Coffman Blames Everyone But Himself for Not Helping Dreamers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo y Mike Coffman.

It was good to see ColoradoPolitics dedicate a post to U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) announcement Wednesday that he supports a parliamentary maneuver to force a long-stalled vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Dreamer issue. Who’s not hoping this works? And it might.

But the ColoradoPolitics piece allows Coffman to blame everyone except himself for ignoring the Dreamers, when he’s been a major part of the problem.

Especially in this boisterous election season, ColoradoPolitics should not have posted this quote from Coffman without offering someone, somewhere, the chance to critique it:

“Democrats failed to make immigration reform a priority when they had control of the U.S. House, and Republican leaders have not made any progress to date,” Coffman said in the Wednesday statement. “I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to finally bring these important immigration reform bills to a vote.”

While it’s true that Democrats did control the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007-2009, Coffman is flat-out wrong to blame “Republican leaders” for the lack of progress on the Dreamer issue, as if he wasn’t part of the problem, even in recent years.

In fact, as anyone who’s tracked the heart-breaking immigration issue knows, the best chance that Dreamers had at gaining protection from deportation died in the Repubublican-controlled House in 2013, after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly and bipartisanly passed a comprehensive immigration bill by a vote of 68-32. The immigration bill included the Dream Act, which includes a path to citizenship.

ColoradoPolitics even cited the 2103 immigration bill in its post that featured Coffman slamming his partisan colleagues and patting himself on the back.

“Whichever bill makes it to the Senate has at least a fighting chance. The Senate is where Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet had success with the Gang of Eight in 2013 to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill, only to watch it wither away in the House,” reported ColoradoPolitics.

But the post left out the fact that Coffman opposed the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, and did nothing to stop his colleagues form killing it, leaving Dreamers desperate for help and the rest of us crying.

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Legislative Trick Doesn’t Force Vote on Dreamer Bill in U.S. House

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has taken little action on his promise to force a vote in Congress on a bill to help some Dreamers avoid deportation, but he’s touting another effort as if its comparable when, in fact, its not.

Coffman told reporters in Washington DC yesterday that he’s joined about 240 representatives to promote, in Coffman’s words, a “mechanism whereby we can have a vote, not just on one [Dreamer] bill but on four bills.” (Listen here at 9 min 50 sec.)

Under the parliamentary mechanism, called “Queen of the Hill,” four different Dreamer bills would be introduced, and the one with highest votes would move on to the U.S. Senate.

While this is a creative way to try to get a vote, the trouble is, House Speaker Paul Ryan would have to approve the Queen of the Hill procedure if a vote were to take place. And it already sounds like he’s against it.

BloombergPolitics reported yesterday:

But Ryan has final say on whether to pursue the plan. He’s said publicly that he doesn’t think this vote procedure is the best way to handle immigration because it gives the majority party — and congressional leaders — less control over the outcome. Trump continues to tweet about the wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as well as the need for legislation to address the immigrant status of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as dreamers.

The only way to leapfrog the Speaker is through another parliamentary mechanism called a discharge petition, which Coffman has apparently dropped.

Last year, the Aurora Republican grabbed headlines by launching a discharge petition to allow some Dreamers to temporarily avoid deportation, but he has since mostly abandoned the effort, securing only five signatures, one of which is his own, while 218 are required.

Coffman opposed the best chance at passing the Dream Act when it was included in bipartisan immigration reform legislation that stalled in the U.S. in 2014.  He voted against the Dream Act in 2010 but has subsequently endorsed it.

During his news conference yesterday, Coffman said he “often meets with Dreamers” and decried the fact that no votes have been taken on the Dreamer issue since Trump announced that he would end the Obama’s DACA program, which allowed some Dreamers to stay in the U.S. for a few years.

Coffman’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment about his efforts to help Dreamers.

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Colorado Democratic Assembly Results

Colorado Democrats assembled at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield from Friday, April 13, to Saturday, April 14, 2018. The crowd of almost 4,000 Democrats were enthusiastic, engaged, yet civil (in contrast to the stunning back-stabbing and skullduggery at the Republican assembly) . The CDP Assembly was superbly well-organized, with balloting completed in about a half hour, and counted in less than two hours.  Kudos to Chair Morgan Carroll and all of the CDP staff and volunteers.

All of the  congressional districts held their own assemblies; many candidates had primary challengers or Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents. In this “blue wave” year, no office held by the GOP can be considered to be off-limits. Democrats in Colorado put forward a slate of phenomenal candidates.

The official results from the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) for statewide offices are:

CU Regent-at-Large
Lesley Smith: 3,229 votes (100.00%)

Based on these results, Lesley Smith has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for CU Regent-at-Large.

Treasurer
Bernard Douthit: 1,074 votes (31.50%)
Charles Scheibe: 557 votes (16.34%)
Dave Young: 1,778 votes (52.16%)

Based on these results, Bernard Douthit and Dave Young have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Treasurer.

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold: 3,352 votes (98.44%)
Phillip Villard: 53 votes (1.56%)

Based on these results, Jena Griswold has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Secretary of State.

Attorney General
Amy Padden: 360 votes (10.54%)
Joe Salazar: 1,249 votes (36.58%)
Phil Weiser: 1,805 votes (52.87%)

Based on these results, Joe Salazar and Phil Weiser have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Attorney General. Amy Padden can qualify for the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that she has collected the requisite number of valid signatures.

Governor
Cary Kennedy: 2,101 votes (61.65%)
Jared Polis: 1,120 votes (32.86%)
Erik Underwood: 187 votes (5.49%)

Based on these results, Cary Kennedy and Jared Polis have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Governor.

NOTE: These are not all of the candidates that are running for these particular offices. Some candidates have chosen to qualify for the ballot by submitting petition signatures instead of going through the caucus-assembly process.

Here are the CD results in order: ( rounded to nearest 1%). I’ll update this list with numbers as I find them.

I’ve included my notes on the assemblies I attended and on the speakers I heard.

CD1: (Denver metro)Diana Degette – 61% . Her primary opponent, Saira Rao , got 37%, and  will be on the ballot. Rep. Degette has been a reliable Democratic vote for many years in a safe district – I think Rao’s candidacy will be a needed wake-up call to be more progressive and to offer better constituent services. Rao is sharp, a great speaker, and has energized the progressive base. Degette attended her CD1 assembly on April 13 , did not attend nor speak at the state assembly April 14.

CD2: (Boulder area – Jared Polis vacated the seat to run for Governor) Joe Negeuse – 91% Joe gave a helluva speech, as he always does. His personal story touches many people. Boulder will be well represented by him, as he’ll certainly win the primary, and almost certainly the general election. His primary opponent, Mark Williams, did not make the ballot.  The GOP has put up a couple of “Nicks” against Neguse: Nick Thomas and Nicholas Morse. I don’t know who won the GOP assembly vote, but they won’t beat “the Goose”.

CD3: (most of the western slope and SW CO – currently held by Scott Tipton) Diane Mitsch Bush had the highest delegate vote with 56%; Karl Harlon also cleared the 30% threshold with 41%, and will be on the ballot.

CD4: (Mostly NE CO – current incumbent Ken Buck) The Doctors were in the house! Veterinary doctors Karen McCormick and Chase Kohne each had throngs of energetic supporters on stage for their nominations. Each gave a rousing speech:

Kohne’s best line, in my opinion: “If you want to shoot an AR15, go down to the recruiting office and join the military.”

McCormick’s nominators are emphasizing Dr McCormick’s support for Dreamers and immigrants. Karen McCormick emphasized Cannabis, immigrant rights, healthcare, union support, bipartisan cooperation to get laws passed. Full disclosure: I live in CD4. I’m voting for McCormick, will be fine with Kohne as well.

CD5 (El Paso area, currently held by Doug Lamborn) Stephany Rose Spaulding won the delegate count and will be on the ballot. I don’t know about the other CD5 candidates, whom you can read about at the EPCO Young Dems site.  It’s great to see so many young Democrats running from what has6been the Tea Party GOP’s bastion in Colorado.

CD6 Aurora / Arapahoe County area, currently held by Mike Coffman. Jason Crow won top ballot with 64% , while Levi Tilleman will also be on the ballot with 35%. I saw Crow speak to the assembly, and found his persona to be authentic and appealing. PPP surveyed 761 voters, and found that Crow polled 44-39 against Coffman in Febrary 2018.

CD7 Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, did not attend the Assembly as far as I know. Ed, a very popular Congressman in his district,  is not  being primaried in this election.

 

Author’s note – this diary started as an open thread based on my  live blogging at the Colorado State Assembly. I’ve updated it with ballot results.

 

 

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Walker Walls Off Colorado

On Wednesday, a SuperPAC called “Better Colorado Now” kicked off a six-figure television ad buy in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton that blows the anti-immigrant dog whistle as soon as the first frame rolls:

 

“Better Colorado Now” is technically not associated with Stapleton’s campaign, though Stapleton himself actually helped to raise money for the SuperPAC right before he “officially” declared as a candidate for Governor.

Look but don’t touch, Kansas

This new TV ad intimates that Stapleton is the “one” Republican candidate for Governor who “supports strengthening our border security,” though it doesn’t bother to explain how the Governor of Colorado would have any power over how the United States deals with its Mexico border.

Come to think of it, the ad also doesn’t specify which border Stapleton would “strengthen.” Perhaps Stapleton envisions walling off Colorado from the rest of the country, which brings up a whole host of new questions.

Do we start by walling off Wyoming and cutting the supply of illegal fireworks into Colorado? If we wall off New Mexico, can we add in a tunnel so that the flow of green chile is not interrupted? Do we need a little corner-sized piece of wall between Colorado and Arizona? Should plans for a wall include a moat with sharks in the water? (nevermind on that last one — obviously we need a shark-infested moat).

Anyway, we thought it would be helpful to poll our readers to give Stapleton an idea of where he should start building his mythical wall. Cast your vote below.

Which state should Colorado wall off first?
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Mike Coffman Useless As Trump Blows Up Immigration Debate

Rep. Mike Coffman. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Back in September of 2017, Rep. Mike Coffman made a statement to Real Clear Politics about immigration reform and President Donald Trump they we felt pretty sure would come back to haunt him:

“He’s got the credibility in terms of being tough on immigration and I think he’s the only one, probably, within the Republican Party that can solve this issue,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s be clear about this–Rep. Mike Coffman, frequently held up as a “moderate” on the issue of immigration after dramatically changing his own position in recent years, said last fall that Donald Trump is “the only one” within the Republican Party who can solve the vexing issue of immigration.

Headlines from this weekend are making this statement more than a little problematic for Rep. Coffman, as the New York Times reports today:

President Trump declared on Monday that a plan to protect young immigrants from deportation is “dead” and repeated his calls for Mexico to enforce border security laws and prevent immigrants from coming to the United States illegally…

Mr. Trump’s declaration that “DACA is dead” is a reference to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The president’s position on the program is a moving target. Mr. Trump ended the program last year, but courts have blocked his decision. He also has said that he would sign a bipartisan proposal to protect the young immigrants, but he regularly threatens Democrats that there will be no deal.

In response, Rep. Coffman is somewhat less full of praise for Trump:

The problem for Rep. Coffman as he calls out strongly for a “permanent solution for DACA recipients” is he is nearly a month overdue on his promise to force a vote on a temporary solution for DACA recipients, the so-called BRIDGE Act Coffman sponsored last year as a stopgap measure, threatened to force to a vote with a discharge petition, then sheepishly abandoned after House Speaker Paul Ryan tapped him on the proverbial shoulder. At this point, Coffman is completely sidelined in the debate over immigration in Washington despite having garnered a wealth of–as it turns out undeserved–positive press.

Today, we’re pretty sure nobody in their right mind would say that Trump is the nation’s savior on immigration. Certainly nobody who wants to have credibility on the issue.

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“Illegal aliens” help drive people out of Colorado, says Republican state house leader

(People are moving out of Colorado? That’s news to…everybody! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

Appearing on conservative radio Thursday, State Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, the House Republican leader, blamed immigrants for helping to drive people out of the state of Colorado.

The topic was introduced by KLZ afternoon radio host John Rush, who asked Neville about bills to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” which is a term used to describe municipalities that choose not to work with federal officials to deport undocumented immigrants, which can result in the breaking up of families and disruption to local communities and economies.

Neville wants lawmakers to pass legislation, killed by Democrats at the state Capitol, that would have punished public officials who vote to protect undocumented immigrants. He’d do this by allowing residents to sue officials who “adopt sanctuary city policies.”

“When these illegal aliens run around and injure people, that raises litigation costs and it raises property and casualty insurance rates in Colorado, and this is one of many reasons we see citizens moving out of the state,” Neville told Rush.

Neville did not respond to a tweet asking for evidence to support his accusation that people are leaving Colorado due to economic problems caused by immigrants here.

RELATED: State Rep. Dave Williams seeks to reign in “lawless politician community” by targeting sanctuary cities

Statistics repeatedly show that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens, yet they are often vilified by conservatives.

Listen to Neville on KLZ 560-AM Thursday, March 15:

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Coffman again promises to force vote on Bridge Act (temporary), not to be confused with the Dream Act (permanent)

(Let’s be clear – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) recommitted this week to force a House vote to temporarily protect Dreamers from deportation, if there is no legislative fix by March 5, when the program’s phaseout under Trump is complete.

Coffman told reporters Tuesday he’d revive his so-called discharge petition, which is a parliamentary mechanism for forcing a House vote, after putting it on hold last September at the request of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who did not want Coffman’s effort to coincide with other pro-Dreamer bills.

Coffman is not promising to force a vote on the Dream Act, which would not only allow Dreamers to work and avoid deportation but also offer them a pathway to citizenship. It’s a permanent solution.

The bill that Coffman is promising to push after March 5 is called the Bridge Act, which would protect Dreamers who are already enrolled in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It’s a legislative version of what Obama did for the Dreamers and Trump torpedoed. It’s temporary, with limited protections lasting three years.

As such, Coffman wants to extend Obama’s temporary Dreamer-protection program, which Obama put in place after Congress refused to agree on a permanent fix, like the Dream Act.

Last week, Coffman said he would not support the Dream Act because it is “unrealistic,” even though Coffman voted numerous times for Hail-Mary legislation, including Obamacare repeals, that were widely considered unrealistic at the time. Still, he remains a co-sponsor of the Dream Act.

Coffman said in Septermber he’d sign a discharge petition for the Dream Act. Why the legislation is “unrealistic” now isn’t clear.

Ironically, during Obama’s term, Coffman helped kill the bill that’s come closest to solving the Dreamer problem, and that was the comprehensive immigration reform bill, passed by a bipartisan 68-32 senate vote in 2013. The legislation, which died in the U.S. House, would have protected the Dreamers from deportation and put them on an expedited road to citizenship.

Coffman, along with then U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) both opposed allowing the bipartisan bill, with the Dreamer provisions and much more, to even come up for a vote in the GOP-controlled House. The Denver Post reported that “no Colorado House Republican” supported the bill.

Coffman told The Denver Post he’ll begin collecting signatures to force a vote on the Bridge Act March 5, when DACA expires.

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Coffman backtracks on support for “unrealistic” Dream Act

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

During a raucous town hall meeting Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) backed off a pledge of support for the Dream Act, which he co-sponsored just last year.

Asked by an audience member if he supports a “clean Dream Act,” which would grant a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Coffman hedged, saying “it’s not realistic.”

“You know, it’s not realistic, because the President would never sign it,” he answered. “If I thought it would be signed into law, I would.”

Coffman co-sponsored a bipartisan Dream Act last year, along with 200 other Congressman, and it’s not clear why the Dream Act is any less realistic today than it was last year.

Furthermore, Coffman, whose office does not return calls for comment, has voted numerous times for legislation that had no realistic chance to become law.

For example, when Obama was president, Coffman voted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare, even though the chances of Obama signing legislation to repeal Obamacare were extremely low to nonexistent.

As multiple media outlets, including Reuters below, reported last year:

In the past few years, the House has voted more than 60 times to repeal or alter Obamacare, but Republicans had no hope a repeal would become law as long as Obama was president and could veto their bills.

Also while Obama was in office, Coffman voted five times to defund Planned Parenthood. Not only was it unrealistic for Obama to sign a bill with such a provision, but the odds of an anti-Planned Parenthood measure clearing the U.S. Senate at the time were objectively low.

During the Obama presidency, numerous other bills were passed by House Republicans, including Coffman, that had no realistic chance to become law.

Watch Coffman explain why he won’t support the Dream Act at a town hall Feb. 20:

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Tancredo’s Ghost Looms Large As Immigration Efforts Teeter

Tom Tancredo.

Politico reports on the troubled place immigration reform efforts in Washington find themselves today:

A bipartisan agreement unveiled Wednesday faces intense skepticism from the left flank of the Democratic Caucus and hardening resistance from many Republicans amid a White House campaign to defeat it, including a Thursday veto threat. It would give an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship while spending $25 billion on border security…

The Trump administration stepped up its resistance to the bipartisan immigration amendment overnight, with the Department of Homeland Security releasing a comment blasting it as “an egregious violation of” the president’s four-part framework that would create “mass amnesty.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of the bipartisan proposal, slammed DHS on Thursday for “acting less like a partner and more like an adversary.” [Pols emphasis]

“Instead of offering thoughts and advice — or even constructive criticism — they are acting more like a political organization intent on poisoning the well,” Graham said in a statement.

Here’s the Tweet from the Department of Homeland Security’s press secretary that set off Sen. Lindsey Graham:

If the name Tyler Q. Houlton rings a bell for local political observers, there’s a very good reason. Houlton is a longtime Colorado political operative, who once worked at the right-wing “news site” Colorado Observer as well as the conservative advocacy group Compass Colorado. Prior to that, Houlton served as the spokesperson for Rep. Tom Tancredo–during the same time period that Tancredo became persona non grata in the Bush White House for his nativist antics on immigration at the same time that Bush was pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

With all of this in mind, Lindsey Graham’s inside-baseball dig at Houlton reveals a much bigger divide between Republicans than is generally recognized. Appointing Tancredo’s former spox to run the press shop for the Department of Homeland Security is a highly provocative act as Graham’s burn demonstrates. But it also shows again just how far from the mainstream the Trump administration is on the issue of immigration.

Far enough that Team Tancredo is a perfect fit.

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What happened to Coffman’s promise to force vote on a Dreamer bill by March 5?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman grabbed headlines back in September for promising to try to force Republican leaders in the U.S. House to vote on his bill, called the BRIDGE Act, allowing Dreamers to remain in the U.S. for two more years, while Congress works out a permanent solution.

But just three days later, Coffman announced he’d met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and decided to hold off on his “discharge petition,” which is the mechanism to force such a vote, because the Speaker wanted time to introduce an unspecified long-term Dreamer-protection bill.

The media coverage of Coffman’s backtrack was dimmer, but luckily The Hill reported that Coffman had given House leadership a deadline for taking action on a Dreamer bill.  If Ryan didn’t act, Coffman would, he told the Hill’s Cristina Marcos Sept. 7:

Coffman warned he would renew his push if lawmakers are unsuccessful in reaching a deal once the six-month phaseout period ends in March 2018.

“I said that I would pull back on that to see how [Ryan] would do. What he didn’t want is two efforts simultaneously that are going at the same time, his effort to try to get our bill to the floor, and my effort to try to push a discharge petition,” Coffman said in an interview just off the House floor.

“But if he couldn’t bring something to the floor, then I would push the discharge petition.”

So Coffman promised to act on behalf of Dreamers before the DACA program expires.

That will occur March 5, as explained Sept. 5 when Trump began an “orderly phase out” of the DACA program, which allowed the Dreamers, who were brought into the U.S. as children, to remain in the U.S. and work temporarily.

So where do things stand now? There are about three weeks to go until DACA expires, unless the courts delay expiration further. And no word from Coffman.

Ryan has said he’ll only act on a bill approved by….Trump.

(more…)

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Bennet Keeps Faith With DREAMer Activists as Dems Stumble

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

The Denver Post’s Danika Worthington reports on the end of an occupation of Sen. Michael Bennet’s office by supporters of “DREAMer” undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children–which came despite passage last week of a budget resolution that once again failed to provide a solution for these people despite high drama and near-universal lip service paid to resolving their status:

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, six immigration activists entered the office for Bennet, who has been active on immigration issues in recent years. They demanded that he vote against this week’s proposed budget agreement, which bolstered military and domestic programs but left out immigration reform…

The activists left at 11 a.m. on Friday, said Emma Bliesener, one of the protesters. The group had referred to themselves as “the Denver6.”

“We’re on the same team here,” she said. “We just want to make sure everyone is doing everything in their power to support the immigrant community.”

There are several important reasons why the occupation last week of Sen. Bennet’s Denver office was resolved amicably–in marked contrast to a similar direct action last summer in Sen. Cory Gardner’s downtown Denver office by a group of protesters with disabilities from the storied ADAPT civil rights group, which ended in a public relations disaster for Gardner as Denver Police dragged ADAPT activists out of his office and arrested them in full view of national news cameras.

By all accounts Bennet’s staff was level-headed and engaging throughout the occupation of his office, and arrest never appears to have been seriously considered. Second, Bennet personally spoke with the activists in his office by phone from Washington to listen to their concerns, a conversation that reportedly went well. Third, and most importantly, Bennet voted against the DACA fix-less budget “deal” that has outraged immigrant-rights activists. Although the deal passed without Bennet’s support, there was no practical reason left to hold Bennet responsible for the actions of his Senate peers.

Although Bennet’s good faith in dealing with these protesters averted the nasty outcome Gardner had, it would be a mistake to think that Democrats are not in political danger from failing–repeatedly now–to maintain a unified front against President Donald Trump and Republicans in the fight to protect DACA beneficiaries. Activists on the issue broadly perceive Sen. Chuck Schumer’s cave-in last month, followed by last week’s budget deal, to be an abandonment of Democratic promises after being essentially bribed by Mitch McConnell to choose a laundry list of domestic spending goodies over a DACA fix. Democrats were also far too concerned with the inside-baseball procedural moves that tossed nominal “responsibility for a shutdown” back and forth between the parties–which nobody outside the political water cooler class gives two shits about.

So yes, good on Sen. Bennet for deftly managing last week’s tricky politics, and good for the activists pushing back on everybody regardless of their party affiliation to demand deeds not words. Politically and morally, more of both will be needed before the end.

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Leader Pelosi Throws Down For DREAMers

UPDATE: Multiple outlets reporting this is now the longest floor speech in the history of the U.S. House:

—–

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

A widely-reported deal on a short term funding resolution to stave off a government shutdown as early as tomorrow night is in jeopardy this hour as House Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi revolt over the lack of a solution for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children–an issue on which Democrats lost out three weeks ago as they relented on forcing a shutdown, but appear to be once again rallying around today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi started speaking on the House floor around 10 a.m. today. She’s still going, almost six hours later.

So what’s this all about? Pelosi started her speech announcing that she opposes the bipartisan Senate spending deal because it doesn’t include a permanent solution for undocumented immigrants affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…

House Democrats will likely spend the next 24 hours pushing to get a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan on floor consideration of DACA bills.

The deal will require Democratic support to pass the House, so the House Democratic leader’s comments make the plan’s future unclear.

It’s unknown as of now how this will end up, but Pelosi is doing everything the leader of the minority can do in this situation. Because some amount of Democratic support will be needed to pass the continuing resolution Democrats have the leverage to make a stand at this moment. Politically, a show of force on behalf of DACA kids will serve Democrats far better than the ignominious end of the last shutdown fight.

This is a nice way of saying that fellow Democrats would be well served to shake off their timidity and join her on the floor.

Rep. Mike Coffman too, but anybody holding their breath for that is hopelessly naïve.

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Poll: Americans Don’t Think Immigrants are Scary

President Trump and his MS-13 helmet.

President Trump on Tuesday said that he would “love to see a shutdown” if Congress cannot work out what Trump says are needed funds for border security as the President increasingly tries to tie the immigration issue to violent criminals (such as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang from El Salvador).

But according to results from a new Quinnipiac poll, Americans do not buy into the scary rhetoric on immigrants that has been emanating from the White House. From The Hill:

Most Americans do not believe that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than U.S. citizens, a poll released Tuesday found.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 72 percent of Americans don’t think illegal immigrants commit more crimes than citizens, despite arguments to the contrary from President Trump and some Republicans.

Thirteen percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants do commit more crimes than citizens, the poll found.

In addition, 63 percent of respondents said they don’t think illegal immigrants take away jobs from citizens, compared to 33 percent who think that is the case.

During an event at the White House focused on MS-13 today, Trump said, “not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws that we do when it comes to immigration.”

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State lawmaker: Immigrants have “murdered, mayhemmed, raped” people in sanctuary cities

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

State Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican, slammed sanctuary cities during a radio appearance Friday, claiming immigrants are drawn to them and “wreak havoc.”

“People have been murdered, mayhemmed, [and] raped” by immigrants in sanctuary cities, Williams said.

Williams appeared on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show to talk about his policy proposal to punish politicians representing sanctuary cities by holding them liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants who cause, as he pus it, “any sort of murder or mayhem to anyone personally or their property.”

The bill, called the Colorado Politician Accountability Act, made national news when it was introduced in the state legislature last year.

Williams told Boyles he’s continuing his crusade against what he refers to as “lawless politicians” who promote sanctuary city politics, this time by leaving it up to Colorado voters.

Williams: “You know what? I’m bringing it back! And this time – this time — I’m going to make it a referendum of the people. And I guarantee you that the Democrats are not inclined to ask the people. Because if we ask the people, this bill is going to become law and the politicians can go to jail and get sued.”

“Denver’s DA Beth McCann deserves to be prosecuted,” said Boyles. Williams agreed, adding that “every politician complicit in this deserves some degree of accountability, whether it’s going to jail or getting sued.”

Williams has also been highly critical of Dreamers, or young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and receive protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He once painted them as criminals despite the fact that immigrants who have committed crimes are not eligible for DACA, and that Dreamers are not allowed to keep their DACA status if they do commit a crime.

Studies have consistently shown that immigrants – both documented and undocumented – commit significantly less crime than native-born Americans, and may actually make their communities safer.

Williams once claimed that immigrants “destroy American lives” and that not all cultures are equal.

Listen to Boyles’ radio interview with Williams in full here.

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Somebody please run against Jerry Sonnenberg

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jerry Sonnenberg is winding up his first term in the Colorado Senate. He is up for re-election in 2018, and no one has stepped up to run against him.  Sonnenberg ran unopposed for his first Senate term, and for all four of his previous House terms, until he was termed out in 2014.  No wonder he doesn’t return liberal constituent’s phone calls – he feels pretty safe ignoring their concerns. What are they going to do, run a Democrat against him?

Sonnenberg has referred to a fellow female Senator as”eye candy” and tweeted that he’d like to lube his assault rifle with “Obama tears”. He legislated against eminent domain for water pipelines, and for eminent domain for oil and gas companies. He sponsored legislation to prohibit protesting at oil  and gas sites, and he is a climate science denier.

In an excellent piece by Win the Fourth (WTF),  the author makes the case for fielding a Democrat to run against Sonnenberg.

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Cory Gardner To DACA Kids: Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes

ABC News reporting from an interview with Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado yesterday, in which Gardner makes assurances to undocumented immigrants presently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that we don’t think he has any ability to guarantee:

“I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported,” [Pols emphasis] Gardner told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, of the formerly-protected undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as youths. “There’s not going to be this mass deportation on this. That’s first and foremost. Please know that Congress is working very hard to solve this.”

Gardner worries about the 800,000 people that are in the midst of turmoil and fear because their legal status is set to run out on March 5. The Trump administration has announced the U.S. would end in March the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival which would bring an end to the temporary protection extended to these undocumented migrants.

Gardner joked that the number of senators at the negotiating table keeps changing so it should be called the “Gangs of Prime Numbers.”

In typical slippery Gardner style, he undercuts his initial strong statement that “I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported” by saying right after that there won’t be “mass” deportations–a significant yet also conveniently vague qualifier. What Gardner leaves out of this rosy forecast is the fact that thousands of DACA beneficiaries have already lost protection after their authorizations expired after Trumps’s announcement of the program’s ending and were not renewed. Here’s the estimated number of young people who have lost DACA protections since September 5, 2017 (counter via the Center for American Progress):

If you combine this reality with the bellicose language used by many Republicans not named Cory Gardner during the recent shutdown battle–including President Donald Trump–that Democrats were “shutting the government down for illegal immigrants,” and continued resistance by a large percentage of Republicans to any compassionate solution, it’s very difficult to take comfort in Gardner’s casual promise that ‘nobody is going to be deported.’ To DACA beneficiaries who have been losing their protections from deportation for months now as Republicans have dickered and argued amongst themselves, Gardner couldn’t sound more out of touch. And now that Republicans have fought off a determined attempt by Democrats to force the issue, how can anyone say the outlook has improved?

We’re not saying it’s impossible for Gardner to deliver on the promise he made here, notwithstanding any individuals for whom that’s already too late. What we’re saying is that it’s a very big promise, and he is not in control of the many waypoints along the way to keeping this very big promise.

And it’s never a good idea to make a promise you don’t know for sure that you can keep.

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Democratic Base Unhappy As Temporary Deal Reached

UPDATE: Grassroots organization Indivisible fires off a statement signaling big-time unhappiness with Democrats for approving this deal:

Its Senator Schumer’s job to keep his caucus together and fight for progressive values. He failed in that today.

Republicans have consistently negotiated in bad faith, demonstrating that they have no interest in actually protecting Dreamers. And for months, Democratic leadership has reassured Dreamers that Democrats would use all their leverage to get the Dream Act done. They caved in early September, but promised to use their leverage in early December. They caved in early December, but promised to use their leverage by the end of the year. They caved at the end of the year, but they promised to use their leverage in January. And now they caved again, but promised to use their leverage in February. Democrats clearly want to keep Dreamers as a talking point, but they need to grow a spine and actually fight for the Dream Act…

The big blue wave that Schumer hopes will make him Senate Majority Leader in 2019 will not build itself. This weekend, millions of Americans literally took to the streets. They weren’t asking their Senators to cave to Trump’s racist, xenophobic agenda. They were asking their Senators to fight. Instead, Schumer led his caucus to surrender, demoralizing his base and ensuring more Dreamers will be deported before this is resolved.

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Senators Cory Gardner (left) and Michael Bennet

Politico reporting as the federal government gets set to reopen after shutting down briefly over the weekend:

In a dramatic turnaround, Senate Democrats voted to reopen the government on Monday after receiving a commitment from Republicans to hold a vote on immigration legislation — paving the way to end the three-day shutdown.

The Senate voted 81-18 to move forward on a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8 after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to end the shutdown and continue to negotiate on immigration and spending matters. If a broader deal is not reached by Feb. 8, the Senate would take up legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who are losing legal protections, as long as the government remains open.

“The process will be neutral and fair to all sides,” Schumer said. “We expect that a bipartisan bill on [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the floor.”

Among Democrats holding their nose and voting in the affirmative was Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado:

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner, who claimed last week that “I don’t want to play shutdown politics,” is (surprise!) playing the hell out of shutdown politics:

This government shutdown forced by Senate Democrats was dangerous and unnecessary. The bill we passed is the same bill Republicans initially proposed — including the longest reauthorization of CHIP in history — with one simple change: we are now funding the government through February 8th rather than February 16th. I wanted a bipartisan solution…

Liberal Democratic Senators are not happy with the state of play, says CNN:

“Listen, I’m disappointed with a conversation that suggests a false choice, you either fund the government or you take care of these DACA kids,” [Sen Kamala] Harris said. “We can do both.”

As for McConnell’s so-called commitment, Harris shot it down.

“I don’t believe he made any commitment whatsoever and I think it would be foolhardy to believe he made a commitment,” Harris said. [Pols emphasis]

According to a Democratic source, progressive senators are not happy with their colleagues who are voting for this deal, a sign of a deep divide in the caucus.

It’s difficult to characterize the agreement reached today as anything other than a Republican victory, albeit perhaps temporary depending on what happens in the next three weeks. As you can read above, progressive Democrats and base activists–especially, for obvious reasons, immigration reform activists–are skeptical in the extreme that Republicans will make good on their promise to hold an up-or-down vote on protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries. And even if such a vote is allowed in the Senate, there is absolutely zero guarantee that the House will follow suit.

As of today, Republicans have won the battle–but with a big promise to keep. If in three weeks that promise isn’t kept, the GOP base will chuckle along cynically, welcoming their bad faith against undocumented immigrants–and everyone else will be outraged. Whether that bad faith becomes a liability for Republicans already staring down the barrel of a Democratic wave election in 2018 remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t want it on our conscience.

For today though, sure thing! Team Blue will be proclaimed the losers on tonight’s cable news, and DACA kids left in the lurch will have to sweat it out–which of course most rank-and-file Republicans will be just fine with. Perhaps Rep. Mike Coffman can console them with another press release.

Congratulations, we guess.

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Coffman’s Discharge Petition a Distant, Contemptible Memory

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CNN reports as Day 2 of the 2018 federal government shutdown gets underway with no signs of progress:

Day one of the government shutdown ended with recriminations between the parties deepening and no sign of progress towards ending the impasse.

The White House, Republican and Democratic leaders spent most of Saturday apportioning blame and flexing partisan muscles after the Democrats blocked a Senate bill to fund the government and the federal machine ran dry on cash at midnight on Friday…

Republicans are resolute: No talks on DACA, the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, until Democrats give them enough votes to reopen the government. Democrats, meanwhile, say they have to have an answer on extending protection to nearly 700,000 people brought to the US illegally as children who face deportation after early March.

Leading up to the shutdown of the federal government at midnight Friday, Republicans had offered Democrats a “choice”–between funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program and a solution for the approximately 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and soon face deportation. This choice was depicted in harsh, controversial terms by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a social media graphic:

Democrats refused to go along with what they considered to be the false choice being offered, and the continuing resolution in the Senate failed–with only 45 Republicans voting yes, leaving Republicans with little credibility to blame the other side of the aisle.

But there’s something else worth mentioning here, and reporter Ernest Luning thankfully picked it up:

That comes in response to the latest report that House Republicans are “locked down” against consideration of a solution for immigrants formerly protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while the government is shut down. Readers will recall that Rep. Mike Coffman affected much anger after President Trump announced his decision to rescind DACA, promising a rare “discharge resolution” against his own party leadership to force a vote on a bill with temporary protections.

And then, as readers know, Coffman quietly abandoned his discharge petition under the pretense of having received assurances from Speaker Paul Ryan that a DACA solution would be brought forward at some point in the near future. In an all-too familiar pattern, Coffman’s quiet abandonment of his previous stand came a couple news cycles after the laudatory headlines he got for “standing up to Trump,” and far fewer people know about the latter part because the press didn’t follow up with anything like the same vigor.

But today, with the federal government shut down, you would think Coffman’s moment has finally arrived. Wouldn’t you?

And…you’d be wrong. Even though Democrats are making a stand over the very thing Coffman claimed to be ready to challenge Paul Ryan over with a discharge petition, Coffman appears to be 100% on the side of Republicans who tried to force Democrats to choose between CHIP and DACA, thus forcing the shutdown. Or as some more pointed observers have characterized it, choosing “between white kids and brown kids.”

Folks, how is this not a monumental contradiction? How can Coffman be ready to force a vote with Democratic support against his leadership’s wishes last fall, but now supports the GOP leadership’s cynical gaming of the very same issue today?

The contradictions flow fast and furious in politics these days, but this is egregious enough that Coffman really should not be allowed to get away with it. At a moment when an issue he professes to care about has brought the federal government to a standstill, Coffman just squandered a golden opportunity to prove his (new) words on immigration are more than platitudes.

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Gardner Doesn’t Play “Shutdown Politics?” Is That a Joke?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

USA TODAY’s Herb Jackson points out something really, really obvious that we haven’t seen noted anywhere else as Sen. Cory Gardner presents himself as a peacemaker in the high-stakes battle over a short-term continuing resolution to prevent a shutdown of the federal government as early as tonight:

Sen. Cory Gardner could not have been clearer when asked during a sit-down with reporters Thursday which party would be to blame if there’s a government shutdown.

“I don’t want to play shutdown politics,” Gardner, R-Colo, said during a discussion of immigration reform with fellow Coloradan, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

“I think it’s a bad idea, a pox on both parties,” Gardner continued. “And the American people, I think, will blame Washington. I don’t think they’re going to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is a Republican or a Democrat,’ I think they’re going to look at it and say, ‘You bozos can’t do your work.’”

As has become a familiar refrain, Sen. Gardner has received lots of love from the local news media this week as his partnership with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet on both children’s health care and undocumented residents not responsible for their childhood immigration stood in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s vulgar and racist headline-making. That’s good politics for Sen. Gardner, who has seen his public approval in Colorado badly erode under Trump’s first year.

But as Jackson continues, Cory Gardner is who he is–chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

But that message must not have reached the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s political operation that Gardner chairs.

And a quick look at the NRSC’s Twitter feed reveals a whole lot of “shutdown politics” going on.

This is one of the clearer-cut cases we’ve seen of Sen. Gardner saying one thing in a bipartisan press conference, then doing the exact opposite once the cameras are elsewhere. The NRSC attacking Democrats is not even something we would bother to criticize but for the fact that Gardner so brazenly contradicted himself–condemning the exact same behavior he’s engaging in. After all, everybody expects the leader of the GOP’s U.S. Senate campaign operation to “play politics.”

But this is trying to have it both ways to an extent that simply can’t be excused. It’s totally ridiculous.

And we’re glad somebody with a large readership called BS.

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Child Welfare Hotline Manager Goes Down The “Shithole”

Jack Hilbert.

Over the weekend on 9NEWS, local Republican political consultant Kelly Maher caused a bit of a stir when she said on the station’s Balance of Power local politics show that last week’s comments from President Donald Trump regarding what he considers to be “shithole countries” were racist. Though we expect most of our readers will appreciate this unequivocal statement from a local Republican, Maher received some pointed criticism on Facebook from Trump loyalists:

Jack Hilbert: Kelly I was very disappointed about your stance on Trump and his recent remarks about other countries. Frankly I hav been to those countries and his description was correct. [Pols emphasis] It is not what he said that is incorrect, it is the use of harsh words to describe those conditions. That does not make him racist. You fallen into the liberal mantra trap that started the whole PC crap. So if I said I think that typical African is ugly I am a racist. No. I just do not like their clothing and it is an opinion. You need to rethink the term racist, look at the definition and adjust. I cannot repeat what my wife called you but that does not make her anti-feminist. Just an opinion in the moment that is emotionally charged. We slipping backwards into that liberal muck….

The source here is interesting: Jack Hilbert is a former Republican county commissioner from arch-conservative Douglas County. While that helps explain his talk-radio strident political views, it’s somewhat troubling to note that Hilbert now serves as the manager of the Colorado Child Welfare Protection Hotline at the state Department of Human Services.

In other words, a job where you really shouldn’t be validating Trump’s notion of “shithole countries.” We have to think that a public official’s conception of various regions of the world as “shitholes” might adversely affect their judgment, and when their job is protecting the welfare of children across the state of Colorado, that’s a big problem.

Yes, for the President of the United States too. But no less so in this case we’d say.

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See “Cop-Out Cory” Bob and Weave

Yesterday morning, Sen. Cory Gardner appeared on Face the Nation in an attempt to put some kind of happy face on the unfolding disaster of President Donald Trump’s rejection of the latest bipartisan immigration deal–to which both Colorado Senators are party, but now in mortal danger after Trump denounced the agreement in formerly-unprintable terms.

What does Sen. Gardner think about Trump making the discourse safe for “shithole,” you ask?

SENATOR CORY GARDNER: You know, I wasn’t in that meeting with the president. I was in the previous meeting earlier this week, where we talked about- last week, on Tuesday, where we talked about putting a deal together that reflected the four priorities of the president. And I think that we can do this…

So, I think we’re- we-we put together a very responsible plan and I hope that we can build on that. But look, it’s- it’s unbecoming comments, and I hope that we can move beyond that. And I hope that what we see are Republicans and Democrats coming together, not to fight politics, but to actually come up with a solution to address this challenge before us.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think just- this word obviously rocketed around this week. It’s also obviously now an international point of conversation. If Senator Cotton is right and Senator Perdue is right, and Senator Durbin made this up, that’s a pretty extraordinary thing. You’ve now got people in the president’s own party saying it’s a racist comment. If-if another senator makes up something that causes people to come to that judgment, that’s a pretty serious thing.

SENATOR CORY GARDNER: Well, look, I’m not going to get into the- the who-said-what-said, [Pols emphasis] but what was reported is unacceptable. But what we have to do is not let that define this moment. Look, we have a very, very serious challenge in front of us. It’s a challenge that the president laid out very clearly this past week.

Given that the central point in the controversy raging around this question today is what President Donald Trump said, it seems like there’s no choice but to “get into” that. What we have here is yet another opportunity for Sen. Gardner to call out the President over something that could not be more unambiguously wrong, and Gardner refusing to do it. He’s not denying that the comments were made, he even calls them “unbecoming”–Gardner just refuses to “get into” discussing them.

A clue as to why could be in Gardner’s choice of words describing the immigration deal he brokered and Trump has now rejected. The “priorities of the president.” The “challenge that the President laid out clearly.” Not only is Gardner avoiding the unsavory part of this story that has attracted the most attention, he’s trying to characterize a deal that Trump has rejected–using the racist language Gardner does not want to acknowledge–as something Trump wants.

We understand Gardner is obliged to say something, but this is just back-breaking contortion.

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Shithole! Shithole! Shithole!

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

This is what President Trump allegedly said at the White House on Thursday during a meeting with lawmakers about immigration policy. Trump’s comments are causing quite a backlash all over the world, and this morning the President began his inevitable denial about saying the thing that he almost certainly said.

Trump supporters are going to fall in line with the Twitterer-in-Chief in labeling this some sort of fake news attack, but for those of you with the ability to form your own opinions, CNN’s Chris Cillizza makes a very strong argument for why you should believe the shithole:

Almost immediately after The Washington Post broke the news on Thursday night, White House spokesman Raj Shah was out with a statement that not only seemed to confirm that Trump had said what he said but also worked to defend it…

…Then, soon after Shah’s comment, came this from an anonymous White House official to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, “The President’s ‘shithole’ remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside of it. Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it.”

According to Collins, Trump spent Thursday evening making calls to friends and associated to gauge how they believed the “shithole countries” story was playing. One White House official told Collins that Trump’s calls amounted to a “victory lap.” [Pols emphasis]

If Trump had really not used the word “shithole” (or something very like it), then why would the White House not come out and issue a blanket denial and a condemnation of the reporting? Why, rather than doing that, would they issue a statement that sought to own his “shithole countries” comment and make political hay out of it?

The answer, of course, is because he said it.

Let’s pause and reflect for a moment on the fact that we are actually having a discussion about whether or not THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES used the word “shithole” to describe other countries in a meeting with Congressional leaders. That this is even a subject of debate speaks volumes about the White House.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 1)

Welcome to November! It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Finger-Pointer-In-Chief Trump is blaming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for a deadly attack in New York on Tuesday. From the Washington Post:

As details emerged about the incident, prominent right-wing commentators and news outlets seized on a report from New York’s ABC7 that the alleged attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, had come to the United States from Uzbekistan under a State Department program known as the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Long before government officials publicly confirmed that report, Trump slammed the program and said he’ll ask Congress to “immediately” begin work to end it…

…In news interviews, blog posts and tweets, conservatives blamed the Democrat, saying he was responsible for allowing the 29-year-old man’s entry into the country.

Trump joined the criticism early Wednesday, hours before declaring that he would ask Congress to terminate the program.

This is par for the course for President Trump, who doesn’t want to politicize tragedies unless he does.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, meanwhile, has a different memory of immigration reform efforts in Congress.

 

► The open enrollment period for Colorado’s health insurance exchange begins today. Blair Miller of Denver7 has the details.

As John Ingold notes for the Denver Post, some health insurance customers could be in for a nice surprise:

While underlying premiums will climb more than 30 percent, in part because of a Trump administration decision to end key payments to insurers, what many people will actually end up paying is expected to drop. That’s because the amount available in federal tax credits to help pay premiums is also rising.

The state Division of Insurance estimates that for people whose incomes are low enough to make them eligible for tax credits, the net cost of premiums will decline by 20 percent this year.

As a result, the leaders of Connect for Health Colorado — the state’s online exchange for people shopping for their own health insurance plan — say they are expecting enrollment this year to remain steady.

Only Coloradans who make up to 400% of the federal poverty line are eligible for the bigger tax credits. For most middle class families, rates could increase dramatically because of efforts by Congressional Republicans and President Trump to de-stabilize the marketplace.

 

► Congressional Republicans are delaying tax reform legislation because they can’t agree on any of the details in the various proposals.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Vicki Marble’s Crazy Cub Scout Talk is Now National News

UPDATE: CNN picks up the story:

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State Sen. Vicki Marble, left, speaks to 11-year-old Ames Mayfield on Oct. 9

Republican State Sen. Vicki Marble’s spectacularly-strange talk to a group of Cub Scouts in Broomfield, which first appeared on Colorado Pols on Thursday, Oct. 12, has become a national news story after one of the fifth-graders who asked tough questions was kicked out of his Cub Scout Den.

The story of 11-year-old Ames Mayfield was picked up this week by 9News, Denver7, Fox 31 and the Denver Post. Earlier this week the editorial board of the Denver Post chastised Marble for lying to the group of Cub Scouts (“Vicki Marble’s Finger-Lickin Lie”), and on Thursday the Post editorial board again weighed in to support Mayfield.

Marshall Zelinger of 9News sat down for an interview with Ames and his mother, Lori, for a story that ran on Thursday night. Whether or not you agree with Ames, it’s impossible to not be impressed with this kid’s composure (full video after the jump below):   

“I know that they probably don’t want me back…and I know that they’re probably still mad at me,” Ames Mayfield said.

Ames asked very specific questions on gun control when State Senator Vicki Marble visited the 11-year-old’s den on Oct. 9…

…Five days later, the Pack leader met with Ames’ mom and said Ames could find another Den within the Pack but not the one he was currently in.

“I am really heartbroken that my Den leader, which I really felt like I had a pretty good relationship with, decided to kick me out,” Ames said.

If you’re skeptical about Ames and his questions to Marble, just watch the 9News story; this is a smart kid who asked smart questions all on his own.

Ames Mayfield

Marble’s bizarre talk with the Cub Scouts started to gain national attention on Thursday, and today Samantha Schmidt flushes out more details for the Washington Post:

Ames’s story drew the attention of gun control advocate and former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot in the head by an assailant in 2011, suffering a severe brain injury.

“This is exactly the kind of courage we need in Congress,” Giffords tweeted Thursday. “Ames, call me in 14 years. I’ll campaign for you.”

Giffords’s husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, called Ames and his mother Thursday night to talk about what happened, according to Fox 31

After Mayfield posted the videos on YouTube, the website Colorado Pols published a story about the senator’s exchange with the Cub Scouts. It was after this article published that Ames’s pack leader requested a meeting with his mother. [Pols emphasis]

Mayfield said she was told by the pack leader that Ames should not have brought up the topic of gun control, although Mayfield asserts the Scouts weren’t given any parameters before the meeting. The pack leader, she said, told her words Ames used were disrespectful, such as “why on earth,” the mention of “Republicans” and the phrase, “if you truly represent your constituents.”

Remember to bookmark this link so that you can show it to your grandchildren when Ames Mayfield is elected President of the United States around the year 2048.

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Vicki Marble and the Cub Scout Tapes

State Sen. Vicki Marble (R)

State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Broomfield-ish) is no stranger when it comes to making what we could charitably call “controversial” statements, but she really raised lowered the bar for herself this week while speaking to a troop of Cub Scouts in Broomfield.

We’ll get to that Broomfield scout meeting in a moment, but first a little primer on Marble. It is Marble who came up with the “Hateful Eight” moniker to describe her and seven of her conservative colleagues in the state senate. She has alleged that renewable energy proponents “destroyed” the town of Craig with their “maypole” windmills. She has trouble differentiating between legitimate news sources and satire sites like “The Onion.” She believes that advocates for equal pay are actually victimizing women.

And, of course, Marble was the voice behind the infamous “Chickengate” affair, in which she explained during a legislative hearing on poverty that African-Americans have a shorter life span because they eat too much chicken and barbecue; the State Republican Party practically tripped over itself trying to distance itself from Marble’s commentary on this issue.

On Monday, Oct. 9, Marble spoke to a Cub Scout pack in Broomfield and delivered a breathtaking display of craziness. Videos of Marble’s remarks showed up on YouTube soon afterward; we’ve taken the liberty of transcribing Marble’s comments so that you can better hope to understand one of the more uncomfortable diatribes we’ve come across in recent memory.

You can read Marble’s comments on a variety of subjects after the jump. We’ve also included links to the videos related to the transcription…

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