Get More Smarter on Monday (August 27)

How is this already the last week of August? 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…

► Former Arizona Senator and Republican Presidential candidate John McCain died on Saturday at the age of 81 after a long battle with brain cancer; here’s McCain’s obituary from the New York Times.

Fox 31 Denver compiles local reaction to McCain’s death, while CNN has more on tributes to McCain this week and how will not reflect well on President Trump:

Days of mourning for the Arizona senator, including a lying-in-state in the Capitol Rotunda and the pomp of a service in Washington’s National Cathedral, are certain to become about more than simply honoring a singular political leader and national hero.

In Washington, even death is political — a fact McCain well understood as a sought-after eulogizer himself, and by planning his funeral rites to exclude the President, he will be making an unmistakable posthumous statement directed at the White House.

Tributes for McCain and the lauding of his courage, honor, decency, character, and readiness to reexamine his own mistakes will unfold at a time when Trump is facing an unflattering public debate about his own personality and behavior.

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump had no interest in setting aside his differences with McCain even after his death:

President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other White House aides advocated for an official statement that gave the decorated Vietnam War POW plaudits for his military and Senate service and called him a “hero,” according to current and former White House aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.The original statement was drafted before McCain died Saturday, and Sanders and others edited a final version this weekend that was ready for the president, the aides said.

But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain’s life was not released.

Trump ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff on Saturday, but by Monday they had been raised to full-staff. Flags at the U.S. Capitol are still at half-staff.

 

► The Denver Post reports on large-scale problems with the “Great Colorado Payback,” the oft-promoted program from State Treasurer Walker Stapleton that have prompted a review from the State Auditor’s Office:

“The Denver Post reviewed emails sent to the program in 2016, 2017 and 2018. These emails detailed the frustrations of dozens of people who said they had sent two, three and even four unreturned requests for updates about their claims. Seven of those complainants wrote that they had been waiting more than a year…

“‘This will be my fourth request to you since my initial email on July 19 to Erin to resolve the pending claim …,” Courtney Smith wrote in a September 2017 email to a Great Colorado Payback employee. “The last time I received a response from you was on September 5 in which you said you would touch base with me the following day. It is now the 24th of September.’”

“Another email came from a grandmother named Dianne Ehalt who wrote the office in October 2016 to complain that she had been waiting more than a year and a half for the program to send her $10,000. She wanted to use part of the money for her granddaughter’s education.”

“‘Well, she is struggling without this assistance,’ Ehalt wrote. “What is going on???’”

This is not the first story about problems with Stapleton’s “Great Colorado Payback” program. For more information, check out these stories from CBS4 Denver, KOAA Channel 5 (Colorado Springs), and Fox 31 Denver.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► The United States has apparently reached a new trade agreement with Mexico — just don’t call it NAFTA — but Canada might not be involved. From the Washington Post:

President Trump announced Monday that the United States has reached agreement with Mexico on a new trade deal that he declared will not be called NAFTA — a name he said has bad connotations.

Canada might or might not be part of the new deal, Trump said — a startling suggestion that would represent the biggest change yet in U.S. trade policy under the Trump administration, if Trump indeed rips up the North American Free Trade Agreement and replaces it with a bilateral deal with Mexico.

The agreement reached Monday was narrowly focused on auto manufacturing. But the president said that the limited agreement with Mexico could supplant NAFTA.

Trump is warning Canada that the U.S. will impose tariffs on automobile imports if the Canadians don’t agree with his new trade plan.

In a separate story, the Washington Post notes that Republican candidates across the country are having difficulty figuring out how to campaign with Trump while opposing his trade policies:

Democratic candidates in Tennessee, North Dakota, Missouri and elsewhere have campaigned on their opposition to Trump’s trade efforts and warned of coming economic damage. Several have engaged in high-profile events with sympathetic figures hurt by Trump’s tariffs, accusing their rivals of being complicit in the president’s policy.

The tariffs, and Democratic messaging concerning them, present GOP candidates with a complicated calculus: stand with Trump and support a policy that may threaten their constituents’ livelihoods or break ranks on trade with a president who is strongly backed by the party’s voters.

 

► Here in Colorado, a Snowsports trade association is warning that Trump’s trade war could pose serious problems for the winter sports industry.

 

Hundreds of people rallied in downtown Denver over the weekend in opposition to President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

 

► Voters in Arizona head to the polls on Tuesday to choose nominees for several important races. As Politico explains:

Republicans hope to put a year of intra-party warfare behind them in Tuesday’s Arizona’s Senate primary, as they defend a vital battleground state that has fueled Democratic hopes of winning the Senate majority.

Rep. Martha McSally is expected to capture the GOP nomination after leading every public poll of a long and unpredictable primary. Repeated sparring between Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and President Donald Trump in 2017 tanked Flake’s support among state Republicans, threatening his reelection prospects so deeply that he decided to retire instead. McSally became the preferred candidate of most Republicans in Washington, but she has been dogged all year by two hardline challengers: former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has been courting the help of President Trump in order to ensure that McSally gets through the GOP Primary tomorrow.

 

Westword profiles Dianne Primavera, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Colorado.

 

► Political experts at Denver7 break down the final weeks of Colorado’s gubernatorial race.

 

► A top official overseeing student loans has resigned his position in protest over policies being pushed by President Trump. From Politico:

Seth Frotman, the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a letter to acting Director Mick Mulvaney that political leadership at the consumer bureau over the past 10 months had repeatedly undermined efforts by career employees to take action against abuses by student loan companies and for-profit colleges.

“It is clear that current leadership of the Bureau has abandoned its duty to fairly and robustly enforce the law,” Frotman wrote in the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. “The Bureau’s new political leadership has repeatedly undercut and undermined career CFPB staff working to secure relief for consumers.”

Mulvaney’s political appointees at the CFPB have “silenced warnings” from career staff about how the Trump administration’s policies would harm students and service members, Frotman wrote.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made it a priority to make it easier for predatory for-profit colleges to saddle students with massive debt in exchange for worthless degrees.

 

9News breaks down two very different transportation infrastructure ballot measures in Colorado.

 

► The Colorado Independent looks at a billboard in southern Colorado aimed at discouraging oil and gas drilling near Sand Dunes National Monument.

 

► The New York Times details the hard-partying, heavy-spending ways of California Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is under federal indictment over a long list of charges related to corruption and illegal campaign finance spending:

Those divergent lives — between the watering holes and halls of power in Washington and the suburban tracts and chain stores of Southern California — intersected for years, prosecutors say, as Mr. Hunter and his wife funded their personal lives with campaign donations, the dimensions of which were revealed in an indictment last week…

…For all his apparent appeal as a congressman, the unspooling of Mr. Hunter’s life has laid bare the reservations among associates and friends who long wondered whether politics was a career path he had ever wanted to fulfill. Now, whatever promise he had has been threatened, with possible far-reaching consequences for the party and his personal life.

The indictment, interviews with those who know him and his own personal statements show how a seemingly ideal political life unraveled under personal financial pressure, opening the door to a web of corruption and deception that lasted several years as Mr. Hunter lived a seemingly dual life.

 

 Colorado water availability is in pretty good shape thanks to…the government.

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

The Pueblo Regional Director for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is going bananas about burqas

 

► Colorado right-wing radio hosts push something called “The Gay Mafia” in the context of the 2018 gubernatorial race.

 

ICYMI

 

► White House aides are worried that President Trump will try to pardon former campaign manager Paul Manafort despite being counseled otherwise.

 

► Even Fox News thinks that President Trump isn’t telling the truth about discussions with former attorney Michael Cohen regarding potential campaign finance violations.

 

Click here for The Get More Smarter Show. You can also Get More Smarter by liking Colorado Pols on Facebook!

 

One Community Comment, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    re: US-Mexico Trade Agreement.

    LA Times says:

    Though Trump characterized the agreement as a bilateral deal that will proceed with or without Canada, Peña Nieto said repeatedly he hoped and expected Canada would come on board. Peña Nieto said on Twitter that he had spoken with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and had "expressed the importance of [Trudeau's] re-joining the process, with the goal of concluding a trilateral negotiation this week."

    Experts said Mexico might be reluctant to move ahead without Canada. “There definitely seems to be a little bit of a gap in terms of how the two countries are talking about this,” said Christopher Wilson, an economist at the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank. “The big conflict he’s creating is with Canada.”

    Still, Wilson described the preliminary accord as “important progress.”

    And, since NAFTA was an actual TREATY, there is the minor detail of getting the revision ratified by Congress.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account


You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.