May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day. It’s time “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…
► A memorial service will be held today for Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old STEM school student who likely saved the lives of many of his classmates when he intervened during a shooting at the Highlands Ranch school last week.
► The Republican-controlled state legislature in Alabama on Tuesday passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Chris Cillizza of CNN explains where this is all headed:
The state’s Republican governor — Kay Ivey — is expected to sign it. When she does, two things will happen: 1) Alabama will become the state with the country’s most restrictive abortion law and 2) the law will immediately become fodder for the swirling debate over if (and when) the Supreme Court might consider overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
That two-pronged goal was clearly the intent of the bill’s sponsor — state Rep. Terry Collins (R), who said after the vote: “This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn, because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection.”…
…The point here is two-fold. First, there’s no doubt that legislation like the abortion ban in Alabama is aimed at the larger goal of prohibiting abortion nationwide. Second, the court has been mysterious enough on the issue to make it very difficult to predict with certainty how it might rule — and when — on these challenges to Roe.
► Allies of the United States are voicing their skepticism over an aggressive military shift against Iran. From the New York Times:
As the Trump administration draws up war plans against Iran over what it says are threats to American troops and interests, a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday that he saw no increased risk from Iran or allied militias in Iraq or Syria.
A few hours later, the United States Central Command issued an unusual rebuke: The remarks from the British official — Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, who is also the deputy commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State — run “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”…
…“We are aware of their presence clearly and we monitor them along with a whole range of others because of the environment we are in,” General Ghika said.
But he said, “No, there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.”
As Politico reports, Trump administration officials will brief Congressional leaders on Thursday about their latest saber-rattling (or sabre-rattling, if you prefer) over Iran.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump’s trade war with China is causing growing concern among Congressional Republicans. As the Washington Post reports:
Senate Republicans expressed growing concern Tuesday that President Trump’s escalating trade war with China is hurting their constituents in rural America, ratcheting up tension between the White House and Congress on a signature issue.
Some Republican lawmakers, increasingly frustrated with Trump, took the unusual step of openly criticizing a president from their own party.
“I’m not sure if you talk to him face to face, he hears everything you say,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who has emerged as one of Trump’s chief critics on trade and who said he planned to write to the president to explain farmers’ concerns.
But faced with the prospect that Trump will continue with his adversarial approach, Republican lawmakers are also looking for ways to provide a taxpayer bailout to farmers, perhaps adding billions of dollars to a disaster bill that has languished in Congress for weeks.
As we discussed yesterday in this space, Trump appears to be agreeable to a massive economic bailout program for farmers who have been harmed…by Trump’s trade war with China. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) says that he is opposed to Trump’s tariffs but otherwise is doing absolutely nothing in response.
As the Denver Post reports, Colorado businesses are already suffering mightily from Trump’s trade war with China:
The economic uncertainty and concerns unleashed around the globe by the U.S.-China tariff battle are being felt in Denver and across the state. Business people are afraid of permanently losing overseas markets or losing customers when prices start rising.
Colorado farmers, ranchers and some retailers were hit by tariffs on imports and retaliatory tariffs by China during the trade battle last year. The Trump administration’s abrupt decision to boost those tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of products last week and threats to add another $300 billion worth of items have rattled the business community.
“These tariffs are just having a huge effect on everything,” said Gail Ross, the chief operating officer of Boulder-based Krimson Klover.
► Republicans and Democrats alike are baffled at the decision by right-wing Republican groups to initiate a recall effort against Rep. Tom Sullivan (R-Aurora). Former Republican Rep. Cole Wist, who was defeated last November by Sullivan, is blasting the recall effort being promoted heavily by the “no compromises” gun fanatics at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
► The Colorado Sun takes a long look at the issue of gun violence in the Highlands Ranch area in the aftermath of last week’s shootings at a STEM school.
► When Russian President Vladimir Putin is smiling, it’s probably not good news for the United States.
► Donald Trump, Jr. will testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-June as part of the GOP-led committee’s investigation into Russian influence in the Trump administration.
► According to AAA, Colorado will see a record number of automobile travelers on Memorial Day weekend.
► Colorado reportedly remains the most likely place for the home of a new U.S. Space Command, which should be announced this summer.
► The former campaign manager for former Republican Rep. Mike Coffman says that President Trump has a “less than zero” chance of winning Colorado in 2020.
► Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is trying hard to make waves in the crowded Democratic field for President, but nobody is paying him any attention.
► Governor Jared Polis is on a bill-signing tour in Southern Colorado.
► Fox 31 Denver looks at four new laws dealing with mental health in Colorado.
► The oil and gas industry in Colorado is doing just fine, thank you.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Despite a very successful legislative session in 2019, some left-wing activists are still complaining that Colorado Democrats didn’t do enough with their first four months in majority control of the legislature.
► The number of uninsured Americans continues to rise, as USA Today reports:
The number of Americans without health insurance increased again in 2018, the second consecutive year that figure has risen after several years of declines under Obamacare, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey shows.
About 30.4 million Americans did not have health insurance in 2018, up from 29.3 million in 2017, according to the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey. That means about 1.1 million more Americans lost insurance coverage last year.
Efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to challenge and loosen requirements of the Affordable Care Act probably played a role in some going without coverage, analysts said.
“I don’t think it’s too shocking with efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Daniel Derksen, a University of Arizona professor and health policy expert.
No additional commentary required.
Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, featuring an in-depth interview with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. You can also Get More Smarter by liking Colorado Pols on Facebook!