Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 12)

Here’s reason #9,437 why former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin should have never been anywhere close to the levers of power in this country. 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 currently rampaging through Europe, but he may be coming to Colorado sometime soon to stump for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. In the meantime, back to that Europe trip, as the Washington Post reports:

President Trump reaffirmed U.S. support for NATO on Thursday, after he upended a summit here to admonish leaders and demand they quickly increase their defense spending.

Trump’s ambush jolted the transatlantic alliance, and some diplomats perceived his comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO. But Trump later declared in a news conference, “I believe in NATO,” and, as he prepared to depart Brussels, he reiterated that the United States is committed to its Western allies.

“I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They are going to up it at levels never thought of before.”

NATO member nations committed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024, though only eight countries will reach that goal this year. It was not immediately clear what specific new commitments were made here. Trump said that leaders responded to his demands by agreeing to reach the 2 percent goal soon.

Well, at least the United States (probably) isn’t withdrawing from NATO.

 

President Trump has arrived in England after wrapping up his NATO rants, and he claims to be fine with the large protests being planned for his visit. As BBC News reports:

Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed at Stansted on Air Force One at 13:50 BST before a helicopter took them to the US ambassador’s residence in London.

He is due to meet Theresa May, who is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal – days after he said the UK was in “turmoil”.

Extra security is in place to police a number of protests but Mr Trump said he thought Britons “like me a lot”.

Yes, Britons love Trump. Why, that giant balloon of a baby Trump is merely a sign of admiration!

The Guardian newspaper has more on Trump’s U.K. visit:

Sandwiched between the psychodrama of his confrontation with his Nato allies, and the amour of his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, there was a chance that Donald Trump, a president who thrives on controversy, might treat his interlude in England and Scotland with indifference.

At one level, a visit bordering on the normal would be mission accomplished for Downing Street, but at another, this visit matters far more to the UK than to the president. Britain needs to register with a president so inattentive to America’s historic ties, and above all hope the instincts of a self-confessed “stable genius” do not lead him to trash the Brexit deal that Theresa May is struggling to sell to her party.

Judging by the inferences behind his remarks at his freewheeling press conference in Brussels, Trump is going to struggle to constrain himself. Saying he had been reading a lot about Brexit in recent days, he repeatedly hinted that he thought May was not delivering what the people had voted for in the referendum. He also drew parallels between his own election and Brexit, saying they were both born out of a revolt against migration. The clear implication was that he was the standard bearer for a global populist revolt.

Downing Street can only hope that by the time he holds a joint press conference with Theresa May on Friday they can find a way to instil some discipline into the Great Disruptor.

Yes. SO much love.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is making a slobbering fool of himself as he works overtime on trying to parse the words coming out of the mouth of President Trump.

 

► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton selected Rep. Lang Sias as his Lieutenant Governor running mate on Wednesday, capping off a wild couple of weeks in which Stapleton’s campaign apparently didn’t understand that they were supposed to select a running mate within seven days of the June 26 Primary Election. Stapleton’s selection of Sias marks the first time that a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado has failed to select a woman as a running mate. 

9News has more on Stapleton’s LG announcement.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► Stapleton’s decision to tap Arvada Rep. Lang Sias as his running mate could have significant repercussions in a key State Senate race in Jefferson County. 

 

► FBI agent Peter Strzok is getting grilled by House Republicans today, and as the New York Times reports, he’s doing fine job standing up for himself:

The embattled F.B.I. agent who oversaw the opening of the Russia investigation mounted an aggressive personal defense on Thursday, rejecting accusations that he let his private political views bias his official actions and labeling Republican attacks on him “another victory notch in Putin’s belt.”

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” the agent, Peter Strzok, told House lawmakers investigating what Republicans say is evidence of rampant bias at the top levels of the F.B.I.

In his first public comments, he concluded his prepared remarks with a pointed broadside against his antagonizers.

“I understand we are living in a political era in which insults and insinuation often drown out honesty and integrity,” Mr. Strzok said, continuing: “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”

He concluded: “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”

Well played, sir. Well played.

 

► Fox 31 Denver reports on how President Trump’s trade war with — well, with pretty much everyone — is bad news for Colorado businesses.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that Republicans across the country are growing increasingly nervous about the political impacts of Trump’s trade policies come November:

On Wednesday, as Trump excoriated America’s allies for taking advantage of his nation’s largesse, Vice President Mike Pence was gliding through the greater Midwest, seeking to calm the nerves of farmers and political foot soldiers worried that the administration’s policies will irrevocably hit their pocketbooks and set back the party before the midterm elections.

The split screen — which Trump allies liken to the hands of a clock, perpetually in motion but not always close — underscores the administration’s high-risk, high-reward approach to global diplomacy and domestic policy that helped it claim the White House and keep its base energized and loyal, yet could plunge the GOP into peril if things go off the rails.

Republicans are growing nervous about the latter possibility.

“Going into the fall, there’s a real fear among our members that a trade war will squander the economic gains we made with tax reform,” a senior GOP official on Capitol Hill told POLITICO on Wednesday.

Trump’s tough talk with allies, coming ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, is adding to their discomfort.

Anyway, Congressional Republicans are only pretending to push back against Trump’s trade policies.

 

► The Colorado Independent breaks down the education policy platforms of the two major party candidates for Governor in Colorado.

 

 CBS4 Denver reports on the status of Initiative 93, a school-funding ballot measure that could be the first to officially qualify for the November ballot:

Proponents of Initiative 93 say they turned in more than 170,000 signatures — almost double what’s needed to make the ballot. The measure is the first to meet a new bar for constitutional measures — securing signatures from at least 2 percent of voters in all 35 Senate districts…

…The ballot measure would increase funding for Special Education, Gifted and Talented, English proficiency, and preschool, as well as fund full-day kindergarten statewide.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Lisa Weil with Great EducationColorado. She’s one of the driving forces behind the measure.

The measure would raise $1.6 billion for public schools in Colorado by freezing property taxes and increasing taxes on corporations and high-income earners.

 

► Weeks after the June 26th Primary in Colorado, one race in Elbert County — a Republican battle for a County Commissioner seat — is still too close to call

 

► California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy crashed and burned the last time he tried to get himself elevated to the role of Speaker of the House. As Politico reports, McCarthy is trying again — but much more quietly.

 

The Town of Erie approved a moratorium on any new oil and gas drilling efforts through the end of the year. The Broomfield City Council is also moving forward with new regulations on oil and gas operations. 

 

An oil and gas company that might be trying to frack on coal mine acreage on the Western Slope is getting significant pushback from the community. 

 

Full-strength beer and wine will likely be allowed in Denver parks in 2019. 

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► Foreign policy experts are baffled as to why President Trump has such a raging…uh, problem with Germany.

 

► The Washington Post examines the very careful and deliberate branding of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a cultural icon of some sort.

 

► “Illegal buttocks contact.”

 

ICYMI

 

► Democrat Jason Crow raised a staggering $1 million in just three months, according to a press release on Q2 fundraising figures.

 

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7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavieDavie says:

    Trump's delusional and misinformed ranting at NATO indicates he's either taking too many drugs, or not enough.

  2. DavieDavie says:

    Ludicrous or just pathetic?

    At a NATO breakfast meeting on Wednesday, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, was caught on camera apparently grimacing as President Donald Trump lambasted ally Germany as being a “captive” of Russia.

    The White House insisted, however, that Kelly hadn’t been cheesed off at the president — but rather, at the actual cheese.

    ″[Kelly] was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told The Washington Post.

    Bill Kristol@BillKristol

    John Kelly serves his country as a Marine for over forty years. And Sarah Huckabee Sanders thinks nothing of demeaning and infantilizing him, saying Kelly "was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.'

    Pursed lips and glances to the floor: Watch Trump aides react to his attacks on Germany

    When Trump says Germany is “totally controlled by Russia,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly looks down, then shifts his body to glance away, lips pursed tightly into a line.

    washingtonpost.com

  3. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Just a quick correction.

    The measure [initiative 93] would raise $1.6 billion for public schools in Colorado by freezing property taxes and increasing taxes on corporations and high-income earners.

    The estimate (2019-20) is that it will raise $1.5 billion for schools. Here's why: it doesn't just freeze property taxes.  It effectively raises the rate at which residential taxpayers will pay taxes and lowers the rate at which nonresidential (pretty much commercial) taxpayers do.

    The assessment rate is set in the initiative at 7% for residential and 24% for everything else.  That's the rate they use to determine how much of your property's value gets taxed.  Right now that's 29% for commercial stuff and 7.2% for residential.  The drop in commercial rates is a real drop, they'll be paying school taxes on 17.24% less property value than they do today.  While yours also looks like a small drop, it really isn't.  The forecast (because of Gallagher) is that your 2019 residential assessment rate will be 6.11%   So, from your perspective, that's actual a tax hike.

    Based on the numbers (page 7) in the fiscal impact statement, these new assessment rates mean residential taxes will go up in 2020 (when you pay 2019 taxes) by $28.04 per $100,000 in actual (not assessed) value for your home while commercial properties drop by $157.55 per $100k.  So, when your taxes go up $1.00, commercial property owners' go down by $5.62.  I'd have to find the current statewide estimates and do some more math, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that the reduction in property taxes for businesses offsets much of the increase in their income tax (expected to be $180 million in fiscal year 2019-20).

     

  4. Gray in Mountains says:

    Work interfered with my desire to watch Strozk. I got to catch about 30 minutes then afternoon. He acquits himself extremely well.

    Maddow featured a Strozk investigation of Russian spies last night. The investigation was incredible, thorough and far reaching

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