With less than 24 hours’ notice, hundreds of Coloradans gathered at the West Steps of the state capitol on Thursday evening to protest President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be acting Attorney General of the United States. Whitaker had been AG Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff. He has publicly argued that Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation has gone too far and that President Trump has the authority to end it whenever he wants.
Speakers included Senator Michael Bennet, Congressmen-elect Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, State Rep. Joe Salazar (D – Thornton), and AME Shorter Church Pastor Dr. Timothy Tyler.
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s political operation is full steam ahead on the Trump train.
Celebrating the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s success in the mid-term elections, NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen, who’s served as Gardner’s right-hand man since 2010, told Politico,
“We have always felt like we’re running with President Trump no matter what. We think he’s a huge asset, to be clear. These rallies are not by mistake.”
Coloradans rarely hear such unapologetic devotion to Trump “no matter what” from the Gardner camp. When speaking to local media outlets, the Senator usually tempers his support of the President. Even when he’s praising Trump he makes sure to add a caveat, as he did during an election day radio interview:
“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”
Yet for a national political audience, Gardner’s team is embracing Trump without reservation. The NRSC’s enthusiasm is understandable. As Politico reported, they owe him:
“Trump’s personal investment in the Senate sealed the deal. He crisscrossed the country, hitting some states multiple times — all the while delivering sound bites that Republican hopefuls used to promote themselves and bash their opponents.”
State senate candidate Tony Sanchez’s decision to send a negative mailer, widely seen as off-the-charts nasty, appears to have backfired. Donations to his opponent, Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), have skyrocketed since the postcard appeared in voters’ mailboxes.
Pettersen’s latest campaign finance report shows 73 donations on October 24, the day after the mailer hit Lakewood mailboxes.
Three are from prominent figures in Colorado politics, including $200 from the top-ranking Republican in statewide office, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. According to campaign finance records, it’s the only donation Coffman has ever made to a Democrat.
Candidates Christine Jensen of Arvada and Rep. Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton) have a lot in common. Both are Republican women running for Colorado state senate seats in highly competitive suburban swing districts. Both answered the same five questions from their local community newspapers and both gave nearly identical answers to those questions. The answers aren’t just substantially similar; they are structurally the same and often word-for-word identical.
Colorado Community Media (CCM) published the Q&A style interviews two weeks ago. CCM owns eighteen weekly local papers around the Denver metro area, Five questions were posed to every statehouse candidate running in a district covered by a CCM paper. The first and last question were open-ended, make-your-case questions, while the other three addressed specific policies and priorities.
Compare Humenik’s answer and Jensen’s answer to the question, “What can the Legislature do to ease the strain of rising housing prices on Colorado residents?” The bolded language is identical in each answer.
State Senate candidate Christine Jensen of Wheat Ridge opposes all public funding for Planned Parenthood, including all funds via Medicaid, which is the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people.
Planned Parenthood uses Medicaid funds to pay for contraceptives, counseling services and patient education, infertility services and sterilization reversals, cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections related to family planning services, according to a statement on Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ website.
The statement also notes that “in accordance with the Hyde Amendment and Colorado law, these federal funds do not pay for abortion services.”
Jensen’s unequivocal stance on the issue came in here response to a candidate questionnaire from the Colorado Family Action Foundation (CFA), which is allied with three far-right evangelical organizations, two of which are hate groups.(more…)
Rocktober is here! The Colorado Rockies began their battle with the Milwaukee Brewers last night, having earned themselves a playoff series appearance for the first time since 2009. And thanks to this season’s success occurring in an election year, there are naturally plenty of politicians looking to highlight their support to share in the team’s glory.
Gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, clearly one of biggest baseball fans among Colorado’s elected officials, is likely both disappointed and relieved that the Rockies are facing off against the Brewers rather than the perennial NL Central powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals.
Following the Rocks’ Tuesday night clinching of a playoff spot, Stapleton tweeted simply, “ROCKTOBER!” At the time, the Cardinals were still in contention for a playoff spot.
An anonymous Twitter account replied with a pair of photos showing Stapleton wearing a hat and displaying a jersey of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Grady Nouis, the Republican candidate for an Arvada area statehouse seat in the Colorado legislature, talks a lot about crime. He’s primarily concerned that so-called “sanctuary cities” endanger residents, because undocumented immigrants who may live in these cities commit crimes, particularly drug crimes.
In the summer of 2005, Nouis was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He ultimately pled guilty to “maintaining a drug house” and possession of marijuana.
The arrest report, obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder via a source, explains how the police discovered Nouis’ suspected mushroom grow operation. He was living in a house owned by his parents in Grand Blanc, Michigan. They had moved to another city and were planning to sell the house in Grand Blanc. A realtor, believing their son to have returned to college, entered to prepare the house for a showing. She discovered numerous syringes and mason jars filled with a clear liquid and topped with plastic tubing. Believing she had discovered a methamphetamine lab, she called the police. After entering the property themselves, the police determined that it was a “psilocybin mushroom grow operation.”
“As we cleared the rest of the residence, we continued to find evidence of a psilocybin mushroom grow operation. We observed several dehydrating/drying units, packaged mushrooms ready for sale, the spores need to grow mushrooms a makeshift greenhouse made out of large plastic tubs with mushrooms growing along with various other items.”
According to court records, Nouis was initially charged with one felony count of “manufacture of psilocybin,” and one misdemeanor count of “possession of marijuana.” A plea bargain reduced the felony manufacturing charge to another misdemeanor, “maintaining a drug house.” Nouis was sentenced to three years of probation and paid fees and fines totaling $1,660.
Since declaring his candidacy for the Colorado statehouse in December of 2016, Westminster Republican Grady Nouis has promoted and participated in several far-right rallies organized by hate and extremist groups. Furthermore, he’s documented his participation in numerous videos, including one where he shouts the n-word during an argument with African-American couple in Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Last summer, the first since Trump’s election, saw marked increase in alt-right rallies across the country, including several here in Colorado.
After attending a Colorado Proud Boys rally in Boulder on June 3, 2017, Nouis posted news coverage of the event and noted that he would “proudly stand” with the Proud Boys.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled that organization a hate group in 2016. The SPLC notes that the self-described group of “Western chauvinists… regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
Just a week later he joined an “Anti-Sharia” rally at the state Capitol, at which he was one of the announced speakers. Nouis had been heavily promoting the event online, and once it took place he live-streamed much of the event.
The June 10 rally was one of 23 simultaneous rallies organized by an anti-Muslim hate group, Act for America. SPLC’s reasoning for the hate group designation? “Act for America pushes wild anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, denigrates American Muslims and deliberately conflates mainstream and radical Islam.”
During the event, Nouis shared a video of state troopers escorting him and his fellow far-right extremists away from counter-protesters. At approximately the 8:45 mark of the video, he repeatedly shouts the n-word during an argument with African American bystanders in Civic Center Park.
Rep. Alexander Skinny Winkler (R) (top right, speaking).
Dozens of far-right conservatives and hate group members held a rally on the west steps of the Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest what they perceive to be censorship by Facebook. One Colorado Republican state rep helped produce the event and Walker Stapleton’s Super PAC was there to recruit staff.
The event was hosted by Major League Liberty, a far-right pro-Trump social media podcast, along with the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization that describes itself as representing “Western chauvinists.” The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Proud Boys as a hate group“whose leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.”
Officially titled the Rally To Protest Internet Censorship, the event drew approximately 60 people as well as 40 or so counter-protesters. Nearly as many Colorado State troopers maintained a wide perimeter between those attending the event and those protesting it.
Speakers included State Rep. Alexander “Skinny” Winkler (R-Northglenn) and Republican Congressional candidate Mark Barrington, who is challenging Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter. In his speech Rep. Winkler said he supported free speech and liberty unequivocally. He mentioned that his sound company provided the audio equipment and that he was “happy to help out.”
Also in attendance was a representative of Better Colorado Now, the Super PAC supporting Republican Walker Stapleton’s campaign for governor. Wearing a Better Colorado Now polo shirt that read, “Elect Walker Stapleton,” Ben, who did not give his last name, said he was hoping to hire people to knock doors for his group. He said they “help elect Republicans.” According to the group’s registration with the Secretary of State, its purpose is to “Oppose Democrat candidates for governor and support Walker Stapleton for governor.”
Two of the attendees sported a popular Proud Boys T-shirt that reads “Pinochet did nothing wrong!” with the letters “RWDS” on the left sleeve. The acronym stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.”
The back of the shirt, kept covered by both men during the rally, depicts people being murdered by being dropped from a helicopter.
Stapleton Super PAC representative looks to hire canvassers at hate group rally. Man on right’s sleeve displays RWDS: “Right Wing Death Squad”
Many of attendees wore protective clothing, from tactical gloves with hard plastic knuckles to helmets and various types of arm padding. One man sported a set of hockey pads. Two others wearing street clothes said they fought with some “black bloc” types in Civic Center Park on the way to the event, with one saying he was struck in the head by a baton. He noted that the attackers were not part of the protestor group on the sidewalk.
Colorado state representative Steve Humphrey (R-Severance) shared a photo of a flyer that accuses his party’s Assistant Minority Leader, Rep Cole Wist (R-Centennial) of wanting to prevent women from being able to defend themselves.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners distributed the flyer at this weekend’s Centennial Gun Club Firearms Festival. Humphrey posted a picture of the RMGO table, including the flyer, with the caption “Meeting and greeting and supporting conservative Second Amendment candidates at the RMGO booth.”
The flyer, one of two on the table attacking Wist, labels the House’s number two Republicans as “anti-gun” and says he “wants to leave you defenseless,” below an image of a woman being assaulted on the street.
RMGO, along with Minority Leader Patrick Neville, attacked Wist repeatedly during this year’s legislative fight over his proposed “red flag” bill. The bipartisan bill would have created a civil legal process called an Extreme Risk Protection Order to enable family members and law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual who poses danger to themselves or others.
Sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Wist, the bill was also supported by District Attorney George Brauchler and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, both Republicans. It passed the House 37-23, with Wist and Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction) joining all Democrats in support, but failed to get out of committee in the Senate.
Rep. Humphrey’s post was “liked” by two of his colleagues, Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs). Joe Neville, who runs the House GOP independent expenditure committee and is a former RMGO lobbyist, also liked the post.
Voicemail messages requesting comment were not immediately answered by either Rep. Humphrey or Rep. Wist. This post will be updated with any replies received.
This post was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.
Every year, Republican lawmakers gather at Tom Ready’s Steak Fry fundraiser. Ready is an unapologetic racist and anti-government conspiracy theorist whose annual backyard BBQ nevertheless continues to draw GOP candidates and elected officials of all levels, including Congressman Scott Tipton.
Ready’s history of overt racism, homophobia and Islamophobia has been well-documented by the Colorado Times Recorder in the past. The post on the left is from a couple years ago.
He continues to do so today, with posts like this one about NFL players.
Confirmed attendees at this year’s event include Congressman Scott Tipton, State Sens. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), HD46 Jonathan Ambler, HD47 candidate Don Bendell, HD62 candidate Scott Honeycutt, Pueblo County Commissioner District 3 candidate Zach Swearingen, University of Colorado Regent Glen Gallegos, and Marla Spinuzzi Reichert, chair of the Pueblo County Republicans.
After months of silence, Colorado Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton is finally trying to address the news coverage of his family’s racist Klan legacy. This week Stapleton appeared on KNUS radio’s afternoon talk show, hosted by his friend Stephan Tubbs. The casual interview was a perfect venue to deliver his talking points cleanly. Instead, he made it worse – a lot worse.
In less than a minute, Walker Stapleton managed to both slander a civil rights icon and explain how Senator John McCain’s death made him “feel good.”
Tubbs was about to ask Stapleton for his response to all the national coverage of his great-grandfather’s leadership role in the KKK, but before he could finish, Stapleton interrupted. Instead of delivering his talking points, however, Stapleton attributed a false statement about deceased US Senator John McCain to civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. Then he said that [incorrect] statement was the one thing that made him “feel good” about theArizona senator’s death.
Stapleton inaccurately recounted a Rush Limbaugh segment about Rep. Lewis’ recent tweet praising Senator McCain. According to Stapleton, Limbaugh claimed Lewis’s praise made him a hypocrite because ten years’ earlier Lewis had called McCain a white nationalist. [Neither Lewis nor Limbaugh ever used that term.] Knowing that, Stapleton said, makes him “feel good about” McCain’s death because he’s getting attacked for his Klan legacy just like Rush Limbaugh says McCain was attacked by Congressman Lewis.
Tom Tancredo is always comfortable in front of a microphone, even when his words are making his audience uncomfortable. That’s exactly what the most prominent Republican to endorse Walker Stapleton did July 30 at the Jefferson County Republican Men’s club, when he delivered racist comments about black student athletes at his alma mater, Northeastern Junior College.
Musing about the racial and religious quotas imposed on his college’s dormitories by the Klan-influenced local government, Tancredo, a former Congressman, wondered why the restrictions didn’t apply to the whole school rather than just the students at the residences:
Tancredo: “I always wondered, why just the dorms? If you’re gonna have a quota, why not on everything. I dunno, they needed black players, I guess, on the team.”
The anti-immigrant firebrand’s influence with the GOP base is exactly why Stapleton asked the conservative icon to introduce and nominate him at the Republican state assembly. That said, Tancredo’s remark about the Klan’s relaxed racial quota when it came to black athletes fell flat on the conservative audience, which appeared to be shocked by the comment.
Undeterred, he stuck with his racist theme by promoting “a great book,” Losing Ground by Charles Murray, which argues for abolishing welfare. The sociologist has also argued that African-Americans tend to be less intelligent than white Americans and that genetic differences between the races are partially responsible. Current Affairs magazine wrote an extensive profile of Murray’s racist writings in a feature piece, “Why Is Charles Murray Odious?” Tancredo acknowledged the author’s controversial status, noting, “Of course, everyone gets scared the minute you say his name.”
Yet he proceeded to rattle off statistics from the book, showing a decline in numbers of traditional nuclear African-American families and an increase in “black-on-black murders” since the 1950s and ascribing that decline to “the war on poverty.” “[The government] started paying people not to have a male in the household.”
He went on to claim that African-Americans “used to have a higher commitment to Christianity than whites,” but “that’s all changed and it was because of the destruction of the family structure.”
In Tancredo’s other roles, including frontman for an anti-immigrant 501c4 nonprofit, occasional radio host, and social media personality, his continual race-baiting and sometimes flat-out racist statements fall on generally friendly ears.
Ever since Walker Stapleton used Tancredo’s name and brand to secure the Republican nomination however, pundits have noted that ultra-conservative firepower that proved so useful before the primary will likely become a liability in November.
Mike Littwin made this exact point in his July 25 column in the Colorado Independent, writing “Enter Tancredo, who was brought in to help Stapleton appeal to the assembly’s right-wing fringe. It worked then. But how about in November?”
“I think Walker Stapleton is making a number of strategic errors here… To have Tom Tancredo give his nominating speech at the convention in Boulder…you don’t think that one will come back to bite him come September, October, etc.? In tennis, it’s called ‘unforced errors.’”
In his speech nominating Walker Stapleton to Colorado Republicans at the state assembly in April, Tancredo gave two reasons for his presence.
First he said it was because “the day after the election, I want to see all those liberal looneys running with their heads in their hands, looking for a safe space because they can’t handle what just happened to them.”
He concluded by saying, “the only reason I am here and I am proud as I can be to do it, is to place into the nomination for the Republican governor of Colorado, Walker Stapleton.”
If Tancredo continues to make blatantly racist statements in public and the pundits are correct, then some people will indeed have their heads in their hands November 7, just not the ones Tancredo is thinking of.
UPDATE: Over the weekend, the Jefferson County Republican Party deleted the post, though officials still have yet to comment.
The Jefferson County Republican Party referred to Congressman Jared Polis as a “Brown Shirt” in an August 1 Facebook post. “Brown Shirt” is a nickname for a member of the Sturmabteilung, Hitler’s Nazi militia which beat and murdered those who opposed his rise to power. Polis, who is Jewish, is Colorado’s Democratic nominee for Governor.
The post shared an article about Rep. Polis’ (D – Boulder) personal wealth and featured a picture of him wearing a suit with a brown dress shirt. Above the image the party wrote:
Jared Polis has a new club “How to Be A Brown Shirt for Fun & Profit”
Nazi references have become a recent habit of Jefferson County Republicans. County Party Chair Joe Webb linked “Brown Shirts” to another Democratic member of Congress two weeks ago, posting:
“Things work out for the best when we disagree with each other respectfully. The Nazis example should teach Dems like Maxine Waters one thing. Today’s button pushers can become tomorrow’s targets. The Brown Shirts (SA) harassed others until Hitler did away with them in the Night of the Long Knives. When one group is unsafe then no one is safe. We should not tolerate this sort of behavior in America.”
Webb was criticizing Rep. Waters’ urging of supporters to confront Trump administration officials they encounter in public places. It’s unclear why he refers to the murderous Brown shirts as “button-pushers,” but he clearly understands that they were Nazi soldiers. Such a comparison would seem to undermine his plea for respectful discourse, which he has made repeatedly, even specifically mentioning the Governor’s race. On June 29 Webb posted:
Votes matter. The cause to prevent Jared Polis from becoming Governor is not served by crawling into the gutter with the worst most juvenile put downs. More people will be attracted to the cause by well thought out and reasoned arguments made with only good humor. Classy is clean, common sense but most importantly effective. It is the only way this race will be won. Think about it.
Former JeffCo Rep. Tim Leonard also used the term. Before he resigned last week — for reasons related to his court-ordered child support obligations — he equated the women who marched in protest of Pres. Trump’s policies to”Hitler’s brownshirts.”
Chairman Webb did not respond to an email request for comment.
As the clock struck midnight last Sunday, Grand Junction night owls saw red–literally. The digital billboard looming over Rimrock Marketplace now displays a massive crimson and yellow “GOP,” but with the “O” replaced by the Russian hammer & sickle icon used by the former Soviet Union.
Mesa County progressives purchased the billboard to call out the Republican Party’s refusal to challenge Trump’s apparent preference for Russian denials of election interference over the unanimous assessment of United States intelligence agencies.
Grand Junction resident Anne Landman, who paid for the billboard, says its purpose is to draw attention “Republicans’ alarming acceptance of President Trump cozying up to authoritarian dictators who disregard human rights.”
While musing about a billboard on her Facebook page, a friend shared a photo of the GOP Russia design. Landman reached out to the creator, MadDogPac of Odenton, Maryland and received permission to use the image free of charge. Mad Dog PAC was founded in December 2017 by Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer under President Clinton. The organization says it “solicits contributions from concerned citizens to fund billboards censuring Trump, the GOP and the NRA.”
The fine print on the board reads “Paid for by informed citizens of Mesa County and Mad Dog Pac.” Landman says the “informed citizens” aren’t an official group of any sort, but rather friends and like-minded Mesa County residents.
The Russian GOP billboard isn’t the only piece of Mad Dog’s artwork to appear in Colorado. Drivers in the Denver metro area may have seen a billboard reminding them that “Mike Coffman Took $30,843 in NRA Blood Money.”
The Grand Junction billboard isn’t targeted at a specific elected official, but rather focuses on the Russia-friendly attitude of the Republican Party. Furthermore, it reflects the sentiments of Mesa County progressives who are decidedly outnumbered, according to Landman.
“Out here on the Western slope, liberals are in the minority. These days we are derided, criticized, called names like ‘libtard’ or ‘snowflake.’ But putting this billboard up, it’s lifted everybody’s spirits. It’s become a rallying point, energizing the left and giving people something to cheer for. For that alone it was worth the money.”
Landman paid for the first week herself and has since solicited donations via her Facebook page to extend the billboard rental beyond July 28. As of Tuesday evening, Landman says she has already collected more than the required $265 for a second week’s rental fee.
This article was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.