The Big Lie, Ken Buck Style

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck has been in a real predicament over the past few months. As a Republican who conceded that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election relatively quickly, and by that we still mean taking over a month, Buck has emerged as a major problem for adherents of what’s become known as the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Buck, in his former position as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, organized an event last December with Republican county clerks to explain to the party faithful that even though Colorado uses Dominion Voting Systems hardware and sends “unsolicited” mail ballots to all active voters, our elections are secure and accurate.

Because debunking the Big Lie here in Colorado effectively debunks it everywhere else, this has had the effect of making Buck considerably less popular with his fellow Republicans–a problem that only got worse after Buck publicly defended Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming while Cheney was being excommunicated for her own refusal to back the Big Lie. This was originally taking place amid speculation that Buck might retire from Congress, but in April Buck announced that he would run again for re-election in 2022.

Which leads to the next logical question: how does Ken Buck intend to stave off a pro-Trump primary challenge? Today, courtesy Lauren Windsor of the Undercurrent, we got the answer:

As you can see in the clip above, Ken Buck now says the 2020 election was “stolen”–not by rigging the actual votes, but because Google supposedly changed their search algorithms to “disadvantage” Donald Trump and advantage Joe Biden. Buck asserts that fully 15 million votes for Trump were “moved” to Biden due to this action by Google, though probably not members of his audience since they “Google in a more sophisticated way.” Under questioning Buck admits that the 15 million number is speculative, but he insists that the downranking of conservative media outlets in search results was all by itself enough to flip the 2020 elections. And since Americans are “so upset with boys playing girl sports, Critical Race Theory, and all the other things that are going on,” Buck says, Republicans will win back the House in 2022 and immediately hold hearings to prevent “the algorithms” from happening again in 2024.

And with that, yes, Buck probably avoids a MAGA primary. Democrats who found themselves in the odd position of praising Ken Buck for his honesty immediately after the election can stop now, because Buck has given the faithful a replacement conspiracy theory for the thoroughly debunked Big Lie that can truly live on forever. This was never about trust-busting for Buck, but an ideological quest to force internet companies to abandon their high-profile struggle against the spread of dangerous misinformation–which (there’s no nice way to say this) fully explains any downranking of right-wing “news” sites in search results by Google.

In the end, Buck came crawling back to Trump–like the whole Republican Party has.

Perennial Wannabe Dan Caplis Courts Crazies With Jenna Ellis

A mercifully small number of people interested in the earliest phase of the 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado will tune into the far-right Real America’s Voice streaming news channel this evening to watch former Donald Trump couptorney Jenna Ellis, desperately trying to avoid the ignominious fate of co-coupspirators Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell by career-shifting to conservative commentator, interview longtime local ambulance chaser and perennial would-be but never seems to be serious Republican candidate Dan Caplis–most recently name-checked as a potential GOP challenger to incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. Caplis has been inserting himself into preliminary campaign rumors in literally every election cycle since at least 2008 without success, so it’s important to take his machinations with a larger than usual grain of salt.

The ostensible subject will be Trump’s lawsuit announced today against Facebook, Twitter, and Google, which competent legal opinion doesn’t put much stock in. It’s a much safer subject matter for both Ellis and Caplis than, for example, the six-month anniversary of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol this week. Caplis regularly hosted Ellis after the 2020 elections to hype her baseless claims that the election was stolen while the promotion of the Big Lie was ramping up, as noted by the Colorado Times Recorder:

Caplis told Ellis how impressed he was with her professionalism.

“As this gets into courtrooms, I hope that you become the leader of the [Trump] team,” said Caplis on air. “Because it is moments like this where some of the greatest legal talent in American history has had a chance to show itself. And boy, I would love to see you at the tip of the spear.”

But after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, Caplis didn’t want to talk about any tips of any spears:

As for whether or not Caplis still believes that the 2020 election was stolen, like Ellis does even though Ellis reportedly doesn’t buy Sidney Powell’s latest theory that Trump will be “reinstated” sometime next month? We’ll have to see what Caplis has to say about that in the friendly confines of Ellis’ program tonight. But Caplis’ predicament is illustrative of the difficulty Republicans face in 2022, with the need to please the Trump-loyal base by forcibly regurgitating the Big Lie for the primary–and then somehow try to pivot and be taken seriously by a majority of general election voters.

With that said, Dan Caplis is not the answer to this riddle any more than he was in 2008.

Q-Some Twosome, One Script

THURSDAY UPDATE: Rep. Lauren Boebert, once again trying not to be outdone:

“Needle Nazis.” And with that, Boebert’s back in the race!

To the bottom.

—–

Two Tweets exactly six minutes apart show the eerie like-mindedness of what we’ve taken to calling the “Q-Some Twosome,” Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who have either mind-melded into a single entity or are reading from the same set of tragically unhelpful talking points in increasingly outright opposition to holdouts getting vaccinated against COVID-19:

Six minutes later:

Once again, MTG takes it to the next level by invoking actual “brown shirts” (for the kids, that means Nazis) going door to door instead of just, you know, “the government.” We’ve said it before: every time Boebert jumps out in front of the crazy train, MTG or another more press-savvy member of the hard-right “America First” freakshow is ready to go with an outrage that makes whatever Boebert said look tame by comparison. Perhaps realizing this, Boebert fired off another scrappy one-liner this morning to get back into contention:

It’s a race to the bottom, folks, but from what we’ve seen in these first six months of Boebert in Congress, she just doesn’t have the charisma to keep up with her more bombastic peers competing for the far right end of the spotlight. This is significant with respect to 2022 since in most cases, under the current maps MTG and the other “America Firsters” reside in much less competitive districts than Colorado’s CD-3 where Boebert won by about six points. Boebert constantly playing second fiddle while her putative allies like MTG rake in the attention and campaign cash is an increasingly serious problem for her, and her margin of safety is much smaller.

Perhaps Boebert and MTG can talk this over on MTG’s next trip to the Holocaust Museum.

Republican Congressman Calls Out Boebert on Insurrection

Boebert’s infamous Jan. 6 Tweet

Today is July 6, which marks six months since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Last week, The New York Times published an exhaustive video review of the events of Jan. 6 that should be required viewing for every American. On Monday, The New York Times published an interview with Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger in which the four-term Republican called out Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her role that day. Kinzinger says that he wants to know what Members of Congress knew about the insurrection prior to the events of Jan. 6, which leads to this question and answer:

Do you suspect that some members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen that day and supported it?

I won’t name names, but yes, I do have that suspicion. I will say, if you just looked at Twitter — the whole reason I brought my gun and kept my staff home and told my wife to stay in the apartment was looking at Twitter. I saw the threats. When Lauren Boebert — I will call her out by name — tweeted “Today is 1776,” I don’t know what that meant other than this is the time for revolution. [Pols emphasis] Maybe it was a dumb tweet that she didn’t mean. Fine. I’ll give her that credit for now. But if you have members of Congress who were involved in nurturing an insurrection, heck yeah, we need to know.

Boebert’s “Today is 1776” Tweet was viewed by critics as an open call for revolution. As the editorial board of The Denver Post wrote on January 14:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s words and actions before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were dangerous.

We can say with certainty that her words on Twitter, in interviews and on the floor of the U.S. House supported the lie that the U.S. election was fraudulent and that Democrats were stealing the election from President Donald Trump. Without those lies, we believe there would not have been an insurrection, and U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick would still be alive.

Boebert has since defended her messaging referencing 1776, claiming in a response to a proposed House Ethics complaint that “It is an expression of my pride for America’s Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the establishment and endurance of this great country.” Judging by the comments made by Rep. Kinzinger, this is not an explanation that has been widely accepted.

Boebert has also continued to claim that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. At a Trump rally last week, she even made that clear from her place in the audience:

Last month, Boebert was one of only 21 Republicans in the House of Representatives — and the only member of Colorado’s delegation — to vote AGAINST awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol Police Officers. Her explanation of that vote was as vapid as most of her comments on the subject.

New Poll: Colorado Dems In Great Shape, Polis Beats Ganahl By 20

Jesse Paul at the Colorado Sun reports on new polling by Global Strategy Group for our friends at ProgressNow Colorado that invalidates more or less every Republican talking point coming out of the 2021 session of the state legislature:

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet lead a generic Republican candidate, the survey shows, and generic Democratic statehouse candidates would beat their GOP counterparts. No big-name Republicans have announced a bid to unseat either Polis or Bennet, which is why the poll tested how they would fare against a generic — or, in other words, any — GOP candidate.

“This electorate has been pretty consistent over the past few years with Democrats having an advantage of somewhere between 8 and 11 points,” said Andrew Baumann of the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group, which conducted the quarterly Rocky Mountaineer poll with the liberal political advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado. “And that’s where things remain.”

Global Strategy Group polled 800 registered voters between June 17 and 23, weighting the survey to reflect Colorado’s mix of registered voters. The poll, which was conducted through a mix of phone calls and the internet, had a confidence interval of 95%.

Here’s the full memo and toplines for the poll. Notable findings include enduring strong approval of Gov. Jared Polis’ job performance (+22%) and high approval of Polis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular (+35%)–as well as high marks for legislative Democrats after passing the most ambitious agenda in nearly a decade. From the memo:

Democrats are more trusted than Republicans on nearly every issue tested, with their largest margins on climate issues, improving wages, and education. Republicans only earn near-draws on certain economic issues. The Democratic margin has expanded significantly since last year on responding to the pandemic (+22 now, up from +11 in September and +14 last May) and on improving the state’s transportation infrastructure (+16 now, up from +6 last May).

Although this poll led with a measure of Democratic strength against a “generic” candidate, the poll includes a few head-to-head matchups to set the tone. Gov. Polis beats possible Republican opponent CU Regent Heidi Ganahl by a humiliating 54-34%, while Sen. Michael Bennet would hold off Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert 51-38% in an unlikely face-off between the two. In Ganahl’s case, it’s evident that voters in large part simply don’t know who she is, and those who do have in many cases already heard something negative.

All told, the results of this poll indicate that three years of intense Republican opposition to Gov. Polis and the historic Democratic majority in the Colorado General Assembly have failed to meaningfully reduce voter support for Colorado Democrats and the agenda they were elected to carry out. After Democrats reduced Republican political power in Colorado to its weakest point since FDR in 2018, Colorado Republicans responded furiously but ineffectually with failed recalls, failed obstruction tactics in the legislature, and ultimately failure at the polls in 2020 to roll back 2018’s Democratic victories.

If there’s a reason 2022 will be different, we have yet to see it.

Ganahl Thinking Primary, Slinging “Critical Race Theory” Red Meat

CU Regent At-Large Heidi Ganahl (R).

CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, the last remaining statewide Republican officeholder in Colorado widely believed to be scoping out a run for governor in 2022–although reportedly considering lesser offices like State Treasurer if a run against Gov. Jared Polis looks unwinnable–has a new in-kind donation column in the Colorado Springs Gazette that on balance says more about the hurdles Ganahl faces than the quasi-candidate personally:

I believe that education is the key to keeping the American dream alive.

But I’m worried. Today, that dream is out of reach for far too many young people. And we’re focusing on the wrong things to get it back in reach…

From here, Ganahl makes the argument that schools should have re-opened last December, blaming “teacher’s unions” in a fairly predictable line of attack we’ve seen plenty of times before. The debate over reopening schools to in-person instruction has of course been very difficult for parents and teachers, but there’s nothing we’ve seen in polling anywhere to suggest that the Republican campaign to lay the blame on teachers–sorry, “teacher’s unions”–has gained traction beyond the GOP base.

Keep that thought in mind as Ganahl turns to the real focus of her column, the equally fraught and equally fact-deprived debate over “critical race theory.”

It’s playing out again with the growing debate about Critical Race Theory in schools. The political desire of some adults in power to teach what essentially amounts to propaganda is triumphing over kids’ needs to focus on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Our children have lost a year of learning that they’ll never get back. So why are so many school districts trying to incorporate teaching controversial, and often very factually flawed, views about race in America?

…There’s no debate about whether our kids need to learn about our country’s troubled past and the long-term impacts of racism — they must in order to be informed citizens and help build a better, stronger country in the future.

But if we want to talk about systemic racism and systems that perpetuate inequality, why are we not focusing on the failure of our schools to teach kids of all races to learn to read?

This is Ganahl identifying “Critical Race Theory” as a proper noun, but not actually explaining what critical race theory consists of. She calls critical race theory “propaganda” and “very factually flawed,” but makes no attempt to justify those labels with any specifics. In fact, Ganahl concedes that kids do need to learn about the “long term impacts of racism”–but then pivots to teaching kids to read instead of explaining how what she just acknowledged differs from the boogeyman of “Critical Race Theory” she’s condemning.

If this seems like an incredibly weak argument, that’s because it is–and it’s illustrative of the difficulty Ganahl faces in presenting herself as “a different kind of Republican” while remaining obliged to shovel red meat to Republican primary voters. If Ganahl doesn’t recite the full slate of right-wing talking points, she can’t win a Republican primary. But by embracing these silly low-information culture war distractions, Ganahl is hobbling herself out of the gate with general election voters.

As Colorado continues to trend blue as it has in the last two elections and Republicans across the nation lurch further to the right, this divide is only going to widen. Ganahl’s message, at least what we’ve seen of it so far, is taking her in exactly the wrong direction to be competitive in a statewide race.

Cheney, Pelosi Call McCarthy’s Bluff on Jan. 6 Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Weeks after Republicans in both the House and Senate killed efforts to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead with forming an investigative committee anyway.

As The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) will chair the select committee that will probe the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will serve as a member.

Cheney has been outspoken in her criticism of former president Donald Trump and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for “incitement of insurrection.

The House on Wednesday approved legislation establishing the 13-member committee, with all but two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — opposing the measure.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week warned Republicans not to accept a position on Pelosi’s Jan. 6 committee, threatening to strip Members of all current committee assignments if they accepted an invitation. Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, for one, was not impressed with McCarthy’s threats:

Via POLITICO (7/1/21)

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney was equally unimpressed and has accepted Pelosi’s invitation to join the investigating committee. Cheney issued this statement, as reported by POLITICO:

“What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”

Prior to McCarthy’s warning, Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) had suggested that she would be interested in serving on the Jan. 6 committee. Pelosi apparently took that idea about as seriously as anything else Boebert says.

A Tale Of Two Headlines: When Somebody Is BSing You

The release over the past week of preliminary draft redistricting maps for Colorado’s congressional, state legislative, and state senate districts ahead of a summer of hearings by the state’s new independent redistricting commissions has produced a huge volume of speculation of…varying quality, which we in this space have tried hard to avoid, recognizing as the commission’s staff took pains to remind anxious politicos that these are mere starting points for the discussion that will produce the actual maps we’ll live and die by in Colorado politics for the next decade. Colorado’s oft-second-guessed attempt to de-politicize the redistricting process in 2018 with the passage of Amendments Y & Z will now face its ultimate test, and rather than stepping on the established process we’re watching to see how it unfolds.

While enforcing this temporary neutrality, however, we are allowed to take note when local mainstream media outlets commit to analysis of these preliminary maps. This is especially true when, as is the case between the Denver Post and Denver Gazette’s headlines on the new state legislative maps today, somebody must by definition be wrong:

As you can see, the Denver Post’s analysis concludes that the preliminary redistricting map “keeps Statehouse Dems in control,” while the Gazette claims the exact same preliminary proposed map “spell bad news for House Dems!” It’s not often that two pieces of hard news analysis come to such diametrically opposite conclusions about the same subject matter, but here’s an example of exactly that. There are lots of ways to evaluate this conflict, taking into account for example the perceived biases of the two outlets, in which the Gazette is by the House GOP Minority’s own estimate the more “GOP friendly” of the two.

For ourselves, we’re stopping at the word “preliminary” and that’s where we still advise all of you to hold up too. There’s just no reason to get worked up about maps that are not intended to be final, and it’s the hearings and commission work ahead that will make all the difference–making knee-jerk speculation over these preliminary drafts not only needless but actually harmful to the process.

While the commission does its work, our best advice is don’t believe the hype either way. Instead, get involved in the process–and when the time comes to put your desired spin on the final map, you’ll know what to say.

And with that, we’ll let our readers fight this one out.

Colorado On Track for 70% Vaccination by July 4th

Gov. Jared Polis symbolically pummeling COVID-19 in March 2021.

According to a press release from the office of Governor Jared Polis, which includes a subtle little jab at our southern neighbors:

Colorado continues to be on track for 70% of adults to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and achieve President Joe Biden’s aspirational goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans aged 18 and up by July 4th. To date, 69.64% of Coloradans 18 and older have received at least one dose of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine.

“Colorado is on track to vaccinate 70% of eligible adults by July 4th and that is a testament to the spirit and resilience of Coloradans. People across our state wore masks, socially distanced, and are now doing their part by getting vaccinated and starting to enjoy their summer of freedom,” said Governor Polis. “We still need more Coloradans to get the free, quick, and easy vaccine to protect themselves and our economy.”

Other Western states lag behind President Biden’s ambitious goal and only Colorado’s neighbor to the south, New Mexico, which is home to an inferior chile is also home to a slightly higher vaccination rate of the eligible population. [Pols emphasis]

Our battle with the coronavirus is far from over, of course. In Los Angeles, officials are urging vaccinated and unvaccinated residents alike to return to wearing masks in public because of the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Here in Colorado, both ignorance and negligence are keeping vaccination rates lower in some counties than elsewhere in the state, with 35 counties still lagging behind at a vaccination rate of less than 50%.

Nevertheless, most Coloradans should be proud that 70% of the state’s population is on track to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Around the country, 18 states have already surpassed Biden’s July 4th goal, with Colorado and Oregon soon to be #19 and #20.

If you still haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccination, click here for more information on how to join the 70% club.

Lauren Boebert’s Cure For Delta Variant: “Turn Off CNN”

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

Western Slope Now has another update on the ongoing struggle in Mesa County to contain the new and highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, which is now accounting for 1 in 4 new COVID cases nationwide and threatens to undo the progress that’s been made to date toward ending the pandemic once and for all:

Mesa County saw its first case of the Delta variant in May and is now ranked number one in highest confirmed cases across the state of Colorado.

“We’ve had the Delta variant in Mesa County before it was really noticed by anyone at the state or federal level. So right now we are a hot spot and have been a hot spot for several weeks,” Public Health official, Jeff Kuhr.

Mesa County Public Health officials say the community is seeing a high number of hospitalizations as the variant has been proven to be more contagious. it also can cause more severe symptoms than the original strain of COVID-19. State health representatives requested the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the Delta variant in Mesa County earlier this week…

The CDC is also investigating the high hospitalization rates in Mesa County and vaccine breakthrough cases. According to Mesa County Public Health, 40% of residents are fully vaccinated. Experts believe the cause behind the spread is because of low vaccination rates and large unvaccinated gatherings.

With one of the lowest rates of vaccination among populated counties in Colorado and a highly vocal “COVIDiot” resistance movement against both vaccination and basic prevention best practices like facemasks, Mesa County is unfortunately an ideal location to track the spread of the Delta variant among a population unwilling to protect itself. Even with most COVID-19 restrictions having been removed, for weeks mobs of angry residents have showed up at the all-GOP Mesa County Board of Commissioners threatening civil war if the county didn’t pass a resolution declaring itself exempt from whatever federal and state laws they don’t like (an idea finally put to rest this past Monday).

As for Mesa County’s representative in Congress, Rep. Lauren Boebert? Here’s how she’s helping:

We don’t know who prevailed on Rep. Boebert to delete this Tweet about an hour after it was posted this morning, but whoever you are, thanks for prevailing on her to clean up at least this latest highly objectionable piece of misinformation. Worse even than Boebert’s previous disparagement of the “experimental vaccine,” this is Boebert at her most destructively ignorant–flat out telling her faithful followers that the Delta variant presently rampaging through Mesa County is fake news.

With apologies to the Republican county commissioners who have to deal with the fallout, Mesa County’s problems go right to the top. If there are any Republicans in Mesa County like the county commissioners who struggle to make the mob see reason week after week who don’t want to be lumped in with Boebert’s lethal stupidity, now is the moment to call her out as loudly as possible.

If they won’t, or can’t, then all their sensible protestations to Boebert’s flock mean nothing.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 30)

Peace out, June. 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. 

 

We’re not done with the coronavirus just yet, friends. As The Washington Post reports:

Los Angeles County public health authorities are urging unvaccinated and vaccinated people alike to don masks again inside restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces because of the growing threat posed by the more contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

The high-profile move by the county of 10 million marks an abrupt shift in tone after states and localities have dropped most mask mandates and social distancing requirements in recent weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-May rescinded almost all masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

But the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cited a growing share of new cases linked to the delta variant, which was first detected during India’s catastrophic surge of infections and has upended reopening plans across the globe, in “strongly recommending” a return to masking. Los Angeles dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated people with the rest of California on June 15, with limited exceptions for public transportation, hospitals and schools.

Here in Colorado, 35 counties are still below a vaccination rate of 50%. Axios looks at how Colorado is adjusting its vaccination rollout.

 

As Colorado Newsline reports, President Biden will announce new resources for fighting Western wildfires:

President Joe Biden will announce measures to expand the federal government’s wildfire response and mitigation efforts and increase pay for wildland firefighters during a meeting with Western governors and Cabinet officials on Wednesday, a senior administration official said.

Fueled by climate change, extreme heat and drought across much of the West have led to a highly active start to the 2021 wildfire season, with more than 1 million acres already burned across 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Arizona, the Telegraph Fire has burned more than 193,000 acres since igniting on June 4, while officials in northern California on Tuesday issued evacuation orders amid the rapid growth of several fires in the Mount Shasta area.

Biden will meet virtually on Wednesday with governors from Western states, who are gathering for the annual meeting of the bipartisan Western Governors’ Association, based in Denver. He is expected to announce a series of actions aimed at expanding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s wildfire response capabilities, as well as “critical new investments” in federal grant programs that help communities mitigate fire risks, a senior administration official said in a call with reporters Tuesday.

 

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Trump organization will be charged with tax-related crimes as soon as this week. From The Huffington Post:

News of the looming criminal charges, reported by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, come after prosecutors reportedly gave former President Donald Trump’s attorneys until this past Monday to convince them not to file the charges over the company’s financial dealings.

It has been previously reported that the investigation relates to non-monetary corporate perks and gifts awarded to the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. The WSJ and The Associated Press reported he is also expected to be charged.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission released a PRELIMINARY set of maps for redrawing State House and Senate districts. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on the map release, including this very important quote:

The proposed maps are only preliminary and are certain to change.

“These will never be approved by anyone,” Jessika Shipley, the legislative redistricting commission’s staff director, told commissioners. “They are merely a baseline starting point for conversations across the state.”

 

The New York Times published an exhaustive look into the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

(more…)

First Look at Legislative Redistricting Maps

UPDATE: As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, don’t get too attached to these maps. We mentioned earlier that the key word here was PRELIMINARY, and a staffer makes that point in The Post:

“These will never be approved by anyone,” Jessika Shipley, the legislative redistricting commission’s staff director, told commissioners. “They are merely a baseline starting point for conversations across the state.”

Along those lines, someone might need to pour a bucket of cold water on over-excited Republicans:

“These maps are the Colorado political equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane or an earthquake — 10.0 on the Richter scale,” said Alan Philp, a Republican consultant who lobbies the redistricting commission.

A HUGE EARTHQUAKE…that “will never be approved by anyone.”

—–

The nonpartisan staff of the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions today released its first effort at proposed new maps for State House and State Senate districts in 2022.

CLICK HERE to view the State House district map.

CLICK HERE to view the State Senate district map.

You can see a zoomed-in version of the State Senate map below, but you really need to click on the links above to get a better look. As we noted last week when the first Congressional redistricting map was released, THESE ARE PRELIMINARY MAPS ONLY.

Metro-area look at State Senate redistricting proposal.

Lauren Boebert Pushes January 6 Hypocrisy To The Max

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As Politico reports, U.S. House Democrats are proceeding with the establishment of a select committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump seeking to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory by the Congress. This comes after Republicans scuttled a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day, revise history to downplay what happened, and cheer while Trump’s political comeback rallies get underway:

Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, and most have said little since on the matter. There is close to zero appetite within their party now to break with Trump.

And Trump is once again the GOP’s undisputed kingmaker, holding rallies and flexing his grassroots fundraising might as he seeks to influence Republican primary campaigns. House Democrats are likely to take full advantage of that political reality as they move ahead with a select committee to examine the siege on Congress.

Which leaves Republicans with a big challenge: how to discredit and distance themselves from that investigation — which moderates and conservatives alike are criticizing as a partisan setup — and retake the House in 2022, a tantalizingly close possibility that would doom President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who condemned the violence on January 6th and for at least a few days afterward was willing to assign blame where it belonged with Trump personally, is now in a situation where all those words have come back to bite him. Although January 6th broke the back of Trump’s resistance to leaving office two weeks later, at length it has failed to dislodge Trump’s personal grip on the Republican Party. A new Morning Consult poll released yesterday shows more Republicans actually blame Joe Biden and Democrats for the January 6th insurrection than blame Trump and fellow Republicans. And fully 68% of Republicans polled in this survey say the January 6th riot has received “too much attention.”

A majority of Republicans probably do want to stop talking about January 6th, which we would assume does not mean helping increase the profile of the select committee. But fascinatingly, some of the Republican members of Congress who should be most interested in keeping their heads down are instead hoping to turn the committee into a circus of hypocrisy:

Already some of the GOP’s biggest firebrands are asking McCarthy to join the panel, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia publicly pushing to be seated on the panel. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is also openly expressing his interest. And Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado is also seeking to land a spot, according to GOP conference sources.

The latest word is the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reserving the right to refuse McCarthy’s committee picks, and we’d say if any of these three are actually put forward Pelosi has an obligation to not let them near this investigation. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a proud leader in the campaign of social media incitement that led to the violence on January 6th, absolutely must not be part of any investigation into that day. It’s literally like saying Al Capone should serve on his own grand jury. This was the case when Democrats were trying to get Republicans on board with a bipartisan commission, and it’s just as true today.

It’s become a predictable formula: the greater the hypocrisy, the more Lauren Boebert leans in.

Boebert obviously believes this works for her, but it’s a strategy that need only fail once.

Denver Republican Party Chair Having A Normal One

Garrett Flicker, the chairman of the Denver Republican Party, was wondering what you thought last week in a post to Facebook about charging teachers who “teach our kids to hate America” with capital-T treason:

Mr. Flicker’s Facebook post has been up for several days now, and as of this writing he has still not corrected his misspelling of the word “treason.” But in the lively comments section of this post, Chairman Flicker makes it very clear he means exactly what he’s trying to spell:

Up until now, the image Garrett Flicker has been trying to cultivate as Denver GOP chairman is of that fabled “different kind of Republican,” looking to “shift the GOP’s post-Trump outlook” and “redefine” the role of the Denver Republican Party in a city where a whopping 11% of voters are registered GOP. Flicker got some press earlier this month for a ballot measure he’s supporting to crack down on homeless encampments sanctioned and otherwise, which we assume is an example of the “kinder, gentler” party Flicker wants to see.

Anyway, now he’s the Denver Republican chairman who thinks teachers should be charged with treason.

Welcome back to the mainstream, Grand Old Party.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 28)

Happy Tau Day, which is like “Pi Day,” but different. 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. 

 

Oh, look: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to derail an infrastructure bill because…um…well…as POLITICO reports:

Mitch McConnell is pressuring President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders to further weaken the link between a bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bigger liberal-leaning spending bill, warning Monday that Biden’s party wants to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.”

The Senate GOP leader called on Biden to request that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple passage of the bipartisan bill from a second, Democrats-only effort set to raise corporate taxes while spending on education, child care and fighting climate change. Biden on Saturday reversed a vow to not sign the bipartisan bill until he also has the separate, more progressive bill in hand.

McConnell’s gambit raises fresh doubts about whether the Senate minority leader will ultimately support the package negotiated by five of his rank-and-file members.

Performative obstruction. This is the Republican brand. There is no broader goal — just getting in the way of anything supported by Congressional Democrats.

 

The Associated Press reports on the passage of new methane rules as part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver):

Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

The House gave final legislative approval Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.

The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it. Twelve Republicans joined 217 Democrats to support the measure.

Democrats and environmentalists called the methane rule one of the Trump administration’s most egregious actions to deregulate U.S. businesses and said its removal would help launch a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to tackle climate change. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, packing a stronger punch in the short term than carbon dioxide.

 

Nonpartisan staff from Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will release a first look at potential new maps for state house and senate districts on Tuesday — a day later than planned. These maps were originally slated for release today.

 

As CNN explains, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled in favor of a transgender student who just wanted to use the bathroom:

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, a victory for the LGBTQ community that has been fearful the high court would take up the case and reverse a lower court opinion.

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Libertarians (ft. Jon Murray of The Denver Post)

This week on Episode #79 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Jon Murray of The Denver Post about his profile of the Libertarian Party and its roots in Colorado.

Later on, we talk about the one person on the Republican bench in 2022; we do some prognosticating on the statewide races this cycle; and we introduce a new segment called “Stuff We Tweeted.”

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

Judge Sides With Boebert On Cancelling Constituents

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, a federal judge ruled Friday that freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert is not obligated to “unblock” a dissenting constituent from her personal Twitter account, rejecting the argument that Boebert uses both personal and “official” Twitter accounts interchangeably:

“The First Amendment’s protection of the people’s right to free speech, like other rights protected by the Constitution, is implicated only when the government, not a private entity or individual, regulates speech,” wrote the judge, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Buentello, a Democrat, sued Boebert, a Republican, in January and sought a preliminary injunction that would have forced Boebert to unblock Buentello. She cited cases in which courts found that elected officials, including Trump, cannot block constituents. Buentello, who lives in Pueblo, is a Boebert constituent.

Boebert, who was represented by congressional lawyers, argued that Buentello failed to distinguish between Boebert’s personal account, @laurenboebert, and her government account, @repboebert. Buentello is only blocked from viewing and interacting with Boebert’s personal account.

Rep. Boebert’s “personal” Twitter account has the vastly larger following (616k vs. 142k), and is certainly the better-known of the two accounts. Neither account contains a link to the other in the description, and an ordinary person running across one of these accounts would have no reason to assume the other exists at all. In her lawsuit, former state Rep. Bri Buentello argued that because Boebert uses her primary account for a wide array of presumably official communications, the distinction between a “personal” and official account was meaningless.

Although Boebert obtained a favorable ruling affirming her right to block constituents whose opinions she doesn’t like from her ostensibly “personal” account, optically this of course cannot be considered any kind of win. It reinforces the image of Boebert as a paper tiger who can’t back up her tough Tweets when challenged. Coming from the side of the contemporary political debate over “cancel culture” which is demanding that dissenting political voices not ever be deplatformed, celebrating Boebert’s right to block people who disagree with her on Twitter is counterintuitive to say the least.

Apparently, not all “cancel culture” is created equal.