Hugely Popular Paid Leave Program Makes Up Most of Heidi Ganahl’s Favorite ‘Whopping’ Public Spending Amount

(“Adding all of this stuff up without any actual kind of analysis underneath it doesn’t really tell anybody anything. You’re just adding up unlike numbers.” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

By Madeleine Schmidt for the Colorado Times Recorder

CU Regent and fledgling podcaster Heidi Ganahl

 

“1.8 Billion!”

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican elected to a statewide office in Colorado and a rumored 2022 governor candidate, has been metaphorically shouting that figure from the rooftops recently.

In recent newspaper columns, Ganahl has repeatedly cited a report from the Common Sense Institute (CSI), a business-oriented research organization in Denver, that tallied the cost of new taxes and fees resulting from state policy changes over the last few years on individuals and businesses.

The report, titled “Colorado’s Competitiveness: The Challenge of Economic Recovery Under More than $1.8 Billion in New Regulations, Taxes and Fees,” adds up fiscal notes for a wide variety of ballot measures and laws passed since 2018, including measures related to affordable housing, health care, and, notably, the paid family and medical leave program that Colorado voters approved in 2020.

In a column penned for the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this month titled “Colorado Drops Out of the Jobs Race,” Ganahl writes that “every onerous regulation comes with a cost — lost jobs, more red tape and money taken from the family budget. The costs are taking a toll. In fact, earlier this year, Common Sense Institute estimated the cumulative cost of new taxes and fees will reach a whopping $1.8 billion in the next three to five years.”

She also underscores the $1.8 billion number in another Gazette column from June, this time erroneously stating that the costs tallied in CSI’s report come from “this last legislative session alone,” when, in fact, it includes both laws and voter-approved ballot measures over the past few years.

“The Common Sense Institute issued a study calculating the cost of proposed regulations, taxes and fees from this last legislative session alone,” she writes. “Hold on to your hat — it’s a whopping $1.8 billion. That’s billion with a B. That’s bad news for our economy, for businesses and for families.”

Here’s what she isn’t saying: CSI attributes more than two-thirds of that $1.8 billion to Proposition 118, which created a state-run insurance program that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for personal medical reasons or care for a new child or family member. The program, which was overwhelmingly approved by Colorado voters (58%-42%) last year, is funded by a payroll tax split evenly between employers and employees and amounts to 0.9 percent of an employee’s total wages.

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Grand Junction GOP Event Featuring Reps Lauren Boebert & Jim Jordan Draws Opposing Groups

(“You better stand back – I’m not vaccinated” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Progressives protest outside Mesa County GOP event headlined by US Reps. Boebert and Jim Jordan

By Sharon Sullivan for the Colorado Times Recorder

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attended a Mesa County Republicans fundraiser, Saturday, July 24, at the Grand Junction Convention Center, where both were slated to speak at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner that evening. Boebert was also invited to speak at Faith Heights Church the following morning during its Sunday service.

Both Members of Congress voted against certifying the Presidential election results on January 6, the day insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Plus, Jordan has been accused of aiding and abetting a cover-up, while he was an Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach, of accusations against a university physician for sexually abusing student wrestlers from 1979 to 1997.

Approximately 50 Mesa County Democrats protested Jordan’s presence, as well as their opposition to Boebert, outside the convention center during the fundraising dinner.

Grand Junction resident Bill Richardson protests outside the Mesa GOP fundraiser, headlined by U.S. Reps Lauren Boebert & Jim Jordan. Photo: Sharon Sullivan

Bill Richardson, a retired Grand Junction criminal defense lawyer, carried a sign saying “Gym Jordan Not Welcome in Mesa County.” He said he was compelled to attend the protest “because (Boebert) is doing absolutely nothing for the 3rd District” – a sentiment echoed by many of those who were present. “She’s into performative tweets, Facebook posts, videos, and stunts,” he said.

In addition to claims Jordan failed to protect student athletes from a sexual predator, Richardson’s sign stated Jordan aided the attempted overthrow of the U.S. government – a claim also voiced by Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney, of Wyoming.

Protesters yelled “shame, shame,” as those attending the event walked past to enter the building.

While most attendees chose not to engage the protesters, some hurled insults, one man made obscene gestures, and a few stopped to photograph the group. One woman wearing a blue dress and cowgirl boots approached the protesters, taunting them with, “You better stand back – I’m not vaccinated.”

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Ken Buck Solicits Funds With COVID and Big Tech Conspiracies

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Actors’ portrayal of Ken Buck supporters reading his latest email

By James O’Rourke for the Colorado Times Recorder

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) sent a fundraising email to his subscribers with an unusual title: “Delete After Reading.”

The email opens with a Donor ID number, followed by “Status: Confidential – Do Not Share.”

From there, the message is comprised of various appeals to right-wing conspiratorial thinking, including spreading suspicion about the true nature of COVID-19.

“Friend, I need your help,” the message reads. “The Woke Left and Big Tech led by a group of Washington Elites are trying to silence me. “It sounds crazy, but then again they want us to believe COVID came from a bat, right?[Emphasis added.]

The widely accepted consensus among scientific & medical experts is been that COVID-19 was spread to humans from contact with an infected bat and did not leak from a laboratory. More recently, U.S. President Biden called for an investigation into the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab. However, the lab leak theory remains a possibility, far from certainty.

It is uncertain what is so “crazy” about the idea that “COVID came from a bat.” A recent review of existing COVID data by over 20 leading virus experts from around the globe, found that “there is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin.”

One of the authors, Dr. Steven Goldstein, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah, told the Salt Lake City Tribune, that the most likely scenario is the pandemic began at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

“If you look at where the first cases in Wuhan were, there’s a really striking concentration of those cases starting in the neighborhoods surrounding this market and spreading outward from there, said Goldstein. “There’s no real reason to put any weight on the possibility of a lab leak right now.”

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CO Lawmaker Promotes QAnon Movie, Admits to Crossing Police Barriers During Insurrection

(Lock him up? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks volunteering at the Arizona sham audit.

“We’re walking between the Capitol building and the police force…and this doesn’t feel right to me as a guy who knows a little bit about physical security,” state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Penrose) said in a July 14 interview, recounting his own participation in the Jan. 6 rally and march to the U.S. Capitol that led to Trump supporters overwhelming police and storming the building.

In the hour-long radio interview with Melissa “Lisa” Hyams, vice-chair of Fremont Country Republicans, Hanks also questioned the validity of the 2020 election and promoted a QAnon conspiracy movie, “The Deep Rig,” which makes unfounded claims of election fraud and promotes wild conspiracies involving hundreds of thousands of fake ballots, hacked voting machines, and CIA plots to ensure a Biden victory.

Hanks covered a lot of ground in the discussion, but he began by recounting his activities on Jan 6, including repeating the debunked claim that Trump supporters didn’t storm the Capitol, but in fact Antifa and Black Lives Matter agitators were responsible for the deadly insurrection, calling it a false flag operation.

“By the time we walked from the elipse at the White House down to the Capitol building, there were already people climbing on the scaffolding,” said Hanks. “We went right down the road, we got there ahead of 80-90% of the crowd. There’s a solid case to be made that we had people intrude on that [the rally] and that it was a bit of a false flag operation- well let’s not say ‘a bit of’ let’s say false flag. “When we walked from the west side of the Capitol, which facing the Lincoln Memorial back around to the east side, which would be facing the Supreme Court. There were some barriers that had been pulled open. And now we’re walking between the Capitol building and the police force, which is in the parking lot. And this doesn’t feel right to me as a guy who knows a little bit about physical security. And so I kept looking at him. I kept giving him the eye, expecting them to either divert us around or- they never did. They looked straight at us and let us walk.

Hanks concluded by promoting an election fraud conspiracy movie called “The Deep Rig,” directed by a man whose previous works include a movie claiming that aliens were responsible for the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Hanks, who says he attended the movie’s premiere while he was in Arizona helping with the sham audit, is organizing a screening of the movie in Fremont County.

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CO Republican Promoting Avon-Like Multi-Level Marketing To Raise Money to Primary GOP Incumbents

(Not shady at all – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bill Luznicky, founder of Primary the Ruling Class PAC

Illustrating that the infighting among Colorado Republicans hasn’t abated, despite a string of election losses, Colorado Republican National Committeeman and talk radio host Randy Corporon is promoting a political action committee (PAC) called “Primary the Ruling Class” (PRC) taking aim at fellow Republicans who aren’t seen as “America First Patriots.”

Calling itself a “Political Union” and claiming that “the real enemy of conservatism is Globalism,” PRC PAC says its mission is to “expose ruling class politicians and (focusing on the Republican party) replace them in primary elections.”

PRC’s website is rife with conspiratorial language about “Globalist elites,” and references the “Great Reset,” a conspiracy theory claiming that the coronavirus pandemic is a tool of the World Economic Forum to establish a new global government.

In a recent podcast, PRC PAC founder Bill Luznicky floats the conspiracy that not only was COVID created by a Chinese lab as a bioweapon, but that the United States and Dr. Anthony Fauci funded the project on behalf of the “globalist ruling class.”

Luznicky concluded by laughing and saying,:

“Everyone says ‘oh now you’re getting into conspiracy areas, Bill.’ Well, it’s not a conspiracy if it’s true.”

PRC also promises that it will adhere to standard non-profit best practices of directing 80% of contributions to its mission of replacing establishment Republicans with “America First Patriots.”

“Because the operational model for PRC PAC is somewhat unique, the ‘business model’ will be more reminiscent of a charity than a traditional Super PAC,” states the PRC website. “Good Practice Standards for charitable organizations are generally accepted as 80/20 (80% of revenues going towards the cause with 20% used for fundraising and overhead).”

However, Federal Election Commission records show that PRC PAC hasn’t made a single independent expenditure or donation to another committee since its inception in 2018. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been spending donors’ money, however. The group classifies all of its spending as “Other Expenditures.”

According to FEC records, nearly all of the money raised by PRC PAC has been paid out to a single company, Medsabi LLC, which is owned by Luznicky.

In the 2017-2018 election, PRC PAC raised about $11,000 and spent all of it. Of that amount, $10,000 went to Medsabi. For the 2019-2020 cycle, PRC PAC raised and spent approximately $52,000, paying Luznicky’s company $50,000.

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‘It’s Not a Pipe Dream:’ Boebert Wants Trump To Be Speaker of the House in 2022

(It’s more of a “bong dream” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congresswoman Boebert with former President Trump on June 10.

By James O’Rourke, Colorado Times Recorder

U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert (R-CO) appeared on the Steffan Tubbs Show Monday. There, she chatted with radio host and conspiracy theorist Randy Corporon about the problems Republicans face in today’s political sphere.

During the interview, Boebert spoke on her hopes for the future of the Republican party. In her mind, the path is clear: “We will take the House back in 2022.”

Many fractures have formed in the Republican Party, following the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump’s continued lies that he won the 2020 presidential election. The GOP’s removal of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), an outspoken critic of Trump, shows how deeply troubled the party will be as it tries to regain power during midterm elections next year.

Boebert, however, was full of optimism, saying that “I think the Republican party is stronger than ever, and it’s very obvious that President Trump is still the leading voice of the Republican party.”

Just two weeks ago Boebert and nine other members of the Republican Study Committee met with Trump at his county club in New Jersey.

“I’m just ready for [Trump] to announce that he’ll be speaker of the House, and then we can really live in the minds of those crazy left wing lunatics,” she continued.

Technically, there is no congressional rule dictating that the speaker of the House must be a sitting member of Congress. To date, all speakers have been chosen from current congresspeople, but in theory any willing U.S. citizen could be chosen for the role. 

The crucial key word there is ‘willing’. According to a spokesman for the ex-president, Trump has “zero desire” to be speaker of the House.

Still, Republicans can dream of a comeback with Trump’s leadership renewed. Corporon expressed his wish for Trump, as speaker, to “call for the impeachment of Kamala, and Zombie Joe, especially … for all of his China connections.”

Since the early months of his presidency, Biden has repeatedly made his enmity for China clear. His American Jobs Plan claims that China is a threat on par with the climate crisis.

Breaking into laughter, Boebert agreed with Corporon. “I like the order that you put that in,” she said, “because it probably would be Kamala [who gets impeached first].” 

This statement paid homage to a prolific right-wing conspiracy theory, that Vice President Harris is the true U.S. president. According to this theory, the Democrats have secretly planned for Joe Biden to step down due to health issues, so that Harris can take the presidency in his stead.

Democratic officials have decried this theory and others like it. They attribute the dearth of accusations targeting Harris to her status as a Black woman in a position of power. 

Boebert showed no expectation of good faith from her Democratic colleagues.

“Democrats aren’t afraid to lie,” she said. “They will take a lie and run with it. And [Republicans] are the party of the truth, we are the party of values and principles, and that’s what I’m running on.”

This comes after Boebert has put so much stock in the spurious conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election. She, like so many of her Republican colleagues, has taken the lie in her hands, and she shows no intent to stop running with it any time soon.

Rep. Buck Warns Conservatives Not to Let Democrats ‘Steal Elections’

(Tell us how you really feel – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: This article has been updated with extensive comments from Congressman Buck, who says he wasn’t linking mail-in ballots to fraud.

Speaking at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) appeared to raise the conspiracy theory of election fraud, warning the audience that they must not let Democrats “steal elections.” Buck specifically mentioned the need for Republicans to run up a margin of votes to guard against “when their votes come in a day or two later,” seemingly a reference to mail ballots tabulated after Election Day, which President Trump and allies continue to baselessly insist were evidence of Democrats stealing elections in swing states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“The great news is we’re going to be in control of the U.S. House in 2023,” said Buck in his speech. “We’re going to win that 2022 election. And we’re going to win the election because of the folks who are listening and because of the folks who are in this room. And we need to outwork the other side and we need to make sure that we have a margin, so when their votes come in a day or two later we make sure that we have won the races– that we have control. We don’t let them nationalize elections and we don’t let them steal elections and that’s what we have to make sure that we do.”

Buck, who previously convened a panel of Republican county clerks to quell disinformation about fraud in Colorado’s election process, denies invoking the same conspiracy theories that led Trump supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol as a rallying cry for Republicans to take control of the legislative body seated within that very building. He insists that his two consecutive sentences were entirely separate comments:

“I think what you’re doing is conflating something I said at the beginning of the quote with something I said at the end,” Buck told the Colorado Times Recorder. “When I talk about not nationalizing elections, it has to do with H.R. 1 and S.R.1 and making sure that we have elections that are run by state legislatures and secretaries of state and not run by the federal government, which was never intended. Frankly, I think they’re unconstitutional to change the system without a constitutional amendment. I joined the Texas lawsuit because the governor of Pennsylvania changed the rules. And the US Constitution says only the state legislature can change the rules and election. I wanted the Supreme Court to say, ‘that’s wrong. You can’t do that.’ I did not join a lawsuit and ever say that I believe that the elections in the United States were stolen.

“So the first part of the end of my statement was about nationalizing the elections. In the second part was stealing elections. Four years ago we had Democrats who were concerned about the election having been tainted by Russian influence. There was a year-long investigation that really put the country through a lot. And it was determined that there was no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But we investigated so that the election would be seen as a legitimate election.

“We now have a former president who is alleging that the election is stolen and certainly tainted. And we have a group of people on the right now who are very upset about how we conduct elections in this country and frankly refused to vote in the Georgia Senate elections. And so when Georgia moved to pass legislation to give a group of people the comfort of knowing that the election would be credible and honest and fairly run, there was a reaction from the left.

“We have to come together in this country and make sure that the left and the right don’t feel like an election was stolen in any way. And if that means that we do investigations and if that means that we pass more stringent standards, so be it. People have to have comfort that the elections are being run fairly. And at the same time, we can’t suppress the other side’s vote no matter what. We shouldn’t pass legislation that makes voting onerous and we shouldn’t pass legislation that allows fraud in elections. My statement about making sure that elections aren’t stolen has to do with the fear on the right about what happened in 2020. It’s not something I share. I don’t believe that the election was stolen. But that doesn’t mean that other people don’t believe it. And we have to make sure that they’re comfortable so that they do participate in our system.”

When this reporter noted that the main election fraud conspiracy about Georgia pointed to the “late surge” of Democratic ballots (which was largely due to increased use of mail-in ballots) as suspicious, Buck again insisted he wasn’t linking the two, rather simply noting that in Colorado, Republicans traditionally vote early and Democrats vote late.

“So when the Democrats surge hits from Election Day voting or even mail-in ballots counted after Election Day, we still have the lead,” Buck said. “That’s one statement. In a separate, completely different statement, that’s later in that quote is the idea of assuring people that we’re doing everything we can so that elections are free and fair.”

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Boebert Among Republican Study Committee Leaders Who Met With Trump

(Holding coup oops sorry court – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) met with former President Trump last Thursday at his county club in New Jersey.

Boebert’s presence at Bedminster hasn’t been made public, but her mother Shawn Bentz posted pictures of Trump calling her while standing next to her daughter.

Boebert’s office did not immediately return a call requesting comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

According to the New York Post, RSC leaders discussed their policy agenda and political strategy for the 2022 midterm elections:

Ten of the RSC’s members, including task force chairs and members of the group’s steering committee, attended the gathering, where Banks said they laid out their policy vision, which was modeled after Trump’s agenda while he was in office.

New York Post, June 10, 2021

Formed in 1973, the RSC is the House’s oldest conservative caucus. Along with fellow Coloradan Doug Lamborn, Boebert is an ex officio member of the group’s Steering Committee. She is also a member of the even more conservative Freedom Caucus, which Tea Party created in 2015 because they believed the RSC was too cozy with House Republicans’ establishment leadership.

Prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Boebert’s mother Shawn Bentz was very active on social media, posting QAnon conspiracies and videos. Boebert herself said she first heard of QAnon from her mother, whom she described as “a little fringe.” Bentz has since deleted those posts and instead largely shares pictures of her famous child.

UPDATE: Boebert has since tweeted a photo of her and Trump, but didn’t explain any context about the meeting.

 

CO Legislator Says His Comment “We Have Allowed The Weeds to Overwhelm The Garden” Refers to Socialism not Immigrants

(Sure thing — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

Colorado state Rep. Mark Baisley’s (R-Roxborough Park) recent Facebook post about the number of immigrants crossing the nation’s southern border every month led a commenter to invoke a white nationalist conspiracy theory known as the “great replacement.”

In a reply agreeing with the comment, Baisley wrote,

“We have allowed the weeds to overwhelm the garden.”

The full exchange between commenter “Laurel Al-Meriki” and Baisely reads as follows:

Laurel Al-Meriki: “Mark we are being replaced- demographically, politically, economically, culturally and with the fentanyl physically.
Our people cry for redress of grievances. We cry for justice. There is only so much that we are able to suffer until the ties that bind are irrevocably broken. We live in a powder keg with our women and children held tight.”

Mark Baisley: “We have allowed the weeds to overwhelm the garden.
The remarkable founders of this nation gave us instructions for running the country, even when things go terribly wrong. Please read America’s founding document beginning with the words, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends…”

Reached via email Baisley denied any awareness of “replacement theory,” which Tucker Carlson recently resurfaced to a national outcry. Baisley claims that by “weeds” he meant “the weeds of socialism.”

 

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John Birch Society Speaker Defends Chilean Dictator Pinochet to Colorado Conservatives

(“Free helicopter rides!” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Chilean soldiers guard political prisoners arrested during Pinochet’s 1973 coup

John Birch Society speaker Leah Southwell wants folks to know that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet wasn’t such a bad guy. Political Science professors and historians disagree.

Pinochet took power in a coup and ruled the country for 17 years before stepping aside (though remaining in command of the army). He retired as “Senator-for-Life,” which gave him immunity from prosecution until his death in 2006 while under house arrest after having been charged with dozens of counts of kidnapping, torture, and murder.

Southwell, who lived in Chile for seven years before moving to Colorado,. tours the country giving speeches to conservative groups in which she argues that the dictator is misunderstood and his actions, though violent, in fact, saved the South American nation from communism.

“We need to understand that history is always revised and forgotten of what really happened,” Southwell said on a recent radio interview. “Pinochet took [Chile] back from the communists. It was a somewhat bloody battle- there were 3,000 people killed which I think in a revolutionary battle like that -for the power- 3,000 is relatively small. Of course tragic for any and all.”

Over the past several months, Southwell has made similar statements downplaying the dictator’s documented murder and torture of thousands of people to numerous conservative groups across Colorado. Speaking on behalf of venerable far-right conspiracist group the John Birch Society,  Southwell has presented to Protect Elbert County, and the Colorado Springs Republican Women.

Earlier this month she also spoke to  Keep Colorado Free & Open, a Larimer County “Liberty” group that opposes public health restrictions and whose members in April expressed desires to revolt against the government “outside the law,” because they couldn’t wait until the next election to change leadership.

Reached for comment, Southwell doubled down on her position, insisting that the benefits of his free market policies outweighed the violence he used to take and hold power.

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Boebert Says She Wants to Be Speaker of the House, Gets Support From Gaetz

(LOL – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

By Sean Price, Colorado Times Recorder

Aspiring Speaker of the House Lauren Boebert (R-Colo)

Last week U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) hinted at her future goals during an interview with Newsmax TV.

“But, you know, maybe one day when I’m Speaker of the House, my first action will be to take those metal detectors and use them as target practice,” Boebert said, referring to security devices installed by Democrats to ensure that no guns are brought to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, where guns are banned.

RELATED: A Brief History of Boebert’s Racism

Boebert was answering questions from a giddy Newsmax anchor about her dedication to concealed-carrying a firearm within the U.S. Capitol.

“In the congressional complex, I am my own security… until I get into Pelosi’s House — it’s certainly not the people’s House — where we have to go through the metal detectors,” Boebert said.

One GOP colleague already supports Boebert’s nascent campaign for Speaker. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that Boebert “would make a fantastic Speaker of the House.”

On Sunday, Gaetz tried to distract from the ongoing federal probe into his involvement with a sex trafficking ring by promoting baseless claims of election fraud.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) supports Boebert for Speaker.

Many of Boebert’s actions and comments appear to be aimed at getting media attention—and her line about being Speaker of the House may have been made in the same vein.

Last week, Boebert was in the news for falsely claiming Trump stopped Hamas from attacking Israel, falsely claiming there had been no deaths from COVID-19 in Texas post-mask restrictions, and for opposing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.

Colo GOP Legislator Begs Activists at QAnon-Linked Anti-Vax Rally to ‘Continue To Broadcast the Facts’

(QAnon and on and on – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With a QAnon flag waving behind her, State Rep. Tonya Van Beber speaks at an anti-vaxx rally.

Speaking to a crowd of anti-vaccine activists and QAnon followers at Saturday’s Worldwide Rally for Freedom, Colorado state Rep. Tonya Van Beber (R-Eaton) told the conspiracy theorists, “I’m begging you! I’m imploring you! You must continue to broadcast the facts!”

Organized by Colorado Rising Up, a state chapter of the global “Worldwide Demonstration Movement,” the event, which focused largely on anti-vaccine and anti-mask messages and attracted about 250 anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, and militia members to the Colorado Capitol. 

Some of the falsehoods asserted by participants in yesterday’s QAnon-linked Rally for Freedom include: Vaccines are far more dangerous than the diseases they are intended to prevent. The coronavirus was created intentionally by Bill Gates in order to infect the world’s population with the vaccine. There is no such thing as public health.

 

Van Beber lambasted Democrats for voting down her bill that would have banned employers- including hospitals and other health care providers- from requiring employees be vaccinated. She framed it as preventing discrimination and, quoting Orwell, predicted that its failure proves state is now on a path towards tyranny.

“Now let’s face it. The war on COVID has been just about as effective as the war on drugs,” Rep. Van Beber, told the crowd. “It’s been about as effective as the war on poverty and the war on terror.”

While Van Beber and the other speakers focused on anti-vaccine and anti-public health conspiracies, there was plenty of non-healthcare misinformation as well.

At least two attendees wore hats with the phrase “Stop the Steal,” which refers to the conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen from rightful winner Donald Trump.

Ashley Epp, director of the election fraud conspiracy group U.S. Election Integrity Project also attended the rally.

One rally attendee explained that her sign, which read “Simpsons 911 1997. Contagion 2011,” was intended to convey her belief that the Simpsons cartoon knew about 9-11 in advance and that the movie Contagion, the plot of which does include many elements similar to the pandemic, is proof that the coronavirus outbreak was planned.

All of those conspiracies pale in comparison to the claims made by another attendee, Micki Lynn Larson-Olson, aka QPatriot, who in addition to a full QAnon costume, carried a flag stating  “TRUMP * JFK JR 2021 Q Winning”

Larson-Olson believes John F. Kennedy Jr. is not only still alive but in fact the true vice president of the United States, working secretly with Trump, who remains president.

So then what about President Joe Biden?

“Joe Biden is dead, that’s an actor in a Biden mask,” she said. “You can tell because his eyes are a different color now.”

QAnon conspiracies have proved disturbingly popular among Colorado Republicans. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is the most prominent official to have publicly promoted the group’s messages, but not the only one. Former statehouse candidate Vanessa DeMott promoted one of the most extreme conspiracies- that an online furniture company was actually selling children as sex slaves, during her campaign. DeMott lost her race bit still made it to the Capitol, where she now works as Rep. Van Beber’s legislative aide.

Micki Lynn Larson-Olson, aka QPatriot

Colorado Rising Up, the group that organized the event, is a grassroots organization of people who were excited by the World Wide Rally for Freedom global movement, according to spokesman Mark Berger of Boulder. He says the group stands for freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of medical choice, freedom of health, and empowering people with sovereignty.

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Republican Ganahl Is Raising Her Profile for Possible 2022 Election Campaign, Say Experts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republicans’ last remaining statewide official, CU Regent At-Large Heidi Ganahl

By Gabrielle Bye, for the Colorado Times Recorder.

University of Colorado (CU) Regent Heidi Ganahl, the state’s sole remaining statewide-elected Republican, has been busy lately.

Besides CU Regent duties, business ventures, and numerous speaking engagements, she’s also recently begun writing a column for the Denver Gazette.

And she’s about to launch a new podcast for which she’ll travel around Colorado and interview “folks who embody the true spirit of the Rocky Mountains.”

Does Ganahl’s sudden flurry of activity indicate her desire to make a bigger name for herself in advance of a campaign for statewide office in 2022?

That’s the question I posed to several political analysts and commentators in Colorado–and signs point to a likely run, they told me.

Increasing her profile

Eric Sondermann, a longtime political commentator, believes that the decision to launch a podcast after already landing a column is a definite move to increase her profile to Coloradans–and that wouldn’t hurt if she decides to run for another statewide office.

“I don’t think she just decided to write a column and produce a podcast out of the blue. I think they’re part of a conscious strategy to increase her profile,” Sondermann told the Colorado Times Recorder. “So she may or may not run, and I suspect she’s a little way away from a formal announcement, but I think these are clearly and unambiguously early steps to at least put herself in position where something like [running for statewide office] might be possible.”

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Election Fraud Conspiracies Still Abound Among Colorado Republicans

(The stupid has a life of its own now – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dr. Douglas Frank presents his election fraud conspiracy theory to Sherronna Bishop and other Grand Junction far-right activists.

“You know the story about the Navajo Windtalkers in World War Two? Imagine if I was a German and I just happened to know Navajo, right? Then maybe I could break the code. Well, that’s what happened.”

The man asking me to imagine him as a Nazi is Dr. Douglas Frank, a part-time math teacher who is currently visiting Colorado to push an eye-popping election fraud conspiracy at events across the state. Frank, who teaches at a private school in Cincinnati, believes he’s uncovered an algorithm that proves that Colorado’s 2020 election results (along with those in many other states) were rigged in favor of President Biden.

Frank first made these claims in an online video called “Scientific Proof,” which is hosted (and bankrolled) by mustachioed Trumper Mike Lindell, better known as the “My Pillow” CEO who wanted Trump to declare martial law to remain in power. The video features Frank claiming to have analyzed publicly available election data and determined that someone used computer algorithms to manipulate votes all across the nation.

From the video’s promo:

“Dr. Frank testifies to host Mike Lindell that deviations and mathematical impossibilities could not have been done by humans, by artificial intelligence and computers that were running before, during, and after the 2020 U.S. election. Dr. Frank’s investigation reveals that the 2010 national census data was used to manipulate the 2020 election rolls and to inject phantom votes into the election totals.” “I found the algorithms that control how many registrations and how many ballots you need in every county to control an election,” Frank tells Lindell at the start of the interview. “That’s what I figured out. And it’s widespread- it’s in every state that I’ve checked so far and it’s in magnificent parts-per-million detail, so I know it’s not an accident. It has to be done by an algorithm.”

The slides Frank shows to Lindell in the video purport to show data on county-level population, registration, and actual votes cast. He and Lindell gleefully point to spikes that appear to show more votes cast than people registered or even living in various Colorado counties, including Broomfield, Mineral, and Bent.

Doug Jones, computer science professor at the University of Iowa and a national expert on election security, is skeptical.

“Every one of those graphs of age versus population for the different counties is obviously smoothed data,” says Jones. “Perhaps he took the real data for age versus population and smoothed it with a 6th order polynomial…The usual presentation of census data is in bins that are 5-years wide.  Taking such data and smoothing it with a polynomial would give exactly the kind of curves that Douglas Frank was showing. Then, comparing such a curve with data he extracted with voter registration would, of course, have a finer scale, because the voter registration data gives the actual birthday of every voter.  So the voter registration curve is all bumpy compared to the population curve.  The net result of this is that, even if our voter registration data was perfect (no “phantoms”), we’d have bumps in the voter registration curve that exceeded what the census said.”

Furthermore, the numbers Frank are showing for verifiable totals such as ballots cast are simply wrong.

Republican political consultant Ben Engen documents the numerous errors between Frank’s slides and actual vote totals in an April 22 blog post.

Graphic from Engen’s blog showing incorrect ballot total in Frank’s data
“His estimate isn’t just off by nine percent,” writes Engen. “The number he’s using for verification is too! This isn’t an isolated incident, he’s using incorrect ballots cast figures as the basis for his entire analysis. You can’t get a real result when the underlying data you use is wrong.

This isn’t Frank’s first rodeo. He authored a similarly flawed but widely shared Facebook post, “Why is the Epidemic Fading?” last August, which was quickly debunked by the Assciated Press.

In the video, Frank spends a lot of time on Broomfield, noting apparent discrepancies in the charts he created between the supposed number of residents, registered voters, and ballots cast in the 2020 election.

Reached for comment, the Broomfield Elections Division also disputes Frank’s data and calls his analysis, “misinformation.”

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CO Lawmakers, Climate Activists Advocate for Climate Bills With a Two-Ton Earth Ice Sculpture

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ean Thomas Tafoya calls for climate change action centered on environmental justice and racial equity.

By Sean Price, Colorado Times Recorder

Earlier today, to celebrate Earth Day and the beginning of Climate Week, climate advocates and state legislators stated the need for environmental justice and climate legislation in Colorado.

Accompanying them on the west steps of the state Capitol was an ice sculpture of the planet weighing more than two tons. The sculpture was meant to be a symbol of how a changing climate will devastate the planet–a melting sculpture to mirror our melting world.

The weather in Colorado had other plans and the press conference was held through light April snowfall and frigid temperatures. So, the sculpture became a metaphor not for global warming, but instead for another one of climate change’s repercussions: the large-scale shifts in weather patterns happening worldwide.

Ean Thomas-Tafoya, a climate activist and co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum, said the weather does not take away from the event’s goal.

“We’re here celebrating Earth Day and the planet, but it is a cold day. We were hoping for the optics of that melting,” Thomas-Tafoya said, laughing and gesturing to the ice sculpture. “We do want to acknowledge that weather is not the same as climate. Science has told us that there is no doubt we are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change.”

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Boebert Returning To Mar-A-Lago for Another Fundraiser

(So much for draining the swamp – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last Friday, Politico’s Alex Issenstadt reported that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO), along with fellow QAnon-linked Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) and many other members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, will join former President Donald Trump on April 24 for a fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago.

This is the second trip to West Palm Beach in three months for Boebert, who with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) co-headlined a fundraiser for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in February. Gaetz, who is now under investigation for child sex trafficking, is not among those listed on the invitation, despite being both a Floridian and a prominent House Freedom Caucus member.

Besides Boebert and Taylor-Greene, other members of Congress featured at the event are Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Waren Davidson (R-OH). All eight current members voted in favor of blocking President Biden’s election win. Most have openly questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results, despite the fact that all of them were also elected to office on the same ballots. Boebert has continued to promote QAnon-linked conspiracy theories since taking office.

Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (who also previously served in the House) and former Sen. Jim DeMint are also listed. Tickets to the event start at $2,500 per person, with VIP packages available for double that price.

Host Dr. Peter Lamelas is a longtime Trump donor and emergency room physician who founded a chain of urgent care clinics in Florida.

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In Ironic Twist, CO Republicans Refuse to Re-Do “Sham” Election of El Paso GOP Leaders

(All you can say is sham-wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former GOP Chair Congressman Ken Buck exiting stage left.

The Tea Party/Patriot wing of the Colorado Republican Party flexed its collective muscle last Saturday, leaving no doubt who’s in charge of the state GOP.

Despite a video featuring cavalcade of endorsements from nearly two dozen legislative and party officials, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, the establishment’s choice to succeed Congressman Ken Buck as GOP Chair, lost decisively to current Vice-Chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Gessler’s loss wasn’t the day’s only defeat for establishment Republicans, however. GOP Central Committee members, comprised of local and state precinct leaders and delegates, voted Saturday to overturn their own leaders’ decision to order a new election of party officers in El Paso County, after dozens of party members submitted signed statements raising concerns about the voting process, including the El Paso County Sheriff, who called it “a sham.”

The party, whose elected members have introduced multiple bills purporting to strengthen election security based on debunked conspiracies of election fraud, has yet another internal voting controversy within its own ranks.

In a March 17 report, the Colorado GOP Executive Committee ordered a new election for El Paso County GOP officers, to be held within 60 days of the adoption of the report, which was expected to take place at last Saturday’s Central Committee meeting.

The unusual situation stems from objections surrounding current El Paso County Chair Tonkins’ “preregistration” requirements for voting members to participate online.

CPR’s Bente Birkeland reported on some elements of the controversy prior to the meeting, including the very short notice of online pre-registration requirements to be completed a week prior to the meeting date. CPR’s story followed a report by the Colorado Springs Independent’s Heidi Beedle who covered the apparent partnership between Tonkins and extremist militia group FEC United, which was both recruiting voting members to support Tonkins and also supposedly providing security at the event.

Upon reviewing the evidence presented to them, nearly all of the top leaders of the Colorado Republican Party found enough problems with the election that they voted 13-3 to “set aside” the election result and order a do-over.

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Lamborn Lambasted for Saying It’s “Truly Disturbing” to Host Migrant Kids at Air Force Base

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

By Sean Price, Colorado Times Recorder

Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs is being considered by the Department of Defense to host unaccompanied migrant children, and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), whose district includes Colorado Springs, is reportedly not happy about the idea.

“It is truly disturbing that the Biden administration would entertain the possibility of using Peterson Air Force Base as a location to house unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants,” Lamborn told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Peterson is critical to our national security and is home to both Space Command and Northern Command — defense entities with can’t-fail missions that occur daily.”

In the Gazette article a Department of Defense spokesperson responded that the Pentagon only offers this kind of support when it has “no impact on primary missions.”

Since President Joe Biden took office there has been an increase in apprehensions of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A press release by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition included several immigrant advocacy groups and Colorado Springs residents urging the community to create a welcoming environment for the children.

Reverend Nori Rost, local faith leader and member of the Accompaniment & Sanctuary Coalition of Colorado Springs (ASC COS), an immigrant rights advocacy coalition, said in the press release that she was deeply concerned by type of rhetoric Lamborn used.

“It is important for our community, local elected officials, and legislators to educate themselves on these issues instead of perpetuating incomplete narratives about unaccompanied minors and the broader immigrant community,” Rost said.

Despite the increase in unaccompanied minor apprehensions and the backlog of asylum requests, the number of unauthorized immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is lower than it was in 2019.

Whether Peterson Air Force Base is selected, the discussion provides an opportunity to reset the conversation in Colorado surrounding immigration, according to Silvia Hernandez, Colorado Springs resident and a leader of Grupo Esperanza, a grassroots group of undocumented people in the Springs.

“This moment is a chance for Colorado to prioritize humanization over criminalization,” Hernandez said. “As organizers, we’ll do our utmost to ensure our state takes that chance.”

Even if unaccompanied migrant children are housed at Peterson, Jerima King, also from ASC COC, says that more should be done.

“Temporarily housing unaccompanied minors at Peterson is certainly preferable to holding them in a more carceral setting, like a detention center.” King said. “Our immediate priority must be to reunite these children with their families as soon as possible.”

Military bases in Virginia and Texas have also been surveyed as options to temporarily house migrant children.

Lamborn’s office has not yet returned a request to comment on the response from immigration advocacy groups.

Colo Conservative Groups Host Racist & Anti-Muslim Speakers on State Tour

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Professional bigots Katie Hopkins & Trevor Loudon are currently touring Colorado speaking to conservative groups

British speaker Katie Hopkins is a racist, Islamophobic bigot. New Zealand speaker Trevor Louden is an unapologetic anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.

The pair are currently visiting Colorado on an eleven-stop speaking tour organized by former Colorado Republican Party national delegate and promoted by numerous Republican and conservative groups across the state.

Last summer Twitter permanently banned Hopkins for “hateful conduct.”

The former UK reality TV personality had already been suspended more than once for racist tweets such as this one, which she later deleted, stating, “Dear black people. If your lives matter why do you stab and shoot each other so much.”

 

She tweeted the following to a Jewish U.K. politician whom she opposed: “Pollsters say Justine [the leader’s wife] is the least popular of party wives. He might stick her head in the oven and turn on the gas.”

Following the 2017 terror attack by Islamic extremists in Manchester, England, Hopkins called for a “final solution,” using the Nazi term for the Holocaust. She later deleted it, replacing it with one that read “true solution.”

Trevor Loudon is also virulently anti-Muslim, as well as a conspiracy theorist who believes former President Obama was born in Kenya and rose to power as part of a Soviet plot to undermine the United States. He also claims that the deadly Charlottesville rally organized by neo-Nazis and white supremacists was in fact planned by left-wing communists.

Loudon & Hopkins are speaking in Parker tonight, Golden tomorrow, and in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, and Monument next week.

The tour is coordinated by Regina Thompson, a conservative activist who in 2016 served as one of the Colorado Republican Party’s RNC delegates. She also sits on the advisory council of the Colorado Women’s Alliance, a conservative women’s advocacy group.

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Weld Sheriff Tells Anti-Govt Activists Not to Revolt, Then Calls CO Lawmaker a Terrorist

(Unbelievable, except in Steve Reams’ case it’s not – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Colorado House Democrats hit back at Sheriff Steve Reams’ smear:

—–

Weld Sheriff Steve Reams speaks to Keep Colorado Free & Open in Greeley on Mar. 23

Monday evening’s meeting of anti-public health restriction group Keep Colorado Free & Open was a tough room for any elected official, but especially a law enforcement officer, even one as conservative as Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.

Faced with questions about the natural rights of “sovereign beings” to ignore laws, Reams refused to tell them they could take the law into their own hands. Then he called a Colorado state representative “a terrorist.”

A woman declaring herself a “sovereign being” said they didn’t have time to wait until the next election to change leadership, and implored Reams to “take us outside the law.”

“I can’t encourage you to openly revolt against the government,” Reams told the crowd. “Truly, that’s what you’re asking me to say, is openly revolt against the government. I can’t do that.”

The event offered an audience with the Weld Sheriff and a screening of a pandemic conspiracy movie called Nonessential, the trailer for which features Hitler, President Biden, George Soros, Bill Gates, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, concluding with a call to “Stand Up Against Tyranny!” The fifty or so people who gathered in Greeley Monday night to see the movie and hear Reams speak and watch were angry, frustrated, and looking to their Sheriff for sympathetic answers to their desire for taking unrealistic –and often illegal– action.

Reams didn’t give them what they were looking for. Instead did encourage the crowd to focus on grassroots organizing and civic engagement, saying they should channel their obvious passion into public testimony, lawful protests and campaigns for office.

It was at the end of one of these perfectly reasonable responses, in this case to a man who was insisting the Supreme Court’s Marbury v. Madison ruling gives all Americans the right to ignore laws they don’t like, that Reams called State Rep. Leslie Herod (D-Denver) a “terrorist.”

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Colorado Republicans Buck, Boebert, Lamborn & Ganahl Keep Parler & Gab Accounts on the Down-Low

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CU.Regent.Heidi_.Ganahl-1.jpgLike it or not, social media accounts are an indispensable component of all professional communications, but especially for elected officials, who can share their message without having to go through reporters. As a rule, the more attention the better. More followers mean a bigger megaphone to talk directly to constituents.

For Colorado Republicans posting on far-right sites Parler and its even more extreme competitor, Gab, however, it appears there’s an exception to that rule.

None of the three Republican members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, nor University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide Republican elected official, list Parler or Gab among the other social media sites on their websites. The Colorado Times Recorder searched for all of seven of the state’s Members of Congress, as well as both At-Large Regents, but didn’t find Parler or Gab accounts for any of the Democrats.

Both Congressman Ken Buck’s official website and campaign site direct visitors to four social media platforms where people can find him: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Neither mentions a fifth platform, Parler, which until recently was growing in popularity as a far-right anything-goes alternative to mainstream sites.

Buck doesn’t advertise his presence on Parler, but he’s quite active, posting almost daily.

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Promoting QAnon-linked Conspiracy, Boebert Says Resignations Will Soon Allow GOP to Control Congress

(We don’t call her “Q*Bert” for nothing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert put a Q-flavored cherry atop an already controversial town hall last Monday night, when she claimed to have insider knowledge of a QAnon-linked conspiracy theory promoted by The Epoch Times that secret documents declassified in the final days of the Trump administration will expose wrongdoing by Trump’s enemies and lead to resignations and arrests, allowing Republicans to gain a majority in the U.S. House and Senate prior to the 2022 election.

Boebert, a Republican, claims her sources for this are close to Trump.

“And this is my opinion with that information that I have, I believe we will see resignations begin to take place. And I think we can take back the majority in the House and the Senate before 2022 when all of this is ended,” Boebert said at the Montrose event.

Her startling claim, first reported by Dennis Anderson of the Delta County Independent, came in response to the last question of the evening. An unidentified man wanted to know if there will ever be “perp walks” for Hillary Clinton and high-level officials like the former heads of the FBI and CIA.

Listen to the question at the Montrose town hall and Boebert’s answer, in audio recorded by Anderson, here:

Boebert’s belief that a wave of resignations from Congress will allow Republicans to reclaim power before the next election is sure to raise some eyebrows.

The Epoch Times, identified as “a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation” by the New York Times, exploded in size and influence during the Trump administration both by embracing the President and promoting innumerable conspiracy theories, many of which are linked to QAnon. The narrative referenced by Boebert appears to rooted in the “Spygate” and “Russiagate” conspiracy theories, of which The Epoch Times is a huge proponent of both. Per the New York Times:

“The publication has been one of the most prominent promoters of “Spygate,” a baseless conspiracy theory involving claims that Obama administration officials illegally spied on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. Publications and shows linked to The Epoch Times have promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and spread distorted claims about voter fraud…”

Russiagate is a disinformation campaign denying Russian election meddling and falsely claiming that such accusation of such were created by former President Obama and Hillary Clinton to discredit Trump. Neither it nor “Spygate” is factual.

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Boebert: “You Can’t Petition Your Government, You’re An Insurrectionist If You Do”

(Yikes – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At a Republican party meeting in Montrose last night, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert appeared to defend those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying, “We already see in Washington, D.C., you can’t petition your government, you’re an insurrectionist if you do that.”

Boebert’s jaw-dropping statement came towards the end of a longwinded diatribe on “cancel culture,” which began with a Biblical analogy about the persecution of the Hebrews before comparing them to modern-day Democrats she claims want to cancel both Christianity and the Bill of Rights.

“So what amendment is next?” Boebert asked rhetorically. “We already see in Washington, D.C., you can’t petition your government, you’re an insurrectionist if you do that!

The office that I sit in, in the Longworth Building in our nation’s capital isn’t my office. That’s your office. You pay for that office and Nancy Pelosi won’t let you come and petition your government. Speak to me in your office, how disgraceful is that?”

Boebert’s office did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

UPDATE: Following publication, Boebert’s Communications Director Ben Stout issued the following statement:

“Rep. Boebert’s remarks were not referencing the events of January 6th, which Rep. Boebert has repeatedly condemned (see her tweet where she said, “I support…the rule of law, and denounce all acts of violence.”)

Her remarks last night were criticizing the fact that Americans are not allowed to meet with their elected representatives since the Capitol is still surrounded by razor wire. The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) informed the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) on March 15th that ‘there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.’”

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Former CO Sec. of State Gessler Brags About Engineering Negative Press Coverage of Current SOS

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

During a GOP chair forum hosted by an election-fraud conspiracy group, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler bragged about being responsible for a negative news report about the current Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Asked to list his unpaid work on behalf of the Colorado GOP during the last election, Gessler ticked off a number of activities including candidate training, fundraising and media work.

He then claimed credit for a Colorado Public Radio story about Griswold, a Democrat, that Gessler described as containing, “a lot of bad information about her.”

“I actually did it. I made sure [Colorado Public Radio] got it,” said Gessler at the GOP forum.

He didn’t explicitly name the headline, but an Oct. 9 Colorado Public Radio story that explored a rift between county clerks and Griswold seems far and away the most likely story.

Gessler, who is quoted in a similar Denver Post story published the previous day saying bluntly, “She does not know her (expletive),” did not return a call requesting comment and confirmation as to which CPR story he was referring to.

Reached by phone, CPR investigative reporter Ben Markus said he could neither confirm nor deny Gessler’s claims.

“Also in the media, you’ll remember, for example, I worked on a fair amount of media behind the scenes,” Gessler began. “Colorado Public Radio did that piece on the Secretary of State Donetta Dav– I’m sorry, Jena Griswold. There was a lot of bad information about her. There was a way that that got in Colorado Public Radio’s hands. And I helped make sure that that–I actually did it. I made sure they got it…

And I’ll tell you, I spent probably 10 to 15 hours over the last two weeks talking to a number of Republican clerks and recorders, walking them through how to do the ClearBallot review of Dominion, how to deal with the public policy implications and the PR side. I’m the guy that they call.”

(more…)

Unions Thank Hick and Bennet for Voting for $15 Minimum Wage

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

by Gabrielle Bye, Colorado Times Recorder

Freshman U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) is receiving praise from unions for his vote Friday to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

It wasn’t clear that the Democrat would vote for a hike to the federal wage, because unlike the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation, he hadn’t cosponsored the Raise the Wage Act, a standalone bill that would raise the standard federal minimum wage, as well as the minimum wage for workers under 20 years of age, workers with disabilities, and tipped workers.

He’d also told the Wall Street Journal last month that he was worried about the repercussions a $15 minimum wage could have on small businesses.

However, last week his office told the Colorado Times Recorder that he does support a federal wage increase–and he walked the walk, voting in favor last Friday of an amendment to the COVID stimulus bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

The amendment failed to pass 42-58 in the longest known Senate vote, coming in at 11 hours and 50 minutes.

The minimum-wage amendment was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who caucuses with Democrats.

The amendment was also called the Raise the Wage Act, and was identical to the standalone bill by the same name.

Progressives were hoping to pass the minimum wage hike as part of the American Rescue Plan Act because it might have stood a better chance of passing than a separate bill. But some moderate Democrats’ decisions to vote against it showed that Democrats presently have little hope of getting a majority on board with this particular legislation, let alone the majority of 60 that they need to pass it.

Colorado essential workers rallied outside Hickenlooper’s Denver office last week demanding he vote in favor of the wage increase.

Following the senator’s vote, those workers in partnership with the SEIU Local 105–a union representing essential workers–thanked Hickenlooper in a press release.

Hickenlooper ran a presidential campaign last year on his own idea of what a national wage increase should look like.

His idea was that the wage should be increased proportionally to the living expenses of the area, so “the most expensive quarter of the country would get a $15 minimum wage by 2021, and the least expensive would see that hike in 2024,” according to CPR–a much more expedited timeline than Sanders’ proposal.

A Hickenlooper spokesperson told the Colorado Times Recorder that Hickenlooper will continue to support and fight for a $15 minimum.

“Senator Hickenlooper supports raising the minimum wage to $15 and voted to allow this important issue to advance in the Senate,” the spokesperson said. “It’s unacceptable that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised in over a decade, and he is eager to work with his colleagues to change this unjust reality.”

It’s unclear whether Hickenlooper plans to introduce any legislation in the future similar to that in his presidential campaign, and if he still holds any reservations regarding the impact on small businesses.

Representatives of local Colorado unions are pleased with Hickenlooper’s support of better labor laws, and encouraged him to continue supporting essential workers during the pandemic.

Lauren Martens, executive director of SEIU Colorado State Council, expects to see more of Hickenlooper’s efforts in the future.

“We appreciate Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper listening to workers and voting to give over 550,000 Coloradans a raise to $15 an hour,” Martens told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Working people need our Senators to keep fighting for $15 until it passes, and not let archaic Senate processes get in the way.”

Hilary Glasgow, executive director of Colorado WINS, a union that represents state employees, says Colorado needs “bold, transformative solutions” in addition to the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We need bold, transformative solutions because Congress has more work to do for essential workers,” Glasgow told the Colorado Times Recorder. “