Full-Day Kindergarten: A Rebuttal

Former Colorado Sen. Dave Schultheis of Colorado Springs regularly made headlines during his time in office in the finest blowhard tradition since upheld by such intellectual successors as Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, pistol-packing Rep. Lori Saine, and don’t even get Sen. Vicki Marble started! It was Sen. Schultheis who warned darkly back in 2009 that President Barack Obama was “flying the U.S. plane into the ground at full speed” 9/11 style, invoking the Flight 93 battle cry “Let’s Roll”–not long after he said he hoped babies would get AIDS to teach their slutty moms a lesson.

Anyway, former Sen. Schultheis has views about this year’s priority funding for full-day kindergarten, a campaign promise by Gov. Jared Polis that in the end passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. And the bipartisan full-day-K kumbaya isn’t fooling Dave Schultheis, indeed not patriots:

That’s right, moms! The fact is that you have too much “free time” already and really should be spending it at home taking care of children instead. After all they’re just going to get “indoctrinated,” you know, in kindergarten. Though apparently half-day “indoctrination” is okay? It’s not the most coherent argument but it’s clear he’s really suspicious of what they teach kids in kindergarten and wants to minimize exposure.

You’re laughing, but you probably shouldn’t. Instead, consider how much of the Republican base Schultheis speaks for. From vaccines to the unhinged misinformation that circulated freely about the sex ed bill–here’s looking at you, Anus Fisting Granny–there’s a whole Dave Schultheis wing of today’s Republican party. And although Schultheis himself is in retirement, their influence within the GOP coalition has only grown in the Trump years. It is not a stretch to suggest that the co-occurrence of people who want to recall Democrats from Gov. Polis on down over their “perverted” sex ed bill and those who agree (or at least would agree) with Dave Schultheis about the threat of “indoctrination” posed by full-day kindergarten is very high or even total.

It’s all fun and games until the fringe gathers enough signatures.

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Winners and Losers of the 2019 Colorado Legislative Session

(Let the recaps begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

THE WINNERS

Regular people

The Colorado State Capitol is the place where more law is made that directly impacts our daily lives than anywhere else. In 2019, the progressive majority went to work protecting college students from drowning in debt, helping Coloradans save for retirement, and tackling the problem of addiction with compassion. These are changes you’ll see and feel.


Local communities

For decades, one industry had the power to run roughshod over the local land use authority that everyone takes for granted to keep their homes, schools, and businesses safe. Thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 181, locals have more power to control where oil and gas drilling happens, and the state’s focus is on public safety over profit.


Kindergarteners (and their parents)

Gov. Jared Polis took office in January with a promise to make full-day kindergarten a reality for every public school student in our state. It took some time personally lobbying lawmakers, but in the end a bipartisan vote, helmed by education champions Rep. Barbara McLachlan and Jim Wilson, kept Polis’ top promise to the families of Colorado.


People who need healthcare

The progressive majority in the Colorado legislature took action on health care in a big way in 2019. Legislation to reduce insurance premiums by up to 20%, import pharmaceutical products from Canada at big savings, ensuring access to mental health care–the list goes on and on.


LGBTQ youth

After years of unsuccessfully trying, in 2019 the Colorado legislature finally passed a bill to outlaw the hateful practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ children. Legislation also passed to make the process of gender transition more dignified. Colorado is a hate state no more.


Gov. Jared Polis

Gov. Jared Polis’ first legislative session proved he’s a new kind of leader for Colorado. In addition to delivering on his promise for full-day kindergarten, Gov. Polis helped steer the landmark oil and gas drilling reform bill through the process, and played a big role in the passage of health care bills that will reduce the cost of care for everyone.


Don Coram

Sen. Don Coram of Montrose once again proved a partner across the aisle for passing important legislation that will make his constituents’ lives better. From water conservation to wildfire prevention and rural education, Sen. Coram commendably put the interests of the state above party and was part of the solution instead of the problem.


Spurlock & Sullivan

Two men with first-person experience with the tragedy of gun violence, Sheriff Tony Spurlock of Douglas County and Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the Aurora shooting, worked together to pass legislation to prevent gun violence by people suffering from mental illness in crisis–the most important gun law passed in Colorado since 2013.


The Earth

Colorado isn’t waiting for politicians in Washington to stop playing games. This year, the Colorado Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050 was passed into law, making Colorado a leader not just in America but the entire world in doing our part to clean up the damage we’ve done to Mother Earth.


Jon Caldara

He might not be able to win elections, but longtime political stuntman Jon Caldara of the right-wing Independence Institute has finally figured out a way to cash in on duping his angry followers: a fundraising platform where he takes a 6% cut plus fees of every transaction! That’s nice work if you can get it.


Actual Legislating

After four years of divided government, in which good policy ideas would go to die in a Senate kill committee, the session was a productive breakthrough. While in the past as much time was spent positioning each party for the next election as writing bills with a chance to see the governor’s signature, 2019 was the year where lawmakers could actually make laws again. While some partisans were complaining about too much, too fast, their real beef might have been with working harder.


THE LOSERS

Polluters

Look, it sucks that the state’s #1 job is not to “foster oil and gas development” instead of looking out for public health and safety. Actually, no that doesn’t suck. That’s great news for everyone except polluters! The truth is that the industry isn’t going out of business in Colorado–but regular people just might breathe easier.


Internet trolls

Democrats are coming to take your guns! Democrats want you to freeze in the dark! Insane allegations about legislation flew wildly on social media, but the reality doesn’t live up to the rumors. The new gun law is supported by over 80% of the public and even Big Oil says they’re going to survive after all. Don’t believe the hype!


Clan Neville

Much like Jon Caldara, the Neville political dynasty can’t win elections and they proved it again in 2018–but hope springs eternal as the possibility of recalls gives the Nevilles a chance to raise more money for their family political consultant business. Unfortunately, the Neville’s loser reputation precedes them–and many locals give them the side-eye.


Gun lobby

The usual suspects at the NRA and the local Rocky Mountain Gun Owners tried once again to frighten both ordinary gun owners and politicians on both sides by threatening them over the new “red flag” law to temporarily remove guns from people who are a threat to themselves or others. But it didn’t work, and now this law supported by 80% of Coloradans will save lives.


Owen Hill

Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs didn’t take his party’s defeat in the 2018 elections well, and used 2019 as basically one long temper tantrum. Besides leading the charge on misusing Senate rules to grind the process to a halt and defending the handling of the GOP’s sexual harassment fiasco, Hill actually said that Americans should be able to “buy and own a rocket launcher.” Yikes!


Anti-Gay Activists

A mostly positive legislative session turned ugly with the introduction of a bill updating Colorado’s comprehensive sex-ed laws. Opponents organized activists out of the Centennial Institute under the banner of parental rights, but were discovered within minutes of committee testimony to simply harbor prejudice against LGBTQ people. While this sort of thing is good for ginning email lists and fundraising, it further marginalized conservative groups from the mainstream.


Lori Saine

Colorado’s most embarrassing member of the House now that Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt is history struck again this year with fictional civil rights history, a fact-challenged defense of Christopher Columbus, and leading the charge to repeal Colorado gun laws after being caught with a loaded gun in a DIA security line.


“ICEholes”

If you own an electric vehicle, there are few things more irritating than finding an old-school internal combustion engine vehicle parked in an EV charging space. Thanks to House Bill 1298, “ICEholes” will face a $150 fine–literally clearing a path to making electric vehicles a viable option for more people.


Secession (again)

Every time progressives win a majority in Colorado elections, which happens most of the time these days, disaffected conservatives get much more serious than they should about a few rural counties in northeast Colorado either seceding or joining another state. It’s a fool’s errand and only makes its proponents look silly, which happened again this year.


Vicki Marble

Lori Saine’s counterpart in crazy in the Colorado Senate, GOP Sen. Vicki Marble, kept her unbroken string of dim-bulb lowlights going with threats against reporters, baseless speculation about nonexistent illegal voters, and asking of climate change, “is anything a settled science?”


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Polis Recall Leader: Brauchler has said “yes to running” for Governor

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Recall Polis PAC GOT image

With a possible recall of Governor Jared Polis still months away, two prominent Colorado Republicans have purportedly already stated their intention to run for his office should the effort succeed. Resist Polis PAC board member Kristina Finley identified District Attorney General George Brauchler and former El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn as each having “already said yes to running” in a Facebook comment. Finley named the two Republicans while responding to a question on the “Resist Polis” Facebook group,

Reached for comment, Finley said she “heard through the grapevine that Brauchler and Glenn said yes.”

George Brauchler currently serves as District Attorney for Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. He briefly ran for Governor last year, before switching to the Attorney General race, which he eventually lost to Democrat Phil Weiser.

Darryl Glenn

Darryl Glenn served two terms as a County Commissioner for El Paso County’s First District, from 2010-2018. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, losing to incumbent Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). Last year Glenn was one of several candidates to unsuccesfully challenge Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO5) in the Republican primary.

Colorado law states that a recall petition may not be circulated until the Governor has been in office for six months, hence the “Recall Is Coming 07.08.2019,” tagline on the “Game of Thrones” image posted by the recall group. On that day or any following when a petition is officially approved by the Secretary of State, a 60-day window opens, during which recall supporters must collect and submit over 631,000 valid signatures.

The Resist Polis PAC Recall group is one of two recall groups gunning for the Governor. It was launched by Tom Good, who was at one time an administrator of the other recall group, the “Official Recall Governor Jared Polis,” but is now in a dispute with its leader, Shane Donnelly.

(more…)

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Please Stop Coddling Dangerous Anti-Vaxxer Ignorance


Gov. Jared Polis (D).

The New York Times supplies the context for today’s bit of tough love:

The measles outbreak continues to spread in the United States, surpassing 700 cases this year, federal health officials said on Monday. The virus has now been found in 22 states.

More than 500 of the 704 cases recorded as of last Friday were in people who had not been vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Sixty-six people have been hospitalized.

About 400 of the cases have been found in New York City and its suburbs, mostly in Orthodox Jewish communities. That outbreak has spread to Detroit.

Los Angeles is now experiencing a fast-growing outbreak, and hundreds of university students who are thought to have been exposed and cannot prove that they have had their shots have been asked to quarantine themselves at home.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control declared the once-pandemic childhood disease measles to be entirely eradicated in the United States, after decades of consistent vaccination of the population in childhood steadily reduced outbreaks of the disease to nil. Unfortunately, since that moment of public health success a wave of misinformation about common childhood vaccines and in particular a now-discredited claim that vaccines are responsible for the rise in diagnosed cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has eroded the rate of childhood vaccinations enough for outbreaks to resume, steadily increasing in severity to the crisis presently underway.

In Colorado, where our rate of kindergarten vaccination is an embarrassing dead last in the nation, this renewed outbreak is taking place at the same time as a debate over legislation to tighten the state’s extremely permissive regulations for childhood vaccinations. Today, parents can claim a “personal belief” exemption from vaccinating their children with no restrictions on those children attending public school. The bill being debated today would not eliminate that exemption, but would require parents to take the additional step of filing in person at a state health department office to receive it.

And as the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports, that’s where Gov. Jared Polis draws the line–and it’s creating significant blue-on-blue controversy in this fraught final week of the legislative session:

The Colorado Hospital Association and other health care experts across Colorado also responded strongly Friday to comments from the governor — first reported by Colorado Public Radio — that he didn’t support the current bill, House Bill 1312, to make some vaccination exemptions more difficult for parents to get.

“On behalf of Children’s Hospital Colorado, I was disappointed to see the governor’s comments this morning,” said Jessica Cataldi, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases. “The multiple measles outbreaks across the country represent a public health crisis that must be addressed. I hope the governor will reconsider his position.”

[Rep. Kyle] Mullica’s bill would require parents to visit a state health department office and fill out a form in person the first time they request a personal or religious vaccine exemption for a child entering public school. Currently they need only provide written notice to the school district upon registration.

Early this year, Gov. Polis scuttled much stronger legislation also sponsored by Rep. Kyle Mullica that would have eliminated the personal exemption entirely. House Bill 19-1312, the current bill to make it moderately more difficult but not impossible to claim that exemption, was criticized by Polis Friday over requiring parents seeking a personal belief exemption from vaccinating their kids to apply in person with the state health department.

Like we said in February, no one can accuse Gov. Polis of being a so-called “anti-vaxxer,” meaning someone who actually believes these discredited theories about vaccine safety. Polis has had his own children vaccinated and makes clear that everyone needs to do so. There’s a world of difference between Polis’ concern about not being overly punitive in government’s approach to this public health problem versus Republicans in the state legislature who have openly supported anti-vaccine pseudoscience in their opposition to the bill. We believe that Polis means well in trying to strike a balance.

Unfortunately, the timing of this intransigence could not be worse–and after already lowering the expectations of what is signable legislation even in the midst of a nationwide measles outbreak, Polis risks energizing the side of the vaccine debate he claims and we believe he doesn’t side with. The resurgence of preventable disease attributable to ignorance and misinformation–no matter how well intentioned or sacred–is a greater threat than the inconvenience of applying in person for an exemption.

The 11% of Coloradans who don’t vaccinate their kids make more noise than the 89% who do.

But politically, siding with the 89% should be an easy choice.

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Another Court Ruling Says Let Your Right Wing Freak Flag Fly


Grassroots activism.

As the Loveland Reporter-Herald’s Hans Peter reports, another conservative activist with an axe to grind against Colorado Democrats is the winner of a big First Amendment settlement–this time a Loveland man who was stopped and briefly charged with disorderly conduct over homemade signs he displayed on street corners protesting against now-Gov. Jared Polis’ “perversity” in graphic terms:

Insurers behind the city of Loveland will award $70,000 as settlement in a First Amendment case brought by a Loveland man who carried a sign featuring mannequin buttocks, lingerie and criticism of then-gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis…

[Bob] Cluster sued Loveland after an incident in which Cluster was detained by Officer Heidi Koehler and Sgt. Phil Metzler June 29, 2018, according to a Loveland Police report. On that day around Cluster was holding his sign in front of Good Times Burgers at the southwest corner of East Eisenhower Boulevard and North Lincoln Avenue. Police reports indicate customers in Good Times had called police to complain about Cluster and his sign.

One side of Cluster’s sign read: “As governor, Jared Polis will be breaking old taboos & barriers and making us proud again to be Coloradans.” On the other side were the buttocks of a mannequin wearing underwear with the bottom cut out and a Polis slogan regarding a “bold vision.”

We have no interest in displaying photos of Bob Cluster’s signage on our site, but if you click through you’re welcome to view it at the Reporter-Herald. Suffice to say it’s as offensive as it is predictable. The attorney representing Mr. Cluster is Andy McNulty, the same lawyer who represented a Facebook troll who was kicked off of Senate President Leroy Garcia’s Facebook page–resulting in a swift payout of some $25,000 in taxpayer dollars to that plaintiff with McNulty pocketing his fees. In this case, there wasn’t any involvement by any targeted politician, of course, and the city isn’t admitting any civil rights wrongdoing in their settlement. News reports say that a local business called police to complain about Cluster’s sign and unpleasant demeanor on the street corner.

But just as with Garcia’s decision to boot a troll from his official Facebook page, the lesson is the same for the Loveland police: it’s never worth the blowback that results from suppressing political speech. The act of suppression inevitably results in more negative exposure than anything these people could do themselves with sidewalk antics and nasty Facebook comments. And in this latter case, letting some random crank exhibit his poor taste unmolested before the voters of Loveland has no political downside except to Polis’ opponents.

So let these people do what they’re going to do. If anything, get out of the way and take photos. As long as decent people still comprise a majority of voters, they’ll know how to respond.

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BREAKING: Big Oil Abandons SB-181 Repeal Initiative


Fracking near a high school in Greeley, Colorado.

That’s the word from the AP via FOX 31–there will be no attempt to repeal Senate Bill 19-181 this year, the landmark legislation granting more local control over oil and gas drilling and reforming the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to refocus its mission on public health and safety:

Opponents planned to ask voters this November to repeal and replace the law, but last week the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office rejected four versions of their proposed ballot initiative.

Officials said the proposals violated a law requiring initiatives to address only one subject.

Opponents of the oil and gas law say they’ll wait to see how the new rules take shape before deciding whether to ask voters to overturn it. [Pols emphasis]

Although their ballot initiative drafts were rejected by the Secretary of State’s office, the industry of course had both the time and resources to try again. The fact that they are choosing not to do so, instead waiting for the process of implementing the new law before deciding whether to commit to the costly process of a statewide ballot measure, only demonstrates again what proponents of SB-181 have maintained from the beginning: despite the shrill warnings that this legislation would “destroy oil and gas in Colorado,” nothing even remotely close to that is going to happen.

There will be more deference to local authority and a greater focus on public health and safety by the COGCC, but the fossil fuel industry will continue to play a major role in the state’s economy–subject to market forces that already act for and against fossil fuel production every day. Much like with the 2013 recall elections over gun safety laws, there’s a rush right now to do as much retaliatory political damage to majority Democrats as possible before it becomes clear that the overblown allegations that motivated backlash were not accurate. This is most evident in the recall campaign against Rep. Rochelle Galindo, where wild predictions of devastation for the oil and gas industry are the primary deflection from that campaign’s less savory motivations.

But the enormous expense of a statewide ballot campaign does not lend itself easily to a political bluff, and the smart money is moving on. This could be a watershed moment, the first sign of months of bellicose rhetoric meeting the wall of a far less controversial reality.

That would be good for the blood pressure of both sides of the aisle.

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“Horrifying” Sex Ed Bill Is Top Reason To Oust Polis, Says Recall Leader

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The President of the Official Polis Recall campaign thinks the “worst of it,” when it comes to the transgressions justifying Polis’ removal from office, is a proposed comprehensive sex ed law working its way through the Colorado legislature.

In a KNUS radio conversation replete with misinformation, Juli-Andra Fuentes, the group’s president, called Colorado’s proposed sex ed law “horrifying” because “you must include the experiences” of LGBTQ students, and “abstinence will not be taught”

And no “religious connotation” can be included, said Karen Murray, a co-chair of the Official Recall Polis site, who was also on the show.

Juli-Andra Fuentes

KNUS radio host Peter Boyles, amplifying misinformation promoted by right-wing anti-LGBT hate groups, chimed in with, “Why does the third-grade boy need to know how to put a put a prophylactic on a banana?”

Which prompted Fuentes to say, “Well, it’s not only that. They’re basically saying you cannot employ gender norms, and that by doing that, that’s shame-basing and stigmatizing.”

In fact, the sex ed bill allows schools to not offer sex ed at all, but if they do, the curriculum must be comprehensive, meaning both abstinence and LGBTQ-related information should be offered and religious perspectives can be included.

Boyles said on air that the “truth always knocks these suckers down,” but his own inflaming comment about the third grader, the condom, and the Banana is not true. The legislation states that the information in sex-ed classes should be age appropriate. Boyles said later in the interview that teaching sex ed to older LGBTQ kids would be “fine.”

Fuentes’ comments reflect her Recall Polis group’s website, which lists the sex-ed bill, described as “Radical Sexual Education Overhaul in Our Schools,” among the top reasons to recall the governor–which is widely seen as an extreme long shot to succeed.

Republican efforts to recall other Colorado lawmakers refer to the sex ed bill in a similar manner.

The Recall Colorado website backed by Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock lists the proposed law as a top reason that three legislators should be removed from office, describing the comprehensive sex-ed bill as “State Sexuality Indoctrination: A state indoctrination plan to undermine parental rights to educate their children about sexuality.”

So far, only one of three state lawmakers listed on the Recall Colorado website is facing an actual petition drive that, if successful, would trigger a recall vote.

That’s State Rep. Rochelle Galindo, a Democrat from Greeley.

A Greeley leader of the recall campaign called Galindo, who is gay, a “homosexual pervert,” and said he’d told Galindo to vote against “this homosexual sex education bill,” according to Colorado Politics.

(more…)

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Open The Door To Stupid, Haters Will Follow


Gov. Jared Polis Tweeted yesterday in support of victims of the bombings in Sri Lanka against Christians celebrating Easter Sunday:

Local blog Colorado Peak Politics, operated by Republican consultant group EIS Solutions, apparently found this message of support less than satisfactory–and proceeded to complain about it, because that’s what internet trolls do:

Oops! Suddenly this cheap little shot on Gov. Polis’ faith, or whatever Peak Politics presumes about Polis’ faith, has veered off course into old-fashioned anti-Semitism. It’s not that this conservative blog itself called Gov. Polis (who happens to be Jewish) a “Christ killer,” but by drive-by slamming Polis on a question of faith while Polis was trying only to offer condolences to Christians in the wake of a terrible tragedy, they opened the door to much cheaper shots. The progression from their dig on Polis’ lack of Christian faith to the anti-Semitic slur that followed is unfortunately not much of a leap.

And that’s the moral of the story. You don’t have to attack over everything.

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Congrats, GOP! You’re The Anti-Vaxxer Party Again


WEDNESDAY UPDATE: GOP Rep. Mark Baisley explains the GOP’s party-line opposition to House Bill 19-1312 in a lengthy post today–and it’s a worst-case scenario, invoking the most discredited of misinformation about vaccines:

The stated goal of the bill is to reduce the occurrence of childhood diseases. Colorado averages approximately 90% current vaccinations for children under 3 years of age. But recent epidemics such as autism have arisen and parents are understandably suspicious of vaccines as the cause. [Pols emphasis] Citizens should not be coerced by the State to permit pharmaceutical injections into their children. Nor should they be shamed by their own government for their choice.

Furthermore, Colorado citizens entrust billions of their hard-earned dollars every year to their government to provide K12 education. This bill threatens to withhold delivering that service to children whose parents do not cooperate with their government’s controlling ambitions.

I stand in strong opposition to HB19-1312.

In today’s Republican Party, pseudoscience has triumphed. Who can argue otherwise?

—–

Measles.

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reported in the wee hours, and then hopefully she went to bed:

A bill to make it harder for parents to get a vaccination exemption for their children passed out of a Colorado House committee on a 7-4 vote at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning — nearly 14 hours after the hearing started.

It was the longest committee of the 2019 legislative session so far with hundred of parents bouncing and walking their children up and down the Capitol halls late into the night…

“This is about keeping Colorado’s kids safe. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We are in the midst of public health crisis and we can’t wait for a tragedy to occur,” Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn, said in a statement released early Tuesday morning after the bill passed. “Experts believe this option will help improve Colorado’s dismal and dangerous immunization rates.”

Owing to the hefty Democratic majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, it should be noted that the 7-4 vote in favor of House Bill 19-1312 was in fact a party-line vote. All the Republicans on the House Health and Insurance Committee voted against the bill, which is itself a compromise from earlier proposed legislation that would have eliminated the personal-choice exemption for immunization of children headed to Colorado public schools. As we discussed previously, that proposal was considered too coercive by Gov. Jared Polis, leading to this compromise measure that should still help improve Colorado’s embarrassingly low child immunization rate.

The issue of childhood vaccinations, more to the point the highly prevalent misinformation suggesting a range of negative health effects from vaccinating children that has no scientific basis, doesn’t always divide cleanly along partisan lines. One of the areas of the state with a low rate of vaccinations is “progressive” Boulder County. Over the last few years, however, the “freedom” to not have children vaccinated has been championed almost exclusively in Colorado by Republican lawmakers on the fringy side of the caucus. Two now-defeated Republican Senators in particular, Laura Woods and Tim Neville, unapologetically championed both the pseudoscience behind anti-vaxxer ideology and conspiracy theories about children being “rounded up and vaccinated” without their parent’s consent.

In case you were wondering who was going to take up the anti-vaxxer cause now that Woods and Tim Neville are history, direct your attention to all the Republicans on the House Health and Insurance Committee.

Congratulations, Colorado Republicans, for taking ownership of this fringe issue. Again.

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Recall Polis Campaign Goes Psycho Over Sol Pais


UPDATE: Moderator of the Recall Polis Facebook group sounds the all clear:

It would appear that the faithful remain unconvinced.

—–

The news is breaking from multiple local outlets that an 18-year-old woman from Florida who was allegedly “obsessed” with the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton and made credible threats of violence against area schools is dead, having been found at Echo Lake near Mt. Evans this morning:

The FBI Denver office confirmed the agency had responded to the base of Mt. Evans Wednesday morning and, in a tweet just before 11 a.m., said there was no longer a threat to the community.

According to Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers, Pais’s body was found at 10:50 a.m. about a half-mile from Echo Lake Park, located near the Mount Evans Scenic Byway about 45 miles west of Denver.

The drama over threats made by Sol Pais and the resulting lock-out of hundreds of area public schools yesterday and again today has riveted media and dominated local social media discussion for the last 24 hours. And over at the closed Facebook group page for the conspiracy theory-positive Recall Polis campaign, there’s a clear consensus emerging that this is what’s known among the InfoWars crowd as a “false flag” operation:

Now, Jennifer McCreary may think she’s a “crazy woman” to think this could have been a trick to distract the voters of Colorado from the Polis recall campaign–and to be brutally honest, lots of our readers will agree. But you know who doesn’t think this is “crazy?”

Pastor Steven Grant and hundreds of fellow Recall Polis members, that’s who!

(more…)

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UPDATE: Caldara Now Skimming Galindo, Polis Recalls


We wrote last Thursday about the co-opting of the longshot and nasty campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis, which would require an unprecedented 600,000+ signatures in order to even qualify for the ballot necessitating a multimillion-dollar petition campaign on a scale never before seen in Colorado, by the Independence Institute–the decades-old local “nonpartisan nonprofit” run by right-wing prankster Jon Caldara. Caldara’s operation is taking over fundraising in particular for the Recall Polis campaign, via an online platform that automatically skims 6% plus a per-transaction fee from every donation. That’s more than double what GoFundMe, the processor the campaign was previously using, charges for the same donations.

Well folks, you can add the campaign to recall Rep. Rochelle Galindo to Caldara’s revenue stream:

As you can see they’re raised over $4,000 toward the Galindo recall, of which Team Caldara pocketed $246 at their stated 6% skim–plus a 30 cent per-transaction fee. Over at the Recall Polis page, the $16,290 they’ve raised translates to a cool $977 off the top to the Independence Institute. As you can see above, the “goal” of $2,500 for the Galindo recall has been met–which on fundraising sites like GoFundMe would mean the funds will be released for their intended purpose.

Over at the Recall Polis campaign, the “goal” is higher–$135,000, which they haven’t met.

But it doesn’t matter, rubes!

You see, the Recall Polis campaign is a “flexible” Freedomfy campaign, meaning they’re going to take your money whether or not they reach their fundraising goal. The FAQ page for the campaign explains that “funds are setup to deposit to the Issue Committee bank account every few days and will be used as they come in for advertising and materials to run the operation.” That means the campaign’s “goal” is irrelevant, and the money flows directly to the campaign less Caldara’s 6% cut no matter what happens. A fair amount of those funds can be expected to eaten up by invoices from former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who signed on as the lawyer for the campaign at the same time Caldara took over the money side.

Especially with the Polis recall, the enormous logistics that would be required to successfully collect the required signatures in the short 60 days allowed make success of the effort extremely unlikely–which in turn raises ethical questions about the revenue positive “help” the campaign is now getting from local right-wing usual suspects. For the Galindo recall the threshold is lower, of course, but using Caldara’s pricey platform for their fundraising siphons off valuable resources on a continuous basis from the campaign.

Above all, what grassroots conservatives need to be asking is why, in response to their grassroots anger, all the “experienced” political operatives want to talk about is monetization of the recall campaigns. This is an especially urgent question given the novel way Caldara stands to reap a much higher percentage than the market rate off funds raised in support of both of these campaigns.

Short of that, we have to assume that these people are okay with being ripped off.

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Popular, Misunderstood “Red Flag” Bill Signed Into Law


UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller:

The Deputy Zackari Parrish III Violence Protection Act will officially go into law on Jan. 1, 2020, which is also the deadline law enforcement agencies statewide will have to adopt either model policies and procedures that are in the works or their own…

[Douglas County Sheriff Tony] Spurlock discussed how supportive Parrish’s parents were of the measure, which Spurlock began pushing for last year after Parrish was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve 2017 by a man who the department knew had a history of mental health issues and several weapons.

“For a father who lost his son and see it that way is inspiring to me and should be for to everyone in the state of Colorado. Because his concern is for other people,” Spurlock said of Parrish’s father. “And when I had that conversation with him … I knew then that I was doing the right thing to stand for this. … As the governor said, we can save lives. We can save lives today, tomorrow and the next day. And, most importantly, if we save one life, we create history for that family.”

—–

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As the Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports:

Beginning in January, Colorado judges will have the power to temporarily remove firearms from people believed to be at high risk of harming themselves or others, joining more than a dozen other states that have put into law some type of red-flag bill.

Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 1177 on Friday at the state Capitol, after nearly two months of contentious legislative hearings marked by a familiar partisan divide over the issue of gun control.

Proponents of the extreme risk protection order bill say it could be instrumental in reducing the likelihood of another mass shooting while at the same time cutting down on the number of suicides in Colorado. Second Amendment backers say the law runs the risk of depriving Coloradans of their constitutional right to bear arms when it takes effect Jan. 1.

The signing of House Bill 19-1177 into law today brings to a close another ugly debate over gun policy in Colorado, riddled with misinformation intended to incite anger among gun owners and provoke political retaliation against majority Democrats. The legislation, which allows family members or law enforcement to go before a judge and prove to an evidentiary standard that a person represents a significant risk to themselves or others and temporarily remove firearms from that person’s custody, already exists in over a dozen other states where its judicious use has saved lives.

The reality of this legislation and expected very limited utilization–170 cases per year as estimated in the bill’s fiscal note–has very little relationship to the wild arguments that have been made against the bill by gun lobby opponents. Much like the far-out claims in 2013 that guns laws passed that year would result in “gun confiscation” and that “no one in Colorado can ever get a magazine again,” the gun lobby terrorized their grassroots base this year with baseless warnings of vengeful spying neighbors and bumper-sticker raids by police–none of which are rational outcomes of the bill.

The truth is that over 80% of Colorado voters support a “red flag” law, and none of the changes from 2018’s version justify the partisan closing of ranks we saw over the bill this year. The political reality is that Republicans who supported the legislation in 2018 peeled off under intense pressure from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who helped Democrats take down Rep. Cole Wist and Attorney General candidate George Brauchler as punishment for supporting the bill last year. And make no mistake: Brauchler started backing away from the bill even before he lost the election last fall, having nothing to do with changes in the bill’s language. RMGO’s willingness to tear down fellow Republicans rather than compromise, even at the expense of their own agenda in helping replace Wist with an ardent supporter of gun control, was enough to chill further dissent.

Now, Democrats have the job of cutting through that misinformation. After 2013 we expect they get the urgency.

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Polis Recall: Never Mind The Details, The Grift Is On


UPDATE: A reader astutely points out that Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute has been using his Denver Post column as a vehicle for enthusiastically promoting recalls of late:

We’d say the opportunity for a “dollar sign” (see below) conflict of interest is rather large. Wouldn’t you?

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In the last 24 hours, the “campaign” to recall Gov. Jared Polis, which kicked off with a spate of nasty revelations about the anti-Semitic and otherwise unpalatably extreme views of its organizers, has shifted gears–into a new operation run by familiar faces in Colorado politics, and with a new sense of purpose.

What’s the purpose? We’ll let 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark explain:

“Dollar signs.” Lots of them. Here’s a TL;DR version:

Yesterday, it was announced that former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been “retained” as counsel for the Recall Polis organization, presumably to help the group navigate an unprecedented path to collecting over 600,000 valid Colorado voter signatures–many times the amount ever collected in a petition drive before. And that’s not all:

In a move just as noteworthy, fundraising for the Recall Polis campaign is being taken over by the Independence Institute , run by longtime local political walking clown show operative Jon Caldara, and their recently-deployed “Freedomfy” crowdfunding online platform. And with that bit of news, there’s something every person considering a donation to the Recall Polis campaign on “Freedomfy” needs to know:

Compared to every major crowdsource fundraising platform with the apparent exception of Indiegogo, “Freedomfy” is ripping you off. The Independence Institute charges an exorbitant fee of 6%, plus 30 cents for every individual transaction. That’s more than double the fees charged by GoFundMe, the platform the Recall Polis organization from is migrating away from. What’s more, GoFundMe has an active pool of over 50 million donors. We don’t know how many members “Freedomfy” has, but it’s not anywhere near 50 million.

With that said, there’s one thing GoFundMe hasn’t got–a percentage flowing to Jon Caldara.

We’ve already discussed at length how attempting to recall Gov. Jared Polis, a campaign that can’t even under the state constitution begin until he’s been in office six months, is a fool’s errand logistically. The massive signature requirement to place the question on the ballot would require a multimillion dollar petition gathering operation of unprecedented scale–to say nothing of what the actual recall election would cost proponents if it made the ballot. But that hasn’t dissuaded a strident segment of the Republican base in Colorado from raving.

And where there’s passion, especially poorly thought-out passion, there’s money! Caldara sets up a fundraising stream that he nets the skim from, and Gessler submits billable hours that there is now a stream of money to cover. That’s what they call a sustainable business model. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if there’s ever a recall of Gov. Polis–in fact that could be considered a less desirable outcome.

Just like when Ted Harvey discovered he could cash in by sending out fundraising letters with Hillary Clinton’s face on them, turning recalls into cash machines is an end unto itself.

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GOP Chairman Buck Defends Comparing Gays To Nazis


Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Readers were shocked this past week by an exchange in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday between Rep. Ken Buck, newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and a woman who had experienced discrimination as an LGBT woman seeking pediatric care for her children:

Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient?

The clear suggestion here is that a doctor who doesn’t like gay people would be just as justified in refusing treatment to a gay family as a Jewish person who had ancestors killed in the Holocaust would be justified in refusing to treat a Nazi. Needless to say, this comparison is extremely offensive to both gay and, by cheapening the pertinent history to crassly make Buck’s point, Jewish people.

Yesterday, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger broadcast an interview with Rep. Buck in which he’s asked about this ghastly comparison–and Buck launched into a defense of his words that demonstrates he meant exactly what he said:

“My point was, and it’s similar to the (Masterpiece Cakeshop) baker case in Jefferson County. We’re getting to the point where we’re forcing people to conduct business that they may not want to conduct. We have to be very careful, it’s not a line we haven’t crossed in the past, we’ve certainly crossed that line with African-Americans in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and it was very appropriate not to have segregated lunch counters, not to have segregated buses, but we keep finding more and more groups that we are putting into a category of forcing people to conduct business with,” said Buck.

What Buck is trying to say here is that he doesn’t think LGBT people should be a protected class of people under discrimination law, as they would be under the legislation under debate and are in Buck’s home state of Colorado as well as 20 other states. That’s consistent with the ballot measure Amendment 2 passed by Colorado in 1992 and later found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Buck’s brazen contempt for the law in the state he represents in Congress invites its own criticism.

But more importantly, what Buck’s “clarification” doesn’t contain is any reasonable justification for comparing gay people to Nazis. The underlying assumptions necessary to make this a valid comparison are simply unworkable for anyone who doesn’t virulently hate LGBT people. It seems fundamentally absurd to even have to write this, but the Nazis were directly responsible for the deaths of six million Jewish people, and started a war that killed 50 million people globally. To compare that abominable history to LGBT Americans who want health care without being victims of discrimination is…

It’s sick, folks. And treating this as a defensible viewpoint for a member of Congress from the state of Colorado, not to mention the chairman of the state party, is totally unacceptable. We honestly do believe that in previous years, before Donald Trump desensitized the nation from outrage, Buck would have been compelled to apologize for these comments–not double down on them on prime time TV. But if it isn’t clear from this episode how deep the moral rot in today’s Republican Party runs, erupting to the surface in the hate-rooted recall campaigns against Rep. Rochelle Galindo and Gov. Jared Polis, here may be all the proof you’ll ever need.

Ordinarily one would call on the Colorado Republican Party to stand up against these kinds of outrages, like when Ryan Call called out Vicki Marble for blaming African American health problems on eating too much chicken–but that’s obviously a problem in this case! In the end, despite all the protestations to the contrary, history may be forced to conclude that the unconcealed hatred common in Buck’s horrific analogy and the stated motivations of recall organizers reflects who Colorado Republicans really are.

Want to prove us wrong? For God’s sake, somebody condemn this madness.

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Polis Health Care Plan Shows Why Elections Matter


“Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care” rollout on Thursday

Governor Jared Polis rolled out a detailed plan on Thursday morning for reducing health care costs in Colorado called the “Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care.”

In an event at Denver Health Medical Center, Polis outlined a proposal that includes several pieces of legislation currently making their way through the State Capitol. As KOAA News reports:

Polis already signed a hospital transparency bill into law last week.  That law requires hospitals to report their annual spending and expenditures as part of an effort to lower health care prices.

There are already bills going through the legislature to import prescription drugs from Canada and introduce a reinsurance pool designed to lower premiums for private insurers.

In addition to short-term solutions, Polis also mentioned plans to incentivize preventative care, introduce healthy options to children at schools, improve immunization rates and introduce a separate plan to address behavioral health.

Here’s more detail from a press release:

“Health care costs too much,” said Governor Jared Polis. “No Coloradan should have to go without care because they can’t afford it. This roadmap will be our guide to saving people money on healthcare and ensuring better access to affordable care for everyone in our state.”

Colorado has taken significant steps to increase access to health care and insurance coverage during the past decade. As a result, today only 6.5 percent of Coloradans don’t have health insurance compared to 15.8 percent in 2013. Despite this improvement, the cost of care has been increasing at an alarming rate, especially in rural areas and mountain communities.

All of the central legislative efforts outlined in Polis’ health care proposal have bipartisan support. In other words, these are all bills that could have been shepherded through the legislative process at any point in the last several years.

The reason you aren’t already saving more money on health care costs is because that would have required Senate Republicans to do something other than obstructing Democratic bills and obfuscating about sexual harassment with their one-seat majority in 2017 and 2018. Republicans such as former Senate President Kevin Grantham liked to say that they served as a “check” on Democratic control; in reality, they were an obstacle to reasonable discussions about all sorts of common-sense legislative approaches.

There is absolutely no way that these health care savings efforts would have been produced without Colorado voters giving Democrats both a majority and a mandate in November 2018. The right leadership matters. Elections matter.

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Here’s The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read All Day


Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Conservative message group Compass Colorado, one of a stable of press release-issuing GOP aligned front groups who pop up in inboxes from time to time, thinks they have figured out what’s really motivating Gov. Jared Polis to, their words, “stymie” Colorado oil and gas through the passage of Senate Bill 19-181–and Compass Colorado director Kelly Maher isn’t talking the usual capitalism-destroying cave-dwelling econightmare that the left has been fighting for all these years.

Why, Polis is doing it to (cue evil laughter) make money, of course!

According to his own financial disclosure statements, Polis is an investor in two Denver-based Bow River Capital funds that invest heavily in the Canadian oil and gas industry – a market with a much looser regulatory framework than that of Colorado or the United States. Polis personally has more than $250,000 invested in these funds. [Pols emphasis] If Polis scuttles oil and natural gas development in Colorado, the value of his personal investment holdings in Canada could increase as domestic supply contracts as a result.

Shortly after Polis started investing in Bow River energy funds, he joined forces with a fellow Democrat Congressman to sponsor legislation that would impose a burdensome regulatory framework on the oil and gas industry domestically. Polis’ pursuit of this legislation asking the oil and gas industry to follow the same rules as other industries is hypocritical given his investment in the more-lax Canadian oil and gas industry.

“Jared Polis’ radical environmental agenda could cost Colorado families hundreds of dollars a year in increased utility costs,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. “As part of this agenda, Polis also wants to end oil and gas development in Colorado, which will hurt our economy and cost our state hundreds of high-paying jobs. If he’s a “true believer” when it comes to the dog whistles he’s sending out to his radical environmental base, why does he continue to profit off of the investments in Canadian oil and gas?”

It all sounds terribly damning like there should be taiko drums thundering in the background, until you apply a bit of crucial context to this wild allegation. Gov. Polis’ 2015 congressional financial disclosure listed his net worth as somewhere between $142 million and $468 million, the range reflecting the value range of assets reported in the disclosure. Most informal estimates place Polis’ net worth on the high side of that range, and the booming markets of the last couple of years have most likely not been adverse to his bottom line either.

With this in mind, the idea that Polis is supporting this bill in order to “profit off investments in Canadian oil and gas” is without a doubt one of the silliest allegations leveled in a legislative debate that has been severely factually challenged from the beginning. The theory that Democrats want to plunge the world into some kind of primitivist dark age, as dumb as that is, at least has some anecdotal one-liners that can be thrown around in a debate. This is just prima facie stupid.

Gov. Polis’ GOP opponents (and yes, a Democrat or two) have tried for years to turn his wealth into a liability, but the arithmetic falls apart under even casual scrutiny. There’s just no rational way to make the charge stick. In addition, there’s something perhaps even more contemptible about wealth-adoring Republicans suddenly upset about Democrats who possess money.

But that’s for another blog post. For today, let’s just try to keep it somewhere in the vicinity of real.

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UPDATE: Polis Recall Responds To Anti-Semitism Report


UPDATE: After a segment last night on 9NEWS recounting the Greeley Tribune’s story of anti-Semitic views held by organizers of a possible recall of Gov. Jared Polis, it looks like the Recall Polis organizers may be taking steps to come across as less overtly anti-Semitic:

In the aftermath of that report, a post went up on the Facebook group suggesting that one of its “high profile” leaders, presumably group administrator Judy Spady of “Israel did 9/11” infamy, has been excused:

“The highest standards of humanity”–now with one less Nazi! Here’s to getting the “vetting” right next time.

We feel better about the whole thing now, really.

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On Sunday we blogged about a story from the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy, which took an unflattering look at some of the “grassroots” activists behind a Facebook group with nearly 30,000 members who are organizing for a potential recall of Gov. Jared Polis. At least two organizers of this group including its purported leader Shane Donnelley have made what can be characterized as highly anti-Semitic postings to social media over the years, to include commenting that ‘Hitler was good to the German people’ and another claiming that “Israel did 9/11.” Our blog of this report has spread fairly widely on social media along with the original story since Sunday, and Colorado Public Radio mentioned the story briefly in their interview on the subject with Gov. Polis yesterday.

Overnight last night, two people identifying themselves as principal organizers of the Recall Polis campaign, Christine Martinez and Juli-Andra Fuentes, responded at length to our post, perhaps mistaking us for the original outlet but in any event seeking to clear the air surrounding the Greeley Tribune’s disclosures and the intentions of the Recall Polis group.

Because we strive to be eminently fair, and also because we didn’t want to see any of this memorable response deleted once…well, you know, folks sobered up, we’ve reprinted Martinez’s two comments from the original post in their entirety after the jump. If you’re in a hurry, the TL;DR version:

Needless to say, the “suggestion” that we take down our post is respectfully declined.

(more…)

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Check Out Colorado’s New Logo!


As introduced today by Gov. Jared Polis in his inimitable style:

We think it looks cool! Your mileage may vary. Reportedly this logo was in existence prior to Gov. Polis taking office, but was used in other contexts than the “official” logo while former Gov. John Hickenlooper was in office. Hickenlooper’s logo design, featuring a monochrome green triangle with a second down-facing triangle serving as the logo for various departments, is what graces state vehicles, literature, and signage today:

It’s a design that was criticized in some circles, especially the department logos featuring a drill bit to “honor” the state’s mineral extraction heritage. We haven’t seen how those departmental logos will update to match the new main logo, but we’d guess that the drill bit’s days are numbered–perhaps excepting departments that deal with, you know, drilling.

Out with the old, in with the new-ish.

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Repeal A Law? Beats Repealing People


As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Joe Vaccarelli reports, Republican faithful looking to act on their frustrations over the massive defeat for their party in the 2018 elections and the resulting loss of any power to stall legislation passed by the Colorado General Assembly have a few options beyond the most obvious and probably best choice of trying harder to not lose in 2020.

If you’re not interested in signing on with the virulent anti-Semites who want to recall Gov. Jared Polis or helping the Neville family live down their disastrous management of House Republican electoral messaging but would still like to lodge your disapproval, try this:

Hundreds of Grand Junction voters turned out Saturday to make their voice heard regarding a recently passed state law.

While they weren’t casting ballots this day, they hope to in the future. Voters signed petitions to support an effort to put a question on the 2020 ballot to repeal the National Popular Vote Bill, which was signed into law March 15…

The effort to place a question on the ballot is led by Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and Town of Monument Mayor Don Wilson. The bill — which would change the way Colorado commits its presidential electoral votes in future elections — passed through the State House of Representatives in February and was later signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

Colorado law provides a method by which voters can petition to have a recently-passed statute put before the voters for a second guess. In order to qualify such a repeal question for the ballot, opponents need to collect a similar number of valid signatures to what’s required to place a statewide proposition before voters. And time is short: the petition deadline is August 1st, and if they can’t get enough signatures to qualify the question the national popular vote compact law will “take effect”–which in this case means nothing unless enough states join the compact to produce an Electoral College majority.

If you support changing the system to reduce the possibility that the Electoral College might come to a different result than the popular vote, as most recently occurred in 2000 and 2016 resulting in the election of Republican presidents in both cases, you’re not going to be very excited about a petition campaign to block the law from taking effect. On the other hand, collecting over 125,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to force a 2020 ballot question on blocking Colorado from joining the National Popular Vote Compact, which is years from becoming binding if it ever happens at all, is a tall order–leading to an expenditure of resources that Republicans would arguably be much better served by devoting to Republican candidates in the 2020 general election.

But the fact remains that blocking a law from taking effect by petition is a legitimate process permitted under Colorado law, and it’s a far more appropriate protest than attempting to recall lawmakers for passing legislation. And the fact is, if opponents do manage to achieve this lofty goal it would be a more potent statement in their favor than an opportunistic recall of some legislator nobody outside their district has heard of.

Again, the best way to handle defeat in any election is to try to not lose the next election. But if you’re a vengeful Republican with money burning a hole in your pocket, this is perhaps a more honorable way to console yourself.

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Who’s Running The Polis Recall? Nazis. Yes, Really.


Over the past couple of weeks there have been a number of stories about groups organizing to recall Gov. Jared Polis from office. Because Gov. Polis is constitutionally protected from a recall effort for the for six months he is in office, it has not been possible for these groups to gather any signatures, and the massive requirement of over 600,000 valid signatures makes the attempt as a practical matter highly unlikely. Regardless, the agitation is contributing to the current zeitgeist of GOP rebelliousness against Democrats, who won in an historic landslide election in 2018 leaving Republicans with no way of stopping Democrats from passing desired legislation.

But for all the legitimizing press the Polis recall proponents have received this month, there’s been something very important missing–information about the people behind the effort. And as the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports today in one of the biggest stories ever from that media outlet, this data point is extremely significant.

Because some of them are Nazis.

Recall Governor Jared Polis page, a closed Facebook group, is nearly 30,000 members strong after adopting that name.

Shane Donnelly is one of the admins for the page, and appears to be in charge, as he has called the page “my group,” and commented that he “created this movement.”

He also once posted that Hitler was good to the German people, and “its time america has someone american.” Donnelly hasn’t responded to a Facebook message seeking comment. [Pols emphasis]

There’s no way we can effectively summarize all the the damning detail in this story, so make sure you click through and read it all. The short version is that an online right-wing activist named Shane Donnelly is the principal organizer of the “official” Polis recall closed Facebook group and the issue committee of the same name. The Tribune reports on a recent split between that organization and another group calling itself the Resist Polis PAC. Regardless it’s Donnelly’s group that has almost 30,000 members, the only hard indicator of support that exists for any of this.

And Shane Donnelly is not the only Nazi in the group.

Then there’s the OFFICIAL RECALL ELECTION COMMITTEE, which would discuss potential candidates for election to take Polis’ place should a recall be successful.

Judy Spady is officially involved with both committees, and she’s also an admin for the Facebook group, earning that title following Good’s exodus.

Spady’s public Facebook page is rife with anti-semitic posts, including a post from September 2017 saying “Israel did 9/11,” and another that credits the western world with creating radical Islam to “use fear to push the Jew World Order.” [Pols emphasis]

Now, let’s compare this revelation to the outrage over Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about “allegiance to a foreign power” in reference to support for Israel, the advisability of which remains a subject of hot contention among Democrats after a push to condemn Omar via a resolution went sideways. Republicans of course had no such division in their ranks, if anything with a few like Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado voting against the watered-down Omar resolution because it didn’t single out anti-Semitism above all other forms of oppression:

In the history of the world, no group has suffered more insidious hatred than the Jews. Anti-Semitism can’t be compared with any other hate speech without marginalizing the history of Jewish oppression. I will not vote to overlook the anti-Semitism which has been covered up by the Democratic leadership…

Well folks, we’re sorry to inform Rep. Buck that the campaign to recall Jared Polis–which he’d better handle with care as a candidate for Colorado Republican Party chairman–is run by people who aren’t at all ambiguous in their hatred of Jewish people.

There’s a lot more to say about this, and it’s time for that conversation to happen. It’s not just that these vile fringe figures were given credibility in multiple news reports that they never deserved. The Recall Polis campaign is trading on the same ginned-up outrage as the recall campaign against House members personally fronted by GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. It’s the same message, motivating the same segment of the electorate. If anything, Neville would love to have the nearly 30,000 members of Donnelly’s Recall Polis group give Neville’s relatively obscure Recall Colorado page a like.

This is who they are. If it’s not who you are, and you’re part of their movement, you know what to do.

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So You Wanna Recall Jared Polis, Do You?


Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As Colorado Public Radio’s Hayley Sanchez reports, good luck with that:

The rules for recalling a governor include collecting signatures from 25 percent of the number of the voters who cast a ballot in the last election for governor.

More than 2.5 million people voted in last year’s governor’s race, said Colorado Secretary of State office spokeswoman Serena Woods. To get the recall on the ballot, the groups will need more than 631,000 signatures in the 60 days after the petition is approved by the state’s office. If they fall short, there will be no recall.

On top of that, no recall effort can begin circulating until after a governor has been in office for at least six months. Polis has been in office for two. Woods said the groups could still submit their paperwork to the state’s office but nothing can be done until the six-month period has passed.

In the past few weeks the rhetoric among Republican agitators has ramped up to a fever pitch, accusing majority Democrats in the legislature and Gov. Jared Polis of the highest imaginable crimes for passing in marathon public hearings the agenda they won the majority in 2018 campaigning on. Zeroing in on three principal grievances–the already-signed bill to join Colorado with the National Popular Vote Compact, a popular “red flag” bill to temporarily remove firearms from people in a mental health crisis, and of course the oil and gas drilling reform measure Senate Bill 19-181–Republicans have openly declared their intention to rekindle the rebellious fires of 2013 and punish Democrats for having the temerity to keep their promises.

If it seems like this is the new normal when Republicans can’t win a straight electoral fight, that’s because it is.

In the legislature, a recall movement is getting underway as an unprecedented in-house campaign operation run by the GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. However that controversial move unfolds, initiating a recall against a statewide officeholder is a far more daunting prospect as evidenced by the massive signature count required to place the question on the ballot. Attempting to recall Gov. Polis, especially after letting passions cool the required six months to obtain a 60-day window to collect many times more valid signatures than a ballot measure requires, is not just a fool’s errand but a significant resource sink for Republicans already beset with infighting and demoralization.

The one thing we know in both cases is that no one can tell these people anything strategic. None of this is about political strategy. It’s about bitterness, ruthlessness, and at least in the case of Clan Neville it’s about money. The only thing that can stop it is…well, failure.

In this case, failure is the most likely outcome.

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Now THIS is the Real “Overreach”


UPDATE: These recalls are brought to you by the Neville clan.

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Even before the final votes were counted in a 2018 election that saw sweeping victories for Colorado Democrats, local Republicans were keen on telling anyone who would listen to expect Democrats to “overreach” in the 2019 legislative session.

As we noted in this space last November, “overreach” is the kind of term normally reserved for the losers of a given election:

As all sides in Colorado politics take stock of this year’s landslide victory for Democrats up and down the ballot, we’re seeing reactions that closely parallel–at least on the surface–the response to the last big Democratic surge in Colorado in the 2012 elections. Hand-wringing about the supposed horrors of life under Democratic control in Colorado leads to talk of certain areas of the state either seceding or (new in 2018) joining Wyoming.

And that’s how it’s spun: Democratic “overreach” prompts a completely unhinged secession movement that is nonetheless taken at least somewhat seriously. And of course, in 2013 Democratic “overreach” led to recalls! Some variation of this faux concern warning  to victorious Democrats has been the conclusion of the majority of post-election opinion from conservatives, as well as the state’s crop of aging white male “centrist” opinionmakers.

It was silly for Republicans to predict a Democratic “overreach” in 2019 when you consider the results of the 2018 election. Democrats won every statewide office, something that neither political party had accomplished in decades; Jared Polis was elected Governor by a double-digit margin; and Democrats added seats to their State House majority and took control of the State Senate. Nevertheless, Republicans clung fast to their “overreach” message, using the same club to whack away at issues from gun safety to a National Popular Vote for President.

While Republicans yell “overreach” every time a Democrat grabs for a cup of coffee, the real “overreach” is happening within their own ranks. As Marianne Goodland reports today for the Colorado Springs Gazette,

Recall petitions are underway against two Colorado Democratic lawmakers over their votes on Senate Bill 42, the bill that will add Colorado to the national popular vote interstate compact.

And a Facebook page has been set up to start the process for a recall of Gov. Jared Polis, though he has yet to sign the bill.

Statements of purpose, the first step before the petition filing, have been submitted to the secretary of state. They target state Sen. Jeff Bridges of Greenwood Village and Rep. Meg Froelich of Englewood. Both voted in favor of Senate Bill 42.

Sorry, wrong Jeff Bridges. But maybe they’ll try to recall him, too.

We’re a bit surprised that the first recall attempt of Democratic lawmakers is in reaction to National Popular Vote legislation; we would have put better odds on the first recall attempt coming in overreaction to so-called “red flag” legislation, since the 2013 GOP recall efforts were related to the darn libruls taking everybody’s guns high-capacity magazines.

It also strikes us as odd that the first recall targets would be Denver-area Democrats from House District 3. Last November, incumbent Rep. Jeff Bridges pummeled Republican challenger Toren Mushovic by a 61-39 margin; you can’t make much of an argument that HD-3 voters were on the fence about Bridges in 2018. Bridges has since been appointed to fill the remainder of Daniel Kagan’s State Senate term, with Froehlich selected to replace Bridges in the State House. In the case of Froehlich, we’re talking about a recall attempt of a legislator who has not yet been elected by voters; local residents approached about signing a recall petition for Froehlich will be excused for being confused.

And finally, as Goodland reports, any effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis will require more than just a Facebook page:

Recalling the governor (who has not yet signed Senate Bill 42) will take more than 631,000 signatures to get to the ballot. And he cannot be recalled until he’s been in office for six months, according to the secretary of state.

To recap, an “effort” is underway to recall a legislator who won re-election by 22 points just four months ago. Another group is trying to oust Gov. Polis — who was elected by an 11-point margin — which is something they can’t even legally attempt until later this summer.

This should work out well.

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The O&G Bill That Was So Secret Democrats Held a Giant Press Conference to Introduce It


We wrote earlier today about efforts by oil and gas interests to delay legislation intended to prioritize the health and safety of Coloradans over profits or other motives in regulating oil and gas drilling operations. The O&G industry is pushing hard to establish a narrative of Democrats crafting Senate Bill 181 in secret and “rushing” the bill through the legislature.

This narrative runs into trouble, however, when you remember that Democrats HELD A GIGANTIC PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING THE LEGISLATION just last week. Take a look at this headline from the Denver Business Journal in which the photograph used at the top of the story completely contradicts the headline:

This was such a big secret that dozens of people — including the House Speaker and the Governor — gathered for a press conference last Thursday. From the Denver Business Journal, 3/4/19

As we also mentioned earlier today, the O&G industry is panicking over their loss of control with Democrats in charge of both legislative chambers and a Democrat in the Governor’s office, which has them resorting to specious claims of a secret, super-fast bill process.

Headline aside, Ed Sealover’s story for the Journal does include a few telling quotes about how and why the industry ended up here in the first place:

Becker said at a Monday morning media briefing that she believes there will be plenty of time to discuss what is likely to be one of the most debated bills of 2019. It will have to go through the energy, finance and appropriations committees before getting to the Senate floor and then run another gauntlet of three committees in the House, giving people plenty of opportunity to comment on the measure, she said…

…But she also said pointedly that there was a lack of trust for some in the industry after the campaign for Amendment 74, which would have given property or mineral-rights owners greatly expanded ability to sue local governments for any decisions they make that could impair the value of their properties. Statewide voters defeated that measure, which Becker called “such bad policy and so destructive,” handily in November.

The O&G industry tried to pass a destructive measure in Amendment 74 so that they could have leverage in discussions with lawmakers. That didn’t work, so now the industry is left grasping at laughable straws like “secrecy” that are easily disproved.

Elections have consequences.

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Cracking Down On Vaccine Scofflaws: No Brainer, Right?


Measles.

Denver7’s Jennifer Kovaleski reports on legislation awaited in the Colorado General Assembly that would tighten Colorado’s very loose standards for immunization of children in order to attend public school, proposing the elimination of a “personal belief” exemption considered responsible for the state’s bottom-of-the-nation ranking on immunizations even ask preventable epidemics rage in other states:

Colorado has the lowest rate of vaccinations in the nation, with less than 89 percent of kindergarteners receiving vaccinations to prevent illness such as measles and bumps — far less than the national average and 95 percent threshold needed to prevent an outbreak.

“To hear that we were last in the entire country was concerning, it was embarrassing,” said Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn. “This is not a political issue, this is about our kids being safe.”

Mullica is drafting legislation that could eliminate the personal belief exemption in Colorado, which lets parents opt out of vaccinating their kids for personal reasons.

We’ve written at length in this space about battles over child immunization policy in the Colorado state legislature in the past few years, mostly stemming from a push from suburban Republican lawmakers like former Sens. Tim Neville and Laura Woods to further weaken the state’s already highly permissive standards. Sen. Woods warned baselessly of children being “rounded up and vaccinated” in Denver schools, while Neville tried to do away with the opt-out waiver process for immunizations altogether as a “privacy issue.”

Woods and Neville represented an extreme on the issue of vaccinations, but as Denver7 continues, the opposition to Rep. Kyle Mullica’s bill to eliminate the personal belief exemption–a significant step in the other direction–includes as of this writing none other than Gov. Jared Polis himself:

“Governor Polis is concerned about how low vaccination rates negatively impact public health. He believes there are successful strategies we can use to increase vaccination rates that don’t put big government in the middle of the parent-child relationship and protect our freedom,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “Governor Polis believes that forcing people to receive shots they don’t want creates mistrust of government, mistrust of vaccinations, and would ultimately backfire and hurt public health.” [Pols emphasis]

And with that, we have a disagreement that is no longer a clean partisan split–which it never really was, despite the recent backward push on the issue from local Republicans. It’s not entirely unexpected either, after the Colorado Sun’s John Frank reported last week that Polis opposed mandatory vaccinations in Congress–even though Gov. Polis makes clear that his own children have been vaccinated and he personally thinks it’s the right thing to do.

With outbreaks of preventable diseases in other states continuing to lend urgency to the debate over Colorado’s low rate of childhood vaccinations just as they did a few years ago when Neville and Woods brought their ill-conceived legislation, and all credible research continuing to soundly reject the idea that vaccines produce the vast range of negative health effects its often pseudoscientific critics insist they do…

Sorry, folks, but this is not an issue that has any room for political spin. If Rep. Mullica’s approach is not the right way to move Colorado out of literal last place with regard to childhood immunizations, let’s hear the alternative. Because the problem is not up for responsible debate.

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