Let’s get you caught up on everything that happened over the Memorial Day weekend. 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 is taking his anti-Robert Mueller conspiracy theories to new heights (or lows, really). As CNN explains:
President Donald Trump alleged Tuesday — without providing any evidence — that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will meddle in the midterm elections to benefit Democrats…
Trump’s claim is his latest attack on the credibility of the Russia investigation as being politically motivated, though it’s a significant new step in his attacks on what is intended to be an independent probe working to get to the bottom of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
“The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls,” Trump tweeted. “There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!”…
…Tuesday’s conspiracy theory was accompanied by a barrage of Trump tweets on the Russia probe, which repeated his previous requests for investigations into his political enemies.
As Z. Byron Wolf writes in a separate story for CNN, Trump’s demonization of Mueller and the special investigation might be working as intended.
► As the Washington Post reports, Trump is pushing ahead with his plan to institute massive tariffs on goods from China:
President Trump said Tuesday that he would proceed with tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports and introduce new limits on Chinese investment in U.S. high-tech industries as part of a broad campaign to crack down on Chinese acquisition of U.S. technology.
“The United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese people and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology,” the White House said in a brief statement.
Specifics of the new limits will be announced by June 30 and will take effect “shortly thereafter,” the White House said. In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 400 points, or 1.7 percent, on renewed concerns over the unsettled Italian political situation and U.S.-China tensions.
The moves come less than 10 days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war with China was “on hold” and appear designed to create bargaining leverage for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is due to arrive in Beijing on Saturday for talks aimed at cooling trade tensions between the two countries.
The stock market was down for most of the day on Tuesday in part because of economic fears over Trump’s proposed tariffs.
► The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling on Tuesday that could allow an Arkansas law to take effect that essentially seeks to block medication-induced abortions. Meanwhile, the Associated Press takes a look at some big LGBTQ-rights cases in the Supreme Court pipeline — including the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that originated in Colorado:
A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Lakewood baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Courts are engaged in two broad types of cases on this issue, weighing whether sex discrimination laws apply to LGBT people and also whether businesses can assert religious objections to avoid complying with anti-discrimination measures in serving customers, hiring and firing employees, providing health care and placing children with foster or adoptive parents.
The outcome of baker Jack Phillips’ fight at the Supreme Court could indicate how willing the justices are to carve out exceptions to anti-discrimination laws; that’s something the court has refused to do in the areas of race and sex.
Colorado Public Radio has more on potential outcomes in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case. The Supreme Court could announce its decision on “Masterpiece” as soon as this week.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Westword takes note (again) of the fact that State Treasurer Walker Stapleton — the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor — has a pretty bad attendance record when it comes to board meetings on his signature issue of PERA reform:
As treasurer, Stapleton is paid by taxpayers to serve on PERA’s board — yet between 2011 and 2016, he “attended only 53 percent of the PERA board meetings, and even when he was present, he often didn’t stay for the whole meeting,” according to the retiree group Secure PERA, which scoured the records. He even skipped PERA’s May 3 meeting to review the final pension reform legislation.
Stapleton is no stranger to questions about his attendance records — back in 2014, Democratic challenger Betsy Markey aired a television ad alleging that key-card records showed that he “only bothers showing up at his office around ten days a month.”
Now, as a gubernatorial candidate, Stapleton has flipped the script, citing his own absenteeism as a political defense. When asked by Colorado Public Radio if he’d urged Republicans to kill the pension reform bill that finally passed right before midnight on May 9, just before the close of the legislative session, Stapleton declared, “I was not physically even at the legislature. I think I was asleep by the time they finally passed the deal.”
► President Trump is going after Rep. Jared Polis over proposed legislation to rollback the Republican tax plan that was narrowly approved last December. This is good news for a Democratic candidate for Governor.
► The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears to be attempting a sneaky effort to settle a long-running dispute over water pollution in Colorado Springs.
► Democrat Jason Crow is up with the first television ad of the cycle in Colorado’s CD-6.
► CBS Denver does a “Reality Check” on a television ad promoting Republican Victor Mitchell for Governor.
► The Grand Junction Sentinel reports on weekend visits from several statewide candidates for office.
► Jesse Paul of the Denver Post breaks down the Democratic primary for the Attorney General nomination.
► NBC News reports on the fascinating — and terrifying — results of a new study:
A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.
Miller and Davis used information from the World Values Survey, a research project organized by a worldwide network of social scientists which polls individuals in numerous countries on a wide range of beliefs and values. Based on surveys from the United States, the authors found that white people who did not want to have immigrants or people of different races living next door to them were more likely to be supportive of authoritarianism. For instance, people who said they did not want to live next door to immigrants or to people of another race were more supportive of the idea of military rule, or of a strongman-type leader who could ignore legislatures and election results.
► Governor John Hickenlooper will sign his name to a major transportation bill that was finally decided in the waning days of the 2018 legislative session. Hick officially signed two higher-education bills while on the Western Slope on Friday.
► As Politico reports, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is at the top of the line of Trump cabinet officials who could be on their way out.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► ABC has cancelled its reboot of Roseanne after the show’s star went on a racist tirade on Twitter. Roseanne Barr has long been a peddler of right-wing conspiracy nonsense.
► There are now 44 incumbent Republican Members of Congress who will not be seeking re-election in 2018.
► The Daily Beast profiles what is coming to be known as the “Conspiracy Caucus” in Congress:
Many are members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, but they’ve gone so far down the rabbit hole, this group might as well be called the Conspiracy Caucus and they are starting to put their theories into actual legislative text.
These back bench bomb throwers have always been in Congress, but they were one, maybe two votes out of 435 and no one really took them seriously. But now as definition of fact has been increasingly bent by the Trump administration, paired with the use of social media to spread fringe theories, mixed with the 24-hour news cycle and the increasingly partisan media landscape has allowed those who used to be constrained to lobbing molotov cocktails from afar to have an audience of millions.
You may not be “paranoid” if everyone is really out to get you, as the saying goes, but what if you think “everyone is out to get everyone else?”