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► The Associated Press takes a deep dive into the madness of the modern Republican Party:
The path to power for Republicans in Congress is now rooted in the capacity to generate outrage. The alarming language, and the fundraising haul it increasingly produces, is another example of how Donald Trump, the former president, has left his mark on politics, changing the way Republicans rise to influence and authority.
Success in Congress, once measured by bills passed and constituents reached, is now gauged in many ways by the ability to attract attention, even if it is negative as the GOP looks to reclaim a House majority next year by firing up Trump’s most ardent supporters.
That has helped elevate a group of far-right lawmakers — including Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona — whose inflammatory comments once would have made them pariahs.
Rather than face punishment for personal attacks that violate longstanding norms of Congress, they’ve been celebrated by conservatives, who have showered Boebert and Greene with campaign cash.
“We are not the fringe. We are the base of the party,” Greene, who has previously endorsed calls to assassinate prominent Democrats, said last week on a podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
It’s not hard to find local examples of this Republican indifference to horribleness. Krista Kafer basically shrugs off Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s anti-Muslim rhetoric in her latest column for The Denver Post.
Elsewhere, Colorado “conservative” leaders have been taking to right-wing radio shows to say that Democratic politicians should literally be hanged.
► Governor Jared Polis is taking aim at COVID-19 misinformation campaigns, as The Denver Post reports:
Gov. Jared Polis on Friday lamented that “misinformation and targeted lies” are creating resistance to vaccine science and killing Coloradans.
Polis was presenting to the legislative Joint Budget Committee about state spending in the 2022-23 fiscal year. He prefaced his budget proposal with a commentary on COVID-19.
“(O)ur hospitals are now filled, largely with unvaccinated Coloradans, many of whom are victims of misinformation campaigns and targeted lies that are being spread about the lifesaving vaccine,” he said.
“Unfortunately it’s that misinformation that’s making these unprotected Coloradans fall victim and get very ill and in some cases die from the virus, as well as making them into vessels for new mutations, like omicron. Not only does this misinformation pose a danger to our public health, but with every new mutation the economy here and across the world is impacted.”
► The Senate is pushing to complete a vote on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas, as The Washington Post reports:
Senate Democrats are aiming to vote and approve a roughly $2 trillion package to overhaul the nation’s health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws before Christmas, hoping to muscle through a jam-packed schedule to deliver the remaining piece of President Biden’s economic agenda.
Writing to lawmakers on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) affirmed the aggressive timeline, warning that there are “more long days and nights, and potentially weekends,” ahead of the chamber in order for it to finish a fuller array of legislative legwork before the end of the year.
The $2 trillion proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, aims to expand Medicare coverage, invest new sums to combat climate change, authorize universal prekindergarten and provide new aid to low-income families, all financed through tax hikes targeting rich Americans and corporations. House Democrats adopted the bill in November, teeing it up for the Senate, where party lawmakers at times have been divided over its size and scope.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado is on track for record employment growth in 2022.
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► Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the latest thing that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is opposing. This time, Boebert is mad about certain sections of next year’s defense spending bill. Ashby notes that many of Boebert’s complaints about the NDAA are simply not accurate.
► While we’re on the topic of the NDAA, Westword considers the fate of a marijuana banking provision that was included in the latest language of the funding act.
► CBS4 Denver both-sides the abortion debate in a new story.
► The Colorado Sun notes that two statewide Republican candidates have taken the unusual step of accepting voluntary spending limits. Of course, this might all be a moot point given the prevalence of dark money in prominent races.
► Colorado Newsline reports on the latest iteration of the Colorado Health Information Technology Roadmap.
► Axios Denver looks at how Colorado is trying to seal the cracks in the availability of mental health services. The Colorado News Collaborative recently completed an extensive investigation into the issue.
► Colorado hospitals under strain from COVID-19 cases are struggling to deal with a continued influx of opioid overdoses.
► For now, it looks like the United States will allow its athletes to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics…but the U.S. is pointedly refusing to send any government officials to China as a form of protest over China’s human rights abuses.
► As The New York Times reports, Europe is turning to stronger lockdown measures in an effort to gain control of the COVID-19 pandemic as new cases of the Omicron variant are detected.
In a separate but related story, The Times reports that New York City will implement a vaccine mandate for private companies:
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
Mr. de Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec. 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall another wave of coronavirus cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months and holiday gatherings…
…Mr. de Blasio said the new measure would apply to about 184,000 businesses. Employees who work in-person at private companies must have one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27; remote workers will not be required to get the vaccine. There is no testing option as an alternative.
As POLITICO reports, Republican candidates across the country are becoming increasingly united AGAINST the idea of vaccine mandates.
► A Brighton City Council member facing questions about a DUI arrest has resigned from his position.
► Former Republican Senator and Presidential candidate Bob Dole died over the weekend at the age of 98.
► More than $1.6 million was spent in this year’s Denver School Board elections.
► RIP former Republican state lawmaker Bob Briggs.
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► Right-wing activist Ammon Bundy is running for Governor of Idaho. As The Idaho Statesman reports, he wants extra credit for campaigning:
Far-right activist Ammon Bundy believes his voluntary Idaho gubernatorial campaign stops satisfy his court-mandated community service connected to a trespassing conviction in July. [Pols emphasis]
Aaron Welling, the Bundy campaign’s treasurer, wrote to Ada County’s 4th District Court that Bundy has “completed 1,621 hours of public service,” according to a letter submitted last month — on campaign stationery.
On July 1, a jury found Bundy and another man, Aaron Schmidt, guilty of misdemeanor charges of trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers, related to incidents at the Idaho Capitol. Bundy was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and $1,089 in fines.
► Western Slope Republican conspiracists are mad that a hand-count of the 2021 election results was done too quickly.
► John Eastman, a former conservative scholar at the University of Colorado who advised former President Trump on strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 Presidential election has decided to “plead the fifth” in response to Congressional subpoenas of his actions.
► Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs will be remembered in part for his unwitting role in the 2010 gubernatorial race in Colorado.
► This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Sara Loflin and dig into more troubles for Republican gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert.