Purging Liz Cheney Makes GOP Safe For Lauren Boebert

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner treats us to a feature-length interview with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who as readers know is set to become the next U.S. House GOP conference chair as the star of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming continues to fall:

“I disagree that it’s binary between looking back and looking forward,” the New York congresswoman told the Washington Examiner on Monday as she campaigned to supplant Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the No. 3 ranking House Republican. Cheney is expected to be voted out of leadership on Wednesday over her dogged refusal to stop scolding former President Donald Trump for insisting the November election was stolen and that President Joe Biden is illegitimate…

Washington Examiner: Do you agree with Trump that Biden was illegitimately elected and the election was stolen?

Stefanik: President Biden is president, and the focus is on defeating his radical agenda, which I believe we will do in 2024. And we’re going to win the midterms in 2022. I have said that there are election irregularities and an unconstitutional overreach, which is why I objected to certain states. You can refer to my statement on the House floor. I fully stand by that, and voters support the focus on those issues. But the irregularity, the unconstitutional overreach, the lack of ballot security, those are important issues that the American people want to hear solutions from the Republicans on.

Liz Cheney’s impending ouster due to her unwillingness to participate in the “Big Lie” that ex-President Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term in the 2020 presidential elections is a defining moment for the Republican Party, a final rejection of the opportunity afforded by the chaos of the past year to turn the page away from Trump’s cult of personality. This conflict has nothing to do whatsoever with Republican policy goals, which Cheney is firmly aligned with. This is purely about fealty to Trump, and willingness to maintain a false pretense that a majority of Americans have dismissed in order to keep Trump’s 2024 comeback hopes alive.

Axing Rep. Cheney in favor of “election truther” Rep. Stefanik is overall a positive development for Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert, who is facing an ethics investigation requested by Rep. Pramila Jayapal over Boebert’s own role in inciting the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But there’s a twist: Stefanik appears to go quite a bit farther in allowing for the possibility of election fraud than Boebert did in her response to Payapal’s ethics complaint, in which Boebert asserts she wasn’t alleging “election fraud” at all:

The general allegations are that I was involved “ in instigating and aiding the violent riot at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021” and that I “endangered fellow Members’ lives and pursued a disinformation campaign related to the election results that resulted in an armed uprising.” To be clear, I was not involved in instigating and aiding the riots that took place on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol and there is no evidence that would support further investigation of these unjustified, politically motivated claims. As previously mentioned, my objections to the counting of Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania were based on the Constitution and changes to state law that were not made by the state legislature, not election fraud. [Pols emphasis]

Which is, of course, ridiculous:

On the one hand, the more senior figures in GOP leadership who were willing agents in the leadup to January 6th’s violence, the less likely accountability is to reach Boebert’s level as a freshman GOP representative. For the whole party to be on the same seditious page makes it safer for everyone from Stefanik to Colorado’s own Danny Moore to “just ask questions.” On the other hand, Boebert’s defense in the Jayapal complaint relies on a pretense that nobody at this point should take seriously.

Either way, the man who cost the GOP everything wins again.

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Flu’s Out For Summer, Lauren Boebert

Who wants to tell Rep. Lauren Boebert that the reason influenza “decided to take 2021 off” is the preventative measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic–and that Boebert resisted to the point of having her restaurant shut down–also stopped the flu?

We can’t imagine this was the point Boebert was trying to make, since it’s an implicit admission she was on the wrong side of the biggest epidemiological question of our lives so far. But what else could she have meant?

Sometimes it’s the throwaway lines that say the most, folks.

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Match Made In Hell: Lauren Boebert, Meet Candace Owens

Lauren Boebert, Candace Owens.

From a press release announcing next weekend’s Ohio Political Summit, we learn that Colorado’s most notorious freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert is the star of what’s being billed as the Buckeye State’s first major 2022 cycle event to “discuss, share in forum setting, and promote candidates who will work for good government and America First policies.”

Strongville, Ohio (we’ll admit this is a cool name for a town) is very far from Colorado’s Third Congressional District, so safe to say there will be no town halls for Rep. Boebert’s hapless constituents that weekend.

Co-starring with Boebert is a conservative activist whose name we keep thinking we’ve heard for the last time, only to pop up again: Candace Owens, formerly of the “teen fash” right-wing organizing group Turning Point USA:

On May 15, 2021 the Ohio Political Summit will feature Republican Leaders considering a run in 2022 for U.S. Senate, House 16 and Governor (all viable candidates have been invited to the event headlined by Conservative Commentator Candace Owens and Conservative Congresswoman Lauren Boebert).

“I am very excited to escape Fort Pelosi, and come to the Ohio Political Summit,” said Representative Lauren Boebert (R) Colorado. “As a strong voice for freedom, I look forward to sharing thoughts about taking back our country with like minded conservatives; I encourage everyone to participate.”

“We are very pleased to be hosting this watermark event, as of today virtually every viable candidate is participating,” said Shannon Burns, Strongsville GOP President and CEO of WAB Strategic. “Ohio is a bellwether state, and we have an incredible group of candidates. We are very excited to have Candace Owens and Lauren Boebert headline the start of a great season.”

It’s a fair and debatable question which of these two individuals is more discrediting to the other. Although locals have been saturated with Boebert’s non-stop firehose of ludicrous falsehoods and calculatedly offensive pronouncements on every available subject for months now, Candace Owens has been playing the outrageousness for cash and prizes game much longer than Boebert has. From disastrously trying to loop the clueless Kanye West into her bogus “Blexit” movement to suggesting that if “Hitler just wanted to make Germany great” he would have been “fine,” which resulted in the University of Colorado chapter of her own organization calling for her resignation, we were honestly surprised to see Owens headlining any event–much less co-starring with someone with a reputation to defend like a member of Congress.

Looks like it’s time to revise those standards down again.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 6)

On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Consistent with much of the COVID-19 related news over the last several months, there’s good news and bad news to report. The good news, as The Washington Post reports, is that we can finally see a post-COVID world on the horizon:

Coronavirus infections could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily throttled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions against viral transmission, according to a strikingly optimistic paper released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report comes as administration officials and leaders in many states are sounding more confident that the country can return to a degree of normalcy relatively soon. President Biden on Tuesday announced a new vaccination goal, saying he wants 70 percent of adults to have had at least one dose by July 4.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the modeling results give Americans a road map out of the pandemic — so long as they continue to get vaccinated and maintain certain mitigation strategies until a “critical mass of people” get the shots.

For this to happen, of course, more Americans would need to move forward with getting vaccinated against COVID-19. As POLITICO reports, health experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into more dangerous variants if vaccination rates continue to decline in certain parts of the country. As The New York Times reports, a new survey suggests that we might be reaching the limit of Americans who still plan to get vaccinated.

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues his Donald Trump impersonation. As The New York Times explains, DeSantis signed into law new voting restrictions in Florida with all the pomp of a campaign rally:

Mr. DeSantis enacted the legislation even after he had promoted Florida’s handling of the November elections. Mr. Trump won the state by three percentage points.

The governor gave Fox News, his preferred major cable news outlet — and Mr. Trump’s — an exclusive to broadcast the bill signing ceremony from West Palm Beach on Thursday morning, in an event that resembled a campaign rally as much as an official act of state government.

Supporters of Mr. DeSantis gathered inside a Hilton near the airport, donning DeSantis and Trump campaign gear. Before they entered, some people waved Trump-DeSantis and DeSantis 2024 banners, according to photos on social media shared by journalists locked outside the doors.

“Right now, I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” a seated Mr. DeSantis told Fox as a rowdy crowd cheered behind him.

In a separate story, the Times details Florida’s new restrictions:

The new bill would limit the use of drop boxes; add more identification requirements for those requesting absentee ballots; require voters to request an absentee ballot for each election, rather than receive them automatically through an absentee voting list; limit who could collect and drop off ballots; and further empower partisan observers during the ballot-counting process. The legislation would also expand a current rule that prohibits outside groups from providing items “with the intent to influence” voters within a 150-foot radius of a polling location.

 

People who regularly say racist things are called racists. At the State Capitol, they are also called “Republicans”. Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf caused a delay in proceedings on the House floor on Wednesday after he referred to a fellow lawmaker as “Buckwheat.” This came just a few weeks after Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks made a joke about lynching and lectured his colleagues on why their historical understanding of the 3/5ths compromise was inaccurate.

House Speaker Alec Garnett (D-Denver) opened today’s legislative work with a call for decency and decorum from his Republican colleagues.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun reports on legislation to create a new office of early education to streamline services and oversee programs such as Colorado’s universal preschool program. Alex Burness has more for The Denver Post, including a proposal to create universal pre-K education in Colorado by 2023.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel likes the idea of empowering local governments to make their own gun safety regulations.

Legislation to close a loophole in background checks for firearms cleared its first hurdle in the House Judiciary Committee.

The Associated Press has more details on a big transportation funding bill introduced this week. Marshall Zelinger of 9News explains the fee vs. tax distinction at the heart of the legislation.

The legislation formerly known as the Colorado Option is being debated on the House floor today.

Legislation intended to speed up bond hearings is moving along.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Colorado Republicans Rage At Facebook’s Trump Ban

This guy again.

As the New York Times reports and you doubtless already know, Facebook’s appointed Oversight Board yesterday declined to lift the company’s ban on former President Donald Trump utilizing the platform, directing the company to clarify its rules and come back in six months for another review:

A Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

CBS4 Denver has the reaction from Colorado’s minority Republican congressional delegation, and they are uniformly on full-tilt outrage. Rep. Ken Buck, whose crusade against Big Tech’s allegedly censorious ways predates Trump’s post-insurrection social media blackout, invoked the nastiest (and most dreadfully overused) comparison in the GOP playbook, Communist Gyna:

Following the news that Facebook Oversight Committee upheld former President Donald Trump’s ban, the three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were quick to react.

Rep. Ken Buck went to the social media platform itself, posting a link to an NPR article about the decision and commenting: “Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China, Big Tech has too much power.”

Not to be outdone, Rep. Lauren Boebert apparently thinks someone has been executed?

3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebart voiced her criticism on Twitter, tweeting “The Facebook Oversight Board acted as the judge, jury, prosecutor, appellate court and executioner. Big Tech needs to be broken up.”

Even Colorado’s least charismatic member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, took a swing:

“Unfortunately, Facebook’s decision to keep the ban on President Trump comes as no surprise. No social media company should have the power to entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people. Facebook’s oversight board is a farce. We must reign in #BigTech.”

Here we come to the central issue, which is the idea as Lamborn falsely suggests that Facebook has the ability to “entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people.” As we saw this week with the much-hyped launch of former President Trump’s blog, Trump is fully able to communicate with the American people online as much as he wants. He’s just not doing it on private commercial social media networks who have the full authority–let’s go a step farther and call it a right–to deny the use of their system to people who misuse it for criminal purposes like inciting a riot.

Though we certainly do not have the reach of a global platform like Facebook, we do have some experience on this blog with regulating the limits of content we consider inappropriate, undesirable, or any other way we might choose to evaluate what our readers post in comments and community blogs. Our standards are liberal enough that we’re generally accused of not policing content adequately as opposed to allegations of censorship, but we absolutely retain the right to moderate posted content and deny access to abusive users. If, for example, readers started plotting in comments to overthrow the state government, we’d feel an obligation to stop that.

In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the “free market” values these conservatives claim to uphold and their allegation that these private companies have committed some kind of unconstitutional suppression of former President Trump’s free speech rights. Free speech is not and has never been an entitlement to somebody else’s broadcast platform to amplify your speech at their expense. The violent insurrection on January 6th directly caused by the refusal of Trump (and for that matter, Boebert and Lamborn) to accept the results of the 2020 elections is ample cause to to permanently ban Trump from any private platform that wishes to.

But that segues into a conversation none of them want to have.

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Get More Smarter on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Please celebrate responsibly and remember why this is a holiday. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

► President Biden will address the nation today on the status of the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan approved by Congress earlier this year. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden plans to address the nation Wednesday on the implementation of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March that included $1,400-per-person stimulus payments, aid to state and local governments, and other measures. Earlier in the day, he visited a Mexican restaurant that is benefiting from a relief program that was part of the package.

 

Facebook decided to uphold a decision to ban Donald Trump from the social media network.

 

 As POLITICO reports, it appears inevitable that House Republicans will boot Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position because she refused to play along with “The Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election.

 

Westword looks at which Colorado counties are doing the best (and worst) job of vaccinating local residents.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on the rollout of a big transportation funding proposal — with an impressive list of supporters — at the state legislature:

A broad coalition of state and local elected officials and Colorado business groups on Tuesday unveiled a new legislative proposal that they hope will bring an end to a years-long quest to secure billions in new funding for roads and other transportation infrastructure.

“For the first time, we are introducing something that isn’t just a band-aid, but is instead a real framework to future-proof our transportation system,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, said in a press conference at the State Capitol. “This is a big deal.”

The bill unveiled Tuesday would allocate nearly $5.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next decade, $3.8 billion of which would come from a variety of new revenue mechanisms including fees on gasoline sales, ridesharing apps, deliveries, vehicle registrations and more. Another $1.5 billion would come from the state’s general fund and federal stimulus spending.

Supporters say the bill will help Colorado begin to address a backlog of badly-needed infrastructure improvements and could help the average Colorado driver save hundreds of dollars per year in costs associated with road congestion and vehicle maintenance needs caused by inferior roads. It would also allocate more than $700 million to vehicle electrification to support the state’s goal of putting nearly 1 million electric cars on the road by 2030.

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun has more on the announcement, as does Colorado Public Radio, 9News, and Denver7.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis and state legislative leaders will unveil a proposal today to create a State Department of Early Childhood Education.

House leaders are pushing for a $75 million broadband expansion project.

Denver7 reports on discussions surrounding making changes to recall elections in Colorado.

Colorado law enforcement may be required to take additional training in the wake of a scandal surrounding the arrest of a woman with dementia in Loveland.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would bar insurance companies from using consumer information to set rates that might vary based on race or sexual preference.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Don’t Want To Play? It’s Your District That Will Pay

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish brings us an interesting story today about how the transfer of power in Washington has changed the way business is being done–and how reluctance by Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to step up to the proverbial pump for their home districts could leave their constituents out of big investment opportunities:

The four Colorado Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have assembled a list of nearly $200 million in special spending on transportation initiatives and community projects in their districts as Congress reopens the door to the controversial practice of earmarking…

It’s been 10 years since Congress ended earmarks, the practice of allowing individual members to designate funding for projects in their districts. Scandals and controversy surrounding the spending practice led to its demise, and conservatives remain skeptical of earmarks.

“Tea Party” fiscal policy expert.

In truth, the biggest factor behind Congress imposing its “temporary” ban on earmarks in February of 2011 which has persisted to the present today was the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave elections. “Earmarks” were condemned by this new wave of far-right Republicans in Congress as a tool of corruption, but that’s neither an accurate nor fair representation of a longstanding practice by which lawmakers identify and seek funding for specific needs in their districts. That’s why Democrats, back in full albeit narrow control for the first time in a decade and looking to make historic investments, are looking to members of Congress to help set priorities.

For Republicans, this presents a choice: and our local Republicans are making the wrong one.

Republicans in conservative districts have disavowed the practice, including the three GOP U.S. representatives from Colorado. That could mean Colorado Springs and the state’s rural areas lose out on some funding opportunities.

In her February Fox News opinion piece, Rep. Lauren Boebert called bullcrap on bringing home the bacon for CD-3:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are quietly pushing a campaign to reinstate earmarks so they can fund liberal pet projects and buy votes with your tax dollars.

Republicans should unite behind our promise to put the American people first, drain the swamp, and commit to putting a stop Democrats’ plans to revive pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Ken Buck said the same for his district in a Newsweek op-ed in March:

Now, today, Democrats are trying to revive the practice—and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem willing to go along. This time around, however, politicians are attempting to give a new image to the unpopular term “earmarks.” We hear now that these projects will often be referred to as “member-directed funding for community projects.” Apparently that phrase polled better than “taxpayer-funded pet projects to help members of Congress gain political favor.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Responding to the Colorado Sun, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office was even more blunt:

“As of now, Congressman Lamborn’s office will not be working on community-funded projects,” Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s spokeswoman, said in an email.

That may disappoint some of the Republicans’ constituents…

The campaign against earmarks waged by the “Tea Party” movement in 2010 was, like so much of the rhetoric from that crazy and portentous year in American politics, based largely on anecdotes trumping data and rank misinformation. Individual examples of perceived waste were invoked to discredit the far larger share of spending on popular and necessary projects. It’s a political game as old as dirt, but until the next elections Republicans have only the choice to step up for their districts–or allow needs for their constituents to go unmet out of pure political spite.

The out-of-state ideologues these Republicans are largely beholden to won’t care.

But stakeholders in their districts who pay the price for this grandstand will get their say at the polls.

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Lauren Boebert Shuns Colorado Reporters Altogether

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at Club 20 event in April (via Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

As a political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Charles Ashby has covered politics and politicians in Colorado for decades. This includes the offices of former Congressional Members Scott McInnis, John Salazar, and Scott Tipton, as well as current Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

You might think that Boebert would have some sort of a working relationship with a well-respected political reporter who writes for one of the largest newspapers in her district (and perhaps the largest newspaper in her hometown of Rifle). But as Ashby told hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii on The Get More Smarter Podcast last week, Boebert’s office literally doesn’t even respond to his inquiries.

You can listen to the entire interview after the jump. In the meantime, we transcribed Ashby’s comments about his experience in trying to cover the Congressperson that represents readers of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

SILVERII: What’s the difference between covering Lauren Boebert and Scott Tipton?

ASHBY: Well, it’s very difficult when you have a sitting Congressman who won’t return your calls, whose press office won’t even return an email or a text message. They’ll send you out their press releases, and if you want a response, you have to check her Twitter account. So that’s very frustrating. Even Tipton — his people didn’t like me much, either — but they would at least talk to me. They would at least answer questions. And she doesn’t do that. So, that’s very frustrating. [Pols emphasis]

SILVERII: She doesn’t seem to have a problem getting airtime on Newsmax or Fox News or Breitbart, but it does seem like she is allergic to the Colorado press corps. Do you think that’s an intentional strategy on her part?

ASHBY: Oh, God, yes. Oh, definitely. She wants to talk to people who she sees as favorable to her. [Pols emphasis] And I’ll give you a good example. Most of her public events that she has been doing, all the way back from campaigning, have been to friendly crowds. Earlier this month she was at the spring conference for Club 20, which is a government/civic/private group of all the Western Slope counties. [She was there] just to answer questions, and that has Democrats and Republicans and Unaffiliated [voters] on that panel, and she was asked a couple of questions that came from Democrats that she didn’t like. She got very, very, very upset afterward. [Pols emphasis]

Questions were like, ‘Do you think Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the White House?’ Her response was, ‘Well, he’s in the White House.’

Yes, but… [laughter from Bane and Silverii].

SILVERII: But HOW did he get there?

ASHBY: Yeah, but she didn’t answer that question. She got really upset. I can’t remember who it was — it was a woman on the Aspen City Council, I think, who asked that question. Somebody else, and I wrote the story about this, from San Juan County — a Democrat — a Commissioner down there, asked her, ‘Are you willing to compromise with people on the other side so that we can get things done?’ And she wasn’t meaning it in the sense of, ‘I’m going to compromise my principles, I’m going to compromise my values.’ No, she meant, when you’re dealing with legislation…this country was built on compromise, right? That’s why it works the way it works. And she, of course, said emphatically, ‘No, I will not.’ 

And then the very next week, she and Marjorie Taylor Greene are the only two lawmakers to vote against a bill to put money into a bone marrow transplant website that matches people up [with others] who need bone marrow. They’ve [Congress] been funding that since the 1980s. It was widely bipartisan. There were only two votes against it — those two. And she says she did that because she doesn’t want to spend more government money. And then she introduces a bill to increase the PILT payments to counties and local governments. So…okay. 

Click after the jump to listen to more of Ashby’s interview on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Ghosted (Feat. Charles Ashby)

Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

This week on Episode #73 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the pending birth of our newest Congressional district. We also learn that people kinda like having a functioning government; that Republicans like pretending that there is a “War on Meat;” and that a certain State Representative was once a Congressional candidate in California.

But those are just appetizers for the main event: Our discussion with Charles Ashby, political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the dean (probably) of the State Capitol Press Corps. Ashby catches us up on a ton of political news and tells us what happens every time he contacts the press office of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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“Bombshell” Drops On Boebert Bestie Matt Gaetz

UPDATE: For posterity, here’s Reps. Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert yucking it up on Steve Bannon’s War Room in mid-March:

Friendly enough then. How are things now?

—–

Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert in happier times.

As CNN reports, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida’s no-good very bad April got a hell of a lot worse yesterday, after the Daily Beast released new information in the sex trafficking investigation you could have guessed Gaetz was a target of just by looking at him (seriously, just look at him). If the “confession letter” from Gaetz’s similarly icky sexcapade buddy Joel Greenberg to GOP kingpin Roger Stone while seeking a pardon from President Donald Trump is accurate, Gaetz’s goose sure appears to be cooked:

Joel Greenberg, a central figure in the ongoing investigation into Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, wrote in a letter obtained by The Daily Beast that he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was 17 at the time…

“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in the letter in reference to the minor, according to The Daily Beast.

“From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.”

Undeterred, Rep. Gaetz is gearing up for a nationwide “America First” speaking tour with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene herself, who is curiously untroubled by allegations of child sex trafficking that we assume if made against a Democrat would be extremely important to her–Washington Examiner:

Firebrand Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are teaming up to start an “America First Tour” of rallies around the country.

The premiere event will be next week, on May 7 in Florida at The Villages, the world’s largest retiree playground with a reliably Republican base.

“There are millions of Americans who need to know they still have advocates in Washington D.C., and the America First movement is consistently growing and fighting,” Gaetz said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner Thursday. “The issues that motivate us include ending America’s forever-wars, fixing the border Joe Biden broke on day one, prioritizing Americans not illegal migrants, reshoring industries sold to foreign adversaries, ensuring real election integrity, and taking on the threat of the Chinese Communist Party. These issues are bigger than any one election and we remain ready to take our party and our country back.”

Much like Gaetz’s friend and mentor Donald Trump, the strategy appears to be to shovel so much red meat at the base that they forget all about the child sex trafficking stuff. Now, you might think that getting the far-right “QAnon” Republican base to ignore child sex trafficking, an issue they are ostensibly very concerned about, is a lot to ask. But the sad truth is that the child sex trafficking Gaetz is under investigation for is downright pedestrian compared to a global conspiracy theory connecting the world’s secret pedophile elite to a pizza joint in Washington, D.C. It’s just not going to faze them.

With all of this in mind, there’s just one question left to ask: where is Rep. Lauren Boebert in all this? Boebert came into Congress as a ready-made ally for Gaetz, appearing jointly on cable news to decry Democratic “cancel culture” back in January. But as Gaetz’s scandals began to dominate headlines in the last few weeks, Boebert and Gaetz’s fast friendship seems to have cooled considerably–with Boebert declining to even acknowledge her and Gaetz’s home state of Florida are in the same country as Colorado. Will Boebert appear at Gaetz “America First” tour stops out West? If not, why not?

There’s more story here, and we’ll be watching for it.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 29)

International Dance Day? We can get down with that. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Here’s something that you have never seen before in American history: Two women (Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) seated behind the President of the United States during a Presidential address to a joint session of Congress.

The Washington Post has more on President Biden’s first big speech to Congress:

President Biden on Wednesday night used his first speech to a joint session of Congress to argue for a dramatic expansion of government services, making a plea for sweeping plans to provide universal preschool, free community college and expanded health care and new tax breaks for families — much of it funded by higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

While he also renewed calls for an array of priorities — including immigration changes, gun control and police reform — Biden more broadly portrayed a country that is rapidly emerging from the depths of a global pandemic and has survived events that, in his view, tested American democracy as rarely before.

“We have stared into an abyss of insurrection and autocracy — of pandemic and pain — and ‘we the people’ did not flinch,” he said toward the end of a 65-minute speech.

In addition to the historic picture above, Biden’s speech was unique in another way. Instead of a packed House of Representatives chamber, Biden spoke to a much smaller group that was socially-distanced for health and safety reasons.

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was among the Representatives from Colorado in attendance on Wednesday evening. Boebert stuck to her default “look angry about everything Biden says” position, even shaking her head in disgust when Biden discussed a proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

Elsewhere, The Hill notes that Biden called on Congress to quickly pass sweeping new election reform legislation.

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, some COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado are approaching levels not seen since December:

Colorado is one COVID-19 outbreak short of the point where many K-12 schools moved to remote learning in December, with more students infected than at the previous peak.

As of Wednesday, the state reported 210 active outbreaks in schools, the highest number since Dec. 2, when there were 211. Outbreaks had fallen from December through mid-January, fluctuated through March, then began growing in earnest, increasing by 80 in April.

Outbreaks also continued to grow in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and child care centers, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases connected to the same location or event. An outbreak is considered over when four weeks have passed with no new cases.

 

The Colorado legislature’s big health care bill, HB21-1232, should be celebrated for what it WILL do, not what it won’t do:

 

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

A big climate change bill aimed at boosting the ability to regulate air emissions in Colorado is moving along through the legislature despite a veto threat from Gov. Jared Polis.

Governor Polis will sign the following bills today: HB21-1131 (Cooperative Electric Associations Governance Requirements);  SB21-066 (Juvenile Diversion Programs); SB21-130 (Local Authority for Business Personal Property Tax Exemption); and  SB21-079 (Deregulate Meat Sales Direct To Consumers).

Alex Burness of The Denver Post updates on the status of SB-62, which seeks to reduce the population of Colorado’s prisons.

Meghan Lopez of Denver7 reports on legislation that would boost training for Colorado police officers.

Efforts to create a Front Range rail system are moving along.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Lauren Boebert Has One Speed: Petulant

Here’s an interesting scene from last night’s address by President Biden to a joint session of Congress:

 

Perhaps Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) was so focused on her anti-Biden schtick that she wasn’t even listening to what the President was saying. That’s the best we can do for why you would frown at the idea of LOWERING THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 28)

WTF is Clean Comedy Day? Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Joe Biden has seen his approval ratings surpass 60% in his first 100 days in office, which is a mark that his predecessor, Donald Trump, never even sniffed. Tonight, Biden will give his first speech as President to a joint session of Congress, where he’ll make a pitch for another big spending package. From The Washington Post:

The White House on Wednesday unveiled a $1.8 trillion spending and tax plan aimed at dramatically expanding access to education and safety-net programs for families, the latest effort by President Biden to try to turn some of his campaign promises into new policy.

The package cannot be implemented without congressional approval, and many Republicans have offered a cool reception to the scope of tax increases and spending that Biden has tried to advance. But the White House’s new “American Families Plan” provides Congress with details of the president’s domestic agenda, setting down markers for negotiations later this year.

Biden’s plan proposes a suite of domestic policies that would collectively represent a marked change in how Americans interact with the federal government.

The White House says its proposal would provide every American with two years of tuition-free community college; prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds; and paid family and medical leave for American workers. Among its sweeping agenda items, the plan also calls for devoting hundreds of billions of dollars to fighting child poverty and ensuring affordable child care nationwide. [Pols emphasis]

Biden wants to strengthen IRS enforcement efforts — which could bring in billions in unpaid taxes — as part of a solution for paying for this proposal.

Congressional Republicans will oppose Biden’s plan, because that’s just what they do, but the Biden administration is advancing proposals that reflect a new attitude from Americans who have decided they kinda like having a functional federal government.

The Associated Press has more on what to expect from Biden’s speech tonight.

 

The CDC issued new mask-wearing guidance on Tuesday. Fully vaccinated Americans can now safely go without a mask while walking and exercising outside or while eating at outdoor restaurants.

Meanwhile, 9News reports on the latest good and bad news in Colorado’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic:

While cases are increasing at a slower rate compared to previous weeks, Gov. Jared Polis expressed concern over the continued upward trajectory of cases and hospitalization rates as the state had over 600 COVID patients in the hospital for the first time in months…

…Polis said that while school-associated outbreaks are a factor, he believes a much bigger factor is vaccinated parents resuming social activities with their unvaccinated children.

Roughly 37% of Colorado residents are considered to be fully vaccinated. The two counties with the highest current infection rates — Pueblo and El Paso — also have the lowest vaccination rates.

It’s not rocket surgery, friends. Get your vaccines.

 

The Colorado Sun has more on an ongoing saga of whistleblower complaints regarding how Colorado regulates air pollution.

 

Colorado Newsline explains the changes made to a big health care bill in the Colorado legislature.

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

Colorado Public Radio looks at concerns over the potency of legal marijuana.

Lawmakers want to speed up bond hearings for people arrested in Colorado.

Composting grandma gets closer to reality.

Colorado Newsline examines why widening highways is the wrong remedy for Colorado’s transportation problems.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Fighting For White People With Lauren Boebert

As readers know, Rep. Lauren Boebert fires off enough objectionable statements in the average day that if we wanted to, we could spend all our time every day doing nothing but writing blog posts where we perform the prosaic equivalent of picking our jaws up off the floor. Rather than get caught up in this Donald Trump-inspired vicious cycle in which bad behavior is rewarded with constant attention, we ignore a lot of stuff from Boebert that would under most other circumstances warrant outrage.

Lauren Boebert with a group of white people.

The story of this particular Tweet from last weekend is worth making an exception to the rule. This is Rep. Boebert asserting that “denying vaccine access to White people doesn’t make you woke, it makes you racist.” Boebert doesn’t supply any context for this statement to her 600,000 Twitter followers, which as Raw Story reports led to some confusion:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) kicked off her morning by claiming that “White people” are being denied access to the COVID-19 vaccine that had critics of the controversial lawmaker scratching their heads wondering what she was tweeting about…

With reports coming in that vaccine providers are not seeing as many people coming in for their shots as was hoped as it becomes readily available, commenters on Twitter accused Boebert of trying to create a racial controversy where none exists.

As it turns out, and you could have predicted, there is a story circulating on right-wing media that Boebert appears to be basing this on, including in the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner, about a clinic in Seattle Washington called the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH):

The African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry is a vaccine provider that allows users to sign up for the shot through a digital scheduler. People who use the site for appointments at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center on May 1 are prompted to answer whether they are a person of color or white.

Minority users can sign up for an appointment if there’s an available slot. White users are placed on a standby list, and AARTH says it will contact them if a spot becomes available.

What this is, of course, is a nonprofit specifically devoted to serving the African-American community–whose vaccination rates for COVID-19 are dramatically lower than the white population. They are operating under the (correct) assumption that white people with privilege and mobility and time for “vaccine hunting” can get vaccinated everywhere, but disadvantaged communities need outreach campaigns targeted directly at them.

In short, this is a completely fake controversy engineered to foment baseless race resentment. In Washington state just like here in Colorado, the question increasingly is not the availability of vaccines but hesitancy to take them. White political conservatives are some of the most reluctant despite no physical barriers to access. And we’ll say it: white people trying to get a vaccine appointment from the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry have enough alternative options that they are almost certainly trolling for publicity.

In Rep. Boebert’s case, it’s even worse since she has said she has no need to personally get vaccinated–meaning her interest is just about carrying the torch for the supposedly downtrodden white race. Along with Boebert unapologetically pushing “white replacement” conspiracy theories regarding immigration policy, it’s another disturbing indicator of what’s really going on inside her head.

Racist stuff.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 26)

Happy Alien Day. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment.

 

The United States is sending aid to India as the country battles a massive COVID-19 outbreak that has seen in the neighborhood of 350,000 new infections per day in the past week. As The New York Times reports:

The Biden administration, under increasing pressure to address a devastating surge of the coronavirus in India, said on Sunday that it had removed impediments to the export of raw materials for vaccines and would also supply India with therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective gear…

…The announcement, an abrupt shift for the administration, came after Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, held a call earlier in the day with Ajit Doval, his counterpart in India, and as the Indian government reported more than 349,000 new infections, a world record for a single day. Ms. Horne said the United States had “identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine,” the Indian-produced version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The situation in India is dire. The country is witnessing perhaps the worst crisis any nation has suffered since the pandemic began, with hospitals overflowing and desperate people dying in line waiting to see doctors — and mounting evidence that the actual death toll is far higher than officially reported. Officials say they are running desperately low on supplies, including oxygen and protective gear, as a deadly new variant is thought to be behind a rise in cases. [Pols emphasis]

Do your part to turn back the coronavirus by getting vaccinated ASAP. Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated.

In related news, the CDC and FDA lifted temporary restrictions on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend.

 

Colorado is expected to get the official word today that the state’s population growth in the last decade is enough to qualify us for an 8th Congressional District. The Census Bureau will announce updated state population numbers this afternoon.

 

Nobody is coming for your meat. Sorry.

 

► Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun updates on the status of the “Colorado Option”:

Democratic state lawmakers aiming to drive down health care costs are planning to move forward this week with legislation to potentially create a public health insurance option after roughly a month of still-unresolved negotiations with hospitals, doctors and others in the medical sector.

But they’re still not sure exactly what their policy will look like.

Two paths forward have surfaced. The first is to continue on with the current version of House Bill 1232, which would give the health care industry a chance to bring down costs and avoid the state offering its own insurance plan. The second path is to swap the original version for legislation akin to what was pursued last year, where instead of the state offering a health insurance option private insurers would be required to offer a highly regulated, standardized plan.

“I think (either) could happen when we go to committee on Tuesday,” said state Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat who is leading the push for House BIll 1232.

Paul’s story in the Sun does not contain any comments — much less policy arguments — from legislative Republicans.

Here’s more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis will sign several new bills today, including SB21-123 (Expand Canadian Rx Import Program);  SB21-124 (Changes To Felony Murder); and SB21-040 (Driver’s History Profession Or Occupation Decision).

The Denver Post reports on efforts to improve working conditions for Colorado farm workers.

Colorado Public Radio reports on increases in funding for higher education.

Mike Littwin of The Colorado Sun previews expected new legislation dealing with gun violence.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Guns, Globes, and Vaccines

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, the United States is the best at mass shootings; there is a giant ice globe sitting on the lawn outside of the State Capitol; opponents of the “Colorado Option” have run out of arguments; State Rep. Ron Hanks has trouble with history; and we check back on two popular segments: “What the Buck?” and “The Boebert Report.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Get More Smarter on Earth Day (April 22)

Happy Earth Day, Earth. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado, as Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases continued trending down Wednesday, while the percentage of tests coming back positive remained high, indicating the state isn’t detecting some infections.

The state health department reported 722 active outbreaks as of Wednesday. An outbreak is at least two coronavirus cases linked to the same location or event, and isn’t considered over until four weeks have passed with no new cases.

The settings with the biggest increases compared to last week were K-12 schools, with 18 more outbreaks; nursing homes, 13; manufacturing facilities and warehouses, seven; offices and restaurants, six each; and assisted living facilities, five.

Meanwhile, as The Washington Post reports, we may be reaching a tipping point in the battle to get more Americans vaccinated:

About 3 million people are getting shots every day, down from a high of about 3.3 million last week. That rate is still sufficient for vaccinating a large portion of the U.S. adult population by the summertime, when many hope life will return to normal.

But there’s been a 9-percent decrease in the average number of daily shots administered over the past week..

…Some health experts are expressing concerns the declines will continue, reflecting the substantial pool of Americans who are skeptical of the vaccine and either don’t want to get it right away or don’t want it at all.

Get those shots, people! Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated.

 

India set a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, reporting nearly 315,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

 

As The Washington Post reports, President Biden is pushing the United States toward a more ambitious goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions:

Via The Washington Post (4/22/21)

President Biden on Thursday will commit the United States to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions as much as 52 percent by the end of this decade, a pledge that would require fast and far-reaching changes to American life, from how people power their homes to the cars they drive.

The highly anticipated announcement roughly doubles a target set by President Barack Obama in 2015 as part of the Paris climate accord, by vowing the nation will reduce its emissions between 50 and 52 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Biden plans to formalize the goal in a submission to the United Nations, the White House said.

The move comes as Biden convenes 40 world leaders for an Earth Day summit aimed at fueling similar ambition around the globe.

Biden is pushing climate change goals that the United States can meet with our without help from Congress.

 

Let’s check in on the state legislature:

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation that would add “gender expression” and “gender identity” to the list of those protected by the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

As Evan Wyloge reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, lawmakers are working on finding solutions to Colorado’s redistricting problems, which stem from the fact that the 2020 U.S. Census won’t be completed on time.

A Senate committee moved along SB-200, this session’s big climate change-related bill.

Lawmakers are advancing updates to police reform legislation passed last Spring.

Former inmates in Colorado correctional facilities will now be issued a State ID upon their release that lawmakers hope will cut down on recidivism cases.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on an usual move by House Speaker Alec Garnett to add Republican Rep. Marc Catlin as Vice-Chair of the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water Committee.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Democrats Cross The “T” In LGBT+ Discrimination Law

A press release from Colorado Senate Democrats this afternoon announces the passage of new legislation to ensure that gender identity is as protected from discrimination under state law as the spirit of Colorado’s progressive LGBT+ anti-discrimination laws has intended from the beginning:

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation sponsored by Senator Dominick Moreno that seeks to update existing law to ensure that Coloradans are protected against discrimination.

Current Colorado statute protects individuals from discrimination based on a variety of factors including: race, gender, age, and religion. HB21-1108 would update the law to include protections related to an individual’s “gender expression” and “gender identity.” The bill would also revise the current definition of “sexual orientation” to be more comprehensive and inclusive.

“As hate crimes continue to rise, we need to implement policies that safeguard our LGBTQIA+ community and protect them from discrimination,” said Senator Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City. “With this bill, we are saying loud and clear that LGBTQIA+ folks are welcome in Colorado and deserve the same protections under the law as other marginalized groups. We have the ability to create a safer, more inclusive Colorado with the passage of this critical bill, moving us a step closer toward a more welcome society where everyone feels safe to be who they are.”

With respect to the growing problem of discrimination and violence against LGBT Coloradans, the unfortunate trend requiring ongoing vigilance is clear:

According to the FBI’s 2019 Hate Crime Report in Colorado, attacks against an individual’s sexual orientation have increased 49% from last year and now account for the second-largest number of bias-motivated attacks in the state. In addition, crimes targeting an individual’s gender identity have consistently risen since 2017 and increased 40% last year.

Since the passage of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) 15 years ago, it has become apparent that an individual’s gender identity or gender expression can have a negative impact on their lived experiences in the same manner as other factors that are currently covered under the state’s anti-discrimination protections. This bill would ensure that gender identity and gender expression are included in the state’s anti-discrimination statute, paving the way for a more just and inclusive society for those in the LGBT+ community.

It’s another moment to note that while LGBT+ rights have been upheld and expanded in Colorado over the past fifteen years of mostly-solid Democratic political dominance, in many states the protections Coloradans take for granted are nonexistent–which is why the Equality Act being debated at the federal level to create federal protections in line with Colorado’s law is so important. Colorado’s progressive approach to this issue also makes Rep. Lauren Boebert’s virulent tirades against trans people from her platform in Congress even more objectionable. In quantifiable terms, Boebert doesn’t speak for Colorado.

That’s the reality we hope more people outside our state hear.

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Lauren Boebert’s Endless Hypocrisy Is In Your Face

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner reported yesterday afternoon:

The House Ethics Committee must launch a preliminary investigation into House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters after a House GOP lawmaker filed a complaint with the panel.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican and a freshman, on Tuesday released a copy of her complaint against Waters that charged her with violating House ethics rules following comments the California Democrat made to protesters in the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, near Minneapolis.

“I write to request that the House Committee on Ethics open an investigation into Representative Maxine Waters for her incitement of the violent riots in Brooklyn Center, her unethical use of her office to unconstitutionally pressure an independent judiciary, and her pattern of similar behavior that is unbecoming of a Member of Congress and discredits the House of Representatives,” Boebert wrote to the bipartisan panel of 10 House lawmakers.

The panel will have to review Boebert’s complaint, but it may not result in an investigation.

First, the context the Examiner unsurprisingly omitted: Rep. Lauren Boebert is facing an ethics inquiry of her own for her role in inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Boebert’s huge volume of social media posts second-guessing the results of the 2020 presidential elections and calling for supporters to converge on Washington, D.C. that day–not to mention Boebert’s Tweets about the location of Speaker Nancy Pelosi after rioters had breached the Capitol–invite exactly the same allegations that Boebert is making against Rep. Maxine Waters.

With the maximum guilty verdict delivered in the George Floyd murder trial yesterday, the unrest that was feared in the event of a lesser verdict or acquittal did not materialize. The verdict in that case substantially vindicates the last year of protest over race relations in America, and validates the anger expressed by Black leaders like Rep. Waters. When you compare the very real struggle for racial justice in America with the violence Boebert encouraged in response to Donald Trump losing the 2020 elections, the extreme moral disparity between the two makes the comparison nothing short of outrageously offensive.

And yet here we are. Boebert’s whole strategy for answering for her own misdeeds is apparently to take what she is accused of, cross her name off the allegation, and put in Maxine Waters’ name as if there is even a tiny shred of moral equivalence between the two. Yesterday’s verdict just underscores the folly of this.

It’s not just shameless. It’s too shameless. It challenges even 2021’s outrage fatigue.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 21)

Today is 4-21-21, which is probably an astrological sign of the apocalypse, or something. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

Derek Chauvin is led out of Minneapolis courtroom in handcuffs after Tuesday’s verdict.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three counts related to his role in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The Denver Post has the reaction from Colorado leaders on Tuesday afternoon:

Authorities at midday cleared the parking lot that rings the Colorado Capitol and increased police presence around the building, but almost no one was outside the Capitol hours after the verdict was announced. Inside, members of Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus held a news conference expressing their gratitude in the news.

“We felt the weight of our ancestors, we felt the collective sigh of relief,” said caucus chair Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat. “And we felt a moment of solidarity in the work.”

Colorado’s Congressional Democrats are calling for more work on police reform in the aftermath of the Chauvin verdict.

Elsewhere, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a new Justice Department investigation into the practices and culture of the Minneapolis Police Department.

 

Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of three locations without a prior appointment:

♦ Ball Arena in Denver, 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
♦ The Ranch in Loveland, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday.
♦ Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Remember, friends: Employers are REQUIRED to provide paid leave for employees who need time off work to get vaccinated. Despite the incentives for receiving the vaccine, which include NOT DYING FROM COVID-19, the state estimates that 10% of the population will still refuse to get vaccinated.

 

Colorado Public Radio looks at a climate change battle in the state legislature:

A landmark climate bill passed a Senate committee Tuesday, but hours of testimony revealed a wide split among Colorado Democrats over the state’s climate strategy. Polis has sought a business-friendly path that’s heavy on incentives and voluntary agreements. Democratic State Sen. Faith Winter, a bill sponsor representing Westminster, praised those efforts but said the state needs enforceable regulations as a backstop.

“What we’re doing is relying on a lot of good will, a lot of press releases, that are not legally enforceable,” Winter said.

Winter said the latest legislation, SB21-200, is necessary to hold Colorado to its climate action goals — a greenhouse gas reduction plan Polis signed in 2019. Those targets commit the state to reduce its contribution to climate change 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. Each target is measured against Colorado’s 2005 emission levels.

Governor Jared Polis is not on board with SB21-200, preferring instead to promote less-specific measurements of success in reducing emissions.

Here’s more news on the state legislature…

Legislation is on its way to the desk of Gov. Polis that would require Colorado businesses to allow customers to pay with cash.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg says new gun safety legislation could be introduced in the legislature as soon as this week.

Lawmakers are considering new police accountability measures.

The Colorado Sun reports on proposed legislation that would allow school districts and other government agencies to continue to name just one “sole finalist” for top jobs.

CBS4 Denver has more on legislation to increase access to mental health services for teenagers.

The Denver Post has more on the discussion surrounding efforts to restrict the potency of legal marijuana.

The Colorado Springs Independent summarizes some new and pending legislation.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Get More Smarter on Monday (April 19)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day outside, and it’s going to get blusterier: Denver could set a new record low temperature today in advance of a snowstorm that is forecasted to drop 8-14 inches of snow in the Metro Area. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. At least half of the adult population in this country have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite rising cases of COVID-19, many Colorado counties eased pandemic-related restrictions on Friday.

 

Governor Jared Polis will officially sign two gun safety bills today — one dealing with safe storage of firearms and the other about mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. The Colorado Sun has more background on the legislation.

Now, let’s get you caught up on more legislative news. Thursday is Earth Day, which makes this week a great time to use the social media hashtags #CoClimateWeek and #ClimateJusticeNow. It also means this could be your best chance to see a giant ice globe in person:

Saja Hindi of The Denver Post looks at the week(s) ahead in the fight over a “Colorado Option” healthcare proposal. Last week we outlined how opponents of the legislation are doing a pretty terrible job of arguing their case.

Lawmakers are considering setting aside a significant amount of money in the state budget to help law enforcement purchase more body cameras.

CBS4 Denver looks at legislation that could restrict public access to arrest records.

Fox 31 Denver discusses a bill that would provide free mental health services to Colorado children.

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman previews the legislative week ahead.

 

Closing arguments are being made today in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of several crimes in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Is is expected that the case will be in the hands of a jury by the end of the day. Minneapolis is bracing for news of a verdict.

 

CNN reports on a violent weekend across the United States:

Americans awoke Friday to news of yet another mass shooting, this time at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, where eight people were killed late Thursday.

By the end of the weekend, at least nine more people had died from gun violence in back-to-back shootings across the country — in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nebraska and Louisiana. At least 10 more were wounded.

Since March 16, when eight people were killed and one wounded in shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, at least 50 mass shootings have been reported in the United States. CNN defines a mass shooting as a shooting with four or more casualties — dead or wounded — excluding the shooter.

Some of the shootings this weekend fell short of that definition. But together, they underscored the fact the United States faces not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but a gun violence epidemic, as well.

Call it what you will. Just don’t call it normal.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Coorsurrection, Anyone?

As readers may be aware, since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, a substantial number of large corporate donors have announced they will no longer make campaign donations to Republican politicians who both voted to second-guess the results on January 6th and encouraged their supporters to come to Washington and participate in what became a riot.

Perhaps as a result, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, one of the most vocal dead-enders backing Donald Trump’s baseless assertions that the election was stolen to the end, had a difficult first quarter of fundraising–even after a last-minute revision upward only raising about $845,000, well short of her higher-profile freshman fireband colleagues Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Where MTG in particular managed to turn the revulsion of most well-adjusted people into a grassroots fringe fundraising goldmine, Boebert has failed to reap the same benefit–and that’s a problem since Boebert almost certainly faces a more competitive race in 2022.

With that said, looking through Boebert’s fundraising reports posted online this week, we find a spate of donations on January 10th–a mere four days after the January 6th insurrection–including plenty of recognizable local names among one big name:

And we see none other than Pete Coors, 2004 Republican U.S. Senate candidate and keeper of the Coors family honor…well, less so on that last point these days, but still very much reflecting on his corporate namesake with his political donations, wrote Boebert a $500 check on January 10th. MolsonCoors in keeping with its Coors family heritage does overwhelmingly give to Republican candidates as a corporation, and we haven’t seen that they’ve explicitly joined the donor boycott of Republicans in Congress content to break democracy when it didn’t go their way.

But by making this donation just a few days after the violence at the Capitol that Boebert whether she wants to admit it or not helped set the stage for, Pete Coors made his own statement about responsible political giving, and it comes across like a beer magnate driving drunk.

On the upside, you’ll get to vote about it with your next six pack.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 16)

Happy World Voice Day. Please yell out responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Indianapolis Star reports on yet another mass shooting in the United States, this one at a FedEx distribution site in Indianapolis:

Officers arrived to a “chaotic and active” crime scene, according to IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Craig McCartt.

Eight people, plus the suspected gunman, were found dead in and around the facility. It’s believed the shooter died by suicide shortly before police arrived.

McCartt said at a Friday morning news conference that the shooter arrived at the building and began “randomly” firing in the parking lot — with no confrontation or argument before the shooting started. He then went inside the building and continued shooting. Four people were found dead outside and four were found dead inside.

 

► Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks, the “Insurrectionist Man of Mystery,” continues to press his case as the biggest asshole in the Colorado legislature. Hanks attempted to give lawmakers a history lesson on Thursday and warmed up with a really tasteless joke. From 9News:

Hanks (R-Penrose) falsely alleged that the three-fifths compromise was not “impugning anybody’s humanity” while debating a civics education bill on the House floor Thursday.

“The three-fifths compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states … to try and reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had,” Hanks said. “It was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

This comment was preceded by another where he referenced being mistakenly called up as Rep. Mike Lynch (R-Wellington).

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say … no, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks’ ridiculous comments earned him national headlines.

 

Let’s check in on more state legislative news:

The House of Representatives approved the annual state budget bill despite a few mindless protests from Republican lawmakers.

A bill that would reduce sentencing requirements for felony murder convictions is on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed into law a bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse more time to bring civil lawsuits against perpetrators.

Lawmakers are considering making significant changes to admission requirements for colleges and universities.

A new law will give formerly incarcerated people with firefighting experience more opportunities to return to the firefighting profession.

Legislation that would have required ski resorts to provide more transparency about injuries on the slopes died in committee.

Pueblo County is opposing a proposal to speed up the process of reducing harmful emissions in Colorado.

Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel voices support for the “Colorado Option” healthcare plan being debated in the state legislature.

 

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel confirms a story first reported here at Colorado Pols about former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese withdrawing her name from consideration as Mesa County Attorney…which probably has something to do with the fact that Pugliese wants to run for Secretary of State and now lives in Colorado Springs.

 

 Republican Qaucus leaders were the ONLY two Members of Congress to vote NO on a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood used in bone marrow transplants. Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene represented the “2” in the 415-2 vote in favor of H.R. 941.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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415-2: The “Q-Some Twosome” Stand Alone

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives held votes on a variety of bills ahead of getting out of town for the weekend. Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim followed the action via Twitter yesterday: one fully expected party-line vote, others nearly unanimous, and a few others where Colorado Republican freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert was part of a much smaller minority bloc:

Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Lauren Boebert.

In particular, pretty much everyone in America is scratching their heads over Boebert’s vote against H.R. 941, the TRANSPLANT Act, a routine reauthorization of the nation’s bone marrow registry and umbilical cord blood. The only two members of the House who voted against this legislation were Reps. Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia–the first time these two controversial representatives have ever stood alone in opposition to any piece of legislation since being sworn into Congress.

So…what happened? Newsweek has the only explanation we’ve seen from either representative:

In a statement, Rep. Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer said: “Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue by taxpayers. It opens the door for the NIH to use this bill to research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb.”

“This bill added hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt, while not receiving a CBO score or going through the committee process,” Rep. Boebert added.

Funny how these objections were not a problem for the other anti-abortion fiscal hawk Republicans in the House who voted for the bill! Which would be, you know, all of them.

After that, it would be nice to hear an explanation from Boebert for being on the wrong side of a 413-8 vote to protect seniors from scams, or 406-10 to similarly protect Native Americans? It’s not like Boebert was just mindlessly mashing the “no” button last night, having cast a few “yes” votes for microloans and a couple other uncontroversial bills. Presumably there was some thought put into these votes, and Boebert’s constituents deserve an explanation as to what that thought was.

During his time in Congress, Rep. Tom Tancredo established a reputation for extremely controversial votes against overwhelmingly popular legislation, being for example one of only 11 members of the U.S. House to vote against relief funds following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The dopamine hit from the attention this kind of controversy brings is a powerful stimulant for those unable to distinguish from good and bad attention–but as Tancredo learned the hard way, all he was doing in the long run was buying himself a ticket to irrelevance. Voters quickly tire of this pointless contrarianism, especially when it’s about issues that matter to real people.

The devastating ads these votes just provided the content for will prove it someday, don’t worry.

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Boebert Pushing Racist “White Replacement” Voter Conspiracy

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has taken a dark turn as of late, nodding to a white supremacist theory that says people of color are replacing white populations and promoting the conspiracy that Democrats support immigration because it gives them an electoral advantage.

As the American Independent’s Oliver Willis reported, in an April 10 campaign video, Boebert falsely claimed that Democrats are in favor of open borders and used the votes of immigrants to “take over” California.

“The truth is, they want borders wide open,” Boebert says in the video. “It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California, and now we’re seeing in New York they are paying 15 grand to illegal immigrants. 15 grand because you came here illegally. You can’t make this stuff up. We have to take our country back.”

Boebert’s ad echoes the racist concept of the “great replacement,” a white supremacist theory that holds that people of color, particularly non-white immigrants, are replacing white people.

Recent tweets show Boebert continuing to nod to the theory and promoting the conspiracy that Vice President Kamala Harris, who is tasked with addressing migration from Central America and Mexico, is gathering “new voters.”

On April 13, Boebert tweeted, “Kamala’s border assignment is simple: Keep the new voters coming.”

Then, on April 14, Boebert shared a news story about Harris’ upcoming trip to Mexico and Guatemala, writing, “Why visit the border when you can just go straight to the source, huh? Will she also be loading up Air Force 2 with illegals to bring them in without the hassle of crossing the border?”

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