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…

 

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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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The End Is Near for the Neville Clan

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s collar grows ever tighter.

Last week’s Primary Election was an anti-climactic affair at the top of the ticket, but the rest of the ballot told a very interesting story. As we wrote last week, significant Republican Primary losses portend another GOP wipeout in Colorado come November, and the fallout could lead to the last gasps of the Neville Clan.

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.

The Neville family have been fixtures in Colorado Republican politics for much of the last decade, beginning with State Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville’s narrow victory in Jefferson County in 2014. Tim Neville is the father of Pat Neville and GOP political consultant Joe Neville, whose consulting firm Rearden Strategic has overseen many Republican races in recent years (Tim Neville is also the brother-in-law of former Jefferson County School Board Member Julie Williams, whose brief run in Jeffco was a disaster all its own).

Sen. Cory Gardner and former state Sen. Tim Neville, circa 2015.

Tim Neville quickly rose to the top of the Republican food chain in Colorado as a conservative social issue warrior, becoming the de-facto leader of the Senate Republican caucus in the state legislature (Neville was basically the Senate President at one point) and a bonafide contender for statewide office. He looked to be on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2015, and by Spring 2016 he seemed to be accumulating enough support to take the top line at the State GOP Convention.

But Tim Neville’s political demise was as swift as his ascent. Colorado Republicans held their state assembly in April 2016, and Neville completely bombed, losing to little-known Darryl Glenn by a 4-to-1 margin. Neville then turned his attention toward running for re-election to the State Senate in 2018, where he was out-worked by Democrat Tammy Story en route to a 14-point loss that contributed to Republicans losing majority control of the state senate. Neville later blamed his defeat on poor campaign strategies enacted by outside groups, which was ironic considering how his son’s strategic blunders torpedoed GOP chances around the state in that same cycle.

Tim Neville was actually preceded in the state legislature by Patrick, who was elected to the State House in 2014 and became House Minority Leader following the 2016 election. Together the Nevilles championed the causes of anti-abortion activists, gun lovers, anti-vaxxers and opponents of a functioning government. With Joe Neville overseeing the outside political operations for many Republican candidates — and with financial support from RMGO head honcho Dudley Brown — the Neville Clan kept the State Capitol stocked with loyal but questionable characters such as former State Reps. Justin Everett and Tim Leonard. You might remember Leonard as the only person in recent history to serve time in jail while a sitting member of the legislature; the Leonard debacle paved the way for Democrats to take control of what had long been a safe Republican seat in 2018.

The 2018 election cycle was a pivotal year for Colorado Republicans who were TROUNCED in races across the board — many of which were overseen by the Nevilles and/or Rearden Strategic. One particularly pathetic effort in Jefferson County exemplified the poor return on investment that 2018 candidates received from Rearden Strategic.

Pat Neville has been driving the COVID-19 Stupidity Train in recent months.

Despite those heavy losses, Neville retained enough caucus support to keep his post as Minority Leader, but the cracks were starting to show. A few months later, Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reported on grumblings about the Neville’s dubious political strategy and a generous payout structure for Rearden Strategic.

Last year, the Neville Clan followed up their poor 2018 by directing misguided efforts to raise money from gullible donors in a feeble attempt to recall multiple Democratic elected officials. Warning signs should have been apparent to the GOP after a questionable decision to go after Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan left the Nevilles and RMGO with mostly egg on their sad faces.

This time last year, we wondered again how Neville still managed to remain House Minority Leader despite a consistent record of incompetence. The 2020 legislative session didn’t help Neville’s cause, and the June Primary exposed yet another rift between Neville and Colorado Republicans — many of whom were tired of a heavy-handed approach that included Neville’s Chief of Staff, Jim Pfaff, regularly threatening other Republicans.

Colorado Republicans aren’t going to take control of the State House in 2020, and it is also unlikely that they will wrestle away the State Senate from Democrats. But if this is the year that the GOP finally rejects the influence of the Neville Clan, then perhaps Republicans can start to creep back toward relevance in 2022.

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Primary Results Portend GOP Wipeout in November

The 2020 Primary Election is now behind us (except for those few races that may need a recount). If you are a Democrat, you should be ecstatic. If you are a Republican, you might want to go into hibernation until 2022.

Let’s take a step back and examine the view of the 2020 Primary from 30,000 feet (or what you remember the view to look like from 30,000 feet, since nobody is going to be on an airplane anytime soon).

Lesson #1: Republicans Who are Known Entities Were Roundly Rejected 

Rep. Scott Tipton

Even Republican voters are sick of the current batch of Republicans. Take a look at this brief list of well-known Republicans who were shown the door on Tuesday:

♦ Six-term Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) — who was endorsed by President Trump — lost to QAnon true believer Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert.

♦ State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Firestone) lost her campaign to return to the State House…by 30 points.

♦ Former State Rep. Justin Everett was handily defeated by Rep. Colin Larsen in South Jeffco.

This list does not (yet) include State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who will likely need to wait for a recount to see if she won her race for an open seat on the Weld County Board of Commissioners.

 

Lesson #2: Pat Neville and RMGO Failed Everywhere

GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville “led” Republicans to a beatdown in 2018. His preferred Primary candidates in 2020, most of whom were supported with tens of thousands of dollars from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), were all soundly defeated:

HD-22: Justin Everett, a longtime Neville/RMGO loyalist, tried to retake his old House seat with a disgusting far-right message. He lost to Rep. Colin Larsen by 12 points.

HD-48: Two-time loser Grady Nouis lost by 12 points to Tonya Van Beber. Voters were apparently not impressed with the fact that Nouis is basically a Nazi.

HD-63: Neville and RMGO liked them some Pat Miller, who was Tom Tancredo’s running mate for Governor back in 2010. Dan Woog beat Miller by 25 points. (Fun Fact: This is Cory Gardner’s original State House seat)

SD-23: In one of the nastier Primary battles of 2020, RMGO spent big bucks trying to prop up Rupert Parchment against former County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. This race was also not close, with Kirkmeyer winning by about 12 points.

 

Lesson #3: Cory Gardner is in DEEP Trouble

Sen. Cory Gardner

Lessons #1 and #2 would be scary enough for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is seeking re-election in November, but that’s not even the worst of it.

Prepping for former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic Senate Primary, Gardner’s campaign sent out a rambling, ridiculous memo on Tuesday afternoon (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) arguing that Hickenlooper was the “worst senate candidate in America” and that a Democratic voter registration advantage in Colorado is “nonsense.”

A few hours later, Hickenlooper beat Romanoff by 20 points.

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

Re-read that last paragraph. Republicans (and Romanoff) spent many millions of dollars over several weeks trying to tear down Hickenlooper. They might have moved the race about one point in the end.

Colorado voters saw and heard about the ethics complaints against Hickenlooper; either they didn’t buy it, or they didn’t care. Gardner used a silly commercial to try to convince voters that Hickenlooper didn’t really want to be a Senator; that didn’t work, either.

Gardner has been a hot mess in the last 24 hours (more on that in a later post). If we were Gardner, we’d absolutely be freaking out today, too.

 

The 2020 Primary Election went worse for Republicans than observers — including us — could have even imagined. Today is the first day of the 2020 General Election in Colorado. It’s going to be a LONG couple of months for the GOP.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Primary-Prognostication-Palooza! The President takes a pounding in the polls, a potential politician pretends to be a professional, and more pretentious pablum from some political putzes. Tune in to hear our predictions for the June 30 Primary Election in Colorado.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedyclick here.

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 Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into 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/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

 

***If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, don’t put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location near you.*** 

 

It might still be the first wave. Maybe it’s a second wave. The number doesn’t really matter, because the important part is that the COVID-19 is still growing in the United States with 40,000 new cases being reported. Texas is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases, as is Arizona — two Republican-led states in the southwest that were too anxious to reopen without making sure it was safe to do so.

The Washington Post explains how Arizona lost control of the pandemic:

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

Florida — another Republican-led state — is slowing down its reopening process because of a surge in cases; on Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases (the state’s previous daily high was 5,500).

Colorado has also seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, but not nearly to the extend of neighboring states. Within Colorado, El Paso County is one of the worst-hit areas; it’s not a coincidence that El Paso is a solid-red Republican county.

At the White House today, Vice President Mike Pence will provide a media briefing on the nation’s coronavirus response…the first such briefing IN TWO MONTHS.

President Trump, meanwhile, is apparently watching an entirely different movie than everyone else:

 

President Trump is hemhoraging support. As a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, Trump’s disapproval ratings have reached an all-time high:

Trump’s approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

What’s more, a whopping 49% of voters “strongly disapprove” of the job Trump is doing. That kind of intensity of disapproval is a record never before seen for this president or any past one. [Pols emphasis]

So much winning! The #1 most disliked President ever!

 

Sticking with the subject of political polling, 9News released new data on Thursday showing that the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination is pretty much over. According to data from SurveyUSA, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a 2-to-1 favorite over former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

 

Hickenlooper is probably not going to beat Romanoff by 30 points, but as the saying goes, you can tell the “fat lady” to start warming up.

 

Political suicide. On Thursday the Trump administration announced another boneheaded decision that one Republican consultant called “pretty dumb” earlier this week. As The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.” Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi, who on Wednesday filed a bill to expand the ACA, said in a statement.

Again, the Trump administration is making a big show of trying to take away health insurance for millions of people in the midst of an historic global pandemic that is pummeling the United States. Is Trump trying to lose in 2020?

This is also bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has repeatedly voiced support for destroying the ACA through the courts.

 

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

 

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Justin Everett’s Quixotic Comeback Bid Turns Hater

Brought to our attention via local political reporter Sandra Fish, here’s a mailer that hit yesterday in the increasingly nasty HD-22 primary pitting incumbent Rep. Colin Larson against the previous holder of the seat, former Rep. Justin Everett–Everett having given up the seat in 2018 after losing the GOP Treasurer primary to general election loser Brian Watson (who probably won’t be running for anything again soon).

Although Everett is still bound by term limits and would only be able to serve one more term if he wins back the seat, the battle between Everett and his successor has turned into a very costly proxy war between the Republican Party’s corporate and far-right activist wings. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the cabal within the party most closely identified with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville are backing Everett, while “the suits” are backing Larson. Fish reported on the race for the Colorado Sun last week:

Another nearly $190,000 in big money is aimed at House District 22 in southern Jefferson County, where incumbent Rep. Colin Larson faces former Rep. Justin Everett, who left the seat in 2018 for an unsuccessful bid for state treasurer.

Assuring Quality Health Care Access spent nearly $72,000 supporting Larson, while Coloradans for Conservative Values spent more than $50,000 opposing Everett. Better Jobs spent nearly $36,000 on Larson’s race, with other groups spending less.

Everett is a longtime ally of RMGO, as well as House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Values First Colorado, the House super PAC, paid Everett $5,000 for consulting in December and January.

Although the content of this mail piece is absurdly difficult to read due to its circa-1996-website design, Everett’s attack on Larson is about as brazen an appeal to anti-LGBT prejudice as anything we’ve seen since the infamous “OMG two guys kissing” mailer sent in the SD-8 GOP primary back in 2012. Everett accuses his opponent of supporting (we apologize for the offense in reprinting) “boys who think they’re girls,” and that Larson is a tool of what Everett calls the “homosexual lobby.”

Safe to say, it’s not just the terrible design of this mail piece that’s a throwback to the bad old days.

With that said, of course, it’s entirely likely that this distasteful message, along with Everett’s familiarity with HD-22 Republicans after serving three terms, will bring out the GOP faithful to vote for Everett in the June 30th primary. Much like the Trump campaign’s red triangles, it’s all about the voters getting the message, and these are not in most cases going to voters who will be put off by a message of hostility toward LGBT Coloradans.

If you’re disgusted, too bad. You’re not in Everett’s target audience.

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The GMS Podcast: Rep. Chris Kennedy Gets More Smarter

Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii marvel anew at the ever-sinking poll numbers for President Trump; discuss the state of the debates in the U.S. Senate Primary between Democrats Andrew Romanoff and John Hickenlooper; and have a good laugh at an absurdly-bad new television ad from our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner.

But first, we wrap up the very weird Colorado legislative session that finally adjourned this week with State Rep. Chris Kennedy, the Assistant Majority Leader in the State House of Representatives. Warm up those brains and find out what happens next with several big policy ideas that were shelved because of the coronavirus outbreak and related budget troubles.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring polling guru Andrew Baumann, click here.

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

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

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Primary Fights Reveal Rift in Colorado Republican Caucus

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Patrick Neville’s seat is safe, but is his leadership title?

Patrick Neville with longtime ally Dudley Brown, shares his ultimately failed plans to recall fellow legislators last fall.

With Colorado’s primary election just two weeks away, statehouse campaigns to be the major party nominees are heating up. The competition is particularly fierce among the Republican races, where so-called dark money groups are spending unprecedented amounts of money.

The disputed primaries are once again revealing an ideological split within the Republican party, one that is well-known to Colorado politicos: the rift between the establishment GOP and its far-right wing, led by House Minority leader Patrick Neville. Despite historic losses in 2018, Neville still controls the caucus, and at least one Neville supporter appears to be nearly as concerned with protecting his leadership role as with retaking the chamber.

Emily Williams, wife of state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs), posted a Facebook video warning of a leadership coup within the caucus, specifically that “outside money is trying to take out Patrick Neville as Minority Leader.”

She’s not talking about Democrats trying to flip conservative seats, but rather a group seeking to elect moderate Republicans to red districts. She went on to attack incumbent state Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton), who she claims is attempting to challenge Neville, by accusing him of sleeping on the job, literally.

“And so he [Justin Everett] is trying to get back in there and be a fighter and be amazing, which we desperately need, because I’m gonna be honest with you, alright? The current guy–I kid you not–taking naps while Republicans are up late fighting on the floor for your freedoms. This guy was going in the back and catching some Z’s while everybody else did the dirty work and the heavy lifting. And, oh, by the way, he’s trying to make a run on leadership against the likes of Patrick Neville.”

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 17)

Happy World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought…day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/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

 

Senate Republicans have finally countered a police reform plan put forth by the House of Representatives. It’s a bit light.

Via The Washington Post (6/17/20)

Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a policing reform bill that would discourage, but not ban, tactics such as chokeholds and no-knock warrants, offering a competing approach to legislation being advanced by House Democrats that includes more directives from Washington.

The Republican proposal, which Senate leaders said would be considered on the floor next week, veers away from mandating certain policing practices, as the Democratic plan does.

Instead, it encourages thousands of local police and law enforcement agencies to curtail practices such as chokeholds and certain no-knock warrants by withholding federal funding to departments that allow the tactics or do not submit reports related to them.

The legislation also requires local law enforcement agencies to report all officer-involved deaths to the FBI — an effort pushed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is spearheading the GOP bill, since 2015 — and it encourages broader use of body-worn cameras for officers.

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order outlining new policies to deal with police brutality — as he offered effusive praise for law enforcement officials. From CNN:

Speaking during a discursive noontime event in the Rose Garden, Trump initially sought to adopt a unifying tone as he announced an executive order that, among other steps, creates a federal database of police officers with a history of using excessive force.

But later he veered from that topic and that tone to assault his political rivals and tout the stock market’s recent rally.

It was a performance that laid bare the balance Trump faces as he continues to embrace a hard line “law and order” mantle, which he believes benefits him politically, even as he confronts a national reckoning over systemic racism in police departments and outcry over violent police tactics.

Don’t feel bad: We also had to look up the meaning of “discursive.”

Denver7 looks at how Trump’s executive order compares to legislation passed in Colorado over the weekend:

“The federal executive order is more of a guideline,” said Andre Andeli, a lecturer in the criminal justice and criminology department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

 

As The New York Times reports, China is shutting things down again as a new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading through the country:

With a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections tied to a market — 137 cases after an additional 31 were reported on Wednesday — Beijing has started living through a milder, and so far limited, version of the disruptive restrictions that China enforced earlier this year to stifle its first tidal wave of infections. Residents in the capital have been sharply reminded that even in China — with its array of authoritarian powers — the virus can leap back to life, triggering new rounds of limits on their lives.

The new outbreak in Beijing has brought embarrassment and a tough response from the Chinese Communist Party. Officials had been proud to the point of gloating in recent weeks about their success in stifling the pandemic in the country. Now the virus is back.

Here in the United States, Texas, Florida, and Arizona set new records for daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence says not to worry…so, yeah, you should probably start to worry a little.

 

The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate held their final pre-Primary debate on Tuesday. As The Denver Post reports:

Racial justice was a big topic during the debate, given the protests that have been taking place on the streets of Denver and multiple other cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned by the neck under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee.

Both candidates conceded that they had not done enough to address the issue during their time in politics. Hickenlooper said despite efforts to reform police conduct in Denver when he was mayor of the city during the 2000s, “we didn’t go far enough and I regret that.”

Romanoff echoed those sentiments, saying “none of us have done enough.”

 

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

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 15)

Happy Global Wind Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/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

 

The Washington Post reports on a monumental Supreme Court ruling today:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees, a major gay rights ruling written by one of the court’s most conservative justices.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Gorsuch and Roberts were joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

 

The Colorado legislature will wrap up the 2020 session today, and it looks like a police reform bill will be the main takeaway of the session restart. From The Denver Post:

Colorado passed one of the most comprehensive police reform packages in the country Saturday, setting limits on police use of force and mandating data collection to make sure cops who are fired from one agency don’t get rehired by another.

Gov. Jared Polis has said he will sign the historic bill into law once it reaches his desk.

“This is, in my estimation, the largest single advancement of individual civil rights and liberties for Coloradans in a generation,” said Denver civil rights attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai.

Among the biggest changes, Colorado’s Senate Bill 217 bans the use of chokeholds and carotid control holds, limits when police are allowed to shoot at a fleeing person and requires officers to intervene in cases of excessive force or face criminal charges. The bill requires all officers to use body-worn cameras and departments to release the footage within 45 days, and it allows for officers to be held personally liable for civil rights violations.

Colorado lawmakers have a few more items on their agenda for Monday before the adjourn for the year. Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post take a look at other important decisions made over the weekend.
 
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn its approval of an anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

 

► Dear Leader Trump is trying to convince everyone that he is NOT the wobbly old man that he appeared to be while visiting West Point over the weekend. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN, Trump has turned his health into a story — wobbling at the podium and shuffling meekly down a ramp afterward — because of his own past actions.

Trump claimed on Twitter that he was just being careful in descending a ramp because it was slick from rain that didn’t exist:

 

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

 

(more…)

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Landmark Police Accountability Bill Passes House 52-13

Rest in power, George Floyd.

That’s the word from the Colorado House today as the extended 2020 legislative session winds down–Senate Bill 217, landmark legislation to ban chokeholds and end qualified immunity for police officers who brutalize the public, has passed by a lopsided–but not unanimous–52-13 vote. Among the “yes” votes, we note with some surprise, is GOP Minority Leader Patrick Neville, though a majority of his caucus in the end could not be persuaded to replicate the near-total support for the bill shown by the Senate. And as Michael Karlik of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, second-reading debate yesterday in the House turned quite nasty before the end:

Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, told [Rep. Rod] Bockenfeld that Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader emailed the county’s legislative delegation to thank them for amending SB217 in consultation with law enforcement.

“That’s because you blackmailed him,” Bockenfeld said, according to Tipper.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, glared silently at Bockenfeld when it was her turn to speak. “There’s no blackmail that happened in the lobby. This is a good bill,” she said. “And shame on you for implying that in the well.”

Rep. Larry Liston, another Republican “no” vote, went directly for the third rail:

“I’m not justifying anything that that officer or the other three did at all. I want to be very clear about that. But [Pols emphasis] George Floyd was no angel either. In and out of prison.” Liston added, “irrespective of that, he didn’t deserve any of that.”

So why mention it at all? Liston doesn’t have to tell you. You already know.

But in the end, despite the determination of a majority of the GOP House minority to sound a discordant note into the history books, the story of Senate Bill 217, and the historic reforms this bill makes to the power of police to use force with impunity against the public, will be a story of landmark success that transcends partisan politics. Rep. Rod Bockenfeld claims that police were “blackmailed” into supporting the legislation, but the reality is that cops and even a large number of Republicans understood this time, along with the Democratic proponents who drove this bill from impetus to passage in less than two weeks, that a major change had to come.

Colorado rose to meet a massive challenge that was done waiting.

It’s a rare enough event that it feels weird. But it’s why everyone with a heart gets into this business.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 12)

President Trump will be 74 years old on Sunday. If you lived in Florida, you could celebrate on a Trumptilla (the downside, of course, would be that you lived in Florida). Now, let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/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 lawmakers may or may not be nearing the end of a strange, two-part legislative session. The Denver Post has more on the progress of what has become the most-watched bill of the year:

A House committee amended Colorado’s police accountability and reform bill to give law enforcement more time to implement some changes and added a ban on carotid control holds before voting to support the bill at midnight Wednesday.

The approval came on a party-line vote, with all four Republicans on the House Finance Committee voting against Senate Bill 217, despite near-unanimous support in the Senate. [Pols emphasis] It followed hours of testimony by people who’ve had family members killed by police in Colorado.

One of law enforcement officials’ biggest objections about the bill has been that agencies need more time for training on the changes, so lawmakers set a September deadline for new use-of-force regulations to take effect. The new policies include a requirement to incrementally use force if other methods don’t work.

Other parts of the bill — including a ban on the use of chokeholds and limits on when police are allowed to shoot at a person who is running away from them — would take effect immediately if the bill is signed into law.

The four Republicans who voted against the bill: Reps. Rod Bockenfeld, Richard Champion, Janice Rich, and Shane Sandridge. Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg was the lone ‘NO’ vote in the State Senate.

On the topic of police accountability, Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor is promising to take a closer look at tactics employed by the Denver Police Department (DPD). The Denver School Board voted to phase DPD out of its schools altogether.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice versa), is being investigated for ordering a Republican official in El Paso County to falsify vote totals from the caucus process.

 

Governor Jared Polis is keeping a close eye on nearby spikes in reported cases of COVID-19. From Colorado Public Radio:

Colorado is closely watching some nearby states, as the number of COVID-19 cases in Utah and hospitalizations in Arizona continues to jump. Those spikes are alarming, Gov. Jared Polis said during a press briefing Thursday.

“A rising cause for concern,” he said. “We’ve seen no evidence yet of that leading to increased transmission on our side of the border, but we watch that and we worry.”

Colorado has confirmed 28,647 cases of COVID-19, according to the state’s latest numbers. Officials have also reported 1,583 deaths related to the disease to date. But the state has seen a downward trend in hospitalizations for 11 of the last 14 days.

In Arizona, a surge of hospitalizations means the state is nearing capacity on ICU beds. The state has confirmed 31,264 cases of the disease and 1,127 deaths. Arizona’s stay-at-home order ended after May 15. Colorado’s went through April 26.

Officials in San Antonio and Houston believe a second wave of COVID-19 is hitting already. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown announced a one week “pause” in reopening the state after a surge of new cases — including two deaths on Thursday.

 

You should be receiving a Primary ballot in the mail this week. For more information on the Primary Election and to track your ballot, go to GoVoteColorado.com.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Endnotes: The Ridiculous Hullaballoo Over Senate Bill 163

Measles.

In today’s The Spot newsletter, Denver Post political reporter Alex Burness offers some useful context as the battle over Senate Bill 163, legislation to improve Colorado’s bottom-in-the-nation childhood immunization rates, comes to a successful conclusion for proponents:

[I]t has taken a Democrat-controlled General Assembly two years to muster support to pass a bill that allows parents to… still not vaccinate their kids.

This year’s bill preserves the right to nonmedical exemptions. You just have to take an online education course first. The opponents aren’t happy about that, but the bottom line is that no parent is going to be forced to watch a needle be plunged into their kid, even after this bill passes.

Other states have stricter policies; some allow no exemptions except for medical reasons. Colorado lawmakers have concluded that this is not a legislative option here, which is a credit to A) the governor’s stated “pro-choice” stance on vaccines and B) the fervent activism of the vaccine bill’s opponents.

Burness argues that the passage of SB-163, even though opponents have vowed to mount a repeal ballot initiative campaign to prevent the law from taking effect, betrays a hard limit on the ability of today’s lawmakers to take effective action even on an issue with overwhelming majority support–due to the fierce opposition of a small but vocal minority. Vaccines are not the only issue for which this appears to be the case. Even though the public strongly supports common-sense gun safety laws that our state is a model for today, passage of those bills resulted in a backlash from the passionate minority of gun rights activists that led to the successful recall of two Democratic Senators in 2013 and the resignation of a third.

One of the biggest problems with both this year’s modest vaccine bill as well as 2013’s gun safety bills is that the opposition was (and is) completely untethered from the facts about the legislation. Just as Republican lawmakers told the public in 2013 that the gun bills would “effectively ban gun ownership,” many of the protesters who turned out against Senate Bill 163 believe the bill does away with non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Although a majority of the public would support doing just that according to polls, SB-163 does not eliminate exemptions available for any or no reason.

There were a lot of variables involved in the drafting of this legislation, not least of which is a governor reticent to impose “medical mandates” on families. Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB-163 precisely because it does not coerce anyone to get any vaccine. The gulf between perception and reality with this bill among its opponents is not the fault of Gov. Polis, however, and the Republican lawmakers who have eagerly embraced the “anti-vaxxer” movement in opposition to this bill are the ones making no attempt to give opponents factual information.

With that, we’ll ask our readers: is there any way to prevent the tail from wagging the dog? Will the fringe always wield disproportionate influence simply because of their ability to yell louder and longer? And will passing a modest reform now make further reforms that would still enjoy broad public support harder to pass later?

These are all questions worth answering as the dust settles on this particularly crazy fight.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Let’s Talk About Polling

Andrew Baumann

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, Turd Ferguson makes his debut in front of the Independent Ethics Commission; a police accountability bill moves surprisingly swiftly through the state legislature; and the walls are caving in for one political party.

Hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also interview Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President of Research at Global Strategy Group, for insights on interesting poll numbers in Colorado and throughout the country. We also take a step back and ask Baumann how pollsters make their research scientifically-valid and why a small percentage of people still claim to be unfamiliar with Donald Trump.

If you missed last week’s episode, check it out when you’re done here.

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

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