Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 20)

Today is 10/20/20! Is that a thing? Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

► Be careful out there, Colorado! New cases of COVID-19 have hit a record high in our state, as The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 6,722 cases of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, more than triple the most recent low of 2,016 in the last week of August. Three times last week, the state recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

Last week’s total was the highest since the state has had reliable data, though it’s likely there were more cases in the virus’s initial surge in March and April that weren’t found due to lack of testing at the time.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t have a Donald Trump problem; he has a Cory Gardner problem.


 

Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to reach a deal on another coronavirus aid package. As CNN reports, it’s probably not happening:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the “window is closing” on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

“I think there’s still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill…

…Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi “is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal.”

As we’ve written repeatedly in this space, the real hangup in all of these stimulus talks has been SENATE REPUBLICANS.

 

According to Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies, which regularly tracks ballot returns in Colorado, roughly one-third of Colorado voters have already returned a ballot. Turnout in Colorado is heavily tilted toward Democratic voters at the moment, with some 35% of registered Democrats having returned their ballots as of this morning. Total ballot returns are at 921,342 (for comparison, more than 2.85 million votes were cast in Colorado in 2016).

The Denver Post has more on Colorado’s massive voter turnout numbers.

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed Colorado’s wildfires on Monday as part of a warning about Climate Change. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado’w wildfire season in 2020 is unusual…and ominous:

All told, they add up to a fire season that is longer than most on record for the state, the result of extended drought conditions, high temperatures and a monsoon that just never arrived.

“We haven’t gotten any rain. We haven’t got any snow,” said Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fire researcher. “Coupled with hotter temperatures, you’ve essentially got a hairdryer blowing at Colorado right now that’s making our fuels incredibly dry for very long periods of time.”

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, precipitation in the state over the past 30 days has been less than 10 percent of normal. Colorado did not receive the usual monsoon rains or snowfall that’s common in the fall.

That kind of weather typically prevents large, destructive wildfires from starting, Balch said and dampens those still burning from the summer like the record-breaking Cameron Peak fire. She said just a dozen wildfires over 1,000 acres have begun in October in the past 35 years.

 

Can you speak something OUT of existence? President Trump is sure trying. According to CNN, which is keeping track, Trump has claimed at least 38 times that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”

 

 

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

 

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Colorado Is Voting In Historic Numbers

It’s unprecedented:

Much as we have no frame of objective reference with which to compare John Hickenlooper’s game-ending $22 million fundraising haul in the third quarter, there is simply no way to adequately put in perspective the massive and swift rate of return of ballots that just arrived this week in Colorado mail boxes; after all, this is our first experience with voting during a global pandemic. Nevertheless, here’s the breakdown of returned ballots by party affiliation as of yesterday, also showing an historic shift:

In previous Colorado mail ballot elections going back to the first in 2013, the prevalent trend for ballot returns has been Republican voters quickly getting their ballots back to county clerks, with Democrats filling in later and through Election Day. In 2020, this trend is completely reversed, with Democratic ballots flying back to clerks in unprecedented numbers and Republicans a distant third behind unaffiliated voters. It’s been suggested that this may be due to more Republicans choosing in-person voting on Election Day citing President Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracy theorizing about mail ballots. Or, we’re seeing dampened enthusiasm from Republicans in the face of an oncoming Democratic landslide.

Either way, Democrats in Colorado we’ve talked to are in something close to a state of disbelief over what’s happening, and determined to avoid becoming complacent until this election is not just over, but mutually agreed to be over–a point that, the bigger the landslide, the faster we’ll arrive for the good of the whole country.

We can’t predict outcomes everywhere, but we’re looking at an early election night in our state.

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Pat Neville Can’t Win, Won’t Play

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville is taking his ball and going home.

As The Colorado Times Recorder reports, Neville waited until Friday to announce that he would no longer attempt to lead the Republican caucus in the state legislature:

This is sorta like when an executive gets fired from a company and the HR department sends out an email explaining that the person left “in order to pursue other interests and spend more time with his/her family.” Neville isn’t announcing his plans on the day that ballots go out in Colorado because he suddenly found a new hobby; Neville is backing down from a fight that he knows he can no longer win.

House Minority Leader Pat Neville

That Neville has served as House Minority Leader since January 2017 is more of a knock on his leadership than an example of his staying power. If Neville were better at leading his caucus, perhaps House Republicans wouldn’t still be stuck in the minority. Neville can be elected once more in House District 45 (Douglas County) before he is term-limited, but there is no chance that Republicans can pick up enough seats in 2020 to give Neville a final term as part of the majority party. Neville is thus stepping back behind the curtain before whatever is left of the GOP caucus rejects his leadership after the election. It would surprise nobody if Neville ends up walking away from his House seat entirely before 2022.

You could see this coming following the June 30 Primary Election, when Neville-backed Republican candidates — who were also supported by longtime partner Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) — were wiped out by more moderate less crazy Republican candidates. As we wrote in this space on July 5:

Rumors are growing that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville could be in danger of losing control of the GOP caucus after another poor showing at the polls last week. State Rep. Hugh McKean is now in a strong position to challenge Neville for Minority Leader after victories on Tuesday by Colin Larsen (HD-22), Tonya Van Beber (HD-48), Mike Lynch (HD-49), and Dan Woog (HD-63) — all of whom defeated candidates backed by the Neville Clan and their close friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). The Nevilles and RMGO also lost badly in SD-23, where their support of Rupert Parchment wasn’t enough to stop Barbara Kirkmeyer from cruising to a double-digit victory.

Our back-of-the-napkin math shows Neville with only seven remaining supporters among House Republicans, equal to the seven GOP House members who would likely side with McKean. Depending on how the General Election shakes out, that leaves about 8 Republican Representatives to determine the 2021-22 leadership battle. This could be a significant moment for Colorado Republicans, because a good number of their recent failures can be attributed directly to decisions made by the Neville Clan.

Back in 2013, the Nevilles appeared to be a budding political dynasty in Colorado, with  Tim “Pa” Neville taking control of the State Senate, Pat Neville running for the State House, and brother Joe Neville directing campaign strategy for legislative Republicans. But there was an inverse reaction to the Neville Clan’s success; as the Nevilles gained more influence, the fortunes of the Republican Party went in the toilet.

Tim Neville ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 and got embarrassed at the state GOP assembly; two years later, Democrat Tammy Story pummeled Neville by 14 points and booted him out of the State Senate. Over in the House, Pat Neville surrounded himself with loyal but useless idiots who had their own electoral problems. Republicans were thoroughly trounced in the 2018 election, thanks to half-assed strategic efforts and dubious campaign spending from Pat and Joe. In 2019, the Nevilles turned to straight-up grifting with their support of several dubious recall attempts of Democratic lawmakers; the embarrassing failures of these silly efforts probably marked the beginning of the end for the Neville Clan.

Pat Neville remained the voice of the House GOP in the 2020 legislative session. By last Spring, he had resorted to blowing dog whistles and positioning himself as the king of the anti-masker movement. His attempt at restocking his caucus with friendly faces was fully exposed in the 2020 Primary Election — losses that probably also led to the departure of RMGO founder Dudley Brown. Pat Neville’s latest grift is raising money for a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks; this “lawsuit” is going nowhere, but the Nevilles will milk small donors over their misplaced anger for at least another few months.

We can only hope that Neville’s political impotence will allow Colorado Republicans to start taking more rational positions on issues such as gun safety, but that’s a discussion for another time. Today, and for the next month or so, the focus is on the end of a ridiculous era for Republicans in Colorado.

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Notable Updates to “The Big Line”

We’re officially into the last month of the election cycle, so we’ve made some adjustments to our predictions for various outcomes in “The Big Line.”

The biggest change is in CO-3, where we have moved Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush into the lead for the first time:

Take a look and tell us why we’re wrong.

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Some CO Republicans in Key Races Are Hiding Their Stance on Trump

(Can you blame ’em? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Multiple Colorado Republicans in swing districts won’t say anything about what’s arguably the most important topic of the November election: Donald Trump.

State House candidate Caroline Cornell is one such Republican.

Asked by the Colorado Times Recorder if she supports Trump, Cornell hung up the phone after saying, “I’m—I don’t—I’m afraid I have to get on another call right now. I’ll have to call you back.”

Cornell, who’s challenging Democrat Tom Sullivan in a swing state House district in the Centennial area, didn’t return the call.

Republican Suzanne Staiert, who faces Democrat Chris Kolker in one of the most competitive state senate races of the year, didn’t want to talk about Trump either–even though her stance on him, like Cornell’s, could not be found in multiple searches.

“What do you say when people ask you whether you support Trump,” I asked Staiert.

“I’ve never been asked,” she replied.

“Do you?” I asked.

“I’m not going to talk to you. I don’t consider you an actual newspaper,” she said, without saying if she thought it was a legitimate question.

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 24)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

(more…)

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Caption This Photo: Worst Test Drive Ever

Former infamously freak-right state Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt may have missed out on a bid for El Paso County Commissioner in this year’s troubled Republican assemblies, but that hasn’t stopped him from living large–sort of, anyway:

Reportedly, Klingenschmitt’s online “ministry” of Youtube sermons and interviews was at least at one point a fairly lucrative gig–probably not $200,000 Porsche lucrative, though, and we suspect that since Klingenschmitt’s self-engineered removal from legislative office his star power has dimmed considerably. Better luck next primary, we guess.

Who do we sympathize with? That poor car salesman, fully aware that he is, as they say in the retail automotive business, “schlepping a lookie-loo.”

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Watch Closely When Politically Connected Gun Nuts Kill

UPDATE #2: The Loveland Reporter-Herald updates that Brandon McLaughlin has been released from Larimer County Jail as the investigation continues, over the objections of the family of the victim:

“Frustration does not even come close to how the family feels about this decision from the DA,” she said when reached by telephone after the hearing. “We are crestfallen. We are shocked. And every single member of the family is devastated that this happened today.”

She said that prosecutors explained that the investigation is continuing and could result in future charges. But for today, the man who shot their son, brother, husband and father was released from jail without charges.

“We don’t know what that means,” Kimber Kreutzer said. “We don’t know what they are investigating. I know that the case is closed, and I know that Brandon McLaughlin gets to leave jail, and we as a family do not agree with that decision. The whole family is united that we did not want to see him leave jail.”

We’ll be following this closely.

—–

UPDATE: The Fort Collins Coloradans updates from today’s hearing–no formal charges yet, though Brandon McLaughlin reportedly is still in custody on a $100,000 bond:

“It is clear that Mr. McLaughlin shot and killed the victim; however, the exact circumstances of the interaction between the two men remain unclear,” Jodi Lacey, district attorney’s office spokesperson, said in an email.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether McLaughlin acted in self-defense or in defense of someone else, and if not, if he acted with intent or deliberation, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

A first-degree murder conviction requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted after deliberation with the intent to cause the death of another person. The lesser charge of second-degree murder only requires a determination that the person knowingly caused the death of another person, according to state law.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops, but at the very least it’s confirmation of the old rule that where guns are present, tragedy ensues. It’s true even in the most devout of gun-worshipping households.

And depending on what happens next, the resolution of this case could raise its own questions.

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Brandon Gerald McLaughlin, charged with first-degree murder in Larimer County.

This afternoon at 1:30PM in the Larimer County Justice Center, there’s a hearing on a disturbing case out of Berthoud of an alleged first-degree murder committed earlier this month by a man with connections to Northern Colorado’s increasingly notorious far-right gun rights activism scene. As the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported last week:

[Brandon] McLaughlin, 37, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder on Sept. 5 by Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies when they responded to an early-morning disturbance involving a gun and found the victim, 37-year-old Edward Brooks Kreutzer, at the scene.

An autopsy performed by Larimer County Coroner James A. Wilkerson IV found that the manner of Kreutzer’s death was homicide and the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

In the first appearance Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Robert Axmacher said the evidence in the case was “overwhelming” against McLaughlin and asked that bond be set to a $250,000 cash, property or surety bond…

Despite this request for a high bond, the attorney for accused murderer Brandon McLaughlin, Dagna Van Der Jagt, persuaded presiding Judge Greg Lammons to reduce the bond to a workable figure for the defendant:

Eighth Judicial District Judge Greg Lammons who is presiding over the case set McLaughlin’s bond at $100,000 and included the prohibition of alcohol, drugs and weapons, enhanced pretrial release supervision, GPS monitoring and prohibits McLaughlin from going within a certain distance of Kreutzer’s widow’s place of employment or the home where his child resides.

There’s no reason to assume any impropriety in the decision to allow this first-degree murder suspect to bond out of jail awaiting trial, although bonds for first-degree murder defendants are considered rare. With that said, there’s a high degree of interest around today’s hearing in Larimer County because of who the defendant is connected with. Lesley Hollywood of the local gun-rights group Rally For Our Rights testified on McLaughlin’s behalf at his bond hearing, saying that McLaughlin has been an “absolutely wonderful father” to their daughter and should be released on bond. Hollywood and the defense attorney in this case, Dagna Van Der Jagt, are both graduates of the right-wing Leadership Program of the Rockies political candidate training program. Since the passage of Colorado’s landmark gun safety bills in 2013 and continuing with 2019’s “red flag” law, Hollywood (not her real name of course) has found her calling as Dudley Brown’s “soccer mom” counterpart.

As for McLoughlin personally, we’re looking for more information beyond a photo of him in 2011 wearing a Revolutionary War costume beating a drum with the Northern Colorado Tea Party at the Colorado Capitol. It appears that social media presences for this individual have been scrubbed, and despite the very high degree of loquatiousness from Lesley Hollywood about any and every news story on the subject of guns, she hasn’t had anything to say about this case on her own social media. Instead, Rally For Our Rights is plowing ahead with their 2020 voters guide, “Your Rights Your Guns Your Vote.”

For those who argue the solution to every problem in society is more guns, the optics of this situation are, needless to say, not good.

That’s what we know as of this writing, and we’ll be watching this case closely to see how it develops. What we have heard but obviously can’t confirm is that behind the scenes, this case is very much on the radar of local Republican officials. What we can say based on the available information is that it deserves much more attention than it has received up until now.

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The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

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

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

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

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

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

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Support “Law and Order?” Shut Down Bandimere Speedway

Denver7 follows up on Tuesday night’s disturbingly large “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally, headlined by GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and fringe-right columnist Michelle Malkin and drew thousands of “anti-maskers” to Jefferson County’s Bandimere Speedway near Morrison:

Video of the event left some people asking if the rally put people at risk. It showed large crowds, little social distancing and few masks. But rally participants didn’t see any danger.

“COVID is a concern, but I don’t think it should be restrictive to the point of hindering lives,” said Brian Albee.

Rep. Neville questioned why no one tries to stop the Black Lives Matter protests over COVID-19 concerns, but are raising questions about the Stop the COVID Chaos rally. [Pols emphasis]

“If they (county/state) come back and are very punitive on Bandimere for having what was a peaceful protest, yet there were vandals that were throwing molotov cocktails that were totally let off the hook (during BLM protests),” Neville said.

Let’s be frank from the outset about a few things: there’s a very simple reason why Tuesday night’s “COVID Chaos” rally represents a greater public health threat for spreading the pandemic than Black Lives Matter protests that have gone on for months now–although we are not intending here to downplay the risks inherent to any large public gathering. The difference is, at the “COVID Chaos” rally attendees were making a deliberate effort to flout basic best practices to avoid spreading the disease among themselves, unlike BLM protesters who to a much greater degree do wear masks and try to practice such social distancing as is possible under the circumstances. Look at this photo of the crowd brought together at Bandimere Tuesday night for posterity:

No masks, not even a pretense of social distancing. It’s a willful disregard for public health that simply has no analogue among lefty protesters. And while it’s true that we’ve seen plenty of lawbreaking by protesters on all sides in these months of protests over police brutality, thousands of people at Bandimere Speedway Tuesday night broke the law too. They broke the law, and the licensed owners of Bandimere Speedway broke the law, and at the Colorado Republican House Minority Leader encouraged them all to break the law. As a result of this en masse lawbreaking, it is virtually certain that some number of “COVID Chaos” attendees will contract COVID-19–and some fraction of those cases mathematically will be fatal.

With all of this in mind, if you believe that the streets of America’s cities should be militarized to put a stop to lawbreaking, you are morally obligated to also support punishing Bandimere Speedway for putting thousands of people at risk of contracting a deadly disease Tuesday night. If you like a majority of Americans believe that both police brutality and COVID-19 are problems to be addressed instead of scoffed at, you might even conclude the only correct course of action is to shut down Bandimere Speedway, and it’s offensive to draw any equivalence between these two “movements.”

Either way, either the law matters or it does not. And plenty of rioters are facing charges.

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TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY: “COVID Chaos,” Aptly Named


Photo by CD-7 GOP candidate Casper Stockham


Photo by Randy Corporon

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Pretty close to an epidemiological worst-case scenario, reports Denver7:

Thousands of supporters gathered at Bandimere speedway on Tuesday night, though they did not gather to watch racing. This, in many attendees’ words, was a peaceful protest.

The Stop the COVID Chaos Rally was held to promote two lawsuits being filed against Colorado policies related to COVID-19. The first is being filed by Bandimere Speedway against Jefferson County for its health regulations on businesses. The second is being filed by Colorado House minority leader Rep. Patrick Neville against Gov. Jared Polis’s emergency mask mandate…

We’re not sure what Denver7 is talking about with the second lawsuit from Patrick Neville, since his appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court was rejected last Friday–perhaps he intends to file a different suit, but we haven’t seen confirmation of that as of this writing.

As for the thousands of COVIDiots swapping droplets with one another last night, now comes the incubation period.

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House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, columnist Michelle Malkin.

As the Denver Post’s Shelly Bradbury reports, sometimes the jokes write themselves:

The Jefferson County racetrack that health officials took to court for violating social distancing requirements at its events is hosting a “Stop the COVID Chaos” rally Tuesday, renewing concerns from the county health department about public safety amid a pandemic.

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and right-wing activist Michelle Malkin are slated to attend the evening rally at Bandimere Speedway, according to a statement on the racetrack’s website.

Attorney Randy Corporon, who has represented the racetrack, and members of the Bandimere family will also attend the event, which will include speeches and a presentation on why public health orders regarding coronavirus precautions are unconstitutional, according to the statement.

Jefferson County’s Bandimere Speedway has been a vanguard of “COVID resistance” throughout the pandemic, repeatedly going to court to keep their stands full(ish) with and without any semblance of best practices to contain the spread of the disease. At tonight’s rally, it’s our guess that face masks will be unfashionable at best, and the proper six feet-plus of distance always to be observed in public will be more of an exercise in futility than a rule.

When the “COVID Chaos” becomes less of a laughing matter, of course, is in the days to couple weeks after–when the outbreak you can set your watch to starts exacting its toll among the freedom fighters attending tonight’s festivities. Much like Donald Trump’s misguided Tulsa rally that claimed the life of Herman Cain a few weeks later, or the Sturgis motorcycle rally now blamed for at least 20 new COVID-19 cases in Colorado alone, these are fully predictable tragedies–and the attendees, high-ranking GOP elected officials among them, are the only ones who don’t get that.

As always, avoid the area downwind if possible–and roll your windows up if you have to take C-470 this evening.

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Big Press Day For Pat Neville’s Mask Lawsuit Cash Cow

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, columnist Michelle Malkin.

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville announced his intention to file a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis’ statewide mask order over a month ago, and as the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports, Neville intends to file this week after a month of we have no reason to assume was not very successful fundraising:

Colorado House GOP Minority Leader Patrick Neville and conservative activist Michelle Malkin are suing Gov. Jared Polis over the statewide mask order…

“Governor Polis’ Executive Orders have been devastating to the people of Colorado,” Neville said in a statement. “People have been ordered to stay at home; their right to travel has been trampled; their right to worship has been taken away; businesses have been shut down; and countless jobs have been lost. The Governor has overstepped his Constitutional powers. We have checks and balances and Governor Polis needs to follow them.”

KDVR:

“Let’s have a thorough, full debate through all the different people,” Neville said. “Let’s get citizen input. Let’s have that process go through. Right now it’s – Polis says so. King Polis says so.”

The governor issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“We are free to be on the side of a deadly virus that has taken the lives of too many friends, parents, and loved ones, or on the side of Coloradans. I’m on the side of Coloradans.”

After the initial announcement from Neville back in July soon after the mask order was issued, we didn’t hear much about this until yesterday–not that anyone expected he wouldn’t follow through. We don’t how much money Neville raised over the last month to finance this lawsuit, but given the degree of generalized agitation on the far right for which masks have become a focal point, we’re not going to underestimate the possibility that it could be a lot. Since the funds appear to have been raised through Neville’s independent expenditure committee Take Back Colorado, we should find out eventually how much was raised during the period.

The announcement that nationally prominent right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin is joining the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff is sure to attract a lot more fringe attention to the effort. Malkin’s increasingly close association with the GOP House Minority Leader, even after Malkin was cancelled by mainstream conservatives once she became an unapologetic defender of Holocaust denial and openly white supremacist alt-right leaders, is of course not a good look for any Colorado Republican hoping to appeal to non-racist, mask mandate-supporting voters–who despite the disproportionate noise made by the COVIDiot fringe are in every poll the overwhelming majority. Also, the governor very clearly has the power to enact a mask order under Colorado law.

But again, in discussing the actual issue here, we’re missing the point. For the sputtering Neville political machine, it’s not even about Republicans winning anymore–2018 and the 2020 Republican primaries settled that question.

It’s about faking relevance, and keeping the funds rolling in.

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UNMASKED: The Dumbest Book Preview Video You’ll See Sunday


Former Sen. Kevin Lundberg (right).

From the high-commission conservative fundraising site Freedomfy–that’s right, kids, Jon Caldara has a piece of the action–comes a preview of an upcoming Very Important Self-Published Book™ written by a hefty group of Republican lawmakers and hard-right local activists just in time for the 2020 election season: UNMASKED2020: Colorado’s Radical Left Turn and a Warning to America.

Are you excited? Because we’re excited:

The book, UNMASKED2020: Colorado’s Radical Left Turn and a Warning to America, will consist of 15 chapters in approximately 200 pages, each written by a different contributor. Five of the fifteen coauthors are current or former elected Colorado legislators, including a former President of the State Senate and a former chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Two are involved with broadcast journalism, two are attorneys, one the director of a university-based think tank, one a former deputy administrator of a federal agency, and another a former Colorado regional coordinator for Americans for Prosperity.

The “partial list” of contributors to UNMASKED2020 isn’t exactly an “A-List” of Colorado Republicans, but it is a fair number with a few modestly notable names: former Colorado Senate President John Andrews, Jeff Hunt of the religious right Centennial Institute, former fringe-right Sen. Kevin Lundberg, local talk radio freakshow Randy Corporon, the “gruesome twosome” of Rep. Kim Ransom and Rep. Dave Williams, and Sen. Rob Woodward who colleagues know is a charming man to work both for and with. Lundberg narratives the preview video above, and let’s face it, folks: the man’s got a golden voice.

As for what these very fine people have to say in the actual book, it’s not looking real good.

“First the coronavirus pandemic upended everything. Then in May after another few weeks, racial tensions flared following the George Floyd death. Then before long, well-organized seditious elements began abusing the people’s freedom of assembly with violent nihilist riots. The shock and strain these compounding crises placed upon Colorado’s institutions of self-government, and on the elected officials leading them, can hardly be overstated…. But I agree with our chapter authors that these leaders and too many others in state government, local government, public health, and law enforcement did not rise to the occasion as we the people had a right to expect they should.”

-Former Senate President John Andrews, “A Warning to America”

“It is time for the elected leaders of our state to put public health officials back into their proper role. They must, once again, become objective scientists who are ready and able to give good counsel to our elected leaders and the public. Never again should public health officials become our unaccountable and unelected rulers.”

-Former Senator Kevin Lundberg, “Public Health Today Means Command and Control”

“In mid-February the grassroots activists received a slap in the face. The vaccination bill that was defeated last year came back to life. SB 20-163, “School Entry Immunization,” was introduced…. Like last year, hundreds of parents with children in-hand testified before the Senate committee hearing. Once again politicians disregarded the personal stories and comments from citizens and parents and passed the bill.”

-Kim Monson and Patti Kurgan, “Citizen Voices Silenced”

In short, if you believe that everything and everybody including your local fire department is out to get you, especially anybody who tells you to (gasp) wear a mask or (gasp even harder) vaccinate your kids, this book is for you! But based on every poll in sight on all of these issues, we can say pretty confidently that’s not anything remotely close to a majority of Colorado voters.

All told, this will earn Colorado Democrats more support than the Republicans it’s supposed to help.

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GOP State House Candidate All In For Quackery Over Microchips

Samantha Koch, the Republican nominated to unseat Rep. Sue Lontine in southwest Denver’s House District 1, wants you to know that she has got this whole coronavirus thing figured out:

Once again, the rule of “we’d ignore it if they weren’t a Republican candidate for the legislature” applies! There’s a lot to unpack here, more than we or the voters of HD-1 will most likely have time for. But please, begs the Food and Drug Administration and every other responsible public health authority in the world, do not take hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 no matter how many Republicans tell you you should. And if Bill Gates’ philanthropy ends up contributing to a coronavirus vaccine, your first instinct as a reasonable person should not be to assume it contains a mind control microchip.

These people have always been with us, of course. 2020 is merely bringing them out of the woodwork, and Donald Trump’s Republican Party has given them a home.

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Colorado Militia Member Appears to Threaten Fellow El Paso County Statehouse Candidate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Three Percenter militia sniper, Colorado Springs BLM protest, June 6. Photo by Heidi Beedle, Colorado Springs Independent

A Three Percenter militia Facebook page that appears to be run by Libertarian statehouse candidate Nathan Foutch posted threats against retired Army Lt. Colonel John Foley, who is also running for a statehouse seat (as a Democrat) in El Paso County.

In a June 18 Facebook post, Foley objected to members of the “Three Percenters” militia setting up a sniper position atop a parking garage in downtown Colorado Springs during a June 6 Black Lives Matter protest. Foley wrote,

“This is the face of hate and extremist in our Colorado Springs community and why I oppose the Three Percenter extremist group,” wrote Foley on his campaign Facebook page. “They set up a sniper position, with a spotting scope and suppressors and bipod legs, overlooking the peaceful BLM rally on 6 June. This was a clear act of hateful intimidation. Let’s join together and say NO to such hate and extremism.”

 

Posts and comments made by the Real Three Percenters Colorado Facebook Page refer to Foutch in the first person.

On June 19, the page shared Foley’s Facebook post with the comment, “Get a load of this tyrant. Time to get the ropes ready.”

The following day Foutch then commented on Foley’s page saying he was “spreading fear-based propaganda for [his] anti-gun agenda.”

Foutch went on to call Foley “a Communist who will be dealt with accordingly when the times comes for your treason.”

When Foley reshared the comment noting that it proved his point about the Three Percenters being a threat, Foutch responded “What a bitch of a man. Now he will twist it into a threat to pander to the other pussies in El Paso County.”

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 29)

Happy “International Tiger Day.” Please don’t try to have a beer with a tiger. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

As The New York Times reports, the United States has surpassed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19.

 

Senate Republicans and the White House can barely agree on what to eat for lunch (though it’s either hamburgers or meatloaf), so they’ve made little progress on a new coronavirus stimulus bill as extended unemployment benefits are about to run dry. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump is now talking about a mini-bill:

President Trump called for a quick fix Wednesday to address expiring unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, saying the other parts of the GOP’s $1 trillion relief bill can wait.

“The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties.

Democrats have repeatedly rejected the idea of a piecemeal approach that would involve a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not embraced the idea either, insisting any bill must include a five-year liability shield for businesses, health-care providers and others — a non-starter for Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking alongside Trump, said the two sides were “very far apart.”

This is the part where we remind you that the House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill (the “HEROES Act”) in mid-May. Senate Republicans have been sitting around drawing doodles in their notebooks for more than two months now.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis laid out a list of items that Colorado needs Congress to provide ASAP:

Polis warned of dire consequences to the economic welfare of millions of Coloradans and to the state’s ability to contain the pandemic in a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation as the U.S. Senate begins deliberating the next phase of coronavirus relief while infections surge across the nation.

“The continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of key federal programs for Coloradans is making many of our neighbors contemplate extremely difficult choices regarding their financial futures,” Polis said.

 

Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday also called on all Coloradans to be more smarter about protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. From The Denver Post:

Coloradans who attend large events, don’t wear masks and don’t follow social-distancing guidelines are not only putting themselves but others at risk, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday in response to concerns about a large event in Weld County over the weekend.

concert and rodeo in Weld County on Sunday drew about 2,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic in a county that has resisted the governor’s orders for wearing masks and other restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Although county commissioners may believe they don’t have to enforce orders from the governor, Polis rejected the claim at a news conference Tuesday, saying it’s the law and the way to fight it is through the courts…

…“Attending large gatherings doesn’t just put yourself at risk but also puts your job and your family and your loved ones at risk,” Polis said. “No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid, but I’m calling on Coloradans not to be stupid.” [Pols emphasis]

 

Attorney General William Barr testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, delivering a masterful performance…assuming you were expecting a disgustingly corrupt and indifferent stance on just about anything he was asked. Vox.com explains how Barr has helped to make Trumpism possible in the United States. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post marvels at Barr’s clear-eyed support for meddling in U.S. elections.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from leaders of the nation’s four biggest tech giants: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

 

 

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

 

(more…)

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Republicans Call for Special Session to De-Fund Schools

Colorado Republicans try not to let too much time go by each week without offering up some sort of cockamamie idea on one policy or another. Today the state GOP Senate caucus managed to combine the coronavirus and vouchers — coronavouchers! — into the same ridiculous demand. Senate President Leroy Garcia was having none of it:

This is a rather silly thing to request in general, let alone via social media exclusively, so what’s the point? In a word: Vouchers.

Senate Republicans are making a half-assed attempt to get media coverage for requesting a special legislative session so that they can introduce a bunch of school voucher proposals. The GOP wants to argue that vouchers — or “school choice” as Republicans like to call it — would make sense during a pandemic because then parents could redirect the tax money they pay for public schools into some sort of imaginary home schooling or private school “solution.”

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t make school vouchers (sorry, “school choice”) into a better idea any more than a hurricane should encourage you to reinvest all of your money into plywood manufacturers. The GOP says it wants a special session “to provide clarity to Colorado parents regarding the future of their children’s education during #COVID19,” but unless Republicans figured out a way to kill the coronavirus by re-writing the tax code, there’s really nothing to discuss here.

The coronavirus will sicken private and home-school teachers just as well as it will infect public school teachers. What “clarity” can Senate Republicans possibly provide to change this basic fact? We could take the money generated for all public education needs and light it on fire for all that would do to fix our pandemic problem.

As Sen. Garcia noted, this is nothing but a ridiculous political stunt from Colorado Republicans — and not a particularly clever one, either.

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Rep. Dave Williams: Send In The Stormtroopers

Donald Trump, Rep. Dave Williams (R).

This morning, freak-right GOP Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs released a letter he sent to President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, “formally” requesting the deployment of federal riot control police to Denver–where Mayor Michael Hancock this week joined with over a dozen mayors of major U.S. cities in demanding federal forces stand down from their highly controversial attacks on and arrests of protesters near federal property.

Although Williams’ call for federal stormtroopers in the streets of a city he does not represent is ostensibly based on “violence” Williams claims without factual basis “is at an all time high,” this letter is perhaps more notable for its unexplained and bizarre drift into a wide range of grievances against Gov. Jared Polis over the management of the COVID-19 pandemic–management which President Donald Trump has praised. Here are a few excerpts that we have to say raise some urgent questions about Williams’ mental state:

As a lawmaker representing Colorado House District 15, I officially request that your administration expand its “Operation Legend” efforts to include Colorado, specifically in the city of Denver as violent, deadly crime is on an upswing according to many news reports.

Sadly, the violence is being largely ignored by radical Democrats who are in a position to stop it…

Governor Polis, who is refusing to restore law and order by stopping these criminals, is instead punishing hard-working, honest citizens who are desperately trying to pay their bills and make ends meet while the economy is artificially shut down.

By using the Chinese coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for his unprecedented power grabs, Governor Polis is issuing unconstitutional mandates that have shuttered businesses, churches, schools, and other community activities. His latest two orders were a statewide mask mandate and an order for restaurants to stop serving alcohol by 10pm.

Colorado is going too far with these restrictions and a recent study that was reported by the Colorado news publication, Westword, found that Colorado was one of the most restrictive states in the country…

Governor Polis, in his smug arrogance, is violating the right of citizens to freely make health care decisions for themselves and families while also coddling criminals who are continuously encouraged to violate the rule of law by the Governor’s willful inaction to protect the public he falsely claims to serve.

Mr. President, we need your help now more than ever.

We’re obliged to ask: does Rep. Williams want federal stormtroopers in Denver to stop the violence he falsely claims is at an “all-time high”–or does Williams want federal troops to intimidate Gov. Polis? We assume Williams’ request for “legal assistance” to Minority Leader Patrick Neville for his fundraising ploy lawsuit over the statewide mask order is distinct from this letter’s primary purpose of requesting federal troops be deployed to Denver–but the distinction gets a bit, you know, muddled.

And every time we give Rep. Williams the benefit of the doubt, we end up regretting it.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 20)

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shooting. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

Colorado is trending in the wrong direction on the coronavirus pandemic, reaching the highest number of statewide cases since May. Experts say that wearing masks in public can substantially slow the spread of COVID-19, but they are also encouraging Coloradans to avoid gathering in crowds altogether.

 

As The Washington Post reports, vulnerable Republican Senate candidates such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner are finding themselves stuck in a corner as the Senate attempts to advance more coronavirus relief legislation despite opposition from the Trump administration:

As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic.

In particular, the expiration of an additional $600-per-week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home…

…“We have to — together — get through this by making sure that people are able to get back to work, that businesses are able to survive, that individuals know that they’re going to be okay,” endangered Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) said in a phone interview.

 

► President Trump is going to resume his regular airing of grievances daily coronavirus briefings this week. From The New York Times:

President Trump said on Monday that he is bringing back the daily coronavirus briefings that he halted in April, a tacit acknowledgment that the public health crisis that he has sought to put behind him is still ravaging much of the country.

With cases and deaths on the rise, Mr. Trump told reporters that he would probably hold the first of the new series of briefings on Tuesday at 5 p.m. He attributed his decision to revive them not to the increasing threat of the virus but to the fact that the briefings had high television ratings.

“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television. There’s never been anything like it,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a previously unannounced meeting with congressional Republicans. “It’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics.”

Trump views these daily briefings as official government versions of a political rally, though he had backed off the daily events amid concerns from advisers that he was “over-saturating” Americans with Trump talk.

 

► President Trump sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News over the weekend. Aaron Blake sums up the incredibly-bizarre interview for The Washington Post:

Trump’s interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace was a painful affair from start to finish. Wallace is always a good and tough interviewer, unlike the Fox opinion hosts Trump frequents, and he is always prepared, but this was on another level. The interview wasn’t overly adversarial; Wallace was perfectly willing to talk about the things Trump was interested in and to play ball when Trump responded in relatively good faith. It wasn’t slanted; instead it merely raised the very factual counterpoints dealt with frequently in coverage of Trump. And it wasn’t rushed, which meant that Wallace could dig into the points Trump was making without fear of neglecting other topics he wanted to touch on.

Chris Cillizza of CNN goes through the entire interview to highlight 55 of Trump’s most crazypants quotes from the Fox News interview. Here’s two of those quotes, along with Cillizza’s analysis:

3. “But when you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”

We don’t. We have the seventh highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Which Wallace told Trump. Trump is using numbers from the European CDC, according to Wallace.

4. “Look, I take responsibility always for everything because it’s ultimately my job, too.”

“I don’t take responsibility at all.” — Donald Trump, March 13

 

 

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville appears likely to lose that title in a few months:

It is increasingly likely that Patrick Neville, the far-right leader of Colorado’s shrunken House GOP caucus, will be overthrown later this year.

Neville, of Castle Rock, has been minority leader since 2016, but Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican, has been public about his plans to seek the job of minority leader heading into the 2021 legislative session in January. More than a dozen lawmakers and other Capitol sources say they believe McKean’s victory is all but assured.

This outcome was made much more likely on primary night in June, when a slate of Republican candidates more aligned with Neville’s vision was trounced by a group of less hard-right candidates.

We wrote about exactly this subject here at Colorado Pols just a few weeks ago. In a new post today, we break down the chaos among state Republicans.

Meanwhile, Neville is trying to raise money for his anti-mask wearing cause. Colorado is under a statewide mask ordinance as of last week, which isn’t making right-wing Republicans very happy.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Chaos Grips Colorado House GOP At Worst Possible Moment

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville.

The Denver Post’s Alex Burness takes a hard look today at the rapidly declining fortunes of GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, emerging as the biggest loser of the June 30th primary election after a slate of allied House candidates crucial for Neville’s ongoing grip on leadership was trounced. As we foresaw early this month, disgruntled members of Neville’s dwindling minority caucus are going public with their fatigue with Neville’s leadership, and openly talking about their plans to replace Neville after the 2020 elections:

“The reality is — and I hate to say it — that the House GOP is basically irrelevant,” said Brian DelGrosso, Neville’s predecessor as minority leader. “The numbers are so far skewed that, quite frankly, the voice of the GOP doesn’t even need to be considered for them to push legislation through.”

A number of lawmakers said they believe at least 15 or 16 likely members of next session’s House GOP caucus plan to support [Rep. Hugh] McKean, who is far from a liberal but who many see as more moderate than Neville. The latest plan would also have Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton replace Rep. Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch as assistant majority leader.

Because the Neville family’s closely-held independent expenditure network is directly responsible for the execution of a large part of the campaign to reduce losses in the November elections, this open insurrection in the ranks of the caucus presents a difficult situation to say the least for GOP donors. There’s an argument that, with so many strategic objectives for donors to invest in in an historically difficult landscape, donors are better off writing off the Colorado House GOP as a defensible unit until after 2020.

Term-limited Rep. Lois Landgraf had some of the sharpest red-on-red criticism of Neville’s tenure as House Minority Leader, flat-out telling Burness “we haven’t had leadership for years, since Patrick took over.” Landgraf threatened to challenge Neville for the post after the caucus’s disastrous losses in 2018, and we cited the failure of Republicans to replace Neville at that time as a portentous error–signaling more defeat for Republicans in Colorado instead of a change of course.

There’s a temptation in reading about the open rebellion against House Minority Leader Neville to embrace an ideological justification, but none of this is happening because Neville is “too far right.” This is about electoral results that the Nevilles have failed to deliver, in 2018 and again in the 2020 Republican primaries. If they had won more races, we’d be having a different conversation. Their failures have created an opening for others to step up to the trough. Above all, it’s about the money–the money to be made, win or lose, by Neville’s political machine Rearden Strategic, or somebody else.

“I just don’t know if I buy that Hugh represents a new, moderate option to Patrick,” said Majority Leader Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat and the favorite to replace term-limited KC Becker as speaker of the House next session. “I keep hearing that there’s going to be this move back to the center, and there’s just no evidence of that from a policy perspective that I can point to.”

Indeed, it’s a staunchly conservative bunch top to bottom. [Pols emphasis] But at a minimum, replacing Neville would likely mean a change in messaging. He is among the most inflammatory Republicans of any influence in the state; he likened the state stay-home order this spring to the Gestapo.

As long as we’re still talking about the party of Donald Trump, all of this speculation about a “change in messaging” for House Republicans under future leadership is pretty much meaningless. But even in a post-Trump political landscape after the November elections, the alternative to the Neville machine for Republicans is the same “corporate wing” of the party that has engineered historic losers of their own like Bob Beauprez and Walker Stapleton.

If you’re a GOP donor who wants to to hold the line in the Colorado House in 2020, to whom should you write a check today? We honestly don’t have a good answer for that question. You, and in the long term the Republican Party, may really be better off keeping your wallet closed this cycle.

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Pat Neville’s Mask Lawsuit All About The Benjamins

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

As we we discussed last week and Colorado Public Radio reported, Republican House Minority Leader Patrick Neville threatened a lawsuit on Thursday in response to the statewide face mask executive order issued by Gov. Jared Polis, which came after weeks of pleading by public health authorities to take this additional step as COVID-19 cases grow in the state:

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville tweeted that Polis was “on a power trip,” and said he had hired attorneys with “the intent to sue” for an alleged violation of civil liberties, though he didn’t give any further details about the potential lawsuit.

In a separate written statement that didn’t mention legal action, Neville asserted that the order is unnecessary because Colorado’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths are still lower than their April peak.

Although Neville “didn’t give any further details” about his impending lawsuit against Gov. Polis’ mask order, yesterday on Facebook what’s probably the most important component of the whole operation went live.

The fundraising page!

You knew this was coming: “lawsuits aren’t cheap,” and in this case as unlikely to be successful as any of the Neville political clans other recent failed stunts (see: recall of Rep. Tom Sullivan, et al)–but as the organizers of the stillborn recall attempt against Gov. Polis last year can tell you and P.T. Barnum can tell you, there’s a sucker born every minute! The Nevilles have figured out that win or lose, usually the latter, there’s cash to be raised by slapping Polis’ picture on an ad with the words “stop this guy.”

Democrats should of course celebrate Neville’s anti-mask crusade, since it further divorces the Republican brand from the mainstream majority of Coloradans who support masks and any other measure needed to slow the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Given the money spent by fellow Republicans during the recently-concluded primary to take out Neville’s favored House candidates, and a significant reduction in money flowing into the House GOP’s Neville-owned “independent” messaging group Values First Colorado, we don’t doubt that the Neville clan needs to get creative to make payroll.

As always, it is our sincere hope that nobody sends Pat Neville their welfare check.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Post-Primary Podcasting

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Post-Primary-Processing-Pallooza! A local gun group pulls the trigger and a tiny little flag that says BANG pops out of the barrel; Cory Gardner wears a mask; Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wears a gun; we tempt the fates by attempting to be light hearted about the coronavirus; even Trump’s fake poll shows him losing by 10 points; and we may get a look at the Big Orange Guy’s tax returns after all!

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 13)

If you want to know what it feels like to be President Trump right now, just go stand outside on the pavement for about 10 minutes. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► President Trump is attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci because Fauci isn’t playing along with Trump’s plan to pretend the coronavirus outbreak is totally under control. As Maggie Haberman explains for The New York Times:

President Trump’s advisers undercut the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, over the weekend, anonymously providing details to various news outlets about statements he had made early in the coronavirus outbreak that they said were inaccurate.

The move to treat Dr. Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades, as if he were a warring political rival came as he has grown increasingly vocal in his concerns about the national surge in coronavirus cases, as well as his lack of access to Mr. Trump over the past several weeks. It has been accompanied by more measured public criticism from administration officials, including the president.

And it came just days after the White House called school reopening guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overly restrictive, part of a pattern of the administration trying to sideline recommendations that could slow the reopening of the economy, which Mr. Trump views as vital to his flailing re-election effort.

Aides to Mr. Trump first released to The Washington Post what the paper called a “lengthy list” of remarks that Dr. Fauci had made about the virus when it was in its early stages.

As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post:

What’s unusual about the White House’s efforts to undermine Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice on the novel coronavirus pandemic, is that the only way in which Fauci has undercut the president is by being honest about the moment…

…What Fauci has done is make obvious both that the pandemic is as bad as it seems and that there are ways in which it can be addressed, which at times conflict with what Trump would like to see. Trump’s vision for what happens with the virus’s spread is fairly straightforward: Businesses reopen and kids go back to school and he gets reelected and then it just sort of becomes a nonissue somehow. Maybe he doesn’t get to that fourth step; it’s not clear. What Fauci and, more broadly, government and medical experts foresee is grimmer: With better containment and Americans taking more responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus, maybe we can keep the death toll down until there’s a vaccine.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) should theoretically be interested in defending Fauci, who he has called “a national treasure.”

If you’re wondering if you missed Sen. Cory Gardner’s comments on Dear Leader Trump’s late Friday decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, never fear…Gardner hasn’t said a damn thing!

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s “get out of jail” card for Stone is even worse than it looks at first glance:

These are not small crimes. Let’s be very clear what Stone did: He lied to Congress about his efforts to find out what WikiLeaks had in terms of hacked emails that were designed to damage Clinton. He also threatened someone — with death — unless that person lied to Congress about the nature of his role in the backchanneling of WikiLeaks information…

…And now Stone has been rewarded with a commutation of what was to be a 40-month prison sentence set to start Tuesday — not because he didn’t do what he was convicted of doing but rather because a) he stayed loyal to Trump (“There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president,” Stone said when he was formally indicted) and b) his conviction played into Trump’s deep-seated resentments that the fact that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him somehow invalidates his victory.

 

Douglas County Republicans are classy. A certain section of rich, white, suburbanites in Metro Denver are out of their freaking minds.

Meanwhile, a mask requirement for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties goes into effect on July 24.

 

As The Denver Post reports, President Trump’s ban on temporary worker visas is causing havoc in Colorado:

“Honestly, it’s just horrendous,” Brian Carlson, the CEO of Lafayette-based Green Landscape Solutions, said. “What I tell people is at this point my business plan comes down to a lottery or luck.”

But 2020 is not just any year — the visa roller coaster has come off the tracks. The H-2B and other programs have been frozen by presidential decree. Whether or not that will mean the hundreds of thousands of Colorado workers who are unemployed amid the COVID-19 pandemic will seek out the jobs normally filled by foreign laborers remains to be seen…

…The president’s bans are not only impacting landscaping businesses like Carlson’s that are in peak season but stand to reverberate through some of Colorado’s key industries, including winter tourism.

 

Senate Republicans are getting very concerned about being significantly outraised by Democrats across the country. As POLITICO reports:

“It’s a slow-moving trainwreck,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican consultant who led Marco Rubio’s digital strategy in the 2016 presidential campaign. “The warning signs are flashing right now, and they’re ignoring it.”

Democratic Senate campaigns have outraised Republicans in small-dollar donations (under $200) in 10 of the 12 most competitive races, according to a review of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, which this week are due for an update covering the second quarter. Already, many Democratic campaigns have announced that they raised massive sums in the last three months, while few Republicans have tipped their hands. Unitemized donations also represented a higher percentage of individual receipts for Democrats in every competitive race featuring a GOP senator.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Republicans Disown House District 34 Primary Winner

HD-34 GOP nominee Mark Bromley.

Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, the snakebit follies of Adams County Republicans in House District 34 continue as the party announces they will not support the winner of the primary election in that district, Mark Bromley:

The House District 34 Republican Central Committee announced recently it would not support the winner of the June 30 primary, Republican Mark Bromley of Northglenn.

The July 3 announcement cited Bromley’s threats against fellow Republicans and other candidates, and his “abject failure to exhibit beliefs that are consistent with the Republican platform, along with his indecent means of doing so.”

Those threats and other comments came through a series of now-deleted Facebook posts in which Bromley called a home-schooling parent “Home Hitler.”

Not that we would endorse characterizing home-school parents or most anyone else as a “_____ Hitler” unless they are, you know, actually a Nazi–which does happen, of course–but it’s especially bad for Republicans seeking higher office to refer to home-school parents as Nazis, since that’s an overwhelmingly Republican constituency. There’s nothing to suggest that Bromley is a moderate when it comes to education or any other issue, since he avidly promotes all of the current Republican conflict theories and even calls himself a supporter of homeschool education.

It appears that Mark Bromley is just an asshole, to friend and foe alike.

House District 34, in theory a competitive district, has been a frustration for Colorado Republicans since they were handed the seat by outgoing Rep. Steve Lebsock–who switched to the GOP as a parting shot to Democrats after being expelled from the House for his unrepentant sexual harassment. Lebsock’s GOP-appointed replacement Rep. Alexander “Skinhead” Winkler served one of the shortest terms in state legislative history before losing the seat by a wide margin in 2018 to the current incumbent Rep. Kyle Mullica. Mullica, who distinguished himself in his first term fighting to improve Colorado’s dismal child vaccination rate against thoroughly unhinged opposition, was in a good position to hold this district for Democrats comfortably going into November of 2020.

With Republicans now fleeing their own nominee, the anti-vaxxers are going to be sorely disappointed.

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Pat Neville Compares Killing Elijah McClain To Super Glue

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

Nell Salzman reports for Westword on a “debrief” webinar hosted by Colorado Christian University on the recently passed landmark legislation in Colorado tightening accountability for police who commit violent crimes of their own in the line of duty–featuring two local hard-right conservative public figures, Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler and GOP House Minority Leader Pat Neville.

Neville, who was in on initial discussions of the police-reform bill, said he wouldn’t have endorsed it without certain amendments, but he ultimately supported it, as did the vast majority of the state’s legislators. Even so, the law primarily addresses a “big-city” problem, he explained, adding that many of the state’s police departments won’t be affected by it. “Most of the police forces out there are doing what’s in this bill as passed,” he said. “By and large, if there were any issues, it was usually in Denver and Aurora, places like that.”

It’s not the first time that Neville has blown the “big city” or “urban” dog whistle in order to make his point that a given problem is faced by, you know, “others.” Like Neville’s mistaken racist supposition about where COVID-19 was hitting hardest in the state, with the highest case rates actually occurring in rural and agricultural areas, Neville is wrong about where police brutality happens too. It happens everywhere.

As bad as that is, Neville managed to make it even worse:

Neville, too, said he’s bothered by the power of political pressure. Back in January, he noted, protesters interrupted the governor’s State of the State speech and the Denver district attorney decided not to prosecute them. How, he asked, is this different from not prosecuting the Aurora police officers involved in the Elijah McClain case? [Pols emphasis]

“We like to criticize Dave Young [DA for the 17th District] for not prosecuting, but then on the other hand we see when Beth McCann, a liberal DA, doesn’t prosecute people for a crime, they’re cheering that,” he said. “It’s rather disturbing.”

Minority Leader Neville is referring to a brief and nonviolent (though admittedly noisy) protest that occurred during Gov. Jared Polis’ State of the State Address back in January. A total of 33 people were arrested in that incident for chanting slogans from the gallery in opposition to human-caused climate change. The closest this came to a violent act was one individual who super glued his own hands together around the gallery railing, necessitating a stern yank from a state trooper to separate them. Because the protesters in most cases spent the night in jail for their trouble, Denver DA Beth McCann decided they had been sufficiently punished.

This is where we realize with no small amount of revulsion that the Republican leader of the Colorado House has just equated the killing of Elijah McClain by Aurora police, which has sparked nationwide controversy and helped inspire Colorado’s new law to combat police brutality, with a nonviolent political stunt pulled by a few climate activists during a political speech. Whether you’re a Black Lives Matter activist or a civil liberties-loving Rand Paul Republican, the comparison is so outrageous that it would be laughable–that is, had it not been claimed in all seriousness by one of the state’s highest ranking elected Republican officials.

All we can say is, it requires a deeply twisted view of the world for this to make any sense.

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