Cool Story, But YOU VOTED AGAINST THAT

UPDATE: It looks like Boebert already did it, taking credit for $77.5 million in federal grants “benefiting CO-03”.

 

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Last summer we wrote about federal funding “earmarks,” also known as “Member Designated Projects” and “Community Project Funding Requests,” that included an oft-quoted graphic showing how Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation were responsible for all of $0 in federal funding returning to our state…

 

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Deadly Insurrection: It’s All One Big Joke To Jenna Ellis

Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis.

As Colorado Newsline’s Julia Fennell reported yesterday, former Colorado Christian University “constitutional law professor” Jenna Ellis, who gained nationwide fame as one of the principal faces of ex-President Donald Trump’s legal team challenging the results in dozens of failed lawsuits across the country, has been subpoenaed by the Select Committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol along with her boss Rudy Giuliani, crackpot attorney of record Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn:

Ellis, 37, is accused of promoting claims that the 2020 election was stolen and participating in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on her allegations, according to a redacted letter sent to Ellis on Tuesday by the chairman of the committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. The letter alleges that between mid-November 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, Ellis sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Three other members of Trump’s legal team, Rudolph Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn, were also issued subpoenas Tuesday.

“The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes,” Thompson said in a statement Tuesday, referring to Ellis, Giuliani, Powell and Epshteyn. “We expect these individuals to join the nearly 400 witnesses who have spoken with the Select Committee as the committee works to get answers for the American people about the violent attack on our democracy.”

Ellis is also accused of preparing and circulating two memos claiming to analyze the constitutional authority for the vice president to reject or delay counting electoral votes from states that had submitted alternate slates of electors, according to Tuesday’s statement.

Responding with the seriousness befitting the weighty subject of an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead and faith in American democracy seriously compromised, Ellis responded to her subpoena via Twitter:

Well actually, the Select Committee does want a “date” of sorts. Under oath.

Of course, if you had responded to Jenna Ellis’ claims that the election was stolen from Donald Trump with the same flippancy (which admittedly we did), Ellis would have castigated you like she did the whole media establishment after taking over for Giuliani in the infamous dripping hair-dye press conference at Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2021:

In retrospect, the record has clearly established that press conference was 1. too long and 2. devoid of evidence.

But again, let’s return to the urgency and certainty with which this same Jenna Ellis worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which directly provoked the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Ellis has escaped the professional sanctions that her boss Rudy Giuliani has been hit with, which has been attributed at least in part to lax oversight of attorney ethics in Colorado compared to other states. But outside the conservative info-bubble Ellis migrated to at Newsmax a few months after January 6th, her reputation is as tarnished as Giuliani and fellow coup plotter John Eastman–both of whom have seen their job prospects dwindle since Trump left office.

If Ellis actually believes anything she said before January 6th, as we said about conspiracy theorist Joe Oltmann and the Dominion Voting Systems defamation trial, the Select Committee is a golden opportunity to make her case. If Ellis’ response to this inquiry into violence she had a direct hand in inciting is to crack wise and evade the hard questions, first and foremost Ellis is undercutting herself and everyone she helped convince of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.

The other possibility is that Ellis knows the truth and doesn’t care. Like Eastman, Ellis may well give two completely different answers about the legitimacy of Trump’s coup attempt depending on her audience.

There’s only one way to deal with such people, and that’s under penalty of perjury.

Dahlkemper Won’t Run in CO-07; Path Clear for Pettersen

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

The dominoes continue to fall in the wake of Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s surprise retirement announcement earlier this month — and they keep falling in favor of State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood).

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper has decided against running for the Colorado congressional seat held by retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Instead, the Lakewood Democrat plans to stick with her bid for re-election, she told Colorado Politics.

Dahlkemper, a former member of the Jefferson County school board, said last week that she was considering joining the Democratic primary after Perlmutter’s surprise announcement on Jan. 10 that he wouldn’t seek a ninth term representing the Jefferson County-based 7th Congressional District.

“I’m lov[ing] serving as a county commissioner and working on issues that matter in Jefferson County — reducing wildfire risk, expanding open space and trails, helping small businesses and struggling families navigate COVID recovery and more,” Dahlkemper said in an email. “My focus is on re-election this November. Even though I’ve won two countywide elections in Jeffco, I’m not taking anything for granted this November.”

Dahlkemper’s decision to stay out of the Democratic Primary in CO-07 is significant news. Dahlkemper is the wife of former state lawmaker Mike Feeley, who famously lost the first race for CO-07 in 2002 to Republican Bob Beauprez by a mere 121 votes; she has built up a solid political career of her own after serving on the Jefferson County School Board and winning a seat on the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners in 2018.

Pettersen shot out of the gates quickly in CO-07, officially announcing her candidacy one day after Perlmutter’s retirement news broke. Her campaign promptly rolled out a massive list of major Democratic endorsements, followed by an announcement that she had banked $200,000 within five days of launching.

Pettersen may yet face a Primary challenge in June, but it would be tough for any Democrat to catch up to her now. State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) has talked about running but doesn’t have the same campaign infrastructure in place. We’ve heard whisper of a few other potential names on the Democratic side, though nothing concrete. Anybody still pondering a decision had better move quickly with precinct caucuses beginning in early March.

On the Republican side, Laurel Imer and Erik Aadland have been in the race since 2021. State Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton) said last week that he planned to make a decision on a potential campaign by the end of this week; according to Luning, Larson is still thinking it through and now says he’ll have something to say “next week.”

MAGA Candidates Drop Craziest Anti-Abortion Bill Yet

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

Against the backdrop of the 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments in cases that could well mean the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights for all Americans, Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly are back in 2022 with an assortment of anti-abortion bills. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has reintroduced his perennial bill making abortion a class 1 felony, and as we discussed yesterday, CD-8 candidate and Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer signed on as the Senate sponsor of a reprise “abortion surveillance” bill similar to one that died in the 2021 session.

But folks, none of those bills can hold a proverbial candle to House Bill 22-1079, sponsored by two upwardly aspiring GOP House members, Rep. Dave Williams running in CD-5 and Rep. Ron Hanks in the race for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. House Bill 1079, “Concerning Abolishing Abortion in Colorado,” takes the fight to ban abortion “from fertilization to natural death” to a disturbing new level:

The bill requires the state to enforce homicide and assault provisions without regard to the opinion of the United States supreme court in Roe v. Wade and other supreme court decisions, past and future.

The bill authorizes the state to disregard any federal court decision that purports to enjoin or void this requirement and subjects a Colorado judge to impeachment or removal [Pols emphasis] if the judge purports to enjoin, stay, overrule, or void the requirement.

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

In short, what we have here is an assertion of state sovereignty over federal law, following the anachronistic idea that states can simply nullify laws they don’t like. It’s an argument that was mostly settled by the American Civil War, and again in the 1958 Supreme Court case of Cooper v. Aaron–only much more recently becoming a renewed legal debate topic as right-wing controlled legislatures have attempted bills like the one above.

This bill will of course not live through its first committee hearing in the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, let alone pass into law where it would be subjected to a court challenge. But when you consider that this legislation instructing the state to defy the U.S. Supreme Court is sponsored by two Colorado Republican candidates for federal office, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s another stark reminder how the abortion rights Coloradans were assured for years would never be in danger no matter how many Republicans got elected are in grave danger today.

And it shows again how abortion, an issue that has ruined Colorado Republican candidates and galvanized Colorado voters to turn out to protect abortion rights over and over in general elections, is perceived completely differently in the context of a Republican primary. Williams and Hanks don’t consider this issue to be a liability–in fact their chances in the primaries they’re running in improve the more extreme a position they take, and they’re simply not strategizing beyond that date. In a Republican primary, anti-abortion extremism is the coin of the realm, and that’s why Neville’s bill merely making an abortion a felony wasn’t enough this year.

Like Maya Angelou said, when they show you this clearly what they stand for, believe them.

CD-8 Contender Kirkmeyer Jumps On Anti-Abortion Bill

Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R).

For the second year in a row, GOP Rep. Stephanie Luck representing Otero along with portions of Fremont, and Pee-ebla Counties is the prime sponsor of legislation just introduced into the Colorado House that would require doctors to supply data on every abortion in Colorado to a new database set up by the state. Failure to make these reports would subject doctors and nurses to administrative sanction under the state’s malpractice statute. Rep. Luck is also the sponsor for a second straight year of a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID patients, but we’ll save that for another blog post.

Because this year unlike last, Rep. Luck has a Senate sponsor for her anti-abortion measure–aspiring CD-8 candidate and state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer:

To be clear, this bill has approximately one-half snowball’s chance in Hell of passing the Democratic-dominated House and making it to the Senate. But what we have here is another opportunity for a candidate for higher office in the legislature to plant the flag on an issue near and dear to Republican primary voters–much like Reps. Ron Hanks and Dave Williams did yesterday during the debate over a voting rights resolution.

Kirkmeyer is competing against Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann to be the GOP’s “corporate wing” opponent to hard-charging conservative Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, the natural choice of the Republican grassroots and loudest supporter of ex-President Donald Trump. Although Kirkmeyer has a far-right record of her own to run on as one of the principal supporters of the ill-fated attempt by northeastern counties to secede from the rest of Colorado a few years ago, the tree of GOP primary victory must be watered with the blood dripping from chuncks of wedge-issue red meat.

Legislative grandstanding is a trick Lori Saine knows well, of course, and neither Saine nor Kulmann have it in their bag in 2022. If Kirkmeyer wants traction in this three-way race, she’ll milk that bully pulpit for all it’s worth.

All the while serving as a warning to general election voters, who in Colorado overwhelmingly support abortion rights and are more aware of the threat to abortion rights this year than perhaps ever before. But that’s a conversation for after June 28th.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 19)

You’re gonna need a coat today. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Senate is debating a voting rights bill that might be DOA:

Democrats are pushing forward with what appears to be a futile bid to enact voting rights protections over Republican opposition, planning a vote Wednesday evening on legislation that they say is urgently needed to counter widespread balloting suppression efforts as they move toward a showdown over the Senate filibuster rules that the G.O.P. has repeatedly used to block it.

Senators will spend the day debating the bill, which the House approved last week, and arguing over the very nature of their institution as they clash over the rights of the minority to thwart legislation, and whether the filibuster — a storied Senate tool for asserting them — needs to be weakened.

Though they brought up the legislation on Tuesday using a procedural shortcut that avoided an initial Republican blockade, Democrats were far short of the votes needed to win its passage over unified G.O.P. opposition, and lacked the votes needed in their own party to change Senate rules and enact it unilaterally.

Still, they announced that they would mount a long-shot effort to establish an exception to the filibuster for voting rights bills, requiring opponents to hold the floor for an old-style “talking filibuster” that would allow a final, 51-senator majority vote — instead of the 60 now needed — to move forward after all senators had exhausted their opportunities to speak.

If Democrats can’t get Republicans to do the right thing on voting rights, it appears that the backup plan is to at least force them to go on record with their opposition.

In related news, the progressive political group Emily’s List announced that it will no longer support Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, on account of the fact that Sinema is not really a progressive lawmaker anymore.

 

As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters could soon have a lot of extra time on her hands:

About the same time the Mesa County commissioners were voting to remove Clerk Tina Peters permanently as the top election official on Tuesday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a new lawsuit seeking to do the same thing.

Similar to its lawsuit against Peters last year that led to her being temporarily removed as the county’s designated election official for the 2021 Coordinated Election, this new lawsuit details things Peters has done and said in an effort to show she isn’t trustworthy to oversee elections.

Peters is facing numerous investigations into possible criminal misconduct and wire fraud, including a local grand jury probe into allegations she and at least four others engaged in tampering with election equipment and official misconduct.

Click here to read more about Peters and her escalating problems.

 

Colorado Republicans in the state legislature seem determined to prove to voters that they are completely unserious. This headline from The Denver Post speaks volumes:

Via The Denver Post (1/19/22)

 

Colorado will provide free KN95 surgical masks thanks in part to a federal government subsidy. Denver7 has more on where you can get your masks.

 

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) has confirmed her status as the frontrunner in CO-07, as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Democratic congressional candidate Brittany Pettersen amassed more than $200,000 in the first five days of her bid for the Colorado seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, her campaign said.

The Lakewood state senator had received nearly 500 donations through Sunday since announcing her candidacy a week ago, her campaign said, bringing in $157,325 on top of the $44,773 she had left over from a previous run for the same office.

“We did it!” Pettersen said, announcing the total in an email to supporters. “Our campaign has $202,099 in the bank, and we did it in just 5 days!”

Last week Pettersen also announced a slate of 72 endorsements in a 72-hour period, including high-profile Democrats such as House Speaker Alec Garnett.

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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Time To Pull Clerk Tina Peters’ Card

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, facing multiple criminal investigations into potential state and federal law violations related to the theft and distribution of proprietary voting machine data, may soon be permanently relieved of the job of overseeing elections in Mesa County:

About the same time the Mesa County commissioners were voting to remove Clerk Tina Peters permanently as the top election official on Tuesday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a new lawsuit seeking to do the same thing.

Similar to its lawsuit against Peters last year that led to her being temporarily removed as the county’s designated election official for the 2021 Coordinated Election, this new lawsuit details things Peters has done and said in an effort to show she isn’t trustworthy to oversee elections.

Peters is facing numerous investigations into possible criminal misconduct and wire fraud, including a local grand jury probe into allegations she and at least four others engaged in tampering with election equipment and official misconduct.

After being temporarily barred from overseeing elections last November, Clerk Peters was offered a set of terms by Secretary of State Jena Griswold by which Peters could resume some of the election responsibilities Peters would normally manage in her duties as county clerk while the criminal investigations into her misconduct continue. Peters rejected Griswold’s offer last week:

Those terms would have required Peters to retract certain statements made regarding voting machines and submit election-related communications to the Sec. of State’s office on a daily basis, among other requirements. In exchange, Peters would have been able to resume her role in supervising Mesa Co. elections…

In a statement on this matter, Peters said quote, “Please name one time in the history of the world in which the side demanding you ‘repudiate’ your beliefs, especially beliefs for transparency, in exchange for return of your rights, have been the good guys?”

There’s an argument to be made that having freely confessed to allowing unauthorized access to proprietary election system data in a fruitless attempt to prove fraud in the 2020 presidential election, thereby creating an actual security risk for future attempts to compromise voting machines, Clerk Peters has disqualified herself from ever having administrative access to a voting machine again. It’s in deference to the fact that Peters was duly elected to carry out those responsibilities, as well as being innocent until proven guilty in the multiple criminal investigations against her, that any offer was made to allow Peters to continue overseeing elections.

If Peters won’t agree to a few basic stipulations that include not digging her rhetorical hole any deeper, which if she had a better lawyer than Scott Gessler they would have been pleading with her to do months ago, anyone in oversight has not just the option but the responsibility to not let Clerk Peters near Mesa County’s voting machines.

Most people resign at or even well before this point, not to mention she’s also a flight risk. Unless/until the justice system renders the discussion moot, it’s time to take the necessary precautions to ensure Mesa County’s elections are in competent hands.

Republicans Have Some “Different Facts” on Wearing Masks

These people had no problem breathing oxygen, but someday their noses might fall off.

As The Colorado Sun explains in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Republicans are back to arguing about the definition of a “fact” as they continue their incessant whining about mean people making them wear something over their nose and mouth during a global pandemic:

Republicans in the House on Friday, the third day of this year’s lawmaking term, fought a resolution allowing House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, to require mask wearing and social distancing among visitors in the Capitol’s committee rooms, some of which are very small. The measure passed, though every GOP representative present voted against the measure…

…The vote came after Rep. Stephanie Luck, R-Penrose, pleaded with Democrats to reconsider the measure. She said her constituents won’t come to Denver to testify in person if they are forced to wear face coverings and instead would have to participate remotely. She also repeated disproven claims about masks, which have been scientifically shown to reduce the spread of COVID-19…

…Assistant House Minority Leader Tim Geitner, R-Falcon, unsuccessfully tried to amend the resolution to prevent the implementation of vaccine mandates and passports, which weren’t even on the table.

Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Northglenn Democrat who works as an emergency room nurse, called Luck’s remarks “absurd” and “false.”

Luck’s Friday floor speech is pretty remarkable for its ridiculousness. Take a look yourself or read the transcription that follows:

 

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Down The Rabbit Hole With Rep. Ron Hanks

UPDATE: Ron Hanks is the center of gravity in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, and it’s not just our opinion:

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Today, the Colorado General Assembly is debating and set to eventually pass a joint resolution urging the U.S. Congress to adopt comprehensive voting rights legislation:

WHEREAS, Falsehoods and conspiracies regarding the integrity 23 of the 2020 election have run rampant in our media and public discourse; and

WHEREAS, The months-long, coordinated attempt to interfere with the democratic process following the November 2020 election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power by overturning the legitimate results of the presidential election, which culminated at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, serves as a violent reminder of the fragility of our democracy… [Pols emphasis]

Now wait just a dang minute, says GOP House Minority Leader Hugh McKean in a statement:

In an epic waste of everyone’s time, Colorado Democrats are relitigating the 2020 election – yet again – attempting to bitterly divide the House chamber just days after we celebrated the accomplishments and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The last election results are settled… [Pols emphasis]

“Settled?” That will come as news to former President Donald Trump, as well as the solid majority of McKean’s fellow Republicans who believe despite a lack of any evidence that the 2020 elections were decided unfairly and are ready to see them overturned even now. Trump’s political machine keeps zealous track of the opinions expressed by Republicans at every level of government and the party apparatus, so we wouldn’t be surprised if McKean finds himself having to explain his views in the woodshed very soon.

And if there was any doubt that McKean does not speak for Republicans on what has become the defining litmus test question of the era for that party, leading Republican U.S. Senate candidate, freshman state representative, and proud January 6th protest participant Ron Hanks blew it up like a misbehaving voting machine.

 

Who says the last election results are “settled?” Not this guy:

HANKS: The, the systems we have are not secure. The chips are made overseas. They are built with wireless modem connections in them. This is not a gold standard. This is a recipe for disaster, an intrusion by foreign powers. They’re built in China, who do you think it might be in this situation.

We have multiple lines of effort, this is coming from a military officer here again retired, who had 32 years of military intelligence experience, we have multiple lines of effort, from the communist Chinese party, to undercut this nation.

They’re doing it through supply lines. They could very likely be doing it through (pause) weaponized bio-agents. This is the easiest way to turn a country and to take it over. They don’t even have to buy a box of ammunition. [Pols emphasis]

And, truth to tell, that’s a, uh famous famous statement from Sun Tzu, a famous Chinese general from many centuries ago that you’ll just turn a country by the easiest softest means possible. Ladies and gentlemen I think we have a problem, I appreciate uh the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, may I be so bold as to say he might very well say we have a problem too. I ask for your support of Amendment L.005. Thank you.

There you have it, folks! A “unified field theory” of conspiracy that brings all the disparate pieces together: global supply chain and shipping backlogs, Dominion Voting Systems, and the big one–the “weaponized bio agent” the rest of us know as COVID-19–all part of a grand nefarious plot by communist China to destroy (or at least seriously screw with) the U S of A. You might think it’s crazy, but for millions of dogmatic diehard MAGA Republicans it fits perfectly with the narrative they’ve been hearing from the beginning of the pandemic. To watch Rep. Hanks lay it all out succinctly helps us in the reality-based community understand how so many fellow Americans came to believe something so outlandish.

Hugh McKean may not like it, in fact we’re sure he doesn’t–but Ron Hanks, who won the straw poll at a U.S. Senate forum in Monument last weekend, is the candidate who speaks for a majority of Republicans today. If you’re a Republican and that scares you, the only thing we can say is that denial of this reality won’t change it.

Yet Another Sad Trombone for Heidi Ganahl

Re-enactment of Heidi Ganahl’s Q4 fundraising period.

As readers of this blog are well aware, we have regularly labeled the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl as the worst campaign for governor in the entire country. For her part, Ganahl has been very helpful in cementing that argument through her own campaign #FAILs.

Ganahl’s gubernatorial campaign quietly filed its Q4 2021 fundraising report over the weekend. We say “quietly” because we wouldn’t want anybody to know these numbers, either.

In the last three months of 2021, Ganahl raised $267,000 and wrote herself a check for $200,000, leaving her fledgling campaign with $351,430 in the bank to start 2022.

If you’re wondering how these numbers compare to previous Republican candidates for governor — none of whom were ultimately elected to the position — we did the research for you.

It’s not good.

 

We include Dan Maes here because he did (improbably) go on to win the Republican Party nomination for governor after Scott McInnis imploded in a plagiarism scandal. Other than Maes, however, no legitimate Republican candidate for governor has started an election year in the last decade-plus with less money in the bank than Ganahl. And it’s not like fundraising dollars are being split among multiple Republican candidates in 2022. Ganahl is bombing despite being the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

The only thing that saved Ganahl from a Maes-like fundraising quarter is her own $200,000 contribution to the campaign. Ganahl burned through $239,000 in Q4, largely to pay salaries and fees for various consultants. Had she not written herself that check, she would have only added $28,224 to her campaign coffers in the final months of 2021.

Perhaps Ganahl is able and/or willing to self-fund her campaign to the tune of many millions of dollars. If not, there is no realistic scenario whereby she ends up being the next governor of Colorado.

Top Ten Stories of 2021 #2: Colorado’s Disproportionate Role In The Coup

Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, January 6th 2021.

Ex-President Donald Trump promised repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2020 that he would only accept the results of an election he won. That was just one of many clear signals sent by Trump and his movement in 2020 that the only acceptable outcome of the election would be a Trump victory, which as readers know (or should know) is not how democracy is supposed to work. Before the conspiracy theories materialized, before the contingency plans for throwing out the results at multiple levels fell apart or were gratefully not attempted, and before the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 that resulted in the deaths of five people and hundreds facing federal charges for their actions, Trump told us in clear terms what was coming.

So did Trump loyalists who owed him at least in part their own prominence, like newly elected Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. On the morning on January 6th, Boebert issued the battlecry she has tried so many times since to backpedal:

Boebert has tried since to claim that this obvious exhortation to violence on a day in which violence in fact occurred is not the incitement it clearly looks like. The failure of the plot to throw out the results of the 2020 presidential election and declare Trump the winner, combined with the shocking images of mayhem inside the U.S. Capitol, made January 6th a day that–at least for awhile–no Republican wanted to be associated with.

For a state that has trended toward Democratic political dominance for the last 18 years and going strong, it’s strange to think that Colorado, or at least right-wing activists and operatives who live here, played a huge and in some cases pivotal role in both Trump’s failed court battles as well as the strategy to overturn the election results in Congress on January 6th. Here are a few names that will, or at least should, live on in infamy:

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McKean Tries (and Fails) to Explain Away Rape Remarks

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean

As we noted in this space earlier in the week, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) used some rather disgusting language in trashing Democratic legislative priorities in a pre-session right wing radio interview. In discussing his opposition to Democratic support for increasing fees to fund transportation projects, McKean said that Democrats “have been just raping the people of Colorado.”

McKean’s comments rightfully angered many Democrats, including State Sen. Faith Winter and State Rep. Matt Gray, the latter of whom pointedly walked out of the House chambers on Wednesday during McKean’s opening day speech.

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, McKean is now trying to explain why it’s no big deal that he used rape language in off-the-cuff remarks:

“I meant that the people of Colorado feel like money is being taken out of their pockets,” said McKean, calling his usage of rape language merely a “misunderstanding.” McKean then pivoted to one of the weakest arguments you can use in any framework — from lazy term papers to shoddy opinion pieces: Quoting from a dictionary.

“There are three definitions,” McKean said of the word “raping.” “The last definition means to be robbed. That is literally Webster’s definition for that word. [Pols emphasis] I wish that things didn’t get political quickly.”

When asked if he may use different language in the future given the other definitions of “raping,” McKean said “yeah, I might use better words.”

“When we’re in the middle of these interviews, there are times when I would much rather use better words that don’t lead to that kind of misunderstanding,” he said.

First of all, there was no “misunderstanding” from McKean’s words. It was because McKean’s comments were perfectly understood that there was such a pushback to his rhetoric.

As to the other part of his excuse…yes, friends, many words do in fact have multiple meanings. “Bananas” could be a euphemism for someone (or thing) that appears to be crazy; it could also refer to a collection of yellow fruits that grow on trees.

However…

There are some words that also are only ever used in one particular frame, and “rape” is absolutely on that list. When was the last time you had a conversation with someone who used the word “rape” to discuss a robbery? We’d guess the answer would be, “Never.”

To use another example, via Merriam-Webster, the word “pig” could refer to a tasty domestic animal; a dirty, gluttonous, or repulsive person; an immoral woman; a police officer; or “a crude casting of metal (such as iron).” If you called someone a “pig,” you could technically say that you were calling them a “crude casting of metal” rather than a “repulsive person,” but no functional human being would accept that excuse instead of an apology.

McKean notably didn’t apologize for saying that Democrats were “raping” Coloradans, in part because the right-wing base loves this kind of incendiary rhetoric and McKean is desperate to firm up his bonafides with extremists. In fact, McKean isn’t responding to this because he thinks he made a mistake — it’s because he keeps getting pestered about it by colleagues and reporters.

Unfortunately, McKean’s response is an insult to the intelligence of everyone who hears it.

Fear Sweat: Boebert Goes Hard Negative Against Coram

After state Sen. Don Coram formally entered the Republican CD-3 primary to challenge compounding calamity freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, the congresswoman from Altamont Springs, Florida via Rifle volleyed back with a trademark broadside of adjective-laden vitriol, denouncing Coram as a “super-woke social liberal”–to which Coram disarmingly responded, “I have no idea what that means.”

Boebert’s rhetoric is always dialed up to 11, so distinguishing between the usual bluster and a strategic interest on Boebert’s part isn’t easy. But yesterday, we got the first real sign of how Boebert intends to handle her first primary as an incumbent–and Boebert wants to make this primary all about Don Coram:

Rep. Lauren Q*Bert Boebert (R-ifle).

 
So, first of all, we had to do some searching to find a single reference in the Durango Herald in 2017 to a letter requesting an investigation of Sen. Coram over his support for pro-commercial hemp legislation. It doesn’t look like the matter went any further, because the legislation Coram supported didn’t single out Coram’s hemp business in any way.

Also, in case you’re one of the few people in Colorado who still doesn’t know this, hemp doesn’t get you high. The giggle-snorting about hemp in this ad is clearly meant to make the listener believe otherwise.

With that established, the hypocrisy of Rep. Boebert impugning Sen. Coram’s ethics over laws to benefit commercial hemp production, while Boebert herself sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and her husband is questionably paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by one of the Western Slope’s biggest fossil fuel drilling companies, is nothing short of head-exploding. Boebert’s brazen hypocrisy, so audacious that it momentarily stuns, is another signature tactic that we took note of before she had a primary opponent.

Boebert caught her 2020 Republican opponent Scott Tipton napping, but then underperformed in the general election versus Tipton’s easy 2018 victory. By going recklessly negative early against Don Coram, Boebert is signaling her own weakness.

You don’t do this unless you’re nervous.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Jan. 14)

If you have a few spare billion dollars in your couch cushions, you should consider buying the Denver Broncos. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

 Governor Jared Polis delivered the annual “State of the State” speech on Thursday. Here’s coverage from Colorado Public Radio, The Denver Post, Denver7, and The Colorado Sun, among others.

 

Congressional Democrats are hoping to add paid leave and increased sfunding for COVID-19 prevention and treatment to a new long-term spending package.

 

As CNN reports, it’s looking more and more like Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming weeks:

A senior US official warned Thursday that the “drumbeat of war is sounding loud” following a week’s worth of diplomacy between the West and Russia that wrapped up Thursday.

The effort ended without clear breakthroughs over the tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border, leaving prospects for future diplomacy and de-escalation in doubt as Russian officials suggested they could soon turn to military options.

Both US and Russian officials sounded a pessimistic note over the talks following Thursday’s meeting in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It was the third session that capped a week of intensive meetings that the United States and its NATO allies hoped could spur Russia to pursue a path of “de-escalation and diplomacy” rather than mobilizing the tens of thousands of Russian troops whose presence has swelled along Ukraine’s borders.

But Russian officials reacted with frustration and impatience coming out of the meetings, suggesting they were poised to abandon discussions over the US and NATO’s refusal to entertain Moscow’s key demands: A guarantee that Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO and that the alliance roll back its expansion in Eastern Europe. The US and its NATO allies have repeatedly said such proposals from Moscow are non-starters.

As The Washington Post reports, Russia is working on creating a reason for their own invasion: 

The Russian government has sent operatives into eastern Ukraine in preparation for potential sabotage operations that would serve as a pretext for invasion, the Biden administration said on Friday.

“We have information that indicates Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules established by the Biden administration, said in an email. “The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy-forces.”

Also on Friday, Ukraine government websites were hit by a cyberattack that sure looks like it came from Russia.

 

Democrats in Colorado’s Congressional Delegation are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate local police efforts after a man with a history of noted trouble went on a shooting spree in Denver and Lakewood last month. The letter from Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter is aimed at trying to make sure that there were no information-sharing gaps between police agencies that might have helped prevent the tragedy. 

 

Republican State Rep. Mark Baisley has had an, um, interesting week. First he proposed wrapping voting machines in tin foil to discourage people from putting them in the microwave, or something, and then he took to the podium at a GOP press conference to inarticulately explain his upcoming legislation to ignore scientific evidence and declare that natural immunity from COVID-19 is just as good as getting vaccinated. 

 

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Republican Agenda Includes Inventing New Science

Colorado Republicans held a press conference at the state capitol on Wednesday to unveil 40+ bills that they plan to introduce over the coming months as part of their 2022 legislative session agenda.

Near the end of the press conference, State Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Highlands Ranch) strolled to the podium to talk about his upcoming legislation to invent some new science related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the same Mark Baisley, mind you, who recently proposed wrapping Colorado voting machines in tin foil in order to keep them safe from wireless hacking attempts, or aliens, or something.

Baisley’s COVID bill is related to the mythical “vaccine passports” that have recently made Republicans so hysterical. But Baisley’s idea is so dumb that House Minority Leader Hugh McKean had to cut him off at the microphone before he could do any more damage. Take a look:

We transcribed Baisley’s gibberish as a public service:

BAISLEY: So I have a bill that, uh, would elevate the status of natural immunity for folks who have had COVID. Um, elevate that to the same status as, um, the rMNA vaccinations. So, if there’s any requirement by anyone to have a vaccination card, then that natural immunity would have equal footing…equal standing.

Baisley stops here to respond to a question off-camera from Marianne Goodland of The Colorado Springs Gazette:

BAISLEY: Yeah, watch for the, uh, scientific community as witnesses, uh, in the committee when we bring our bill forward. And yes, there’s very strong support for folks…in fact, it makes a lot more sense because the rMNA that, uh, the vaccines…are an engineering of our proteins to try to duplicate those spikes so that it would then hopefully recognize the spike in the, uh, COVID virus that comes in…but that’s not the exact signature that your body develops in the immunities when you have the actual disease. [Pols emphasis]

So, it’s, uh, it’s a pretty reasoned approach and you’ll see a lot of good scientific testimony coming in for it…

Like Baisley, we are not doctors, but this explanation sounds more than a little fishy. Baisley might have had more to say on the subject were it not for McKean jumping in to stop the rhetorical bleeding:

MCKEAN: Representative Baisley coming to a Health and Human Services Committee soon near you. Um, this is the amazing thing that we have – people who understand the depth of this and understand the things that we can do to help folks in Colorado get through the pandemic, get through all of the pieces that are left, which is how do you prove that you have immunity? Or, how do you prove that you have had the immunizations. Thank you, Mark.

Let’s recap, shall we? Republicans, led by Rep. Mark Baisley, plan to introduce legislation that would state that anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 has the same immunity and protection from future infection as someone who has been vaccinated against the virus.

This is simply not true. Full stop.

We’ll be interested to see what sort of “scientific community” experts come forward to support Baisley’s reasoning, given that ACTUAL SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS have regularly said that you should still get vaccinated even if you have been infected with COVID-19. Studies have repeatedly shown that unvaccinated people are more than two times as likely to be re-infected with COVID-19 and more than five times as likely to be hospitalized with severe symptoms. Research has also demonstrated that not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 will in fact develop antibodies to the virus that could protect them from future infection. Right-wing windbag Glenn Beck is one of the many unvaccinated people recently re-infected with COVID-19 after suffering through a previous infection.

It is well-known that COVID-19 is much more deadly for unvaccinated people in general, and new data continues to support that finding. As The New York Times recently reported:

When vaccination rates and behavior changes are not enough to stop the virus from spreading, those infections are much more likely to lead to hospitalization and death for unvaccinated people. The latest data from the C.D.C., which is based on data from 25 states and cities, shows that the death rate for unvaccinated people is 14 times as high as that for vaccinated people. [Pols emphasis]

[For more FACTS on this subject, check out the University of Nebraska Medical Center; the British Society for Immunology; USA Today; the Oklahoma State Health Department; etc.]

Alas, this aversion to scientific facts is not a problem isolated to the Mark Baisleys of the world. You may recall last fall when GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was roundly criticized for hosting a forum with noted anti-vaxxer Dennis Prager, who subsequently became ill with COVID-19 himself.

Republicans can, and apparently will, say that natural immunity from COVID-19 is just as good as getting vaccinated against the virus. Some people have also said that COVID-19 vaccines include magnets and/or secret microchips implanted by the government in order to track the daily monotony of all Americans. But there’s a difference between merely espousing nonsense theories and trying to codify them with legislation despite any lack of scientific evidence to support the proposal.

This isn’t just irresponsible political maneuvering — it’s flat-out dangerous. But it’s an actual legislative priority for Colorado Republicans in 2022.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 13)

Governor Jared Polis delivers his “State of the State” speech today. In Iowa, they call it the “Condition of the State.” See, you’re already 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

The Denver Post updates on the first day of Colorado’s legislative session, which (as always) was mostly about the speechifying:

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session started Wednesday under the shadow of a still critical pandemic, and with party leaders primed to spend months debating how to apportion a historically flush state budget, and make the state safer and more affordable.

The parties identify many of the same pressing problems, but present largely opposing ideas to address them. For the fourth straight year, however, Democrats control both the state House and Senate, plus the governor’s office, so they can always claim final say if they want it.

It’s evident once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is one subject area with little common ground. The politicization of the pandemic was clear as Democrats in both chambers donned masks and all but a couple of Republicans did not. Health care workers administered rapid virus tests outside the Capitol, and guests — unlike lawmakers — were required to mask up indoors. However, partitions between lawmakers’ desks that were taken down at the end of last year’s session did not go back up.

“Health care and public health will continue to guide many of the decisions we make in this building,” House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver said. “Despite our exhaustion and fatigue, COVID has not relented yet.”

As the Post points out, this will be the last legislative session for many familiar names who are term-limited in 2022, including House Speaker Alec Garnett, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.

Elsewhere, 9News previews today’s “State of the State” speech from Gov. Jared Polis.

 

As The Washington Post reports, Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema once again confirmed that the United States Senate is dumb:

Democrats’ hopes of finally pushing through voting rights legislation after months of Republican opposition appeared to be fatally wounded Thursday after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced she would not support changing Senate rules that have long allowed a minority of senators to block legislation.

Sinema’s position, outlined in a midday floor speech, echoed her previous public statements where she defended the filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule, as a tool to facilitate bipartisan cooperation and guard against wild swings in federal policy.

But the circumstances in which she reiterated it — as Senate Democratic leaders prepared to launch a decisive floor debate and less than an hour before President Biden was scheduled to arrive on Capitol Hill to deliver a final, forceful appeal for action — put an exclamation point on her party’s long and fruitless effort to counter restrictive Republican-passed state voting laws.

“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said.

What, exactly, is Sinema’s suggestion instead? We’ll let you know when we hear it. But at least West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin approves!

 

Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” As Axios Denver reports, the picketing could go on for several weeks at minimum. 

 

The case of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and her efforts to tamper with voting equipment following the 2020 election is headed to a grand jury. And, as The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Peters rejected the state’s offer of a settlement agreement that would allow her access back into her own Elections Division, but only under strict supervision.

Peters said in a press release Wednesday that the “deal” the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office offered her wasn’t much of a deal, in part, because it called for her to repudiate some of her statements about election integrity.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to raise big bucks in his bid for re-election. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Bennet raked in more than $2.1 million in the final three months of 2021, surpassing the Colorado Democrat’s own record for an off-year quarterly haul and boosting his re-election war chest to more than $4.7 million, his campaign said Wednesday.

The sum brings Bennet’s fundraising total for the 2022 midterm cycle to roughly $8.7 million as the primary field of his potential Republican challengers is still taking shape.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate/aspiring motivational speaker Gino Campana reported about $950,000 in receipts for Q4 — $500,000 of which came from himself.

 

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Grand Jury Gets Mesa County Election Tampering Case

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

As Denver7’s Stephanie Butzer reports, Attorney General Phil Weiser and Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein are turning the case of Mesa County Clerk’s alleged tampering with election machines in a fruitless attempt to prove the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen over to a grand jury:

In the announcement Thursday morning, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said the grand jury investigation will be “thorough and guided by the facts and the law.”

Their full statement reads:

“Over the past few months, we have made progress in the multi-agency investigation into allegations of Mesa County election equipment tampering and official misconduct. The Mesa County grand jury accepted the case on January 12 and will assist with the investigation.

“A grand jury is an investigative body comprised of impartial citizens called from the community to serve. The grand jury is a core part of our criminal justice system, and the citizens who serve take their roles very seriously. Grand jury proceedings are secret and witnesses and people under investigation are dealt with privately to ensure fairness.”

A Mesa County grand jury considering state charges adds another dimension to Clerk Peters’ growing legal problems, being presumably distinct from the federal investigation disclosed by Sherronna Bishop into potential wire fraud stemming from the transmission of Dominion Voting Systems proprietary data to out-of-state conspiracy theorists after Peters assisted in its theft. Convening a grand jury also helps Rubenstein keep his promise made to Rep. Lauren Boebert that the investigation would be conducted fairly.

The underlying facts in this case haven’t changed. Despite a wave of clueless speculation, nothing in the data stolen and distributed by Peters has revealed a shred of evidence to support the “Big Lie.” And even if that wasn’t the case, there would be proper channels to make and investigate these kinds of claims that don’t involve stealing trade secrets and handing them over to the literal progenitor of “QAnon.”

As we’ve said repeatedly about this case and the “reality gap” between Peters’ unhinged supporters and reality-based critics, the bullshit ends at the courtroom door. We expect that will hold true equally for the grand jury.