Boebert Votes To Let Afghan Allies Die For The Lulz

Rep. Jason Crow (D).

Stars and Stripes’ Sarah Cammarata reports on the passage in the U.S. House today of the Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs Act, also known as the ALLIES Act, a major legislative priority for Colorado’s Rep. Jason Crow to help get interpreters who served with American forces during the two-decade war in Afghanistan out of the country before the final withdrawal of American troops:

The House on Thursday approved legislation that would increase the number of visas for Afghan interpreters who worked with U.S. personnel, a potential lifeline for thousands waiting for application approvals as Taliban fighters continue to seize more territory in Afghanistan.

The bill from Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., would streamline the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program by boosting the number of visa slots by an additional 8,000. It would also speed up the process by removing the requirement that applicants must prove they are under threat as a result of their work with the U.S. government during the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan.

The measure passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 407-16.

“The phrase life and death gets tossed around a lot in this chamber. But this bill is truly that for thousands of our Afghan friends. The Taliban is intent on hunting down and killing Afghans who have served alongside Americans the past 20 years,” Crow said on the House floor ahead of the vote.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

However you feel about the war in Afghanistan, there’s no question that Afghan citizens who assisted American forces in battling Al-Qaeda and the Taliban deserve to be protected from almost certain death at the hands of the resurgent Taliban after Americans troops are gone. To fail to honor this basic obligation would put all future attempts to obtain cooperation from local populations in a military action in jeopardy.

That’s the polite way of saying it would make us look like complete assholes in the eyes of the entire world.

And yes, you guessed it–that’s Rep. Lauren Boebert’s cue:

Why was Lauren Boebert one of only 16 votes in Congress to let Afghan interpreters die at the hands of the Taliban? We haven’t seen a statement yet. But much like voting against preventing senior scams, carbon monoxide prevention, and bone marrow transplants, this is Boebert at her inexplicable worst. We honestly have no idea who this vote is supposed to appeal to–voters who want America to not be trusted by allies who risk their lives to help us? Even Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn agree we’re better than that.

How many bipartisanly indefensible votes does Boebert get before even her beet-red district has had enough?

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 22)

Happy Pi Approximation Day; please celebrate approximately. 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. 

 

As The New York Times reports, the head of the CDC is warning that America is at a “pivotal point” in the battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struck a new tone of urgency on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the United States is “not out of the woods yet” and is once again at a “another pivotal point in this pandemic” as the highly infectious Delta variant rips through communities with low rates of vaccination.

The warning from the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during a briefing by members of the White House Covid-19 response team, was a marked shift from just weeks ago, when President Biden threw a big Fourth of July party on the South Lawn of the White House to declare independence from the virus.

It reflects a growing concern among administration officials that the gains they appeared to have made are being erased — and that the current surge in cases will overwhelm health systems in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low and hospitalizations are high. Still, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a fraction of their previous devastating peaks. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including from the Delta variant.

Vaxx that thang up, people!

 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is in Denver today ahead of a visit to Grand Junction on Friday in which the future of the headquarters location for the Bureau of Land Management will be discussed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is part of a MASSIVE settlement agreement with several major drug companies regarding their role in the opioid epidemic:

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday unveiled a historic $26 billion multistate settlement with the nation’s three largest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson designed to address the nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Weiser said during a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon. “We need to make the most of it.”

The settlement between more than 40 states, thousands of municipalities and AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Johnson & Johnson would bring $300 million to Colorado, the attorney general said.

That, combined with a previous settlement with Purdue Pharma, would total $400 million in funding to address what Weiser called an “American tragedy.”

 

Remember when several big corporations spoke out against new restrictive voter laws passed in Georgia this Spring? The Washington Post has an unfortunate update:

Three months ago, Comcast responded to the passage of Georgia’s sweeping voting law by saying, “Efforts to limit or impede access to this vital constitutional right for any citizen are not consistent with our values.”

That was then.

On June 30, the telecommunications giant contributed $2,500 to Georgia’s attorney general, Chris Carr, who has vigorously defended the law, which critics say will curtail voting access, including by limiting use of drop boxes for absentee ballots and making it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line…

…Comcast was one of several companies that raised alarm about the voting restrictions but then contributed more than $20,000 collectively between April and June of this year to Georgia politicians who voted for or publicly defended the legislation, according to an examination by Advance Democracy, a nonprofit research group headed by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI analyst who led the Senate investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

If only Comcast’s customer service was this reliable. Amirite?

 

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Thursday Open Thread

“Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them.”

–T. S. Eliot

Lauren Boebert, Call The Mesa County Health Department

An email went out yesterday notifying Mesa County residents of their chance to win big bucks with the only requirement being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, something as we’ve unfortunately been witnessing recently is not happening in great enough numbers to ward off spread of the deadly Delta variant:

In conjunction with the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) announces a community vaccination effort in the form of a cash incentive campaign. Cash prizes, including (2) $500 weekly prizes and a grand prize that could build up to $90,000, are up for grabs!

Here’s how it works–as the percentage of Mesa County residents gets vaccinated (currently at a problematically low 42%), a jackpot that could reach $90,000 by the July 31 deadline grows. As of today, the “Big Shot” jackpot is sitting at $56,264. This is in addition to weekly $500 cash prizes given to two lucky vaccinated Mesa County residents:

All entries will be eligible for the Grand Prize, which starts at $45,000, and builds based on the number of vaccinated residents…

Grand Prize will be determined based on the total number of fully vaccinated Mesa County Residents according to Colorado Immunization Information System data on July 31, 2021. One dollar ($1) will be awarded for each Mesa County Resident the system reflects as fully vaccinated (defined as receiving a second dose in a two-dose series or single dose vaccine) against COVID-19. For example, if the records indicate 85,242 people are fully vaccinated, the Grand Prize would be $85,242.

It’s necessary for vaccinated Mesa County residents to register for the prize and also provide proof of vaccination if they’re selected as a winner. The requirement to register to win cuts down on the pool of entrants enough provide much better odds of winning than the now-concluded statewide vaccine lottery, and growing the jackpot based on the county’s vaccine percentage is a clever incentive. Whether or not this contest persuades excitable Mesa County residents who haven’t taken advantage of widely available free vaccines for months now to get their shots is anybody’s guess, but credit to Mesa County should be awarded for doing something to improve their dangerously poor vaccination rate.

Based on her response to the statewide vaccine lottery in June, though, Mesa County’s representative in Congress Rep. Lauren Boebert is not going to approve:

What a golden opportunity this would be for Mesa County’s GOP commissioners to finally stand up to Boebert’s relentless onslaught of deadly COVID-19 misinformation–at a moment when doing so could literally save the lives of their mutual constituents. That’s not going to happen, of course, and cowardice before the 800-pound gorilla in the room more than subtracts any points awarded for a clever promotional gimmick.

It’s all pretty sad, really.

Westminster Recall Crashes And Burns, Gessler Still Makes Bank

Scott Gessler.

As Liam Adams of the Colorado Community Newspapers affiliate Westminster Window reports–the latest thinly-veiled partisan power play by Republicans hoping to rebuild their bench and base in municipal races, an attempted recall of a single Westminster city councilman nominally over water rates, failed yesterday by a lopsided margin:

Jon Voelz will keep his seat on Westminster City Council after unofficial results in Tuesday’s contentious, expensive election showed him with 62% of total votes.

“I’m glad the common sense of our residents prevailed,” Voelz said in a phone call Tuesday night. “This misleading, and wasteful and shameful recall is coming to an end. I look forward to continuing my work on city council.”

As we noted earlier this month, this recall election was (regardless of the outcome) one of the most egregious wastes of time and taxpayer dollars in Westminster’s history, since Jon Voelz is coming right back up for his regular re-election this fall:

Voelz’s seat is only safe until November when he must run for reelection. The recall election cost the city up to $250,000 to run because it was not part of a coordinated county election.

In addition to failing dismally in their campaign to recall Jon Voelz from office, the so-called “Westminster Water Warriors” wasted a quarter million taxpayer dollars by forcing a special election less than four months before the regular municipal elections in November. Unlike in the case of a frivolous lawsuit, there’s no provision by which the city can recover their expenses for a frivolous and needless recall election, but the timing and outcome of this effort make it one of the most brazen and ultimately self-immolating abuses of recall power we’ve ever seen.

But as the story continues, there is one winner. It’s the guy who, as Republican recall, coup attempts, and other assorted shenanigans come and go, always seems to come out the winner:

As of July 16, the Water Warriors fundraised a total of $19,606 and spent $21,383, most of which went to [Scott] Gessler in attorneys fees. As of July 7, the group still owed Gessler about $20,000.

Former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who scooped up thousands in attorney’s fees from the failed 2019 recall attempt against Gov. Jared Polis and billed top dollar to the Trump campaign for his “expert testimony” on how the 2020 presidential election might have been stolen in Nevada (it wasn’t), is now $40,000 richer from the recall that cost Westminster taxpayers $250,000–assuming he collects the remaining $20,000 he’s owed, of course. It’s possible that the cost of Gessler’s treachery to society has never been more arithmetically quantifiable.

Just like the third certain to fail recall attempt against Gov. Polis now maybe getting underway, as long as there’s a single dollar to grift from these half-baked operations there will be folks with more time than credibility ready to undertake them. At some point, though, even the most fact-impervious rabblerouser on the right has got to realize that they are all being, at the end of the day, fleeced by usual suspects up the food chain who have no interest whatsoever in their success.

“Honey Badger,” well and truly, doesn’t give a shit.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 21)

A new study says that Denver is the fourth-fittest city in America. 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. 

 

As The Washington Post reports, more Republican officials are starting to promote the COVID-19 vaccination before the virus kills off their entire voting base:

A growing number of top Republicans are urging GOP supporters to get vaccinated as the delta coronavirus variant surges across the United States, marking a notable shift away from the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorizing that has gripped much of the party in opposition to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the virus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was part of the rising chorus on Tuesday, stressing the need for unvaccinated Americans to receive coronavirus shots and warning that the country could reverse its progress in moving on from the pandemic.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” McConnell said during his weekly news conference. “I want to encourage everybody to do that and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.” [Pols emphasis]

Republicans such as Rep. Steve Scalise, the #2 person in the GOP House leadership, are now encouraging vaccinations. Even Fox News talking monkey Sean Hannity is now talking up the vaccine…and he once called the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax.

There’s one prominent Republican who is still NOT encouraging Americans to get vaccinated: Former President Donald Trump.

 

Colorado Democrats such as Gov. Jared Polis ran for office in 2018 promising to reduce health care costs for Coloradans. New data shows that these efforts have paid off BIGLY, resulting in significant reductions in health care premiums across the state.

 

As POLITICO reports, “centrist” Republican Senators are trying to lock down support for their watered-down version of a new infrastructure plan as the GOP stymies an effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a discussion on the issue today.

 

A right-wing lunatic attacked a couple of reporters at the State Capitol on Tuesday, as Westword explains:

On July 20, a woman who identified herself as homeless physically attacked Colorado Politics reporter Pat Poblete in the press room of the Colorado State Capitol simply because he is a journalist. And while Poblete wasn’t injured and ultimately declined to ask that the woman be charged with assault — or for stealing items belonging to one of his reporting colleagues, Marianne Goodland — he’s troubled that she appears to have acted out because she believes the terrible things said about the media by ex-President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric she spouted during her violent outburst.

“This wasn’t the sort of hyper-online, hyper-partisan, QAnon, deep-dive type of person who’s ingrained in this stuff,” Poblete says. “This was just a woman who’d heard what the former president said about journalists and took that to heart. Even at that level of information and intake, it’s still penetrating the public psyche.”

Poblete, who publicly revealed the attack in a thread on his Twitter account, is the legislative reporter for Colorado Politics, and even though the Colorado Legislature isn’t currently in session, he was at the Capitol to cover an event celebrating a statue of World War II hero General Maurice Rose that will be placed in nearby Lincoln Veterans’ Memorial Park (click to see his article on the topic).

Words matter, people.

 

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Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 Deep-Sixed By The Zuckster?

Checking in on the website for what would be the third attempt since 2019 to recall Gov. Jared Polis with Secretary of State Jena Griswold thrown in this time because it’s all fantasy and why the hell not, we see that the countdown clock for starting their 60-day petition circulation campaign has ticked down to zero:

We should be on the edge of our seats!

Now, as was the case with Polis Recall 2019 and 2020’s “Polis Recall 2.0,” this is the golden period of opportunity for the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign to be furiously drumming up whatever buzz and earned media they can, in order to maximize any chance at achieving the goal the two prior campaigns couldn’t even get halfway to reaching: over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures needed to qualify a recall question for a future statewide election.

Instead, it looks like the Polis Recall campaign has a more basic problem on their hands:

It would appear that somebody in the private Facebook group where recall organizing was to be taking place posted something stupid–we’re guessing they posted a lot of stupid things–about the COVID-19 pandemic that eventually brought the dreaded ball gag of Mark Zuckerberg down around the piehole of the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign on that platform. You would think by now most of these very fine people would have moved to Parler or Gab or whichever alternative network it is these days that allows people to lie about stuff without any consequences. That’s not Facebook anymore, and most people we know not named Ken Buck are pretty happy about that.

But to the extent the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign was relying on Facebook to organize, it’s back to square one! Perhaps they’ll see reason and just start getting ready for the next regular election in 2022, but we have no reason to expect rational behavior at this point. There’s neither fun nor grift in that.

Thanks, Democrats: Health Care Costs Declining in Colorado

Reinsurance Savings 2021

Legit BFD

In 2019, Governor Jared Polis and legislative Democrats passed a reinsurance program that almost immediately created significant cost savings on health insurance for many Coloradans. According to a new press release from Polis’ office, those savings are getting bigger:

Governor Polis and the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), released preliminary information about the health insurance plans and premiums for 2022, for the individual market (meaning health insurance plans for people who don’t get their insurance from an employer) and the small group market (for small businesses with 2-100 employees).

“We need to do more, but our effort to save people money on healthcare is working. Saving people money on health care continues to be a top priority for our administration especially as we build back stronger and the bipartisan reinsurance program is delivering real results. Keeping premiums down an average of 24.1% in the individual market through the reinsurance program means hardworking families will have more money for things like after-school activities, a summer vacation or help with housing,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The savings from the reinsurance program have increased this year. The Colorado Option which Governor Polis signed this year and its standard benefit plan will give Coloradans another tool to save money on health care starting in 2023.

In addition, insurance companies continue to expand where they are offering plans across the state, in both the individual and small group markets. In the individual market, the companies’ proposed expansions for 2022 will leave only one county with a single on-exchange insurance company available – down from 10 counties in 2021, and 22 counties in 2020.

To quote former Vice President Joe Biden from the ACA signing in 2010, this is a “big f***ing deal” that proves out campaign promises from Polis and other Democrats that they would reduce health care costs in Colorado if elected by voters. Average health care premiums in the individual market are now 24% lower than they were before Polis took office.

That’s…huge.

These numbers are likely to decrease even more once The Artist Formerly Known as The Colorado Option — a bill approved in the 2021 legislative session — is fully implemented in 2023. These are significant policy changes that will benefit people across the state, and the narrative poses a very difficult political problem for Colorado Republicans. Democrats told voters that they would save them money on health care…and they’re doing it. How do you downplay this in 2022 if you are a Republican candidate in Colorado? (SPOILER ALERT: You can’t).

If there is a logical campaign slogan that the Colorado GOP can use to counteract this Democratic message, we’re anxious to see what it looks like. Good luck with THAT, Republicans.

Fauci!

Dr. Anthony Fauci.

We interrupt our local political scuttlebutt to bring you this exchange today courtesy CNBC between GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and White House COVID-19 medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, in which Fauci finally unloads on Sen. Paul after many such confrontations in what should go down in history as legendary fashion:

Paul grilled Fauci about an NIH funded study that he says qualifies as gain-of-function research, the process of altering a pathogen to make it more transmissible in order to better predict emerging diseases. Fauci previously denied in previous Senate testimony that the NIH has directly funded the research at a lab in Wuhan, China that has come under intense scrutiny as a possible source of the virus.

Paul, R-Ky., asked Fauci if he would like to retract that statement from the May 11 testimony, “Fauci, as you are aware it is a crime to lie to Congress.”

Sen. Rand Paul, as readers should know, is an ophthalmologist, and on the strength of his degree in eye doctoring has become one of the leading quacks in the ill-informed second-guessing campaign against Dr. Fauci and other qualified epidemiologists who have tried desperately to reduce the death toll from COVID-19 in the United States over the past 16 months. If we were in the position of Dr. Fauci, with a lifetime of experience fighting the world’s deadliest diseases, we would have…much less patience for persons like Sen. Rand Paul than Dr. Fauci has been obligated to show in these hearings.

But not today, folks! With Rand Paul disparaging not just Dr. Fauci’s professional judgment but his personal integrity, the gloves finally came off:

Fauci, who oversees several NIH research programs as director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he wouldn’t retract his previous statement. “I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci said.

He said the study Paul was referring to does not constitute gain-of-function research. “Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I would like to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci said. [Pols emphasis]

Pushed a little further. Dr. Fauci added for good measure:

“You are implying that what we did resulted in the deaths of individuals,” Fauci responded as he pointed his finger at Paul. “I totally resent that, and if anyone is lying here, senator, it is you.”

It’s a relief to see Fauci has finally had enough of Rand Paul’s inane badgering after 620,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. A more aggressive response to misinformation early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, which to be fair was harder for Dr. Fauci under the previous administration, might have saved lives. Pivoting to the origin of the virus after spending the last year downplaying its severity just underscores Rand Paul’s bad faith.

Belated though it may be, more like this please.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 20)

Bucks in six? 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. 

 

Holy fucking shit, Texas! As The Huffington Post reports:

In a new political low in Texas, the Republican-dominated state Senate has passed a bill to eliminate a requirement that public schools teach that the Ku Klux Klan and its white supremacist campaign of terror are “morally wrong.”

The cut is among some two dozen curriculum requirements dropped in the measure, along with studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the works of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Susan B. Anthony’s writings about the women’s suffragist movement, and Native American history…

…Senate Bill 3 — passed last Friday 18-4 — drops most mentions of people of color and women from the state’s required curriculum.

That includes eliminating a requirement that students be taught the “history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”

Honestly…we don’t even know what to say anymore.

 

A federal judge on Monday issued an 8-month jail sentence for Paul Hodgkins, the first person to be sentenced for a felony conviction for his part in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

 

 As Saja Hindi reports for The Denver Post, confusion over DACA is causing very real problems for many people in Colorado:

After a Texas federal judge’s decision late last week, thousands of Coloradans in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are facing uncertainty — again — about their legal status in the United States.

The Biden administration said it plans to appeal Friday’s ruling that requires the federal government to stop processing new applications for the DACA program, which helps immigrants whose families brought them into the U.S. as young children temporarily avoid deportation and become eligible for work permits and Social Security numbers.

The latest court ruling leaves immigration attorneys scrambling to figure out how best to help clients who planned to apply for DACA. Current DACA recipients — people like 25-year-old Estéfani Peña Figueroa, who says she feels like she’s been on a “roller coaster” since 2017 — worry what this could mean for the program long-term. And advocates say it’s past time for a permanent solution.

Peña Figueroa says that, “I don’t feel like I can plan for my future.”

 

 Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper announced that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has accepted their invitation to visit the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction on Friday. The BLM is reviewing a decision from 2019 to move the agency’s HQ to Western Colorado. Colorado Public Radio has more on Friday’s visit.

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Star Alternate Universes

This week on Episode #81 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii introduce our new intern, Taleen Sample, with a new segment answering her questions about politics.

But first, we dive into the very nature of reality itself…sort of. Mostly it’s just us talking about how the Republican Party is setting up the 2022 election cycle to be a battle over conflicting versions of truth. Get ready for another 18 months of “alternate facts.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Ick Factor 10: Boebert Bringing “Gym” Jordan To Grand Junction

Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Jim Jordan.

While Republicans in El Paso County reckon with the upcoming keynote speaker for their county party’s annual Lincoln Day fundraising dinner, the Q-believing, mass-shooting denying, Jewish space laser early warning system Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, over in Colorado’s other conservative stronghold of Mesa County, freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is doing her level best as usual to keep things just as exciting. In addition to bringing her always-colorful “carnival barker” self, Boebert found a second special guest for the Mesa County Lincoln Day dinner–and folks, you’re going to want to keep the kids close for this one!

Western Slope blogger Anne Landman reports, and we mean it. Don’t let the kids out of your sight:

The Mesa County Republican Party is hosting an event this coming Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. the Grand Junction Convention Center that features House Reps. Lauren Boebert and Jim Jordan (Ohio). The event starts at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $125-$225.

Several groups, including the Mesa County Democrats, are asking people to turn out to protest the event.

Rep. Jordan is a former wrestling coach at Ohio State University (OSU) who former university students accuse of helping cover up sexual abuse by the team doctor, Richard Strauss. A multi-million dollar investigation by OSU revealed Strauss had molested “at least 177 males students” between 1979 and 1996. Jordan worked at the university during that time, from 1987-1995. Six former wrestlers say Jordan knew about the molestation and didn’t do anything. A wrestling referee said he reported the abuse to Jordan but Jordan didn’t do anything to help the victims. Some students report that Jordan asked them to help cover up the abuse. The whistleblower who first exposed the abuse said he got a phone call from Jordan “begging” and “crying” to him not to corroborate accounts of the abuse.

Jordan is also a staunch ally of former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election…

For believers (and “familiars” like Boebert) in the “QAnon” conspiracy theory, which to refresh everyone’s memory alleges that global pedophile elites are trafficking babies to harvest youth elixir from their blood, Reps. Jim Jordan and ally of both MTG and Boebert Matt Gaetz present the complication of being actually accused of either sex crimes involving kids or complicity in covering such crimes up. It’s always been curious to us how believers in a global pedophile conspiracy overlook this stuff where it concerns the political leaders most closely aligned with their movement.

And yes, it’s curious that it doesn’t faze Rep. Lauren Boebert now that she is one of those leaders.

If you’ve got $125, or a protest sign for outside, maybe you’ll get to pose the question.

Nobody Wants to be Near MTG in El Paso County

Lots of Republicans are going to be out of town on this day…whatever day it is.

We noted last week that the El Paso County Republican Party has not exactly gotten an enthusiastic response about its decision to bring in Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG) as the keynote speaker for its annual fundraising event next month. Colorado Republicans are distancing themselves from the El Paso County “Lincoln Day Dinner” like it was a COVID-19 vaccination drive, with State Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) the latest to have found something else to do on August 6.

Brown was the featured subject in a recent saccharine interview on KOAA News in Colorado Springs, in which third-person point of view enthusiast Rob Quirk uncovered this unintentionally-hilarious “oops” moment:

News 5 Anchor Rob Quirk asked Burton-Brown if she supports the Taylor-Greene announcement, she did not give him a yes or no answer, saying she is focused on what serves Colorado best, so News 5 asked does this move serve the party best, to invite her?

“I think one thing we have to make sure we do is get away from making politics so much the world of personalities, and take it back to the world of ideas,” said Burton-Brown.

Burton-Brown told News 5 she would not be attending the fundraiser in August, saying her schedule is full, and she has other commitments that day. [Pols emphasis]

Remember that we’re talking about the actual Chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party, who hails from Colorado Springs, admitting that she has no intention of attending the big annual fundraising dinner in the most heavily-populated Republican county in Colorado. This isn’t like KBB being unable to work into her schedule a meeting of the La Plata County Republicans. The El Paso County GOP dinner is one of those events that the State GOP Chair normally makes time to attend, but in this case, KBB doesn’t want to be anywhere near MTG.

Greene has said on at least one occasion that she is really excited to speak to the El Paso County Republicans. Literally dozens of Colorado Republicans appear to share that enthusiasm.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 19)

Today is the 200th day of 2021. 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. 

 

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 continuing to surge and the same anti-vax lines being drawn around the country, there is a new push to restrict vaccine disinformation online. As The Washington Post explains:

In the latest salvo of the social media wars, a coalition of liberal individuals and groups has written to Facebook and Twitter urging them to ban 12 people who, one study found, spread the bulk of disinformation about coronavirus vaccines.

“People are quite literally dying because disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine, and public health leaders is spreading,” they wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The Daily 202 obtained an advance copy of the letter…

…Among the better-known signatories were UltraViolet, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Alianza for Progress, GLAAD, Media Matters for America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Women’s March.

Oh, and on the subject of vaccination levels differing by political affiliation, here’s another depressing chart that reiterates what we’ve been seeing for months:

 

As Megan Schrader opines for The Denver Post, Republicans such as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert are doing Coloradans a disservice by continuing to stoke anti-vaxxer paranoia.

On the subject of Boebert and inaccurate information, her crusade to validate “The Big Lie” in Arizona has been swiftly debunked.

 

Colorado Democrats are pushing Congress to act on immigration reform, as Colorado Public Radio reports:

This push comes as some Senate Democrats are considering whether to try to include immigration reform in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package they’re currently drafting. The idea being floated would include funding for a pathway to legal status for certain groups, like DREAMers or immigrants with temporary protected status.

“I have always been a strong believer that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. That is why we must build an immigration system that is humane and orderly and rooted in justice and enforceability,” Gov. Jared Polis wrote. “To ensure that, I urge you to act now on comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to earn citizenship through the reconciliation process.”

On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that former President Barack Obama acted beyond his authority in setting up DACA, the program that protects eligible young undocumented immigrants from deportation, and ordered the government to stop approving new applications. The case is expected to be appealed, but the ruling adds new urgency to the question of whether the Senate will move forward with something.

Even before the ruling, Polis wasn’t the only one seeing an opportunity at this moment. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (or CIRC) also supports this push.

 

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Boebert Tees Up Big Lie, Fact-Checkers Knock It Down–Again

On Friday, Colorado’s biggest “alternative facts” bullhorn in Congress, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, broadcast the following misinformation coming out of the dubious so-called “audit” of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona, the partisan adventure in confirmation bias grinding on to some manner of conclusion at some unspecified point in the future:

Of course, if Boebert was even a little bit interested in disseminating accurate information to her 600,000+ followers on Twitter she might have checked with Maricopa County, Arizona for a perfectly reasonable if somewhat less conspiratorial answer to the question:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Yesterday, CNN took a look at the basis for this latest morsel of 2020 election conspiracy bombast, and found Boebert as usual “went further” than her questionable source material:

[Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan made clear that this wasn’t necessarily a case of fraud, saying it could be a “clerical issue.” But his claim about an unexplained 74,000-plus ballot gap between the county’s list of mail-in ballots received and its list of mail-in ballots sent out was amplified on Twitter by Liz Harrington, the spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump, and by numerous other Trump supporters, such as Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. Some of them, including Boebert, went further than Logan did.

“In Arizona, 74,000 ballots were counted with no record of being sent in. That’s not normal. That’s not right. That’s not safe nor is it secure,” Boebert wrote.

On Friday, Trump himself went further than Logan. In a written statement, he claimed that the Thursday Senate briefing showed “74,000 mail in ballots received that were never mailed (magically appearing ballots).”

Facts First: There is no evidence of either fraud or any significant error with these ballots, and certainly not “magically appearing ballots.” Both Maricopa County and outside experts say there is a simple explanation for the gap Logan claimed had not been explained: the existence of in-person early voting. Contrary to Logan’s claims, the ballot lists he was talking about include not only mail-in ballots but also ballots cast early in person.

Much like when Boebert falsely claims that hammers kill more people than guns or that no one died of COVID in Texas after the mask mandate in that state was rescinded, it’s another case of mindlessly repeating a falsehood that she has no intention of either verifying to be factual or correcting if it isn’t. It happens so often that we find it necessary to ignore many such examples so as not to become a blog wholly devoted to fact-checking a single member of Congress.

In this case, however, with Boebert directly spreading misinformation suggesting fraud in the 2020 presidential elections, there’s another wrinkle that bears mentioning. Responding to the complaint filed with the House Ethics Committee by Rep. Pramila Jayapal accusing Boebert of “instigating and aiding the violent riot at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021,” Boebert very specifically stated that her objections to certifying the election results in swing states were not related to election fraud.

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]

Apparently this distinction was important to Boebert’s defense before the Ethics Committee? After all, the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th most certainly did believe that election fraud happened, and Boebert doesn’t want to be blamed for inciting them. It’s ridiculous, of course, since Boebert repeatedly told her army of followers the 2020 election was fraudulent in the weeks leading up to January 6th:

Successful as it was, Boebert makes a mockery of her defense to the Ethics Committee every chance she gets.

Monday Open Thread

“There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy: hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.”

–Frederick William Robertson

It’s a Thing: Republicans Going Underground To Survive

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman with “Mini-Mike” City Council candidate Dustin Zvonek.

If you don’t already subscribe to the Colorado Sun’s Unaffiliated newsletter, you’re missing out on one of the better periodic updates on local political news produced today. In today’s Unaffiliated, the Sun’s political team takes a look at an unusually public campaign by Colorado Republicans to support conservative activist candidates in nominally nonpartisan municipal elections:

Denver Post columnist and think tank fellow Krista Kafer announced she’s running for an at-large seat on the Littleton City Council. She joins Dustin Zvonek, a former Americans for Prosperity director and Republican campaign worker who is running for Aurora City Council.

Conservative groups are also discussing the need to support school board candidates and participate in the Nov. 2 election as poll watchers or election judges, even though there are no federal races…

Colorado school board and city council contests are nonpartisan. Still, in a July 6 email, Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown wrote: “In order to combat the Democrats’ devastating policies, please choose a local candidate you can adopt for the November 2021 races. Whether it’s a mayor, city council, or school board race — each of our good candidates needs your help. Please jump in, and we’ll also be jumping in as the state party.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s neither news nor scandalous that nonpartisan municipal elected offices regularly serve as incubators for future leaders, who will in due course shed their “nonpartisan” cloak and run for higher office as partisan candidates. But it’s odd and risky for Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown to publicly declare that the GOP has a slate of “our good candidates” she wants the party faithful to support, particularly given the growing unpopularity of the Republican brand in populated areas of the state. In Grand Junction last April, a similarly explicitly GOP-backed slate of city council candidates was defeated in a turnabout that raises serious questions about the wisdom of this strategy.

In Aurora, former staffer for now-Mayor Mike Coffman Dustin Zvonek is gambling in his race for City Council that voters either won’t hear about or will actually be attracted to his Republican bonafides. After Coffman himself barely prevailed in his election for Mayor in 2019, that’s not a bet we would ourselves take. After Coffman sued the city to make sure he could be directly involved in supporting Zvonek’s campaign, though, it’s arguable the game was up. The Republican brand has only declined in popularity in Colorado since 2019, and instead of being an asset to Zvonek, his race may tell us whether usual-suspect Republicans can live down their party’s toxicity under these thinnest of pretenses.

If the answer turns out to be no, maybe don’t be so obvious about it next time.

Grifters Gonna Grift: Lauren Boebert’s Slush Fund

Bling Bling

Here’s an interesting note in a Colorado Sun story about fundraising numbers from Q2 involving Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle):

Boebert also made four payments through her campaign account to Venmo totaling $6,650, each one described as a “personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error.” The campaign made two payments on May 3 for $2,000 and $1,325, and two payments in the same amounts on June 3. All four state the “expense has been reimbursed,” but her report doesn’t list the reimbursements.

Need a little extra walking around money? Just Venmo campaign donations straight into your pocket!

We’re long past the point where we might suggest that this activity is “suspicious.” As we first noted back in December 2020, Boebert appears to use her official campaign account as her own personal checking account, inventing implausible reimbursement amounts so that she can pay off non-campaign related debts (over a period of just 9 months last year, Boebert claimed to have driven enough miles to have traveled one and a half times around the Earth).

Siphoning money from your campaign account into your own pockets is not legal, of course, but Boebert is no doubt counting on the fact that it’s a hard transgression to prove (though it does happen from time to time, as former California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter can attest).

The more immediate repercussions for this sort of shameless grifting can come at the ballot box, though in this case the type of supporters that Boebert attracts are probably more apt to be amused by how she lines her own pockets with donations from others.

Sorry Trump, Showerhead Rules Are Coming Back

2.5 gallons per minute total, not each.

The Hill reports on the latest rollback by the President Joe Biden’s administration of bad policy instituted by his predecessor Donald Trump–this time a water conservation rule that irked Trump to an unusual degree:

The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to drop a Trump-era rule that sought to loosen restrictions on showerhead water flow — something the former president was known to complain about.

The Energy Department announced on Friday that it is taking a step toward reversing the Trump administration’s move in order to tighten showerhead efficiency regulations.

Officials said they will propose a rule reinstating the 2013 definition of “showerhead,” which the Trump administration changed. The Trump rule from late last year sought to bypass a requirement allowing no more than 2.5 gallons to flow through a showerhead per minute.

The short version is that rather than allowing for a total flow of 2.5 gallons per minute in your shower, Trump changed the rule to allow each individual showerhead to have that amount of flow–meaning the dual and multi-head showers that everyone builds these days could use many times the original limit, defeating and even reversing the goal of conserving water.

Here in the West, where water unlike at Mar-a-Lago is a precious and dwindling resource, Trump’s obsession with wasting water to rinse the gel out of his combover never went over very well even though he regularly invoked the issue in stump speeches. It was a strange, vain pursuit–words that describe Trump himself very well.

Anyway, we’re going to save some water in the shower again. Tyranny it’s not.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 16)

It’s gonna be another sunny, but very hot, weekend. 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. 

 

The editorial board of The Washington Post marvels (and not in a good way) at renewed efforts from right-wing voices to attack COVID-19 vaccinations:

By slowing the uptake of lifesaving vaccines, anti-vaccination voices give the delta variant time and space to claim new victims. This is a threat to everyone because it will prolong the pandemic. Infections are on the rise in the United States. A stark scenario is unfolding in southwestern Missouri, where hospitals are beginning to surpass the level of covid-19 patients seen in December 2020. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that new cases in St. Louis County had skyrocketed 63 percent in the past two weeks. Missouri is among several states with vaccination rates well below the national average.

Across the country, those getting sick and being hospitalized are almost exclusively the unvaccinated. For Fox News and conservative politicians to be frightening people about vaccines with words like “creepy,” “scandal” and the conspiratorial “let’s talk, comrade” is not mere pandering. It can be fatal.

Here in Colorado, we’ve noted the continued problem with low vaccination rates in Mesa County. Heath officials in Larimer County, meanwhile, are sounding the alarm about rising COVID-19 cases in Northern Colorado.

Please, people: Just get your vaccines.

 

Fox 31 Denver reports on the continuation of a troubling trend for Colorado Republicans:

There are now about 22,000 fewer registered Republicans in Colorado in July, than there were on January 1, 2021. During that same time, Democrats lost about 100 voters. Meanwhile, unaffiliated voter registrations increased by about 85,000.

Republicans have lost about 40,000 registered voters in Colorado since 2016. But yeah, stick with Trumpism!

 

We say it a lot here, but it’s always worth repeating: Elections matter. Local areas with Democratic Members of Congress in Colorado are getting a lot of federal money to assist with transportation and other community programs. If your Congressperson is a Republican…not so much.

 

This has been a good week for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver). The child tax credit policy that he has long championed is now being instituted, and on Thursday, Bennet’s re-election campaign reported raising $1.7 million in Q2, increasing its cash-on-hand numbers to $2.3 million.

Colorado Newsline has more on the rollout of the child tax credit.

 

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