Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 4)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Washington Post has reprinted its original story of the events of April 4, 1968. 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.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump has instructed military leaders to prepare to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. Or, maybe not.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) wants President Trump to use parameters of a potential new NAFTA deal to make it easier to gut environmental protections. From the Denver Post:

The initiative, outlined in a letter Gardner and two fellow Senate Republicans sent Trump in mid-March, would use a retooled North American Free Trade Agreement to give Congress power it otherwise lacks: the ability to swat away any new federal regulation with an annual economic impact of at least $100 million.

At the same time, their plan — billed as a way keep the U.S. economically competitive — could help advance a port project in Oregon that would make it easier for Colorado energy producers to sell natural gas to overseas markets…

…Their proposal asks Trump to add a “competitiveness” chapter to NAFTA, which the Trump administration has been renegotiating with Canada and Mexico amid the president’s own threats to withdraw. That addition would streamline regulations, promote new infrastructure and — most significantly — put in place a long-sought Republican plan to limit the power of federal bureaucrats.

Specifically, Gardner and his two colleagues suggested that Trump revise the NAFTA treaty by adding a bill called the REINS Act, which would make it easier for Congress to torpedo major new regulations — and in the process shift power away from the executive branch.

 

► Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michael Johnston has officially withdrawn from the state assembly process after failing to gain traction among rank-and-file Democrats.

 

As CNN reportsRoger Stone’s connections with Julian Assange may mean more trouble for Donald Trump:

Roger Stone appeared on the InfoWars radio show the same day he sent an email claiming he dined with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — and he predicted “devastating” upcoming disclosures about the Clinton Foundation.

Stone’s comments in his August 4, 2016, appearance are the earliest known time he claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks documents. A CNN KFile timeline shows that on August 10, 2016, Stone claimed to have “actually communicated with Julian Assange.”

The comments also raise more questions about what Stone knew about WikiLeaks and about the veracity of his claims to have been in contact with Assange, which he now denies…

…Stone wrote to former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg on August 4, 2016, that he had dinner with Assange the night before, according to a source familiar with the email exchange. The email was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Monday. The Journal also reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining the exchange.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller, meanwhile, is reportedly drawing up a memo related to obstruction of justice charges.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► The Denver District Attorney has dropped an investigation into alleged misconduct by Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

 

It’s a good bet that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could be the next top Trump administration official to get the axe. In the meantime, as The Hill reports, Pruitt is pushing to consolidate decision-making in his office under the Clean Water Act:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a directive giving himself more authority to determine environmental regulations for projects near regional waterways, according to a memo released Wednesday.

The internal document obtained by the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) gives the EPA chief final decisionmaking authority over the protections of streams, ponds and wetlands…

…The new order heavily downplays the role of local EPA experts in the field who in the past have made the final recommendations — and often decisions — regarding necessary environmental protections in their region.

The change will allow Pruitt to play a lead role in evaluating whether a project near waterways or wetlands would have negative environmental effects, affecting various projects including coal refineries and power plants.

 

► President Trump wants the U.S. military to take on more responsibility for patrolling the border with Mexico. Officials at U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs would be in charge of coordinating such an effort and are still waiting for instructions on how to proceed.

 

► Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills aimed at improving rural broadband Internet services.

 

► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is throwing down in support of oil and gas companies. From the Denver Post:

…Coffman on Tuesday fired off a 68-page argument urging the Supreme Court to overturn a legal ruling requiring the protection of people and the environment before oil and gas drilling can be done.

She’s pressing the case that the phrase “in a manner consistent with” in Colorado’s evolving oil and gas law is unambiguous and means balancing industry interests with health and the environment — rather than ensuring protection as a precondition that must be met.

If the state Supreme Court justices agree, they could reverse the existing legal ruling that requires protecting people and the environment before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioncan issue drilling permits.

Bruce Finley of the Denver Post asked Coffman’s office for clarification, but they could not be bothered to answer questions:

Coffman declined to discuss the issue. She was busy in meetings, a spokeswoman said. Nor did any other official have time to discuss this matter, the spokeswoman said.

They had time to write a 68-page argument, but don’t ask for five minutes of their time to explain the thing.

 

President Trump likes to Tweet the word “stupid.”

 

► Embattled data firm Cambridge Analytica isn’t letting a little bad publicity stop them from pitching their potentially-illegal wares

 

 This is not the legacy we would want to leave behind, but then again, we’re not Sen. Cheri Jahn. 

 

► Jennifer Carroll had no trouble winning election as Erie’s mayor, another unmistakable sign that voters in Northern Colorado are sick of being run over by oil and gas operations. 

 

President Trump’s top infrastructure adviser is leaving the administration

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

President Trump is doubling-down on a trade war escalation with China. 

 

► The zebra mussels must be destroyed.

ICYMI

 

► The Trump White House is very, very…white.

 

 

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2 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    CO-5 — Owen Hill is having a good week. Top line on the ballot (by acclamation at the Assembly) AND an endorsement from Sen. Rand Paul.

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