Pandemic Shows Danger of Trump Plan to Give States Grants for Health Care, Say Colo Experts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner.

Earlier this year, just before the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration launched a program allowing states opt out of traditional Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people, and instead receive a block grant from the federal government.

Trump’s block-grant program, widely seen as a back-door way of killing Obamacare, is billed as giving states more flexibility to address local needs because it allows them to spend the federal dollars with far fewer restrictions.

The pandemic has shown why the Medicaid-block-grant idea, which has been backed in the past by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and other Colorado Republicans, is a bad idea, say experts.

One of the great benefits of Medicaid, they say, is its ability to expand quickly to meet the demands of a health care crisis, like the coronavirus pandemic.

Ross Brooks, who directs Mountain Family Health Centers in Colorado’s central mountains, says block grants don’t end up giving states more flexibility, primarily because they create spending caps that can be devastating to local health care systems, especially in rural areas like he serves.

In a pandemic like this one, the spending caps could prevent budget-strapped states from adding citizens to their Medicaid rolls–because states could easily burn through the grant money, said Brooks during a press conference organized Thursday by Protect Our Care, a progressive advocacy group.



A Big-Headed Wood Product to Star in Documentary

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

One of the many surprisingly effective qualities of the cardboard cutout of U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), which was built to highlight the senator’s decision not to hold town-hall meetings for years, is how photogenic it is, especially when it interacts with real humans.

When people see the smiling cardboard cutout, at an event or on the street, they’re drawn to it, to take selfies, make comments, stick out their tongues, laugh, yell.

“I’ve made so many phone calls to you, Cory. Where have you been?”

“Why did you take so much money from the NRA?”

“Do you even like Colorado? We haven’t seen you in a really long time.”

So it’s a brilliant plan of anti-Gardner activists to create a series of online videos, and a short documentary, starring…Cardboard Cory.

The purpose of the videos, says Indivisible Front Range Resistance organizer Katie Farnan, is to build a volunteer base for phone banking, texting, or whatever can be done activist-wise in the new COVID-19 campaign world.

So Farnan and filmmaker Nick Rosen are turning Cardboard Cory into a recruiter.

“People see Cardboard Cory and want to be part of this awesome thing we created,” said Farnan. “They want to join us. Cardboard Cory makes it okay to get involved.”

To give us a taste of what’s to come, Indivisible has released a teaser titled, of course, “Cardboard Cory.”

It opens with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow saying Gardner’s “constituents have not seen much of him,” noting that at the time the senator hadn’t held a town hall meeting in “486 days, seven hours, ane 20 minutes, not that they are counting or anything.”



Mask-Dissing Buck Posts Photo of Himself Wearing a Mask with Fellow Congressmen

(Better late than…wait, that’s not how this works – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Now somebody get the word to Vice President Mike Pence:

Pray the COVID away? That’s not going to cut it now that even Ken Buck is wearing one.


When you’ve been writing coronavirus stories and almost nothing else for a month (and seeing your wife, mother, and almost no one else), you naturally wonder if you’re hallucinating when you see an April 21 Facebook photo of fully-masked Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) on an airplane–after you were sure he said the week before that he had no plans to wear a mask on an airplane trip to Washington D.C.

But there’s Buck, in an airplane, showing off his mask with fellow Colorado Congressmen Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter, both Democrats.

“Staying safe with some familiar faces on the flight to DC.,” Buck wrote on his Facebook page along with the photo. “We’ll be debating and voting on the next phase of federal funding in the fight against COVID-19 this week.”

Did Buck’s view of the science behind the mask-wearing change? Did he feel peer pressure from his Democratic Colleagues? That’s not known because Buck didn’t return my call.

But we know that the week before he posted this photo of himself and the other Congressmen, Buck boasted to conservatives that no mask would cover his face on an upcoming airplane trip to Washington.

“I’ll be getting on a plane on Monday and heading back to DC, I have no plans on wearing a mask,” he said April 11 in response to KNUS radio host Randy Corporon’s question, “Do you ever wear a mask when you are out in public?” (Listen below.)

Buck, whom some began calling His Masklessness, did not return my calls a couple weeks ago asking for a science-based justification for not wearing a mask during an airline trip.

There’s some debate about the danger of improperly worn or handled masks, and leading scientists question the utility of masks in areas that are not crowded.

But not wearing a mask on an airplane?

I was hoping Buck, whose actions and comments on COVID-19 have raised eyebrows previously, would return my call today, because he might have an approach to protection from COVID-19 that’s masked by his conflicting statements and actions about masks–which I’ve not been able to figure out from his public statements.

He’s not against all mask-wearing, judging from the fact that he told Corporon that he wore a mask when he collected items from people for a food drive.

And he’s said masks might be part of what’s needed as Americans go back to work.

So Buck is clearly less mask-hating than his initial statement about not wearing a mask on an airplane trip would lead you to believe.

And the photo from the plane confirms this.

Buck would do us all a favor by explaining himself.

Here’s Buck saying April 11 that he has no plans to wear a mask on an airplane:


Colo GOP Elects Tea Party Activist to Nat’l Post

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Randy Corporon.

If you’re looking for smoke signals that Colorado Republicans will moderate their views to appeal to Unaffiliated voters who decide Colorado elections these days, stop reading this post now.

The Colorado Republican Party just elected a leading Tea Party activist to represent the Colorado GOP on a national Republican National Convention committee.

The obscure vote, by GOP delegates from counties across the state at the online Colorado Republican Party convention, featured a classic battle among candidates representing the establishment, moderate, and Tea Party patriot elements of the party.

And the Tea Party emerged victorious, in the form of KNUS talk-radio host and lawyer Randy Corporon, who’s a founder of the Arapahoe County Tea Party.

Corporon crushed his closest opponent, former state Senate President Bill Cadman, by a 41% to 22% margin. Other losing candidates, representing different party factions, were Andy Jones (18%) and Eli Bremer (15%) and Farid Jalil (3%).

Corporon’s victory marked a win for House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, who endorsed Corporon as a skilled grassroots organizer whom “we need at this time and place.” Former GOP State Sen. Ted Harvey also endorsed Corporon, calling him a “hero of mine.”

Former Colorado lawmaker Greg Brophy waged a high-profile campaign against Corporon, tweeting at one point, “Randy Corporon walked out on President Trump at the RNC in 2016. Should he be our RNC committeeman?”

But the fact that Corporon had the endorsement of the Trump Campaign apparently put to rest fears that Corporon, a Cruz delegate in 2016, was anti-Trump.

Brophy backed Cadman who’s seen as a moneyed establishment figure in the party.


Ken Buck Will Defy Polis and Attend Church May 3

(God helps those who don’t screw themselves – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Saying “we will not get through this mess without the blessing of God,” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) told a conservative radio host Thursday that he will apparently defy Gov. Jared Polis’ (D-CO) orders and go to church May 3, one week from this Sunday.

“We don’t get through this without prayer,” Buck told conservative KOA radio host Mandy Connell Thursday. “And that’s something that I think a lot of our leaders miss, that we can have the best medical technology possible, but without the blessing of God, we will not get through this mess.”

“And we need to get back to our churches and make sure that we pray as a group,” continued Buck, saying, “I don’t care if I have to wear a SCUBA outfit to my church, I’m going to church on May 3rd.”

Polis issued revised orders this week that relaxed his previous stay-at-home order, but his rules still prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.

Buck did not return a call seeking to know if he’d talked to health experts about his plan to attend church–and for details about the size, location, and social-distancing practices of his church congregation.

Much of Buck’s district covers Weld County, which has suffered the third most COVID-19 deaths among Colorado counties, but 9News reported yesterday that Weld County Commissioners also plan to defy Polis’ order, giving more businesses the option of opening on Monday, if they follow social-distancing guidelines.

But Weld County will continue to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people, which would presumably include Buck’s church.



Colo Rally Against Stay-at-Home Order Was ‘Effective,’ Says Trump Adviser

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Calling COVID-19 an “urban disease” and an “old person’s disease,” Trump adviser Stephen Moore praised Colorado’s weekend protest against stay-at-home orders as “effective” in advancing Moore’s goal of reopening the economy quickly.

“I saw some of the photos of what happened there in Colorado this week,” Moore told KCOL radio Monday, commenting that “people should do the social distancing.”

“But I think those [protests] are so effective,” said Moore on air, apparently trying to encourage the conservative talk radio audience, because there’s no evidence that the rally had any impact beyond headline-grabbing. “This is a basic right of Americans to protest government policy. And frankly, I think a lot of these decisions are real injustices.”



“If Coloradans can protest safely, please rest assured we can return to work safely,” Say Colo GOP Lawmakers

(The stupid burns like a fever – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Twenty-four state lawmakers sent a letter to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) Monday, calling for a county-by-county approach to re-opening the state and alleging that protesters practicing safe social distancing over the weekend proved that the state can re-open safely.

“If Coloradans can protest safely, please rest assured we can return to work safely,” stated the letter.

But a review of multiple photographs from Sunday’s re-open Colorado rally in front of the Capitol showed that participants failed miserably at social distancing.

“Over this weekend, thousands of Coloradans took to the streets to protest the economic shutdown,” stated the letter. “Some of these protests involved ‘cruising North Ave.’ in Grand Junction; others rallied on the steps of the Capitol. Protesters found clever ways to socially distance and protest the closing of nonessential businesses.”

The 24 state representatives, includimg House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, argued in their letter that “Coloradans are done with mass quarantining” and that the statewide stay-at-home order should be replaced by a “county model.”

Polis announced Monday that Colorado would begin a phased removal of some restrictions April 27, not in response to Republican demands, but because state health officials believe a partial easing, described as a move from “stay at home” to “stay safer at home,” is acceptable from a public health perspective. Restaurants and bars might be able to re-open in some capacity in mid-May, Polis said.

Many Republican leaders have been attacking Polis’ orders from the get-go.

Neville aggressively attacked his own local public health entity, Tri-County Health, which issued its own first shelter-in-place directive, a day before the statewide order. Neville called the order “completely insane,” and called on Douglas County to terminate its contract with Tri-County Health because of the order.

The following day, Senate Republicans denounced Polis’ stay-at-home order, stating in a letter signed by 14 of 16 state senators, “Despite many of our constituents’ expressed concerns over the last two weeks, we have resisted publicly critiquing you, your office, and your efforts, but we must formally express to you our disappointment in your ‘Stay-at-Home’ order issued on Wednesday afternoon.”

Yesterday’s letter concluded, “The House Republicans look forward to re-opening Colorado for business on a county-by-county basis starting on April 26th. Colorado has been a leader in innovative solutions to complex problems and we look forward to working with you to get Coloradans back to work. We share the common goal of a successful populace with families living the Colorado Way. It is time to make that a reality again!”

State Democratic leaders called the weekend’s GOP protests irresponsible.

“Our health care workers put their lives on the line to fight this pandemic, and now they’re facing irresponsible protests egged on by our very own president and Republican state leaders,” Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll said in a statement Tuesday.


“Save our Liberty. Save our Economy.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A conservative talk radio host and former spokeswoman for a failed effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) is helping spread the word about, which is encouraging Colorado businesses to open May 1, whether or not they have government authorization to do so.

Karen Kataline appeared this morning on conservative 710-AM radio to urge listeners to promote MayDay-Colorado and watch for the initiative’s banner at a drive-by “gridlock” rally in downtown from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19.

“Guess what? We are opening for business on May Day, the old socialist holiday,” said Kataline on air. “We are taking it back, and we don’t need the governor’s permission. We are on solid constitutional ground.”

There’s no evidence that Polis’ order to shut down non-essential businesses to protect public health faces any serious constitutional challenge.

A MayDay-Colorado flyer available for download states: “Business Independence Day” and “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Save our Liberty. Save our Economy.”

Kataline said people should drive by the “gridlock” protest tomorrow and view the banner.

Kataline, who substitutes for regular hosts on talk radio stations in the metro area, said last month that the response to the virus has been marked by hysteria.

Polis has said that if the virus were to run rampant, it would do more damage to the economy than the efforts to try to fight it, as Colorado is doing.

Reached by phone, Kataline said she is not a spokeswoman for the group. She called the radio show to get the word out, she said.

Greg Lopez, a former mayor of Parker who’s already announced his candidacy to oppose Polis in the next gubernatorial election, came up with the idea to push back with small businesses and open May 1 regardless of state directives, said Kataline. She also said social distancing would be respected.

Lopez did not immediately return a call for comment.


GOP Leader Patrick Neville Has Ties to Group Promoting Protest to Open Businesses

(COVID4America! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Citizen Press, an anonymous conservative blog whose sponsors include Take Back Colorado, a political committee tied to Republican State House Leader Patrick Neville, published an item this morning that promotes two protests on Sunday calling on Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) to allow businesses to open, despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Yesterday, Colorado Citizen Press emailed a “special message from our sponsor,” Take Back Colorado, stating, “If you agree that Polis has done enough damage to Colorado’s economy… please chip in to help us elect conservatives who will support economic and personal freedom.

The Take Back Colorado email linked to a donation page featuring a “POLIS POLICE STATE SURVEY” that asked, “Do you think it’s time for Polis to lift his lockdown order and let Coloradans get back to work?”

Take Back Colorado is run by Rearden Strategic, widely known to be run by Patrick Neville’s brother Joe Neville.

Efforts to find out if Patrick Neville plans to attend the protest–and for comment on this article– were not successful.

A Facebook page for one of Sunday’s protests, called Operation Gridlock Denver and set for 1 p.m. at the Capitol, shows 323 people going and 1,400 as interested. It’s hosted by the Libertarian Party of El Paso County, Victoria Reynolds 2020, and Peace, Love, and Hippie Juice.

Several Colorado Republicans have either RSVP’d or indicated interest in attending, including House Minority Caucus Chair Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs), Republican candidate for HD63 Pastor Corey Seulean, and former legislators Ted Harvey and Gordon Klingenschmitt.

The second event starts at 2 p.m at the same location and is hosted by the Libertarian Party of Colorado. A Facebook page for this event shows 72 people going, 268 interested.



What About People Who Refuse a COVID-19 Vaccine?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Lori Saine (R).

If a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, what about so-called “anti-vaxxers” who refuse it for religious or philosophical reasons?

It turns out Colorado, where vaccinations are currently recommended but not required for adults, has the authority to force you to roll up your sleeve and get the shot.

But experts say it’s more likely Colorado would have to deal with vaccine shortages, especially in communities with inferior health-care access, than with people who refuse vaccinations for non-medical reasons.

If people refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, for whatever reason, they could be forced into quarantine if circumstances necessitate.

Colorado Could Mandate a Vaccine

“States are the proper bodies to impose a vaccination mandate,” wrote Michelle Mello, Professor of Law and Medicine at Stanford Law School, in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder. “The federal government could lean on them in various ways to create incentives for them to do so, but the requirement would come from them.”

“There is precedent to extend vaccination mandates beyond schoolchildren–e.g., recently, the NYC health commissioner ordered everyone in certain Brooklyn zip codes who was not up to date with measles vaccinations to get them. A court had little difficulty finding the order reasonable in light of the fact that there was a serious measles outbreak in those neighborhoods.”



BUCK: America Is Developing a “Bailout Mentality” Due to COVID-19 Gov’t Help

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

When U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) gets on a plane Monday, to head back to Washington, he has “no plans” to wear a mask.

That should surprise no one who’s been paying attention to the Colorado Congressman, who said last month that it’s “just craziness” to shut down businesses due to COVID-19.

Now Buck is saying that assistance being rolled out by the federal government is causing a “bailout mentality” in America.

“What are we doing to young people who see the bailout mentality that we are developing in this country,” Buck asked Saturday on KNUS 710-AM’s “Wake Up” with Randy Corporon.

Buck acknowledged the impact of the disease in America, saying, “It is a serious problem, and people are dying.”

But he advocated for different public-policy response.

“The point is, how do we develop a strategy so that we can isolate those most at risk, and at the same time go about our business? Do we wear masks to work? Do we ask restaurants to leave every other table free?”

Buck made his KNUS radio appearance the day before Easter, and he said he was resentful about the restrictions on attending services.

“I just really resent the fact that I cannot be with my fellow Christians in my church celebrating the resurrection of my savior,” said Buck on air.


“Medical Tyranny:” Republicans Vote Against Vaccine Mandates, Despite Virus

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ex-Rep. JoAnn Windholz (center).

As scientists across the globe are racing to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, Republicans in key Colorado counties voted overwhelmingly in recent weeks against any state vaccination requirements for children or anyone else.

In a platform position passed by a 58 to 19 vote last week, the Adams County, Colorado, Republican Party, condemned “any form of mandated vaccinations.

Asked about the plank, JoAnn Windholz, Chair of the Adams County Republican Party, told the Colorado Times Recorder that the resolution was about the “parents’ right to choose what’s best for their children,” and it would apply to “any type of shot.”

If a coronavirus vaccine were developed, parents should decide whether their child should be vaccinated, said Windholz, a former Colorado Republican lawmaker from Adams County, which is north of Denver, adding that the resolution was not passed in response to the pandemic.

“It has to be the parents’ decision,” she said.

Colorado allows parents to opt out of vaccination requirements for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons, but many states do not have such nonmedical exemptions.

The Adams County resolution reads, in full: “Be it resolved that the Colorado Republican Party condemn any form of mandated vaccinations; support the right for all citizens to accept or decline any or all vaccinations; condemns any use of tracking systems to track citizens based on vaccination status; condemn discrimination against citizens based on their vaccination status; and supports the rights of citizens to live free of tracking and discrimination (medical tyranny).”

Republicans in El Paso County, which is located around Colorado Springs and has more GOP voters than any other county in the state, passed two resolutions that reject vaccination requirements, without exceptions.

One resolution titled, “Parents’ Rights to Choose Vaccinations” minces no words in stating that the El Paso County Republicans “condemn government mandated vaccinations that are against an individual’s, religious, philosophical or medical beliefs; including parents’ rights to choose all, or no, vaccinations for their children.”



Arapahoe County GOP Removes Candidate from Ballot for Not Being a Republican

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Arapahoe County Republicans booted a state House candidate from the ballot after discovering he was not registered as a Republican, which disqualifies him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.


The candidate, Steve Monahan, announced his run for the House District 3 seat back in February, and it took about a month for Arapahoe County Republicans to discover that Monahan was registered as an Unaffiliated voter and to remove his name from the ballot prior to assembly, which began Saturday, according to a source.

The decision left Bill Klocek as the only candidate for assembly delegates to choose from on the ballot, and he got 100% of the 56 votes tallied, according to results distributed by Arapahoe County Republicans.

A call to Monahan, a pilot, seeking to know if he thought he was treated fairly by the Arapahoe County Republicans was not returned.

Klocek did not immediately return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder.


Frolich was appointed to the House District 3 seat by fellow Democrats after Jeff Bridges resigned to fill a state Senate vacancy. Bridges beat Republican Toren Mushovik in 2018 by 23 percentage points.

House District 3 covers parts Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, and Greenwood Village. It’s currently represented by Democrat Meg Froelich.


Gardner Delivered ‘Historic Unemployment,’ says GOP Ad

(D’oh! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Most politicians like to boast that they deliver jobs.

But if you believe an advertisement this week, the Colorado Republican Party thinks people will vote for U.S. Cory Gardner (R-CO) if they’re convinced he delivered “historic unemployment.”

The Colorado Republican Party did not return an email asking if the ad was supposed to state that Gardner delivered “historically low unemployment,” a claim that would be further from the truth but is closer to Gardner’s normal talking points, say progressive labor leaders.

The ad, which appeared in Colorado Politics, a weekly online and print publication, reads, “CORY GARDNER DELIVERED MORE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, HISTORIC UNEMPLOYMENT, PUBLIC LAND PROTECTION.”

Jared Wright, Publisher of Colorado Politics, said in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder that his publication was not responsible for the text of the advertisement.

“Wow – that sure is a typo,” Wright emailed after being alerted to the apparent error. “It was delivered to us by the advertiser that way. We did not perform the design. That said, I will let them know to send a new file. Thanks for catching that.”

Asked to comment on the GOP ad, Dennis Dougherty, director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said, “Cory Gardner did deliver working Coloradans something: historically low pay.” The AFL-CIO gave Gardner a zero rating on key votes in 2018 in support of working families.

In fact, 44 percent of American workers barely earn enough to live on, according to a January Brookings report.


GOP State House Candidate Faces Possible Disqualification

(Oops – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A Republican race for an Arapahoe County legislative seat could be headed toward turmoil, as one of the two candidates is registered as an Unaffiliated voter, potentially disqualifying him from running for office as a Republican under Colorado law.

Steve Monahan and Bill Klocek are facing off for the state House District 3 seat, which covers swaths of Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, and Greenwood Village. It’s currently represented by Democrat Meg Froelich.

It’s Monahan who’s officially an Unaffiliated voter, according to records obtained from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, which also contains information about rules that prohibit a candidate from running for office with a party without being a member of that party. Colorado law states that a candidate must be registered with the party they are running with by the first business day in January of the election year.

Lack of appropriate party registration isn’t the only element of Monahan’s candidacy filing that appears to be out of order. Each candidate must submit a signed affidavit that lists contact information, including a physical and addresses. Monahan lists a Greenwood Village UPS Store post office box for both sections.

The results of the Arapahoe County Republican Party’s assembly, which was conducted online, are not available on the party’s website. An email to the party chair asking for the results, was not returned Wednesday.

If Monahan loses the assembly vote, then his registration as an Unaffiliated voter is irrelevant.



“Let’s Take Some Risk Here,” says Michael “Heck’ve a Job” Brownie about Virus

(Yes, really – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Bush talks as FEMA director Mike Brown, right, looks on, during a briefing on damage from Hurricane Katrina in Mobile, Ala., Friday, Sept. 2, 2005

Michael Brown, best known for being told by President George W. Bush that he was doing a “heck’ve a job” during the Katrina disaster, sits behind a radio microphone during the pandemic, fearful for the country, not because of the death toll, but because he thinks politicians are over-reacting.

“I think the cure is worse than the disease, and so I fear for the country,” said Brown on his KOA 850-AM radio show in Denver last week.

“Let’s take some risk here,” said Brown on air, apparently unconcerned that his listeners might laugh at the irony that the guy who led the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Katrina would advocate risk-taking during a national emergency.

Brown was forced to resign as FEMA director in 2005, as the death toll from Katrina mounted. Before the scope of the disaster unfolded, President George W. Bush infamously told “Brownie” he was doing a “Heck’ve a job,” and the nickname stuck.

On Thursday’s show, Brown declared that Americans understand that they have to “keep six feet away from each other,” use “knuckles to push elevator buttons,” and to not “pick your nose.”

“The vulnerable population, those with chronic underlying problems, suppressed immune systems, whatever it might be,” concluded Brown, “so let’s isolate and take care of them.”

For Brown, who’s been active in Colorado’s Republican community after leaving Washington, the larger issue is about stopping progressives.



Republicans Staged “Drive-Thru” Convention Saturday

(For pity’s sake – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: The event occurred Saturday and was likely legal because it was related to an election, even if it could have been avoided.


El Paso County, Colo, Republicans are apparently moving ahead with a “drive-thru” county convention Saturday, involving some 1,500 GOP voters, many elderly.

The delegates will drive to a Colorado Springs parking lot, where volunteers will verify their names in a computer and hand them a paper ballot.

Then the Republicans will fill out their paper ballots, ratifying already-elected delegates for the state convention, a larger gathering to be held later. They will then return the ballots to the same volunteers in the parking lot.

While this drive-through process avoids the usual congregation of 1,500 people in a room, it’s still dangerous and could be avoided, say other El Paso Republicans.

They worry that Republican delegates, who will come from all over the Colorado Springs area, will carpool to the site together, possibly infecting one another with COVID-19. The carpooling issue is particularly likely given the advanced age of many delegates, say critics.

Passing around hundreds of potentially virus-carrying ballots also makes no sense, say critics, who argue that entire process could be easily avoided with a virtual election, as was already conducted in Colorado Springs Senate District 10 and House District 16–and is currently underway in House District 15, 19, and Commissioner District 2, using email addresses to credential voters.

They also argue that the drive-through election is pointless because it involves nothing that’s contested; it’s a process to ratify delegates for the state assembly, where voting will take place.

El Paso Republicans believe their “Drive-Thru” assembly is allowed under a law signed March 20, giving them flexibility in conducting such political conventions. The law allows for conducting assemblies remotely but does not require this, saying, “a party may amend its bylaws as necessary in 2020 to provide for remote access to and participation in party assemblies and conventions.”

The El Paso Republican Party, which is a private group, apparently does not believe Polis’ subsequent stay-at-home order makes this event illegal. 

Activities related to elections are considered essential and allowed under the stay-at-home order.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder’s office did not immediately return a call seeking to know if he’d stop the drive-through event in light of Polis’ order. The El Paso County sheriff’s website states, “Our goal is to minimize public exposure to the virus, while carrying out our mission to protect public safety in El Paso County.” 

This week, El Paso Republicans distributed a document, titled “YOU are the life of the Party,” announcing that the event might be cancelled due to the stay-at-home order.

But El Paso County Republican leader, Vicki Tonkins, wrote that she hoped it would be held.

“As Republicans, we do not do well when our God given rights are infringed upon,” wrote Tonkins.

“My hope is that we will be able to continue with our plans,” wrote Tonkins. “This is essential to ‘Keep America Great.'”

With respect to Gov. Jared Polis’ (D-CO) stay-at-home order, Tonkins told fellow Republicans she will decide whether to abide it, and she said she will not tell anyone what they should do.

Tonkins did not return an email seeking to know if the event was canceled, if she was concerned about safety, what safety measures were being taken, and why/if she thought it was a legal gathering.


The Top Arguments Colo Conservatives Are Using to Oppose Gov’t Efforts to Fight Coronavirus

(None of them are GOOD arguments — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here’s a summary of how conservatives are justifying their opposition to government efforts to save people from getting sick or dying form COVID-19.

Get the Government Out of the Way

“As a conservative, I know governments don’t solve problems. They typically create more. A free people operating with individual liberty is best to solve problems,” former Colorado State Sen. Tim Neville, a Republican, opined yesterday, in an opinion piece that concludes with the line, “Get Out of Our Way and Let Us Get Back to Work.”

Stop Socialism

Some conservatives would rather take their chances with coronavirus than socialism, which they see in government aid and assistance to fight the virus. “I understand that nobody wants to catch Coronavirus but statistically, even if you catch it you’re likely to be just fine,” said Weld County, Colorado, Sheriff Steve Reams on Facebook. “What I’m concerned with is our Country catching a huge case of socialism.”

My Expert Says Not to Worry!

Notorious right-wing talk radio host Peter Boyles said Monday he wasn’t worried about taking his grandchild, whom Boyles is helping home school, to a playground where “bazillions of kids” are “touching the slides” because he had a doctor on his show who told him the sun will kill the virus. [There’s no evidence for this.]

Say No to Overreach

“It doesn’t have to come from a government mandate,” said Kevin Lundberg, a former Colorado state senator who suggested the health orders were “overreach.”

Let Individuals Decide

“Personally, just speaking for myself, there’s probably any number of restaurants that I would go into,” said Colorado State Rep. Liston of Colorado Springs. “I would be very cognizant of my surroundings, to make sure everything is swabbed down, not just with a dirty dish towel.”

Fight the Stealth Government Takeover

Being told to stay home or not go to restaurants is a step government should not take. “It is an action taken by the worldview that the state should control individual behavior,” state Rep. Mark Baisley of Colorado Springs told the Denver Chanel. “Let’s remember who we are as Americans and defeat this virus as Americans — not as ignorant subjects in need of an overlord.”

The Dems Are Really Out to Get Trump!

This one has faded as Trump himself acknowledged the danger of coronavirus—even as the president says we have to open everything up in two weeks.

Give Me Liberty or Give me Coronavirus

This is emerging as a prime objection, as stay-at-home orders spread across the country. “Over and over again what we are seeing is an overreaction to a very serious situation, and that overreaction is now causing some serious civil liberties issues,” said Colorado Congressman Ken Buck. “We are telling people they can’t go to church. We are telling people they can’t hold political rallies. We are telling people that, as the result of a disease that is not targeting younger populations, they can’t go to school. [COVID-19 is found in young people.] We are in the midst of a panic that is creating irrational responses,” the congressman told The Denver Post. He describes himself as “not a good example of someone who avoids social contact,” and has in recent days continued to shake hands with constituents.

Let Old People Die

You find some people in the conservative underworld floating the idea that it’s not worth it to save the lives of people with short life expectancies, at the expense of the economy and business. “It’s the Pansy-demic,” said Chuck Bonniwell, the conservative publisher of a suburban newspaper in Denver. … “The people who it’s killing are costing society huge amounts of money… Their death is not hurting the economy, it’s enabling the economy. But we are never allowed to discuss those things.”

The “Cure” Is Worse than the “Problem.”


The president’s comment, more than anything else, seems to have given fellow Republicans the strength to speak up about what they see as misguided anti-coronavirus measures—and now potential and current coronavirus victims may suddenly feel as if they are under widespread attack, either directly or indirectly, like so many other vulnerable people in Trump’s America.


Neville: Lawmakers Will Fight ‘Outlandish’ Stay-At-Home Order

Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.

“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, referring to the stay-at-home order, as first reported on 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized [due to coronavirus]. I mean, look, there is a real shortage on things like [protection equipment], the masks and stuff like that for hospital workers, because global supply chains have been disrupted, a real shortage on ventilators and things like that.  Those are kind of the real issues we need to be facing.”

The Tri-County Health Department explained its reasoning in the stay-at-home order:

“Although a large portion of the individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic persons with COVID-19 may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk,” states the order. “A large surge in the number of persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system to deliver consistent and necessary healthcare to the public. Colorado is experiencing a rapid increase COVID-19 transmission, and it is threatening the health of residents and threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system in Colorado, including within TCHD’s district [which includes Neville’s district].”

Neville did not return a call seeking to find out if he disagrees with the order’s assessment of COVID-19 in Colorado and, if so, on what basis he disagrees.

Neville said he and other state lawmakers representing Douglas County would be leaning on county commissioners to terminate the county’s agreement with the Tri-County Health Department, which issued the stay-at-home order for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties.

This morning, Neville and other Republican lawmakers, one of whom is quarantined after testing positive for the virus, sent a letter to Douglas County commissioners urging them to cut ties with TCHD, as first reported by Denver’s 7.

The letter calls the stay-at-home order “heavy-handed.”

“We’ll push back,” said Neville on air. “I mean, at least I think all of us in the Douglas County delegation, we’re going to be looking to our commissioners to terminate the contract with Tri-County. I don’t think un-elected bureaucrats [at the Tri-County Health Department] should be making this decision. I think Castle Rock probably has the authority through home rule, which is constitutional authority rather than a statutory authority, to push back on this as well. So, that’s what I’m working on, because people just lost their minds. This order is outlandish and outrageous. It’s going to cause even more harm, because now it’s going to cause a run on all the stores.”

Neville pointed to one alleged member of the Tri-County Health Department board as an example of why the board was ill-equipped to make the stay-home decision.

“I mean, to give an example, I think one of them is a maintenance worker for some building and doesn’t even know what a mill levy or bond is,” said Neville. “So, he’s not, like, a super professional doctor or anything.”

It was not clear whom Neville was referring to, as the board’s members are health professionals.


Agency Criticized by GOP Leader for Delaying Gun Purchases Says It’s Keeping Staff Safe

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

In response to Colorado House Republican Leader Patrick Neville’s concern about an “unacceptable” two-day delay in issuing background checks required for new gun purchases, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which conducts the background checks, says it’s “balancing our statutory responsibilities with the need to keep our employees safe.”

“Gun purchases are at unprecedented levels, and although we’ve taken all the steps we can to keep up (see previous news release), demand is outstripping our ability to complete the background checks in the 5-8 minutes to which [firearms dealers] and gun buyers have become accustomed,” stated the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in a statement to the Colorado Times Recorder. “Like any prudent business, we staff for normal anticipated demand, and the current load is far beyond ‘normal.’  Right now we’re balancing our statutory responsibilities with the need to keep our employees safe.”

Neville, a Castle Rock Representative, issued a statement last week calling on Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to do “whatever necessary to shorten the lines and expedite the process for a quick checkout.”

“These drawn-out wait times are unacceptable,” wrote Neville.

Neville did not return a call this morning seeking to know if he was satisfied with the CBI’s explanation for the background-check delays as being due to safety precautions and high volume.

In a news release yesterday, the CBI said that it’s faced an “historic volume of request for background checks,” up 227% last week from the same week last year. The agency received 25,468 requests for background checks last week, versus 7,773 during the same week last year, leaving a waiting list of 12,442.

This has resulted in a waiting time of four calendar days, up from two days earlier this month, the agency said.

The agency said licensed gun retailers can release firearms if background checks aren’t completed within three business days, per federal regulations, but the CBI “strongly encourages firearms dealers to hold firearms until background checks are completed.”

“The CBI has implemented changes to address this unprecedented volume of background checks, from expanding internal InstaCheck hours to cross-training specialized staff members to assist in the process; however, these efforts must be balanced with protecting the health and safety of employees and reducing the potential for community spread related to COVID-19,” stated the CBI news release.



Neville: Two-Day Delay in Issuing Gun Permits ‘Unacceptable’

(Seriously? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Delays in issuing gun permits, which are required for all firearm purchases in Colorado, have increased as fears of coronavirus have escalated, prompting Colo Republican House leader Patrick Neville to call the “drawn-out wait times” for gun permits “unacceptable.”

The permitting process recently required about two days, and 5,000 people Coloradans were waiting in line as of March 17.

“While I warned constituents we could see longer than normal wait times to do COVID-19, I also urged [the state of Colorado] to prepare for this well in advance,” wrote Neville in his statement, which was distributed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a hard-line pro-gun group.

“However, these drawn out wait times are unacceptable,” wrote Neville, who represents the Castle Rock area. “Today, I am calling on the governor and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to do whatever necessary to shorten the lines and expedite the process for a quick checkout.”

It usually takes about 10 minutes to obtain Colorado gun permits, which are issued by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Gun sales in Colorado have spiked nationally and in Colorado in recent weeks.

Neville didn’t return a call asking why he thought a two-day delay in gun permitting was “unacceptable,” given all the other issues faced by the state at this time–and whether he’d received a response from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The Denver Post reported that from March 10 -17, the number of gun permits requests had doubled from last year, from about 14,600 to about 7,400.

Neville’s has expressed concern for the economy during the coronavirus outbreak as well, tweeting Thursday, “If we can NOT weaken the dollar, that would be great,” in response to news that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was considering checks of $1,200 for Americans.

Over the weekend, Neville also participated in a drive to collect personal protective equipment for distribution in Colorado.

The effort was initiated by Democratic House leader Alec Garnett of Denver and Neville.


The “Pansy-demic:” Chuck Bonniwell Wants the Elderly to Die to Save the Economy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You may remember Denver talk radio host Chuck Bonniwell, who got fired for joking that a “nice school shooting” was needed to break up the boredom of the impeachment hearings.

He’s got a new podcast now, called the Chuck and Julie Show, and Wednesday he accused Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) of destroying the state’s economy so that nobody will accuse Polis of “killing old people” who might get the coronavirus.

Given Bonniwell’s own admission that lots of his radio utterances are “going to be controversial,” you could easily decide it’s best just to ignore him.

But thoughts like Bonniwell’s seem to be spreading, if not spiking.

So I’ve quoted the pair extensively here and asked an expert to take valuable time to address what they’ve said.

Co-host Julie Hayden appears to share Bonniwell’s views.

“It sounds so callous, and you’re not supposed to say it out loud, but we are talking about the at-risk people, which include us, who don’t have that long a life-expectancy anyway,” said Julie Hayden, who is a former Fox 31 TV reporter, on their show Wednesday. “So we are destroying lives, we’re destroying an economy. We’re destroying people’s dreams.”

“It’s the pansy-demic,” said Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle.

Bonniwell went further, saying potential coronavirus victims are already “costing society huge amounts of money.”

“The people who it’s killing are costing society huge amounts of money,” continued Bonniwell. “They are medically, in many cases, indigent, and they have very serious diseases, respiratory, diabetes, and everything else. So they are probably, net, and you don’t like to talk about lives as net, they are takers from the economy, on Medicare and whatever else. “Their death is not hurting the economy, it’s enabling the economy. But we are never allowed to discuss those things. Our problem is that all the politicians in Washington, with a few exceptions, are in their 70s.”

Dr. Matthew Wynia, a Professor of Medicine and Public Health and the Director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, graciously agreed to respond to Bonniwell’s and Hayden’s thoughts.

“These are disturbing quotes, but my hunch is they reflect fears and prejudices that are not as rare as we might like,” said Wynia. “The most disturbing of these quotes are the ones that suggest some people are dead weight in society – eerily reminiscent of the ‘useless eaters’ argument the Nazi’s used to justify killing disabled people,” wrote Wynia in his emailed response. “I really don’t think our communities want to go there.” “The idea that ‘only’ elderly and disabled people will be affected is wrong, since if our health care system gets completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, that will affect anyone who needs medical care, whether for a skiing injury or car crash, heart attack, etc.,” continued Wynia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released preliminary figures Wednesday showing that about a third of U.S. coronavirus infections occurred in people 20-44 years old. A White House official expressed concern about the rising number of European young people getting “very seriously ill.” And health care workers have been sickened and killed across the globe.

Hayden and Bonniwell, whose show is popular among Republican activists in Colorado, spent most of their time Wednesday on the question of whether the economic upheaval was worth it to save lives.



Obamacare Is Even More Important Now for People With Pre-Existing Conditions, Say Advocates

(Good thing Republicans are still trying to dismantle Obamacare! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At a news conference today to mark the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health care advocates pointed out that without Obamacare, about 2.4 million Coloradans, who have pre-existing conditions, would not be guaranteed access to health insurance.

The ACA requires insurance company to offer health insurance plans to people with pre-existing conditions.

That’s important today, say advocates, because the coronavirus is particularly dangerous to people with underlying conditions–people who did not have had guaranteed access to health insurance before the passage of the national health care law ten years ago.

“For ten years, the ACA has ensured that Coloradans, including the 2.4 million who live with a pre-existing condition, have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Olga Robak with Protect Our Care Colorado. “People across Colorado depend on the ACA, and now more than ever, as the United States grapples with the spread of the coronavirus, we must all work to protect our health care against partisan attacks.”

“It has really set us up to be able to deal with this pandemic that all of us in medicine knew was coming at some point,” said State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a doctor from Thornton. “Unfortunately, we weren’t completely ready for it, but we would have been in a much tougher spot if the ACA would have never been implemented.”

Robak repeated her organization’s call for Republicans, including Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), to drop their efforts to eliminate the ACA. One such effort is a lawsuit brought by GOP state attorneys general that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, with a decision expected later this year.

“If the ACA is struck down, it will only deepen the fallout of health crises like the current pandemic and any that follow,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, who joined today’s news conference. “Rural hospitals that operate on thin margins would face closure. Millions of Americans across the country would lose health coverage as it is eliminated, becomes entirely unaffordable, or they lose consumer protections they need. 1-in-5 Coloradans already delay or avoid care because of costs. The risks of the lawsuit that threatens the ACA have always been extreme, but the coronavirus lays bare how important it is to sustain the law, and the frightening consequences if it is struck down.”


Conservatives Say Restaurants Should Stay Open in Violation of Polis’ Order to Close

(Darwinism in action – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“I will go to any restaurant that stays open. You will have my business.”

“At this point, I have not been given anything official. So we will be open for business.”

“Many people will visit your restaurant!”

Those comments, which appeared on the private Facebook page for alumnae of Leadership Program of the Rockies (LPR), came in response to the following question, posed by a member of the group:

“For a restaurant business owner, what would legally happen if they chose to practice civil disobedience and stay open when the government demanded they close? Asking for a friend.”

Leadership Program of the Rockies is a training institute for conservatives that’s seen many of Colorado’s leading Republicans pass through its doors since it opened in 1989. Its board includes former Republican power broker Alex Cranberg, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer, and former Colorado state Treasurer Mark Hillman. Graduates of the program in former state lawmaker Ted Harvey, former state Sen. Nancy Spence, state Rep. Mark Baisley, former GOP Senate Presidents Bill Cadman and Kevin Grantham, former Colorado Treasurer Mark Hillman, former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and many GOP state lawmakers.

One LPR graduate, Elliot Fladen, posted the comments about the restaurant ban from LPR’s alumnae Facebook page on his own Facebook page in an effort, Fladen says, to get LPR leaders and others to #DoyourpartCO, speak up, and help educate those who say they would thwart efforts to contain the disease.

“Now normally I wouldn’t share this from a private alumni page or at least blot out the people’s names,” wrote Fladen on his personal Facebook page when he posted the LPR comments. “But these people are actively advocating initiating force by thwarting Governor Jared Polis’ lawfully issued executive orders and thereby putting lives in jeopardy by turning themselves into disease vectors. This is the sort of behavior that needs be discouraged in the most expeditious way possible. So if you know these people, talk some sense into them.”

Fladen, who also wrote that LPR teaches “empty sloganeering,” was subsequently banned from the page, he says, but he has no regrets.

“We need to encourage others to respect the measures that are in place to protect us,” he told the Colorado Times Recorder, saying the issue goes beyond LPR alumnae to anyone who sees these kinds of remarks on social media or anywhere.



Obamacare Could Save Lives in Colorado During Coronavirus Crisis, Say Health Experts

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you’re seriously ill with the coronavirus and don’t seek treatment because you lack health insurance, you’re more likely to get even sicker or die.

That’s why Obamacare, which is credited for lowering Colorado’s uninsured rate from about 16% to 7% over the past ten years, could save lives in Colorado during the current health crisis, say health experts.

“We know that people who lack insurance are much less likely to go to the doctor, even when they are sick,” said Joe Hanel, a spokesman for the Colorado Health Institute, in a statement. “The 2019 Colorado Health Access Survey shows that 52% of uninsured Coloradans skipped care they needed because of the cost, compared to 16% of people with job-based insurance and 13% of people on Medicare.”

Without Obamacare, said Sue Birch, who helped oversee the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado, “hundreds of thousands of uninsured Coloradans might not seek care and might be very vulnerable to becoming sick or even dying.”

She’s referring to the 400,000 people in Colorado who gained health insurance here, mostly due to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people.

Beyond potentially saving lives, Obamacare, more broadly, leaves Colorado better equipped to fight the coronavirus and maintain a strong health care system at the same time, say experts.