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► Russia is moving ever closer toward a potential invasion of Ukraine, which would have ramifications across the geopolitical spectrum. From The Washington Post:
The tense conflict over Ukraine shifted further into full crisis mode Monday, with NATO saying it was moving more military equipment into Eastern Europe and Russia continuing to build up massed forces along the border with Ukraine, amid fears that it will invade its neighbor.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was watching NATO’s moves and President Vladimir Putin was “taking measures to ensure that our security and our interests are properly protected.”
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said Monday that Russia troops continued to arrive in the country, which borders Ukraine, ahead of a major training exercise next month. Further video surfaced on social media Monday showing Russian military convoys and trains with military equipment moving across southern Russia and Belarus
NATO said Monday it would send additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe. That followed reports that the Biden administration was considering sending thousands of U.S. forces as well as armaments to reinforce NATO allies in Poland and the Baltics and imposing new export controls aimed at damaging strategic Russian industries.
Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department ordered nonessential Ukraine embassy staff, as well as families of all staff members, to leave the country.
► It may still be too early to know what kind of Republican Primary fight State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) will be able to put up in CO-03, but as Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Coram isn’t going to be shy about throwing punches against incumbent Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:
“If I wanted to make a million dollars, maybe I should try ‘consulting’ for an oil and gas firm for $500,000 a year and lie about it on public filings,” Coram said, referring to Boebert’s husband, Jayson. “That seemed to have worked out for others in this race.” [Pols emphasis]
Boebert failed to report the $460,601 income her husband earned in 2019 when she filed her first financial statement with the Federal Election Commission. That figure wasn’t known until she filed her second statement last year, showing he also earned $478,386 in 2020 from the same oil and gas consulting services.
Coram, like others, have pointed out that Boebert has advocated and voted for things that related to the oil and gas industry, saying that would constitute “enrichment.”
“Bottom line, this is just another production created by Lauren Boebert to distract from her record as an out-of-touch extremist who would rather spend time defending the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene than doing her job representing the people of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District,” Coram said.
CLICK HERE for more background on the Jayson Boebert story.
► Alex Burness of The Denver Post looks at how Democrats plan to save Coloradans money in 2022.
► Colorado Democrats are planning a reproductive rights bill in the state legislature as worries mount of a “post-Roe” world. From Colorado Newsline:
The policy is planned as a backstop in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established the constitutional right to abortion. While Coloradans currently have access to abortion at all stages of pregnancy, the bill would add an affirmative statement to that effect in Colorado law…
…State Rep. Meg Froelich, a Greenwood Village Democrat, is sponsoring the bill along with House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, a Pueblo Democrat, and Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Democrat from Denver. The lawmakers first announced their intention to run the bill during a December press conference. Froelich later provided more details.
“It will state clearly that access to abortion and the full range of reproductive health care — so, ‘full range of reproductive health care, including abortion,’ is the way that we talk about it — is a fundamental right in Colorado and that the government cannot interfere with that right,” Froelich told Newsline.
The bill would attest to the rights of all Coloradans to access, and to refuse, reproductive or contraceptive care.
► Just a few days after Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper announced that she would not run for Congress in CO-07, Democratic State Rep. Brianna Titone made a similar decision and endorsed State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.
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► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, two prominent Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are scrapping over ballot access:
Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gino Campana blasted primary rival Joe O’Dea on Friday after the latter announced plans to seek a spot on the June primary ballot by petition, suggesting O’Dea is too liberal to win support from GOP delegates at the state assembly.
In turn, O’Dea, the owner of a Denver-based construction company, ripped Campana, a real estate developer and former Fort Collins city council member, as a “tax-and-spend” liberal and added that he intends to compete for every vote in the primary.
Campana and O’Dea are among seven Republicans vying for the nomination to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is running for a third term in November.
In recent years, many statewide Republican candidates have run into problems with the “petition route” for ballot access — most notably 2016 Senate candidate Jon Keyser (whose managers at the time are now overseeing the Campana campaign).
► Colorado lawmakers are trying to fix a problem with health insurance coverage that has allowed insurers to avoid covering the costs of fertility treatments.
► Among other issues that will be taken up this session by state lawmakers: A bill to help reduce vehicle thefts related to stealing catalytic converters; legislation dealing with “predatory towing“; a proposed ban on flavored tobacco products; and an idea to help school districts hire and retain school bus drivers.
► Alex Burness of The Denver Post profiles Rep. Brianna Titone, Colorado’s first transgender lawmaker.
► Attorney General Phil Weiser is warning against price gouging on real estate and rental properties in the wake of the Marshall fire in Boulder County.
► The Denver-based law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is raking in a crapload of money for lobbying efforts alone.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is trying to light a fire about school board policies using incorrect — and transphobic — language.
► POLITICO reminds us, again, that advisers to former President Trump went so far as to draft an executive order to seize voting machines as part of their effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
► As The Associated Press reports, Democrats may not be doing as bad as once feared when it comes to redistricting battles.
► Denver courts are again postponing jury trials because of COVID-19 concerns.
► Here’s some good news: Colorado has recovered 89% of jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
► Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is reintroducing a controversial ban on homeless camping now that he has a friendlier group of city council members.
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► This feels like an 80’s movie.
► A libel lawsuit against The New York Times from former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been delayed because Palin is infected with COVID-19.
► Republican Senate candidate Ron Hanks is pre-emptively claiming that a planned straw poll following a forum on Tuesday is rigged against him.
► Dana Milbank of The Washington Post looks at how Fox News invented an attack on President Joe Biden by claiming that he and others in his administration called parents demonstrating about issues like Critical Race Theory “domestic terrorists”:
There’s just one wee problem with the whole Biden-says-parents-are-terrorists claim, reported dozens of times on Fox News airwaves and echoed at each link down the Republican media food chain: It’s horse excrement. Biden never said it. Attorney General Merrick Garland never said it. No senior (nor even junior) official in the Biden administration has ever been shown to have said it. Yet Fox News presents it as unchallenged fact, week after week. (In response to my request, a Fox News spokeswoman provided me no instance of a Biden official calling parents domestic terrorists.)
► Colorado Republicans who are trying to disavow GOP Senate candidate Ron Hanks are having trouble getting others to listen, in part because Hanks is a monster of their own creation.
The Colorado Times Recorder has another example of why Hanks is a problem for Republicans.
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