Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 16)

Happy Mexican Independence 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 

 

As The Colorado Sun reports, there’s a new proposed congressional redistricting map out for discussion:

The latest draft of Colorado’s congressional map avoids putting the state’s current U.S. House members into the same district, while creating a sweeping district across most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado. The new 8th Congressional District in the north Denver metro region would be nearly 39% Hispanic.

The new map released Wednesday groups most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado into a single, L-shaped 3rd Congressional District. Northwest high-country counties including Routt, Jackson, Eagle, Summit and Grand are grouped with Larimer and Boulder into a proposed 2nd Congressional District. And the new districts would no longer pit Garfield County Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert against Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette.

And the proposed 7th District, now centered in the north and west metro area, would include much of Jefferson County but stretch to South Park in the central Rocky Mountains.

This new map is not without problems, as The Sun notes:

Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, disputed the congressional commission’s formula for determining the political competitiveness of a district.

“Measuring competitiveness by focusing on strong years for one party and ignoring 2014 — which was a strong year for the other party — is simply wrong,” Carroll said in a statement. “As a result, this could very likely end up a 4-4 map after the midterms, which is in no way reflective of Colorado voters.”

The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will debate this new map tonight. If at least eight votes can’t be garnered, the nonpartisan staff will produce a third proposed map on Sept. 23. CLICK HERE to see Congressional Map #2.

In other redistricting news, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is investigating potential illegal lobbying activity committed by a handful of well-known Republican operatives. The Colorado Times Recorder also has the full video of a ham-handed presentation that Republican Rep. Matt Soper gave to several Republicans in July.

 

Republican Heidi Ganahl announced her campaign for Governor on Tuesday and is off to the worst start for a statewide candidate in recent memory.

Former State Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams has some biting criticism that applies to Ganahl, as The Colorado Times Recorder reports:

A day after Heidi Ganahl, the newly minted GOP gubernatorial candidate, refused to tell reporters whether she thought the last year’s presidential election was legitimate, Wadhams said Republicans won’t be “credible in a general election” unless they say the election was not stolen.

“I think candidates ought to look at the reporter and say, ‘I do not believe the election was stolen. I do not believe we should ban 1.6 million unaffiliated voters from voting in the primary.’ And I think we just ought to take a stand on this because it’s defining our party,” Wadhams told Peter Boyles.

“I honestly think we’ve got to have strong candidates who were willing to say, no, the election was not stolen because that’s the only way they can be credible in a general election.”

You know Republicans are worried about Ganahl’s campaign when they immediately start blaming the media for her troubles.

 

The Denver Post reports on a significant new finding from the Colorado Attorney General’s office:

Colorado’s attorney general will require the Aurora Police Department to make sweeping reforms after a year-long investigation found officers’ pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force routinely violated state and federal law.

The department’s officers persistently arrested and injured Black individuals and other people of color at higher rates than white residents, according to the investigation released Wednesday.

Officers also routinely used excessive force against people unnecessarily, failed to de-escalate encounters and failed to properly document information about individuals they stopped as required by state law, the investigation found.

The department’s training and accountability structures are inadequate and create a culture of violence, according to investigators’ 112-page report.

Anyone who has been paying any attention to Aurora in the last couple of years will not likely be surprised by this report. Attorney General Phil Weiser wants to create a consent decree to allow his office to work with the Aurora PD on making widespread reforms.

 

As Denver7 reports, ICU capacity in Colorado hospitals has reached its lowest levels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Republican Redistricting Lobbyists Investigated by State SOS

GOP operative Alan Philp

As the redistricting process in Colorado lumbers along toward a theoretical conclusion early next month, we’ve been following in this space the story of some well-known Republican operatives who can’t seem to figure out how to lobby staff and members of Colorado’s two independent redistricting commissions without breaking the law.

Former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, and longtime Republican consultant Alan Philp have made a number of very obvious mistakes in their ham-handed efforts to tilt the drawing of new legislative and congressional maps toward GOP interests. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, there is apparently enough concern with their activities to justify an investigation from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

An investigation into whether a secretly funded nonprofit organization has been illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners will move forward, after the secretary of state reviewed a complaint filed against the group and found enough evidence to warrant a full probe. [Pols emphasis]

The decision to further investigate Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, the 501c4 nonprofit organization run by longtime Republican operatives at the center of the complaint, could have broad implications for the transparency now required around the redistricting process, and comes after several efforts to influence the redistricting commissions without full transparency have emerged…

…The complaint, filed in August by former Democratic lawmaker Stanley Matsunaka, accuses two Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employees — former House Speaker Frank McNulty and former state lawmaker Greg Brophy — of lobbying the commissioners without registering their activity or their clients. Matsunaka also accused a third Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employee, former Colorado Republican Party executive director and now political consultant Alan Philp, of failing to file proper disclosures of his lobbying activity, even though he is registered as the group’s lobbyist.

Philp responded to questions from Wyloge by predictably calling the investigation a “partisan” attack before offering this amusing excuse:

Philp added that he believes he was told in an email by the Secretary of State’s Office, after the complaint was filed, that his disclosures were sufficient.

You have an email from the Secretary of State’s office, eh? Is there a reason you didn’t bother to save a copy of this email? This might have been a good thing to keep in your files if such a thing actually existed.

In related news, The Colorado Times Recorder posted the full video of a redistricting lobbyist training conducted in July by Republican State Rep. Matt Soper. This is the training in which Soper prefaces his comments to people involved in the training by saying, “I never want you to mention that you heard this coming from me.”

The net effect of all these shenanigans from Republicans is to shine a light back on their own partisan interference in the redistricting process, which is something that makes redistricting commissioners and staff very nervous…and absolutely isn’t going to help them in trying to get new maps drawn in their favor.

Never Forget GOP Carping Over The Isabella Joy Thallas Act

Isabella Joy Thallas.

As Denver7’s Stephanie Butzer reports, an important gun safety bill passed in the 2021 session of the Colorado General Assembly takes effect today: the Isabella Joy Thallas Act requiring gun owners whose weapons are lost or stolen to report that loss within 5 days of becoming aware of it:

The Isabella Joy Thallas Act, which requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within five days of realizing its missing, goes into effect in Colorado on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill in April. Earlier that month, the Colorado House on Monday passed the Lost or Stolen Firearms bill (SB21-078), which was renamed via an amendment to its current name of the Isabella Joy Thallas Act.

In June 2020, Thallas was shot and killed in Denver allegedly by a 36-year-old man who had taken a firearm from a Denver police officer he knew. He yelled at Thallas and her boyfriend about their dog defecating on the ground near an apartment complex before opening fire on them, according to a probable cause statement for his arrest. The suspect pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in March.

Passage of Senate Bill 21-078, renamed the Isabella Joy Thallas Act after the facts of that case underscored the need for such a law during the legislative session, came over the objections of every single Republican in the Colorado General Assembly. The Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reported in April on GOP arguments against the bill:

Republican lawmakers all voted against the bill. Only GOP Rep. Shane Sandridge of Colorado Springs voted for the renaming, but against the bill itself. He said it’s unclear whether this bill would have made a difference for Thallas, and believes the likely changes to the state’s gun laws held in the bill are a violation of the Second Amendment.

“There’s issues with the bill that my constituents had concerns about (like) keeping more stringent records of people who own guns,” he said.

AP reported from the Colorado Senate:

Senate Republicans, including Jim Smallwood, wondered how the bill would reduce gun violence if a missing weapon is already on the streets. Others said it might criminalize gun owners who themselves are victims of the crime of theft.

In both cases, these arguments are directly refuted by the Thallas murder case. The allegedly stolen weapon used to kill Isabella Thallas was owned by a Denver Police officer who has since resigned from the force. Obviously, a police officer’s higher responsibility to keep track of their weapons (department-issued or not) negates all of these objections–and compared to the alternative of lives being lost, “criminalizing” the failure to report the loss or theft of anybody’s gun in the form of a $25 fine seems like a feeble objection indeed. If anything, a $25 civil penalty isn’t nearly enough.

Like we said last spring, the fierce objections by Republicans to what amounts to a very modest and common-sense gun safety reform only please a small minority of the electorate. The absolute loyalty of Republicans to the gun lobby is at its most unpalatable to voters in these debates over proposals that, like reporting stolen guns and properly storing guns in homes with children, many voters are surprised to learn aren’t already the law.

By refusing to consider even the most modest and broadly supported gun safety measures, Republicans rob themselves of both bargaining power and credibility. In so doing, they increasingly squander what has been a traditional political advantage.

The days of Dudley Brown are over.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 1)

Welcome to September. 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. 

 

There’s good news and bad news on the COVID-19 front, as The Aurora Sentinel explains:

As of Tuesday 75% of Colorado adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, but for children who are too young to be vaccinated, their risk from the virus is as high as it has been since the pandemic started.

At a Tuesday news conference to discuss the coronavirus, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that Colorado has seen a “pretty rapid rise in pediatric cases” beginning in July.

“This is the first time in the pandemic that we’re really seeing this high rate in children,” she said…

…Unvaccinated people make up the majority of hospitalizations, said Scott Bookman, Colorado’s COVID-19 incident commander. The hospitalization rate of the unvaccinated is seven times that or people who are fully vaccinated.

CNN has more on the concerning rise of COVID cases among children:

Contrary to research early in the pandemic, children are just as likely to become infected as adults. According to the CDC, Covid-19 infection rates for adolescents aged 5 to 17 were as high as in adults 18 to 49, and higher than rates in adults over 50.

There have been 4.8 million cases of Covid-19 in children since April 2020, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, making up about 15% of all documented cases in the United States. In the last month, the number of new weekly cases has surged to near-peak levels.

Areas across the country with lower than average vaccination rates are experiencing higher increases in Covid-19 cases among children. In Mississippi, where only 37.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, there has been a 29% increase in cumulative Covid-19 cases in children over the past two weeks.

 

The United States military presence in Afghanistan officially came to an end this week. Colorado Public Radio has reaction from some of the members of Colorado’s congressional delegation. As Axios reports, Denver ranks among the most popular locations for Afghan refugees relocating to the United States.

While boots may be off the ground in Afghanistan, the political infighting continues — driven in large part by a wave of misinformation propagated by Republicans.

Meanwhile, President Biden previewed a new foreign policy goal in a speech defending the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. As The New York Times reports, Biden’s speech points to the end of a long era of attempts at nation-building.
 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) almost seems determined to find a way to get herself into legal trouble. As The Colorado Sun reports:

Boebert has removed her name from business paperwork linked to the oil and gas consulting firm run by her husband, Jayson, after drawing scrutiny for nearly $1 million in payments it received from Terra Energy, a drilling company operating in her district…

…The changes, made after The Colorado Sun reported the congresswoman’s ties to Boebert Consulting, distance Boebert from the two companies, which are registered to the couple’s home in Silt. But it’s not clear what ownership or stake, if any, Lauren Boebert has in either company.

A spokesperson for Boebert’s congressional office did not answer a question last month about whether the congresswoman is an owner of Boebert Consulting, and did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

This sure seems like an admission of wrongdoing on Boebert’s part regarding the mysterious new wealth she recently reported from her husband, Jayson. This comes at a time when her various scandals are piling up quickly and attracting a new level of national attention.

As if Boebert didn’t have enough problems, she learned this week that she is among the Republican Members of Congress who are being investigated for their role in the January 6th insurrection.

 

National Public Radio reports on a new abortion ban in Texas that went into effect today:

With the U.S. Supreme Court mum, a new law went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. That’s well before many women even know they are pregnant.

The law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion — including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing.

The law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.

If federal courts allow the Texas abortion ban to stand, other states around the country will likely move swiftly to enact similar bans of their own. As The Daily Beast notes, this is a hugely significant moment for reproductive rights in America.

 

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The Dumbassery Continues for GOP Redistricting Consultants

Last week we discussed the story of the bumbling Republican “consultants” working to influence the drawing of new Congressional and legislative district maps through the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions. Through a series of bad decisions and “don’t say that out loud” moments, Republicans gave an already-jittery nonpartisan redistricting staff plenty of reason to question the impartiality of certain communities and organizations trying to influence the final map-making process.

Together, these four stooges — former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, Republican consultant Alan Philp, and State Rep. Matt Soper — shone a spotlight on blatant Republican interference in the redistricting process. As we wrote on August 25:

All of this partisan posturing from Republicans will likely (and rightly) cause both nonpartisan staff and commissioners to worry about the appearance of being inappropriately swayed by undisclosed Republican lobbying efforts.

If the commission is worried about the appearance of partisan influence from Republicans, then they are likely to give extra scrutiny to any map boundaries that might so much as appear to be advantageous to the GOP. This, of course, is the exact opposite outcome from what Republicans were hoping to achieve in this process.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s look at how things just got even worse for Philp and the gang. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, the fumbling and bumbling continues:

Days after a formal complaint accused a secretly funded nonprofit organization of violating redistricting lobbying disclosure laws, a video recording obtained by The Gazette reveals the same group helped craft maps proposed by the prominent Colorado Farm Bureau, contradicting what the Farm Bureau’s president told the state’s redistricting commissioners. [Pols emphasis]

The Farm Bureau president Carlyle Currier told the state’s independent redistricting commissioners on Aug. 19 that he was there to present his organization’s map proposal, which aligned with their advocacy for “the interests of farmers, ranchers and real Colorado.” And he told the commissioners that his submission came solely from his group: “I want to note that these maps were created by our staff, and only myself and our vice president have reviewed them.”

Alan Philp

But in a video training recorded two days earlier on Aug. 17 for a group of Pueblo County Republicans, Colorado Neighborhood Coalition’s registered lobbyist Alan Philp presented a map that he said in the video he expected would be presented at the Pueblo hearing, two days later.

“This is a map of Southern Colorado that is probably similar to one that you’ll see on Friday that is being proposed by someone,” Philp said in the video training. “I don’t know that he has agreed to do it yet, so I’m not going to share his name, but it keeps Pueblo County whole, and then the rest of Southern Colorado — east of the San Juans and Wolf Creek Pass, the San Luis Valley, Fremont, into the lower Ark — makes for a perfect Southern Colorado district. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping it ends up as.”

Philp and the Colorado Farm Bureau’s president have since told The Gazette that Philp was referencing the Colorado Farm Bureau’s map proposals, and that Philp helped the group draw the maps, which was previously not publicly disclosed by either group. [Pols emphasis]

In short, the Colorado Farm Bureau presented maps to the redistricting commissions that were supposed to only represent Farm Bureau interests but were actually another example of partisan plans sketched out by Republican consultants. And as Philp acknowledged to The Gazette, there are plenty more examples of this partisan coordination:

Philp said he’s helped others draw maps, including maps he said he doesn’t like, but he said it would be inappropriate to provide a list of all the groups or individuals he’s worked with. [Pols emphasis]

D’oh! 

Usually this sort of slow drip of negative news is something that you would try to engineer AGAINST a political opponent in order to inflict maximum damage. We can’t recall a recent example of a partisan campaign or group doing this to itself.

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions are expected to release new draft maps over the course of the next two weeks.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 27)

We’re almost three-quarters of the way through 2021. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

 One day after a bombing at an airport in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members, Marine Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, indicated that more attacks are expected to come from “ISIS-K.” The New York Times explains everything you need to know about “ISIS-K,” the different flavor of ISIS that is responsible for the attack in Kabul.

On Thursday, President Biden promised that the U.S. would retaliate against ISIS-K for the suicide bombing attack that killed more than 100 people in total. From The Washington Post:

In emotional comments at the White House, Biden made clear that the attack would not cause him to rethink his strategy. Rather, he said, it reinforced his belief that the war must end and that the evacuation must proceed. He framed the deaths as the sacrifice of heroes performing a noble mission, and he suggested that any move to cut short the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan supporters would amount to caving to the terrorists.

“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that has happened,” Biden said, addressing the nation hours after the deadly attack. His voice broke as he invoked Scripture, history and personal loss to decry the double suicide bombing at the entrance to the Kabul airport, which stands as the last small acreage controlled by the United States in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the war began.

Biden promised to track down the killers responsible for the massacre, who he suggested were members of the terrorist group ISIS-K. “To those who carried out this attack: We will not forgive,” he said. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) addressed Thursday’s attack in Kabul in an interview with MSNBC. The former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan reaffirmed his belief that the withdrawal of U.S. forces was the correct decision, but stressed that the U.S. must remember its obligation to Afghanistan allies.

 

 As The Associated Press reports, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that evictions may resume in this country after a long COVID-related moratorium.

In related news, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that it might be time to start thinking about scaling back stimulus efforts as the economy continues to show signs of improvement even amidst another surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, the Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, Priscilla Rahn, has come out in support of efforts to cancel the GOP Primary Elections in order to help ensure that only the most strident right-wing candidates can win the Republican nomination for basically every elected office. This is a terrible idea for Republicans that is opposed by many moderates, but supporters such as Rahn believe that the only way forward for the GOP is to lurch ever rightward.

 

 The Denver Post asks the same question that has been top of mind for many Colorado politicos lately: WHERE IS TINA PETERS?

The Mesa County Clerk and Recorder has been hiding in an undisclosed location for weeks since being investigated for helping to break in to election computers in order to prove some sort of cockamamie argument about 2020 election fraud. Peters and her supporters have insisted that she is on the lam because of concerns for her personal safety, but a recent review of emails received by the Mesa Clerk’s office indicates that this is complete nonsense.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 26)

Teddy! 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. 

 

Now that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, Republicans are having a hard time trying to figure out where to stand on the issue of mandatory vaccinations. As The Washington Post explains:

In the days since the FDA’s authorization and Biden’s call, Republicans who have otherwise fought tooth and nail against vaccine mandates have been surprisingly quiet about the prospect of employer mandates. And the few who have spoken out have generally said employers should be allowed to implement them.

The issue has played out in recent weeks and months in a number of states, with some lawmakers pushing for bans on mandates. But unlike the party’s posture toward school mask mandates, government vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, there is little cohesion on this subject. So far, only one state bans employer vaccine mandates: Montana…

…[South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem] essentially said conservatives should give businesses the freedom to take this step. And that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for a Republican base that has been spoon-fed anti-mandate rhetoric — often tinged with conspiracy theories — by its leaders for so long.

Supporting pre-emptive bans on vaccine mandates doesn’t really jibe with “conservative” ideals to leave private businesses alone to make their own decisions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, however, is plowing ahead anyway.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is facing new calls for investigations related to her bizarre disclosure last week in which she apparently remembered that her husband, Jayson, gets paid a half-million dollars a year to “consult” for an oil and gas company.

 

The redistricting process in Colorado is (finally) nearing its final stages. This is bad news for Republicans, who picked a terrible time to get caught breaking the law on lobbying disclosures.

In related news, Bente Birkland of Colorado Public Radio looks at how a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting process is being corrupted by partisanship:

Colorado’s new redistricting process was intended to replace politicians with independent commissioners, and party interests with public input. But recent developments show there are still plenty of ways for partisans to try to influence the process.

On Tuesday, Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin filed a complaint against three prominent Colorado Republicans — former state sen. Greg Brophy, former state House Speaker Frank McNulty, and Alan Philp with the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition — alleging that they have been trying to influence the state’s redistricting process without properly disclosing their efforts.

The complaint filed on behalf of a voter in Larimer county, alleges the men either failed to properly register as lobbyists while conducting meetings related to redistricting and proposing ideas for maps, or they didn’t disclose income.

Colorado Republicans are trying to convince Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters to end her time on the lam and return to Colorado to face the music for allegedly compromising election security in a ham-handed attempt to prove some sort of 2020 election fraud. The Washington Post has more on how a nutty conspiracy theory is causing real-world security problems in Mesa County.

The office of Colorado’s Attorney General has joined in the investigation of Peters. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, and the FBI are already looking into Peters’ misdeeds.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is touring Colorado and getting an earful from residents about Climate Change worries.

Meanwhile, Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports that Bennet’s 2022 re-election campaign is cruising along with solid fundraising and little Republican opposition.

 

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Republicans Screw Up at Wrong Time on Redistricting

The redistricting process in Colorado is much different in 2021 than it was 10 years earlier because of Amendments Y&Z, which created an “independent” redistricting process for redrawing both Congressional and legislative district boundaries. Many of the political players have remained the same, however, and the Republican operatives working on redistricting have already managed to get themselves into a serious legal and ethical mess.

Via ColoradoPolitics.com (8/24/21)

As Evan Wyloge reported on Tuesday for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

A complaint filed today with the Colorado Secretary of State accuses a group of secretly-funded political operatives of illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners.

The complaint, filed by former Democratic state lawmaker Stanley Matsunaka, accuses former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty and former Colorado House and Senate member Greg Brophy, both Republicans, of lobbying the state’s independent redistricting commissioners, without formally registering as lobbyists. It also accuses Republican political consultant Alan Philp, along with McNulty and Brophy, of failing to report payment for lobbying activity.

All three are paid by a 501c4 nonprofit group called Colorado Neighborhood Coalition to work on redistricting. Because of the 501c4 status of the group, it’s not required to disclose where the group’s money came from. When 501c4 nonprofit groups spend in elections, they’re called “dark money” groups.

Former House Speaker Frank McNulty — who sometimes pretends to be some sort of ethics watchdog — was one of the main characters in the 2011 redistricting drama, as was former State Sen. Greg Brophy. Longtime Republican political consultant Alan Philp has been one of the GOP’s chief redistricting strategists since 2001. The gang is back together in 2021, working for the “Colorado Neighborhood Coalition” (CNC) and seem to be treating the lobbying rules with complete indifference — as well as the same lack of seriousness and subtlety that drove policy decisions when they were in the legislature.

Alan Philp

The 2018 changes that voters approved (Amendments Y&Z) were, in part, supposed to make the redistricting process more transparent to the public. One of the key provisions required ANYONE who lobbies the independent redistricting commissioners to register and report that activity with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. But of the three GOP consultants listed earlier, only Philp has formally registered as a redistricting lobbyist, and even then he has only reported receiving $2,000 from CNC since April. 

As Wyloge reports, there are plenty of public records and other examples of McNulty, Brophy, and Philp working hard to influence redistricting commissioners privately and at public hearings held around the state over the last couple of months. McNulty responded to the complaint in Wyloge’s story by predictably playing the victim card, saying “This is just another attempt by partisan Democrats to suppress involvement in a public process.”

This is a weak response from McNulty that was previously contradicted by his pal Brophy. In July, Wyloge wrote about concerns regarding illegal lobbying on redistricting and caught Brophy changing his story:

“I am being paid by Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, but I’m not lobbying,” Brophy said of his work for the organization. “I don’t have any communications with the commissioners about the maps they’re drawing. I don’t do that.”

Greg Brophy

But that’s NOT what Brophy was saying a few months earlier, as Wyloge notes later:

In March, Brophy appeared on a YouTube talk show run by Action 22, an association of rural counties in southern Colorado, where he promoted “two almost exclusively rural districts,” and said he saw Action 22 as a clearinghouse for promoting those ideas.

Action 22, along with two other rural county associations, submitted a map with two rural districts, like Brophy and Gardner had promoted, and the submission was integrated into the preliminary draft congressional maps now being toured around the state, the commissions’ staff has said.

“I’m encouraging people to participate. I’m calling it grassroots organizing,” Brophy said. “Maybe this will get me a visit with my friends on the ethics committee. Who knows.” [Pols emphasis]

Whoops!

The redistricting shenanigans of McNulty, Brophy, and Philp were also revealed by Republican State Rep. Matt Soper in a “training video” he conducted in July. Wyloge wrote about the Soper video for Colorado Politics, as did other media outlets. 

Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta)

Here’s what The Colorado Sun reported in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter on August 20:

Soper was caught criticizing the preliminary legislative maps and giving talking points to local activists during a July 18 virtual meeting with a group of conservative Western Slope activists. Video of the meeting was circulated to a number of media outlets this week.

Soper pointed out several issues he has with the proposed House map, which draws him and Montrose Republican Rep. Marc Catlin in the same district, and New Castle GOP Rep. Perry Will out of his current district. Soper also objected to a new division of Delta and Mesa counties, and argued the new configuration would make it harder for a Republican to win.

“I’m going to tell you this, but I never want you to mention that you heard this coming from me,” Soper said, before giving activists additional talking points. “I’ve heard over and over again, they don’t want to hear from incumbents … all of us are relying on everyone on this call to make the arguments we can’t make.”

Delta County Republicans were told by GOP officials to “take one for the team,” Soper said during the virtual meeting. “That was just a slap in the face. And it really just shows we’re a divided Republican Party as well.” [Pols emphasis]

First of all, Soper SHOULD have been smart enough to understand that nothing good ever comes after any sentence that begins with You didn’t hear this from me, but… That wasn’t the only mistake Soper made, however. As Wyloge reported last week:

In the video, Soper also told the training participants that a set of high-profile lobbyists who work for an organization whose donors are secret have been advocating for the GOP lawmakers’ interests, even though the group’s representatives have said they aren’t working for Republicans.

“The Colorado Republican Party, the House Republicans and Senate Republicans hired Alan Philp, Greg Brophy and Frank McNulty to represent our interests,” Soper told the training participants. [Pols emphasis]

Yeah…you definitely weren’t supposed to say that out loud, Rep. Soper. 

McNulty, Brophy, and Philp all denied that they were trying to influence the redistricting process on the behalf of Colorado Republicans, with Philp going so far as to claim “I don’t know Matt Soper.” 

Riiight. 

Frank McNulty

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions are expected to release new draft district maps in early September. All of this partisan posturing from Republicans will likely (and rightly) cause both nonpartisan staff and commissioners to worry about the appearance of being inappropriately swayed by undisclosed Republican lobbying efforts. The oddest part of what McNulty, Philp, and Brophy were doing was peacocking as some sort of warriors for fairness and neutrality. Everybody with a casual knowledge of Colorado political history for the past two decades knows that McNulty and Philp are hired precisely to stack redistricting plans in favor of the Republicans. It’s laughable for them to pretend otherwise. 

You might recall that the entire redistricting process got off to a questionable start in March when Republican Danny Moore was elected as the Chair of the Congressional redistricting committee after failing to mention that he was a full-on election fraud truther. Moore was quickly removed as Chair in a unanimous vote by the independent redistricting commission, but the incident cast the entire process in a partisan light that everyone involved had hoped to avoid.

The antics of Soper, McNulty, Brophy, and Philp are shining a new light on blatant Republican interference in the redistricting process, contrary to the rules laid out in Amendments Y&Z…and at precisely the wrong time for the GOP. 

Signs Point to Possible But Difficult Road to Victory for GOP Activists Who Want to Opt Out of Primaries

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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With a crucial vote coming before the Colorado Republican Party’s state central committee next month on whether to continue allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in Republican primary elections, recent voting records of that governing body indicate that grassroots Republicans hold power over establishment members, and could indicate that the state GOP will opt out of open primary elections.

Three different votes on issues before the state central committee in the past year indicate that, with the current composition of the 518-member committee, grassroots-affiliated members could prevail in their campaign to have the GOP opt-out of open primaries and, instead, select their nominees for federal and state races through systems of caucus, convention, or assembly in which only Republicans can participate.

First, last summer, the state central committee elected Randy Corporon — a Tea Party leader, conspiracist attorney, talk radio host, and Trump supporter — to the position of National Committeeman for the state of Colorado.

Corporon cites this win over Eli Bremer, an establishment Republican who recently announced his campaign to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), as proof that the grassroots-affiliated central committee members hold sway with their numbers.

“When I was elected Republican National Committeeman with more votes than the next two establishment candidates, Bill Cadman and Eli Bremer,” said Corporon on his Saturday morning conservative talk radio show on KNUS, “that’s the Republican Central Committee. That’s those delegates voting. And so we know that the people who actually take the time to donate their time to the Republican Party and be a part of this structure are the conservatives that want to see a fighting Republican Party.”

Then, this spring, the Colorado GOP state central committee voted to install Kristi Burton Brown as Chairwoman of the party over her establishment rival, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Burton Brown cut her teeth in politics as a teenaged grassroots activist organizing for Colorado’s first Personhood Amendment, an anti-abortion referendum that failed in 2008. Similar versions of Personhood subsequently failed again, twice, in 2010 and 2012.

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Get More Smarter on Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th — the only such day of 2021. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

The U.S. Census Bureau released a trove of new demographic data from the last decade on Thursday. The big national takeaway is that the number of white people in the United States fell for the first time in the country’s recorded history. More specific to Colorado, the Greeley metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, and the City of Denver is one of the 10 cities in the U.S. with the biggest population gain over the last decade.

The Denver Post elaborates on the Colorado-centric aspects of the data release:

Colorado fits right in with several of the biggest nationwide trends shown by the data, including continued migration south and west, away from the midwest and northeast. The state and country are also less white overall. A record low of about 58% of people nationally now identify as non-Hispanic white, the census reports.

The Washington Post also highlights the growth in Colorado’s northern Metro area.

 

President Biden and Vice President Harris are still in office at this moment and do not appear to be close to resigning their positions. Today, of course, is the day that adherents of “The Big Lie” (including “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell) predicted would be the end of the Biden administration.

It has now been 283 days since the November 2020 election. Move it along, people.

For more on how Lindell’s “cyber symposium” worked out, check out Aaron Blake’s column in The Washington Post titled, “The spectacular implosion of Mike Lindell.”

 

 Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is in some pretty deep doo-doo. As the Colorado Secretary of State’s office outlined on Thursday, it appears that someone in the Mesa County Clerk’s office turned off security cameras at exactly the same time that screenshots from the electronic voting software were captured. As a result, Mesa County will have to go to considerable expense to replace all of its election equipment. Peters, naturally, is invoking “Nazi Germany” in her self-defense. As The Denver Post explains, Peters addressed the issue publicly while attending Mike Lindell’s “cyber symposium” in South Dakota:

“My job looks like it’s on the line but you know what? The people of Mesa County elected me, not the secretary of state,” Peters said.

“If those passwords were compromised, why can’t they just change them? How many of you have had to change your email password before? Is that a big deal? You just change it. We’re not in the middle of an election right now,” she said. “It’s not like some secret people came and did something nefarious.”

Um, well, actually…

Peters repeatedly referred to a search Tuesday — in which secretary of state’s office employees and Mesa County district attorney’s office employees investigated the election equipment, cameras and visitor logs — as a “raid.”

“This is not Nazi Germany. We cooperate together. We have bipartisan judges. Why couldn’t we have bipartisan judges in there in that room when they were raiding my office?” she told the crowd.

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Sentinel has more on Peters’ vague comments from Thursday.

 

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Colorado’s Red Flag Law Works–Spread The Word, Please

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams (R-MGO).

Colorado Public Radio’s Allison Sherry reports on new data released about the implementation of Colorado’s landmark “red flag” law, which allows family and law enforcement to obtain an emergency court order temporarily removing guns from persons at risk of committing violence–a law broadly supported by the public overall but controversial among gun-rights supporters.

Attorney General Phil Weiser says the law is working extremely well at both protecting the public and weeding out unwarranted complaints, with the only real problem being:

State Attorney General Phil Weiser said Colorado’s red flag law isn’t being used enough.

The vast majority of Colorado’s red-flag petitions filed in the first year were by law enforcement officers against people threatening mass shootings, suicide and intimate partner violence, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state Department of Law.

In 2020, the first full year of implementation of the law, 100 petitions were filed. Of those, courts issued 66 temporary orders and 49 orders that lasted 364 days.

Colorado’s red flag law, passed by lawmakers in 2019, allows a judge to issue an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” that bans someone from possessing firearms for up to 364 days if a judge finds that person poses a significant risk of hurting themselves or others.

Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law was passed in 2019, accompanied by the usual warnings from the gun lobby and Republican lawmakers in their thrall that the law would lead to outlandish consequences such as mass gun confiscation based on gun owners’ political leanings–despite the fact that other states had implemented similar laws without anything crazy like that taking place. An early misuse of the ERPO law in 2020 by a woman whose son had been shot by law enforcement and filed her request against the cop in question was seized on by then-GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville as evidence it could be abused, but her complaint fell apart as quickly as it came together in an early successful test of the law’s checks and balances.

“It’s noteworthy in cases where people were seeking to remove weapons from responsible gun owners … were stopped in their tracks,” Weiser said.

The biggest issue with the law based on the first year of its existence appears to be spreading awareness of its existence, not with the due process it affords or any other problem with the law’s implementation. If more families were aware that they could petition a court to temporarily disarm someone who is a threat to themselves or others, more lives could be saved. As for Colorado’s elected county sheriffs, some of whom like Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams have declared they won’t enforce a red flag order in their county? The case that could cast their recalcitrance in unbearable relief–where their refusal to enforce an ERPO order results in preventable death–hasn’t happened yet, or if it has it hasn’t made headlines. Such an event could indeed raise awareness about the law, but at a price no one should want to see paid.

What we can say is that for every life saved by the “red flag” law, there are more who could have been.

Caption This Photo: Rep. Mark Baisley And Some Other Clowns

In politics, there are certain photos you don’t want taken if your plan is to ascend beyond your present elected office. Here’s one of Douglas County’s most consistently wacky Republican state lawmakers, COVID-lying insurrection-denying Rosa Parksinsulting (we could go on and on) Rep. Mark Baisley, proving the point:

Don’t let it happen to you, folks–unless you’ve already accepted that you’ll never be Governor.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 11)

Your horoscope today says something about progress and fulfillment (probably). 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. 

 

Oregon will join Louisiana and Hawaii in instituting a statewide mask mandate as concerns grow over the Delta variant of COVID-19. From The Washington Post:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is expected Wednesday to put in place a statewide indoor mask mandate and a vaccination requirement for state employees, citing concerns over growing coronavirus cases due to the more transmissible delta variant.

The indoor mask mandate will make Oregon the third state — following Louisiana and Hawaii — to apply the measures to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, as bans on mask and vaccine mandates play out in a number of Republican-run states such as Texas and Florida. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) last month mandated that face coverings be worn indoors in public settings in counties with “substantial or high transmission.”…

…Brown’s decision comes as schools and political leaders battle over masks elsewhere. Florida’s second-largest school system is now threatening legal action to challenge the ban on mask mandates by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and voted Tuesday evening to keep its own requirements in place for students and staff.

The Broward County School Board — which voted 8 to 1 on Tuesday to uphold its mask mandate despite DeSantis’s move to curb such restrictions and subsequent threat to stop paying superintendents and school board members who defy his orders — said in an evening news conference that it told its legal counsel to prepare a challenge.

Local leaders are increasingly rejecting efforts by Republican governors from Florida to Texas to prohibit mask mandates. Private companies are also implementing vaccination requirements despite threats from Republican governors.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are the worse they have been since May.

 

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release final data on Thursday that will guide the process of redistricting. As Colorado Public Radio explains, there are a lot of criticisms for the redistricting commissions to sift through:

When the U.S. Census Bureau releases its final numbers on Thursday, it will start the clock on a mad dash to prepare final congressional and statehouse maps.

Nonpartisan state staffers will have just over three weeks to combine that data with feedback on the state’s draft map and release an updated version for the state’s new Redistricting Commission to consider.

For the past six weeks, Coloradans of all stripes have been weighing in on where the lines should go for the state’s congressional and statehouse districts. The final result could shape the balance of power between the parties, and the level of representation for different interest groups, for the next decade.

Several Latino organizations have raised concerns that preliminary maps dilute the political power of the state’s second-largest ethnic group.

There’s a similar story today from Denver7:

 

Big news for former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar:

 

 Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is furiously digging as deep a hole as possible for herself. Following news that Peters may have been involved in a serious breach of election security, she showed up at “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s lunatic election fraud symposium on Tuesday that is allegedly going to unveil “proof” of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election any day now.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (August 9)

There are 137 shopping days left until Christmas. 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. 

 

If you hadn’t noticed from the massive wildfires or barely-breathable air, Climate Change is a serious problem. As The Washington Post explains, scientists are pounding the ‘alert’ buttons:

Via The Washington Post (8/9/21)

 

The landmark report, compiled by 234 authors relying on more than 14,000 studies from around the globe, bluntly lays out for policymakers and the public the most up-to-date understanding of the physical science on climate change. Released amid a summer of deadly fires, floods and heat waves, it arrives less than three months before a critical summit this November in Scotland, where world leaders face mounting pressure to move more urgently to slow the Earth’s warming.

Monday’s sprawling assessment states that there is no remaining scientific doubt that humans are fueling climate change. That much is “unequivocal.” The only real uncertainty that remains, its authors say, is whether the world can muster the will to stave off a darker future than the one it already has carved in stone. [Pols emphasis]

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called the findings “a code red for humanity” and said societies must find ways to embrace the transformational changes necessary to limit warming as much as possible. “We owe this to the entire human family,” he said in a statement. “There is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

Experts say that the Earth needs a coordinated international effort to combat Climate Change — one that can begin work IMMEDIATELY.

 

As The New York Times reports, Congressional Democrats are close to proposing a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint:

Democrats on Monday launched their push for the most significant expansion of the nation’s social safety net since the Great Society, unveiling a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that would boost spending on health care, child and elder care, education and climate change while bypassing a promised Republican filibuster.

The blueprint, which the Senate hopes to pass by the end of this week, would allow Senate Democrats to piece together social policy legislation this fall, fully paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, large inheritances and corporations. And if Democrats and their two independent allies can hold together, that measure could pass the Senate without a Republican vote.

That measure would pass after a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill likely clears the Senate on Tuesday. Together, they would secure the remainder of President Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda, but the two-step effort will test Mr. Biden’s ability to both work with Republicans and maneuver around them.

Colorado Newsline has more on the separate infrastructure proposal that could be close to making it through the Senate.

 

Colorado Republicans are promoting their legislative priorities for 2022…in August of 2021.

 

There are no words.

In related news, The Colorado Sun notes that Republicans are prioritizing efforts to pass ballot measures because they have proven so inept at winning other elections recently.

 

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Patience Wearing Thin For “Raging” Ron Hanks?

Fremont County Clerk Justin Grantham, Rep. Ron Hanks.

Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports on some backlash brewing in Fremont County against the area’s freshman GOP state Rep. Ron Hanks–whose unfounded conspiracy theorizing about the 2020 presidential election combined with a brusque and arrogant personality in general has made him a lightning rod for criticism in less than a year in office.

Fremont County’s Republican Clerk Justin Grantham, Son Number One of former Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham, is clapping back hard at Hanks’ wild election claims, which Clerk Grantham says are putting public servants in House District 60 at physical risk:

Grantham said in the letter he had been watching Hanks since the November 2020 election, and had invited him and Rep. Stephanie Luck, R-Penrose, for a tour of his office and to give them an opportunity to ask questions. Hanks has never responded to that invitation, Grantham indicated.

“If election integrity as important to you as you have been fighting it would have been a priority. I am truly surprised you never made the time to have a conversation with the chief election official of the county that you reside in and represent.

“The misinformation being spread has led to multiple threats on Clerks including myself. Serious threats have happened in your own district due to the misinformation. [Pols emphasis] This has forced a remodel of the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office to protect her and her staff from threats of violence,” Grantham wrote.

Clerk Grantham taking his grievances with Rep. Hanks public is consistent with what we’re hearing about a substantial amount of discontent with Hanks’ performance in office, after succeeding the far more affable term-limited GOP Rep. Jim Wilson of Salida to represent HD-60 in January. Hanks has few bonafide ties to HD-60 other than his Republican registration, having run for Congress unsuccessfully a decade ago under his real name Loren Hanks in northern California. Since taking office, Hanks has done basically nothing besides gifting embarrassing headlines to Democrats and undermining the duly elected leadership of the House GOP Minority.

Are we looking at the beginnings of a move to oust Hanks in a primary before he does more damage to the Republican brand? As with all such questions, the new legislative district maps coming in the fall will define the battleground. But like Rep. Lauren Boebert in CD-3, there’s a possibility depending on the results of redistricting that these high-outrage low-performance freshmen will have to be taken out in Republican primaries, not general elections. For Republicans interested in their party’s long-term future, these seats are both opportunities and moral responsibilities.

Have fun convincing Ron Hanks he lost, though. That could be the exciting part.

Republican State Reps. Hanks, Williams Off The “Big Lie” Deep End

“Raging” Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

Reporter Heidi Beedle of the Colorado Springs Independent has a feature-length story out today on two Colorado Republican state representatives, Reps. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs and Ron Hanks from an undisclosed location in Fremont County, who have fully embraced the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump despite a lack of any credible evidence this occurred.

As readers know, Rep. Hanks attended the January 6th “Rally To Save America” that degenerated into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and has now admitted to being inside police lines while somehow still pretending that it was Antifa doing the rioting. A few days before Joe Biden took office, Hanks still held out hope that foreign intelligence services would swoop in with proof the election was stolen. Nonetheless during the legislative session this year, Hanks objected to being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” during debate over DOA Republican bills to suppress and second-guess the vote.

But as Beedle reports for the Indy, on July 17th at a town hall in Colorado Springs hosted by Rep. Williams, Rep. Hanks earned the label with interest:

Hanks MADE claims about election fraud THAT were both grandiose — stating that there were “well over 100,000 incidents of irregularities” in Maricopa County — and vague. He prefaced his claims with words like “hypothetically,” “conceptually” and “theoretically.” He suggested that Runbeck, an Arizona company that prints ballots, could possibly be reusing returned ballots to sway the election. “Here’s a hypothetical for you — and it has been asked — what happens to the ballots that are sent to an address but that person doesn’t live there anymore and the Postal Service, through some grace, returns it?” he asked. “It’s going to go back to the sender, and the sender is Runbeck, and there’s some questions about what they’re doing. What do they do with those ballots? Do they fill them out? Put them in a drop box that makes it rather easy to spread the extra votes? That’s a concern we have. They did 30 million [ballots], and on top of that there’s the 168,000 paper ballots on the wrong kind of paper. You heard Rep. Williams make the point that 5,600 people they found so far in Colorado that were deceased, but on our voting rolls. Arizona came up with the same thing. Thousands.”

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

Although Beedle goes a good job of refuting most of the claims made by Hanks in her story as quickly as they’re transcribed, this business about “168,000 paper ballots on the wrong kind of paper” rang a bell with us–because Politico debunked it last month after Donald Trump first invoked it:

TRUMP: “168,000 fraudulent ballots printed on illegal paper (unofficial ballots)”

THE FACTS: All of that is false. The ballots were not unofficial or printed on illegal paper, and even [Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan never alleged they were fraudulent.

Logan pointed to ballots with the printing slightly offset between the front and back. He claimed this could cause votes to be counted for the wrong candidate if ink from one side bleeds through to another. He said the alignment issues were mostly from polling-place ballots, which are printed onsite, and said about 168,000 ballots were cast that way. The overwhelming majority of Arizona voters cast ballots by mail.

As for the claim that “dead voters” cast ballots in Colorado, this is a perennially recycled mix of whole-cloth falsehoods and a simple misunderstanding of how mail ballots work: with a window of several weeks between the delivery of ballots and Election Day, some number of voters will statistically return a mail ballot and then, you know, die. That’s unfortunate but one thing it’s not is fraudulent.

Though as Beedle’s story continues, the real mistake we may be making is trying to make sense of anything Rep. Ron Hanks says:

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 29)

Holy hell! We’re almost done with July already. 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 POLITICO reports, it might finally be time to kick off “infrastructure week”:

President Joe Biden moved significantly closer Wednesday to achieving his massive infrastructure overhaul — the type of bipartisan win he’s dreamed about since launching his campaign for the presidency.

Seventeen Republican senators voted with Democrats to advance a roughly $1 trillion deal that would spend heavily on roads, bridges, broadband and public transit. And though it was a vote merely to start debate, Democrats expressed cautious optimism that a bill would eventually reach Biden’s desk. It was, the White House stressed, a testament to the president’s political skill and persistence. Despite constant fits and starts, grumbling from many in his party, and predictions that negotiations would fall apart, Biden refused to give up on working with Republicans.

Colorado Newsline has more on the details of the infrastructure efforts.

Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is getting out of the way on this (for now, anyway). But as The Washington Post reports, former President Donald Trump is trying to get Republicans to scuttle any deal because he’s sad that he couldn’t accomplish something similar during his administration:

Trump warned the GOP last night against cutting a deal, in his latest rhetorical barrage against bipartisan cooperation on a proposal to shore up or upgrade the country’s roads, bridges, ports, access to the Internet and clean water.

“This will be a victory for the Biden Administration and Democrats, and will be heavily used in the 2022 election,” he warned in a statement. “It is a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb.”

The former president also explicitly threatened any Republicans inclined to support the notional deal that “lots of primaries will be coming your way!”

What a patriot.

 

Colorado is not announcing new guidelines for wearing masks indoors, but Denver7 points out all of the areas in the state where you probably SHOULD be wearing a mask just to be safe. Not included is anywhere that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert happens to be at a given moment.

In a related story, 9News looks at how the Delta variant of COVID-19 appears to be circulating more rapidly in Latino communities.

 

 The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) is speaking up about concerns related to rhetoric heard from one member of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission. As The Colorado Times Recorder explains:

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), an immigration advocacy group, condemned comments about undocumented workers made by Congressional Redistricting commissioner Bill Leone.

The comments were made last week at a Joint Independent Redistricting meeting in Englewood in response to witness testimony about how the commission would count imprisoned populations when redrawing Colorado’s congressional districts. Leone then asked if undocumented workers should be reallocated when looking at population data.

Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC), testified to the importance of the commission including imprisoned populations in their home districts, rather than the districts in which they are imprisoned.

 

As The Washington Post reports, right-wing cult leader Charlie Kirk and his “Turning Point USA” group is working hard to stop people from getting vaccinated and/or wearing masks to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

…the communications by Turning Point USA and its affiliate, Turning Point Action, reflect the increasingly hard line taken by the group, which describes itself as the “largest and fastest-growing youth organization in America” and claims a presence on more than 2,500 college and high school campuses. Its dire warnings about a government-backed inoculation program — now a major theme of its Facebook ads, which have been viewed millions of times — illustrate how the Trump-allied group is capitalizing on the stark polarization around vaccine policy.

Experts say the messages, many of which steer online audiences to donation pages, threaten to undermine vaccine confidence among young people, who have already proved particularly reluctant to roll up their sleeves. And they could incite conflict over vaccine requirements as students return to campuses wrestling with how to safely reopen this fall, with some battling in court to require vaccination.

Not-so-fun fact: Bill Montgomery, who co-founded “Turning Point USA” with Kirk, RECENTLY DIED AFTER CONTRACTING COVID-19.

 

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Police Reform is Working in Colorado

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson

In June 2020, Democrats in the state legislature pushed through new police reform measures aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for law enforcement. That legislation was prompted, in part, by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado. The bill in the legislature was followed by policy changes in some municipalities, including Aurora.

This week, a graphic new case of police brutality in Aurora is putting those reforms to the test…and so far, they seem to be working.

As Fox 31 News reports:

The arrest of two Aurora police officers is the latest in a string of Colorado officer arrests since the killing of George Floyd. Floyd’s death and the historic protests that followed inspired a law requiring Colorado police officers to intervene and report excessive uses of force…

…Body-camera video from the incident has already been made public. It’s an action Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, is praising.

“The body camera footage was released right away,” Herod said. “That shows that our law is working, and it is quite frankly doing more than I thought it would be doing, which is changing the culture in some of these departments.”

Westword has more on Tuesday’s release of body-camera footage from last week’s arrest of Kyle Vinson:

On July 27, during a highly unusual press conference, Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson screened excerpts from body-camera footage to show why two of her officers, John Haubert and Francine Martinez, had been arrested for the incredibly brutal July 23 arrest of Kyle Vinson.

In the video, Vinson is choked, pistol-whipped and more by Haubert, gasping out repeated cries of “Help!,” “Don’t shoot me!” and “I can’t breathe!”

CLICK HERE to see the body-camera footage [CAUTION: The footage is graphic and difficult to watch]. Vinson repeatedly says in the video that he does not have a warrant out for his arrest; that turned out not to be true, but it is undeniable that Vinson made absolutely no effort to evade Aurora police officers. Officers Haubert and Martinez have both been arrested and charged with multiple crimes.

As Westword notes, it used to be routine practice in Aurora to NOT release body-camera footage; the very act of the Aurora PD holding a press conference to screen such footage was itself unusual. New police reform policies, and the direction of Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Williams, who was hired last August, appear to have moved things in a better direction.

We certainly wouldn’t argue that Colorado has solved the issue of police brutality, but it’s worthwhile to note that reforms seem to be working thus far. Recognizing progress is an important step in addressing any problem.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 26)

Japan has a slight lead over the United States in the Olympic medal count after the first couple of days of competition. 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. 

 

Last week, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey made it clear that she was sick of unvaccinated Americans preventing the rest of the country from ending the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks…it’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

As Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning, new restrictions may be just around the corner BECAUSE so many people are unvaccinated. From The Washington Post:

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Sunday that the United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” at this point in the pandemic.

“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The latest surge in infections is driven by the highly virulent delta variant, which continues to spread rapidly around the country. Although official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed, Fauci hinted that a return to indoor mask mandates for vaccinated people and booster shots may be necessary to once again curb the spread of the virus.

Doctors, nurses, and other health groups are now calling for vaccine mandates for all health care workers. New York City will require all city workers to either receive COVID-19 vaccinations or take weekly COVID-19 tests. But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Republican leaders around the country are actively working against public health guidelines:

GOP lawmakers are rallying around the cause of individual freedom to counter community-based disease mitigation methods, moves experts say leave the country ill-equipped to counter the resurgent coronavirus and a future, unknown outbreak.

In some states, anger at perceived overreach by health officials has prompted legislative attempts to limit their authority, including new state laws that prevent the closure of businesses or allow lawmakers to rescind mask mandates. Some state courts have reined in the emergency and regulatory powers governors have wielded against the virus. And in its recent rulings and analysis, the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled its willingness to limit disease mitigation in the name of religious freedom…

…At least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering measures to limit the legal authority of public health agencies, according to the Network for Public Health Law, which partnered with the National Association of County and City Health Officials to document the legislative counterpunches. Lawmakers in at least 46 states have introduced hundreds of bills relating to legislative oversight of gubernatorial or executive actions during coronavirus or other emergencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The answer, friends, is remarkably simple: Vax, That. Thang. Up.

 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivers his “State of the City” address today.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on Friday’s meeting in Grand Junction with BLM officials and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland:

During her first official visit to Grand Junction, the nation’s first Native American secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, wouldn’t say whether the Bureau of Land Management headquarters will remain in the city or return to Washington, D.C.

“It’s an open question, but needs to be known soon,” she said.

Haaland was joined on Friday by Gov. Jared Polis, Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Reps. Joe Neguse and Lauren Boebert, who represents the district that encompasses Grand Junction. The Colorado delegation hopes to persuade Haaland to keep the BLM headquarters in Grand Junction, where, in a controversial move, the Trump administration relocated the federal agency from Washington, D.C., in 2019…

…Haaland said she will consider the impact on BLM employees when making her decision whether to keep the headquarters on the Western Slope. Employees were significantly impacted the way the move was implemented, she said. And institutional knowledge was lost after nearly 300 BLM employees left their jobs rather than leave their homes in Washington to come to Colorado.

Colorado Public Radio has more on Haaland’s visit.

If you didn’t yet get a chance, take a moment to caption this photo of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert flanked by other Colorado Members of Congress during a press conference in Grand Junction.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Lake Powell has reached its lowest water level IN RECORDED HISTORY:

Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., has dropped to its lowest level on record. The water and power produced by the system supplies millions of people in the West.

On July 23, the reservoir’s level fell to 3,555.09 feet. The previous record low was set in April 2005.

A 20-year megadrought and hotter temperatures with climate change have contributed to shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River.

The Bureau of Reclamation had announced last week that it was likely this weekend that the reservoir would hit its lowest level since first being filled in the 1960s with water from the Colorado River.

The low water levels on Lake Powell are a big issue for Colorado because of a century-long water-sharing agreement.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 23)

The 2020 2021 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway. 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. 

 

More and more Republicans are speaking out about the importance of receiving your COVID-19 vaccinations. One such Republican, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, is even starting to get a little salty about it. From CNN:

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday called out “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in Covid-19 cases in her state, a remarkable plea at a time when many GOP leaders are refusing to urge people to get vaccinated even as Covid-19 cases surge in many parts of the country.

“Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” Ivey told reporters in Birmingham. [Pols emphasis]

Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, with roughly 33.9% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Average daily Covid-19 cases in Alabama are nearly double what they were a week ago, and more than four times higher than they were two weeks ago…

…The unvaccinated, Ivey said, are “choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”

“We’ve got to get folks to take the shot,” she continued, calling the vaccine “the greatest weapon we have to fight Covid.”

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has a similar response for the anti-vaxxer Republican crowd: He calls it “Snowflake Syndrome.” Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson appears to have a bad case of “Snowflake Syndrome.”

Vax that thang up, people!

 

The Denver Post reports on the Front Range stop for Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who will be in Grand Junction today for discussions about the future of the HQ of the Bureau of Land Management:

The federal government intends to provide immediate assistance to water users impacted by the West’s historic drought and develop longer-term strategies to respond to climate change, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland pledged Thursday during a visit to Denver.

Haaland — flanked by Assistant Interior Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead — spoke to the press after meeting with state and local officials at the Denver Water Administration building to discuss collaborating on addressing climate change and water-related issues in the West.

Haaland said the Bureau of Reclamation is working to identify and disperse “immediate financial and technical assistance for impacted irrigators and Indian tribes” while also tackling longer-term climate change responses, including building more resilient communities and protecting the natural environment.

“Being from New Mexico, I know how much climate change impacts our communities, from extended fire seasons to intense drought and water shortages, and I know how important the Colorado River Basin is to these discussions,” Haaland said.

 

The House of Representatives approved a measure — by wide margins — sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) that seeks to help Afghan interpreters who assisted U.S. forces in Afghanistan in obtaining visas to come to the United States; the Taliban has pledged to hunt down and kill interpreters who remain in that country.

Crow’s legislation passed the House by a vote of 407-16. Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was the ONLY member of Colorado’s delegation to vote “NO.”

 

Colorado Newsline reports on passage of legislation in the House of Representatives that would regulate “forever chemicals” also known as PFAS, which can cause serious health problems when circulating through water supplies.

 

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Republicans Seek to Close Open Primaries, Exclude Unaffiliated Voters

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just four years after Colorado’s first open primary, a faction of Republican leaders are attempting to opt-out of the laws approved by voters in 2016 which allowed unaffiliated voters to cast votes in partisan primaries. If successful, the largest group of Colorado voters, those without affiliation to a political party who represent nearly 40% of the state’s 4 million voters, will lose their voice in determining Republican nominees for U.S. president and state office races.

Chuck Bonniwell, one of a few dozen members of the Colorado Republican Party Executive Committee and host of a conservative podcast focused on state politics, is traveling the state in an effort backed by a contingent of grassroots Republicans to garner enough votes among county GOP officers to opt out of the open primaries

“Chuck and his merry band of rebels are now touring the eastern and southeastern part of the state, basically talking to all kinds of Republican grassroots groups about changing the way that we have this open primary system. Their point is it’s destroying the Colorado Republican Party. They want to go back to having a closed primary. They’re fighting an uphill battle,” explained Bonniwell’s wife and co-host during an episode of their show earlier this month.

As with other issues, Colorado Republicans are divided on opting out of open primaries along the now-familiar fault lines of grassroots conservatives who generally support former President Trump, his statements, and his policies, versus more traditional, so-called “establishment” party members who are generally more moderate and centrist. Control over the party and regaining political standing for the GOP in Colorado are at stake.

Republican campaign adviser, former Colorado chair of the GOP, and political commentator Dick Wadhams appeared on Bonniwell and Hayden’s show in February and discussed the prospect of opting out of open primaries.

“To be honest, I think it would be a mistake,” said Wadhams. “And in fact, I was engaged in that debate when this came up a few years ago when there was a [failed] vote in the state central committee to attempt to get the 75% to to opt out of the of the primary and go to a state convention for nominations. And I just I think that would be a mistake, because if we’re going to be able to appeal at all to unaffiliated voters who determine elections in this state — and always have, by the way, — [it would be counterproductive.]”

In order to opt out of open primaries, 75% of the GOP state central committee members would have to vote in favor. Bonniwell and others have contested the legality and constitutionality of that requirement, since the open primaries were approved by simple majorities in a vote of the people.

Nonetheless, it appears that Bonniwell’s group will not initiate a challenge to that rule, and will attempt to garner the approximately 390 votes needed, which is the equivalent of 75% of the state central committee.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 22)

Happy Pi Approximation Day; please celebrate approximately. 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 New York Times reports, the head of the CDC is warning that America is at a “pivotal point” in the battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struck a new tone of urgency on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the United States is “not out of the woods yet” and is once again at a “another pivotal point in this pandemic” as the highly infectious Delta variant rips through communities with low rates of vaccination.

The warning from the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during a briefing by members of the White House Covid-19 response team, was a marked shift from just weeks ago, when President Biden threw a big Fourth of July party on the South Lawn of the White House to declare independence from the virus.

It reflects a growing concern among administration officials that the gains they appeared to have made are being erased — and that the current surge in cases will overwhelm health systems in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low and hospitalizations are high. Still, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a fraction of their previous devastating peaks. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant.

Vaxx that thang up, people!

 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is in Denver today ahead of a visit to Grand Junction on Friday in which the future of the headquarters location for the Bureau of Land Management will be discussed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is part of a MASSIVE settlement agreement with several major drug companies regarding their role in the opioid epidemic:

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday unveiled a historic $26 billion multistate settlement with the nation’s three largest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson designed to address the nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Weiser said during a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon. “We need to make the most of it.”

The settlement between more than 40 states, thousands of municipalities and AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson would bring $300 million to Colorado, the attorney general said.

That, combined with a previous settlement with Purdue Pharma, would total $400 million in funding to address what Weiser called an “American tragedy.”

 

Remember when several big corporations spoke out against new restrictive voter laws passed in Georgia this Spring? The Washington Post has an unfortunate update:

Three months ago, Comcast responded to the passage of Georgia’s sweeping voting law by saying, “Efforts to limit or impede access to this vital constitutional right for any citizen are not consistent with our values.”

That was then.

On June 30, the telecommunications giant contributed $2,500 to Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, who has vigorously defended the law, which critics say will curtail voting access, including by limiting use of drop boxes for absentee ballots and making it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line…

…Comcast was one of several companies that raised alarm about the voting restrictions but then contributed more than $20,000 collectively between April and June of this year to Georgia politicians who voted for or publicly defended the legislation, according to an examination by Advance Democracy, a nonprofit research group headed by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI analyst who led the Senate investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

If only Comcast’s customer service was this reliable. Amirite?

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 21)

A new study says that Denver is the fourth-fittest city in America. 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, more Republican officials are starting to promote the COVID-19 vaccination before the virus kills off their entire voting base:

A growing number of top Republicans are urging GOP supporters to get vaccinated as the delta coronavirus variant surges across the United States, marking a notable shift away from the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorizing that has gripped much of the party in opposition to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the virus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was part of the rising chorus on Tuesday, stressing the need for unvaccinated Americans to receive coronavirus shots and warning that the country could reverse its progress in moving on from the pandemic.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” McConnell said during his weekly news conference. “I want to encourage everybody to do that and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.” [Pols emphasis]

Republicans such as Rep. Steve Scalise, the #2 person in the GOP House leadership, are now encouraging vaccinations. Even Fox News talking monkey Sean Hannity is now talking up the vaccine…and he once called the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax.

There’s one prominent Republican who is still NOT encouraging Americans to get vaccinated: Former President Donald Trump.

 

Colorado Democrats such as Gov. Jared Polis ran for office in 2018 promising to reduce health care costs for Coloradans. New data shows that these efforts have paid off BIGLY, resulting in significant reductions in health care premiums across the state.

 

As POLITICO reports, “centrist” Republican Senators are trying to lock down support for their watered-down version of a new infrastructure plan as the GOP stymies an effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a discussion on the issue today.

 

A right-wing lunatic attacked a couple of reporters at the State Capitol on Tuesday, as Westword explains:

On July 20, a woman who identified herself as homeless physically attacked Colorado Politics reporter Pat Poblete in the press room of the Colorado State Capitol simply because he is a journalist. And while Poblete wasn’t injured and ultimately declined to ask that the woman be charged with assault — or for stealing items belonging to one of his reporting colleagues, Marianne Goodland — he’s troubled that she appears to have acted out because she believes the terrible things said about the media by ex-President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric she spouted during her violent outburst.

“This wasn’t the sort of hyper-online, hyper-partisan, QAnon, deep-dive type of person who’s ingrained in this stuff,” Poblete says. “This was just a woman who’d heard what the former president said about journalists and took that to heart. Even at that level of information and intake, it’s still penetrating the public psyche.”

Poblete, who publicly revealed the attack in a thread on his Twitter account, is the legislative reporter for Colorado Politics, and even though the Colorado Legislature isn’t currently in session, he was at the Capitol to cover an event celebrating a statue of World War II hero General Maurice Rose that will be placed in nearby Lincoln Veterans’ Memorial Park (click to see his article on the topic).

Words matter, people.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Star Alternate Universes

This week on Episode #81 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii introduce our new intern, Taleen Sample, with a new segment answering her questions about politics.

But first, we dive into the very nature of reality itself…sort of. Mostly it’s just us talking about how the Republican Party is setting up the 2022 election cycle to be a battle over conflicting versions of truth. Get ready for another 18 months of “alternate facts.”

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

Colo Republican Leaders Deny Party Division, Claim Pro-Trumpers Have Won Control

(For if it prosper… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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So-called grassroots Republicans have lots of excuses for the party’s diminishing returns in Colorado politics over the past two decades, but they want you to know that the party is united and ready to claim its deserved mantle of victory in 2022.

According to two grassroots members of the Colorado GOP executive committee, the 20-year losing trend is a result of many factors. It’s the media. It’s “Trump derangement syndrome” and ignorant voters. It’s fickle unaffiliated voters. It’s legalized cannabis. It’s Democratic dark money playing in Republican open primaries. It’s ballot harvesting, rigged elections, and voter fraud. It’s Antifa posing as Trump supporters in a false flag operation of violently storming the U.S. Capitol.

For them, the Colorado GOP’s dismal political prospects are definitely NOT due to Trump’s documented sinking popularity, rapidly changing state demographics, GOP policy positions, nor candidates’ tone-deaf messaging.

And it definitely is not due to intraparty power struggles between establishment and “grassroots” or Trump factions of the Republican Party. That is, until their message discipline falls apart and their truth comes out.

Randy Corporon, conservative radio host, GOP National Committeeman, and member of the CO GOP Executive committee appeared from CPAC in March on a conservative podcast hosted by Chuck Bonniwell, also an Executive Committee member, and they agreed that the Republican Party is united, as verified by the optimistic vibe among CPAC attendees.

“Somebody asked a few minutes ago if I had to describe the takeaway so far at CPAC, what would I say in two words,” recounted Corporon. “And I said, ‘Party Unity.’ The swamp has no idea what’s coming. … I was on with Peter Boyles this morning and he talks about a division in the Republican Party. I just don’t see it. This is a sorting, a flushing out of the old guard, you know, four-decade-long establishment Republicans who are at the end of their power and they know it.”

Bonniwell begins his response by agreeing, but changes tack to the more familiar frame that has come to define his confrontational and provocative style. He passive-aggressively slams Republican pollster David Flaherty of Magellan Strategies and sardonically insults former Colorado Republican legislator Lois Landgraf for launching an organization to train candidates and promote an element of reasonableness among conservatives.

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