie” is The Only Truth for Republicans. We also preview the remaining few weeks in the 2021 state legislative session; find a reason to discuss Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs); and consider the prospects of the most likely Republican candidate for…something in 2022.

But the big news this week is the return of “Canadian Jason Bane,” who tells us whether or not he might move back to the United States now that Donald Trump is no longer President.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Friday (May 21)

On this day in 2017, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus performed for the final time. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Colorado is seeing a rise in the number of younger people hospitalized because of COVID-19, which is why officials such as Gov. Jared Polis are making a renewed push to promote vaccinations. Westword takes a closer look at Colorado’s vaccination numbers, particularly among younger residents.

Colorado Public Radio has more on the shift toward targeting a younger demographic.

In related news, the World Health Organization says that worldwide deaths from COVID-19 could actually be triple the current number. The W.H.O. estimates as many as 8 million people have now died from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is not like most people. You see, most people would not repeat something that is quite obviously false without pausing to consider the plausibility of their statement. This week, Boebert claimed in an interview on something called Real America’s Voice that Texas has not seen a single COVID-19 death since dropping mask restrictions two months ago. Thousands of people have died from COVID-19 in Texas in the last two months, which is something that would not surprise 99% of the people reading this sentence.

 

Let’s get caught up on more news from the state legislature, which has just a few weeks left in the 2021 session…

The Denver Post looks at some of the big bills that still have progress to make before the end of the legislative session.

The Associated Press reports on proposed legislation that would study the response of law enforcement officials during police protests.

Denver7 reports on the latest discussions over a big health care savings bill.

Democrats are pushing a bill that would require ballot measures seeking to raise or lower taxes to clearly explain the programs that would be effected by fiscal changes.

Colorado Newsline reports on the consistent progress of legislation seeking to give more rights to agricultural workers.

 

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

 

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