Purging Liz Cheney Makes GOP Safe For Lauren Boebert

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner treats us to a feature-length interview with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who as readers know is set to become the next U.S. House GOP conference chair as the star of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming continues to fall:

“I disagree that it’s binary between looking back and looking forward,” the New York congresswoman told the Washington Examiner on Monday as she campaigned to supplant Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the No. 3 ranking House Republican. Cheney is expected to be voted out of leadership on Wednesday over her dogged refusal to stop scolding former President Donald Trump for insisting the November election was stolen and that President Joe Biden is illegitimate…

Washington Examiner: Do you agree with Trump that Biden was illegitimately elected and the election was stolen?

Stefanik: President Biden is president, and the focus is on defeating his radical agenda, which I believe we will do in 2024. And we’re going to win the midterms in 2022. I have said that there are election irregularities and an unconstitutional overreach, which is why I objected to certain states. You can refer to my statement on the House floor. I fully stand by that, and voters support the focus on those issues. But the irregularity, the unconstitutional overreach, the lack of ballot security, those are important issues that the American people want to hear solutions from the Republicans on.

Liz Cheney’s impending ouster due to her unwillingness to participate in the “Big Lie” that ex-President Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term in the 2020 presidential elections is a defining moment for the Republican Party, a final rejection of the opportunity afforded by the chaos of the past year to turn the page away from Trump’s cult of personality. This conflict has nothing to do whatsoever with Republican policy goals, which Cheney is firmly aligned with. This is purely about fealty to Trump, and willingness to maintain a false pretense that a majority of Americans have dismissed in order to keep Trump’s 2024 comeback hopes alive.

Axing Rep. Cheney in favor of “election truther” Rep. Stefanik is overall a positive development for Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert, who is facing an ethics investigation requested by Rep. Pramila Jayapal over Boebert’s own role in inciting the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But there’s a twist: Stefanik appears to go quite a bit farther in allowing for the possibility of election fraud than Boebert did in her response to Payapal’s ethics complaint, in which Boebert asserts she wasn’t alleging “election fraud” at all:

The general allegations are that I was involved “ in instigating and aiding the violent riot at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021” and that I “endangered fellow Members’ lives and pursued a disinformation campaign related to the election results that resulted in an armed uprising.” To be clear, I was not involved in instigating and aiding the riots that took place on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol and there is no evidence that would support further investigation of these unjustified, politically motivated claims. As previously mentioned, my objections to the counting of Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania were based on the Constitution and changes to state law that were not made by the state legislature, not election fraud. [Pols emphasis]

Which is, of course, ridiculous:

On the one hand, the more senior figures in GOP leadership who were willing agents in the leadup to January 6th’s violence, the less likely accountability is to reach Boebert’s level as a freshman GOP representative. For the whole party to be on the same seditious page makes it safer for everyone from Stefanik to Colorado’s own Danny Moore to “just ask questions.” On the other hand, Boebert’s defense in the Jayapal complaint relies on a pretense that nobody at this point should take seriously.

Either way, the man who cost the GOP everything wins again.

0 Shares

BREAKING: CU President Mark Kennedy Will Resign

Outgoing CU President Mark Kennedy (R).

UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio:

Kennedy was censured on April 29 by the Boulder faculty assembly for a “failure of leadership with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion.” Kennedy and his supporters argued that he had made strides on improving diversity among the university’s leadership and was committed to continuing that process.

No timetable was immediately announced for Kennedy’s departure and Board of Regents Chair Glen Gallegos said in a press release that no interim president has been selected. The university will conduct a nationwide search for Kennedy’s replacement.

“The Board of Regents will move quickly to determine our next steps and will work closely with President Kennedy in the coming months to ensure an orderly transition of the presidency. He has led CU though the pandemic and has been making progress on key initiatives we agreed to, so the university is in good position,” said a statement released by the university and attributed to Gallegos and Vice Chair Lesley Smith. ““We appreciate President Kennedy’s contributions and dedication.”

—–

Big news this morning from the state’s flagship university, as embattled University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy, controversially selected by the formerly Republican-controlled CU Board of Regents in 2019, announces he will resign after Democrats retook the Board of Regents for the first time in 40 years last November:

The Board of Regents and I have entered into discussions about an orderly transition of the presidency of the university in the near future. The board has a new makeup this year, which has led to changes in its focus and philosophy. We have made great progress in each of the major areas we identified when I was honored to become president, including strategic planning; diversity, equity and inclusion; online education; and technology transformation. Much of that progress came in the face of the pandemic. I appreciate the many smart and dedicated people who work hard every day to help the university meet its mission to serve its students and the state. CU is on a positive trajectory.

Kennedy was installed by the then-GOP majority on the Board of Regents in 2019 over fierce protests to succeed former CU President and Colorado Republican political kingpin Bruce Benson. Kennedy’s mission was to continue the school’s controversial mission under Benson of imposing “ideological diversity” on higher education–which in practice became a self-funded arm of the university devoted to “conservative affirmative action.” The Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization in its ten years of existence appointed a series of increasingly embarrassing “Visiting Professors of Conservative Thought” that culminated with John Eastman, who helped incite the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Politically this is a bigger deal than meets the eye, signaling the end of one of the only remaining bastions of Republican power left in the state. But the reality is that CU’s political track under Benson and then Kennedy has been grossly out of step with Colorado’s broader maturation as a Democratic stronghold. For Republicans like Regent Heidi Ganahl who are thinking about higher office, whatever legacy they hoped to capitalize on from the GOP’s longstanding control of CU just evaporated.

We’ll update with more coverage shortly, stay tuned.

0 Shares

They’re All Orwellian “Just Transitioners” Now

Sen. Bob Rankin (R).

Chase Woodruff at Colorado Newsline has a story up today that everybody in Colorado politics should read, as it explores the meek closure of another wild rhetorical loop from the historically impactful 2019 session of the Colorado legislature. Readers are of course familiar with Senate Bill 19-181, the landmark reform of the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that Republicans in the legislature warned would “shut down oil and gas in Colorado” and later quietly conceded they could live with after all.

Another major flashpoint from 2019, as Woodruff writes today, was the establishment of something called the Office of Just Transition to help fossil fuel-producing regions of the state cope economically with declining production. Two years ago, Republicans gearing up for half-baked recall attempts against Gov. Jared Polis and targets of opportunity in the legislature hyped the Office of Just Transition into some kind of dystopian horror show:

In a tense, late-night floor debate over House Bill 19-1314, which created a new Office of Just Transition in the state’s labor department, Senate Republicans called the legislation “laughable” and “offensive.” It was an “insulting and egregious bill.” Sen. Bob Gardner, a Republican from El Paso County, advised Democratic lawmakers traveling to the communities impacted by the bill to “leave town pretty quickly,” because “your welcome might be pretty short.”

“I’ll tell you what my people think,” said state Sen. Bob Rankin, a Republican who represents several coal-dependent communities in northwest Colorado. “They don’t want the government retraining them and telling them what they’re going to do, and setting up some committee to feel their pain. They just want you to tell them when they have to move out of this state, and go to Wyoming. That’s what they want. They do not want this bill.”

Rep. Perry Will (R).

But a funny thing happened between 2019 and the present day, and it wasn’t just those recalls turning into a running joke. Republicans who once warned that the Office of Just Transition was a fast track to an Orwellian nightmare are suddenly on the Newspeak bandwagon! The same Bob Rankin who raged about the creation of the office in 2019 is now a sponsor of this year’s legislation to fund it:

Rankin wrote in an email that he had previously opposed the Office of Just Transition because he “believed its creation was simply to provide political cover for an overly aggressive attack on fossil fuel jobs.”

“Perhaps this stimulus funding will actually find its way to help damaged communities,” Rankin said. “I would still prefer that the funds be provided directly to the towns and counties rather than through the state government grant process.”

Other GOP lawmakers who opposed HB-1314 and have since voiced support for just-transition efforts, including Will, did not respond to interview requests. But, with millions of dollars in state funding poised to flow into their communities, their public statements are a far cry from the skepticism they expressed two years ago.

With the political acrimony having for the moment dissipated enough for a reality-based discussion to occur, it seems local Republicans are much more willing to accept that the transition to renewable energy is in fact happening–and the energy-producing communities they represent therefore need the assistance Democrats knew they would need from the beginning. It’s an undeniable sign of how the political climate in Colorado has changed after 2018’s historic wave followed by the successful defense of the Democratic majority in 2020. And it underscores the nonpartisan reality that fossil fuels really are on their way out.

All told, it’s a very good sign for Colorado’s long-term minority party to see them setting aside the crazy rhetoric to do the right thing for their constituents in the state legislature. Who knows? If this newfound pragmatism over political pique gets picked up by our state’s Republican congresscritters, perhaps Republican representation won’t always be a ticket to self-imposed second-class citizenship.

0 Shares

Flu’s Out For Summer, Lauren Boebert

Who wants to tell Rep. Lauren Boebert that the reason influenza “decided to take 2021 off” is the preventative measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic–and that Boebert resisted to the point of having her restaurant shut down–also stopped the flu?

We can’t imagine this was the point Boebert was trying to make, since it’s an implicit admission she was on the wrong side of the biggest epidemiological question of our lives so far. But what else could she have meant?

Sometimes it’s the throwaway lines that say the most, folks.

0 Shares

Monday Open Thread

“It’s useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office.”

–Shirley MacLaine

0 Shares

Tell Us Why This Gun Control Bill Is Bad

Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports on the passage this week of a gun safety bill introduced in direct response to the mass shooting in Boulder in March that killed 10 people–legislation that would restrict gun purchases to individuals who commit a range of violent misdemeanor offenses, as well as closing what’s become known as the “Charleston loophole” allowing gun sales to proceed if a background check drags on beyond a certain period of time:

If it becomes law, the bill would prevent people from buying a firearm for five years after being convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including some crimes of child abuse, sexual assault, cruelty to animals, and violating a protection order.

The man arrested for the shooting in Boulder pled guilty to a violent misdemeanor for punching a high school classmate in 2017. Investigators say he passed a background check in order to buy his gun.

“Persons convicted of violent misdemeanors are more likely to be arrested for violent crimes in the future. Communities should not be forced to tolerate risks like this, as the people of Boulder now know too well,” said Peter Fog with Colorado Faith Communities United To End Gun Violence.

The argument against the bill expressed in this story, coming from gun activist Lesley Hollywood, doesn’t seem to have much to do with the bill:

“The more we see ineffective gun control being passed that clearly does not understand current gun law or guns, the more we know this will continue,” said Hollywood.

Again, this is legislation that would disallow gun purchases for specific violent misdemeanor crimes. In addition to the research cited above that violent misdemeanors point to a likelihood of greater violence, the specific circumstances of the Boulder shooter suggest that this restriction would have prevented the shooter from purchasing the semiautomatic assault rifle he then used to kill ten people. The “Charleston loophole” refers the means by which the shooter in the 2015 mass shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina Black church obtained his gun when he would otherwise have been prohibited.

With all of this in mind, our question is very simple: how would this specific piece of legislation be “ineffective,” and in what way does it indicate its proponents do not “understand current gun law or guns?” We look at this legislation and see quantifiable problems being addressed, while the opposition arguments consist of generalizations that don’t seem to apply to the actual bill.

Whoever would like to “gunsplain” this one for us has the floor.

0 Shares

Match Made In Hell: Lauren Boebert, Meet Candace Owens

Lauren Boebert, Candace Owens.

From a press release announcing next weekend’s Ohio Political Summit, we learn that Colorado’s most notorious freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert is the star of what’s being billed as the Buckeye State’s first major 2022 cycle event to “discuss, share in forum setting, and promote candidates who will work for good government and America First policies.”

Strongville, Ohio (we’ll admit this is a cool name for a town) is very far from Colorado’s Third Congressional District, so safe to say there will be no town halls for Rep. Boebert’s hapless constituents that weekend.

Co-starring with Boebert is a conservative activist whose name we keep thinking we’ve heard for the last time, only to pop up again: Candace Owens, formerly of the “teen fash” right-wing organizing group Turning Point USA:

On May 15, 2021 the Ohio Political Summit will feature Republican Leaders considering a run in 2022 for U.S. Senate, House 16 and Governor (all viable candidates have been invited to the event headlined by Conservative Commentator Candace Owens and Conservative Congresswoman Lauren Boebert).

“I am very excited to escape Fort Pelosi, and come to the Ohio Political Summit,” said Representative Lauren Boebert (R) Colorado. “As a strong voice for freedom, I look forward to sharing thoughts about taking back our country with like minded conservatives; I encourage everyone to participate.”

“We are very pleased to be hosting this watermark event, as of today virtually every viable candidate is participating,” said Shannon Burns, Strongsville GOP President and CEO of WAB Strategic. “Ohio is a bellwether state, and we have an incredible group of candidates. We are very excited to have Candace Owens and Lauren Boebert headline the start of a great season.”

It’s a fair and debatable question which of these two individuals is more discrediting to the other. Although locals have been saturated with Boebert’s non-stop firehose of ludicrous falsehoods and calculatedly offensive pronouncements on every available subject for months now, Candace Owens has been playing the outrageousness for cash and prizes game much longer than Boebert has. From disastrously trying to loop the clueless Kanye West into her bogus “Blexit” movement to suggesting that if “Hitler just wanted to make Germany great” he would have been “fine,” which resulted in the University of Colorado chapter of her own organization calling for her resignation, we were honestly surprised to see Owens headlining any event–much less co-starring with someone with a reputation to defend like a member of Congress.

Looks like it’s time to revise those standards down again.

0 Shares

Danny Moore, Still Lying About “The Big Lie”

Danny Moore cannot not tell a lie.

The first step to recovery in a typical 12-step program is to admit that you have a problem. In that case, Republican Danny Moore only has 12 more steps to go!

As you may recall, Moore spent one week as the Chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Committee before his fellow members voted unanimously to oust him from the position because he didn’t bother to disclose the fact that he is a full-on election fraud truther. For a commission with a goal of redrawing Congressional district maps in a transparent manner, it didn’t make a lot of sense to be led by someone who believes that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent.

Moore has been unrepentant about the impact of his his election conspiracy theories. He has offered the lame defense that he was just trying to “start a conversation” and even suggested that the real reason he was being ousted as Chair of the Commission was because he is a “black conservative” (an accusation that did not go over well with his fellow Commissioners).

On Sunday, Moore spoke again about his removal as Chair in an interview on something called The Deborah Flora Show on KNUS radio. He didn’t exactly own up to his past comments:

“When things happen to you, you have two choices: You can lay down and take it or you can stand up and and learn from it.”

Moore must have read this off of an inspirational calendar or something, because he didn’t internalize the message. Instead, he decided to go a third route: Lie and pretend that you said something different than what you actually said…

“I never questioned the election. What I did was I had a conversation with a group of friends surrounding the election itself, no different than Bush v. Gore, no different than the Clinton vote, no different than any election that we’ve had in my lifetime. So I…for that…the commissioners voted overwhelmingly to remove me as chair, but I’m still on the commission and serving.

There is absolutely no ambiguity about what Moore said — repeatedly — concerning the 2020 Presidential election. 9News reported on Moore’s own social media posts, as did The Colorado Springs Gazette. Here is but one example:

Facebook post by Danny Moore on January 7, 2021.

 

It’s almost comical that Moore would say, as he repeated on KNUS radio, that “I never questioned the election.” The VERY FIRST SENTENCE of the Facebook post above, which was posted the day after the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, reads: “By any account, the election of 2020 will go down as the most questioned election in our country’s history.”

Danny Moore doesn’t even believe the words that come out of the mouth of Danny Moore. On that, at least, he has finally found common ground with the other members of the Redistricting Commission.

0 Shares

More than 2 Million Coloradans Now Vaccinated

According to a press release from the office of Governor Jared Polis, more than 2 million Coloradans have now been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus:

Currently, 2,674,623 people have received one dose, and 2,037,137 Coloradans are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means 15 days after receiving the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 15 days after receiving the “one and done” Jansen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine. There are currently 4.7 million Coloradans, those 16 and older, who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“I want to congratulate every Coloradan who has received their vaccine. Not only are you protecting yourself, but you’re powering the Colorado comeback and energizing our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “And for everyone who is still unvaccinated, I want you to know that getting the vaccine is free, quick and easy. Make a plan today, and take the first step toward ending this pandemic and protecting your family. Vaccinated Coloradans are experiencing the joy of safely seeing their grandparents again, or finally getting together with friends for dinner without the fear or guilt of endangering their lives. There are even brighter days ahead Colorado, and this lifesaving vaccine is going to get us there.”

Coloradans can receive a COVID-19 vaccine — without an appointment — at one of six community vaccination sites:

♦  Adams County: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

♦  Denver County: Ball Arena

♦  El Paso County: Broadmoor World Arena

♦  Larimer County: The Ranch

♦  Mesa County: Grand Junction Convention Center

♦  Pueblo County: Colorado State Fairgrounds

For information on mobile vaccination clinics, go to www.mobilevax.us. To find a vaccine provider in your county, go to covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.

0 Shares

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 6)

On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Consistent with much of the COVID-19 related news over the last several months, there’s good news and bad news to report. The good news, as The Washington Post reports, is that we can finally see a post-COVID world on the horizon:

Coronavirus infections could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily throttled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions against viral transmission, according to a strikingly optimistic paper released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report comes as administration officials and leaders in many states are sounding more confident that the country can return to a degree of normalcy relatively soon. President Biden on Tuesday announced a new vaccination goal, saying he wants 70 percent of adults to have had at least one dose by July 4.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the modeling results give Americans a road map out of the pandemic — so long as they continue to get vaccinated and maintain certain mitigation strategies until a “critical mass of people” get the shots.

For this to happen, of course, more Americans would need to move forward with getting vaccinated against COVID-19. As POLITICO reports, health experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into more dangerous variants if vaccination rates continue to decline in certain parts of the country. As The New York Times reports, a new survey suggests that we might be reaching the limit of Americans who still plan to get vaccinated.

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his Donald Trump impersonation. As The New York Times explains, DeSantis signed into law new voting restrictions in Florida with all the pomp of a campaign rally:

Mr. DeSantis enacted the legislation even after he had promoted Florida’s handling of the November elections. Mr. Trump won the state by three percentage points.

The governor gave Fox News, his preferred major cable news outlet — and Mr. Trump’s — an exclusive to broadcast the bill signing ceremony from West Palm Beach on Thursday morning, in an event that resembled a campaign rally as much as an official act of state government.

Supporters of Mr. DeSantis gathered inside a Hilton near the airport, donning DeSantis and Trump campaign gear. Before they entered, some people waved Trump-DeSantis and DeSantis 2024 banners, according to photos on social media shared by journalists locked outside the doors.

“Right now, I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” a seated Mr. DeSantis told Fox as a rowdy crowd cheered behind him.

In a separate story, the Times details Florida’s new restrictions:

The new bill would limit the use of drop boxes; add more identification requirements for those requesting absentee ballots; require voters to request an absentee ballot for each election, rather than receive them automatically through an absentee voting list; limit who could collect and drop off ballots; and further empower partisan observers during the ballot-counting process. The legislation would also expand a current rule that prohibits outside groups from providing items “with the intent to influence” voters within a 150-foot radius of a polling location.

 

People who regularly say racist things are called racists. At the State Capitol, they are also called “Republicans”. Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf caused a delay in proceedings on the House floor on Wednesday after he referred to a fellow lawmaker as “Buckwheat.” This came just a few weeks after Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks made a joke about lynching and lectured his colleagues on why their historical understanding of the 3/5ths compromise was inaccurate.

House Speaker Alec Garnett (D-Denver) opened today’s legislative work with a call for decency and decorum from his Republican colleagues.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun reports on legislation to create a new office of early education to streamline services and oversee programs such as Colorado’s universal preschool program. Alex Burness has more for The Denver Post, including a proposal to create universal pre-K education in Colorado by 2023.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel likes the idea of empowering local governments to make their own gun safety regulations.

Legislation to close a loophole in background checks for firearms cleared its first hurdle in the House Judiciary Committee.

The Associated Press has more details on a big transportation funding bill introduced this week. Marshall Zelinger of 9News explains the fee vs. tax distinction at the heart of the legislation.

The legislation formerly known as the Colorado Option is being debated on the House floor today.

Legislation intended to speed up bond hearings is moving along.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

0 Shares

Colorado Republicans Rage At Facebook’s Trump Ban

This guy again.

As the New York Times reports and you doubtless already know, Facebook’s appointed Oversight Board yesterday declined to lift the company’s ban on former President Donald Trump utilizing the platform, directing the company to clarify its rules and come back in six months for another review:

A Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

CBS4 Denver has the reaction from Colorado’s minority Republican congressional delegation, and they are uniformly on full-tilt outrage. Rep. Ken Buck, whose crusade against Big Tech’s allegedly censorious ways predates Trump’s post-insurrection social media blackout, invoked the nastiest (and most dreadfully overused) comparison in the GOP playbook, Communist Gyna:

Following the news that Facebook Oversight Committee upheld former President Donald Trump’s ban, the three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were quick to react.

Rep. Ken Buck went to the social media platform itself, posting a link to an NPR article about the decision and commenting: “Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China, Big Tech has too much power.”

Not to be outdone, Rep. Lauren Boebert apparently thinks someone has been executed?

3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebart voiced her criticism on Twitter, tweeting “The Facebook Oversight Board acted as the judge, jury, prosecutor, appellate court and executioner. Big Tech needs to be broken up.”

Even Colorado’s least charismatic member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, took a swing:

“Unfortunately, Facebook’s decision to keep the ban on President Trump comes as no surprise. No social media company should have the power to entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people. Facebook’s oversight board is a farce. We must reign in #BigTech.”

Here we come to the central issue, which is the idea as Lamborn falsely suggests that Facebook has the ability to “entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people.” As we saw this week with the much-hyped launch of former President Trump’s blog, Trump is fully able to communicate with the American people online as much as he wants. He’s just not doing it on private commercial social media networks who have the full authority–let’s go a step farther and call it a right–to deny the use of their system to people who misuse it for criminal purposes like inciting a riot.

Though we certainly do not have the reach of a global platform like Facebook, we do have some experience on this blog with regulating the limits of content we consider inappropriate, undesirable, or any other way we might choose to evaluate what our readers post in comments and community blogs. Our standards are liberal enough that we’re generally accused of not policing content adequately as opposed to allegations of censorship, but we absolutely retain the right to moderate posted content and deny access to abusive users. If, for example, readers started plotting in comments to overthrow the state government, we’d feel an obligation to stop that.

In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the “free market” values these conservatives claim to uphold and their allegation that these private companies have committed some kind of unconstitutional suppression of former President Trump’s free speech rights. Free speech is not and has never been an entitlement to somebody else’s broadcast platform to amplify your speech at their expense. The violent insurrection on January 6th directly caused by the refusal of Trump (and for that matter, Boebert and Lamborn) to accept the results of the 2020 elections is ample cause to to permanently ban Trump from any private platform that wishes to.

But that segues into a conversation none of them want to have.

0 Shares

Your Definition of “We” Might be Different

We were amused to come across this social media malfunction today in which the official account of the Colorado Republican Party re-tweeted Colorado GOP Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown offering some ill-considered praise:


The key word here is “we.” When Brown congratulates Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and writes that “this is an essential issue we can all agree on,” she apparently isn’t talking about the 15 REPUBLICANS who voted “NO” on HB21-1258 (Rapid Mental Health Response for Colorado Youth). The “NO” votes for this well-publicized legislation include both the current House Minority Leader Hugh McKean and the former House Minority Leader, Rep. Pat Neville.

Final House vote on HB21-1258

 

Also voting against Van Winkle’s bill were some familiar Republican names: Rep. Mark Baisley, Rep. Rod Bockenfeld, Rep. Mary Bradfield, Rep. Tim Geitner, Rep. Ron Hanks, Rep. Stephanie Luck, Rep. Andres Pico, Rep. Kim Ransom, Rep. Janice Rich, Rep. Shane Sandridge, Rep. Matt Soper, Rep. Dave Williams, and Rep. Dan Woog. Two Republican House Members were listed as “excused” in the final vote, which means that a grand total of 7 Republicans voted “YES” on this “essential issue we can all agree on.”

And what does HB21-1258 seek to accomplish that is of such concern that 2 out of 3 House Republicans can’t agree? As CBS4 Denver reports:

One of the most ambitious mental health bills in state history is making its way through the legislature. The goal of the legislation is to help kids struggling with pandemic-related depression and anxiety.

Even before COVID-19, Colorado had a mental health crisis among kids. Suicide is the number one cause of death among kids ages 10-18 in Colorado, and Children’s Hospital says, since the pandemic started last year, it’s seen a 10% increase in emergency room visits by kids having suicidal thoughts….

…Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet introduced a bill with Rep. Kevin Van Winkle which would give every school-aged kid in Colorado access to a mental health screening, and if needed, three therapy sessions, all paid for by the state.

“It’s a risk free trial,” said Michaelson Jenet. “They get three visits to see if therapy is something they want to pursue.”

Well, then.

Kristi Burton Brown is half-right about half of her Tweet: This is an essential issue we SHOULD all agree on…

And not just 29% of House Republicans.

0 Shares

Colorado Republicans: Still Speaking for the Racists

What else could “Buckwheat” possibly reference?

As we discussed in this space a few weeks ago, the 2021 Colorado legislative session has been notable, in part, for a consistent effort from Republican lawmakers to abandon all attempts at maintaining basic social and political norms. On numerous occasions, Republicans have made hurtful comments and blatantly racist statements on the floor of the State House — comments that prompted little more than a shrug from Republican leadership.

In mid-April, Republican Rep. Ron Hanks tried to explain his alternative history of the 3/5ths compromise and opened his remarks WITH A LYNCHING JOKE. In response to an outcry from every person with a sense of decency, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean shrugged off the controversy. As The Denver Post reported on April 22:

The Loveland Republican told The Post he welcomes and encourages all perspectives. The lectern of the House, he said in a statement, “is the exact place where we can have uncomfortable discussions, about policy, about views and about the path forward in Colorado.”

According to McKean, racism is just a different perspective. It was thus inevitable that this would happen again; hell, we practically predicted as much. On Wednesday, Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf took his turn:

 


As you can see from the video, Holtorf gets really upset that people are “yelling at him” for using a term that any nitwit knows to be racist (Holtorf claims that “Buckwheat” is a term of endearment, which just makes it worse). It’s hard to give Holtorf the benefit of the doubt anyway; after all, this is the same guy who told Rep. Tom Sullivan — whose son was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting — to just “get over it.”

Holtorf will no doubt have some sort of ridiculous explanation and half-assed apology along the lines of, Im sorry if anyone was offended, but this will keep happening as long as Republicans keep shrugging it away.

Colorado Republicans will be asking voters to return them to power in 2022, but it’s a tough argument to make when GOP leaders do nothing when their own members spout horrible, racist things on the FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. At least in previous election cycles, Republicans could argue that they weren’t being OVERTLY racist.

As we wrote just weeks ago:

If Republicans don’t want to be associated with white supremacists and hate speech, then they are free to be clear about distancing themselves from these viewpoints. But they’re not, and it isn’t from a lack of opportunity.

Republicans aren’t just refusing to distance themselves from racist rhetoric — they keep using the same language again and again and again.

You know who repeatedly uses racist rhetoric? Racists! At the State Capitol, we call them “Republicans.”

0 Shares

Recall Polis 2021 Promises 400% Less Fail This Time

Keeping tabs on what’s become a perennial distraction for Colorado’s more excitable far-right Republican whacktivists, the twice-failed but going for three campaign to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the statewide ballot. Next month, the Recall Polis campaign is back with 400% more…of everything!

Starting with punctuation!

So, we don’t know who this “Newsome” fellow they’re talking about is, but to be clear once again California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing what’s shaping up to be another historic clown show recall election in due to proportionately far lower required signatures to qualify relative to our two states’ population. Gathering 1.6 million signatures in a state of 40 million people is actually a much more attainable goal than in Colorado, where over 600,000 signatures are needed in a state with only 6 million residents.

But that’s not going to stop the Recall Polis 2021 campaign from trying, no doubt hoping a little bit of the energy from California’s recall circus will rub off on Colorado. There’s big money to be raised and paid out no matter what happens, which as we know from the previous two failed attempts is enough reason all by itself to have another go.

And above all, don’t be fooled by imitators–of which there are so very many:

‘Recall Polis 2021’ is the only current recall campaign of Colorado Governor Jared Polis

‘Recall Polis 2021’ is not affiliated with:

Official Recall Polis
RecallPolis
Recallpolis.com (fraudulently collecting donations)
Coloradans Against Jared Polis
Friends of Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis
Recall Jared Polis 2020
Recall Jared Polis 2021

So to recap, “Recall Polis 2021” is the only Recall Polis campaign you should send your welfare check to, definitely not to those ripoff artist bastards at “Recall JARED Polis 2021.” There are no “Friends of” the real recall campaign, the “Official Recall Polis” campaign is not official, and whatever you do do not donate to RecallPolis.com because they’re “fraudulently collecting donations.”

Third time’s a charm, folks! No, really.

0 Shares

Get More Smarter on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Please celebrate responsibly and remember why this is a holiday. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

► President Biden will address the nation today on the status of the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan approved by Congress earlier this year. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden plans to address the nation Wednesday on the implementation of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March that included $1,400-per-person stimulus payments, aid to state and local governments, and other measures. Earlier in the day, he visited a Mexican restaurant that is benefiting from a relief program that was part of the package.

 

Facebook decided to uphold a decision to ban Donald Trump from the social media network.

 

 As POLITICO reports, it appears inevitable that House Republicans will boot Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position because she refused to play along with “The Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election.

 

Westword looks at which Colorado counties are doing the best (and worst) job of vaccinating local residents.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on the rollout of a big transportation funding proposal — with an impressive list of supporters — at the state legislature:

A broad coalition of state and local elected officials and Colorado business groups on Tuesday unveiled a new legislative proposal that they hope will bring an end to a years-long quest to secure billions in new funding for roads and other transportation infrastructure.

“For the first time, we are introducing something that isn’t just a band-aid, but is instead a real framework to future-proof our transportation system,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, said in a press conference at the State Capitol. “This is a big deal.”

The bill unveiled Tuesday would allocate nearly $5.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next decade, $3.8 billion of which would come from a variety of new revenue mechanisms including fees on gasoline sales, ridesharing apps, deliveries, vehicle registrations and more. Another $1.5 billion would come from the state’s general fund and federal stimulus spending.

Supporters say the bill will help Colorado begin to address a backlog of badly-needed infrastructure improvements and could help the average Colorado driver save hundreds of dollars per year in costs associated with road congestion and vehicle maintenance needs caused by inferior roads. It would also allocate more than $700 million to vehicle electrification to support the state’s goal of putting nearly 1 million electric cars on the road by 2030.

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun has more on the announcement, as does Colorado Public Radio, 9News, and Denver7.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis and state legislative leaders will unveil a proposal today to create a State Department of Early Childhood Education.

House leaders are pushing for a $75 million broadband expansion project.

Denver7 reports on discussions surrounding making changes to recall elections in Colorado.

Colorado law enforcement may be required to take additional training in the wake of a scandal surrounding the arrest of a woman with dementia in Loveland.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would bar insurance companies from using consumer information to set rates that might vary based on race or sexual preference.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

0 Shares

Impressive Coalition Introducing New Transportation Bill

The “mousetrap” at I-25 and I-70 in Denver.

Governor Jared Polis and other state leaders will introduce a new transportation funding bill this afternoon representing one of the top priorities of the 2021 legislative session.

Whenever big new legislation is rolled out, it is usually accompanied by a list of names and organizations supporting the effort. But the coalition that will be in attendance on the West Steps of the State Capitol today is unusually robust:

♦  Governor Jared Polis

♦  Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg

♦  House Speaker Alec Garnett

♦  Senator Faith Winter

♦  Senator Kevin Priola

♦  Representative Matthew Gray

♦  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

♦  Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers

♦  Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver

♦  Mike Kopp, Chair of A Way Forward and President and CEO of Colorado Concern

♦  Kelly Brough, President and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

♦  Carl Smith, SMART Union

♦  Elise Jones, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

♦  Jake Swanton, Public Policy Director, Lyft

 

That’s one heck of a bipartisan list of supporters, including well-known Republicans such as Priola and Suthers. Right-wing groups like Americans for Potholes Prosperity are still expected to oppose the transportation sustainability legislation, but the broad group of backers included above will make it difficult for the usual Republican naysayers to gain much of a foothold.

The goal of the transportation bill that will be introduced this afternoon is to create a reliable stream of income for much-needed transportation and infrastructure repairs (Colorado was recently awarded a ‘C-‘ grade for the state of our roads and bridges). Coloradans will actually see a reduction in vehicle registration fees over the next two years before nominal new fees take effect in 2023.

Much of Colorado’s transportation infrastructure is funded by a fuel tax that should have been increased a long time ago; the gas tax was last adjusted in 1991 and has not kept pace with inflation over the years. The new legislation will create a “small road use fee” of  2 cents per gallon beginning in 2023 that will increase to 8 cents per gallon by the end of the decade. This funding source will ensure that drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles are paying a proportionate share of the money needed to maintain our roads and transportation infrastructure. Additional revenue will come from small fees on transportation services such as home deliveries (excluding grocery delivery) and ride-sharing services.

 

0 Shares

Here To Help, Health Care Scare Tactics Edition

As debate and inside-the-Dome wrangling continues over House Bill 21-1232, legislation intended to substantially reduce the cost of health coverage for Colorado consumers by asking the famously profitable healthcare industry to make some changes, industry-funded advocacy group Colorado’s Health Care Future has saturated local media markets with ads against…well, not the legislation actually under debate so much, but the amorphous idea of a “state government option” as something of a catch-all boogeyman–permitting fearful conservative audiences to let their imagination run freely much as they did over ten years ago with Sarah Palin’s Obamacare “death panels.”

The one consistent advantage to having no factual constraints on your campaign against a piece of legislation is how this allows for very dramatic messaging. Passing this legislation, or for that matter any legislation that would target health care costs to consumers, would according to the ads running against the bill would lead to wildly destructive consequences like hospitals closing and procedures rationed. And then we realized–why stop there?

Just come out and tell the people of Colorado that the “Colorado Option” is about pulling the plug on Grandma. It’s been over a decade since most people heard this claim about the Affordable Care Act, and by now at least some voters have forgotten that Obamacare never actually resulted in “death panels” or Grandmas having their plugs pulled.

Oldies are goodies, as they say, and today’s shrill campaign against a bill to reduce health care costs is as based in reality as the fact-free nonsense about Obamacare in 2010. And it’s happening for the same reason: money that an already profitable industry wants to keep raking in from ordinary people and at some point likely you personally.

With that said, we’ll take some of that sweet ad money if they want to use this.

0 Shares

Don’t Want To Play? It’s Your District That Will Pay

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish brings us an interesting story today about how the transfer of power in Washington has changed the way business is being done–and how reluctance by Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to step up to the proverbial pump for their home districts could leave their constituents out of big investment opportunities:

The four Colorado Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have assembled a list of nearly $200 million in special spending on transportation initiatives and community projects in their districts as Congress reopens the door to the controversial practice of earmarking…

It’s been 10 years since Congress ended earmarks, the practice of allowing individual members to designate funding for projects in their districts. Scandals and controversy surrounding the spending practice led to its demise, and conservatives remain skeptical of earmarks.

“Tea Party” fiscal policy expert.

In truth, the biggest factor behind Congress imposing its “temporary” ban on earmarks in February of 2011 which has persisted to the present today was the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave elections. “Earmarks” were condemned by this new wave of far-right Republicans in Congress as a tool of corruption, but that’s neither an accurate nor fair representation of a longstanding practice by which lawmakers identify and seek funding for specific needs in their districts. That’s why Democrats, back in full albeit narrow control for the first time in a decade and looking to make historic investments, are looking to members of Congress to help set priorities.

For Republicans, this presents a choice: and our local Republicans are making the wrong one.

Republicans in conservative districts have disavowed the practice, including the three GOP U.S. representatives from Colorado. That could mean Colorado Springs and the state’s rural areas lose out on some funding opportunities.

In her February Fox News opinion piece, Rep. Lauren Boebert called bullcrap on bringing home the bacon for CD-3:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are quietly pushing a campaign to reinstate earmarks so they can fund liberal pet projects and buy votes with your tax dollars.

Republicans should unite behind our promise to put the American people first, drain the swamp, and commit to putting a stop Democrats’ plans to revive pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Ken Buck said the same for his district in a Newsweek op-ed in March:

Now, today, Democrats are trying to revive the practice—and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem willing to go along. This time around, however, politicians are attempting to give a new image to the unpopular term “earmarks.” We hear now that these projects will often be referred to as “member-directed funding for community projects.” Apparently that phrase polled better than “taxpayer-funded pet projects to help members of Congress gain political favor.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Responding to the Colorado Sun, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office was even more blunt:

“As of now, Congressman Lamborn’s office will not be working on community-funded projects,” Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s spokeswoman, said in an email.

That may disappoint some of the Republicans’ constituents…

The campaign against earmarks waged by the “Tea Party” movement in 2010 was, like so much of the rhetoric from that crazy and portentous year in American politics, based largely on anecdotes trumping data and rank misinformation. Individual examples of perceived waste were invoked to discredit the far larger share of spending on popular and necessary projects. It’s a political game as old as dirt, but until the next elections Republicans have only the choice to step up for their districts–or allow needs for their constituents to go unmet out of pure political spite.

The out-of-state ideologues these Republicans are largely beholden to won’t care.

But stakeholders in their districts who pay the price for this grandstand will get their say at the polls.

0 Shares

Lauren Boebert Shuns Colorado Reporters Altogether

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at Club 20 event in April (via Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

As a political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Charles Ashby has covered politics and politicians in Colorado for decades. This includes the offices of former Congressional Members Scott McInnis, John Salazar, and Scott Tipton, as well as current Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

You might think that Boebert would have some sort of a working relationship with a well-respected political reporter who writes for one of the largest newspapers in her district (and perhaps the largest newspaper in her hometown of Rifle). But as Ashby told hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii on The Get More Smarter Podcast last week, Boebert’s office literally doesn’t even respond to his inquiries.

You can listen to the entire interview after the jump. In the meantime, we transcribed Ashby’s comments about his experience in trying to cover the Congressperson that represents readers of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

SILVERII: What’s the difference between covering Lauren Boebert and Scott Tipton?

ASHBY: Well, it’s very difficult when you have a sitting Congressman who won’t return your calls, whose press office won’t even return an email or a text message. They’ll send you out their press releases, and if you want a response, you have to check her Twitter account. So that’s very frustrating. Even Tipton — his people didn’t like me much, either — but they would at least talk to me. They would at least answer questions. And she doesn’t do that. So, that’s very frustrating. [Pols emphasis]

SILVERII: She doesn’t seem to have a problem getting airtime on Newsmax or Fox News or Breitbart, but it does seem like she is allergic to the Colorado press corps. Do you think that’s an intentional strategy on her part?

ASHBY: Oh, God, yes. Oh, definitely. She wants to talk to people who she sees as favorable to her. [Pols emphasis] And I’ll give you a good example. Most of her public events that she has been doing, all the way back from campaigning, have been to friendly crowds. Earlier this month she was at the spring conference for Club 20, which is a government/civic/private group of all the Western Slope counties. [She was there] just to answer questions, and that has Democrats and Republicans and Unaffiliated [voters] on that panel, and she was asked a couple of questions that came from Democrats that she didn’t like. She got very, very, very upset afterward. [Pols emphasis]

Questions were like, ‘Do you think Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the White House?’ Her response was, ‘Well, he’s in the White House.’

Yes, but… [laughter from Bane and Silverii].

SILVERII: But HOW did he get there?

ASHBY: Yeah, but she didn’t answer that question. She got really upset. I can’t remember who it was — it was a woman on the Aspen City Council, I think, who asked that question. Somebody else, and I wrote the story about this, from San Juan County — a Democrat — a Commissioner down there, asked her, ‘Are you willing to compromise with people on the other side so that we can get things done?’ And she wasn’t meaning it in the sense of, ‘I’m going to compromise my principles, I’m going to compromise my values.’ No, she meant, when you’re dealing with legislation…this country was built on compromise, right? That’s why it works the way it works. And she, of course, said emphatically, ‘No, I will not.’ 

And then the very next week, she and Marjorie Taylor Greene are the only two lawmakers to vote against a bill to put money into a bone marrow transplant website that matches people up [with others] who need bone marrow. They’ve [Congress] been funding that since the 1980s. It was widely bipartisan. There were only two votes against it — those two. And she says she did that because she doesn’t want to spend more government money. And then she introduces a bill to increase the PILT payments to counties and local governments. So…okay. 

Click after the jump to listen to more of Ashby’s interview on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

(more…)

0 Shares