Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 26)

Keep your guard up, friends: You’re about to hear a lot of tired jokes along the lines of, “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait a day and it will change!” It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget bill this morning in a party-line vote of 216-212 (Rep. Mike Coffman joined with his fellow Republicans in support of the legislation) that marks another important step for the GOP’s tax reform policy. Politico has more details on what turned out to be a very tense voting session:

By passing the measure, 216-212, Republicans unlocked procedural powers that allow the Senate to pass a tax bill with just 51 votes — and evade Democratic filibusters. But even with the ability to sideline Democrats, the GOP faces a daunting task as it tries to rewrite the tax code.

Heading into the vote, it was unclear whether enough GOP lawmakers would support the measure. A band of Republicans from high-tax states vowed to vote “no” on the budget unless GOP leaders scrapped plans to curb the state and local tax deduction currently in the GOP’s tax proposal.

Speaker Paul Ryan and his top lieutenants were banking, however, on enough Republicans being jazzed about tax reform to back a fiscal blueprint many despise.

Congressional Republicans may soon push to eliminate a state and local tax deduction that will cause great harm to America’s middle class.


► Former Congressman Tom Tancredo tops the Republican field of candidates (and potential candidates) in a new poll focused on the 2018 gubernatorial race in Colorado. According to the Braynard Group, a polling firm that has worked with Donald Trump, Tancredo is favored by 22% of Republican Primary voters; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton finished a distant second at 8.5%.


► Everyday Coloradans continue to be stung by President Trump’s meddling with the Affordable Care Act. From Denver7:

Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson said the recent Trump administration changes made to the Affordable Care Act will be felt in Colorado.

“We’ve had a lot of changes in the past couple of weeks so we had to make drastic changes pretty quickly,” said Patterson…

…The federal government will no longer front the bill for deductibles or co-pays. The insurance companies will have to either pick up the tab or pass the cost on to you…

…Another big change is this year’s open enrollment deadline. Instead of the November 1 through the January 31 deadline, the federal government moved to the deadline to December 15.


Vice President Mike Pence will be the featured speaker at an event hosted by the Colorado Republican Party in the Denver Tech Center later today. The State GOP is opening up the Pence event to the press, which should help them fill some of those empty seats.


Get even more smarter after the jump…



Shailen Bhatt, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, is leaving his job to take the top spot at a nonprofit called the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Mike Lewis will serve as CDOT’s interim director.


► We’re #1! As the Denver Post explains:

No other state has as many people living in a church or temple to avoid deportation. One in every six people in sanctuary in the United States is in Colorado.

Colorado may be leading the way in the number of people taking sanctuary in a church or temple, but the overall numbers aren’t very large:

Although the numbers fluctuate daily, 31 people as of Monday night were living in sanctuary with a faith-based congregation around the country, according to information from Church World Service, which provides national organizing for the sanctuary movement.

New Mexico, North Carolina, Illinois and Massachusetts each have three people living in sanctuary, and four people are in sanctuary in Arizona, all in Phoenix. Colorado congregations in Mancos, Colorado Springs, Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, Fort Collins and now Carbondale have sanctuary seekers living in their house of worship’s basement, religious-education room, former nursery or pastor’s office. It’s a less-than-ideal arrangement that breaks apart families. But they’re not as separated as they would be if they were deported, those living in sanctuary say.


► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is defending the state’s nondiscrimination laws in front of the Supreme Court — essentially taking the opposite side of the Lakewood bakery in the “gay wedding cake” case.


► The Colorado Springs Independent reports on trespassing charges for a handful of peaceful protestors who occupied space in Sen. Cory Gardner’s Colorado Springs office:

With their case heading to trial, the defendants are wondering why the charges haven’t been dropped — as they were in a similar Denver case per the Senator’s request. Neither Gardner’s office nor the Colorado Springs City Attorney’s Office opted to comment on the Indy‘s story, though an audio recording ostensibly confirmed that the Senator had made the same request here.

“As I understood it, Sen. Gardner was requesting charges be dropped…?” a defendant, Candi Frank, asked the prosecutor, Shantel Withrow, who replied, “Yes, he did request that charges be dropped, but in reviewing the case, there is a violation of law that occurred and my office is the one that makes the ultimate decision.”

Despite that — and not having been privy to that recording — city spokesperson Kim Melchor says that Gardner’s staff never actually made that request.

So the defendants are turning instead to the stated “victim” of their crime — Nor’Wood Development Group. They started an online petition asking the company, which owns the building where they allegedly trespassed, to ask the city attorney to drop charges.


► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is the lead name on a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about so-called “eco-terrorists.”


► The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to increase sanctions on North Korea. Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) is a chief sponsor of the bill.


► Real-life James Bond villain Kent Thiry and his DaVita Inc. company plan to spend a lot of money supporting a flawed attempt at changing the redistricting/reapportionment process in Colorado. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post:

His decision to join Fair Districts Colorado, which wants to transform the state’s redistricting process, comes a year after Thiry bankrolled a similar campaign — the passage of two ballot measures that gave unaffiliated voters the ability to participate in Democratic and Republican primaries.

Now Thiry, who briefly considered a Republican run for governor, wants to rewrite the rules again, even before Colorado fully understands the consequences of his last effort…

…Curbing that process is difficult, as reform efforts sometimes can become just another way for parties to gain an edge and — as redistricting veterans often will say — it’s hard to take the politics out of politics.

“These proposals would change Colorado’s constitution and laws — they do not make districts more competitive, and they certainly don’t end gerrymandering,” said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, of the proposals by Fair Districts Colorado.


► Thousands of pages of new documents related to the investigation of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy will soon be made available to the public. It’s not clear that the long-secret documents will actually provide any more answers about that fateful day in 1963. In the meantime, we’re sticking by our theory that JFK was killed by a time-traveling dinosaur from the future.


A leaked State Department document has career diplomats concerned that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is trying to centralize foreign policy decisions among a handful of senior aides who are close to the former oil company executive.


► Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are declaring political war on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and his merry band of acolytes. From the Washington Post:

More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a ­super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect GOP incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.

Yet the retaliatory crusade does not aim to target Trump, whose popularity remains high among Republican voters. Instead, the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) will highlight Bannon’s hard-line populism and attempt to link him to white nationalism to discredit him and the candidates he will support. It will also boost candidates with traditional GOP profiles and excoriate those tied to Bannon, with plans to spend millions and launch a heavy social media presence in some states.

Shooting the messenger is one of the most frequently-used tactics by Republicans.


► A new study suggests that the growing civil war among Republicans is not just a Trump-related phenomenon. Take a look at how the Pew Research Center explains political typologies in America today:


► State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) just can’t stop talking about her controversial comments to a Cub Scout group in Broomfield earlier this month.


► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) could be facing some very tough questions as the country’s opioid crisis becomes a bigger story.


President Trump tossed his Generals under the bus in the controversy surrounding a fatal military operation in Niger. 


Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is the one-liner champion in this brief skirmish with Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.


 Republicans who are uncomfortable with President Trump seem to have settled on two options: Give in, or give up.




► “One of the great memories of all time.”



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4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowman says:

    Of course he did. 

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?  Is Rural America tired of winning yet? 

    Trump Sides With Big Agriculture Over Family Farmers

    In public comments, industry groups largely whined about increased litigation as a result of the rule. They warned of billions of dollars in unanticipated costs that they would have to pass on to consumers. Hilariously, the industry added that it would just have to consolidate even more by buying out suppliers, threatening to solve a problem of concentration with more concentration. Of course, we have actual antitrust laws designed to prevent such dominance, but at this point they’re more of a theory than reality. Finally, they said that the rules would stifle “innovation,” and by innovation they mean the desperation that comes from having to raise bigger chickens on less feed than your neighbor in a war for the tiny pile of money Big Ag doesn’t keep for themselves.

    Colorado’s beef producers see big chill ahead if NAFTA goes away

    One in five jobs in Colorado is tied to international trade, said Karen Gerwitz, president and CEO of the World Trade Center Denver.  In 2016, Colorado sent $1.07 billion in goods to Mexico, and imported $1.57 billion. Canada took in $1.36 billion in Colorado exports and sold $2.76 billion in products here.

    Tweaking NAFTA in a way that would end duty-free market access on certain goods could have wide-ranging impacts on even simple things like ordering a meal, trade advocates say.

    Colorado’s largest export to Canada and Mexico is meat, primarily beef but including pork and other animal products, with those countries buying $293 million and $208 million worth from the state in 2016 respectively.

    Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of the Cattlemen’s Association said even the threat of a 5-year sunset to NAFTA, which U.S. negotiators reportedly have proposed,  could have a cataclysmic effect on the economy.

    “It’s not looking over the cliff, it’s falling off the cliff,” he said. “You cannot step away from infrastructure improvements on an on-again off-again basis. A sunset or a complete walk away both have the same effect, equivocally. It will plummet so many different economic sectors. We’re going to drive up unemployment. We’re going to push businesses of all sizes out of business.”

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